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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    The bald figures state that over 22,000 attended the first AFL game for premiership points in New Zealand in 2013 and yet just over 13,000 attended this year. Did that make the venture unsuccessful as the AFL seek to expand the game? In a letter from Peter Summers, President of St Kilda, he provides his view which is anything but negative.

    Please see: Letter to NZ from St Kilda President ...


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    AFL Japan kicked off the 2014 season last on Sunday 20th April in a match where 2013 Top League Premiers, Tokyo Bay Suns defeated the Eastern Hawks by a whopping 110 points. Final score: 21.26 (152) to 5.1 (42).

    Anzac weekend saw two matches, Senshu Powers taking on R246 Lions on Saturday 26th while the Tokyo Goannas battled it out with Komazawa Magpies on Sunday.

    AFL Japan has undergone some structural changes during the off season, splitting the Top League into two regional leagues. The West League comprises the Osaka Dingoes and the Nagoya Redbacks, whilst the East League is made up of Tokyo Bay Suns, Komazawa Magpies, Senshu Powers, Eastern Hawks, Tokyo Goannas, R246 Lions and for the third year in a row accepted a brand new team, the Poseidons.

    Nine teams/clubs is the greatest number of clubs in AFL Japan history and augers well for the growth and development of footy in Japan.

    The split into two regional leagues had been an issue discussed for several years at AFL Japan as the cost of travel between the Tokyo based teams and the Osaka/Nagoya based teams were prohibitive.  WFN is not aware at present whether there will be any inter-league matches or a “Superbowl” style final between the respective league premiers at season's end.

    On Anzac Day, the Memorial Service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Yokohama Hodogaya is an important event on the Tokyo Goannas calendar. The AFL Anzac Day matches (Essendon v Collingwood,MCG & St Kilda v Brisbane Lions,Wellington, NZ) can be viewed on the big screens at Roppongi Hobgoblin later in the day following the Memorial Service.

    All footy fans in Japan are more than welcome to join the Goannas at the "club".

    Editor:  Apologies for the delay in publishing this article. ...


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  • 05/02/14--07:15: In like Flynn
  • Port Adelaide Power's first international recruit, Irishman Daniel Flynn, has returned to the club after initially looking to be lost.  Back Down Under for just a week, Flynn is straight into Port's SANFL side this week.

    The international rookie has been named in Port's second tier side, Port Adelaide Magpies, in the local SANFL.  The Magpies happen to be playing the Adelaide Crows' SANFL side for the first time, with the match to be played in country Clare... that's country Clare, not county Clare.

    See Irishman to debut for Magpies for more. ...


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     The following article is from the Tyne Tees Tigers detailing the tremendous efforts of their Women’s footy team in their Haggis Cup battle with the Glasgow Sharks. The Tigers were victorious in their 1st Women’s Australian Rules football match with the final score.

    Tyne Tees Tigers 30 d Glasgow Sharks 14

    On Saturday the 12th of April, England’s first female Aussie Rules club-side travelled to Glasgow to take on the Glasgow Sharks Ladies in the 2014 Haggis Cup. This is the first time two British clubs have played a women’s game. The Tigers ladies who had only picked up an Aussie rules ball for the first time 12 weeks previously were excited with the anticipation of playing in this historic game, in the Haggis Cup at GHA Rugby Club

    The game was played as 8-a-side with 4 x 15 minute quarters on a full size rugby pitch. With the home side having a large interchange bench (in Aussie Rules players can sub on and off at any time) and the Tigers having none over the course of the game the Tigers fitness would be tested.

    The first quarter was a cagey affair as each side sussed each other out. The Tigers created plenty of opportunities but only managed to kick 2 behinds (worth 1 pt.) and a late Glasgow goal (worth 6 points) saw the home team go into the 1st break 4 points ahead.

    The second quarter saw the Tigers start to look more composed with Lynn Mitchell kicking the Tigers first competitive goal to take the lead. The high quality of the marking and kicking game of Tiger players Lisa McHugh and Polly Moane caught the eye of the spectators and coaches alike. The Tigers worked hard for each other in the third quarter adding another goal seeing them take a 5 point lead into the final break. With one quarter remaining and less than a single goal between the sides, would the Tiger legs tire and allow the larger Glasgow squad to escape with the victory?

    Instead of fading the Tigers grew stronger moving the ball quickly with some long kicking, good marks and quick hands to kicking another two goals extending their lead and eventually running out the winners by 16 points. Afterwards Tigers Captain Lucy Kavanagh talked of her pride in being involved in England’s first Aussie Rules team “I felt extremely proud to be representing the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Haggis cup. Not only did we make history by becoming the first ever women’s English AFL team we won the Haggis cup! What an amazing day!”

    Tigers Coach Ian Baxter “I’m very proud of what the girls have achieved today. It’s not easy to take up an entirely new sport, but to be pioneers of the game is a fantastic achievement. To play as well as they have is a credit to them and the hard work they’ve put in.”

    Given the success of the day both the Tigers and the Glasgow Sharks are looking to hold a return match in Newcastle with dates in the late spring/early summer currently being discussed… Watch this space.

    Quotes from some of the girls after playing their first games

    Lucy Kavanagh (Tyne Tees Tigers Captain)

    “Being involved in setting up a ladies team has been very rewarding. Hopefully we can stick at it at training and continue to develop the team! I felt extremely proud to be representing the Tyne Tees Tigers in the

    Haggis cup. Not only did we make history by becoming the first ever women’s English AFL team we won the Haggis cup! What an amazing day! I hope to continue the good work at training and push forward in strengthening the ladies team as a whole!!”

    Nicola Mclaughlin (Tyne Tees Tigers)

    “I like Aussie rules for the skills and that the game is fast paced. The game on Saturday was a good introduction and hopefully over the next few months we can keep working on our skills and raise the profile of the women’s team. The more women we get on board the more chance we have of raising the profile of Aussie rules so we can get a few matches. The haggis cup weekend was brilliant great banter with all the teams!”

