It takes a lot to be an AFL player. The sport requires a mutant combination of the athleticism, height and skill required for elite basketball. Combine that with being as tough and hard hitting as rugby league players, with the endurance of Premier League players running up to 20 kilometres in a game.
Incredible to need that level of endurance along with an ability to put the ball through the goal from 50 yards after the final whistle.
The brutishness of hits from any angle. Injuries. Dislocated shoulders. Broken legs. Concussions that last for weeks. Taking people out in the air. Stomping on hands in a scramble for the ball.
Observers from the United States will rightly ask why the hell aren’t you wearing pads?
This VICE Sports feature hits that note perfectly. Host Sal Masekela dropped into Melbourne to take in the derby between Collingwood and Carlton for their RIVALS series. The fans aren’t doing much to dispel American stereotypes of Australians.
At 5:10min, Masekela asks Carlton players Dale Thomas, Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson about their nauseating series of injuries. I’m pretty much retiring from footy before I start. Still, it’s a great sport to watch. Go Sydney Swans.
It’s still amazing that Richmond won the premiership last year.