Rugby League has surely become one of Australia's most exciting and popular sports. Our classic image of a football player is that of a 6 foot 6 muscle-bound 110 kilogram monster. However for the rest of us, who are unable to tackle these monsters, let alone keep up with them, there is another option which utilizes the same skill and ability as rugby league, but minus the aggression and physical contact. This new phenomenon is known as OZTAG.
In case you have never heard of it before, OZTAG is the latest craze in recreational sport that now has competitive competitions running every day, all week, during all seasons of the year, with the largest areas and competitions located mainly throughout Sydney and Queensland. Oztag Australia is a great website which gives you a list of locations to play, a basic introduction to the rules, and some great photos.
OZTAG's main difference to rugby league is that it is a non-tackling game. The dimensions of an OZTAG field are 70 meters x 50 meters. Eight players in each team are on the field at any one time. You may have as many substitutes as needed, and there is an unlimited interchange rule. Players wear special shorts with a velcro patch on each side. A colored piece of cloth is attached to the velcro, known as a tag. The object of the game is to score tries just as rugby league, however defenders prevent this by tagging the ball carrier. This involves clearly removing the tag from the shorts instead of tackling them. The ball carrier must then play the ball from the place he has been tagged. Even though there is some minimal contact involved, the risk of injury is drastically reduced.
In OZTAG football, the attacking team needs to promote the football down the field and they have six plays or tags to attempt and score a try. The game has often been described as "another" version of touch football. However due to the tagging situation which can be difficult to remove, the game becomes a lot more difficult and exciting. If you would like to view a quick video on how the game is played click here.
All rugby league basic skills are covered in OZTAG football, including passing, and teams are allowed to kick the ball on the last play or "tag". A general kick in play however is not allowed to be over shoulder height. The game is a low/medium-contact sport. Tackling or any contact with an attacking opponent is automatically penalised. Games are usually played over two twenty-minute halves.
OZTAG is a great way to make friends and stay healthy. Local competitions are located throughout major Australian cities, so travelling to the games should not be a problem. Many leagues also often include a 'mixed competition' which means a team must have an equal of male and female players. This often makes the game much more fun and exciting.
Times and costs vary from place to place, but fee's per season vary between $60-$100. With new competitions starting every couple of months, there isn't a long waiting period before the new season starts up.
So if you want to get fit playing a fun interactive sport with family and friends or if your just too small to compete with the big boys in rugby league, then OZTAG is the sport for you. It enables both sexes, no matter what size and shape, to have fun and have a go.