Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called Aussie rules, football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of eighteen players on an , often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the between the opposing goal posts (worth six points) or behind posts (worth one point). The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins unless a draw is declared.
During general play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball. The primary methods are , handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. A distinctive feature of the game is the , where players anywhere on the field who catch the ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a or mark is paid. Players can using their hands or use their whole body to opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension for a certain number of matches, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. The game features frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring.
The can be traced to football matches played in Melbourne, Victoria in 1858, inspired by . Seeking to develop a game more suited to adults and Australian conditions, the published the first in May 1859, making it the oldest of the world's major football codes.
Australian football has the highest spectator attendance and television viewership of all sports in Australia, while the (AFL), the sport's only fully professional competition, is the nation's wealthiest sporting body. Its annual grand final is the highest attended club championship event in the world. The sport is also played at and in . The game's are governed by the AFL Commission with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee.