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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    With just three games to be played in the home and away rounds for 2013/4, the AFL Middle East competition is beginning to take on an air of a Dragon three peat. Whilst the Doha Kangaroos are certainly in a position to spoil the Dragon’s party, there is something quite compelling which says the Dragons are on the cusp of something special.

    With the Dubai Dragons having completed their six home and away games, it falls on the other teams to scramble for positions over coming weeks. The Dragons managed to win five of their six encounters, many by large margins. Their only blemish was a shock loss to fellow Dubai team, the Dingoes. At the moment the Dragons hold firm on top of the ladder.

    The Doha Kangaroos sit second. With three wins from four outings, the boys from Qatar now have two matches left (one postponed from last weekend) against third placed Abu Dhabi Falcons and fourth placed Dubai Dingoes. Both matches are winnable, and if they win both by large enough margins they could actually topple the Dragons from top place. Time will tell.

    But were that scenario to occur, the Dragons would still be favourites to take the flag against Doha. Their last two meetings were last year’s grand final, won by the Dragons, and their recent clash in early February won comfortably by the Dragons to the tune of 34 points. If that form line holds true, the Dragons will win their third flag in a row after enjoying success in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons.

    But history is a funny old thing, and the Doha Kangaroos will no doubt have glory on their mind also. They will be keen to make their own history, and the Dragons would be making an awful mistake to underestimate a determined Kangaroo outfit playing in their own second consecutive grand final: they are a team keen to make amends for a lost opportunity last season.

    The Abu Dhabi Falcons and Dubai Dingoes will fight it out for third and fourth places this season. The Dingoes have two games to play, whilst the Falcons have just the one. Laws of averages should see them finish on 2 wins apiece, with for and against deciding their finishing order.

    The Muscat Magpies may have only one win, knocking over the Dubai Dingoes, but they have given cheek in all other games despite some unflattering scorelines.

    Despite the Bahrain Blues leaving the competition indefinitely, the expanded season has made up for that loss, providing more matches and seeing all clubs winning games, and no team remaining undefeated. Let’s hope that the finals series later in March brings an exciting end to what has been an exciting AFL Middle East sea ...


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    Alice Springs’ own TIO Traeger Park shone today, as did the blazing Centralian sky, as Geelong locked horns with Melbourne in the second last “18 Games in 18 Days” NAB Challenge.

    With a touch of history thrown in, this was the first match played in Australia’s heart involving two Melbourne based clubs, with both being the founding clubs of the competition in Australia, coming into existence in 1859 as the oldest of the current AFL clubs.

    With temperatures in the low 30’s, a crowd of a little less than 5500 fans turned up at to watch the Northern Territory’s first AFL match of 2014. The Alice Springs crowd was the biggest for an NAB Cup/Challenge match at the venue since 2008.

    On the beautifully manicured playing surface, and with the timeless MacDonnell Ranges serving as a backdrop to the south, it was the Geelong Cats that jumped away early to lead the Melbourne Demons. By half time, however, Melbourne, under the watchful gaze of new coach, Paul Roos, had fought back bravely to hold a narrow half time lead.

    The appreciative crowd then saw some vintage Cat power as Geelong surged away during the third quarter. But this Melbourne side is a different beast under Paul Roos, and the Demons fought back hard in the final quarter, ultimately going down by just 13 points.

    The match featured its own highlights and controversies for the local supporters with Melbourne kicking three supergoals, inspirational Cat skipper Joel Selwood being subbed out with a hamstring injury and Billy Smedts reported for a crude spoiling attempt on Melbourne’s Jimmy Toumpas.

    During their time in “The Alice” players from both teams have been available for community and school visits, including players from the Melbourne club visiting local schools such as the indigenous Yipirinya Primary School to help support the fight against the eye disease trachoma through the “clean face, clean eyes” message. The disease is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness, affecting the external tissue lining of the eye and eyelids. It is a disease more prevalent in dry and dusty places, and Melbourne players have been visiting the schools to raise awareness of the disease.

    Fans of the game in Australia’s “Red Centre” only need wait until the 31st May when the Melbourne Demons return to play the Port Adelaide Power in Round 11 of the AFL Premiership season. This will be the first match played for premiership points at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

    Attention for Northern Territory fans will then turn to the Round 17 clash between Melbourne and Fremantle at TIO Stadium in Darwin on 5th July.

    BELOW: Day and night views of Traeger Park, Alice Springs.

    ...


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    No practice game is ever a waste, and the critics who see the NAB Challenge as a series of glorified practice games are probably right, though missing the point. Three points, actually.

    Firstly, players got to show their wares as they jostle for starting positions in senior AFL line-ups for Round One in just two weeks’ time. They also gained valuable match fitness and awareness prior to the real show beginning.

    Secondly, the fans who had patiently or impatiently waited since last September to watch their beloved game waited no more. It might not have been the start of the real deal, but a game with your own club to support is cherished by fans of all clubs. Practice match or not it is a wonderful experience for the footy tragic when they see or hear their team in actions again after such a long and seemingly endless wait. 

    But this series, whilst dispensing with the concept of a mini season with a final overall winner, managed to play a role that is vital to the game nationally. They took the game to the people across the length and breadth of our nation. Fans that would not otherwise see an Aussie Rules match of the highest order could possibly reach one of the locations across Australia where games were played.

    The following is a list of all results of the “18 Games in 18 Days” showing also the variety of locations which experienced the excitement of AFL football at the elite level.

    Game 1: February 12th Simonds Stadium, Geelong –              Geelong 16 8 104 d Collingwood 1 13 15 102

    G2: February 13th Etihad Stadium, Melbourne –                         Hawthorn 1 22 13 154 d Brisbane 3 5 23

    G3: February 14th Etihad Stadium, Melbourne –                         Melbourne 1 13 11 98 d Richmond 1 10 15 84

    G4: February 15th Eureka Stadium, Ballarat–                            Carlton 1 14 7 100 d North Melbourne 14 9 93

    G5: February 16th Richmond Oval, Adelaide (SA)–                   Adelaide 18 11 119 d Port Adelaide 9 5 59

    G6: February 17th Metricon Stadium (QLD)–                              Gold Coast Suns 1 11 15 90 d Essendon 13 11 89

    G7: February 18th Arena Joondalup (WA)–                                 West Coast Eagles 2 20 10 148 d Fremantle 10 4 64

    G8: February 19th Simonds Stadium, Geelong –                         Western Bulldogs 10 7 67 d St Kilda 1 7 5 56

    G9: February 20th Star Track Oval, Canberra (ACT) –               Sydney Swans 2 15 7 115 d GWS Giants 11 9 75

    G10: February 21st Aurora Stadium, Launceston (TAS)–        Hawthorn 18 10 118 d Nth Melb 7 11 53

    G11: February 22nd Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta (VIC)–      Richmond  1 17 13 124 d Collingwood 1 10 7 76

    G12: February 23rd Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville (QLD)– Brisbane 1 14 13 106 d Gold Coast  8 11 59

    G13: February 24th Etihad Stadium, Melbourne –                         Adelaide 1 13 12 99 d Carlton 9 7 61

    G14: February 25th Etihad Stadium, Melbourne –                         Port  Adelaide 1 11 15 90 d Essendon 9 11 65

    G15: February 26th Etihad Stadium, Melbourne –                         Fremantle 15 7 97 d Western Bulldogs 9 15 69

    G16: February 27th Blacktown Sports Park, Sydney (NSW)– West Coast Eagles 10 12 72 d Sydney Swans 5 7 37

    G17: February 28th TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs (NT)–      Geelong 14 13 97 d Melbourne 3 9 3 84

    G18: March 1st Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga (NSW)–         GWS Giants 7 11 10 139 d St Kilda 10 11 71

    All teams can claim to have gained something from the experiences of these NAB Challenge games, whilst some will bemoan injuries suffered in the pre-season competition. But that is the life of AFL football. At the end of the day it is the fans, paying or otherwise, who benefit from seeing their heroes in action, finally.

    Whilst five games were played at Etihad Stadium and two at the revamped Simonds Stadium in Geelong, the other ii games were spread across the remaining states and territories of the nation. Regional centres such as Ballarat, Wagga Wagga, Townsville, Launceston, Alice Springs and Wangaratta treated local crowds to the highest level of football, as did urban centres such as Joondalup, Blacktown, Gold Coast, Richmond in suburban Adelaide and Canberra.

    The 2014 season commences on Friday 14th March when the Collingwood Magpies play last year’s runners-up, the Fremantle Dockers. ...


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    The GIANTS will add a touch of green to the sea of orange at Spotless Stadium for the Battle of the Bridge against the Swans on March 15.

    To celebrate St Patrick’s Day on March 17, the GIANTS have launched a special ticket offer for all Irish fans in Sydney.

    It includes a reserved seat in a dedicated Irish “Green Bay”, a green GIANTS t-shirt and a beverage voucher (600ml drink or beer) for just $25.

    Award winning Irish band Tolka will kick off the festivities and there will be demonstrations of hurling and Gaelic football before the main game.

    GIANTS Director and inaugural coach Kevin O’Sheedy said the club wanted to connect with the large Irish population in Sydney.

    “Many of us have Irish heritage and we know there are many other Irish born people who are either living in Sydney as permanent residents or on working visas who love sport and would enjoy our game,” he said.

    “I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Ireland a number of times as part of the International Rules series and our game Australian football has been enriched by Irish players such as Jim Stynes, Tadhg Kennelly and Setanta O’hAilpin.

    “We’d love them to come out to our fantastic stadium at Sydney Olympic Park and celebrate St Patrick’s Day together. I’ve even promised to come over and sit with them during the game to enjoy the craic.”

    The Consul General of Ireland in Sydney, Ms Caitríona Ingoldsby said: “I’m very pleased that the GIANTS are celebrating the strong sporting links between Ireland and Australia by taking part in the Sydney St Patrick’s Festival and Ireland’s ‘Global Greening’ initiative this year. 

    "I’m looking forward to a great game, and also to the celebration of GAA football and hurling and Irish music on the day, as we add some Green to the big occasion.”

    The Battle of the Bridge will see many great match-ups, including brothers Heath and Rhyce Shaw going head to head for the first time in GIANTS and Swans colours respectively.

    With Buddy Franklin, Jeremy Cameron, Shane Mumford and many more stars of the AFL set to take to the field, the Battle of the Bridge, Sydney Derby V promises to be the biggest game in Sydney this year.

    To take advantage of this special offer go towww.ticketmaster.com.au/irishgiants ...


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  • 03/04/14--14:59: Freedom squad named for IC14
  • The USA Women's team known as the US Freedom has been named for the 2014 International Cup.  The squad was named following the camp held in Houston, Texas two weeks ago.  More than 60 players and staff attended the event at the Cullen Park Soccer Fields on the outskirts of Houston.

    The Freedom were seeded 5th going into IC11 but finished third behind Ireland and Canada.

    From the IC11 World Team selected at the conclusion of the tournament Judith Stein, Becky Kraft and Lindsey Kastanek all return for the Freedom's IC bid.

    The Freedom will be coached by Leigh Barnes (Head Coach, Golden Gate), Dale Williams (Minnesota), John Ironmonger, and Troy Anthony.  The Freedom team manager is Jess Whisney (Minnesota). Jess is assisted by Autumn Ervin (New York) and the team fitness coach is Mike Murphy (New York).

    ...
    Player Club
    Melissa Armstrong Arizona
    Lindsey Hestand Arizona
    Alexandra Mims Baltimore-Washington
    Karen Stablein Baltimore-Washington
    Judith Stein Baltimore-Washington
    Emily Reihl Boston
    Holly Tuefel Boston
    Jessica Gray Denver
    Jessie Hazen Denver
    Hallie Lee Denver
    Lindsey Kastanek Denver
    Sara Rohner Denver
    Cathy Hoha Minnesota
    Becky Kraft Minnesota
    Marie LaVictoire Minnesota
    Lauren Shelton Minnesota
    Andrea Casillas New York
    Siobhan McHale New York
    Kim Hemenway New York
    Lissa Regets New York
    Alexa Blatnick Sacramento
    Brette Brower San Francisco
    Taylor Davidson San Francisco
    Jessica Estrada San Francisco
    Kari Johnson San Francisco
    Julie Marks San Francisco
    Diana Paasch San Francisco
    Courtney Sherman San Francisco

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    The USAFL will bring a second women's team with them when they head to Australia for the International Cup in August.  The team to be known as "The USA Liberty" which is a development team made up of players who missed out of a place in the Freedom squad. 

    The Liberty will play against local metropolitan and regional Victorian women’s teams to gain valuable experience and game time.  It is expected their games will be played during the International Cup but on non-IC14 match days and they will share the same staff as the Freedom.

     

     

    ...
    Player Club
    Courtney Church Arizona
    Vannessa Welker Arizona
    Lisa Arrendondo Boston
    Colleen MacNab Denver
    Kaitlyn Mascher Denver
    Lizzy Even Minnesota
    Catherine Georgiadis Minnesota
    Nafla Poff Minnesota
    Emily Smuder Minnesota
    Brianne Theisen Minnesota
    Terri Tupper Minnesota
    Heather Serpico New York
    Alison Vorsatz New York
    Tiffany Chen Sacramento
    Lauré Kwoka Sacramento
    Helen Mondia Sacramento
    Victoria Schoennagel Sacramento
    Yanni Castillo San Francisco
    Jessica Lund San Francisco
    Shaharazarde Williams San Francisco
    Hailey Carter Free Agent
    Helen Meier Free Agent

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    The Edmund Rice Lions are holding a Registration Carnival this Sunday, 9 March at Barry Britton Reserve in Balga (Western Australia).

    They are inviting all families, footy lovers and kids down for an afternoon of fun activities and a chance for those who would love to play with the Edmund Rice Lions Football team this year to sign up.

    The Edmund Rice Lions are an Australian Football Team of individuals aged 6 – 23 from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

    “This free carnival welcomes all members of the public to increase awareness around opportunities for children coming from low socio-economic areas and CaLD backgrounds,” says Natasha Hanham from the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR).

    “It’s also the perfect opportunity to break down barriers between soccer and AFL amongst the CaLD community.”

    The day promises activities for all ages with a kid’s fun zone, Auskick drill clinics, a bouncy castle, face painting and a free barbecue. The ERC Young Lions will challenge the Butler Falcons at 2pm, followed by the ERC Lions All-Stars team who will take the field at 3pm to showcase their skills in an exhibition game.

     

    Attending the event will be representatives from the Edmund Rice Centre Mirrabooka, West Coast Eagles, West Australian Football Commission, Department of Child Protection, Anglicare, Smith family, the Balga Bombers and Kingsway Football Club.

     

    The Edmund Rice Lions program was established in March 2010 when the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) partnered with the Edmund Rice Centre to develop a multicultural football team which would develop participant’s skills, knowledge about the national game and provide pathways into joining local community clubs.

     

    The Department of Sport and Recreation is a major supporter of the Edmund Rice Centre.

    Event details

    Where: Barry Britton Reserve, Balga

    When: Sunday, 9 March

    Time: noon – 4pm

    Cost: Free

     

     About the TEAM

    The Edmund Rice Centre Lions is a Multicultural AFL team, Launched in 2010, by a group of young people.

    The ERC Lions stand on three pillars;

    Over the course of the season, three core pillars were identified which differentiate the Lions from other clubs. These are:

      1. The ERC Lions are a community AFL team, run by community workers, from the Edmund Rice Network and WAFC along with other interested parties. These community servants shoulder all of the responsibility and show the players that continued commitment is vitally important to success. The Edmund Rice Centre Lions is a community Australian Rules Football team and are dedicated to serving their community. They have run a number of coaching clinics for youth of Refugee and Indigenous backgrounds as part of their community service and leadership training.

      2. The team is youth led. The Lions provides a unique opportunity to give young people a chance to build their resilience and strength. After an initial grace period where the coaches are helped to learn the game, there is a ‘hand over’ of responsibility to the young coaching staff, after which the team managers become advisers at training. This concept is used in the Youth Leadership Program and the Multicultural Sports and Recreation Program and it has worked well. This approach must be complemented by an extensive behind the scenes effort by the team management. The young coaches will then be primarily responsible for addressing the team.

      3. The season is short.  The Lions is a stepping stone to serious AFL teams and if players want more 'expert' coaching etc., they are assisted to join local clubs around their area. If they want to stay involved with the Lions they can fill coaching or assistant coaching roles or even be runners and water boys etc. A main theme is to choose inexperience with the Lions over those who have played a full season with the team. This differentiates it from a standard club. The maximum number of games is capped around 10 or so and after they play one full season players are encouraged to move on, either to coaching roles in the team or to local clubs or both. Players feel that it is their role to mentor new players and use their 'experience' to help them. There is now a huge focus on moving the players into mentoring roles or into local mainstream clubs.

    What we aim to achieve

    We aim to promote AFL among multicultural communities and give registered participants the best AFL experience for a year, We also hope to develop them as leaders in the community by teaching them advanced leadership qualities which they have to prove in the community when they get out and be active coaches and volunteers. 

      ...


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    Andrew Demetriou gave his last season launch speech as the AFL's CEO tonight (after announcing his retirement as CEO effective at the end of the 2014 season).  The transcript of the speech follows.

     

    This is the first time I have had the opportunity to speak to the football community since Monday's announcement, and I am grateful that I have this chance to say my farewells to so many of you who have made the game what it is today.  

     

    I began my time at the AFL, almost 14 years ago.  

     

    My first public appearance, as the AFL's Football Operations Manager, was on Grand Final day, 2000.  

     

    Many of you in this room will recall—with pleasurethe Grand Final day speeches of my predecessor, Ian Collins.  

     

     

     

    Collo was one of a kind: he could, and often would, create AFL policy on the run, and many times he did just that in that room of true football people—Life members, Hall of Fame inductees, Administrators, umpires, tribunal members, and the media. 

     

    Policy at a podium was never me, and in that first speech, before the Essendon—Melbourne game, I set out my personal agenda for my job, little knowing that it would morph into the CEO's role, three years later.  

     

    Reading it back, it resonates not just with me, but with so much of what happened in 2013, and so much about personal responsibility.  I hope, all these years later, I can be judged by my own criteria. This is what I said: 

    I feel fortunate to be able to follow Ian Collins into this job, which in many ways, is the best job in football. Although, I suspect Kevin Sheedy , Essendon's legendary coach, might dispute—reasonably—that assertion. 

    There are comparisons though. Sheedy's job is to create a culture of expectation and achievement not just in one group of players, but in a generation, maintaining and linking with past, present, and future assets, human assets. 

    My job is the one job in the AFL system which impacts directly on the only asset the AFL owns – not a human asset, but the game itself.  

    It may be an involving and fulfilling job, but those of us who have had this job understand absolutely the responsibility that comes with it.  

    Rest assured I feel keenly my responsibility to not only preserve that asset, to link to the culture and the people that made it so valuable to all of us, but, when decisions are made, I know that poor decisions can have enormous impact on the game, on all of us.  

