England invented rugby, New Zealand dominated it, and Australia modified it. Australian Rules Football, or AFL as it is commonly referred to, is a modified version of rugby invented by an Australian athlete by the name of Tom Wills who had lived and studied in England at the Rugby School in the mid 1850s. The sport features two teams of 18 players who must throw the ball between two tall posts at the end of each side of the field. Rules vary greatly from rugby or American football, where players can actually use any part of their body to handle the ball as long as they bounce it occasionally. Whichever team scores the most, wins.
The sport gained popularity quickly down under and became Australia’s national sport, eventually finding popularity in the UK. Today, there are exclusive AFL leagues throughout the nation, with London hosting its very own city-based tournament. With eight teams in the Premiership League, the London AFL league continues to expand with 24 London-based teams scattered through three level leagues. All London Premiership teams are constantly recruiting new members for both the men’s and women’s clubs.
Don’t miss a game
London is big on sports and sports bars are scattered around the city offering all types of sports entertainment. With the popularity of AFL, many bars and pubs are opting to broadcast the games. If you are more keen on cheering them on live, you can always check out the venues for the matches on the AFL London website.