Aussie Rules of the Indian kind
AFL International Cup 2014
The top contenders this year in the AFL International Cup are believed to include the Irish, the masters of Gaelic football, a game that seems to be one of the easier football codes to transition from, and then to, Australian Rules Football. Of course it is also a country where there is already a healthy rivalry, where Ireland and Australia already play what is termed International Rules Football, a combined AFL/Gaelic code.
There is much interest also in the Papua New Guineans. These guys are distinctively fast on their legs, seem somehow to always get in front to take the mark and somehow out of a scrum of players be able to make a clean and precise boot on the ball.
And the New Zealanders. Yes they are in with a good chance to take the title this year as well. Close geographically but claiming to be distinct, and who may not like to admit they love AFL, but surely they would love to admit they’d like to beat Australia at our game if ever they got the chance. Nothing like a bit of rivalry to spur you on!
However it was always going to be the Pakastan v India game that would be the grand final ‘do or die’ match of the Cup much like a Collingwood v Essendon match – that is just the nature of AFL.
And how are India faring so far; two matches, two losses.
The Indian team, from an outsider’s view, may seem a bit like Jamaica in bobsled, an AFL version of the film Cool Runnings. Yes the players are in a sense like ‘fish out of water’, many of the players having never dreamed of travel overseas, let alone out of their city or state. However talk to any of the players and you will know that each player takes the game 100% seriously, and with one aim on their mind, to kick goals out of the park for India and the game and their team.
Having this experience in Australia, these young Indian men now know what they need to do. They have ‘jumped in the deep end’ with all the courage in the world and isn’t this only going to make the game and players grow that much faster. Watching the Indian team play, men from all over the country, different languages, different backgrounds, customs and beliefs; one thing was the same, smiles all round. Enthusiasm never waned throughout any of their matches.
The AFL International Cup is an annual event with both women’s and a men’s competition. Australia does not contend in this event at present but in future as the level of play becomes more competitive in this Cup, it is always and option.
The Indian players are taking in all the experience, training and advice they can about AFL while they are here on the game’s home soil. And the team will go home proud and motivated and knowing what it takes, and what they need to do. Seeing the determination in these men’s eyes as they play, I have a feeling next year a stronger team will return, and possibly at some stage we will have a sequel of Lagaan, this time India sticking it to Australia in their own game. Now wouldn’t that be a mighty match.
And as there are talks currently of Melbourne putting in a bid for the 2028 Olympic Games and Premier Denis Napthine saying he would support a bid for the Games. Wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity for AFL to join the Olympics as a demonstration sport, to get AFL more on the world stage, and yes for India and the rest of the world to get the chance to put it to Australia at their own game.
Leanne Woodward’s guide to AFL lingo
I couldn’t help noticing there wasn’t a lot of those usual calls from the crowd to the umpire of ‘Ball’, ‘In the back’ or ‘Holding the ball’ so here are a collection of the basics in football slang.
The most common calls from the crowd to the umpire:
Ball or Baallll, short for ‘holding the ball’: To plead with the umpire to pay a free kick for holding the ball.
Man, short for ‘holding the man’: To plead for the umpire to pay a free kick for holding the man; often screamed concurrently as the opposing fan calls Ball.
Throwing the Ball: Screamed in utter disgust when the fan believes the umpire has missed awarding a free kick for an illegal pass (Throwing the ball is a handball conducted by throwing, instead of by punching the ball)
Kicking in Danger: You will hear an outcry from the crowd when a player swings his boot at the ball, while at that very moment the opposition player’s head/hands are in the action of picking up the ball, and are in danger of being kicked.
Fifty: Called out when you believe you the opposing team should be awarded a 50m penalty
Ump: Called in desperation or disgust when you believe the umpire has missed pulling up a penalty or awarding a free kick
Some additional basic terminology
Shepherd: When you block the path of an opposing player so that one of your team members is challenge free, and has a clean path to play on. This is a legal tactic if it is done within 5 metres of the ball.
The G: The Melbourne Cricket Ground / M.C.G.
Torpedo, Barrel, Banana and Drop Punt: All are methods of kicking the ball
Specky, short for spectacular mark: a high mark taken over the top of one or more players
Sausage roll: Is rhyming slang for a scored goal
Rushed behind: Kicking, handballing or fist punching the ball through the points post in order to concede a minimal score to the opposition in defence and in doing so regain possession of the ball.
A hospital pass: A player passes the ball to a team-mate who is in immediate danger of a tackle or bump of severe force, and who has no alternative option.
A hail Mary: When a player kicks or hand passes the ball to no one in particular, or into empty space, with the hope it will end up in the hands of a team mate somehow.
Check out more from Leanne Woodward’s AFL International Cup 2014 overview: