Off Topic: Which Footy Is The ‘Best’ Footy?

Off Topic: Which Footy Is The ‘Best’ Footy?

I’m a ‘soccer’ fan, makes sense since I grew up in the UK, but recently I have become a little interested in AFL. I watched the Grand Final over the weekend and it was actually incredible to watch. I know in Australia there’s a little bit of a divide between those who watch NRL and those who watch AFL, so I thought I’d ask — where do you stand?

I’ve been to see both games live. I watched the Parramatta Eels play last year and recently I went to watch the Sydney Swans. With NRL I get a little more bored, mainly because it feels like a line of grown men colliding into one another over and over again. AFL feels a little more refined — particularly when teams get into a rhythm with ‘marks’. I think that’s probably why I prefer it.

I did hear an incredible analogy over the weekend though — ‘AFL is like a pack of seagulls chasing after a chip’. Perfect.

It’s probably worth stating that I’m a complete layman when it comes to both sports, so I’m keen for your input. What do you prefer — AFL or NRL?


  • I prefer video games and spent the weekend playing them instead of watching finals 😛

    I’ve never really been one to follow or watch NRL but I don’t mind AFL, so I prefer that out of the two I guess!

  • Cant stand either AFL or NRL, love me some real football.
    Its strange cos i grew up in a house with Fans of the NRL, and a large chunk of my mates are super keen on the AFL.
    I just see it as bunch of dudes chasing each other around in little shorts playing grab arse… and that doesnt do it for me.

  • I’ve been a fan of Aussie rules since I was a kid. Followed the Bears when they played at Carrara. Went to the first night game at the Gabba. Stood a few metres behind the goals when Mark of the Century was taken. Got hit in the face by an errant kick from Jason Dunstall. Went down to Melbourne for three consecutive Grand Finals (02-04) and even bleached my hair for one of them.

    I’m still a member of the Lions now that they’re flailing hopeless at the bottom of the ladder.

    On the other hand, I went to a single NRL match, Alfie Langer’s last match at ANZ stadium. I think I paid more attention to the cheerleaders than the game and I distinctly remember my aunt giving me chocolates.

      • Yep, pretty annoyed. Oh well, hopefully we’ll get something worthwhile out of the trade. Could end up being for the best – you don’t know what the long-term effect of all those concussions he’s had might be. It could end in a Scott Stevens style early retirement, in which case we’ll be glad we got something for him. And Josh Jenkins is probably capable of slotting straight into that ruck/forward role and kicking just as many goals as Tippett.

  • I think the divide of NRL/AFL only exists in Sydney and maybe Brisbane.

    Australian Rules is the best form of football.
    Soccer a very close second.
    NRL is just a competition with a bunch of tatted up thugs. Nothing interesting there.

    • I’m not going to try and argue this with you, because it’s like trying to argue whose God is better. But I will say that “NRL is just a competition with a bunch of tatted up thugs” is a horrible generalisation, and you’re missing out on some fantastic sporting theatre if you stick with this for the rest of your life. Rugby league can be absolutely breathtaking at times: For example, a slick backline passing movement, followed by a line break, seemingly stopped by a fullback’s tackle, but an offload then a chip kick to the winger leads to a try. Wow. This sort of thing happens on a weekly basis.

  • Don’t really like AFL, but will watch occasionally with friends.
    Much prefer NRL, but don’t really watch it too much.
    Love Origin, though. Was born in Queensland. GO MAROONS.

  • The best footy is the type of footy that I don’t have to hear about every hour every time there’s a new big event.. 🙂

    I’m not a sports lover.. I am a game lover. 🙂

  • I’m one of those weird guys that love NFL (American) football, but can’t stand rugby. I think it’s because there seems to be very little in the way of tactics, at face value that is, in rugby. It’s just boring to me. Plus whenever i see a rugby fan on TV they all seem to be the same sort of meat-head type – but that’s a massive generalisation that I know is probably far from an acurate portrayal.

