Can anyone give me a quick and comprehensive guide to understanding Rugby?

Also, can you please differentiate between League, Union, and Australian Rules Football?


Fremantle dockers?

I am not sure whether you mean rugby union, or rugby league. I will try to say about both.

The playing field for both union and league is 100 metres long and around 70 metres wide. At both end is an in-goal area where the opposing team can score tries and get points. The length varies and is generally smaller for league than union.

The point system is also different, although both union and league use the same scoring methods.
For a try, league gives 4 points, union 5 points. (The ball must have downward pressure and grounded in the opponents in-goal area).
For a conversion, both codes give 2 points. (A kick, the ball is placed on the ground elevated by a kicking tee, or pile of sand, awarded after a try is scored).
Penalty goal, league gives 2 points, union 3 points. (Similar to a conversion except can be taken when given a penalty).
Drop goal (field goal), league gives 1 point, unoin 3 points. (The ball must bounce off the ground before kicking it).
In all instances of kicking the ball, the ball must go between the posts, and above the crossbar.

The method of play.
In both games the object of the game is to get the ball into the opponents in-goal area and score a try. If scoring a try cannot be achieved, some teams resort to attempting penalty goals (if any penalties are given) and also field goals.
The player with the ball usually runs towards the opponents and attempts to get past them. This can be achieved by passing the ball to other team mates, or being able to beat the player (opponent) in front of you, and sometimes by kicking the ball. Most of the time you get tackled.

This is where the codes differ.

Rugby league.
When a player with the ball gets tackled by the opponent the player holds the ball, waits for the opposing players to stop tackling him and then gets to his feet and plays the ball by putting it on the ground just before his feet and using one foot to move the ball backwards so the ball ends up behind him.
A team mate, called the dummy half and usually the hooker (no 9), will get the ball from the ground and pass it to another teammate or attempt to run or kick himself.
The team with the ball gets a maximum of 6 tackles, times the opponents tackles them, to get the ball to the opponents in-goal area and score some points. The teams usually kick the ball down field on the 5th tackle, so as not to have to give the ball to the opposing side where they get tackled on the 6th tackle.
Sometimes there is a 0 tackle, and the team gets in effect 7 tackles. This is usually after a kick down field from the opposing side.
If the opposing side deliberately plays at the ball, and you get it back, your team gets the 6 tackles restarted or "6 again".
If the ball goes over the side line, the game starts again with a scrum where the ball went over the side line. A scrum is composed of 6 players from each team binding together and resting against each other. The half back (no 7) then feeds (puts the ball into) the scrum and this team usually wins the ball, and the halfback gets it at the back of the scrum.
If the ball is kicked out on the full, the scrum is where the player kicked the ball, not where it went over the side line, unless the kick was after the 5th tackle, then it is a turn over (the opposing team plays the ball as if tackled).
If a player puts the ball down in their in-goal, the team has to drop kick the ball from their own goal line (the line seperating the in-goal from the normal field) to the opposing side. This kick must go 10 metres.

Rugby union.
Instead of a maximum of 6 tackles, union has rucks and mauls. When a player gets tackled with the ball, if he stays on his feet, and his team mates are able to bind (kinda cuddle) him, and there are at least 3 players (the maul is formed with the 3 players), can be opposing team or team mates to make the 3, it is called a maul, and the ball is allowed to be passed backwards through the maul. This allows advanced techniques like rolling the maul where the player holding the ball is pivoted around the other players to gain an advantage over the opposing team. The ball eventually gets back to the half back (no 9) who can either run, kick, or pass to a team mate.
If the player with the ball gets tackled and goes to the ground, the tackled player must release the ball, pass quickly to a team mate, or reach over a score a try (if close enough). If any player is on his feet (not on the ground) and a ruck has not formed (at least 3 people), this player may pick the ball up with his hands, or kick it with his feet. If the ruck has been formed, then ball get only be handled by the feet (not be the hand). The ball should be 'rucked' back to the halfback, and he can do whatever he needs to.
If the ball goes over the side line, a line out is formed where some players, can be 3 to 7 of each side, stand in a line perpendicular to the side line. One player, the hooker (no 2), throws the ball in from the side line between the two lines of opposing players. The compete to catch this ball by lifting people into the air. The team that catches the ball may form a maul or pass the ball to the half back.
If the ball is kicked out on the full from inside the team 22 metre line (22 metres from the try line) the line out is where the ball went over the side line, otherwise it is where the player kicked the ball.
If a player puts the ball down in their own in-goal area, the team must drop kick the ball to the opposing side before the 22 metre line. The ball must go over or onto the 22 metre line.

Australian Rules Football.
Is played on a cricket ground. The players can kick and run in any dirrection. If you kick the ball between the inner posts you score 6 points, if it goes between the outer posts you score 1 point. The players can pass with the hands or kick to others. If a player catches a ball on the full, that has travelled a certain amount of distance, it is called a mark, and the player gets a 'free kick' from that position. If the ball goes over the side line, a referee throws the ball back into play. If a player is tackled, the ball is bounced by a referee and players challenge to get the ball.

Who do you think will win the NRL title this year? The Melbourne Storm?

League and union are similar in principle, main differences are number of players (13 for league, 15 for union) and what happens when tackled. In league the player stands and "plays the ball" with the defending team required to retire 10m or they are offside. In union they have rucks and mauls and effectively the ball is in play even when a player has been tackled; they don't get up to play it.
Points are different too, and there are lineouts in union and other little differences.
Traditionally league is a working-class game and union is more for the private-school types. (rah-rahs!)
Australian Rules is like nothing on earth except maybe Gaelic football. The game is all about kicking goals - 6 points for a goal and 1 point for a behind. So the scores look like 6.4.40 - that means 6 goals 4 behinds 40 points (6x6=36 + 4x1=4 so 36+4 = 40)
It is a strange game but I like it, VERY hard to describe but if you go to the following site they break it down pretty well

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