How long are games in AFL?


Click here for the basics of Australian Football in various Languages THE GAME Australian Football is a unique game utilising many skills. It is a favourite Australian pastime, generally regarded by the players and spectators as the greatest game of all.

  • Spectacular high marking, penetrating long kicking and non-stop action are features which distinguish Australian Football from other football codes such as Rugby Union, Rugby League and Soccer.
  • The standard Australian Football ground is a grassed oval measuring between 135–185 metres in length and 110–155 metres in width, with smaller grounds being used for junior games.

The Ball The standard size football is made of leather, is oval shaped, and measures 550 mm × 725 mm in circumference. The shape of the ball produces an unpredictable bounce, which increases the amount of skill required both to kick and mark it. For young players of primary school age, smaller balls are used. Scoring The object of the game is to score points by kicking the ball between sets of four posts equally spaced at 6.4 metres apart, at each end of the ground. The middle two are the goal posts and the outside ones are the behind posts. Six points are scored when the ball is kicked between the two middle posts without being touched by any player. A regulation game consists of 80 minutes playing time divided into four quarters. In under age competitions, the length of a game is shortened to compensate for the players’ limited physical development. The start and end of each quarter is signalled with a siren and teams change goal ends after each quarter.

Australian Football is played by two teams of 22 players but only 18 players are on the field at any one time. The remaining 4 players may be interchanged at any time during the match. Players interchanging must enter and leave the ground through a specially marked interchange area on the boundary line.

Getting started Before the game begins, the umpire tosses a coin and the captain winning the toss is given the choice of goal ends. Although teams swap ends at the conclusion of each quarter, winning the toss can be an advantage on windy days and when weather changes are likely.

  • To signal the start of play the umpire blows his whistle and holds the ball high in the air.
  • The timekeeper acknowledges the umpire’s signal by sounding the siren.
  • Play begins with the umpire bouncing the ball, or throwing it up, in the centre circle.
  • Players take up their positions at the start of the game when positional opponents can be identified.

At this time only four players from each side are permitted in the centre square until the ball is bounced to start the game. Other players may enter the square once the ball has been bounced. Playing the game The team in possession of the ball aims to move it downfield in the direction of their goal by kicking, handballing or running and bouncing the ball.

Successful senior teams move the ball quickly with a free-flowing, non-stop style of play, by using accurate kicking to position, safe marking and sharp handballing. The advantage of this style of play is that the opposition team remains under continual pressure to defend by spoiling marks, intercepting kicks and handballs and by tackling players with the ball.

Although players are free to move anywhere on the ground without restriction, the tactics usually demand that individual players remain sufficiently close to their positional opponent to enable them to defend one-on-one when the opposition team gains possession of the ball.

  1. The rules do not allow a player to be tackled or interfered with unless in possession of the ball.
  2. However, once in possession, a player must dispose of the ball when tackled, by kicking or handballing.
  3. The ball may be passed any distance in any direction, but the rules restrict when and how a player may be tackled by an opponent.
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The umpire has the difficult task of deciding such things as when a tackle is fair and when a tackled player has had a reasonable time to dispose of the ball.

How many rounds do AFL play?

This article is about the sporting organisation. For the sport itself, see Australian rules football, For the Australian national association football league, see A-League Men,

Australian Football League

Current season, competition or edition: 2023 AFL season
AFL logo (since 2000)
Formerly Victorian Football League (VFL) (1897–1990)
Sport Australian rules football
Founded 2 October 1896 ; 126 years ago
Inaugural season 1897
CEO Gillon McLachlan Andrew Dillon (CEO Elect)
No. of teams 18
Country Australia
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Most recent champion(s) Geelong (10th premiership)
Most titles Carlton Essendon (16 premierships)
TV partner(s) Seven Network Fox Footy
Streaming partner(s) Kayo Sports (Australia) WatchAFL (Overseas)
Sponsor(s) Toyota
Related competitions
  • AFL Women’s
  • VFL
  • WAFL
  • TSL
  • NTFL
  • QAFL
  • AFL Sydney
  • AFL Canberra
  • AFL International Cup
  • AFLX
Official website

The Australian Football League ( AFL ) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional competition of Australian rules football, It was originally named the Victorian Football League (VFL) and was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association (VFA), with its inaugural season in 1897.

It changed its name to Australian Football League in 1990 after expanding its competition to other Australian states in the 1980s. The AFL publishes its Laws of Australian football, which are used, with variations, by other Australian football organisations. The AFL competition currently consists of 18 teams spread over Australia’s five mainland states; an unnamed Tasmanian team will join the league in 2028.

Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories, as well as in New Zealand and China to expand the AFL audience. The AFL season currently consists of a 24-round regular (or “home-and-away”) season, which runs during the Australian winter (March to September).

