International Rules: A brief explainer for confused sports fans

If you’re a sports fan who hasn’t come across International Rules football, you might well be in for a treat.

Dating back to 1984, the sport is contested by Ireland and Australia – a mix of Gaelic football and Australian rules football, the game is a feast for the eyes.

The International Rules series has endured something of a stop-start history, but has so far been preserved.

Australia triumphed 63-53 in the first of this year’s two-game series (no clean sheets here) – but how were the points scored?

Six points are awarded for a goal scored in the traditional soccer net, three points are awarded for an over, which involved directing the ball over the goal and between the goal posts, and one point is awarded for a behind, which requires the ball to be directed between the goal and the point posts (the posts either side of the goal).

Tackles are allowed above the thighs and below the shoulders, while handpassing is permitted in the AFL style, with four passes allowed before the ball must be kicked.

And if a player goes on a solo run, the ball must be bounced or touched on the ground every 10 metres with a maximum of two bounces – however, a player can enjoy unlimited bounces between hand and foot.

With skills from football, rugby, basketball and of course Australian rules and Gaelic football involved, is there a more complicated sport in the world?


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