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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
international afl sporting export 94 AUSSIE RULES COULD ONE DAY RULE THE WORLD. BY MAL CHENU "Zhang is tackled by Wei, bounces up like a cork in the South China Sea and hand- passes o to the speedy Zhou, who sells the dummy to Yong, takes a bounce and slams it through for a major!" Australian football, or Aussie Rules, has a language all its own but premier sports commentator Dennis Come i may be regaling excited fans around the world with a passage like this sooner than we think, judging by the growing interest in Aussie Rules in China. And, if the booming Chinese economy is any guide they'll probably play it faster and more e ciently too. Aussie Rules is considered by its millions of devoted fans to be the best game in the world. Fans claim soccer is the world game only because the world hasn't seen the big men y. Now, under a big push from the governing body the Australian Football League (AFL), Australia's national game is going international and the world loves it. In 2009 there were more than 52,000 people overseas who were sinking the 'slipper into the Sherrin' -- slang for kicking the traditional oval- shaped football, manufactured under the Sherrin brand. Junior promotions have been especially successful with over 33,000 children aged between ve and 12 involved, mainly in New Zealand with Kiwikick and South Africa with FootyWILD. Senior championships will be held this year in South Africa, Asia, USA and Europe leading up to the International Cup tournament in 2011 in Australia. National teams competing for the cup will be comprised of that country's passport holders only, bringing an authenticity to the competition and sidelining Aussie ring-ins. e Peace Team, comprised of Palestinians and Israelis, underlines the importance of sport as an organ of co-operation and bridge building. e game is known in China as Ao Zu, a phonetic translation of Aussie Rules incorporating the Chinese character for Australia. How they translate 'kicking a behind' -- a lesser score which results when the ball goes between the two outer goal posts -- may prove as ba ing as the game itself. Traditional Chinese Zodiac animals are used to explain the skills of the game. e Ox, representing strength and exibility relates to defence, tackling and shepherding. e Horse, signifying dynamism and persistency, describes high marking and a ack on the ball, while Tigers, Monkeys and Dragons have also been dra ed as specialist skills AFL Photos