Melbourne, the genteel capital city of Victoria, is the scene for the two biggest occasions on the Australian sporting calendar: the Melbourne Cup horseracing Carnival and the Australian football Grand Final day.
Melbourne, the genteel capital city of Victoria, is the scene for the two biggest occasions on the Australian sporting calendar: the Melbourne Cup horseracing Carnival and the Australian football Grand Final day. On Saturday (24 September) two famous football clubs, Collingwood and North Melbourne, played the Grand Final match on the renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground before a crowd of 115,000. The match ended in an historic draw-both teams scored 76 points -- and will be replayed next Saturday (1 October).
SYNOPSIS: This Grand Final was to be the first ever televised live. But this didn't prevent a well-laden capacity crowd from streaming into the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In black and white are Collingwood -- the magpies. They've won more championships than any other club.
Blue and white mean North Melbourne, the Kangaroos, a newly-risen power.
The game itself is complex. It's mostly descended from Gaelic football that Irish immigrants brought to the Victorian goldfields.
But the oval ball shows a dash of Rugby as well, though tackling is nowhere as ferocious. The playing field is also oval-shaped and immense, almost twice the size of a soccer pitch. Players can either kick or punch the ball.
They're aiming to put the ball between the centre pair of four tall goalposts, which have no crossbars. When they do, it's a goal, worth six points. The ball going between the outer posts yields one points, called a 'behind'. Any score is worth celebrating.
Each team has eighteen players, divided into forwards and defenders. A catch made cleanly from a long kick, is called a mark and earns a free kick.
Like other major sports, this football is big business: the North Melbourne team was valued at one million Australian dollars (???636, 950). Players are the biggest sporting heroes in Victoria, with acres of newsprint and hours of television devoted to their deeds.
It's a draw. This means another week of ballyhoo and hysteria.
Grand Final crowds are consistently the largest sporting gatherings each year in Australia. They've left their signature and endorsed the worldwide reputation of Australians: wall-to-wall beercans. They'll renew the decor next week.