    Lynn Mitchell (Tyne Tees Tigers)

    “It was amazing to be a part of and win the Haggis, especially because we are such a small team. Hopefully this will help to get some more people interested in the sport. For a team/club that has not been together long there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie. It feels great to have our first game over and to get the win against a team that would have been the favourites. It is just brilliant and I can’t wait for the next one.”

    Lisa McHugh (Tyne Tees Tigers)

    “Great weekend! It was all very well organised and gave us a real taste for Aussie rules! Feel very proud to be the First Ladies team in England and to have brought the Haggis Cup home to Newcastle. Hopefully it will be the first of many!!”

    Polly Moane (Tyne Tees Tigers)

    “It was an amazing experience to play our first game of Aussie rules and come away with a trophy! Everyone worked really hard and all our training with the men’s team paid off! Hopefully this is the start of big things for the Tigers women and men’s teams!”

    Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks Captain)

    “Today was a great day for women’s Aussie Rules in Britain. It’s the third year that the Haggis Cup has included a women’s match of some sort and to welcome Tyne Tees, a brand new team, to Glasgow and have so many of our players playing their first ever game of Aussie rules today was great for the development of the game. I’m proud of the effort from all my girls today but unfortunately Tyne Tees were too strong for us on the day. I feel the wind and luck played a big factor in the outcome of the game but it was a fiercely fought contest and there are lots of positives for us to take from the match. I look forward to coming up against Tyne Tees in the future and wish them the best of luck developing the women’s side of their club.” ...


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    It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in Villers-Bretoneux. The Aussies (selected from across Europe) were training together for the first time. There was an emphasis on clean crisp movements that made the soccer pitch look small. It rained all night and much of the morning. The pitch that was slippery when dry from the grass covering was even more slippery when the hard clay underneath developed a muddy skin. Luckily the rain ceased and the spectators were able to enjoy the pre-match presentations.

    A lot of the spectators were familar with fact that the French team were the historical benchmark and were expecting a close tussle. That was not to be. Even though the French ruckman clearly won most tapouts with a great display of athletic jumping the Aussies played clinical dry weather football as they had practised. With the minimum of handling they were able to deliver the ball to an extremely potent forward line that lead fast and strong all day.

    By contrast the French reflexes were slower and indecisive. It was a comprehensive win by the Aussies and the scoreline was daunting but that was in part was due to the superb accuracy of the Australian forwards. I'm sure the French will have gained a lot of knowledge from this match in their players' capabilities and the competitive experience. I expect to see a quantum improvement by the French side in the 2014 International Cup as a result.

    Final scores:  Australian Spirit 39.14 (238) defeated France 2.7 (19)

    See Australia spirit take home the Topdeck ANZAC Cup for more.

    Editor:  Query whether driving home such a massive victory was good for the game.  There was criticism many years ago of Aussie teams smashing international sides to such an extreme degree.
     

    ...


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    The city of Hiroshima, located in western Japan on the main island of Honshu, will forever be etched in history as the first city to be bombed by a nuclear weapon.  On August 6th, 1945 the USAAF B-29 bomber the Enola Gay dropped the device which caused such massive death and destruction.

    But since that tragedy the city has become an international symbol of growth and rebuilding, winning the enduring respect of the world to return from such total destruction and become one of Japan’s most beautiful cities.

    The oleander is the official flower of the city as a symbol of growth, as it was the first flower to bloom after the disaster. Maybe there could be the spirit of the oleander in the Hiroshima football club as it begins to grow and bloom in this Japanese city of over a million people.

    Australian football is back in the beautiful city of Hiroshima. Several years after the inaugural friendly between an Osaka team and an eclectic assortment of eager participants from Hiroshima City, Australian Football has returned. As a city with a very vibrant international community and very strong links with Australia, it is hoped that the team will grow rapidly.

    Among those behind the push for a new team in Hiroshima are Matthew Vaughan, who participated in that first game, and Jonathan Cooper, the ex-president of the Osaka Dingoes.  But the team is very much in its infancy. Those in attendance at the very short first training run were Japanese, American, Korean, Tongan and Australian.

    These players had backgrounds in ice hockey, American football, rugby, distance running and basketball. Clinton Carrick, a 23 year old from Vermont,  is looking forward to seeing how the sport compares to his previous sport of ice hockey.  Eric Thomson, who has played American football both in the United States and Japan, is another potential key player. Anker Marcus, a New Zealander, runs an Australian and New Zealand themed bar in Hiroshima named 'Southern Cross', and this will be the home base for the new team.

    The team which participated in the one and only friendly match several years ago was known as the Hiroshima Hawks, after receiving an old set of Hawks jumpers from the Osaka team. However, a name change is on the agenda. The club hopes to develop a Sister Club relationship with a professional team in Australia.

    The Hiroshima Australian Football Club has been established with the intention of participating in the 2014 season of the newly formed Western Division of the Japan Australian Football League. This league will commence after the Japanese summer. An Aussie Rules team in Hiroshima will be a fantastic opportunity to bring Australian culture to Western Japan, and will give the boys in Hiroshima a chance to show the rest of Japan what they're made of. The club hopes to develop links with the international community and are currently looking for sponsors to help achieve those goals.

    For more information about Japan’s newest club, the contact details are as follows:

    Email:  hiroshimaafl@gmail.com

    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/hiroshimaafl
      ...


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    In a match not well publicised (on either Denmark or Sweden’s websites) and somewhat overshadowed by the 7th edition of the Anzac Cup at Villes Bretonneux, France, Sweden hosted Denmark in an International match in Skane, Sweden at the weekend on Saturday 26th April.

    The effect of the match, which could safely be described as a “football lesson”, as Denmark amassed a whopping 26.22 (178) score to Sweden’s 3.4 (22) on the World Rankings, saw Denmark remain in 10th position but Sweden falling a dramatic four places from 13th to 16th, with Canada, Peace Team and France climbing one place each respectively.

