Marn Grook Australian Football
Marn Grook (also spelt marngrook), literally meaning "Game ball", is the collective name given to a number of traditional Indigenous Australian recreational pastime believed to have been played at gatherings and celebrations of up to 50 players.
Generally speaking observers commented that Marn Grook was a football game which featured Punt kicking and catching a stuffed "ball". It involved large numbers of players, and games were played over an extremely large area. Totemic teams may have been formed, however to observers the game appeared to lack a team objective, having no real rules, scoring or winner. Individual players who consistently exhibited outstanding skills, such as leaping high over others to catch the ball, were often commented on..
Robert Brough-Smyth, in an 1878 book The Aborigines of Victoria, quoted William Thomas, a Protector of Aborigines in Victoria, who stated that in about 1841 he had witnessed Wurundjeri Aborigines playing the game.
The men and boys joyfully assemble when this game is to be played. One makes a ball of possum skin, somewhat elastic, but firm and strong. ...The players of this game do not throw the ball as a white man might do, but drop it and at the same time kicks it with his foot, using the instep for that purpose. ...The tallest men have the best chances in this game. ...Some of them will leap as high as five feet from the ground to catch the ball. The person who secures the ball kicks it. ...This continues for hours and the natives never seem to tire of the exercise.
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