Columbus’s Australian Rules Football Clubs


The Jackaroos and Jillaroos!

Blog entry submitted by Aron Tharp – President, Columbus Jackaroos – Australian Rules Football Club

Who we are:

We are the Jacks and Jills, the men’s and women’s Australian Rules Football Clubs here in Columbus, Ohio. We play local metro games and travel throughout the Midwest and further, competing against teams from Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, and more. You’re likely to see us around Columbus at Byrne’s Pub (our biggest sponsor since 2008), in Outlook Magazine (our new partner in 2012), at an involvement fair at one of the new Aussie Fit gyms, or at Mud Ninja (in South Salem).  Last year the clubs combined for over 50 active members.

What we do:

Our season kicks off with our first game on April 21st and concludes with the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) national tournament October 13th and 14th. We practice weekly at Tuttle Park near Ohio State’s main campus and usually host games there or at Darree Fields Park in Dublin. This year Dublin is hosting the USA vs. Canada game on August 4th. The cup will match up the Men’s, Women’s, and U-23 clubs to showcase the best of the best of North America. Dublin will also be hosting either the 2013 or 2014 national tournament.  Both the cup and the tournament will be played at Darree Fields Park.

Come Check Us out:

Columbus is very involved in the promotion and growth of this unique and exciting sport in the United States. We’d like to extend an open invitation to come and join us for a practice or to watch one of our games (see schedule below). There are spots for players with varying levels of involvement on the team too, from playing only in local matches to competing with the traveling team.  We’re always looking for new players and fans, with rolling recruitment throughout the season. The Jacks practice on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m., and the Jills practice on Fridays from 6-8 p.m. Come out and play with us and see if you have what it takes to be the next Jack or Jill!

Upcoming Schedule:

  • April 21st vs. Toronto Central Blues and Central Lady Blues – Columbus, OH
  • April 28th John Harrell Memorial Cup – Louisville, KY (tournament hosted by the Ohio Valley Riverrats)
  • May 19th vs. North Carolina Tigers – Columbus, OH
  • June 2nd vs Ohio Valley River Rats – Cincinnati, OH
  • June 16th vs Nashville Kangaroos – Nashville, TN
  • June 30th vs Chicago United – Columbus, OH

National Schedule:

  • August 4th49th Parallel Cup – USA vs. Canada– Dublin, OH Darree Fields Park
  • October 13th – 14th USAFL National Tournament – Mason, OH

Want more information?

E-mail us at to be added to our newsletter, check out our website at, or like us on Facebook @ Columbus Jackaroos ARFC and Columbus Jillaroos Australian Football Club.

What is Australian Rules Football?

“Aussie rules” or “footy” (as it’s colloquially known) shares similarities with many sports you’re already familiar with. There are three ways to advance the ball. The first, and most important, is kicking the ball (usually a punt). Unlike soccer, the ball is oblong and players can use their hands. Players run routes, similar to wide receivers in American football, and receive “marks” from kicks rather than catching passes. The second way to move the ball is to do what’s called a “handball.” It is illegal to throw the ball, so players must hit the ball from their hands similar to an underhanded serve in volleyball. This is a great way to maintain possession of the ball and clear it from traffic. The third way to advance the ball is simply to run with it.

Footy shares similarities with other sports as well. For example, players can be tackled like in rugby, but often will kick or handball to a teammate to avoid the tackle and a loss of possession.  Additionally, players can “shepherd” opposing players to create space for a teammate to gain control of and/or advance the ball, similar to a check in hockey.

Games are played with 18 players on the field at a time for each team. The field is oval and up to 180 yards long and 120 yards wide at the middle. The objective of the game is to kick the ball through the uprights at the end of the oval. A “goal,” worth 6 points, is scored when the ball is kicked through the middle of the four uprights. A “behind,” worth 1 point, is scored when the ball is kicked through the outer uprights or is touched on its way through the middle uprights. There are positions for people who are tall, short, muscular, fast, and/or endurance athletes.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the game here:


About GCSC

The Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC) was formed in June 2002 to provide leadership, guidance and marketing expertise in attracting regional, national and international sporting events and activities to bolster Greater Columbus economically and socially. Since its inception, GCSC has bid on and brought more than 150 new sporting events to Columbus that have generated an estimated $150 million in visitor spending. The GCSC also works to retain annual bid events that have generated an additional $100 million in visitor spending.
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