    It should be pointed out that prior to this match less than 1.75 rating points separated these four nations so although the ranking fall might have been dramatic, the fall in rating points (2.07) much less so.

    Read the full story for the current WFN World Rankings table after this match.

    Nation Ranking Points Matches Played Change
    1. Australia
    2. Ireland 55.15 44
    3. PNG 54.66 29
    4. New Zealand 53.00 33
    5. Nauru 51.17 22
    6. South Africa 49.03 22
    7. Great Britain 46.88 49
    8. United States 46.61 37
    9. Tonga 44.73 9
    10. Denmark 43.67 47
    11. Croatia 40.35 8
    12. Fiji 40.18 9
    13. Canada 37.08 37 +1
    14. Peace Team 36.46 11 +1
    15. France 36.09 8 +1
    16. Sweden 35.74 30 -3
    17. China 34.36 11
    18. Germany 34.09 16
    19. Japan 30.39 24
    20. Finland 29.02 13
    21. India 28.45 11

    Provisionally Ranked nations:

    Iceland 35.64 4
    Timor Leste 27.40 6

    Samoa is currently dormant with 41.85 poi ...


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    In one of the closest seasons in recent years, the CNFA home and away season concluded on the weekend with a fight to the wire for finals places. As mentioned in a previous article, the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes, Montpellier Firesharks and Paris Cockerels would all have to fight for their place in the final round.

    The unlucky team was the Firesharks who went down by just two points to the Cockerels in a heartbreaking loss. Whilst the Coyotes also lost to Toulouse in the final round, their for and against percentage was marginally better than the Firesharks, giving them fourth place.

    Firesharks fans will now lament what might have been, but their season was a credit to them as they remained consistent throughout and were desperately unlucky to miss finals action. Similarly, the Strasbourg Kangaroos and ALFA Lions can plan for next season after long seasons which saw some successes and improvements towards a new year.

    The results set up a fascinating round of semi-finals on May 24th. Toulouse Hawks will take on the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes in the first of the semi-finals between 1st place and 4th place, whilst in the battle between the 2nd and 3rd finishers the Bordeaux Bombers will take on the Paris Cockerels.

    The semi finalist will meet in the grand-final to be played on the 14th of Ju ...


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    Last year, World Footy News ran the article Anatomy of a new club – Denmark’s Odense Lions on the emergence of a new Australian Rules football team in the Danish city Odense. Last weekend the Lions took to the field in their first official hit-out in the DAFL. The following information comes from the crew at Odense in an interview that looks again at their origins, their first game and what follows.

    “Australian Rules football in Denmark, and the Swedish region Skåne, is played in the league called DAFL. It is fantastic for everyone involved with the club that we already are a part of DAFL with it being just a year and a half since the club was founded.

    "Odense Lions is the new team in the league this year and everyone did not expect much for a team with more than half of it being players completely new to the sport. Having recruited and trained during the long Danish winter, The Lions were filled with excitement about the first real game for many players and the first game in DAFL as Lions for everyone.”

    “The first game would also be a road trip to Helsingborg. Traveling and the cost of this is one of the biggest obstacles for a young team which mainly consists of students. Nevertheless, with three boys going by train and the rest in cars, Odense Lions managed to organize a great footy trip with 15 guys traveling to Sweden while crossing a bridge, taking a ferry and and driving on the Swedish highways to play.”

    “The game was against the Helsingborg Saints and Port Malmø Maulers, two teams that were in the top three in the DAFL in 2013. It could sound like the recipe for a slaughter on the field, but our Lions had no intention to go down easily.”

    “In both games the two Swedish teams dominated on the scoreboard, but every player from Odense gave it everything. Players with more experience, like the coach Daniel Petrolo, young Frederik Christensen and Rasmus Jacobsen, showed the way and led by example. New players would have shots at goal, mark the ball and make great tackles and handballs."

    Many players surprised and showed that there is massive potential in the Lions squad. New ruckman Christian Belling was winning most ruck contests, strong backman Jakob Harting was getting a name as one of best players on the field. Philip Valentin took on the leadership in the backline with strength and courage, Kasper Høegh ran all day and made sure that the Lions would be remembered as a team who puts pressure on the man with the football. Mathias Barfred and Peter Petrolo kicked the first goals for the Odense Lions and put the Lions on the scoreboard.”

    Having a forward line with new recruits such as Alex Alborz, Jesper Galløe and Oscar Punterwold, it was amazing to see how quickly these guys had learned the game and showed great understanding about going for the football and fighting for it. There will be many goals to be scored, and tackles to be handed out from these guys in the time to come.”

    Final Scores:

    Helsinborg Saints 6.4 (40) d Odense Lions 1.4 (10)

    Port Malmö Maulers 13.7 (85) d Odense Lions 1.3 (9)

    "Even though the first game for the Odense Lions were not a victories the spirit after the game was as high as if we had won. We celebrated the goals, the tackles and the amount of great plays and the Lions where both screaming and singing afterwards. The love for the game is strong among the Lions and we will keep training, keep fighting and keep improving our skills. The Lions have had their first taste of real football and now we are all hungry for more.”

    And as we all know so well, there is nothing more dangerous than a pride of hungry Lions. Congratulations to the boys from Odense and we will keep a firm eye on their progres ...


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    New Danish club, the Odense Lions, have combined with Swedish club, the Helsingborg Saints, to hit the ground running with a competitive hit-out for two women’s club teams. The club was delighted to provide an interview to World Footy News recounting the lead up to the event and a description off the day. We already reported on the Helsingborg women's team in Helsingborg Saints Aim To Start Sweden's First Women's Team, and now they have a bona fide opponent.

    “In 2013 the Helsingborg made a women’s team called the Helsingborg Saints Ladies, but because of the lack of potential opponents no games was played. Denmark had at this point no women’s team and only junior girls were playing Australian Rules footy.”

