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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    The New Zealand Hawks senior team will take part in a two match series against a South Pacific selection.  The first game will be the curtain raiser to the AFL match at Westpac Stadium and commence at 4.30pm.

    The NZ Hawks team last played in January at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium against the Australian AFL AIS Academy team. The New Zealanders performed well against the elite youth of Australia but were defeated by 41 points.

    The South Pacific team will feature several International Scholarship recipients that no doubt have the talent but will need to overcome the seasoned experience of the New Zealand Hawks contingent.
    The second game will be at the Wellington AFL’s home ground of Hutt Park at 12.00pm on April 28th.

    Meanwhile the media campaign to promote the ANZAC Day AFL match in Wellington continues with serious intent, as St Kilda have hosted a Kiwi media contingent at one of their training sessions.  See St Kilda keen to convert Kiwis to AFL code. ...

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    The AFL Europe have released their official match report from the AIS-AFL Academy vs European Legion match played in England on Saturday.

    The Europeans held with the Australians fairly well in the first quarter, kicking 2 goals and only being 14 points down at the first change. From there, the AIS-AFL pulled away, running out 86-point victors. Given that the majority of the AIS-AFL squad will go onto play in the AFL, the large margin in unsurprising, though international footy fans will note that the Europeans have gotten a little closer each year.

    In the curtain-raiser, the GB Bulldogs had a strong victory over the Irish Warriors.

    Read on for the official report, courtesy of AFL Europe.

    The AFL’s Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Academy Program team has again defeated the European Legion in an Easter Series exhibition match which marked the 125th anniversary of the first game ever played in Europe.

    Played at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, United Kingdom, on the 6th of April, this was the third year running the teams have faced each other as part of the annual Easter Series in Europe.

    The AFL’s AIS team is made up of Australia’s next AFL stars, with on average 80% of the AIS team playing in the AFL competition. Last year’s #1 NAB AFL Draft pick, Lachie Whitfield, played in the 2012 Easter Series and this years team was being closely monitored by recruiters from all 18 AFL clubs.

    The European squad was made up of the best players from Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Germany, who travelled to London for a one week training camp with Tadhg Kennelly (Premiership Player with the Sydney Swans and GAA All-Ireland winner with Kerry) and Brad Ottens (3-time Premiership Player with the Geelong Cats) ahead of the match.

    Australia were surprised by the European team this year with 2 goals kicked by the Legion players meaning that the highly regarded Aussies were only 14 points ahead at ¼ time. In a very physical contest the teams went head to head with the Australia teams finishing ability proving to be the major difference between the teams.

    Whilst the European team battled for the full match the end result showed the true class of what is surely a group of young men ready to become stars of Australia’s most popular sport. Europe have improved dramatically year on year and compared to the first year when the Australians scored 220 points to 2 goals it shows the sport is heading in the right direction.

    Prior to the main game Irish Warriors took on the GB Bulldogs. Whilst the Irish had brought over a weaker than normal squad and the Bulldogs were experimenting with their line up prior to the 2013 European Championships these rivals always have physical contests. The football was willing for the whole match however the Bulldogs proved too strong and ran out winners 9.5.59 to 1.1.7.

    AFL 9’s GAME

    For the 2nd year running the AFL 9’s celebrity match was held. AFL 9’s is a fast free flowing touch/tag version of the sport played as 9-a-side and can be played as a mixed sport. The match including many of the AFL’s past legends including Dipper, Brady Rawlings, Jason McCarthey, Tony Woods and Steven Silvagni

    AFL Europe in conjunction with Proactive South London will launch the first AFL 9’s social competition in London this summer. The series will be played at Clapham Common and anyone wishing to form a team should get in touch with


    Australia AIS: 4.2 (26) 8.9 (57) 12.13 (85) 15.14 (104)
    European Legion: 2.0 (12) 2.0 (12) 3.0 (18) 3.0 (18)

    Goal Kickers

    Australia: Matthew Scharenberg 3, Darcy Hourigan 3, James Tsitas 2, Lloyd Perris 1, Jack Billings 1, Matthew Crouch 1, Dominic Sheed 1, Ben Lennon 1, Marcus Botempelli 1, Cain Tickner 1

    European Legion: Eliot Rich 1, Shane Carthy 1, Padraig Lucey 1


    Australia: Matthew Scharenberg (SA), Ben Lennon (Vic), Dwayne Wilson (SA), Joshua Kelly (Vic), Errin Wasley-Black (NT), Marcus Botempelli (Vic), Luke Dunstan (SA)

    European Legion: Niall Scully (Ireland), Padraig Lucey (Ireland), Sean Walton (England), Mikkel Kjoege (Denmark), Ethan Rafferty (Ireland), Mathias Biron (Denmark) ...

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    The AFL Europe have posted highlight videos from each quarter of the match between the European Legion and the AIS-AFL Academy squad. Read on to see each clip.

    First quarter:

    Second quarter:

    Third quarter:

    Fourth quarter:

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    With the new AFL South Pacific and Oceania junior talent pathway structure now seeing first the Oceania tournament held last December (for Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomons, Fiji and Nauru) ; and the next step being the South Pacific Cup where the Oceania combine takes on the regional powers of PNG and NZ; it is a watershed moment now that the inaugural South Pacific Cup has kicked off on Monday at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville

    Monday (April 8): Day 1 started today with 3 terrific games of football between PNG, NZ & Oceania (Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Nauru). PNG were in control of both of their games and look like the team to beat!

    Game 1:Papua New Guinea 5-8-38 Def New Zealand 1-1-7Goal Kickers:PNG– Siwee 2 Gavuri 2 Savere 1NZ– Middleton 1Best Players:PNG– Siwee, Gavuri, Lavong, Severe, J.Tirang, Nawi, John, B.TirangNZ – Phillips, Mason, Brunel, Riddell, Clark * PNG jumped NZ early with speed and tenacity to post a 5 goal lead. NZ steadied and showed they will be tough to beat during the rest of the week with their tall’s standing up to take some much needed contested marks.

