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Universal Football

Universal Football was a hybrid sport of Australian rules football (AFL) and rugby league, which unfortunately did not gain popularity. The sport is not currently played and was actually played officially just once at at the Sydney Showground in 1933. At the time a proposed set of rules was prepared by the secretary of the NSWRL, Harold R. Miller.

A trial game was held in secret, but the plans were never instituted. Not much information about the game is known. I can imagine that it was either not much of a spectacle, or the administrators thought that implementing the game on a larger scale was not feasible or there was no interest.

If the game had succeeded, the NSW and Victoria football code rivalry may not be as great as it is now. At least we would have a game in which the players could compete to find out which code is better.

Universal Football Rules

gridironThe game was played by teams of 14 a side on an oval field. The goals were the rugby league "H"-shaped goalposts. The off-side rules of rugby league applied within 35 meters of the goals. Hand passes could only be made backwards, though knocking-on and regathering were permitted. Players could be tackled anywhere between the knee and the shoulders. The AFL style of mark was allowed. Tries were worth two points and conversions kicked over the crossbar were worth one point.

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