Frequently Asked Questions – General
Practices are held at Penmar Park/Recreation Center in Venice on Wednesday evenings (and on Saturday afternoons during the preseason).
Our season focuses on two parts: the metro season is held from May to June and is based around teams here in Southern California. The regular season kicks off in early July with the Western Regionals tournament and concludes in October with USAFL Nationals.
Yes we are. You can like us on Facebook for both the men’s team (www.facebook.com/LADragons) and the women’s team (www.facebook.com/LADragonsWomen), and we also have a separate Facebook group for players.
Both the Aussies and the Americans at the club come from different backgrounds. Many American players started out with soccer, football, basketball, or rugby. Some of the Aussies have played since their early childhood, and some only picked up a footy in their teens or 20s. You are more than welcome to come have a kick with the Dragons, regardless of skill level, fitness level, or familiarity with Aussie rules.
Our club fees are fully inclusive which means you become a fully registered USAFL player. Other items included in our player fees go towards new uniforms, new footballs, and general club operations (i.e. field reservations). When we go on road trips, travel fees do apply, but club officials organize suitable hotel accommodations and if possible subsidize some costs.
Here at the LA Dragons, we love having fun as much as anyone! We have a specific Director of Social Events in our club leadership and enjoy planning events throughout the year. Past examples have included beach days, Super Bowl parties, or just having beers after practice. At the end of the year, we also host a watch party for the AFL Grand Final, the largest AFL viewing party in the United States. Keep an eye on our social events calendar (ADD LINK) and/or the Facebook group for further updates.
Frequently Asked Questions – Australian Football
After a coin toss determines which goal each team will defend, players take the field to contest the center-bounce. This is when the umpire slams the ball hard into the turf so it bounces back up into the air. From here, the two opposing ruckmen jump up to contest the ball and attempt to hit it out to their teammates below them. If conditions on the ground are not ideal for a center-bounce, the umpire will simply throw the ball directly into the air (called a ball-up).
Professional games are played in four quarters of 20 minutes each, with six minute breaks in between quarters and a 20 minute halftime break. The game lengths in the United States can vary due to tournaments structures. At the National Championships teams play a 2 x 20 minute format to fit a number of games in over the weekend.
In this free-flowing game, all players can contest the ball. When handballing to a teammate, you must punch the ball in any direction with a clenched fist, although you can’t throw the ball or get caught holding it for a prolonged period of time. All players can kick it long, either to a waiting teammate (a mark) or through the primary two goalposts (a goal). Players can also block kicks (known as smothering) or block an opposing player within a certain distance (known as shepherding).
If you kick the ball through the large two goalposts without an opposing player deflecting it, you score a goal, which is worth six points. A behind (also called a minor score) is worth only one point, and occurs when a defender kicks a ball between the outer two posts, if the ball hits the post itself, or if a defender gets a hand on the ball before it goes through the goalposts.
A mark is when a player catches the ball cleanly on the receiving end of a kick. Once a player has taken the mark, he cannot be tackled for at least 10 seconds. If the player takes a mark inside the forward-50 arc - essentially within range of the goal - he has 30 seconds to take the kick. If said time expires, the umpire will call play on and the defender is free to tackle you. The defender cannot encroach on the mark or tackle a player who has already taken a clean mark, and will be penalized if he does. You can, however, take a mark in defense, commonly known as an intercept mark. A contested mark is when a player marks the ball over one opponent or more, and a spectacular mark is when a player jumps up over his opponent’s back to grab the ball.
One of the unique features of Aussie rules is the running bounce. If a player has the ball and is running with it in the open field, he must bounce the ball on the ground every 15 meters. If he doesn’t, he will be whistled for running too far and the opposing team will be given a free kick.
There are 18 players on the ground in a game of footy. They include a full-forward, two forward pockets, a center half-forward, two half-forward flanks, a ruckman, a rover, a ruck-rover, a center, two wingmen, a half-back, two half-back flanks, a full-back, and two back pockets. Generally, these players are grouped into: The forward line: One full forward, two forward pockets The half-forward line: One center half-forward, two half-forward flanks The center line: One center, two wingmen The followers: Ruckman, rover, ruck-rover The half-back line: One center half-back, two half-back flanks The full-back line: One full-back, two back pockets Every player has a distinct role to play and all must contest the footy if it’s in their immediate area - but, theoretically, any of them can kick a goal. There are also three substitutes on the bench who wait in the interchange area (similar to soccer), as well as one injury substitute. All substitute players can enter the game at the coach’s discretion during a stoppage of play, but are required to enter at the interchange area or risk a penalty.
If penalized, players either give up a free kick to the other team or a more severe 50-meter penalty. Some examples of punishable offenses include: Intentionally pushing or kicking the ball out-of-bounds Pushing or shoving an opponent in the back Tackling a player high or low (above the shoulder or below the knees) Intentionally endangering your opponent Holding onto an opponent’s jersey or restricting their movement by grabbing Enter the field at areas other than the interchange areas Have more than 18 players on the ground Make head or neck contact while in a marking contest Tackle a man who does not have the ball Tackle a player who has already taken a mark, directly prevent a player from taking a free kick after a mark, or encroach on the mark.
If a group of players are involved in a contest and the umpire cannot determine possession, he will conduct a ball-up from the same spot.
If the ball goes out of bounds, the umpire will pick up the ball and throw it backwards over his head to restart play. The players will then contest the ball, just like they would in any other marking contest. However, players cannot intentionally tap or kick the ball out of bounds, and will be penalized if they do.