Since the first match of Australian football in 1858 there had been sporadic attempts to introduce the game to other countries. For example, there was a strong 17 team competition based around the docklands of Glasgow in Scotland before World War I. There is also evidence of the game being played in South Africa at this time.
Aussie Rules quickly spread to New Zealand, with over 100 clubs forming by the turn of the century. Indeed, the New Zealand competed in the Jubilee Australasian Football Carnival in Melbourne in 1908, defeating New South Wales and Queensland to finish fourth out of the seven competing teams. And in the 1930s and 1950s the game was introduced to Nauru and Papua New Guinea respectively.
Apart from a kick in the park by a few expats, however, no other countries played Australian football.
This all changed in the late 1980s – early 1990s when a number of countries such as Canada, Denmark, Japan and England formed organised competitions. The advent of the tremendous advantages afforded by the internet, such as the promotion of these international competitions via websites and the cost effective nature of email, meant that these far flung outposts were soon in regular contact with each other and organising international matches.
Such has been the tremendous growth of Australian Football that the greatest game of all has now established a presence in over 50 countries.
This list will no doubt increase as more people outside Australia discover our great game.