I always love talking MMA, but I also love talking all sports. Even though NFL, NHL, NBA & MLB are huge in the US, they barely rate a mention in Australia. We have National Basketball & Baseball competitions; however they are niche sports and not widely viewed. Gridiron and Ice Hockey have even less following then that.
Instead we have 5 main sports that are played…
Aussie Rules (AFL)
AFL is the biggest sport, and is the only sport that is played professionally only in Australia. The closest game to it is Gaelic Football in Ireland and every couple of years they play a hybrid game against each other. I don’t know of an American sport it resembles, but if you have not seen it before it is not a bad idea to check out the clip below, which is the last two minutes of a very close game.
Cricket is the biggest summer sport we have. There are aspects of it that resemble baseball, but it is a unique game. Domestic cricket does not get much of a following, however the international game is quite developed and Australia generally performs quite well. We have just come out of a rebuilding phase and are starting to climb the rankings again so there are plenty of reasons to cheer! A fun trivia fact for everyone about cricket… the first international game was played in 1844 between the US & Canada. I have included the clip below which has highlights of a one day match, it goes for 4 mins, but shows all you need to know about cricket.
Rugby League is my personal favourite. It slightly resembles gridiron with a lot less padding, no forward passes and it flows as opposed to being so stop start. It was created as a ‘working mans’ sport, however over the years that tag has lifted a bit. Thankfully the season starts on Thursday so I am more than a little excited. Some of the collisions you see are ridiculous. League does have a world cup but only Australia, England and New Zealand are ever a chance of winning it. It is worth noting, because the highest honour for a lot of Australian players is not an Australian Jersey, but a State of Origin one. State of Origin is played between New South Wales and Queensland, and it is brutal, physical and the most exciting form of the game. The 1st clip below is of a punch up in the 1995 origin series, where everyone got involved. The 2nd clip is highlights from the 2013 World Cup Final so you get the gist of the game.
Rugby Union is similar to Rugby League, except you have 2 extra players, the ball is always live when it is in (meaning even when you are tackled the ball can be taken from you) & there are some other differences which I won’t worry about going into. Union was and in many ways still is a sport that finds most of its players through the private school system. Also, the domestic league is played between 5 teams in Australia, 5 teams in New Zealand and 5 teams in South Africa. The clip below is highlights from a pre-season game this year.
Soccer is a sport I am sure you are all familiar with, but in the terms of Australia it runs fifth. The fact we have made the last few world cups has given more interest in the sport, and we are starting to get some decent names coming to the domestic league, has given it some popularity and it is probably starting to rival Rugby Union for fourth spot.
The reason I wanted to share this with you all is to see if anyone here follows these sports, has heard of them and if not to get you to have a look at the clips and see if it is something you could see yourself enjoying.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoyed the clips!