By no means the last word, this is one editor's first stab at a description of Australian sports. And then her husband's. And then his office's...
The following footnote was added to the GSGI “Expat’s Life: Living in Sydney” article:
* For mystified American readers, ‘footy’ in the UK usually refers to soccer, which outside of America is called “football” (and played with a round black and white ball, not a pointy brown one). BUT in Australia, ‘Australian Rules Football’ (aka ‘Aussie Rules’ football) is NOT soccer (we have that too) and it IS played with a POINTY football, a little bigger than gridiron! ‘Aussie Rules’ football’ is the correct terminology! But this is not to be confused with rugby - which is what Sydneysiders USED to call ‘footy’. However, now that AFL has become so seriously popular nationwide, one cannot get them mixed up!
When the GSGI editor passed it by her husband, just to be sure there were no flagrant errors (more or less), he immediately sat down to write his own description of this critical aspect of Australian life. He then passed it around his office, and the ensuing arguments and corrections apparently disrupted most work for the rest of the day. Here is the result (so far, and subject to further comment):
Footy: Increasingly, going to the "Footy" means going to the Aussie Rules as the code gains credibility in Sydney. However, diehards still call the Rugby League "footy"; that is Sydney's prime game.
Rugby Union followers would be going to the "rugby". Anyone going to the soccer would be off to the round ball game that is "football" to the Poms [NBBrits], but definitely not "footy".
It all depends who you are talking to, which is difficult for the visitor - if he does not know the persuasion of his conversation partner.
Generally, a Sydneysider will have one favoured code, be it AFL*, League or Union, and that to him is "footy"!
American visitors stand to be thoroughly confused and may prefer to keep to the "races" which is horse-racing or "racing" that is yacht racing with which they will be more familiar.
Whatever code is involved "footy" is highly specialized and requires a depth of knowledge that is dangerous for the uninitiated.
* NB For the aforementioned confused Americans, AFL stands for Australian Football League; it bears no resemblance, living or dead, to the now defunct American Football League (aka AFL).