Relationship Between Gaelic Football and Australian Rules Football

The relationship between Gaelic football and Australian rules football is the subject of a controversy among historians. The question of whether the two codes of football, from Ireland and Australia respectively, have shared origins arises due to similar styles of play in both games.

A key difference between the codes is that the highest level Gaelic Football is strictly amateur, whereas Australian football offers professional (Australian Football League) and semi-professional (VFL, SANFL, WAFL, etc.) levels of competition. Players have successfully made the transition to top levels in both codes, and because Australian football is played at the professional level, there is a strong financial lure for Irish players to switch to Australian football.

Both Irish and Irish Australian historians, including Patrick O'Farrell, Marcus De BĂșrca, Chris McConville, B. W. O'Dwyer and Richard Davis have supported the theory that the two games have some common origins. Other Australian historians, including Geoffrey Blainey, Leonie Sandercock and Ian Turner have rejected any such connection, emphasising instead the influence of rugby football and other other games emanating from English public schools. Some sources also suggest that the Australian Aboriginal game of Marn Grook was an influence on Australian rules football.

In 1967, following approaches from Australian rules authorities, there was a series of games between an Irish representative team and an Australian team, under various sets of hybrid, compromise rules. In 1984, the first official representative matches of International rules football were played, and the Ireland international rules football team now plays the Australian team annually each October. Since the 1980s, some Gaelic players, such as Jim Stynes and Tadhg Kennelly, have been recruited by the professional Australian Football League (AFL) clubs and have had lengthy careers with them.

Read more about Relationship Between Gaelic Football And Australian Rules Football:  Table of Comparison, Field, Duration, Advancing The Ball, Tackles and Blocks, Gaining Possession, Penalties, Scoring, Players, Origins, See Also

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