There is still a place in a sport that remains connected to communities.
In a painting such as Warriors of New South Wales, 1813, we can easily imagine a group of men ready to take to the football field.
Australian War Memorial
Between the 1830s and the 1850s, hundreds of Indigenous warriors and dozens of British settlers were killed across south-east Australia. Echoes of that conflict recur in Aussie rules.
Adam Goodes training at the SCG in 2015.
For Indigenous people, refusal is a powerful act of sovereignty. In Grand Final week, it's timely to reflect on Adam Goodes' refusal to accept racism in football or an official send off when he retired - and the repercussions of his stance, a year on.
The AFL does best in attracting young women to games and then maintaining their loyalty in later years.
The AFL draws the biggest crowds in the country and its growth has been driven by female fans being drawn to the game and sticking with it as they get older.