Last night I took in my first ever Australian Football League (or AFL… or Aussie rules… or footy) game at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (or the MCG… or the G).
Notice a pattern here?
A few weeks back I shared some true blue Aussie lingo I’ve adopted as my own since moving to Straya three and a half months ago.
Well, that’s not entirely true: I still refuse to call a truck a “ute” and have yet to muster the courage to spit out a “Heygan.” Let’s call it a Work In Progress.
Anyway, as a natural product of time, I’ve felt increasingly confident in my ability to speak and understand the Aussie language (because yes, it’s its own version of English). However, that confidence was quickly put in check when I took my seat at the G and, within minutes, found myself asking what’s beginning to feel like my signature question:
What does that mean?
(Accompanied by an earnest and apologetic smile, of course. After all, I am still a Canadian.)
To save you from similar embarrassment and allow your mates to enjoy the game without constant interruption, here’s a quick list of footy slang worth keeping in your back pocket.
Oh! And if you’ve never heard of footy, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Check out this link from AFL Ontario (yep, there’s a Canadian AFL league… further proof of the unrequited love our two countries share) for a quick-and-dirty run-down of Footy 101.
If you’re looking for a Reader’s Digest version: Hot men. Short shorts. Killer legs. Lots of running. Lots of shouting. Lots of beer. NOT rugby.
Alright, let’s get to it.
Get ready to shout “BALL!” early and often during a match. When used properly, it signals to the umpire that a player is holding the ball and a free kick is in order.
A “blue” is either a mistake in play or a fight. Maybe it’s that I grew up around hockey, but I love me a good footy blue.
Kick a Bag
If a player kicks a bag, they’re bringing home the bacon (AKA kicking lots of goals).
In North America, we use the term “pigskin” to refer to a football. In Australia, the Sherrin-made game ball is often called “the pill” or “the nut.”
Short for spectacular (because that’s way too many syllables, am I right?), a “spekkie” or a “screamer” is when a player leaps high into the air to make a mark (catch).
To receive a “spray” means a severe scolding or talking to. When it comes to footy, the “sprayer” is generally a coach, but I have no doubt you’ll get some miles out of this one even after you’ve left the stadium.
Also called a “daisy-cutter,” you’ll hear this when the footy is kicked low to the ground. Poor worms.
There you have it. Hopefully I’ve done the sport justice, but I’m sure my Aussie mates will give me a spray if I’ve made an oops.
If you think a key piece of footy slang is missing from this list, let me know by commenting below!
P.S. Arn tha Tiges!