     

    What I was expressing on that day had been drilled into me by the late Ron Evans, and Bill Kelty, earlier that year, when they convinced me to join the AFL, after a short time as CEO of the Players Association.  

     

    All of us, Ron said, are merely custodians of the game. Our job is to nurture what we are given, and, when the time comes for us to depart, to believe that we have passed on something better than we received. 

     

    That same point was stressed to me so many times by our beloved friend, Jill Lindsay, sadly taken from us three years ago. 

     

    At my last visit with Jill, as she was fading away, she made the most memorable comment, her last words to me.  

     

    “Look after the game” she said. “It means so much to so many people.” 

     

    She had re-asserted what Ron and Bill had thrust down my throat.  

     

    It's what all of us in this room should never forget. It's what must drive us all: at the AFL, at club level, our coaches, our players, politicians, our junior administrators, at Auskick , as parents nurturing the next generation 

     

    It's what I hope I can pass on to my successor: the game means so much to so many people." 

     

    As I said in that initial speech, "poor decisions can have enormous impact on the game, on all of us" and that was surely true in 2013. 

     

    I'm not about to brush that under the carpet: many people made poor decisions, and the game was surely impacted, but I know that many people have also made great decisions—through 2013, since 2013—to make sure that the game will win out, and it will be celebrated by its fans, without sense of misgiving, or delusion, or distrust. 

     

    I am not denying the role of the CEO in any organisation is an important one, but CEOs come and go—great institutions remain forever, and the AFL is a great institution, getting better all the time. 

     

    We cannot amend the past, but we can surely shape the future, and that has always been the approach of the AFL Commission, and the Executive. 

     

    I am sure the new Commission, and new Executive will not be changing that agenda one iota. 

     

    Tonight is about the future. It's about AFL policy in action. It's about the rebuilding of this wonderful ground, and the gathering together of the entire South Australian community into one vision, and one outcome. 

     

    I am proud the AFL has been involved in this project, and grateful to people like Ian McLachlan and Rod Payze  and all their colleagues in the SACA, to John Olsen and Leigh Whicker  and Max Basheer  representing South Australian football, and to former premier Mike Rann , his then treasurer Kevin Foley and his successor Jay Wetherall  for not just living up to the promises made by the South Australian Government, but delivering so much more. 

    We have all achieved what Mike Rann  said would be impossible, and I will look back on what has been achieved here with great pride. 

    The rebuilding of the Adelaide Oval represents so much of what has happened in my time at the AFL: it's about a vision, it's about teamwork, it's about overcoming adversity, it's about community, it's about not giving up no matter the stresses and strains and history fighting back against you. 

    The AFL will always be like this: think of the past years, and spread that into the future. 

     

    I don't intend to dwell on the past. (Continued in Part 2)

    ...

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    Andrew Demetriou gave his last season launch speech as the AFL's CEO tonight (after announcing his retirement as CEO effective at the end of the 2014 season).  The second part of the transcript of the speech follows.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The AFL's about the future.

     

    We will continue to create the infrastructure that is best for our fans, and within three years what you see here in Adelaide, will be replicated in Perth, at Burswood. We will always put the fans first. Always.


    We will continue to take our game to all states and territories, and we will ensure that all clubs have the same opportunities to flourish, and be ultra competitive. Equal opportunity for all is a fundamental of our competition, and I am sure we will see changes in the way opportunity is managed in the not too distant future.

    We will continue to secure the best talent for our game, with the best conditions to provide the best entertainment, retaining the AFL's well-deserved position as the number one code in Australian sport, serving the broadest community with the best facilities, whether at the ground, at home, or on the road.

    As I said to the media on Monday: THIS, the AFL, is THE sport of Australia.

    We will continue to be at the forefront of technological change, not just in the way we create media, and work with our media partners, but also making sure we provide our fans with the best information, live, digital, or whatever the next generation provides.

    We will continue to the best of partners for our corporate and government relations, looking always for the best outcomes for the Australian community.

    We will remain at the forefront of the challenge that dogs all sports—managing the integrity of the game and all who work in it. We will not be beaten by the scourge of drugs, or gambling, or sinister processes.

    We will find new pathways for administrators and coaches to find their way into the AFL system, to ensure the strength of the game remains paramount, and our role in developing young sportspeople to be great players and great citizens never changes. 

    In this International Women's week in which the world recognises the role of women in our society, we must remain open to inclusion of women in all areas of our game. We are getting better, but we're miles away from where we must be, with more women in senior roles in the AFL and in clubs. We have women on the Commission, we have a woman as a club president, I look forward to the next step—a CEO at club level, and more women on the AFL executive.

    We will never forget that our game is for our fans, and we will be ever alert to find the best ways to take our game to the fans in ways that are accessible, affordable, and remarkable.

    And we will always recognise our role as a senior citizen of this country, with all the responsibilities and opportunities that badge carries.

    Finally, I want to thank you all for what you have given me over this wonderful journey. 

    In particular, my chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, my great mentor Bill Kelty, the members of the Commission, and to all of those in my executive, including those who have been and gone, but in particular my deputy Gillon McLachlan who has done so much to support me, and the AFL's agenda, with little thanks, or profile.

    I want to thank the wonderful staff at the AFL who give so much to our game, without any thought of what time it is, or what day it is, or where it is. Their selflessness is something special; in particular thanks to Yolanda Ferguson, who came with me from the AFLPA, no doubt with no idea what was ahead of her, and has been a loyal and wonderful supporter throughout.

    I want to thank all our clubs, and all the great people I have met on the journey—not just presidents and CEOs, but coaches, players, trainers, doctors, even doormen. 

    I want to thank the media. We've had our moments, but the role of the best media is to keep the bastards honest, and, on balance, that's what you have done. It's extraordinary to think that we have more media accredited to the AFL than to the total Government of Australia, and that, really describes what Jill said. Our media presence represents how important our game is to so many.

    I want to thank the fans, who make all our lives worth living. The joy they get from our game is so intoxicating. I look forward to becoming a fan again. 
    I will never forget my time at the AFL: how could I? I met my beautiful wife Symone during my time in Football Operations, and all my children have been born in my time as CEO.

    What a wonderful footprint for the rest of my life.

    Thank you all, and may this season be one of the great seasons for all of you, and for all of us.

    ...

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    The following article comes from the AFL Sweden website, with their kind permission, and details the players selected for the nation's IC14 squad for August in Melbourne. Also attached is the video announcement of the Swedish squad.

