Could we federate our football codes?

Evanfinity Roar Rookie

By Evanfinity, Evanfinity is a Roar Rookie

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    Aussie winter sport is a dysfunctional family.

    Of course this fractured landscape is a symptom of our colonial past, but what if these schisms could be repaired? Could we collect our bifurcated threads and splice them back into rope?

    What if we as a nation could federate our footies? As a hypothetical, let’s look at rugby union, rugby league, and Aussie rules. My purpose is not to invent a Frankenstein’s monster; however, this may through introspection reveal some home truths about our most cherished sports.

    Rugby union, I’m told, is the game they play in heaven. This may be true if the afterlife wore a blazer and sang God Save the Queen. But however cozy, such a demise would feel like spending eternity inside the head of Tony Abbott.

    The game itself is of brutal beauty – an unrelenting contest for possession where everything’s earned and nothing is granted. Such commitment to the contest has evolved a depth of play that’s still not fully sounded. Rugby, if nothing else, is a game that rewards innovation.

    But in sport, as it is in life, our greatest asset can be our despairing weakness. The complexity of such a game is matched only by the complexity of its rules, and this alone is a barrier to entry for the conscientious observer.

    Rugby league, it is said, is the greatest game of all. However, this title could be disputed, as I’ve heard it claimed by many a carny at the Royal Easter Show.

    The game is highly structured, and there’s an elegance in its simplicity. The team that runs harder, plays straighter and stays in the contest longest will come out on top. There’s literally nowhere to hide, which places a true honesty in everyone’s performance.

    The major downside is that the game can get a bit one dimensional, which is largely a product of the six-tackle set and an organised defence. The difference between the best and the rest comes mostly through execution.

    Australian Rules is of course our native game, a title shared with esteemed animals such as the kangaroo and cassowary.

    Played at its best, the action is breathlessly fast. With acres of space and where sweeping ball movements can turn defence into attack in a matter of seconds and scores can be landed from long range. The result is a high-scoring game where opposing fans have plenty to cheer about.

    Unfortunately, however, being an offside sport lends a sort of randomness to the play, and executing the core skills through 360 degrees can be pot luck even for the best player on the ground. In addition, rules like fist-passing and bouncing an oval seem like they were made up by a couch full of stoners.

    By addressing these issues and taking the best from each code, what could we have? It looks like an onside game with contested possession, but with simple rules at the tackle. Scoring should be nearly continuous and there should be plenty of space.

    So, what do you think? Would this melange be watchable? And what might this say about how to improve the sports we love?

    The Socceroos' hopes of qualifying from the group stage at the World Cup are hanging by a thread after a 1-1 draw against Denmark. See how the match unfolded with our Australia vs Denmark match report, highlights and result.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • August 12th 2017 @ 4:32am
      matt jones said | August 12th 2017 @ 4:32am | ! Report

      you would have a game that pleases no one

    • August 12th 2017 @ 12:23pm
      me too said | August 12th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

      All we need to do is get rid of rugby league. The NRL competition should instantly convert to union. The game would spread across the nation as the standard would be the highest in the world by some way. Yes the many mentally challanged fans that adopted league as their game would have a bit of trouble following a game a little too complex for their understanding, or empathising with players that fall on the positive side of the iq spectrum, but this can be managed via educational programs – and think of the effect of actually having positive role models on the citizenry? More importantly the Wallabies would crucify the Allblacks, and sports fan in nsw and qld would finally be able to claim their code truly is the greatest code.

    • Roar Guru

      August 12th 2017 @ 3:32pm
      Grobbelaar said | August 12th 2017 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

      The football federation already exists.

    • August 14th 2017 @ 8:18am
      NaBUru38 said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      It’s important to mention that rugby league is virtually unknown around the world except Northern England and Papua New Guinea, and Australian rules football is virtually unknown except in Ireland.

      Instead, rugby union and association football are international, the latter the most of all.

      Likewise, basketball is played around the world, whereas netball isn’t.

      Do you prefer a national sport or an international sport?

    • August 14th 2017 @ 9:12am
      The Fatman said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Yes but no one in Australia cares about Rugby Union.

      We would be better off getting rid of that.

      • August 14th 2017 @ 6:30pm
        Unanimous said | August 14th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        The original rules of soccer fit your criteriia. No crossbar on the goals so higher scoring. In front of the ball was offside, so conitinual contested posession. No carrying the ball so no complicated rules to deal with breakdowns.

        These rules resulted in almost no one using them after 8 years or so. The FA considered winding itself up and becoming a tiny footnote in history, but decided to try changing the rules by borrow some from more popular types of football. They changed the offside rule to being behind three opponents, added a cross bar,, banned obstruction of opponents, and the rest is history.

    • August 14th 2017 @ 10:34pm
      Dale said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

      Check the records but I understand discussions were held in 1920’s to combine Aussie Rules and RL. Apparently got some traction regarding rules etc.

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