A freelance writer new to Perth. Katie has written articles about her hometown in the UK for five years and is keen to see how Perth compares
Published September 7th 2011
I knew nothing about Australian football before attending my first AFL game. Being a Brit I'd only seen English soccer on television, and that was only to eye up David Beckham. But ever-willing to give new things a go I bought a ticket for Fremantle Dockers vs. Collingwood Magpies and went along blindly.
The game was at Patersons Stadium, near Subiaco, and as I queued up to have my bag searched there was definitely a buzz of excitement in the air. I could hear the crowd shouting and chanting on the other side of the gate and even though I was told that Collingwood were certain to win, there was lots of support for both teams from the rowdy crowd.
One thing I would have liked to have known beforehand was that cameras with a 300mm lens or over are not permitted in the stadium and have to be handed in to a store room. The person I was attending the game with was a little uneasy about handing over her treasured SLR camera, especially as we were told that there is only half an hour's window after the game to collect your belongings. But thankfully getting 30-odd thousand fans out of the stadium after the match was a lot more effective than I expected, perhaps England could learn a thing or two here. We made it back with plenty of time to spare.
Once inside the stadium it's pretty easy to find your way around. We must have looked like tourists though as we were still greeted by an attendant and led to our seats. I found it strange that unlike British football the fans are not divided according to which team they are supporting, but rather anyone can sit anywhere.
There is no risk of going hungry or thirsty during a game as there are no end of food counters and kiosks around the stadium as well as betting areas and of course a shop to buy all your footy merchandise from.
My experience of an AFL game was exciting and the stadium had a good vibe. The atmosphere was positive and as far as I could tell there was no trouble around the stadium or after the match. Surprisingly, I actually picked up an understanding of the game quite well too, so all in all it's an experience I would recommend for anyone who, like me, is new to Australia and would like to engage in something that has an authentic Aussie feel to it. It's a shame that I discovered my liking of this activity at the end of the season, but I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for charity matches and next season's fixtures.
Did you happen to see the match on the weekend? It has been dubbed as one of the greatest AFL finals of all time, between teams who are sure to become great rivals. Not many sports can compete with the buzz and excitement of a game such as this.
By Chris Sutton - senior reviewer Monday, 19th of September @ 01:44 am
I watched it, but unfortunately didn't get to be there in person. I am so hooked on this game. I will definitely be going to a few games next season and in the meantime have my tickets for the Chris Mainwaring Legends match (I know it's only a bit of fun and won't be as competitive, but it will give me my little fix nonetheless).
By Katie Snowdon - senior reviewer Tuesday, 20th of September @ 12:24 am