Friday, September 27, 2013

CAN THEY DO IT?

Tomorrow as 12.30 (WST) will be the bounce down to begin the Grand Final match between the Fremantle F.C. and the Hawthorn F.C.  Hawthorn has been around for many years but Fremantle only for 19 years.

In the southernmost states of Australian Australian Rules football was always the dominant code of football. Soccer is played in all states of Australia and both rugby league and rugby union are played but more in Queensland and New South Wales, although there are teams in other states but they are in the minority.

The origins of Australian Rules football are obscure and still the subject of much debate.  The earliest accounts of "foot-ball" games in Australia date back to July, 1829 and the earliest accounts of clubs formed to play 'football' date to the late 1850s.  On the Victorian goldfields, men from across the world brought their own ideas of football rules, and their games were played by a variety of rules, sometimes agreed at the beginning of a game, others applied where there was contention during a match.  Though football became increasingly common between 1856 and 1858, written details are difficult to find as most of these matches were poorly documented.  It is believed that some form of football was played among indigenous Australians prior to European colonisation.

The AFL Commission, the game's current governing body, officially acknowledges the following with regard to the formation of Australian Football:

a) that 1858 was the commencement date of modern day 'football', and
b) that the game was invented in Melbourne

That is a very sketchy summary of what most of us call our 'national' game.  Originally each state had clubs which would play against each other and occasionally there would be interstate carnivals between the different states that actually played Aussie Rules football.

For most of the 20th century the South Australian National Football League, the Western Australian Football League and the Victorian Football League were considered as peers..  They continued playing each other at various challenge matches and nationwide club competitions.  These were also occasionally played in Queensland and Tasmania.

The modern day Australian Football League came into being in 1990 after the Victorian Football League's government body decided to market the competition, as an official national league and thus renamed itself.  Several of the Victorian clubs were in financial trouble and it was felt if a national league was formed it would help these clubs.  Now recognised as the governing body of Australian Football by majority international leagues, the AFL Commission has gained control over the game, framing its' laws in the process.  Western Australia's first national team West Coast Eagles actually joined the original VFL prior to 1990.  They since then have won 3 premierships and been in several grand finals.

The national event today has its teams based in five of the six Australian states.  It is enthusiastically watched by millions of spectators at home and away matches from March to early September.  After a series of preliminary finals matches, the AFL's Grand Final is played between the two finalists.  It is always played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground which has a capacity for over 100 thousand spectators.

Western Australia's second national team the Fremantle Dockers was formed 19 years ago in 1994 and had very limited success during the early years.  There was a succession of coaches and board members and not until a new coach was employed two years ago had the club moved forward to the extent that tomorrow it will take to the field in an attempt to win its very first premiership.  (The club had played in preliminary finals in previous years but without success).  It has been a long wait but we in Perth who support Fremantle can only wish them well. If they played as they did in their last two matches then I feel they should have a good chance of taking the flag.  Even if they lose, it has been wonderful to watch their progress during the past two seasons and we all know they will do their very best.....and this is what it's all about:    GO FREO!!!!!!


14 comments:

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    1. There was some play not quite fair and the umpires weren't the best (and it's not just me saying that). Unfortunately our team went down by a couple of goals but there's always next year.

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  2. Hari OM
    Have to confess I never did get into AFL - or for that matter League, having been brought up on Rugby Union. Cricket, though.... ah now let's talk cricket......&*>>> YAM xx

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    1. I enjoy cricket as well although not the past Tests between England and Australia all that much. LOL

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  3. Good luck to your team!

    Our football team plays on Sunday evening this weekend. They're a super team with much potential (aren't they all?) but they aren't off to a very good start. One win and two losses so far. (But my hubby and I toast each of their scores with a cold shot of apple liqueur, so we enjoy their games, win or lose.)

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    1. This team of ours did very well throughout the year but just weren't quite good enough to make it yesterday.

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  4. Good luck. I really don't care who wins - so hope that luck (and skill of course) go your way.

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    1. Wasn't meant to be unfortunately. From what I could see of our players they were definitely suffering from stage-fright. It took them half the game to settle down but they had left it too late. They were by no means disgraced. I feel they lost the game rather then the other team won it. Next year!!!

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  5. Replies
    1. It wasn't meant to be but we all of course wish the dream had come true. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  6. I'm not watching the game, but my neighbour is and I hear the cheering and swearing with every goal. She's hoping Freo wins, but I haven't looked at the scores since their first goal. (I'm watching cowboy dvds).
    I'm wearing everything purple that I own, hoping that might bring them luck.

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  7. Perhaps I didn't wear enough purple (don't actually own anything purple but had on a top with fruit on it and there were purple grapes lol).
    There are so many things against interstate teams and I often feel they should all have to play on neutral territory in the Grand Final but Victoria will never let that happen if they can help it.

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  8. I see they didn't win, but the margin wasn't all that big. One of the journalists in our paper said they appeared to have stage fright and I think he is right. I saw they're faces in the second quarter and they seemed very overwhelmed, it was their very first grand final after all. I agree a neutral ground would be a much better option, but you know what Victoria is like, they'd never allow it. So of course the Hawks felt right at home because they play there all the time, they know the "feel" of the ground. Better luck next time Freo. and yes, there WILL be a next time.

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  9. Well said River. I watched their faces during the first half and commented to Phil that I thought they had stage fright. Even the players who are usually full of confidence looked so nervous. They are saying they will be back and although that is going to be a hard task in view of there now being so many teams we can only hope.

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