    Game 2:Papua New Guinea 5-3-33 Def Oceania 2-1-13Goal Kickers:PNG– Siwee 3 Nawi 1 Rai 1Oceania – Tuvasu 1 Maaki 1Best Players:PNG– Siwee, Nawi, Rai, Lavong, Rau, Kembu, Ekari, B.TirangOceania– Ramo, Havea, Waqu, Taulani, Generogo, Dagiaro * Terrifically close game between these 2 sides for the first half and most of the second. PNG’s finishing skills and polish stood out at the end to hold back a fighting Oceania side. Oceania played a great game and fought their way to the end.

    Game 3:Oceania 1-5-11 Drew New Zealand 1-5-11Goal Kickers:Oceania – Havea 1NZ– Hunia 1Best Players:Oceania – Nabangamiala, Dagiaro, Taufoou, Bonga, Sablon, Foilape, SailoNZ– Riddell, Phillips, Fifita, Ngata, Albert * Very close game all the way to the end with NZ kicking a goal in the last minute to draw the game. The game was very close with the NZ tall’s taking big grabs and the Oceania running players moving the ball from end to end. By the end with both teams getting tired the game ended in a draw.

    Article courtesy of AFL Pacific ...

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    The first ever AFL New Zealand High Performance awards will be held on April 24th at Macs Function Centre in Wellington on the eve of the ANZAC Day Clash between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda.

    The awards night is an annual celebration of the performance and efforts of those involved in New Zealand representative teams as well as recognizing the success of those with New Zealand heritage in the sport of AFL.

    The night will feature;
    • Guest speakers from the AFL and AFL clubs
    • Jumper presentation for the Senior New Zealand Hawks to play South Pacific on ANZAC day and April 28th
    • The naming of the Under 18 New Zealand squad to play Victoria in October 2013
    • AFL New Zealand Senior, Under 18, Under 16 players of the year
    • AFL New Zealand Administrator of the year
    • New Zealand representative players reunion
    • Naming of 2013 AFL New Zealand All Stars
    • The attendance of the South Pacific team


    5.45pm Doors open
    6.30pm Welcome
    6.45pm Dinner commences
    7.00pm Awards commence

    This event looks like a “must attend” for anyone passionate about the development of football in New Zealand.

    For further information please read this article on the AFLNZ websi ...

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    Players representing the South Pacific in the curtain raiser against the NZ Hawks will participate in an AFL Combine on Wednesday 23rd April. AFL Combines are underpinned by an exciting testing format that provides participants with the opportunity to compete in a number of skills and athletic testing.

    Each of the events within the programme has a focus on fun and looks to provide those involved with motivation to improve themselves in varying facets of skill and fitness.

    A variety of talent scouts will watch carefully as the South Pacific players are put through their pac ...

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    Tuesday was day 2 of the AFL South Pacific Cup tournament at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville (QLD); pitting PNG, NZ and the Oceania Squads against each other. The game on Tuesday saw PNG play Oceania in an extremely close encounter that finished in a draw. The polish of the PNG side was evident all day but the spirited work ethic of the Oceania side pressured PNG into mistakes and Oceania were good enough to capitalize. Observers rating this as the game of the carnival so far.

    Game 4:Papua New Guinea 7-8-50 Drew Oceania 7-8-50Goal Kickers:PNG– Kataha Siwee 3, Kenneth Jan 2 Jackson Nawi, Nani RaiOceania – Rosco Mae 2 Felloakitohi Tautua’a, Kisione Taulani, Kiki Whitford, Jonetani Tuvasu, Salesuar SablonBest Players:PNG– Nani Rai, Kataha Siwee, Greg Ekari, Kenneth Jan, Peter Lavong, Chris Yawasing, Gideon HoutaOceania– Rosco Mae, Francis Ramo, Ryan Bonga, MassakeVunibaka, Salesuar Sablon, Hess Tekai Foilape, Sione Taufoou * Terrific contest between AFLPNG Coca-Cola Under 16 Binatangs and the AFL Oceania side. AFLPNG reported that the Binatangs got off to a slow start and were feeling the physical pressure from the Oceania lads, trailing by up to 14 points. The contest remained close all day with about 5 minutes to go, Oceania were 13 points ahead. In the last minute, PNG hit back from 5 points down, with a minute to run - via a goal to Kenneth Jan to snare a 1 point lead.with 40. Oceania muscled the ball forward to see PNG kick the ball out on the full as the siren went. AFL Vanuatu's 'the detective' Ryan Bonga (Vanuatu) had a kick after the siren from the boundary line and managed to score a behind to Tie the match. A fitting end to a magnificent game where both teams gave it there absolute all!

    Noting the matches now are played over 60 minutes. The Binatangs had started slowly but drawn level by half time, largely through nippy on-baller Nane Rai and high marking forward Kataha Siwee. After an arm wrestle for most of the second half - Oceania looked to have pulled away late with a couple of quick goals and a potentially match winning break - only for the Binatangs to slam through 2 goals in 2 minutes to grab the lead.

    Day 3 (Wednesday) will see NZ take on Oceania, while the PNG Binatangs final match will be Thursday against New Zealand.

    Images and reports sourced from AFL Pacific and AFL PNG ...

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    The 2013 AFL season moves on to Round 3 this week.   The international broadcast schedule can be seen below. All times are correct at the time of publishing and WFN takes no responsibility for changes to the schedule.

