Gridiron is only played at the amateur level in Australia, hence the only route for Australians to join NFL teams is through other professional Australian sports. The NFL has had full-time development officers in Australia for more a decade, including Australian rules football prospect Dwayne Armstrong. He didn't make it as a player but worked with the New York Giants as a quality control assistant after he finished school.
There have been several Australian players who have tried out for NFL teams as free agents but weren't offered contracts. These include Ken Brauer, Mike Guman, Mark Schlereth, and David Taylor. None of them have ever played a down in a regular season game for an NFL team.
There are also several Australian players who have played in the World League of American Football (WLAF), a former international league that operated from 1974 to 1992. The WLAF was not considered official by the NFL so none of its players were able to secure employment with NFL teams. However, several players did manage to land contracts with other countries' leagues or teams.
Gridiron is exclusively played at the amateur level in Australia, hence the only route for Australians to join NFL clubs is through other professional Australian sports... NFL clubs have enlisted the services of Australian athletes.
|Initial NFL team||San Francisco 49ers|
|NFL games played||32|
The Australian Football Competition is the world's highest professional Australian Rules football league. The league is made up of eighteen teams: nine from Melbourne, one from rural Victoria, and eight from other Australian states. The current champions are the Richmond Football Club.
There have been more than 100 seasons played since the VFL/AFL started in 1897. By far the most successful team is the Richmond Football Club, who have won the competition a record 11 times. They also hold the record for the longest-running season - lasting 179 days from April until September - during the 1999 season. The Brisbane Bears are the only other club to have won the title twice.
The Carlton Football Club was founded in 1864; however, they did not play their first match until four years later. The team originally came from Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne but now plays its home games at Visy Park in Windsor. The Fitzroy Football Club was formed in 1877 and like Carlton, they didn't win their first game until four years later. The team originally came from Fitzroy, a working class area of Melbourne but now plays its home games at Aurora Stadium in Ringwood. In 1914, the two teams merged to form a single united club that would represent the city at both AFL and VFA levels.
The Australian Football League (AFL) is the premier professional football tournament in Australia. The competition was founded in 1897 by a group of Victorian sportsmen who believed that a national championship should be established to help popularize football in Australia. The original eight teams were Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, St Kilda, University and Victoria. In 1958, North Melbourne joined the league as part of a major expansion which saw a total of ten new teams admitted over five seasons.
The AFL conducts a regular season consisting of 18 rounds, followed by the finals series. The winner of the finals series is declared the champion of the AFL season. The reigning champion is the Brisbane Lions, who won their first title in 2005.
The AFL has four weekly televised games per week during its regular season, with one game each Saturday and two on Sunday. There are several other big games throughout the year which sometimes have significant implications for the outcome of the season. These include the Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Richmond, and the Grand Final. The AFL also holds many ancillary events throughout the year including the AFL Women's Grand Final on November 4th, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
Men and women play professional Australian rules football in Australia, and it is a popular spectator sport in both Australia and Nauru. The national team is called the "Cats", and their home ground is Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
The most famous Australian rules footballer is George Power, who played for the St Kilda Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL). Today, many other players compete at the elite level of the VFL/AFL Women's League. The top players are able to earn significant amounts of money through contracts with AFL clubs or by becoming representatives of international leagues such as the NFL in the United States or the WFA in England. In addition, there are now also Australian rules football codes that are specifically designed for women - such as the AFLW - whose athletes can also receive contract offers from clubs.
Australian rules football is widely regarded as one of the most physical sports in existence. It is known as the "the king of football" because of its extensive history and its ability to attract large crowds across Australia. The main objective in Australian rules football is to score more goals than your opponent, by kicking straight ahead into the goal square. There are several ways to score a goal, such as throwing the ball forward yourself or kicking it while it is in motion.
Ridgeway, Colin Colin Ridgeway, who played Aussie Rules for Carlton Football Club in the 1960s before being signed as a punter by the Dallas Cowboys, was the first Australian to play in the NFL. He was also the first international player signed by the Cowboys.
Other Australians have since been drafted by the NFL including Brent Stanton and Adam Greenberg, but none have become as popular or successful as Ridgeway. The most recent Australian to be selected in the NFL Draft was Jordan Raskin, who was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in this year's draft.
Ridgeway arrived in America at the age of 21 and didn't return home for nearly 10 years. When he did return, he took up a job working on cars at a local garage to support himself while he looked for work in the NFL. In 1969, he landed a job with the Cowboys as their new punt protector and gunner. He went on to play eight seasons for the Cowboys, finishing with 78 catches for 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns. After his retirement from football, Ridgeway worked as a security guard at Texas Stadium until it was demolished in 2008. He died of cancer in 2014 at the age of 62.
There are currently no Australian players playing in the NFL.