  • The team with the best record after the home-and-away season is awarded the ” minor premiership “.
  • The top eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, which is normally held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year.
  • The grand final winners are termed the ” premiers ” and are awarded the premiership cup and flag.
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Carlton and Essendon are the joint-most successful clubs in the competition, having won sixteen premierships apiece. Geelong is the reigning premier, having won the 2022 AFL Grand Final,

Do AFL play extra time?

Drawn games – Until 1991, if a finals match was drawn, it would be replayed in full on the following weekend; consequently, all subsequent finals would also be delayed by one week. Due to various logistical issues that arose following the drawn 1990 qualifying final, replays in finals matches (with the exception of the grand final) were abolished in 1991 in favour of the provision to play extra time to determine a result.

In 2016, the provision to replay a drawn grand final was also replaced with extra time. Since 2020, extra time consists of two periods of play, each lasting three minutes plus time on (these periods were five minutes plus time on between 1991 and 2015), with a change of ends between periods. These periods are played in full, and the team leading at the end of the second period of extra time wins the match; if the scores are still level when the second period of extra time has expired, additional pairs of periods will be played until a winner is determined.

From 2016 to 2019, if the scores were level at the end of the second period of extra time, there would have been a third untimed golden point period of extra time, where the siren would not sound until the next team scored; this was never required. As of 2022, extra time has been played in a Final on three occasions:

  • 1994 second qualifying final : North Melbourne v Hawthorn (won by North Melbourne)
  • 2007 second semi-final : West Coast v Collingwood (won by Collingwood)
  • 2017 first elimination final : Port Adelaide v West Coast (won by West Coast)

Three grand finals were replayed:

  • 1948 VFL Grand Final : Melbourne v Essendon (replay won by Melbourne)
  • 1977 VFL Grand Final : Collingwood v North Melbourne (replay won by North Melbourne)
  • 2010 AFL Grand Final : Collingwood v St Kilda (replay won by Collingwood)

How long do AFL half time go for?

Time Periods – An AFL match is into four quarters, much like a game of American football would be. The two halves are separated by a half-time break, which is 20 minutes long, while the first and third quarters are followed by a shorter break, known as ‘quarter-time’ and ‘three-quarter time’ respectively.

Why is there 23 rounds in AFL?

Background – The fixture was extended to 23 matches per club, the longest in history, to accommodate the introduction of Gather Round, a special round featuring all 18 clubs playing in the same city and its surrounds; this was modelled on the National Rugby League (NRL)’s Magic Round, which had scheduled annually since 2019.

  • The number of field umpires in control of each match was increased from three to four.
  • The medical substitute position, which had been introduced in 2021, was replaced with a tactical substitute; prior rules had only allowed for a player to be substituted for medical reasons, but this stipulation was removed, allowing for the substitute to be used for any reason.
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Was AFL invented in Australia?

Australian Rules football evolved in Melbourne in the mid-19th century. An Aboriginal game known as marngrook and Gaelic football, played in Ireland, have been cited as inspiration but the game was mainly based on football played in English public (this is, private) schools.

Can AFL games end in a tie?

Is this different to what happens during the AFL home-and-away season? – Yes. If a game finishes drawn during the regular season, the result stands and both teams receive two points toward the competition ladder instead of the four for a win.

What happens if you draw a Grand Final?

Australian rules football – Until 1991, Australian football had no structure in place to break a tie in a finals game. As such, the teams would reconvene the following week to replay their game, pushing back the rest of the finals schedule by one week.

This caused controversy in 1990, when the qualifying final between Collingwood and West Coast was drawn. It meant that the minor premiers Essendon had a two-weekend bye instead of one, and many insisted that the extended layoff had contributed to their losses to Collingwood, both in the second semi-final and in the grand final.

Additionally, by 1990 there were many more events and corporate entertainment functions scheduled around the AFL finals than had been the case in 1977 (when the previous finals draw had occurred), and the delay in the finals schedule caused chaos for venues and hotels as these events were rescheduled.

To avoid a repeat of these undesirable outcomes, the AFL initiated the use of extra time (five minutes each way) to decide drawn finals, except for the grand final (that being the case in 2010 ), from 1991 onward. However, from 1991 until 2015, a grand final replay would still be played after a drawn grand final.

In the days after the 2010 drawn grand final (before the replay), a provision was added that extra time be played if the replay were drawn, rather than playing a second replay. In 2016, the grand final replay was abolished. As for other finals matches, drawn grand finals are now resolved with two five-minute periods of extra time; if the scores are still tied at the end of the extra time period, play will continue until the next score.

Does AFL have unlimited subs?

AFL – As of the 2023 season, at AFL level, each team is permitted four interchange players, and a maximum of seventy-five total player interchanges during a game; players have no limit to the number of times they may individually be changed, and an interchange can occur at any time during the game, including during gameplay.

How many AFL games end in a draw?

AFL Tables lists 158 drawn games, but I cannot for the life of me find how many AFL games there’s been since inception? I’ve tried googling chances of a draw in AFL but all that comes up is bloody bookies websites :/ EDIT: Got the data, 158 draws divided by 15,614 total games for 1.01% chance.