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News and Society

Beginner’s Guide to AFL Clubs

If you are even remotely interested in sport, you will have heard of the Australian Football League (AFL). Also known as footy of football, the AFL is a famous Aussie tradition. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, it’s more than likely that you will have come across this most sacred of sports. Thousands of fans attend games and tune in every year, making the AFL the most loved sport here in Australia. You’ll always catch people donning their AFL beanies and scarves for the game.

Although the AFL has been a male-dominated sport for a long time, the inclusion of women into the game has increased its popularity over the last few years in particular. Getting into the AFL is a fun way to spend time with friends and family as well as getting the opportunity to experience the local sporting culture in Australia. It is particularly popular with Victorians, and was actually initially known as the Victorian Football Association.

We’re going to run through a list of all the Australian AFL teams (surprisingly the AFL is also played by countries internationally!) so you can get an idea of who’s who. If you’re just getting into the game and you don’t have a team that you rep yet, maybe this will help with your research into who you might want to support! With 18 clubs to pick from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

VICTORIA

Collingwood – The Magpies / The Pies

One of the most hated teams in the league, the Magpies actually perform pretty well, and their fans are all devoted to their team. We guess that they’re sort of like Vegemite, you either love them or you hate them.

Geelong – The Cats

Geelong is arguably the most consistently good team in the competition. Their fight song is “We Are Geelong”.

Melbourne – The Demons

Formally known as the Fuchsias, the Melbourne Football Club plays its home games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and is the world’s oldest professional club of any football code, where its origins can be traced back to 1858.

Richmond – The Tigers

Richmond is a strong team, but they have earned the distinction of being the only club to have lost three consecutive Grand Finals, and all against Collingwood. They did however win the grand final in 2020, solidifying their status as one of the greatest teams of the modern AFL era.

Carlton – The Blues

Nicknamed after the navy blue of their uniform, Carlton has traditionally been one of the most powerful clubs in the league.

St Kilda – The Saints

The Saints’ home ground is the Etihad stadium in Melbourne.

Essendon – The Bombers

The Bombers’ mascot is a mosquito called Moz “Skeeta” Reynolds.

North Melbourne – The Kangaroos

The North Melbourne Football Club is unofficially known as The Shinboners, a term which dates back to its 19th Century abattoir-worker origins.

Hawthorn – The Hawks

Possibly the most dominant team in the competition. Strong choice to support.

Western Bulldogs – The Bulldogs

Formerly known as the Footscray Football Club.

QUEENSLAND

Brisbane – The Lions

One of the most successful AFL clubs of the 21st century, willing three premierships and featuring in four consecutive AFL grand finals from 2001 to 2004.

Gold Coast – The Suns

Most exciting upcoming team, alongside Port Adelaide.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Sydney – Sydney Swans

The Swans were established in South Melbourne in 1874 before relocating to Sydney in 1982, making them the first club to be based outside of Victoria.

Greater Western Sydney – Greater Western Sydney Giants

Their official team colours are white, charcoal and orange.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide – The Crows

The pride of South Australia, these guys played their first season all the way back in 1991.

Port Adelaide – The Power

Most exciting upcoming team, alongside the Gold Coast Suns

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Fremantle – The Dockers

Fremantle has had a team in the AFL Women’s league since its inception in 2017.

West Coast – West Coast Eagles

One of the most successful sporting clubs in Australian sport, the West Coast Eagles have appeared in more finals campaigns than any other AFL club since 1987.

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