    The fifth International Cup in Australian Football will take place in Melbourne. The Swedish Elks will take part in this great tournament and compete against the best national teams in the world. Today, after much anticipation, the squad has been announced that will have the honour to represent Sweden.

    For this landmark event, which is only held every third year, head coach Daniel McClaer will bring one of the strongest Swedish sides ever to Australia.

    "The majority of players were part of last year's success at the European Championships, but there are some new faces as well," says Elks head coach Dan McClaer.

    Head coach Daniel McClaer is excited about the strength and versatility of the Elks 2014 squad and has hopes of a top ten finish in the twenty-three team tournament:

    This is the third time the Elks are representing Sweden at the International Cup, so this time we are planning and expecting a Top 10 finish. We have a slightly more experienced and mature squad in comparison to the 2011 campaign.

    "The boys have been in preparations since last summer and are really looking forward to showing the football world that we are no walkovers."

    "The squad is a well balanced group that will showcase their speed, skill and determination. The versatility of all the players to play any position is also a key to our game in this tournament, which we are looking forward to participating in!"

    Read the full story for the squad list and video announcement.

    Players, Coaching Staff and Team Management:

    # Name Club
    1    Andreas Svensson    Helsingborg
    2 Emil Åberg Helsingborg
    3 Eric Sahlin Helsingborg
    4 Dan Koinber Årsta
    5 André Fagerberg Malmö
    6 Natis Johansson Södermalm
    7 David Wahlberg Helsingborg
    8 Tobias Gogu Malmö
    9 Fredrik Rydbert Solna
    10 Anton Tellström Helsingborg
    11 Hampus Olsson Helsingborg
    12 Oscar Magnusson Solna
    13 Jacob Nilsson Helsingborg
    14 Max Skärlén Norrtälje
    15 Jacob Lantz Helsingborg
    16 Albert Bergström Norrtälje
    17 Philip Nilsson Helsingborg
    18 Buster Sund Norrtälje
    19 Mattis Kvarnström Årsta
    20 Robin Brenmo Helsingborg
    21 Erik Vig Karlstad
    22 Jonas Birgén Årsta
    23 Chris Mårtensson Malmö
    24 Johannes Olsson Helsingborg
    25 Robin Nilsson Helsingborg
    26 Julius Nicklasson Malmö
    29 Tony Persson Malmö
    32 Kevin Navarro Helsingborg

    Coaching and Management Staff

    Head Coach Daniel McClaer Malmö
    Assistant Coach Adrian Knee Solna
    Assistant Coach Cameron Crooks Falun
    Runner Leighton Roswell Helsingborg
    Team Manager Ryan Tucker Norrtälje
    Team Manager Jeremy Darke Norrtälje
    Kit Manager Pär Gustavsson Södermalm

    Official video announcement:

    For more information on the Elk’s international squad, or any other information on AFL Sweden, go to their website at: http://www.aflsweden.com/ or you can follow their updates on Facebook at facebook.com/swedishelks ...


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    The GIANTS will once again celebrate cultural diversity in Western Sydney with the Many Cultures match to mark AFL Multicultural Round against Geelong at Spotless Stadium on July 19.

    Auburn is the latest club from around Australia and overseas to become affiliated with the GIANTS. Recently the Dartmoor Swans became the Dartmoor GIANTS and last year Concord became the first junior club in Western Sydney to adopt the GIANTS name and colours.

    AFL NSW/ACT General Manager Craig Bolton said: “The Auburn GIANTS represent what the AFL is building. An inclusive code that welcomes people from all backgrounds.

    Australia’s first women’s AFL team in Western Sydney, the Auburn Tigers, is the latest club to adopt the name and colours of the GIANTS.

    Formed in 2011, the Auburn Tigers have made headlines across Australia as the first women's AFL team in Western Sydney and include a number of Muslim women from diverse cultural backgrounds.

    They will now become known as the Auburn GIANTS when they play in the Sydney Women’s AFL this year.

    They will wear the GIANTS colours and will also play the curtain raiser to the GIANTS round 14 match against Carlton at Spotless Stadium on June 22.

    The announcement was made on the eve of International Women’s Day which is celebrated on March 8.

    Chief Executive David Matthews said: "The Auburn Tigers celebrate diversity and inclusion in Western Sydney and we are delighted to welcome them to the GIANTS family.

    “To have over 100 women from culturally diverse backgrounds become involved in AFL is a powerful statement about the impact of the game in Western Sydney.

    "We want to embrace the different cultures that make up Western Sydney. One of the great strengths of our game is it is open to everyone regardless of their background and the Auburn GIANTS embody that."

    Auburn Tigers co-founder and football operations manager Amna Karra-Hassan said it was a major step for the club and AFL in Western Sydney.

    “This partnership with the GIANTS is a fantastic opportunity to encourage people from a range of multicultural communities to be involved with AFL,” she said.

    “We hope this attracts new players, supporters, sponsors and volunteers to the Auburn GIANTS and to the game a whole in Western Sydney. Together we are a powerful voice for social inclusion, respect and diversity in our communities.” 

    Lael Kassem from the Auburn GIANTS won the GIANTS Women in Community Football Award in 2013. She was presented with the award during a GIANTS match at Spotless Stadium.

    The GIANTS have also announced that midfielder Dylan Shiel will become the player ambassador for the Auburn GIANTS.

    To see interviews with Dylan Shiel and Amna Karra-Hassan from the Auburn GIANTS, click here.

    “It’s a great example of an AFL club strengthening ties with a community club and connecting the grassroots with the elite and is great for the game.” ...


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    The door is ajar of New Zealand's Kurt Heatherley to make the next step at Hawthorn. Heatherley has been selected to play in Hawthorn's third pre season match against Melbourne at Casey Fields this Saturday. On the back of a solid debut and showing up high profile Sudanese born Majak Daw from North Melbourne in his second match, his third outing could be the performance that leads him to be upgraded from the rookie list (where he is listed as an International Rookie) to the senior list.

    Due to Brendan Whitecross being placed on the long term injury list this week there is a spot open. And Heatherley is in contention alongside Derik Wanganeen to be given that spot with both youngsters playing this Saturday.

    Heatherley has been groomed as a defender in his time at Hawthorn over the past couple of years and with Brian Lake set to miss at least the first three games of the season due to suspension from the 2013 Grand Final his services may be required in the Hawk's backline.

    If all this was to fall into place for him, it would be a meteoric rise for the raw New Zealander and would see him become the first player to learn the game outside Australia to play in an regular season AFL match and the first International Scholarship recipient to play senior AFL football. ...


