Footy and Rugby
Occasionally there is an opportunity to get out and photograph other ‘accessible’ sports. So how does Aussie Rules footy and rugby get under the Sticks and Stones themes? Well, in both you score goals or points by kicking a ball though the ‘big white sticks’!
Australian Rules Football
For the uninitiated, Australian Rules Football is an exciting, fast paced and very physical game due to the use of kicking, high marking, handballing and intense tackling. It is played without padding that is often associated with other ‘football’ codes eg American Football or gridiron, of shoulder pads used in others. Each team has 18 players on the ground and usually 4 interchange players. There are 4 posts or ‘sticks’ at each end of the ground to score through. A goal (worth 6 points) is scored when a kick goes between the two tallest (white) goal posts, and a point is scored if kicked between one of the white goal posts and a red point post or the ball is carried over or punched through the goal mouth.
It is played over four quarters of approximately 30mins duration with a longer break in the middle. The length varies due to stoppages and the clock stopped and started again, and blood rules where a bleeding player must leave the ground and be replaced by another player. The ball is roughly oval in shape and can be kicked (either picked or gathered up and kicked, or soccer-ed along the ground when things get desperate), or hand balled to team mate. It can not be carried for more than 15m without bouncing the ball as you are running (similar to a travel rule in basketball). The ball is ‘marked’ (caught) either in the air or on the chest, and can also be hit out, again if things get desperate. Ruck man are used when the umpire bounces the ball or throws the ball in from the boundary to restart proceedings.
It provides great photos, especially when played at a local level for the amateur or semi-pro photographer, such as the South Australian National Football League or SANFL which has smaller crowds. This is in contrast to the National league the Australian Football League (more commonly referred to as the AFL) with its larger crowds of between 40,000-50,000+ fans.
The photos presented on this website are dominated by tackling and rucking incidents as they best capture the intensity of the game, better than the actual kicking act itself!
Rugby 7’s (Rugby Union)
South Australia which Adelaide is the capital of, is not recognised as a ‘Rugby’ state which are traditionally the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. However, Adelaide hosts a Rugby 7’s event. This is a traditional international series based on traditional Rugby Union (15-a-side) designed to cram as much excitement into a day by playing as many games as possible in a day and involving as many international teams as possible (but limited to pools and numbers in in each).
The most famous of these 7’s tournaments is arguably the Hong Kong 7’s. Adelaide has been fortunate enough to host a round of the current IRB Sevens World Series for the last 3 years (2008, 2009, 2010). Prior to this Adelaide also hosted a different version back in the 1990’s played at Hindmarsh Stadium but based more on clubs than countries (so take note Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia) you did not bring Rugby 7’s to Adelaide for the first time! The earlier competition involved teams from SA, NSW, Qld, 4 teams from New Zealand, 3 teams from South Africa, and one team from Fiji…..the latter would always win!
The teams that compete in the current IRB series venues from event to event (currently 7 hosting countries involved), with costs being perhaps a contributory factor. State or club representation or is no longer the norm, and teams are all represented by a country. The formula has not changed over the years. The excitement factor is still there with 7-a-side teams (with substitutes and interchanges), playing games comprising two 7minute halves, and teams competing on a round robin basis over the first day of the competition. The second day is the finals based on the results of the first day and teams are slotted into different trophy categories, eg Bowl, Plater, Cup.