    Television Freo vs Ess NM vs Syd Mel vs WCE GWS vs St Kilda Geel vs Carl GC vs Bris Rich vs WB Coll vs Haw Pt Adel vs Adel Highlights
    AUSTRALIA NETWORK                    
    Asia 12/4 @ 1830 HKT (LIVE) 13/4 @ 1130 HKT (LIVE)     13/4 @ 2030 HKT (Delay)       14/4 @ 1430 HKT (LIVE) 16/4 @ 2230 HKT
    Pacific 12/4 @ 2230 FJT (LIVE) 13/4 @ 1530 FJT (LIVE)     13/4 @ 2300 FJT (Delay)   14/4 @ 1500 FJT (LIVE)     16/4 @ 2200 FJT
    India 12/4 @ 1700 IST (Delay) 13/4 @ 0900 IST (LIVE)     13/4 @ 1800 IST (Delay)       14/4 @ 1200 IST (LIVE) 17/4 @ 1800 IST
    Africa         15/4 @ 0530 EST (LIVE)         19/4 @ 0900 EST
    Caribbean         15/4 @ 0530 EST (LIVE)         16/4 @ 1430 EST
    UK & Ireland 12/4 @ 1130 BST (LIVE)       13/4 @ 1030 BST (LIVE)     14/4 @ 0600 BST (LIVE)   16/4 @ 2130 BST
    EUROSPORT 2                    
    Europe       13/4 @ 0830 CET (LIVE)           16/4 @ 2330 CET
    UK & Ireland       15/4 @ 2200 BST (Delay)           16/4 @ 2230 BST
    FOX SOCCER PLUS                    
    USA         13/4 @ 0230 PDT (LIVE)       13/4 @ 2330 PDT (LIVE) 16/4 @ 1930 PDT
    ORBIT SHOWTIME                    
    Middle East 12/4 @ 1330 KSA (LIVE)       13/4 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE)     14/4 @ 0800 KSA (LIVE) 14/4 @ 0900 KSA (LIVE) 15/4 @ 1900 KSA
    OTLSM- BOATS AND CRUISES                    
    Worldwide (excl Australia) 12/4 @ 10:40 GMT (LIVE)                  
    SKY SPORTS                    
    New Zealand               15/4 @ 0000 NZT (Delay)   17/4 @ 1200 NZT
    Canada               14/4 @ 0100 ET (LIVE)
    VIVA SPORTS                    
    Latin America 14/4 @ 1000 MST (Delay)                  
    ONLINE STREAMING LIVEAFL.TV                    
    Worldwide (excl Australia) 12/4 @1040 GMT 13/4 @ 0345 GMT 13/4 @ 0410 GMT 13/4 @ 0640 GMT 13/4 @ 0940 GMT 13/4 @ 0940 GMT 14/4 @ 0310 GMT 14/4 @ 0520 GMT 14/4 @ 0640 GMT  

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    Sydney born Mick Byrne's playing past in Aussie Rules helps him fit neatly into the Rugby Union Super 15’s Blues co-coaching jigsaw. Like many Sydney youngsters Mick Byrne began his sporting life on the league field. Then one of his schoolmates persuaded him to bring his teenage 2m frame to Aussie Rules training.

    "I really liked it because of the freedom of running and the kicking that was involved," Byrne said. So in his last year at school, Byrne ended up playing rugby on Thursday, Aussie Rules on Saturday and Rugby League on Sunday.

    He made an Aussie Rules rep side as a ruckman and centre half forward and signed a contract as an interstate player and headed off to Melbourne. Byrne went to the Melbourne Demons, subsequently Hawthorn where he won a Grand Final winner's medal, and the Sydney Swans in a 167 game career over a 13-year career.

    On retirement he found he was still keen on coaching any of the winter codes and through common friends he met Kiwi league captain Mark Graham who had been used by the Swans to help them with their tackling techniques.  Graham was coaching league at Manly and asked Byrne if he could help his players kick and catch like Aussie Rules players. A session a week with league men like Cliff Lyons, Geoff Toovey and Owen Cunningham worked and when Graham shifted to coach at North Sydney, Byrne helped out there too.

    His reputation spread until he helped out at the Manly rugby club where future Wallaby coach Tim Lane was coaching. From there he was on his way into rugby and fulltime work as a kicking and skills consultant.  His skills have taken him to work around the globe in Australia, South Africa, England, Japan and Scotland and now New Zealand.

    Subsequently Byrne met the New Zealand All Blacks then coach Graham Henry. The conversation was crisp.

    "So kicking coach, what can you teach me?" Henry inquired. The answer was equally to the point.

    "I have never met a defensive coach I can't outkick," Byrne said and the pair were soon in deep conversation about plans to improve the All Blacks' skills and a range of programmes to suit age-grade players.

    For more, see Rugby: Skills from across the codes come in handy. ...

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    Days 3 and 4 of the AFL South Pacific Cup played out yesterday (Wednesday) and today (Thursday) at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville. The Papua New Guinea Binatangs lived up to pre tournament favouratism and completed an unbeaten run through the tournament to take out the title. Unbeaten by a whisker though after the draw against Oceania on Tuesday.

    Upon the completion of the last match on Thursday, the 30 player squad was selected to take on the Kickstart Flying Boomerangs at 9 am tomorrow (Friday) morning. This initial squad will be reduced further to 25 to compete in the NAB AFL U/16 national championships to be held in Sydney in July. See separate article for the squad.

    Game 5 (Wednesday April 10) : Oceania 4-5-29 def NZ 1-9-15Goal Kickers:Oceania– William Opeti Helu, Felloakitohi Tautua, Rata Mua Cavuilati, Francis RamoNZ– Ben MiddletonBest Players: Oceania – Sione Taufoou, Salesuar Sablon, Kisione Taulani, Alipate Generogo, Rata Mua CavuilatiNZ – Kade Riddell, Kieran Brunel, Te Rai Clark, Hugo Phillips, Scott Manson, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas * Fantastic game of hard and tough football in the wet conditions. Very physical match, which provided some great highlights during the game. In the end Oceania stood strong to kick 2 late goals and win the match 14 points.