    “The Odense Lions, who to this point had only been in a nine per side tournament as a team and were training indoors during the long Danish winter, were then contacted by a girl interested in trying out Australian Rules football. The coaches of the Lions were not slow to try and recruit the new girl and she was asked if she was interested in coming down and try out, even though we had no women’s team at the time. The lack of other female players did not scare this young woman, who would go on to be the captain for new team, the Odense Lionesses. She showed up to the first training session in 2014 with two friends and from that day they almost never missed a training session.”

    “With the involvement of these three girls many more joined and the first women’s team in Denmark was made. Only a few months after that first enquiry from a girl about making a team, the Odense Lionesses would have 6-7 players at every training session. They had also joined the club board and were arranging both running practice for the team above and beyond the normal training, as well as social events. The dream about playing a real game with a girl’s had now started.”

    “With the Odense Lions’ participation in DAFL 2014, the first game of the season was to be held in Helsingborg, home of the other Scandinavian women’s team. With the creation of the Odense Lionesses, who were training with Odense Lions, the foundation for women’s football to arrive in Scandinavia was now set.”

    “On May 3rd, the two teams played each other, playing 6 per side with 2 on the bench. With their normal training teammates, the Odense Lions, standing on the sideline singing and screaming, the Lionesses showed that women’s football is a game that is just a competitive as it is in the male league. By making strong tackles, taking strong marks and fighting for possession of the football, both teams won the respect from everyone watching the game. The Lionesses showed that even with nail polish on and coloured ribbons in their hair they could still fight, make great plays and kick some amazing goals.”

    "In the end the Odense Lionesses won the game but both teams were winners on that day, being the pioneers for women’s football in Scandinavia."

    "A rematch on May 31 in Odense has already been planned." ...


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    AFLNZ have made their second annual selection of their Heritage team. To be eligible player must be born in New Zealand or have one parent born there. This is more stringent than the one for the NZ national rugby league team which has a handful of Aussie-born players. Anyone looking at the Rugby League world Cup would also see that eligibility criteria are looser than those applied in the selection of this team.
     

    AFL New Zealand Heritage team selector Simon Black noted the broad pool of players to select from. “There is a significant number of players with New Zealand heritage running around the AFL, so we were able to fill a full team.”

    AFL New Zealand CEO Robert Vanstam would like to see the team play a test match against Australia one day.  Vanstam believes the growing interest in AFL across the ditch, and from expat New Zealanders in Australia, means a trans-Tasman Test could replace the hybrid International Rules series against Ireland.

    “Why would you ever want to play them with a round ball when you can play a real game of footy against another country?’’ he said.
     

    Having watched the hybrid game this author also feels we are growing beyond that and that there is scope for an Australian team to play a game of Aussie Rules against another team but rather than a Kiwi side I see the opportunity in the meantime to look at a World Team.

    A World Team could play an AFL Young Guns U21 team or something along those lines. With Canadian Mike Pyke (Sydney), three Americans in Eric Wallace (North), Patrick Mitchell (Sydney) and Jason Holmes (St Kilda), a wealth of Irish lead by players of the calibre of Zac Tuohy (Carlton) and Pearce Hanley (Brisbane), the home grown Kiwis in Kurt Heatherley, Shem Tutupu and Siope Ngata (Hawthorrn), Joe Baker-Thomas (St Kilda) and Maia Westrupp (Melbourne) and Papua New Guinean Gideon Simon (Richmond) there is a pool of talented players who have come from overseas to make the game their own.

    The expansion of players available when eligibility is opened to those born overseas then goes through the roof. Majak Daw (Sudan) and Aliir Aliir (Kenya) immediately spring to mind! You might struggle to find an anthem for this side perhaps you could have the theme to Star Wars!

    Getting back to the NZ team Vanstam said the impact Hunt’s transition to AFL had made in the country of his birth should not be underestimated.

    “What he does is he provides a reference point for New Zealanders. They understand his pathway and realise yes it’s possible,’’ he said. “In many ways what he has achieved is more regarded over here, we can understand the courage of the guy to change, to have a go.  And there are a thousand Israel Folaus and Karmichael Hunts in South Auckland and they are 15, not in their early 20s.’’
     
    Warren Jones (left) helped select the team, which included Ben Miller, Shane Savage and Joe Baker-Thomas.

    Vanstam said creating national representative opportunities was the quickest way to make AFL grow in New Zealand.

    “There are only 15 spots in the All Blacks,’’ he said.  “What AFL is doing is providing another code for New Zealanders to play sport at an elite level.  The AFL community is still learning about national representation, whereas in New Zealand it is in their DNA. Every kid grows up wanting to represent their country.”

    Wayne Schwass, one of the Heritage team selectors, agreed with this assessment.  “To see a New Zealand National team playing together would be a significant achievement and would be another step in the development of football in New Zealand.”

    There are currently more than 30,000 registered AFL players in New Zealand and Vanstam believes a new broadcast deal which will see live AFL beamed into the land of the long white cloud will see that figure grow.

    The team was selected by retired Lions star Simon Black, former Kangaroos and Swans star Wayne Schwass and retired Carlton Premiership winner Warren Jones. All, if still playing, would have been eligible for selection.

    Black attended the AFL New Zealand High Performance Awards in Wellington where the team was announced.  He admits he knew little about footy in the country of his ancestry until one day, after a hot pre-season training session at the Lions’ summer base at Coorparoo, AFL New Zealand chairman Geoff Dickson stepped out from under the shade of a tree on the hill and asked him to be a selector.  “That was the first I’d really heard of footy being played on any real level over here but throughout the selection process I’ve discovered there’s a community here that love their footy,’’ he said.  “There’s some good AFL players in the side but also some local stalwarts which has really created a buzz.”

    The AFL New Zealand Heritage team includes five home-grown players, including Hawthorn International Rookies Shem Tatupu and Kurt Heatherley, St Kilda International Scholarship holder Joe Baker-Thomas, and New Zealand Hawks stars Andrew Howison and Ben Miller.

