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UWM Post

With football fever in the air, and the Super Bowl quickly approaching on Feb. 6, many football fans will be disappointed when the season is over.

 

Football doesn't have to end, though.  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's own unique football club, the Australian Rules Football Club, takes a twist on traditional football and adds a touch of basketball and soccer.

Who says the Super Bowl is the end?

By Michelle Holtz, Staff Writer

 

With football fever in the air, and the Super Bowl quickly approaching on Feb. 6, many football fans will be disappointed when the season is over.

 

Football doesn't have to end, though.  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's own unique football club, the Australian Rules Football Club, takes a twist on traditional football and adds a touch of basketball and soccer.

 

The Australian Rules Football Club was founded at UWM in the summer of 2003.  Since then, it has quickly become more popular.

 

The UWM club participates in Australian Football along with the Milwaukee Bombers, which is a local amateur league.  The Milwaukee Bombers are part of the Mid American Australian Football League.  They are only a part of the larger national league called the United States Australian Football League.

 

Australian Football is unlike American football.  Yes, there is a football-like ball used, but it's called a Sherrin Footy.  Footy is the nickname given to Australian Football and the T.W. Sherrin Company is the famous manufacturer of the Sherrin Footy.  The ball is slightly larger and more round than a traditional football.

 

The ball has much more freedom on the field than a normal football does.  The ball can be kicked, carried, bounced, and not thrown, but punched.  Players can hold the ball in the palm of one hand while punching the ball to a teammate with a clenched fist.

 

Points are scored through a series of four goal posts.  Two taller posts in the middle are called the goal posts, while the shorter, outer two posts, are called the behind posts.  If the ball is kicked between the center two posts without being touched, six points are scored.  If the ball passes through either of the outer two behind posts in any way, one point is scored.

 

If Australian Football doesn't seem complicated enough, there's more.  No pads are used.  The only rule is that players can only be tackled from the neck down to the knee.  Players not in possession of the ball cannot be tackled without penalty.  In order to play Australian Football you have to be tough, that's for sure.

 

Interestingly enough, Australian Football is not just for men.  The team currently has a few female members and it is looking for more.  One team in California is strictly female; most schools do have co-ed teams.

 

The UWM team participates in a few conferences during the year.  National competitions are held annually.  Past years have taken the team to Atlanta, Kansas City, and Washington D.C.  This year the national competition will be held right in Milwaukee.

 

The UWM team receives some money from the Student Association, candy sales and other fund-raising to help cover some of the cost of travel.

 

Australian Football is "the sport I've always dreamed about, and I just have to play it," said Andrew Ciganek, a founding member.

 

If anyone is interested in getting involved for the spring season, it's not too late.  Practice is about to start.  Practices are held indoor at the Klotsche Center, or when weather is nicer, at the lakefront.  For more information, contact Ciganek at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or visit http://www.uwm.edu/StudentOrg/footy.

 

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