    Game 6 (Thursday April 11) : PNG 10-6-69 def NZ 1-4-10Goal Kickers:PNG– Eddie Gavuri 5 Kataha Siwee, Ben Tirang, Lawrence Kavanamur, Nani RaiNZ– Walter Fifita Best Players:PNG– Nani Rai, Kataha Siwee, Ben Tirang, Eddie Gavuri, Jeremiah Tirang, Gideon Hautu, Gregory Ekari, Kila RawalNZ – Ben Middleton, Kieran Brunel, Kade Riddell, Benjamin Taankik-Williams, James Little, Hamish Ware * What a terrific way to finish. The PNG mosquito fleet ran extremely hard and jumped NZ early to be 5 goals up at half time. NZ fought very hard. But found it hard to compete at ground level. NZ worked hard to bring their tall’s into the game and competed very well across half back. The Binatangs slipped away early, with Nane Rai (Lae) snagging the first major before Eddie Gavuri (Hoskins-Islands) blew the game apart with 5 of the next 6 goals. Port Moresby's Kataha Siwee at centre half forward was a commanding target and at the other end the defence was held together by Ben Tirang (Mt. Hagen). In the slippery conditions, PNG were on top in the clearances and able to expose NZ with their spread which unleashed superior speed and skills. The midfield was solid with the likes of Greg Ekari (Gerehu Magpies-Port Moresby), Gideon Hauta (Taurama Suns-Port Moresby), Kila Rawal (Bomana Cats) and Jeremiah Tirang (Mt.Hagen) all impressing.

    Congratulations to the PNG Binatangs on winning the 2013 South Pacific Cup. ...

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    Upon the completion of the last match on Thursday of the South Pacific Cup the 30 player squad was selected to take on the Kickstart Flying Boomerangs at 9 am tomorrow (Friday) morning. This initial squad will be reduced further to 25 to compete in the NAB AFL U/16 national championships to be held in Sydney in July. Congratulations to all those who took part in the tournament and especially to those selected in the squad below.

    Player Team/Nation
    Francis Ramo Oceania/Solomon Islands
    Kisione Taulani Oceania/Tonga
    Pilo Dagiaro Oceania/Nauru
    Hess-Tekai Foilape Oceania/Nauru
    Salesuar Sablon Oceania/Vanuatu
    Jonetani Tuvasu Oceania/Fiji
    Ryan Bonga Oceania/Vanuatu
    Toutai Havea Oceania/Tonga
    Sione Taufoou Oceania/Tonga
    Jale Railala Oceania/Fiji
    Kade Riddell New Zealand
    Hugo Phillips New Zealand
    Te Rei Clark New Zealand
    Ben Middleton New Zealand
    Walter Fifita New Zealand
    Siope Ngata New Zealand
    Stormy Reti New Zealand
    Kieran Brunel New Zealand
    Kataha Siwee PNG
    Gilmore Morehari PNG
    Ben Tirang PNG
    Jeremiah Tirang PNG
    John Susuve PNG
    Gregory Ekari PNG
    Chris Yawasing PNG
    Nani Rai PNG
    Gideon Hauta PNG
    Luke Savere PNG
    James Kembu PNG
    Joshua Jesse PNG
    Eddie Gavuri PNG

    Each nation involved has at least one representative. PNG 13; NZ 8; Tonga 3; Fiji 2; Vanuatu 2; Nauru 2 and Solomons 1. (yes that adds to 31). Out of interest the PNG internal breakdown is POM (Port Moresby) 6; Lae 4; Mt. Hagen 3 and 1 each from Kimbe and Hoskins. ...

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    Following their 9.5 (59) to 1.1 (7) victory over Ireland's Warrior on 6th April in Guildford, the Great Britain Bulldogs have climbed two spots to 7th on our unofficial World Rankings. The US and Tonga each slipped a position as a result. Ireland maintained their position as number two behind Australia, but their margin over PNG is now perilously narrow.

    The Bulldogs head across to Dublin for the second and final match of the series against Ireland, scheduled for 20th April.

    See below for interim rankings update. World Rankings 6th April 2013

    1. Australia
    2. Ireland   54.78
    3. Papua New Guinea  54.66
    4. New Zealand  53.00
    5. Nauru  51.17
    6. South Africa  49.03
    7. Great Britain 46.51  (were 9th)
    8. United States  54.87  (were 7th)
    9. Tonga  44.73 (were 8th)
    10. Fiji  40.18
    11. Canada  37.82
    12. Sweden 37.41
    13. Germany  37.37
    14. Denmark  37.06
    15. Peace Team 36.46
    16. China  34.36
    17. Japan  30.39
    18. Finland  29.02
    19. India  28.45

    Provisionally Ranked Nations

    • Croatia  40.60
    • France  38.23
    • Iceland  35.64
    • Timor Leste  27.40

    Dormant Nations

    • Samoa  41.85
    • Spain  28.00


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    Illinois basketballer Sam McLaurin has some impressive highlights (seen in the video reel below) both at his former college team Coastal Carolina and his current Illinois Fighting Illini team.  Standing at 203cms the 23 year old is a potential AFL ruckman and will be put through his paces in LA from April 14-16 in the second official US Combine.


    Last year following the US Combine the AFL brought three athletes to Melbourne for the Australian national AFL Combine in Melbourne and subsequently Eric Wallace was listed by the North Melbourne Football Club.    This year the opportunity will again be there for the best two or three athletes tested to be part of the Australian combine in October.

    Another of the athletes to be tested will be David Grzesiak, a 190cm 24 year old decathlete at the University of Wisconsin.  Grzesiak is currently ranked 129 in the world for Decathlon by the website.  Grzesiak’s  Aussie rules workout video can also be seen below.


    Representing the AFL in LA will be International Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan, AFL Academy Development Manager Michael Ablett and former Sydney Swans player and current International Talent Coordinator Tadhg Kennelly.  Kennelly is fresh from running the AFL Europe squad for the AIS-AFL team’s tour of Europe over the past two weeks.  The USAFL will be sending Revolution National Team Coach Matt Bishop along with USA Revolution Development Squad Coach Dan Sarbacker to oversee the combine.

    At this stage 17 athletes are expected to test at the combine and a number of AFL clubs will have recruiting staff at the combine.



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    After having seen the successful National U15 Kickstart Championships played last week in Townsville, the focus of junior representative football remains in North Queensland. This weekend in Airlie Beach, the North Queensland U16 Championships will commence. The following is an article from AFL Queensland which gives an insight into this important addition to the Queensland representative scene.

