Australian rules football in popular Australian culture

Australian rules football in popular Australian culture

Australian rules football in popular Australian culture has captured the imagination of Australian film, music, television and literature.

In literature, probably the first mention of the sport was in the popular play "And The Big Men Fly", written by Alan Hopgood in 1963. [ [ And the Big Men Fly - A play by Alan Hopgood] ] Another play, "The Club" was written in 1977. A novel named "Deadly, Unna?", probably the first specifically about the sport was written in 1999. There have been a wide range of non-fiction books written about the sport, along with biographies and autobiographies written by players. In 2002, former AFL great Garry Lyon released the first of many children's books in the popular "Specky Magee" series.

Many songs inspired by the game have become anthems of the game, none more so than the 1979 hit "Up There Cazaly", by Mike Brady. Brady followed the hit up with "One Day in September" in 1987. "That's the Thing about Football" was a song by Greg Champion around 1995 which was used by television stations as part of their game coverages. "When Footy Ruled the World" appeared in the popular sporting videos. References to the sport can be found extensively in the lyrics of the cult band TISM in songs such as Shut Up - The Footy's On The Radio. "Nothing Beats Footy at the MCG" was written by Jim Cadman. South Australian hip hop band, the Hilltop Hoods make reference to the sport in their song "The Nosebleed Section".

Probably the first reference to the sport in film was "The Great Macarthy" in 1975. A film of the play "The Club" was released in 1980. In 1997, a behind the scenes documentary about the struggling Western Bulldogs titled "Year of the Dogs" was featured in Australian cinemas. A short film "Kick to Kick" by Tony McNamara was released in 2000. "Deadly Unna?" inspired the 2002 arthouse film "Australian Rules".

Australian rules has a long history with television which dates back to the first broadcasts of the 1960s. Several popular Australian television shows have celebrated the sport, some of the more popular current ones include "The Footy Show" and "Before The Game". The 2002 television show "The Club", featuring amateur club the "Hammerheads" was one of the first reality television shows in the world in the sports genre. The game has made the occasional appearance on the Australian soap opera "Neighbours", which is popular around the world. In 2008, several scenes from the opening credits show characters holding and playing with a Sherrin ball. The show features several characters having favourite AFL clubs, watching and playing 'footy'. In 2008, an episode of City Homicide portrayed a fictional team called the "South City Kookas" with a green and white striped guernsey and based at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (based loosely around Collingwood) featuring former Neighbours star and suburban footballer Blair McDonough.

Australian Rules is also featured in many interactive video games. Famous golfer Greg Norman named his custom built yacht "Aussie Rules" after the sport. [ [ Oceanfast’s Aussie Rules — By Diane M. Byrne] ]

There are also many cross references in sport. The game was played as an exhibition sport at the 1956 Summer Olympics. In the 2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, in a statement about Melbourne sporting culture, AFL captains and legend Ron Barassi carried the baton toward the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Several charity exhibition events, including the Community Cup and AFL Legends Match also celebrate the sport's role in popular culture.

Football has also often been satirised for its role in Australia by comedians such as Jimeon, who claimed that footbal was "The only sport in the world where they reward you for missing the goals."


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