    I love AFL, I’m a Bombers fan myself, as i think it’s a really great fast-paced sport that has a huge emphasis on utilising individual skill in such a way that benefits an entire side rather than the individual player. The ‘seagulls chasing a chip’ analogy is very apt, Mark. That actually gave me a bit of a giggle. It’s just so much more watchable, and great fun to play without having to worry too much about getting oblitorated by a guy 3x your size – although that does still happen, just not as often.

    I also really like Soccer (Football) and try to get down to Victorian Premier League matches as much as possible to support the Richmond Eagles and consume as many German delicacies as possible. Unfortunately i don’t have the same love for the A-league. It just feels too scrappy to me and i just can’t feel anything for the teams themselves. The European leagues are absolutely fantastic, though – and Internationals are even better. 🙂 Plus some of my my fond memories of sport was playing indoor soccer for a short while, which i’d love to get into again.

    • (Reposting due to stupid server issues, hope it isn’t duped)

      It may just seem brutish to the uninitiated, but there are definitely tactics in rugby league (though you do admit that your view is just “at face value”). This weekend’s win by Melbourne was a shining example of how astute tactical play could target an opponent’s weaknesses and subsequently blunt their strengths. The game was a little dour as a result, but if you could see what they were doing, you just had to applaud how well Melbourne were executing their plans. And I hate Melbourne (the team – nothing against the city) 🙂

  • Lol at inflammatory post by serrels.

    AFL all the way, ive actually tried to watch a fair bit of league this year,it just doesnt do anything for me, the only time i enjoy it is when both teams have great playmakers on 5th tackle, i preffer NFL as my second sport.

  • Love the AFL, Essendon supporter. But being from Melbourne i can appreciate all sports. The Victory, A League, And The Mighty Storm, bloody good game on Sunday, watched it with my NSW flatmate. Dirty ear eating Bulldogs. And let’s not forget it’s Cricket season just around the corner. Unicron loves his sports.

    • Yay cricket! Absolute saturation during the summer, then just when you start to get sick of it, it goes dormant for another 9 months and gives you time to get hungry for more. Always look forward to going to the SCG test in the new year!

  • AFL all the way. Been a Eagles supporter since I started watching. Can’t stand the NRL and really dont see why people like it. Just looks like massive meat-heads constantly running in to each other. I don’t like soccer either, but can stand it more then NRL. In the NFL I’m a Philly Eagles supporter

  • From my previous replies you can probably see that I love rugby league. It combines so many different sporting skills and at its best it is absolutely freakish. State of Origin is consistently one of the best sporting competitions in the world. It also helps when you grow up with a team, and feel their wins and losses every weekend.

    I can almost appreciate AFL, and thought that the weekend’s grand final arm wrestle was fantastic. But on the whole it still feels like a bunch of guys have a constant “stacks on” to me.

    And as much as I love playing soccer/”football”, it bores me to tears to watch most of the time.

    • Yeah true. Coming from WA, and there isn’t really a rugby presence here is probably the main factor behind the dislike

  • Rugby Union for me. Grew up watching Rugby League and started finding it repetitive and the players are pretty shameful.
    I live in Sydney so AFL really doesn’t have a large presence. People in Sydney who watch AFL are usually pretty weird.
    I enjoy playing Soccer more than watching it.

      • Actually, not everything. What am I saying! I find union so, so boring.

        So basically I agree that AFL is weird and soccer is more fun to play than watch.

      • For my comment about it being repetitive, I honestly don’t think there are enough variable elements in rugby league. I actually think the guys who play are spectacular athletes, but it sometimes feels like watered down Rugby. In Rugby you at least have the lineouts, scrums (proper ones), rolling mauls and rucking. Rugby League you don’t have anything that Rugby Union doesn’t. At least make it a proper scrum or get creative with how to deal with penalties.
        As for the players, I don’t think that takes much explanation. You can just point out the rape allegations, fights and drug use. I can’t think of any prominent role models amongst them – even Brad Fitler is known among circles to have been constantly popping pills (media left him alone because they liked him). There is also a distinct lack of tertiary education amongst players. The best thing that Rugby ever did was have local clubs pay for their players university education whilst they are playing for them.
        That said, for a long time I would make an exception to watch State of Origin. It’s always been pretty spectacular. But there’s only so many times a disappointed New South Welshman can take a beating =/

        • Storm juniors, at the very least, must be in some form of education or training, or they can’t play.
          The league gives annual awards to players training for life out of footy.