    North QLD Champs kick off at Airlie Beach

    "After a soggy week in the North, all eyes will focus on Airlie Beach this weekend for the North Queensland 16s Championships. Teams from Cape York, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, and Capricornia will compete over two days, with players vying for selection in the North Queensland Kookaburras.

    Last year's undefeated champions Cairns will again bring a strong group to the Whitsundays led by last year's state school boys ruckman Cuan Frazer and talented midfielder Joel Karwan.

    Capricornia, Mackay, and Townsville all took young squads to the Championships last year and will boast plenty of talent in their second year, including Jordan Harding, Josh Brown, and Joel Newman. The great unknown is always Cape York, who will bring their usual mix of speed, flair, and unpredictability to the carnival. They will be led by Melbourne based Didymus Blankett (pictured), who dominated last year, earning State selection as a 15 year old.

    The format of the Championships is a round robin fixture with all teams playing each other once in games of 2 x 20 minute duration. The action starts at 9:30 on Sat with hosts Mackay taking on Cairns at Sports Park Airlie Beach.”

    A full wrap up of the carnival will be added to this article on completion of the matches. For other information on this carnival and other junior carnivals in Queensland, go to their website at: ...

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    One thing that is clear after interviewing Adam Pearce, president of AFL Norway, is that the year 2013 will be one of consolidating their achievements of last year to build a stronger Australian Rules football product for the future.

    “After a very successful debut in the Euro Cup in Edinburgh last year with our national team taking out the unofficial trophy for the best team of "developing nations", we are again making the 2013 Euro Cup in Bordeaux our focus for the year” explains Adam.

    The full story of the background of Norwegian footy, and their winning of the Euro Plate at last year’s Euro Cup, is best read in Tobietta Rhyman’s article:
    But Adam still sees local development in Norway as the focus for the immediate future.

    “2012 was our best year to date with the introduction of our Kenguru Cup League (Kangaroo in Norwegian). Although the Oslo team still trained together, on Kenguru Cup nights they split up into Oslo East and Oslo West (depending on which side of the city you live on) and they joined Ås for a night of 3 solid 9-a-side games. This occurred every 3 or 4 weeks.”

    Adam continues, “It proved to be very successful in creating a bit of rivalry between the teams as well giving the guys the opportunity to play fairly regular games without having to drive 3 hours to Sweden. Oslo East became the winners in the end but the guys from the university team Ås were not far behind with a great bunch of young Norwegian talent starting to come through. Oslo West also has the potential to win as well if they can hold the same regular players.”

    “Starting on May 15, the Kenguru Cup will be on again this year in pretty much the same format. Word is that the Ås Battlers are recruiting well and are out to knock off the city boys in Oslo. Adam O'Toole, the head coach and president of the Ås Battlers, has had the opportunity to train indoors or on their snow-cleared artificial turf soccer pitches at the university so things are looking good. Around Oslo, it’s been a long cold winter and the snow is only just clearing now meaning that we haven't been able to train or play yet.”

    The decisions to develop the local league in Norway is certainly going to have benefits for the longer term development of the game at an international level. As Adam points out, “unlike 2012 where the national team was made up of those who were "able" to come, we feel that this year we will have to introduce a proper selection process. Whilst the opportunity to play with the national flag on the chest is proving to be a bit of a carrot for many, the popularity of the game here is growing and thus the number of locals playing the game has increased hence the call for the selection process.

    To aid in this process, we will also hold our first ever Oslo v Ås "All Norwegian" game. This will be a game where no Aussies will play and it will show us who is willing to get in there and get the footy. We have some really good young guys who have adapted very well to Aussie Rules footy from soccer or handball backgrounds and hopefully a couple of them will get the opportunity to play at the next level for the European Legion team in the near future.”

    Following, or possibly leading, the trend of other European countries to align with local universities, Adam points out that “Whilst the Ås team seems to be developing well, the main aim for the Oslo teams is to keep their current players and recruit 10 - 15 more regulars. It seems that any club who is aligned with a university tends to recruit quite well so another aim for us in Oslo is get a foot into Oslo's main university and base a club there or even start a new club. We are working on that now.”

    It is also clear that growth of the game in the country is a strong possibility. Adam adds that “hopefully in a year or two, Oslo East and West will become their own self-sufficient clubs and with Ås and potentially a club at the university, we will have a great little league going in the Oslo area. And with talk of maybe something starting in Trondheim and possibly Bergen on the west coast, we could eventually have a national league going in a few years. You never know.”

    The only down note is word that another team, north of the Arctic Circle and previously the most northerly location for Australian Rules footy, has folded. Adam explains that “There was also a team in the Arctic Circle city of Tromsø for a while until the resident Aussie, Ben Jago, left back for Oz last year. Unfortunately that is no longer existent.” Resumes, however, may be welcomed!

    But, on balance, the future is looking very bright for the game in Olso, and Norway as a whole. Always on the lookout for any ways to further develop the game, Adam states that “We will also send an Oslo Crows team (Oslo East and West together) and possibly an Ås team to the Swedish Cup in Jønkjøping in June. It’s a great 9-a-side tournament where all the Swedish clubs get together to play and we were invited for the first time last year. It's a great experience especially for the Norwegians as they get to play in the same format as the Euro Cup and also against some good quality Aussie and Swedish players. So we are looking forward to that as well.”

    It is clear that Adam and the team in Norway have established their goals for 2013 and beyond. Rather than rush in to new terrain, the crew has looked to strengthen the areas they have already developed with success.

    Time will tell, but the “steady as she goes” approach has already worked a treat, and looks as if it will continue to do s ...

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    The fifth edition of the ANZAC cup, organised jointly by France's CNFA and AFL Europe, will be held this year on April 20th in the village of Villers-Bretonneux.

    The game which sees France take on Australian expats, is now a well established feature of the ANZAC celebrations held each year in northern France thanks to the great support from the local community. This year the australian TV channel Seven News will be covering the game for the “Sunrise” show to be broadcast on April 25th before the Essendon-Collingwood game.

    Although previous editions were played on a full sized oval, this year's confrontation will follow the 9 a side format so common in Europe. This change in format is only due to the cost of renting the field previously used as the oval. Thomas Urban hopes the CNFA will be able to gather enough funds to get the game back to full format for next year's centenary of the start of World War I.