    2014 AFL New Zealand Heritage Team

    BP: Jasper Pittard Ben Rutten Greg Broughton
    HB: Kurt Heatherley Heath Grundy Jordan Russell
    C: Shane Savage Andrew Howison Nathan Van Berlo
    HF: Brent Renouf Beau Maister Aaron Edwards
    FF: Cameron IIlet Shem Tatupu Jay Van Berlo
    R: Khan Haretuku Dustin Martin Sam Mitchell
    I/C: Karmichael Hunt Joe Baker-Thomas Ben Miller Max Gawn

    http://aflnz.co.nz/afl-new-zealand-heritage-team-named


     
    Warren Jones (left) helped select the team, which included Ben Miller, Shane Savage and Joe Baker-Thomas.

    ...


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    The city of Uppsala is the fourth largest in Sweden, and is located just 70 kilometres (a shade over 40 miles) to the north-west of the nation’s capital city, Stockholm. It will also soon be home to the newest Australian Rules football team in Sweden, with a view to competing in the SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football Federation) by 2015.

    According to Jorg Pareigis, the president of AFL Sweden, “Uppsala had their first training tonight and are all up for starting a team. Greg Buckley (2nd cousin of [Collingwood] legend Nathan Buckley), Mats Wurmbach from Solna, Tim Gould from Bromma and Daniel Boström (former Karlstad player) are the core team.”

    It is very early stages yet for the Uppsala team, and will be some time before they are equipped to play at the highest national level.  But it is another feather in the cap of AFL Sweden’s expansion and for the ongoing growth and popularity of the game in the Scandinavian nation.

    Rob Scott, in his recent article for the Stockholm information website Your Living City, states that “the SAFF now comprises 5 teams; the Bromma Vikings, Norrtälje Dockers, Solna Axemen, Södermalm Blues and the Årsta Swans.  And in a sign of its growing appeal, a 6th team, the Uppsala Hammers, has been granted interim membership of the SAFF in 2014 and will spend this season playing practice matches against the other teams as it prepares for full membership next year.”

    The development of the Uppsala team will be watched with interest and all in the football world would be willing them on to grow and thrive in preparation for full battle next season.

    To read the full article about Australian Rules football in Sweden, including the efforts of 100 game hero, Lars Hagberg, and other insights into the game’s development, simply click here. ...


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    Australian Rules football in Scotland is certainly taking plenty of twists and turns throughout 2014 as it prepares for a bigger and brighter future. Whilst the Aberdeen Eagles had to withdraw temporarily from the SARFL for 2014, that void is quickly being replaced and more by the emergence of a wave of new clubs positioning themselves for potential full competition in 2015.

    Recently, World Footy News reported on the emergence of another local club in Falkirk Silverbacks to expand Scottish stable, but a further side hit the ground running in the same area: the North Lanarkshire Wolves.

    Nikolas McGuire is the driving force behind the new North Lanarkshire team, a council district heralding from the outer eastern suburbs of Glasgow and extending almost to Falkirk. His connections to the Glasgow Sharks have led to another team growing in this fertile Australian Rules football catchment.

    “The reason behind the Wolves is that we were travelling into the city to play for a very strong Glasgow team. The success of the Sharks, getting in excess of 40 down to training, left us feeling confident in looking at opportunities within our own area.”

    “North Lanarkshire covers a decent amount of space in Scotland, and the council has recently pumped £110 million into facilities and grounds over the last six years.”

    “We spoke with the Senior Sports Development Officer for NL Leisure, a charitable trust set up by the council, who was very keen to bring Aussie Rules to the area.”

    “We are working with him to offer taster sessions in Active Schools and community centres, and we have approached the main Youth Centre to offer sessions to the kids they get through their system.”

    “It's an exciting time for AFL footy in Scotland, following the Scotland victory over Spain yesterday with a group of exciting players that have recently emerged from our clubs.”

    “My goal is to grow the game here, raise awareness and make a difference. I am pleased to have the opportunity to do this with the North Lanarkshire Wolves. We haven't even kicked a ball yet but the recruiting process is in full swing and interest is very high.”

    “We are really lucky to have been supported by the [Glasgow] Sharks and the [Kingdom] Kangaroos so far, as well as local businesses. It’s a humble start to what I hope is a long journey.”

    It is certainly clear that the continued work and successes of AFL Scotland, SARFL and also the Glasgow Sharks and their own local Caledonian Australian Football league is paying huge dividends as North Lanarkshire, Falkirk and maybe more clubs (watch this space) now sprout from the tilling of the local s ...


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    Last weekend a squad of talented Scottish footballers, selected in the national Scottish Clansmen team, boarded flights to Madrid to take on the Spanish Bulls at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Autonomous University of Madrid).

    It is the first match of an agreed two year deal between AFL Scotland and AFL Espana which will see the Spanish team travel to Scotland for the rematch in 2015.

    Whilst there is still some conjecture about the final score, it appears that the most accurate is a victory to the Scotland team over Spain 77 to 27.

    Players in the Scottish team came from established clubs, the Glasgow Sharks, Edinburgh Bloods and Aberdeen Eagles (who are not competing in the SARFL this season) as well as newer or emerging clubs including the Kingdom Kangaroos and Falkirk Silverbacks (Martin Bell being a Glasgow Shark who is now putting together the fledgling Falkirk team). Also in the squad were players currently lining up with the Copenhagen X-Men in the DAFL and also the Wimbledon Hawks from the AFL London competition.

    The squad selected to play for the Scottish Clansmen included Martin Bell, Alexander Clark, Daniel Connor, Daniel Collett, Michael Douglas, Cameron Goodall, Bryan Martin, Tom McAra, Mark McFarlane, Chris McGookin, John McIntyre, Robert McKinlay, Scott O'Hara, Gus Thomson, Michael Woodrow, Lisle Young.

    The Spanish team was made primarily from players who represented the nation at last year’s Euro Cup in France, and marks the first major game since then for the national team. It is certainly a good sign that there is still interest in a Spanish team remaining active at an international level, albeit on a part time basis. But with further development of teams in France and Portugal there may be additional opportunities become available for the Bulls.