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    Earlier this year we launched a survey into techniques used by leagues around the world to try to grow the game, see World Footy Development Techniques Survey.  The results are now in.

    The answers for the multiple choice questions are presented in pie chart form. What we can extract is that there is no easy short cut to success however it would be interesting to detail the instances where clubs had achieved effective outcomes where most clubs hadn’t.


    Word of mouth via players, friends or colleagues

    Haven't tried

    1

    2%

    Little response

    5

    9%

    Moderate response

    17

    31%

    Effective response

    32

    58%


     

     

    Posting in prominent places like sports, shopping and educational centres.


    Haven't tried

    10

    18%

    Little response

    38

    69%

    Moderate response

    6

    11%

    Effective response

    1

    2%

    Formulating a website or Facebook page.


    Haven't tried

    1

    2%

    Little response

    13

    24%

    Moderate response

    24

    44%

    Effective response

    17

    31%

    Media promotion - flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet.

    Haven't tried

    11

    20%

    Little response

    30

    55%

    Moderate response

    13

    24%

    Effective response

    1

    2%

    Paid media promotion - flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet.

    Haven't tried

    37

    67%

    Little response

    12

    22%

    Moderate response

    5

    9%

    Effective response

    1

    2%

    Tournaments or challenges matches of a promotional nature including International Rules with GAA clubs

    Haven't tried or not feasible

    22

    40%

    Little response

    18

    33%

    Moderate response

    12

    22%

    Effective response

    3

    5%

    Participating in community sports gala events

    Haven't tried or not applicable

    30

    55%

    Little response

    15

    27%

    Moderate response

    8

    15%

    Effective response

    2

    4%

    Conducting Auskick (modified junior football) clinics as part of your club

    Haven't tried or not applicable

    37

    67%

    Little response

    11

    20%

    Moderate response

    4

    7%

    Effective response

    3

    5%

    Approached other sporting or educational organisations to run with Auskick (modified junior football)

    Haven't tried or not applicable

    32

    58%

    Little response

    15

    27%

    Moderate response

    7

    13%

    Effective response

    1

    2%


    Established women's football


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    30

    55%

    Little response

    6

    11%

    Moderate response

    6

    11%

    Effective response

    13

    24%

         
         


    Part 2 coming soon. ...


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    Thanks to the Williamstown Football Club for the following story.

     

    The Williamstown Football Club is pleased to appoint Jiaming (Jamie) Pi as the club’s Multicultural Advisor. Jamie will be working closely with the club towards the lead up to our Multicultural Community Day on Sunday 13th April and when the club hosts the China National Team at the International Cup in August this year.
     
    Jiaming (Jamie) Pi is leading the pack with diversity in footy. Jamie first came to Australia as a 13 year old with his parents from the far North Western corner of China. After falling in love with the game of Aussie Rules in  the school yard, Jamie used our great game to learn English and settle into Australia.

    Since then, football has became an integral part of his life. In the last decade Jamie has provided commentary of AFL games in Mandarin for local Chinese radio stations, for Shanghai TV and even sat next to now Chinese President Xi Jin Ping to explain the intricacies of our great game.

    Since 2007 Jamie has been involved with the most diverse football club in the country, Dragons Football Club (formerly Southern Dragons FC) where he was their inaugural captain, then became treasurer and eventually was President for 2 season.

    This year will be Jamie’s 21st season involved in football at different levels and in different countries and he is excited to bring his passion of cultural diversity in football to the Williamstown Football Club. ...


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    Part two of our survey into Development Techniques.

    Established youth football


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    40

    73%

    Little response

    6

    11%

    Moderate response

    4

    7%

    Effective response

    5

    9%

     

     

    Established recreational football variants


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    26

    47%

    Little response

    13

    24%

    Moderate response

    9

    16%

    Effective response

    7

    13%

    Established indoor football


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    41

    75%

    Little response

    8

    15%

    Moderate response

    2

    4%

    Effective response

    4

    7%

    Secured the appearance of a prominent personality, player, coach


    Haven't tried

    38

    69%

    Little response

    8

    15%

    Moderate response

    4

    7%

    Effective response

    5

    9%

    Co-operated with other codes to share resources


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    28

    51%

    Little response

    14

    25%

    Moderate response

    10

    18%

    Effective response

    3

    5%

    Taken part in exhibition games at a more prominent event


    Haven't tried or not applicable

    30

    55%

    Little response

    16

    29%

    Moderate response

    6

    11%

    Effective response

    3

    5%

    What would your club find as most beneficial if it could be arranged


    Provision of jumpers

    17

    31%

    Provision of goal posts

    9

    16%

    Provision of a medical coverage

    1

    2%

    Provision of insurance coverage

    6

    11%

    Other, please describe below

    22

    40%

    What would your club find as most beneficial if it could be arranged


    Provision of a development officer

    16

    29%

    Assistance with umpiring

    7

    13%

    Greater awareness of your club in the community

    10

    18%

    Greater awareness of Australian Football in general

    22

    40%

    Has the playing of nine-a-side football been integral to your club's development


    No, we focus on 18-a-side

    11

    20%

    Nine-a-side produces extra games

    8

    15%

    Nine-a-side for our metro league and 18s travelling

    17

    31%

    Nine-a-side is more important in building numbers through the metro league

    19

    35%

    Do you see the mix of 9-a-side to 18-a-side changing


    No, it will remain roughly the same

    23

    42%

    I see 9-a-side becoming more prominent

    22

    40%

    I see 18-a-side becoming more prominent

    10

    18%

     

     

      ...


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    The third and final part of our survey into Development Techniques.


    Do you see benefit in developing stronger links with Australian clubs


    Not really

    6

    11%

    Probably be worthwhile

    49

    89%

    Do you see benefit in developing some sort of football tourism/volunteer network

     

    Not really

    5

    9%

    Probably be worthwhile

    50

    91%

     

    If you have had success with any other developmental approach please describe

    (Some of these replies seem to have been covered previously.)

     

    • Inter club league - 9 a side football
    • Attending sports fairs
    • We have a sports fair stand at university in Fresher’s Week. This allows new students to see what we do and what else is on offer.
    • Organized School-tournament
    • Social media isn't a direct question but twitter/Facebook apart from the club website has been a very useful tool perhaps this comes under 'word of mouth' ?
    • International Rules matches against the local Gaelic football club
    • Social media website meet up. Also fitness through footy variations.
    • In Gothenburg, Sweden. We've been out at a couple of social sports events on town together with other football codes and other smaller sports and their clubs (Baseball, Cricket, Field-Hockey etc) the interest has been there during the particular events but it hasn't really continued after these events.