    After some difficulties in the past in finding players for the Australian team, AFL Europe is pulling out all the stops to make sure it assembles the best team possible. As usual, France will use this game to test its national side against some tough opposition and hope to hold on the cup they won last yea ...

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    The full list of athletes to be tested at the AFL Combine starting in LA today can be seen below.

    Name Birthdate Height Weight University Sport Background Highlights
    Demetrius Harris 7/29/1991 6'6 235 Wisconsin-Milwaukee Basketball
    Olatunji Kosile 3/6/1990 6'11" 235 UMES Basketball and Soccer
    Michael Allison 8/4/1990 6'9" 210 University of Maine Basketball
    Cliff Ederaine 6/5/1990 6'5" 205 Eastern Washington Basketball
    Matt Sauey 10/4/1990 6'7" 200 University Of North Florida Soccer and Basketball
    David Grzesiak 7/28/1988 6'4" 195 University of Wisconsin Track Decathlete - Olympic Trials, Football - Athlete Profile 
    Andre Mattison 10/7/1989 6'6" 230 Florida Atlantic Basketball  
    Patrick Mitchell 5/25/1989 6'7" 235 University of North Dakota Baseball, Fotball, Basketball
    John Florveus 10/10/1990 6'11" 238 University of Georgia Basketball
    Nathan Healy 8/13/1990 6'7'' 215 Appalachian State University Basketball, Baseball
    Akeem Johnson 5/16/1990 6'6" 220 St Francis College Basketball  
    Sam Mclaurin 11/8/1989 6'8" 225 University of Illinois Basketball
    Taylor Broekhuis 2/2/1990 6'10" 212 Air Force Academy Basketball and Volleyball  
    Marques Oliver 10/7/1991 6'8" 230 Delaware state university Basketball
    Jason Holmes 28/10/1989 6'8" 230 Morehead State University Golf, Baseball, Football, Basketball, Soccer  
    Mark Cisco 17/07/1991 6'9" 255 Columbia Basketball, Football  
    Demario Hines 08/11/1989 6'8" 200 IPFW highschool and college basketball  
    Jamell Harris 02/05/1991 6'9" 215 Eastern Michigan Univeristy Basketball  

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    With the snow on distant hills still thawing and the sun enthusiastically beating down on Moscow, the 2013 Gagarin Cup was played this weekend in Russia.

    The Gagarin Cup takes its name from the Russian Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human into space when he completed an orbit of the Earth in a Vostok spaceship on April 12th 1961, hence the choice of date for this weekend’s footy carnival. Cosmonautics Day, or Den Kosmonavtiki in Russian, is a national holiday in Russia.

    In an enormous show of strength for the Australian Rules football code in Russia, and a shot in the arm for those who have been working so hard for years to establish the game in the country, there were 5 teams consisting of 9 per side, ranking this as one of the best days in Russian football.

    According to Christopher Kenmore, player for the winning team at the event, “we had an amazing turnout…this is really promising for the future of AFL [Australian Rules] in Russia. About 50 players turned up, and we had 3 umpires. Of these players, only 5 were expats, and only 2 of those were Aussies (Roger and Steve, who played in 2 games). In the final, the 2 expat players on the Shooters team were Belgian (Jurgen and myself - well, I am half Belgian, half Scottish!) The fifth expat was an Irishman, who got injured after a minute and a half.”

    “Two of the teams were juniors, who also play some rugby. They are about 16 years old, and are progressing handsomely. A year ago, they had little skill and ran around like aggressive headless chickens, but today, after some great coaching by Fyodor, they are looking like they could turn out to be the real thing. Only the maturity and experience of the Shooters team did it for them. The kids remain aggressive (in a [committed] sporting manner). Kudos must go to Fyodor for bringing them on and also to Roger Scott, President of AFL Russia, for bringing this whole tournament together.”

    Without question, this is exactly what AFL Russia needed to kick off their new season.

    The final was played between the Moscow Shooters and the Moscow Slava, with the Shooters running out convincing winners in the end 25 to 6.

    The Cosmic Pirates also played in the carnival, along with two other teams created for the event, the The Bees team and Cherkizon, to accommodate the extra playing numbers and interest. Certainly the people at AFL Russia must be delighted to see all of the clubs from previous years back again as well as the nucleus for more teams in the future.

    Full scores are as follows:

    The Bees 20 d Cherkizon 13
    Shooters 24 d Cosmic Pirates 15
    Slava 7 d Cherkizon 6
    Slava 15 d Cosmic Pirates 8
    Shooters 25 d The Bees 8
    Cherkizon 15 d Cosmic Pirates 0

    The crew in Moscow can take a bow, and a deep breath, as they now consider the success of the Gagarin Cup and plan for whatever else they can achieve throughout the rest of 2013, including the hoped for appearance of the Russian Czars at this year’s Euro Cup in Bordeaux.


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  • 04/16/13--06:36: Marty Clarke vs Hawthorn
  • One Sunday I headed to the MCG. In the interests of full disclosure I am a Hawthorn fan. But today I went along to see what Marty Clarke's game was like. The Irishman made the quickest transition from Gaelic football to Australian football of any of the Irish to come to play at senior level in the AFL.

    Of course he went home to play Gaelic football after successful seasons in Australia, before returning last season to the AFL.

    This is how I saw Marty's day pan out.

    Q1. The match started under rainy conditions after a fine day. Clarke starting on the wing in the number 9 jumper, the record suggested he would start on the back flank. Lining up on Brad Hill. He gets and early mark on half back and chips to the opposite wing. He is following the play up and down the wing but not finding the ball. He makes his own position at the ball ins on the wing and on the back flank, on the defensive side of the ruckman, Hill mans him up at throw ins early. He looks slightly taller and better built than Hill.

    Clarke scouts around the packs letting players like Swan and Pedlebury go in for it. He receives a handball on the wing from pack, gets a hurried kick off as Clarke is tackled, the kick is good to the top of the 50 but Collingwood player in front drops mark. Collingwood clean up and kick a goal through Elliot.

