Shadowrunners working in Australia should never forget: Sport, sport, sport. The nation is sports-mad. Football (Rugby, Soccer and Aussie Rules; none of the silly grid-iron stuff) and combat biking are the most popular, though urban brawl has its own following on the East coast.
The entire nation still stops dead one day a year for the Melbourne Cup, which is nearly two centuries old, and is still run in Flemington.
One thing to note is that most Aussies will do anything for sport, and the day after a big sporting event is usually affected by massive absenteeism.
Sport also means gambling, specifically within local underworld organisations. These usually rake in the credits with bookie and loan shark operations. It is rumoured that the underworld also has their hands deep in the pockets of team ownership, sponsors and other aspects of the Entertainment Industry. They’ve even been known to fix a game or two by hiring Shadowrunners to arrange for a star player’s “accident”
The game hasn’t changed much over the years, sure, the national competition is now open to any race, gender, metatype. But the rules are the same.
There are two leagues which play concurrently, the Legends series is played by athletes who use personality matrices of past superstars. Wonder what it’s like to watch EJ Written play against Tony Abbott? This is the game to watch.
Then there’s the rebranded Maarngrook League, same game, just one major addition to the rules…The awakening has only forced one new addition to Aussie Rules…. No Magic is allowed.
Players have to be un-augmented by either magical or technological means. Sure, they have the best medical care provided, but no boosting augmentations of any kind. Cheating is highly frowned upon.
Obviously this isn’t necessarily the case in minor leagues. But you’re more likely to win a spot in the great game if you don’t have any chrome.
There is a third flavour of Aussie Rules… that of Urban Brawl where anything goes.
Urban Brawl is an officially non-lethal sport were teams compete in an urban environment. The goal is to bring a ball into enemy’s base, incidentally causing as much mayhem as possible (the rules clearly state that the object of the game is to score goals, not kill opponents). Cyberware, non-heavy weaponry, and some armor are permitted. Magic is not. Fatalities are a common occurrence.
Urban Brawl can trace its origins to a French gang war that gold turned into a corp multimedia circus in the 2020s. The fad took root in Northern America before Europe (busy with EuroWar). The first North American championship was held in 2037; the first international, in 2046 (International Urban Brawl World Cup is now held every two years).
The Australian variant has a slight difference, rather than just running a ball into the opposing team’s base, the modified sherrin is kicked between mobile goal posts (nano-tags and HUD updates show players their distance to goals) The goal posts are only visible in AR, and are mounted on combat drones.
Combat Biker is an officially non-lethal sport where players, riding bikes, compete in an arena. Cyberware, armor and non-lethal weapons are permitted.
Combat Biker originated in 2013 and since the first informal games it has gained much publicity and became a major, international sport, overseen by the World Combat Cyclist League (WCCL, founded in 2026).
The game is played in an arena, 150 by 50 meters, full of maze-like lanes, some of them on more than one level. Arenas have different layouts. Each team has a flag, and the goal of the game is to steal the enemy’s team flag and deliver it back to their home base.
The game is usually played in large arenas, the site of the old Etihad Stadium, now called the Docklands Arena has been converted into a permanent Combat Biker Maze. It also hosts Urban Brawl exhibition matches.
Teams for Combat Biker in the Australian League are:
The South Melbourne Bloods
The Shinboners (North Melbourne)
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