     

    (These replies seem to be fresh.)

     

    • Edmonton AFC have a lot planned for 2014, I will send the details in an email
    • The Minnesota Freeze women developed the very successful Fitness through Footy program and women's Rec Footy league as a pathway to playing club footy.
    • AFL Games viewing parties, regular season and/or Grand Final
    • Worked closely with local publicans and sponsors
    • Brother Club Project has bought us many links not otherwise available. Recommend linking and communicating with other clubs.

    If you would target moderate assistance elsewhere please describe

    (Club’s wish list vary greatly with country and length of establishment.)

    .

    • Training gear; at the university we have access to pitches, medical coverage/ insurance as part of membership. We currently use old training gear and don't have enough equipment such as bibs to use for whole club training sessions
    • We've been trying to secure funding for a trophy cabinet (which are incredibly expensive!) Goal posts would be great but would be difficult on shared pitches (rugby)
    • Securing a field is the most difficult part of our planning. There are very few locations available and are usually reserved for youth sports.
    • Line marking
    • Subsidise affiliation fees or in kind equivalent (esp. training equipment)
    • TV Coverage AFL Games on "free" TV -The AFL has games on pay tv. The only people seeing the games are the people that already love it. Put it on espn 2. Sure they will lose money for a while but after that its all good. They will explode in the USA. While all of the above mentioned items could potentially be beneficial, I think mass marketing support would be most effective.
    • Provision of Footballs.
    • Coaching and connecting with more Australians in Oklahoma.
    • Provision of a sports ground.
    • Promoting the game at our local University
    • We will be kicking off an Auskick equivalent in 2014 and require an additional 2 sets of goalposts, with both spikes (for outdoor) and rubber bases (as 7 months of the year there's snow outside. In school gyms is where we run our winter school program.
    • More central practice facilities or even such a thing as lighting and changing rooms at our current facility. There is currently a huge area where the Gothia Cup takes place every year called Kviberg which has around 20 pitches (18 grass + 2 artificial turf). Only 2 of these are properly lit and there are only 8 changing rooms in total for this whole area.
    • Help to fight for better facilities in the town, it is hard to get a field to put up post and play games on. AFL Europe provided us with jumpers and footballs, and the DAFL helped with post, but we can't set them up because the town don't take us seriously. So help with that would be great, maybe a person with a official title to help getting stuff like that sorted, is it really hard for a new club to take such a fight Proper grounds are tough to come by, so help securing some would be a big help
    • If you are somewhat established, jumpers, posts are not a problem. What we could use is assistance for paid advertising on local TV or Radio.
    • Promotional assistance or fund raising assistance
    • In our own case we have found the exchanging of ideas with other people/clubs to have had the biggest impact on our club.
    • Help securing appropriate fields and working with local councils/cities to allocate facilities.
    • A managed web portal shared between all clubs in the league (WARFL), that would allow easier locating of local footy teams.
    • Provision of balls
    • Quality footballs are probably a big thing for most clubs, but also permanent footy facilities either locally or nationally would be a big drawing point.
    • Footballs
    • Travel funding.
    • Provision of decent affordable training facilitiesMore support from our National body and Australia!Jumpers and equipment are always helpful but having someone who really knows the sport inside and out come and help establish training habits has proven to be the most valuable asset for our club.Provision of travels
    • Most beneficial would be provision of jumpers, footballs, and financial support on abroad matches.Ready to go Radio and Newspaper adds that the club can add its own name, etc. And assistance in how to get placement in media with a guideline to associated costs. Take away the barriers to using mass media
    • They are all useful in one way or another
    • Promotional materials, best practices.
    • Provision of footballs to run youth programs in schools and in the broader community.
    • Provision of soccer domes to increase the number of Fitness through  out of our marketing budget. A full dome is about $365/hr.
    • Targeted advertising in media to broaden awareness and attract new comers to the sport. Getting people to come out is the biggest hurdle. If you get them out and to stay, charge a yearly dues that cover jumpers and other equipment, its half the battle. Get them out first - if they don't come out then the other stuff is irrelevant

    If you have other suggestions that might benefit football clubs or the league please describe

    (Most of the “top down” suggestions focus on the basics of coaching, umpiring, travel, communications and PR. It seems a Development Officer would cover most of these roles.)

     

    • Assistance with coaching
    • Our pathway has proven very successful in recruiting women to our club. We brought 36 women to the 2013 USAFL nationals and are working to grow out women's league towards 8 teams paying a double round robin (14 games). It will take some time to get there but that is the goal.
    • More umpire training courses in the North of the UK. Previous session coincided with major tournament and is southern biased.
    • Travel cost - most matches are 250 km away.
    • I think some mass assistance on PR for the game. There are many opportunities to promote the game here that are missed. We have 6 dedicated sports channels and AFL stories could get more coverage targeted at locals. Also ready to print stories with print media would help promote the game. For example in Canada the AFL does no work issuing press releases on Mike Pyke’s progress despite this being a relevant story here.
    • My own experience has been that the marketing of the club/code is of paramount importance. Without that knowledge out there developing your brand, the smaller things mean little.
    • We are looking at setting up a one way exchange of JDO's from Oz for next year, with a two way exchange to follow in subsequent years. Umpiring is also a challenge and we're working through our model for bringing new ones to the as well as ensuring they're qualified to AFL L1. Assistance in the implementation of this would obviously be appreciated.
    • Just to add to the question below on nine-a-side footy. Being in the "cold wastes" of Sweden we've actually found that indoor footy 4 or five-a-side has been a very effective way to introduce the game to newcomers and It's a nice way of keeping the competitive element in the game all year round.   Development of coaching certificate program/module in conjunction with already established national coaching certificate program .
    • All of the above….First you have to overcome the lack of knowledge/interest/misconceptions of the sport in the local community…then make them aware of your clubs existence…then you need umpires!
    • Here in the USA hopefully the tide has turned and the USAFL is finally seeing that the benefits of co-ed recreational leagues create far more interest and opportunities for all clubs and the sport in general than all other forms of the game. Eg metro 14s or 18s...We can play 18s a side in 15 years when 50 million people actually have heard of the sport..
    • Must differentiate between Aussie Rules and other football codes and help people understand what exactly it is - or better still what it is not. Its not Rugby was one of our tag lines...Some sort of campaign to promote the game, sport and allure.
    • All of the above but someone "higher up" with experience and contacts could help promote the game at the local level, club level and AFL games (more AFL coverage on TV would help).
    • Again, could be great to have one who knew the rules for each country or how to make the best dialog with the town
    • All of the above would greatly assist our club!
    • Assistance with coaching training. We are currently self trained; the older more experienced players take training and teach the newer players what to do. Some help with properly training a coach would be very useful
    • Better communication between the clubs in general. Everyone is so focussed on the local game they are not using the synergy of everyone.
    • Professional consultants that teach PE teachers Footy.
    • Help new clubs reach Australians in their community. It lends authenticity to the sport for American clubs. I have no Aussies on my roster right now.