    The Spanish team enjoyed wins at the 2013 Euro Cup over both Austria and Iceland, proving that the talent is already available but just needs more opportunities, such as this match, to develop further.

    Similarly, the opportunity for more international matches for the Scottish Clansmen can only assist the continued growth and development of the game in Scotland, with the experience gained helping not only the national team but filtering down to the clubs across the count ...


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    As was hinted in the recent story North Lanarkshire Wolves join Scottish party, yet another Aussie Rules team has entered the Scottish football scene, this time in the heart of Glasgow. As the game undergoes a radical and positive series of changes, the Greater Glasgow Giants are the latest to take advantage of this fertile period in the game’s history.

    A recent interview with Douglas Hunter, Scottish Australian Rules football stalwart and architect of the new club, gives a good account of the need for the new club, the processes they are currently undergoing for their entry to the SARFL in 2015 and some idea of their dreams and prospects.

    “The team will be based at the moment in Glasgow city centre until we know where most players will come from. Recruitment is mainly from Gumtree [social media site] and from Glasgow University. We have ten players at the moment including one Aussie, three former Clansmen national team players and one who also played in the first three AIS v AFL Europe Under 21 games. The rest are from Gaelic football, football, and rugby. The coach is me.”

    “Our short term goals are to have friendlies before the end of September and to compete in an end of season tournament. Longer term goals are to establish the team in the national league and to have players play for the Scottish national team. [We also wish] to promote kids footy as well as ladies footy.”

    “We aim to be a social club where the adult teams play for the enjoyment and also socialise together. The reason is that it's for the good of the game, as I believe the more teams in the national league the greater respect and credibility it will gain in the public domain. Having been heavily involved in two teams in Scotland already, and helping to grow the game over many years, I feel now that I have moved back to Glasgow I can now focus on growing a new Glasgow team. We believe there is the capacity for more teams not just in Glasgow but Scotland for this great game that I fell in love with.”

    “We have a website up and running as well as the Facebook page. We are already sponsored by Malones Irish bar and the Greater Western Sydney Giants have agreed to let us use the name and are also sending us twenty guernseys. A big thank you to Lauren Sanford at the Giants for their generosity and assistance.”

    The Greater Glasgow Giants will add yet another dimension to the Australian Rules landscape in Scotland. The tantalising prospect now exists of two Glasgow based teams (Sharks and Giants), Falkirk and North Lanarkshire as well as Edinburgh Bloods and the Kingdom Kangaroos, bringing the SARFL to potentially six teams, and seven if Aberdeen Eagles can return, in the not-to-distant future.

    These are certainly very exciting times in Scotland for Australian Rules football.

    For more information on the Greater Glasgow Giants, go to their website at http://greaterglasgowgiants.co.uk or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Greater-Glasgow-Giants-ARFC ...


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    Ed: This story courtesy of Harley Vague.

    It was a great mild Sunday afternoon for Football. The Zagreb Dockers arrievd early and setup a canopy, barbeque and refreshments. The first game of the double header was between the Zagreb Dockers and the new team, the Slavonski Tigers journeying from roughly 200km east of Zagreb.

    Even though the new team was winless in its first two outings, the Tigers had performed well. The Dockers had a very tall ruckman and a much larger squad and openned their scoring account in terms of seconds but from then on the game went goal for goal with the Tigers slowly edging in front.

    At the start of the last quarter they were nine points in front. The Dockers were finally able to assert some aerial supremacy in the last quarter and gain the lead close to siren time but it wasn't finished, some great roving saw the Tigers regain the lead before the Dockers again goaled and held on to win the game.

    It was a great effort by the Tigers who have grown a team from two experienced players and word of mouth. It is a different story for the four Zagreb teams. Most of their players have or have had some connection with the Zagreb University and especially with the sports faculty where they are able to attract new players. Games are played on the university grounds and the introductions are held in the faculty.

    The Downunder Dogs from southern Austria are also connected with their university in Graz and have developed a metro league but still travel to Croatia to compete. It is a model that ensures a bright future for Australian Football in this region despite some plans not coming to fruition.

    The Croatian team found the financial cost of competing in the 2014 International cup too much of a barrier, especially when the economy is still trying to recover after the GFC. The national team, the Croatian knights are a strong team when playing in Europe. Also their plans for a full sized oval were scuttled when the university was only prepared to give the team security for one year due to a plan that would consume most of playing fields in 2016.

    This is disappointing since the league had raised the resources to prepare an oval from rough ground. In that regards, the new team in Slavonski Brod is ahead with it's ground and permanent goalposts due to AFL Europe's startup and goal post grant.

    One feature of Croatian football that is pronounced is the passion. The players were passionate and the crowd was passionate. Even accounting for the fact this was a double header there was a handy little crowd of interested onlookers.

    In the second game of the afternoon, the Zagreb Giants started well but the unbeaten Zagreb Hawks strengthened their favouritism for the flag as the game progressed. Speaking to some players, most were unaware to the depth of Croatian heritage in Australian Football, not only in the AFL but especially in Western Australia in the WAFL before the national league was created. Some small help is coming from Sturt in the SANFL, but maybe they should be looking at some of the Fremantle football sides and drawing on those links.

    ...


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    The Irish Warriors have named the first 14 squad members for the 2014 AFL International Cup to be staged in Melbourne, Australia from August 9th to 23rd this year. The Warriors are the current holders of the International Cup, having won the most recent tournament in 2011 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after a dramatic comeback victory over Papua New Guinea.

    They are also the only nation to have won the tournament twice - having also won the inaugural tournament in 2002.

    The 14 selected are European-based players, and the majority of them played in the 2013 European Cup winning side. This is a completely new selection of Irish-based players from the victorious 2011 team with most of that squad now retired from International duty.

    The club with the largest number of players selected is the Belfast Redbacks, with five players on the plane to Melbourne. The Leeside Lions have three selected. The reigning ARFLI premiership champions, the South Dublin Swans have two players in the squad and there is one player each from the Dublin Demons, Galway Magpies and the North Leinster Giants. The remaining player, Tom Browne, has recently moved to Paris having previously played his footy in Finland.

