17 Dec Gridiron, A Growing Sport on the Northern Beaches
Gridiron popularity grows with the local community
In line with the growth in popularity of the American football code of gridiron in Australia, the Northern Sydney Gridiron Club is making its mark on the Northern Beaches. Dee Why RSL has been a proud supporter since 2016, funding more than $15,000 in support over this time.
The name ‘gridiron’ actually originates from the sport’s playing field, which is marked by a series of parallel lines along the width of the field in a pattern resembling a cooking gridiron.
The Northern Sydney Gridiron Club was established six years ago and has since grown exponentially, with teams competing in the three divisions of men’s, women’s and colts (16-19). The 2018 season saw the Club rise to all new heights, as all three teams made it to the preliminary finals with the women’s team making it to the State Finals (Opal Bowl).
The home ground is at Forestville Park which is shared with the local rugby league club. The Club competes in the Gridiron NSW competition and is the only gridiron club on the north side of Sydney.
“We also have our own juniors program for ages 8 to 15 where they compete over the summer break” said Blake Jones, Northern Sydney Gridiron President.
“Because we have quite a few players who also play more traditional sports like rugby and soccer; it’s great to be able to have a contact sport to play in the offseason. We have seen kids come from all over Sydney to get their first experience of American football. With the help of our sponsors, we hope to continue to grow the game of gridiron on the Northern Beaches. Juniors started training in November, and seniors, women’s, and Colts start in June.
The three main pieces of equipment players need are a helmet, shoulder pads, and football boots, in addition to a mouthguard. In terms of rule differences, in gridiron you normally play offence or defence (unlike some of our other traditional sports), and usually one specific position on the field e.g. quarterback, receiver or line-backer. When the subject of why we wear the armour and helmets comes up – most of us have played rugby too, and the hits are just as physical!”
The biggest sporting day on the U.S. calendar, the Super Bowl, will be shown on the big screen live in Match Bar on Monday, 3 February from 10.00am.
“We look forward to the annual Super Bowl event in Match Bar. We’ll all be there. It’s a great chance to have a chat with some of our players about the sport and rules.”
To find out more about Northern Sydney Gridiron go to sydneygridiron.com