FOOTY 9s: AUSSIE RULES FOR THE GRIDIRON
With Major League Footy set to begin its second season on 18 November when St. Peterbsurg hosts arch rivals Orlando, the league rolls out new sides and new opportunities as the grass-roots effort to grow Australian Rules football in the States marches on.
As developed by Melbourne-based Australian Rules International, Footy9s is a fast-paced, action-packed version of Aussie Rules, intended for play on a gridiron (American) football field.
While Major League Footy clubs now have over 40 matches in the books in various game play configurations, the founding club’s home ground has always presented its own series of quirks making other forms of footy a challenging proposition.
Built in 1949, the St. Petersburg Swans‘ home ground – Four ‘N Twenty Field at Campbell Park – features a seating capacity of 440 in grandstands located tight to the field of play.
Also, perimeters on the east and west end zones are also close-in, making big, booming kicks from midfield an almost-certain delay in play, good kick or not.
Those quirks – while helping the ground’s mystique as the Swans’ ‘friendly confines’ – also necessitated an adoption of game play rules suited to the stadium itself.
The Footy 9s format meets those needs, while still preserving the excitement and fun of the best of footy.
The game is fast and high-scoring, but with safeguards to be sure it’s not ‘out of hand’ scoring, or interminable stoppages in game play.
All of the highlight-reel action you’d expect to see in a traditional Aussie Rules contest remain as the soul of Major League Footy and Footy 9s – now tailor-made for American tastes. And facilities.
Check out this video for a quick look at the birth of Footy 9s in Melbourne: