Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online

AUSSIE RULES is showcased in London on Saturday when the Essendon Bombers meet the Hawthorn Hawks in the thirdAustralian Football Cup at The Oval. Although there is a British league, with details of this match on its site, this contest is thehighlight of the year for many ex-pats and fans who otherwise depend on the vagaries of Sky Sports or the early- morning shifton Channel 5 to see the elite in action. The Oval game attracts a wider audience than the aficionados - 11,000 turned up last year.

AUSSIE RULES is showcased in London on Saturday when the Essendon Bombers meet the Hawthorn Hawks in the thirdAustralian Football Cup at The Oval. Although there is a British league, with details of this match on its site, this contest is thehighlight of the year for many ex-pats and fans who otherwise depend on the vagaries of Sky Sports or the early- morning shifton Channel 5 to see the elite in action. The Oval game attracts a wider audience than the aficionados - 11,000 turned up last year.

For those new to the sport, the Web is useful for getting up to speed on the game and checking out the teams involved. TheAustralian Football League's official pages are a good first port of call. For background information and news it is an authoritativeone-stop site. It has RealVideo highlights of last month's Grand Final between North Melbourne and Carlton, which was played infront of 100,000 spectators, plus complete details of 1999's competitions and a fixture list for 2000. Club and player profiles areavailable, as well as news about pre-season coaching and personnel changes in team playing staff.

Those who still think that Aussie rules has no rules should look at the "Inside the AFL" section. It has the rules of the game in alltheir detail: 20 sections from "playing grounds" to "infectious diseases". There is also a how-to area about the skills of the game.This is useful even if you have no intention of trying to play, a brief study should enhance your appreciation of the finer points ofthe game, such as the difference between a banana kick and a torpedo punt.

A separate beginner's guide covers everything from the history of the sport as a way of keeping cricketers fit out of season,through to a thumbnail sketch of the game's essentials: how many are on each team, what the guy in the white coat who looks asthough he is shooting imaginary pistols is doing, the scoring system, and the tactical rewards for the acrobatic skills involved inmarking (catching a kicked ball).

For the low down on the teams taking part, try their Websites. Both the Bombers and the Hawks have sites with similar feel andfunctionality. Each have their front page dominated by news stories affecting their club. They each also have chat rooms, audioand video clips, merchandise and auction areas, player profiles and details about the club's achievements and history, plenty ofhistory: the clubs started playing in 1873.

If the Aussie rules bug bites, MyFooty (sic) Australian Rules is a site worth bookmarking. It has a results prediction game, votingpages on AFL issues, extensive links and a page that collates Usenet newsgroups links where Aussie rules is discussed.

Site Addresses

British Australian Rules Football League

http://www.barfl.co.uk/main.html

The Official Australian Football League Website

http://www.afl.com.au/home/default.htm

Bomberland - The Official Essendon Football Club Website

http://www.essendonfc.com.au/

Hawthorn Football Club

http://www.hawthornfc.com.au/

MyFooty Australian Rules

http://www.sofcom.com.au/myfooty/

Aussie Rules Savers

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/members/t.pirie/aussie.html

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