Learning to Play by Australian Rules

Spread across a manicured football field in groups of 10 or so, the children dart back and forth like the parts of a complex machine. In one group, they mark balls thrown in the air by Aussie Rules players from the St. Kilda Football Club. In another, they awkwardly practice handballing to the veteran players. They smack into tackling bags, play bullrush, and try to evade the tackles of lurking Saints. And they learn how to scoop balls off the turf and kick short into the muscled arms of two-time Brownlow medalist Robert Harvey.

This frenetic scene took...

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