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A Melbourne Must-Do: Watch An AFL Football Game

A Melbourne Must-Do: Watch An AFL Football Game

Whenever somebody asks us what they should do on a visit to Melbourne, if they’re coming between the months of March and September our first answer is always the same.

Go and see an Australian rules football game.

This post has got nothing to do with the fact that I worked for the AFL earlier in the year. The two of us are huge footy fans and every year we attempt to get to at least one game, despite both of our teams not enjoying any major successes through our lifetimes.

Earlier this year we went to watch the game between the Richmond Tigers (Kieron’s team) and St Kilda Saints (Amy’s team) and enjoyed an excellent night, especially because the mighty Tigers came away with the win in a hard-fought contest.

Enemies for tonight!

What is Aussie Rules Football?

Australian rules football is a sport played between 2 teams with 18 players from each team on the field at any given time. The object is to kick the highest score with 6 points awarded for kicking a goal between the two major goal posts.

We’ve tried countless times on our travels to try to explain the game to those unfamiliar with it and have failed dismally. So instead of attempting yet again check out this 30-minute video, AFL Explained, for a detailed rundown on the game. The Wikipedia page on Australian rules football is also quite detailed and worth a look if you want to know more.

Where can I watch an AFL Game in Melbourne?

Etihad Stadium in Melbourne

There are two venues in Melbourne that host AFL games on a weekly basis during the season. These are the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) located in Richmond and Etihad Stadium located in the Docklands, both easily accessible via public transport.

The MCG is the spiritual home of Australian football and if you can get in to see a match here, we highly recommend it. Although if the weather isn’t too promising (which is most of winter in Melbourne), then a game at Etihad might be your best bet because of its retractable roof.

Tickets start at around $20 for adults and we’d say to go to a night match if you have the choice.

What do I eat at the footy?

Even though the price of food and beverages at the football is exorbitant, if you want the full AFL experience then you need to grab yourself a Four’N Twenty Pie with sauce.

It’s a tradition here in Victoria and perfect for a cold winter’s night!

Amy eating a Four'N Twenty Meat Pie

The game itself…

Just sit in your seat and soak in the atmosphere of the crowd when the ball is bounced for the first time – it’s simply electric. The bigger the crowd, the better the atmosphere and there are some massive games throughout the year.

St Kilda running through the banner

Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon and Richmond are the four teams that typically attract the largest crowds and you know it’s going to be a big game if any of these teams are involved. You’ll also be sure to encounter some very passionate supporters!

St Kilda kicking for goal

Make sure you stick around until the end of the game – you’ll get to join in singing the winning team’s song which is always a fun experience.

Recommend Games for 2012

Are you visiting Melbourne in July or August? Then here’s our list of recommended matches if you don’t already support a team and want a great atmosphere and hopefully a pretty good game.

  • Friday July 6 – Collingwood vs. Carlton
  • Saturday July 14 – Geelong vs. Collingwood
  • Friday July 20 – Geelong vs. Essendon
  • Saturday July 21 – Collingwood vs. Hawthorn
  • Sunday July 22 – Richmond vs. North Melbourne
  • Friday July 27 – Essendon vs. Hawthorn
  • Saturday July 28 – Carlton vs. Richmond
  • Friday August 3 – Geelong vs. Hawthorn
  • Saturday August 18 – Essendon vs. Carlton
  • Friday August 24 – Richmond vs. Essendon

Still have questions about Aussie rules football?

Leave them in the comments below and we’ll be sure to answer them!

10 Comments

  1. Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I went to a rainy Geelong vs. Sydney game and still didn’t understand it but I had myself a beer and pie and all was good!
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted..When Clichés Come True: My Summer of Love in Paris

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Haha further proof that a beer and pie will always improve your day at the footy!

  2. Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    YES! I moved to Melbourne right at the start of AFL season and absolutely fell in love with the game. So many awesome memories of Sunday sessions and games at the pub, and going to games at the MCG–and I won my first sports bet on the Grand Final! Absolutely one of my favorite parts of Melbourne culture.

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      So glad to hear that you fell in love with AFL – it’s always a great excuse to hang around at the pub on a Friday night after work for several hours. Well done on winning your GF bet, a small wager makes the game a bit more fun.

  3. Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    p.s. Go Bombers!
    Christine recently posted..The best of all possible places: where you are right now

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      The Bombers are having one hell of a year so far! Maybe you’ll have to fly back to Melbourne if they make the Grand Final? ;)

  4. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    As a Victorian I’d highly recommend the Anzac day clash between Essendon and Collingwood and any clash between Carlton and Collingwood. The standard of play between these teams when they play each other is always high.

    And just like Christine who has great taste in football, Go Bombers!

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      The Anzac Day match is easily the second biggest game of the year behind the Grand Final so be sure to grab tickets early! And you’re right, the two games you mentioned always seem to be close ones regardless of how the teams are going at the time.

  5. Posted July 4, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The more I read about AFL the more confused I get :) Nonetheless, everyone who has been to a match tells me it is great fun so, and I’m a huge sports nut, so I hope to catch one whenever I make it to Australia!
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted..Planning the “Big Trip”

    • Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Haha it’s a confusing game and as we said, impossible to explain even for us who grew up with it. Watch that video to find out more and enjoy your AFL experience when you get to Oz. :)

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