    The two players selected that did not collect 2013 European champions medals are David Lally and Peter Ross who both missed that tournament due to injury. David Lally is the only player to have previously played in an International Cup having played in the 2008 edition. The players selected so far come from all over Ireland with two each originally from Antrim, Cork, Dublin and Tyrone. There is also one from Carlow, Derry, Galway, Longford, Sligo and Westmeath.

    The players selected so far:

    Ryan McCloskey (Belfast Redbacks)
    Kevin McSorley (Belfast Redbacks)
    Sean Paul Henry (Belfast Redbacks)
    Benny McDevitt (Belfast Redbacks)
    Brendan Kelly (Belfast Redbacks)
    David Lally (Dublin Demons)
    John O'Regan (Galway Magpies)
    Conor O'Halloran (Leeside Lions)
    Muiris Bartley (Leeside Lions)
    Dominic Joyce (Leeside Lions and Collingullie, NSW)
    Mark Leavy (North Leinster Giants)
    Tom Browne (Paris Cockerels)
    Paul O'Halloran (South Dublin Swans)
    Peter Ross (South Dublin Swa ...


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    This week's international broadcast networks and airing times below.

     

    Network Adel vs. Coll Ess vs. Syd Rich vs. Melb NM vs. Bris Freo v Geel St K vs. GC Highlights
    AUSTRALIA NETWORK              
    Asia   16/5 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 1130 HKT (LIVE)   17/5 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) 18/5 @ 1430 HKT (LIVE) 20/5 @ 2330 HKT
    Pacific   16/5 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 1530 FJT (LIVE)   17/5 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) 18/5 @ 1830 FJT (LIVE) 21/5 @ 0000 FJT
    India   16/5 @ 1500 IST (LIVE) 17/5 @ 0900 IST (LIVE)   17/5 @ 1500 IST (LIVE) 18/5 @ 1200 IST (LIVE) 20/5 @ 2330 IST
    ESPN BT Sport              
    UK & Ireland 15/5 @ 1030 BST (LIVE) 16/5 @ 1030 BST (LIVE)   17/5 @ 0730 BST (LIVE) 19/5 @ 1830 BST (Delay)   19/5 @ 2100 BST
    ESPN              
    Caribbean         17/5 @ 0530 EST (LIVE)   22/5 @ 1600 EST
    EUROSPORT 2              
    Europe         17/5 @ 1130 CET (LIVE)   20/5 @ 2300 CET
    UK & Ireland         19/5 @ 2330 CET (Delay)   20/5 @ 2330 CET
    FOX SPORTS              
    USA 15/5 @ 0530 ET (LIVE)   16/5 @ 2330 ET (LIVE)   17/5 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) 18/5 @ 0230 ET (LIVE) 20/5 @ 1930 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME              
    Middle East 15/5 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE) 16/5 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE) 17/5 @ 0630 KSA (LIVE)   17/5 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE)   19/5 @ 1700 KSA
    OTLSN - Boats and Ships              
    Worldwide (Boats & Cruises) 15/5 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE)       17/5 @ 0940 GMT (LIVE)    
    SKY SPORTS              
    New Zealand           20/5 @ 0000 NZT (Delay) 20/5 @ 1730 NZT
    SOMMET SPORTS              
    New Zealand 15/5 @ 2130 NZT (LIVE) 16/5 @ 2130 NZT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 1530 NZT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 1830 NZT (LIVE) 19/5 @ 1500 NZT (Delay) 18/5 @ 1830 NZT ( LIVE) 21/5 @ 1930 NZT
    SUPERSPORT              
    Africa   16/5 @ 1130 CAT (LIVE)         20/5 @ 1700 CAT
    TSN2              
    Canada   16/5 @ 1400 ET (Delay)     17/5 @ 0530 ET (LIVE)   TSN.ca
    VIVA SPORTS              
    Latin America 21/5 @ 1800 MST (Delay)            
    ONLINE              
    Worldwide (excl. Australia) 15/5 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE) 16/5 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 0340 GMT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 0640 GMT (LIVE) 17/5 @ 0940 GMT (LIVE) 18/5 @ 0640 GMT (LIVE)  

    All details are correct at the time of publishing and  are subject to change.  WFN publishes these in good faith and accepts no responsibility for any changes or errors. ...


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    This week we run a special 6 part series as Alex Benjamin looks across the whole of the US and back at their 2013 season and gives his predictions on the 2014 season.   Looking at each team you will see a summary with their final 2013 record, points and where they finished in the unofficial standings last year, Alex then gives his prediction where he thinks teams will be ranked ahead of the 2014 Nationals based on how he thinks they might perform this year.  The summary for each team begins as follows:-

    Team (Win-Loss record 2013, Points for 2013 based on wins, Finish Rank: Where the team finished 2013 on Alex's USAFL Weekly Report unofficial ladder)

    Over to you Alex...

    As we begin 2014, there are a lot to questions to be answered after the 2013 season.  One of the biggest questions that I have been asked is about the return of the Dallas Magpies and their return to the Nationals after the disqualification from 2012's Nationals in Mason and their subsequent ban from the 2013 Nationals in Austin.  There are also other issues with clubs that haven't been playing in the Nationals, let alone in the USAFL, and if they will return to footy at all.  I start my look at all the USAFL clubs with the Northeast Region.
     
    When asked to preview this season I first looked back at last year at how teams performed during the regular season and then at the Nationals and also looked at how they matched up with their likely opponents this year and stacked them into the Divisions I think would suit them best in 2014.  After trawling through the results from last year and looking at the available schedules for this year, first I take a look at the Northeast Region:
     
    Northeast Region
    The Northeast region is made up of most of the EAFL teams and I think it will be the toughest region overall in this 2014 season as it has the #2 team in the nation (New York), but also several other teams that could also contend for the Divisional Titles.  
     
