Yesterday we made our first foray into the mysterious world of live Australian sport. Graham invited us to an AFL game with him and the girls, so we went along. The Australian Football League is their equivalent of the NFL back home. The main differences seem to be the lack of pads and the fact that all of the rules are different. This match featured the home team, the Brisbane Lions, against the Gold Coast Suns, a city just south of Brisbane. As luck would have it, these two teams are the very worst of the league, so it promised to be a close game.
The game took place at the Gabba, the affectionate name for the stadium at Wooloongabba and one of the many examples of the universal Australian love of abbreviations. The field was a much-too-long oval, designed so that anyone sitting near the ground level (us) will have no idea what is going on at the other end. It’s an absolutely huge field, 175 yards by 140 yards. As it happens, this oval field is conveniently the same as a cricket oval. So, the field gets converted during cricket season.
We actually quite enjoyed the game. Lots of tackling, squabbling about for the ball, long kicks through (or near) the goal posts, and the occasional hockey-style fight (but without pads). It was a very close for most of the game, until the third quarter when the Gold Coast team decided they’d had enough mucking about and scored four quick goals for an unsurmountable lead. The Lions weren’t able to come back, but both teams did manage to score over 100 points, which was quite the achievement for the two lowest-ranking teams in the league. The AFL season is nearing its end, so we’ll have to save our sports-watching energy for the next sport. Rugby’s season is ending soon, and cricket comes to town in November!