AFL is a game like no other, adapted from several other games, with elements resembling other sports but completely unique in it’s own way. It is largely played in Australia with ex-pat leagues forming all around the world, often bringing in others who would otherwise have had no exposure to the game.
While it doesn’t have as much of the sing-song crowd atmosphere that other major sporting codes have, the atmosphere at large games is impressive in it’s own right. To outsiders, the game is often hard to keep up with, and strange unifying moments, like why does everyone yell “ball” when a player is tackled, or what is with players running through crepe paper banners before the game?
As ever, to many supporters of the league, it is more than a game, to many it is a religion, and moods are dependent on whether or not the team got over the line over the weekend, especially when rivalries are concerned.
While AFL, unlike football, is not known for its violent hooliganism off the pitch, the physical nature and high level competitiveness of the game have lead to several violent incidents during games, especially in games with high importance, such as finals and games between rivals.
These blood filled games stand out in the minds of supporters, as more than games, but battles and wars won and lost, they occupy a space in which legends and tales are told. In what tends to form an oral history of such, fabled stories of violent encounters and games are passed between generation. The fabled stories tells of the different roles individuals player, such as the coach and the general tactician of the war, the mastermind of all the teams victories who takes the blame when the team loses, but accepts no praise when they win, or the star player, who gallantly rose from hardship to lead the club to victory, and the other foot soldiers who willingly put their bodies on the line for the greater good of the club.
Another factor in these games is that, unlike rugby, football or basketball, players who break the rules don’t get ejected from the play, instead they head to a tribunal after the game who decides their penalty.
The following is a list of 7 games that have gone down in AFL history as the bloodiest games ever witnessed…
Alastair Lynch versus Shane Wakelin – 2004 Grand Final
Brereton versus Essendon – (Brereton running through Essendon’s team huddle at 3 quarter time, starting a fight with the players) – 1988
Barry Hall versus Most Opponents
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This article was first posted on February 23, 2013