LOS ANGELES -- A football game will take place at the Los Angeles Coliseum in mid-October. Nothing unusual about that. This time, however, the players won't wear helmets, the field will be 180 yards long and the score will read something like 140-100.

And if you feel like having some shrimp on the barbie and a Foster's Lager during the contest, you'll feel right at home with the rest of the crowd.

Australian Rules Football will take the stage Oct. 17, matching a pair of top teams from the Victorian Football League in an exhibition game called the Foster's Cup.

"Even those who don't understand it should get a real buzz out of it," said VFL Chairman Ross Oakley. "Some have described the game as one of organized mayhem. I think that's unfair. There's really nothing organized about it."

The Australian game features 18 players per side on a field about 100 yards wide and 180 yards long. Players jump all over each other, attempting to gain possession of a red leather ball. The ball can be advanced by running or with a kick or a punch; if a player chooses to carry it farther than 15 meters, he must bounce it at least once on the turf.

Points are awarded for punting the ball between the uprights or running it across the goal line. A goal umpire clad in white waves a flag when scoring occurs.

Except for breaks between the 25-minute quarters, play is virtually continuous. There are no timeouts permitted, and the only time the action stops is when a stretcher is required on the field to remove an injured player.

Compared with their U.S. counterparts, Australian players generally are smaller. They wear shorts, sleeveless shirts and rugby-style socks, and their idea of protective equipment is a plastic mouthpiece. You won't find shoulder pads or chinstraps here.

"They'd be called all sorts of names if they did wear all that {NFL} padding," Oakley said. "Seriously, it's a fast game and you need to be agile and move around. All that equipment would hinder movement."

Damian Bourke, 22, the captain of the Geelong Cats, looks like he could get a job in the NFL, given a bit of weight training. He's 6 feet 6 and 230 pounds, and he plays "ruckman."

"I do a lot of the overhead work and feed {the ball} to the smaller players," said Bourke, whose role is like that of a basketball center. "From there, we go."

Bourke said the average salary for a player is $20,000 to $30,000, with some making as much as $130,000. By way of contrast, Jim Kelly of the NFL's Buffalo Bills is working on a five-year contract worth a reported $8 million.

Bourke added that drugs are rarely a problem in Australian sports.

"Honestly, I have never come across drugs in sports," he said. "If someone did indulge he would be frowned upon."

Australian Rules Football -- first played 130 years ago in Melbourne -- has been gaining in popularity in the United States since 1980, when it first appeared on ESPN. Last week, it was reported Wimbledon champion Pat Cash played the game before taking to the tennis court full time.

"It's the national sport, no doubt about it," said Bourke. "Every kid in Australia plays it. You'll love it. It's 100 minutes of continuous action. It's fast. You'll probably have a bit of trouble getting to know the rules at first, but you'll get the hang of it."

And if not, you can still enjoy the shrimp and the beer.