     

     Note: respondees have not been linked to remarks for ease of presentation prurposes.

     

     

     

     

     

      ...


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    Some of us, like me, are frustrated that we cannot do enough for the development of Australian Football. Well, here's the chance to do something incredibly simple.
     

    We were all excited by the Renee Tong story where she (eventually) won $10,000 to enable her to contest the 2014 AFL International Cup to be played in this August in Melbourne. 

    Now, we have Aussie X with a chance to win $50,000 to run their sports programs in Southern Toronto.Aussie X came to prominence when they won backing in the TV program "The Dragon's Den".
     

    Since then they have brought Australian Rules Football, cricket and netball to Toronto, Vancouver, Calagry and London. Aussie X were instrumental in establishing a junior AFL in Toronto. Now they have a chance to do the same in Southern Toronto. There is more information at this link.  All you have to do is "Like" their video.

     
      ...


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    Wanderers defeated Waratah Saturday night at TIO Stadium in Darwin to book a place in the 2013/14 grand-final against the raging hot favourites, St Mary’s.

    The grand-final that was most likely for most of the season came about through a solid if unspectacular win to the Wanderers in the preliminary final, downing the ‘Tahs by 42 points with a score of 11 11 77 to 4 11 35.

    For Wanderers it means the chance to challenge for their “lucky” thirteenth premiership since their formation in 1917. This is almost in contrast to the St Mary’s behemoth which will be aiming for back to back flags and their thirtieth flag since their inception in 1952, which would give then an almost phenomenal rate of close to one flag every two years over their 62 year history.


     

    St Mary’s path to the big day has been almost faultless. They remain undefeated across all home and away matches as well as their only final to date when they defeated Wanderers by 34 points. In fact, the two have meet four times this season with the closest match being their Round Three clash which St Mary’s won by 15 points. All indicators suggest a comfortable win for St Mary’s.

    But Wanderers know they deserve to be there on the big day. They only lost four games in the home and away season: three times to St Mary’s and once in an upset to a rejuvenated Palmerston outfit. They have pushed Saints in all matches except the final round loss, where they went down by 110 points. Wanderers, also known as the Eagles, know that grand finals are a story of their own and the best team on the day prevails. They simply need to draw on all the reserves from their previous closer encounters and they can snatch the upset on the day.

    Of interest to southern readers, Wanderers are well served by some experienced former AFL players in Liam Patrick (ex-Gold Coast Suns) and Eddie Sansbury (ex-North Melbourne) and a strong representation from the Motlop blood lines. St Mary’s also boast some great talent, not the least of which is the continuing Rioli family connection with up to three family members likely to take the field, as well as being led by ex-St Kilda grand final player, Raphael Clarke, and his Geelong opponent from the 2009 grand-final, ruckman Mark Blake.

    The match will be played at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday 15th March with the twilight match commencing at 6.30pm. If you are in Darwin, get along for what should prove to be another memorable NTFL grand-final.

    ...


    0 0

    St Kilda have strengthened their ties with New Zealand signing a second player to an International Scholarship. The 16-year-old Giovanni Mountain-Silbery measures 1.96m and 98kg and the combination of size and natural athletic ability impressed St Kilda scouts late last year.
    He will remain in New Zealand for the next two years to complete his schooling. During that time he will work with a specialist trainer twice a week and he'll go to Melbourne to work with St Kilda on school holidays.
    Initially his football interests were with the rugby league code where he attracted the attention of the NRL’s Rabbitohs, but looking to up-skill his kicking game he took up Aussie rules.
    (Picture: Brett Phibbs - NZ Herald)
    "A close family friend told me to try AFL and that's where I was noticed by the NZ AFL trainers. They told me to come along and give AFL a good crack,” he told the NZ Herald.  "This whole opportunity is massive and it's something really new. It's a new experience for me and my family and I'm just really excited to take this opportunity as it comes and get the ball rolling."
    He joins fellow Kiwi Joe Baker-Thomas on an International Scholarship at St Kilda. Other Kiwis holding International Scholarships are Siope Ngata with Hawthorn and Maia Westrupp at Melbourne.

    St Kilda Head of Football, Chris Pelchen said the signing was another important step in the expansion of the game in New Zealand and the Saints objective of being the AFL club of choice across the Tasman.
     
    “Like most young athletes in New Zealand, Giovanni has had limited exposure to AFL football but his power and athleticism provide a solid foundation on which to develop in the future,” Pelchen said.
     
    “We know there are some outstanding athletes in New Zealand and we have been encouraged by the recent signings of Joe Baker-Thomas last year and now Giovanni in 2014.”
     
    Mountain-Silbery attends the same college as Hawthorn international scholarship holder Siope Ngata and will bebased in New Zealand while he completes his final two years of schooling.

    For more on this signing see:-

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    Since the first instalment in 2003 of the biennial Papua New Guinea Games by the PNG Sports Foundation - teams representing each of the 20 Provinces have competed in a multisport program similar to the Pacific Games - and this did not include Australian Football. However that is about to change as AFL PNG reported today.

    "For the first time since the commencement of the PNG Games, AFL PNG will be participating in this year's PNG Games thanks to the Host Organising Committee - Lae."

    The PNG Sports Foundation describes the growth of the event : The Games themselves have now proved their success and have generated their own momentum, as each edition of the Games attracts more participants, more sponsorship, and importantly, more political support both at the National level and from Provincial leaders. Also underpinning that growth has been significant development of the Games Charter and the Host Agreement to ensure clear roles and responsibilities, to ensure sport development objectives are supported, and to ensure sport-for-development opportunities are also exploited.

    AFL PNG are calling for the provincial associations to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity and join the event. AFL PNG can be contacted for more info on 3254943 or e-mail seniorfootball@afl-png.com or info@afl-png.com. ...


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