If there is one thing Aussies love, it is an action-packed sport. However, the nation’s taste is rather different in comparison to many other countries across the world. To learn more about the nation and its favorite pastimes, check out the most popular sports in Australia to both watch and play.
Aussie Rules Football
While the UK has Premier League soccer and America has NFL football, Australia has Aussie rules football, which is undoubtedly one of the most loved sports in the sovereign country.
The game, which is officially known as Australian football is a contact sport between two teams that each have eighteen players. It is often played on an oval-shaped field, such as a modified cricket ground, and teams will need to score by kicking an oval-shaped ball between two goalposts (which is worth six points) or between a goal and “behind” posts (which will be worth one point).
The sport dates back to Melbourne, Victoria in 1858 and was inspired by soccer games in English public schools. As soccer didn’t suit the intense Australian climate, Melbourne Football Club was responsible for publishing the rules of Australian football back in May 1859.
Aussie rules football now offers the highest television viewership and biggest spectator attendance of all sports in Australia. In fact, the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final is the highest-attended club championship event on the planet.
Cricket tends to capture the nation during the summer, with sports fans tuning in to watch Test cricket, ODIs and the increasingly-popular Big Bash League.
Once the National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League is over, cricket is the only sport you’ll find hitting the headlines and dominating TV screens up and down the country.
Big Bash League crowds are becoming bigger than ever, with more than one million people watching the event on their TVs each year, and it draws a crowd of 30,000 spectators.
Of course, the biggest and best cricket event on the calendar in Oz is The Ashes, causes much conversation and debate in towns and cities across the nation every summer.
National Rugby League
No other country in the world has dominated rugby quite like Australia, as they have won multiple World Cups throughout the sport’s history. The country’s success is, in part, due to its strong national competition, which is why Aussies cannot get enough of the National Rugby League (NRL). It’s fast, tough and action-packed, which is why the whole country loves to debate who will walk away as the much-deserved winner of the NRL Grand Final, as seen in oddschecker.com.
It’s not only the United States and Germany that adore basketball, as it is also a hugely popular sport with Australians. In fact, more than 1 million people reportedly play b-ball across the country, and it’s proving to be increasingly popular with the new generation. Part of the sport’s success could be due to the caliber of Australian talent entering the NBA, such as Patty Mills, Ben Simmons, Andrew Bogut, Andrew Dellavedova, Chris Anstey, and many more.
Basketball TV ratings also reached an all-time high in the 1990s, but the popularity diminished during the 2000s due to team and monetary issues with various b-ball teams. However, the sport is rising in popularity once again, with TV numbers and crowds on the rise.
While tennis might not be as popular as cricket, it is a staple summer sport in Oz each year. While tennis fans across the world cannot wait for the likes of Wimbledon or the US Open, Aussies will be excited for the Australian Open, which will take place during the nation’s summer in January.
It has been reported that more than 720,000 fans will walk through the gates of Melbourne Park throughout the tournament to watch the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal take to a court. The event is also a big hit on Channel 7, as the tennis men’s final hit a peak of 4.4 million views.
Soccer has an extensive history in Australia, as the first games played were recorded in the late 1800s. However, due to many Europeans starting a new life in the nation after WWII, the game became more popular than ever Down Under and led to the creation of the A-League.
While Australia has only made one World Cup appearance in 1974 throughout the decades, the country’s fortune changed when John Aloisi scored a superb penalty against Uruguay, leading to Oz reaching the 2006 World Cup. As a result, Australia has played in three World Cup events in a row, which has led to a rise in the sport’s popularity. The nation has also produced various respected football stars, such as Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, and Mark Viduka, to name only a few.
One of the most popular sports among women in Australia is netball, which was introduced to the country back in 1897. It is believed nearly 850,000 enthusiasts of all ages play the game in Oz. The nation is also leading the way internationally, with the Diamonds dominating the sport ever since they won the first world championships in 1963.
In fact, they have won a whopping 10 of the 14 netball tournaments held, which doesn’t include the year they were declared joint first winners with two other nations in 1979. Famous Aussie netballers include Catherine Cox, Liz Elli, Sharelle McMahon, Vicki Wilson, and Natalie Medhurst.
With Australia offering more than 1,500 courses to choose from, golf is one of the most popular leisure sports for Aussies across the country. Many of the public and private courses have been designed by former golfing champions, offering exceptional views that provide a beautiful backdrop when on the green or fairway.
In fact, golfing provides both locals and tourists with a stunning vacation, as many of the courses are connected to luxurious resorts. For example, golf fans often make a play for the likes of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australian to step inside the finest resorts in Oz.
So, if you are set to visit Oz in the near or distant future, you can guarantee the locals will be more than happy to discuss one or more of the above top sports.