If you live in Australia, then you probably know how popular Australian football is. However, you also probably know that this sport has many loyal fans in New Zealand as well. Did you know that everything started in 1868? If you want to find out some interesting facts about the history of Australian Rules, then you should continue reading this article!

How to make Australian Rules Football even more interesting?

Supporting the club you want is something you already do. However, if you want to make this sport even more interesting (for you as a fan), there are a couple of things you should do.

First of all, try to attend matches in person whenever you have the opportunity to do that. If money or time is a problem, you can always invite your friends to join you. It would be even better to invite those people that support a different club than you. That can make the atmosphere even more entertaining (if your club doesn’t lose, of course).

Despite that, you can always test your luck and try to predict the result of matches. Once again, if money and time to go to the nearest bookmaker is a problem, then you can bet online and use the available free bets shown on this webpage. As you see, you can have fun without spending money!

You don’t have to be professional bettor to try out some betting tips we provided in one of our previous posts.

Short history of Australian Rules Football in New Zealand

Let’s make something clear. A form of Football in New Zealand existed even before Australian Rules Football. The first club formed in this country was Christchurch Football Club. The club manage to develop specific rules that had nothing in common with Australian Football rules. However, everything changed in 1868.

In 1868, Australian Football was introduced to New Zealand for the first time. For the first time, there was a club under the name The Nelson Football Club that played under the version of Association and Victorian rules. That happened only during the first two seasons. However, in 1870, they decided to adopt Rugby rules and changed the way they played this entertaining game.

Another club worth mentioning is the Wellington Football Club. This club started to function in 1871 and adopted the Melbourne rules. However, their decision didn’t last long, and soon after they too switched to Rugby rules. They decided on that move in order to ensure they can play a derby match against the Nelson Club.

What about Dunedin Football Club? Well, this club formed in 1871, and its creators decided to develop their own rules. However, soon after that, another club in Dunedin appear under the name Union Football Club that immediately adopted Victorian rules. When these two clubs played the first game, they made a certain agreement. They played the first half under ruby rules while the second one was played with Victorian rules. In 1875, both teams accepted Ruby rules and they kept them for many years into the future.

After 1903, everything became more regulated

Well, 1903 is a significant year for Australian Rules Football in New Zealand. In that year, New Zealand Association of Australian Football was formed for the first time. Originally, the league had only four clubs – Woolston, Sydenham, City Wanderers and Imperial. 

However in 1904, the number of leagues started to rise. The league in Wellington had a total of five clubs, while the Auckland league had three clubs of their own.

Unfortunately, with the outbreak of World War I, the interest in Australian rules football in New Zealand somewhat declined.  Representatives from New Zealand were no longer able to attend Australasian Football Council meetings and were subsequently granted less funds to help promote the game.

Starting the 1960’s some Victorian Football clubs toured New Zealand to help promote the sport in the country but it wouldn’t be until 1974 that some serious competition began in Aukland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Final Thought

Believe it or not, we only highlighted some of the most important parts of the Australian Football Rules Football in New Zealand. The history is much longer than that.

Between 1991 and 2001, a large number of exhibition matches were organised by the AFL, to raise the popularity of the sport in New Zealand.

New Zealand also had a few International successes. In 2002, New Zealand finished third in the Australian Football International Cup, before winning the competition in 2005. The national team defeated Papua New Guinea and were subsequently invited to send a team to compete in the Australian Country Championships.

In 2013, an official Australian Football League match was playing in New Zealand for the first time, with St Kilda agreeing to play one match per season from 2013 to 2015.

AFL New Zealand also formed an annual national tournament in 2004. The National Provincial Championships is a competition between the four regional leagues of New Zealand.