    Baltimore/Washington Eagles (5-7, 14 points, Finish Rank:  14th)
    This team was one of the better teams last season in the EAFL and gave both Philadelphia and Boston fits, but was no match for New York. At last year's Nationals the Eagles were a major disappointment as they went 1-2 and finished 6th in Division 2.  This year's EAFL schedule will produce more of the same and with the Eastern Regional Tournament close by, watch for a battle royale between them and Boston. Expect them to be in the battle for Division 2.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 2 as a 5th seed.
     
    Boston Demons (2-4, 8 points, Finish Rank:  24th)
    This team is historically one of the more powerful in the nation. However, last year the team struggled to 24th in the final rankings.  However, this team will be different in some ways as Andi Williams, the team's first female president (see my interview with her earlier this year) will bring a fresh approach to the club.  I expect them to improve this season, however, I expect them to be a team in between Divisions 2 and 3. First analysis for Nationals:  Division 3 as a 3rd seed.
     
    New York Magpies (13-1, 40 points, Finish Rank:  2nd)
    This team was a powerhouse in not only the EAFL, but was a major contender for the USAFL Division 1 title last year, coming just 1 point short in the final rankings after losing the Pool Final in Pool B.  This team reminds me of another team in the NFL, the New England Patriots, where they just reload and refocus.  The question for them is not if they win the EAFL, but can they also win the USAFL Division One title.  I expect they will contend again and don't be surprise if we see a rematch of Austin vs. New York for the Division 1 title.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 1 as the top seed overall.
     
    Philadelphia Hawks (3-10, 12 points, Finish Rank:  19th)
    This was the surprise team of the Nationals after a very disappointing regular season, getting within 2 goals of winning the Pool A final against the Sacramento Suns.  With them in the toughest region in the nation, this team has been in near constant rebuilding mode for the last several seasons, however, I think that this season may change that, considering several of the games were very close overall.  The game to watch for is the game against Columbus @ home late in the season.  No doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Nationals. First analysis for Nationals:  Division 3 as the 4th seed.
     
    Please check us out Alex's work online via usaflweeklyreport.com and watch the USAFL Weekly show, Fridays @ 7:30 pm USA Central Time on UStream.tv.  (Please check his USAFL Weekly Report Facebook page (and give it a Like) for any schedule changes). ...

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    This is part two of the six part series on the USAFL Season Preview as we preview the Southeast Division.

    Southeast Region

    The southeast regional has the most dynamic teams in the nation as three of the top ten teams in the nation Nashville (#5), North Carolina (#9) and Fort Lauderdale (#10) are in this region. This is a potent region and will have a big say in the Divisional makeup on the road to Columbus.

    Atlanta Kookaburras (3-5, 12 points, Finish Rank:  20th)
    Atlanta comes into 2014 with a lot of questions after the team combined with Baton Rouge and was delegated to Division Four for the first time in their history.  After the blowout losses that highlighted the season against their archrival Nashville and a close loss to North Carolina as well, what will be the fate of the Kookaburras? A tell tale sign of what the season will be told in their first match, ironically at Nashville (their longtime arch rivals) on June 28th.  If they come with the tenacity of the seasons before 2013, expect a battle.  I am not sure if that'll happen.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 4 as the 4th seed. (Atlanta has just appointed Mick Keough as their 2014 coach and I would expect a turn around in fortunes for the Kookaburras. Ed.) 
     
    Florida Redbacks (2-3. 6 points, Finish Rank:  26th)
    The Florida Redbacks have been on the improve in recent times as a separate entity away from Fort Lauderdale.  Will this be the season that they will field a standalone team for the Nationals?  With a 2-3 record last season, there is hope for them.  First analysis for Nationals:  Most likely not to field a team.
     
    Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids (6-2, 18 points, Finish Rank:  10th)
    The Squids were somewhat of a surprise packet as they went against some tough opposition and prevailed.  Coming within ten points of winning the Pool B in Division Two, I expect this team to fight for the title in Division Two.  Their road won't be easy, however, as their schedule is one of the tougher ones in the league.  Expect a lot from them this upcoming season.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 2 as the #2 seed.
     
    Nashville Kangaroos (8-3, 30 points, Finish Rank:  5th)
    The Kangaroos are coming into 2014 with a lot to prove as they were somewhat disappointing in the Nationals, finishing 5th in Division 1 after being picked by several teams to win it all.  They have a new coach this season and a younger team than it has fielded in several years after several players retired at the end of 2013.  However, their core is still strong with Captain Luke Nemeth, a perennial USA Revolution player.  The fork in the road for them this season may be the first Central Regional in Indianapolis on July 26-27 which will decide if they have the chops for a 4th run in a row in Division 1.  Also with a home-and-home clash with both Columbus and Atlanta, plus a doubleheader with Division One Champion Austin...this will be a watershed year.  The team is definitely a borderline Division 1/2, but I am hopeful.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 1 as the 6th seed.
     
    North Carolina Tigers (5-3, 20 points, Finish Rank:  9th)
    North Carolina comes into the 2014 season with a lot of questions as they dropped down to Division 4 at last year's Nationals, but won their Pool A side of the draw, only to lose mightily to the Cincinnati Dockers in the Division 4 Grand Final.  Their regular season results of just 2-3 is not flattering but when you consider their EAFL competition is pretty much the cream of the crop in the USAFL last season they don't look so bad.  I think another year in Division 4 could season them up for a run in Division 3 in 2015, but don't be surprised if they move to Division 3 this year.  First analysis for Nationals:  Division 4 as the top seed.

    A new team has recently been announced in the Southeast with the St Petersburg Starfish FC forming in St Petersburg Florida.  At this stage St Pete will spend 2014 preparing to kickoff their footy in the 2015 season.  You can also catch up with the Starfish at their Facebook page.

    Please check us out Alex's work online via usaflweeklyreport.com and watch the USAFL Weekly show, Fridays @ 7:30 pm USA Central Time on UStream.tv.  (Please check his USAFL Weekly Report Facebook page (and give it a Like) for any schedule changes). ...

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