As one of the most popular sports in the country, Australian rules football is engrained in the nation’s cultural history. For all involved, the sport is loaded with traditions and cultural practices specific to the fans, officials, and of course, the players themselves.
Aussie rules football has gained a greater following than any other type of football within every state in Australia and even risen in popularity on an international standing. As the national sport of the tiny oceanic country of Nauru, AFL is especially popular with the indigenous communities of Australia and Micronesia. This is largely due to the high amount of Indigenous Australians that are represented in the league, and the respect shown towards the culture. Approximately 2.4% of the Australian population is recorded as having Indigenous origins. Yet, astoundingly, 10% of professional players enrolled in the AFL identify themselves as indigenous.
Most well-established sports have specific traditions surrounding the gameplay and their seasons, and AFL is no exception. In regards to uniform, the players wear specially-made shirts known as “guernseys”, often called “jumpers”. Similar in design to shirts used in basketball, guernseys have more of tight-fit. This has evolved along with the changing laws of the game. As the laws became more finely honed, and the sport was established as having a high level of physical contact, the uniform became tighter and more sturdy.
As well as making the uniform more comfortable, this also decreased the average number of penalties, and increased the safety of the players, as there was no longer loose clothing to grab or be caught during gameplay. The boots and socks used are also regulated, they must wear long football socks, and the boots must have moulded cleats and not screw-in cleats for safety reasons. Generally, umpires have always worn white to stand out from the players on the field, and supporters have donned the beanie and scarf with the colours of their team.