  • Also great post Mark. Talking about sport is awesome. We should all do it more often. Sport sport sport sport. Bart gets to ride up front because he’s good at sport.

    There was suggestion this morning that TAY was now known as “Sportsdome” and I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately they were not serious 🙁

    • Competitive Violence! That’s why we’re here.

      I love sport and i love videogames but i unlove sport videogames. Go figure.

  • I’m just one of those types that loves most sports. Watched both grand finals on the weekend and found i enjoyed the AFL one better, i think mainly due to the close and nail biting finish.

    Number one sport though is Rugby Union (go the all blecks!).

  • IMO I think in Australia AFL should be the better footy because it’s our game. Not saying Rugby is bad, it definitely has its entertaining moments even for those who find it as a whole boring, but I think we should care more about AFL.

  • AFL for me – Have been to league and union games where league was far more entertaining, but AFL is just a much more exiting game… I will watch any sport though

  • I’m still a league fan, despite not having a team since the end of 1999, although I honestly don’t follow it as much as I did in the past.

    So that would still be my preferred type of footy, that being said, I can easily sit down with any major footy code and enjoy the game, even if I don’t know all the players, etc.
    I can easile

      • Still annoys me that we attempted to do all the right things and move to the Central Coast to cover an enormous area and we still get axed because we had no money (ah, we partially funded the damn stadium!!)

        Given that I even live up here now, it can hurt even more!

        I want a team again! 🙂

  • NFL! 😀

    but seriously, i like AFL more than NRL, but i like American football the most, i love the intense strategy that goes into every play, and it’s also just super hype as balls.

  • I personally don’t think anything beats the spectacle of a good AFL match. The pace of the game is such that at its best there’s a constant thrill. I found that NRL tends to have a lot of lulls interspersed with some awesome plays. Perhaps I’m just not seeing enough good NRL games though. Some of the hits and tackles are pretty spectacular.

    I find that if soccer is only interesting in the highlights; the rest is dead boring to me.

  • Obsessed AFL fan and member (go Dogs). Also love NFL and follow NRL, too.

    Always disliked soccer. I get why people watch it, but it does nothing for me. Obnoxious soccer fans do nothing to “turn” me, either.

    • What “Obnoxious soccer fans” do you speak of?
      I have always found AFL fans to be a little….. don’t know how to put it, rough?

      soccer – Fans support their team by chanting/singing
      AFL – Fans support their team by…… shouting

  • Your first mistake, going to watch Parra anytime in the last few years…yawn.

    But seriously, AFL best live, NRL best on TV. “Soccer” best played at the local park with mates, ARU best just forgotten. 😉

  • Rugby Union is the best for the following, obvious reasons.

    More dynamic than Rugby League.
    The players aren’t crybaby pussies like in soccer.
    The players don’t wear body armour like in NFL.
    It’s NOT aerial ping-pong.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  • NRL. By a long, long way. Then Rugby Union. AFL doesn’t even rate a mention.

    AFL, a.k.a. fumbleball, is a pathetic excuse for a sport. Every game degenerates into a pathetic fumbling scramble for the ball, and seeing as AFL players are generally terrible at two of the core skills of their game (catching the ball and kicking the ball straight), any relief from the fumbling that you get from a passage of semi-decent play is short-lived before the fumbling starts again. The general poor quality of the game was on full display in the grand final- the number of goals Hawthorn missed was simply amazing considering they’re paid full time to do it. Rugby League and Union halves could destroy kickers in the AFL.

    That’s not even mentioning the game’s awful cult-like culture. The secret police deals, the paying off of victims of AFL players’ bad behaviour, the ridiculous fudging of figures in order to squeeze funding from governments (e.g. the recent case in Sydney where they claimed they had 1644 registered players in one LGA, then after one councillor demanded evidence they quickly dropped the number to 238) etc etc.

    AFL is a blight on Australia.

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