AFL Basics

How do you play AFL?

  • Aussie rules is played on a big oval field
  • Each team has 18 players on the field and 4 on the bench
  • Athletes come in many heights and sizes, with fast hand and foot speed & stamina
  • There are defenders (who defend the goals), attackers (who try to score) and mid-fielders who try to get the ball to their team’s scoring end
  • The game starts with a centre bounce, a bit like a basketball jump ball
  • The basic object of the game is to move the ball down the field and score
How do you score in AFL?
  • You can move the ball to your scoring end in 3 ways:
    • Running (but you must bounce it every 15m)
    • Handballing
    • Kicking
  • A goal equals 6 points and a behind is one point
  • There are 4 quarters (of 20 mins) plus time on for stops in play

How is kicking used in Aussie Rules Football?

Use your foot to kick the ball towards your teammates. If it travels 15m or more and your teammate catches it that is called a mark.

What is a mark in AFL? What is a specky?

Catching the ball after it has been kicked and travelled more than 15m without touching the ground is called a mark. A very special mark, where the players jump up in the air (and sometimes even use the other players for a piggyback) is called a specky. When a player marks the ball, they can take a free kick without anyone tackling them.

How does AFL scoring work?

If the ball is kicked through the larger middle two ‘goal’ posts, without being touched, then this is a goal. A goal is equal to 6 points. If the ball hits the goal post, is kicked between the ‘behind’ post and goal post or if it goes through the ‘goal’ posts but is touched before the boundary line, then this is a behind (which equals only 1 point).

How do you tackle in AFL?

Wrap your arms around the opposition players to either slow down their running or force them to drop the ball and cause a turnover. You can tackle hard, but not too high or low – it must be between the shoulders and the knees.

What is a handball in AFL?

Using your fist to hit or punch the ball forward out of your other hand. You cannot throw the ball otherwise the other team will get a free kick.

How do you bounce an Aussie Rules Football?

Pushing the ball down toward the ground with one hand and (hopefully) catching it. You must bounce or touch the ball to the ground every 15m if you are running with the ball.

When do you get a free kick in Aussie Rules Footy?

Players are given a chance to kick the ball without anyone being able to tackle them for 20 seconds. Free kicks can be paid to either team if the other team breaks the rules of the game. For example, if you throw the ball instead of handballing, if you run over the ‘mark’ line or if you play dangerously (i.e. tripping, pushing the other players in their back etc).

Print out your own AFL Basics cheat sheet below:

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