Explanation of Australian rules football ground markings

An Australian rules football playing field is a venue where Australian rules football is played.

The playing field is typically a large oval-shaped grass surface, usually a modified cricket field, hence often known as an oval. These fields may vary especially for variations of the game. However, for official Australian Football League matches, strict requirement specifications must be met for stadiums.

Standard specifications

Ground dimensions

Australian rules football grounds, even at the highest level of the game, have no fixed dimensions. For senior football, the playing field is an oval, typically between 135–185 metres (148–202 yd) long goal-to-goal and 110–155 metres (120–170 yd) wide wing-to-wing. Grounds can vary from long and narrow to almost circular, and are not necessarily symmetrical, depending upon how and where the field was constructed. At least 5 metres (5.5 yd) of space between the boundary line and any fence is required for safety.

Smaller fields are generally used for junior football; some are purpose-built, and some are temporarily marked out within the confines of full-sized oval; as for a senior match, there are no fixed dimensions for a junior-sized field. The Western Australian Football Commission advises that a good rule of thumb is to set the length of the field equivalent to 3+12 times the length of an average kick of the age group playing.[1]

Ground markings

Diagram of a professional level Australian rules football field, 2021

A top-level Australian rules football ground has the following markings:[1]

Grounds at lower or junior levels will lack many of these markings, or paint them in lower detail.

Goal posts

Four tall white posts spaced in a line, the outer pair somewhat shorter.
The goal and behind posts. Also note the painted 50 meter arc and goal square.

At each end of the ground there are two goal posts, spaced 6.4 m (7 yd) apart, and a further 6.4 m (7 yd) on either side of these are behind posts, 5 metres (16 ft) in height. The goal posts are conventionally painted white, and in South Australia, the behind posts are customarily painted red.[3] All posts are typically padded with wall padding to minimise injury due to players colliding with them.[1]


Due to possible injuries caused to players moving at high speed by marking, jumping, turning and being tackled without protective padding, the playing field standards imply use of lawn as a surface.

Purpose-built stadiums

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (February 2011)

Almost all Australian rules football fields are of a suitable size and shape for cricket; and in the majority of cases, the fields are used for cricket in the summer and Australian rules football in the winter, a seasonal strategy which is part of the history of Australian sport. As a consequence of this, there are very few fields which were purpose-built for and used by Australian rules football to the exclusion of cricket and all other sports.[citation needed] Like the cricket oval, the field is usually referred to and named as an oval.[4][5]

However, there are many grounds – particularly those built more recently – which were built with Australian rules football as the primary intended purpose, but upon which other sports, including cricket, have been played.

Stadium Location Opened Built for Capacity at construction Comments
Yarraville Oval Yarraville, Victoria 1903 Ground trustees, Yarraville Football Club unknown
North Hobart Oval North Hobart, Tasmania 1921 City of Hobart unknown Opened to other sports in 1957
Linkbelt Oval Aiwo, Nauru 1924 Government of Nauru 3,000 Now also hosts soccer and cricket
Gardens Oval Darwin, Northern Territory 1950 City of Darwin, Northern Territory Football League unknown Built to replace the old Darwin Oval.[6] Opened up to soccer and rugby in 1953. Less used after construction of Marrarra Oval, became a primarily cricket oval in 2002
Moorabbin Oval Moorabbin, Victoria 1952 City of Moorabbin, Moorabbin Football Club unknown
Cazalys Stadium Cairns, Queensland 1957 Australian National Football Council Used by some other sports since 2001
Richmond Oval Adelaide, South Australia 1958 West Adelaide Football Club 16,500 Has also hosted American football
Skinner Reserve Braybrook, Victoria 1966 Victorian Football Association Has been opened to other sports since 1989[7]
Football Park West Lakes, South Australia 1974 South Australian National Football League 60,000 Hosted World Series Cricket matches
Waverley Park Mulgrave, Victoria 1970 Victorian Football League 78,000 Hosted World Series Cricket matches
Carrara Stadium Gold Coast, Queensland 1987 Brisbane Bears, Shire of Albert 15,000 Opened to other sports in 1988
Marrara Oval Darwin, Northern Territory 1991 Northern Territory Football League, Government of the Northern Territory 12,500 Opened to other sports since 2003
Docklands Stadium Melbourne Docklands, Victoria 2000 Australian Football League 53,000 Primarily for Australian rules football, but regularly hosts other football codes, concerts and cricket
Casey Fields VFL Oval Cranbourne, Victoria 2006 City of Casey 15,000 Other ovals in the complex are used for cricket
Tianjin Oval Tianjin, China 2011 Melbourne Football Club, City of Melbourne, Australian Football League N/A Was never used and abandoned and derelict in 2014[8]
Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex Burpengary, Queensland 2013 Moreton Bay Region 6,500
Zagreb Australian Football ground Zagreb, Croatia 2021 University of Zagreb N/A First purpose built ground in Europe. Hosted the 2022 AFL Europe Championship[9]
Springfield Central Stadium Springfield Central, Queensland 2022 City of Ipswich, Brisbane Lions 10,000 First purpose built women's sports field in Australia[10]


Main article: Variations of Australian rules football

Variations of the standard field dimensions and layout exist. For junior levels, smaller fields are often used. Rectangular fields have also been used in the past in Australia and also overseas, as well as adapted fields from other sports such as association football and American football.


  1. ^ a b c Western Australian Football Commission Inc. "Dimensions for football – Australian rules". Government of Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  2. ^ Laws of Football 2017, p12
  3. ^ Michelangelo Rucci (28 March 2014). "Footy fans march back to the Adelaide Oval of the future". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  4. ^ "The Oval". Misfits: architecture. 21 July 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  5. ^ "Coopers Stadium". Norwood Football Club. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  6. ^ "ATTENTION SPORTSMEN TOWN BOARD TO ACT ON PLAYING FIELDS". Northern Standard. Vol. 5, no. 223. Northern Territory, Australia. 8 September 1950. p. 9. Retrieved 23 November 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Santo Caruso; Marc Fiddian; Jim Main (2002), Football Grounds of Melbourne, Essendon North, VIC: Pennon Publishing, p. 146
  8. ^ $1.5m down drain on Chinese footy dust bowl
  9. ^ Grand opening of the first Australian rules football ground in Croatia by croatiaweek October 6, 2021
  10. ^ Moment of Change: A New Beginning At Springfield By Peter Blucher for Lions Media 18 October 2022