    Now looking like he is on the back flank, gets into a contest on the boundary 40 out from the Hawks goal and defends taking the ball over the line. Hill goals for the Hawks from a free kick but Clarke can't take the blame for this as he is now not on him, he has switched to the other side of the ground.

    He now starts on the wing for the centre bounce on Shiels. Collingwood are up by 4 points and soon add another to be 10 points up.

    Clarke is getting to all the main contests on his side of the ground but more a lurker than an in and under type. Clarke goes to bench after Burgoyne goals for the Hawks.

    It's raining again now 8 minutes gone and we now see wet weather footy. Clarke comes back on to the ground 10 minutes gone in the quarter.
    Running defensively with Burgoyne now at throw ins on the Magpies half back line, then Burgoyne leaves him on his own. He is out the back hoping to receive the ball from his team mates. That ball never comes.

    Again the Pies go forward but the Hawks defend and switch, Clarke chases Mitchell hard out of the forward line, but Mitchell marks and clears for the Hawks.

    Late in the quarter, a Hawthorn kick is offline for a behind and Clarke takes the kick in, he finds O'Brien short. He works to opposite wing as Collingwood clear the ball. Again the ball is cleared by the Hawks though and the ball eludes him as Hawthorn switch and go around him on wing.

    Collingwood are just 5 points up but could be further, if not for bad kicking. Not from Clarke though, he has not threatened the goals. Clarke again comes to the bench. Collingwood move the ball forward once more and Cloke goals for Collingwood.

    Clarke comes back on the ground, 50 seconds to go. Back with Hill at the bounce, but he sees no further action for the quarter. Siren sounds. It's raining again Collingwood 3.6 24 to Hawthorn 2.1 13. His stats for the quarter are 2 kicks and one mark and one tackle.

    Q2. Clarke starts on the opposite wing this time. It’s a few minutes before he gets near it.

    Clarke's 20m straight out from goal ball feeds out from pack, Clarke quickly gets hands over top of defenders to Blair who snaps a goal for Collingwood. Hawthorn quickly answers at the other end through Hale.

    AS Hawthorn go forward again he runs hard to get numbers back. At the half back flank he contests with Rioli, and holds him off the contest enough for teammates to clear.

    Clarke receives a chipped out kick into the back pocket and chips on himself to a team mate, the mark is taken but then the kick is duffed undoing the previous clean possessions. A minute later he gets a hurried kick from the pack high and long on half back flank. When the ball goes over the line he roves the resulting boundary throw in and gets an ineffective kick forward off ground.

    Collingwood goal again, and now lead 36-25. Clarke comes off ground with 8 mins gone in the quarter. Collingwood goal again through Cloke.
    Clarke is then back on to the wing after a minute and a half. The sun is now out.

    Cloke goals again and the Pies take it out to a 22 points lead.

    It seems that the play is all on the opposite side of the ground to Clarke. Now he is running with Breust. Hawthorn kicks a few points and eventually a goal through Jed Anderson.

    3 and a half mins to go in the quarter, Clarke bursts though pack and gets a handball out while being tackled. But the Hawks can clean up this time and Franklin kicks his first goal with 2 and a half minutes to go.

    1 minute to go Hodge goals and the Pies now lead by just one point. We are at half time and the game is close. Half time score Collingwood 7.6 to Hawthorn 7.5

    Clarke’s 2nd quarter stats are three kicks, two handballs, one mark and two tackles.

    Q3. The thirds quarter starts with Clarke on the wing with Hill again. Seems to be on the dead side again early in the quarter. Watches alongside Hill for a minute and a half as Haw battle with it in their forward line before they finally kick a goal and take the lead. Now paired with Shiels. Hawks add another through Franklin.

    Back with Hill on the wing again where the ball isn't. Hudson manages a quick muscling reply for Collingwood at other end.

    Clarke gets a free kick in the middle for being held, he finds Blair at half forward but his kick to the forward line is spoiled. Hawks clear and run the ball forward, after battling on the Hawks goal through Birchall.

    Finally in the play now Clarke gets a handball out as he is tackled at the full back position. He starts a successful transition which sees the ball go end to end for Collingwood but Pendlebury muffs the shot for a Collingwood behind. Collingwood 55 to Hawthorn 68.

    Clarke comes to bench after 8 mins of play again. Back on the ground the ball is like soap with players struggling to handle it effectively.
    Clarke is only off the ground for 90 seconds. Collingwood miss another close one and then Cloke kicks another goal seeing Collingwood just seven points down.

    Isaac smith now with Clarke on the wing. Cloke again marks in the forward pocket; Clarke stands just metres away from Cloke as he takes the set shot and hits the post. In what turns out to be the play of the day Guerra's kick in is a long torpedo to Stratton in the middle of the ground, Clarke cannot get back in time and can only watch from behind as Stratton gets it on to Franklin who sends a long kick through an unmanned forward line for a goal.

    A minute later Clarke is staying on the defensive side of play on opposite wing to the play. He moves across to the play and gets a handball at halfback, it is effective, but Collingwood can’t clear the ball. Ball comes to Hodge who kicks a big torpedo goal from 55 metres out over Clarke's vain attempt to smother the kick; he is probably a metre too far away.

    The game is drifting away from Collingwood, but they get a quick reply through Fasolo who also kicks a long goal running goal. Collingwood are now just two goals down, 69-81. Moments later Cloke marks from a quick clearance and brings them 6 points closer.

    Roughead goals for the Hawks after controversial awarding of a free for a ruck infringement over the shoulder.

    At the next centre bounce Clarke runs through and gets effective kick off to the forward flank, but the next Collingwood kick is smothered.
    Collingwood move the ball forward but it is locked up by Hawthorn. Clarke hangs on the 50m arc to defend a clearance but the ball goes out other side.

    A minute later there is a boundary throw in on the wing, this time Clarke gets the tap from the ruck, he kicks it to the half forward flank but again the ball is rebounded. The Hawks get it forward to Franklin and on to Burgoyne who kicks a goal for Hawthorn.

