Pamplin Media Group – Australian Rules Football Club Portland return to action
Both men’s and women’s teams are looking for players and start training in a unique sport ahead of the 2022 season.
Like many organizations, the Portland Australian Football Club is beginning to recover from the pandemic.
The club, which has both men’s and women’s teams that play in the United States Australian Football League, is preparing for its 2022 seasons. The club is hosting a co-ed training session at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 3 at Clinton City Park, 5576 SE Division St., near Franklin High School.
Australian rules football, or “footy” in Australia, has elements of American football, rugby and soccer, but is a unique game normally played on a cricket oval. The Portland club typically uses side-by-side football pitches to set up an oval, which is typically 500 feet long by 450 feet wide with goal posts to kick the ball off at each end.
Portland’s men’s team is the Portland Steelheads, its women’s team the Sockeyes.
Elliot Boys, a native of Australia who has lived in Portland for five years and plays for the Steelheads, said the club had around 60 members combined between its men’s and women’s teams before the pandemic.
The Steelheads won the Division 3 National Championships in 2016 and 2017.
The boys pointed out that newcomers are encouraged to try the sport. The open training session on April 3 is a good opportunity to learn more about the club and the sport, he said. The men’s team has regular practices from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Sunday at Clinton City Park and the women’s team practices from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on alternating Saturdays, then joins the men for mixed practice every other day. Sundays.
The women’s team has had success at national events combining with other smaller clubs to compete.
One of the men’s team players, Erik Anderson, competed with a national team called the Revolution.
The USAFL requires that at least half of the players on each team be American.
In men’s matches, each team has 18 players on the pitch and four substitutes available. Women’s teams play with 16 players on the court at a time. Players play both attack and defense. A player carrying the ball can only be tackled with contact below the shoulders and above the knees.
The boys said the speed of play and continuous action – just for free-kicks and brief breaks when the ball goes out of bounds – can be a challenge.
“New players may be surprised by the chaos that occurs on the pitch,” Boys said.
More information, including game rules, can be found on the club’s website: portlandfooty.com.
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