Basic Rules of Australian Football

Basic Rules of Australian Football

Australian football has been around since 1896, with the oldest club being Melbourne Football Club, and has its own league called the Australian Football League. However, the rules and regulations of Australian football differ dramatically from the football commonly watched on TV in the US. Read on to learn the basics of Australian Football. 

The Objective

australian football objective

In Australian football, teams aim to score as many points as possible in order to outscore their opponents. Players will try to kick or carry the ball through their opponents’ posts to score. Both players will start in the middle, where they will jump to try and take possession of the ball. From there, teams will try to hand off the ball to each other and head towards the goalposts of their opponents. The opponents’ defense will try to tackle the offensive player carrying the ball and try to gain possession.

Basic Rules

Below are the basic rules of Australian rules football:

  • Two teams of 18 players each play against each other.
  • The game has four 20-minute quarters.
  • To start the game, two players from opposing teams will start in the middle of the field, where the umpire will throw the ball in the air and both players will try to pass the ball to a teammate. This starting event is called a “ruck.”
  • To pass the ball, players must pass it to one another; the ball cannot be thrown or slapped. To pass the ball, players must hold the ball in one palm and strike it with the butt of the other hand in a closed fist.
  • Players can tackle opponents to get the ball, but only from the shoulders down.
  • Players can “mark” the ball upon receiving it by either catching it without it bouncing, catching it after it has traveled 10 meters, or catching it before it has been touched in mid-air.
  • If a player successfully marks the ball, they cannot be tackled, and if they are tackled, or an opponent steps over the mark, the team with possession earns 15 meters.
  • Players are allowed to block opponents from the ball, but only if they are within five meters or 16 feet of the ball. 

The Field and Equipment

Australian Football Field

The field is set up as an oval with four goal posts situated at each end: two tall posts in the middle and then two short ones next to each tall post. The field is around 148 to 202 yards long, with two 50-meter or 54-yard lines on either end. There is also a center square in the middle of the field with a center circle in it, where players start the game. 

Australian footballers don’t wear any protective gear besides a mouthguard. Besides that, players should wear cleats, their team jersey, shorts, and long socks. 


australian football scoring

The only way to score points in Australian football is by getting the ball to pass through the goalposts at the end of the field. The players must score on their opponent's side of the field. If the ball goes between the two tall posts at the center of the goal area, the offensive team scores six points. However, if the ball is touched by a player while being scored, goes between the other posts, or is carried rather than kicked through the post, the team is awarded one point. 


What are the basic rules of Australian football?

The basic rules of Australian football include two teams playing against each other in a match consisting of four 20-minute quarters. Players must hand over the ball to each other and make their way down the pitch. Opponents can tackle the player holding the ball from the shoulders down and teammates can defend their teammate from being tackled when they are within 16 feet of the ball. The ball can either be carried or kicked between the goal posts at the end of the field.

How do you play Australian football?

To play Australian football, you must be on a team with 18 players. To start the game, one player from each team must jump for the ball in the middle. Once a team has the ball, they must make their way up the pitch passing to each other, not throwing or slapping the ball. The person carrying the ball must either kick the ball through the goal posts or run with the ball through them.