    With two and a half minutes to run on the clock for the quarter, Clarke goes to the bench again. He makes it back on for last seconds of the quarter but siren the goes as Breust goals. The Hawks lead by 24 points 11.9 to 15.9. Clarke having 3 kicks and four handballs in that quarter.

    Q4.Clarke starts the final quarter off the ground.

    Hawthorn take charge of the match as Hill somehow threads the ball through a crowd in the forward line for Franklin to run on and soccer a goal.
    Collingwood kick a point with a Dale Thomas miss and Clarke comes back onto the ground 4 minutes into the last quarter. Nathan Brown kicks a long goal for Collingwood from outside the 50. Clarke returns to the wing. The Hawks lead by 23 points.

    Gunston the substitute for Hawthorn comes onto the wing for Hawthorn and runs with Clarke, he is taller but perhaps slower than Clarke. He drifts down to the forward line in dead pocket with Clarke following, but Breust goals for Hawthorn in the opposite pocket.

    Hawthorn goal through Hill again after some fumbles.

    13 minutes gone in the final quarter. Pack at forms at full forward for Collingwood, Clarke gets a quick handball to Pendlebury, who passes to Quentin Lynch and he goals for Collingwood. Collingwood trail by 30 points halfway through the last quarter.

    Clarke running with Shiels now. He now smothers a Luke Hodge kick on the forward side of the wing for Hawthorn. Shortly later though he undoes this good work as he gives away a free kick to Birchall for holding on after he got rid of it. Birchall's pass to Roughead is good and he scores a goal from 50m out.

    Clarke stays on wing still running with Gunston. He drops back to fill hole on Burgoyne then Breust who runs him to the goal square. Clarke takes the ball off pack and gets a quick handball to Blair but his handball is bad and after Franklin gets it, makes its way to Puopolo who goals for the Hawks.

    Minutes later from a boundary throw in, Hudson tries to find Clarke who is unmanned but loses tap, Clarke can’t smother clearance from a Hawthorn midfielder who clears it.

    Lewis goals from 48m out set shot for the Hawks.

    Clarke marks from the kick out at 50, then his kick is smothered and ultimately there is a throw in. He battles for the throw in on ground and Collingwood win it out but only as far as the Hawthorn wall, they send the ball back in and score a behind.

    Clarke runs hard down dead side of ground full length but can only make up numbers. The Hawks clear again and goal through Burgoyne. Clarke looks tired and comes to the bench with 4m to go. Hawks up by 56 points.

    Clarke doesn't return to the ground, but there was not a lot to return for as the Pies add two more final behinds.

    Final Score Haw 22.13.145 to Collingwood 13.12 90.

    Clarke’s final math stats are 18 disposals, 11 kicks, 7 handballs, 3 marks and 4 tackles (and 70 Dreamteam points if you are into that sort of thing).

    In summary Collingwood do not seem to look to use Clarke on the wing. He seemed today to be on the side that had least of the play in most quarters and when it was there he was not the link up man. That may have just been coincidental on this day; it is also possible these are his instructions.

    He ran hard most of the day and did not appear to tire late in the day. He made good position and found himself unchecked around packs and throw ins but again was not used much by his team mates. Marty's kicking and handballing skills are good to very good for the most part, but Hawthorn's pressure on the ball carrier made disposals hard work for Clarke and his team mates throughout the day.

    There is no doubt that Marty is a very capable footballer but on today's performance did not appear to offer anything above average or special to the Collingwood side, which will make him vulnerable when it comes to selection. And if this game is representative of his season he may be one the list managers have a close look at towards the end of the season.

    Collingwood look like they will probably finish in the finals again this year though and we suspect that Clarke will continue to improve as the year goes on and we will hopefully see some more dynamic football from him than I saw toda ...

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    At the beginning of April, and almost buried amid the rash of local, state and national representative carnivals played over the recent school holidays, was the trip undertaken by the Cairns Lions U17 representative team. This annual pilgrimage to Victoria sees these boys try out their skills and talents against southern representative teams.

    The games are a part of the Victoria Challenge program, designed to expose players from leagues far removed from the epicentre of the game to the increased standard and tempo of more developed competitions. AFL Cairns has supported the project for a number of years, in the past having played against the Essendon District League and Geelong College.

    This year the team from the north played against the Ballarat Football League team and also the Riddell District team. Not only do the boys get to play in these games, they are also exposed to the whole gamut of Victorian footy. This year they were guests at the Round 2 AFL clash at the MCG between Carlton and Collingwood. They also received great advise from a former Essendon star, and coach of the Eastern Ranges TAC Cup team, Darren Bewick. The idea is to immerse these boys as much as possible into the whole culture of Australian Rules football in the state where it all started.

    The first game was against Ballarat at the beautiful City Oval. The boys found the going tough against the boys from Ballarat. Cairns Lions player, James Philip, said “I was just so surprised at how much tougher the game was there. [It was] much tougher than back home.” The final score saw Ballarat win comfortably 15.9 (99) to Cairns Lions 8.7 (55). But the 44 point defeat taught the Cairns crew some valuable lessons.

    Game Two was played against the Riddell District team at Digger’s Rest. In another hard fought battle, the Cairns team showed how they had adapted to the tempo, toughness and skill levels required at this level. What followed was a cracking game that was not decided until the final minutes when the Lions hung on grimly against a fast finishing Riddell team to win by just 5 points. This was only the second ever win recorded by the Lions in these Victorian Challenge games. The final score saw the Lions 10.6 (66) defeat Riddell 8.13 (61).

    The objective of the program is to try and fast track the development of Cairns players who are just reaching that critical age where choices about their future in the game will be made. It is hoped that the program can benefit the Cairns players in the hope of producing the next Courtney Dempsey, Jarrod Harbrow, Charlie Dixon, Peter Yagmoor or Sam Michael – all current AFL listed players who have started their playing days in Cairns.

    Lions player James Philip had the final word when he said, “it was tough, but it was a great experience.”


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