Boys' Sports and Athletic Uniforms: Australian Rules Football

Figure 1.--Boys for Australian football or footy wear a destinctive uniform, no helmet, a sleeveless jersey, short shorts, long sport socks, and boots.

One sport evolving from football/rugby which is destinctive to Austrralia is Australian Rules Football--affectionally called 'footy'. Only Australians play Australian rules football. HBC at this time knows very little about Australian football. It is rarely seen in America. Australian football seems similar im many ways to Rugby. Schools play an important role in footy as is the case of most Australian sports. Hopefully our Australian readers will tell us a bit about the sport.


The South Australian Football League was established abbout 1877. It is the oldest league in Australia. The palying rules it established aew older than the rules established for rugby football.


Footy is a bit like soccer rugby and definately gaelic football. There are 18 players on the field and the field settings are as follows = Backs: three shorted tall players near oppositions goalfront. Halfbacks: 3 average to tall shorted players further afield to centre square (middle of oval or sportsfield). Centres: 3 shorted tall timbers players in the centre of the ground. Half-Forwards: 3 shorted tall players who are further afield towards the forward zones. Forwards: 2 shorted very tall players further towards own goals. 2 Rucks are floating or running shorted players who run with a rover or constantly moving shorted small man and the rucks go up for the ball from the centre bounce and try to kick the ball forwards towards opposing goals or goes up for a tough ruck contest and jumps high and taps the ball to a floating forward or loose ruckman or even a floating half-forward and they kick a goal which is worth 6 points and if it hits the tall white upright posts then it is a behind or a point and if it sails through the two smaller outer posts it's a point or behind.


Schools play an important role in footy as is the case of most Australian sports. This is different than the situation in Europe where we see sports clubs often providing opportunities for youth sport rather than schools. European schools fulfill a primarily academic role. Australian schools follow a more American approach with a range of extra-curricuar activities, especially sports. Thus we see many Australian schools with footy teams. We are not sure about primary schools, but certainly was the situation in secondary schools. Matches are not quite the major event we see im America, but schools do play each other. This inclues both school teams and intramural teams so that children of varying abilities can enjoy the sport.


An Australian reader tells us that Australian SANFL football palyers at the turn of the 20th century once wore uniforms similar to American gridiron (foodball) uniforms with padded knee trousers. The modern uniform the boys wear is quite destinctive. There is no cap, a sleevless jersey, short shorts, long sport socks, and boots. Both the jersies and shorts are quite destinctive identifing the boys as footy players. The jerseys vary widely. Most are just styalized color motifs. A few have team logos. Almost always the jerseys are sleeveless. The jersey, shorts, and socks are usually color coordinated. Australian football does not seem to adopted the longer baggy shorts that other sports such as basketball and soccer adopted during the 1990s.

Personal Accounts

An Australian reader tells us, "I played Australian rules from about age 7 in Mini League and we wore a light blue jumper with a yellow Vee with matching light blue short footy shorts. We firstly wore white or black cotton stubbies or King Gee or Jonko footy shorts just like our British cousins did for school sports before they got their much modern sports kits in about 1976 or later. We had light blue woollen footy kneesocks with yellow tops and footy boots which covered the ankels until I got a new pair from my late uncle when I was 12 or 13 years old and they were Puma brand soccer boots. We wear footy boots with plastic or metal springs for total grip on the wet green grassy ovals that we played on. The studs or sprigs are screwed in our locked in or were already part of a moldered sole of the underside of the footy boots or soccer boots. I got the soccer ones because my uncle hoped my dad would let me play soccer and my younger brother Aussie rules. I played for about 6 years from ages 7 till about almost 13 then I was benched for close on 2 years because I was deemed a 'big' high school age child.


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Created: April 16, 1999
Last updated: 2:02 AM 6/17/2004