Learn To Play Australian Rules Football

Australian Rules Football is a sport unlike any other. It’s fast-paced, wide open, exhilarating to watch, and fun to play. Most Americans know very little, if anything, about the game. It features teams of 18 players competing against each other on large oval fields. The goal of the game is to score points by kicking the ball through a set of vertical goalposts on either end of the field, with each team defending one side and attacking the other. The ball can be advanced in any direction by either running with the ball, hitting it to a teammate with a closed fist (throwing the ball is not allowed), or kicking it to a teammate. Teams play defense by tackling the ball carrier and contesting kicked or handball passes. The ball is almost always live, and stoppage of play happens infrequently in only a few circumstances.

The Portland Steelheads

The Portland Steelheads Australian Football Club is Portland’s own aussie rules team, and we are always looking for new players to learn the sport. Our club is made up of both Americans and Australians; some of our members have been playing the game for years, and others had never even seen a game of “footy” (as the Aussies call it) before showing up to their first practice. We welcome players from all backgrounds, and no prior experience playing footy is necessary. We promise you this though: once you’ve played a game, you’ll be hooked.

What’s it like playing for the club?

Our season runs from spring to fall. We play games at 2 different levels of competition. Throughout the year, we compete against clubs from other cities, most often our rivals to the north, the Seattle Grizzlies. This year, we will be holding a tournament right here in Portland where other clubs from around the country will come to play against each other over a weekend. Meanwhile, every year we put on the Portland Australian Football League, where players are drafted into 3 smaller teams that compete against each other. Our season culminates in a trip to the US Australian Football League National Tournament in October, which this year will be held in Austin, Texas.

Footy is easy to pick up. The only equipment required is a pair of cleats. Those who have played other sports will see a lot of similarities with aussie rules, and our players have played soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, rugby, and more. Experience is not necessary, and we don’t hold back new players from playing in games. The best way to learn is to play the game!

We’re a tight-knit group on and off the field, and we put on social events throughout the year. After every game we retreat to our home pub for some beers. We regularly meet up to watch Australian Football League (the highest level of play in the sport) games together. Other times we meet up for activities totally unrelated to australian football.

How do I join?

We hold practices every Thursday evening at 6:00 at Duniway Park near downtown. On Sundays at 4:00, we either practice at Sellwood Park in southeast, or we have our PAFL games at Northgate Park in north Portland. You can see a full schedule of our upcoming practices, games, and other events on our calendar. Just come out to one of our practices or games and we’ll show you what the sport is all about. New players turn up all throughout the season, there’s not a bad time to start learning.

You can also contact our club’s recruiting coordinators, Will Sandman and Peter Blundell, at recruiting@portlandfooty.com with any questions you have about us or the sport.