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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    The AFL and Australia Post are inviting up to 30,000 new arrivals to Australia to join in the celebrations this Multicultural Round, thanks to the My Passport to Australian Football campaign.

     
    Round 18 of the Toyota AFL Premiership season will celebrate ‘Many Cultures, One Game', highlighting the contribution multicultural communities make to Australia's Game at all levels as well as the ongoing initiatives across the AFL to engage with new communities and potential fans.
     
    People who hold an international passport can access free tickets to attend an AFL match during Multicultural Round but they must pre-register to download the tickets by visiting www.afl.to/myaflpassport. Tickets are limited so people are urged to register as soon as possible.

     

    A high number of tickets have been snapped up across the country already, however tickets are still available to games in Victoria and NSW. More than 15,000 people from over 90 international countries have used their passports to register with the AFL so they can attend a match during the round and to experience the multicultural festivities which mark ‘Many Cultures, One Game’.
     
    AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said that a record number of activities across the round would include the national campaign My Passport to Australian Football to encourage potential new fans to enjoy the experience of attending an AFL match.
     
    “The AFL and Australia Post are excited by the My Passport to Australian Football initiative which aims to welcome thousands of multicultural spectators to the game during this round dedicated to celebrating diversity in football and more broadly in the Australian community,” Mr McLachlan said.
     
    “This offer has been enthusiastically received and as a result tickets allocated to the offer have been increased to 30,000.
     
    “This campaign is for all Australians and we also encourage fans of our game to invite a neighbour, friend or workmate who is culturally diverse and has never experienced the game to take up the ticket offer and enjoy the experience together.
     
    "The AFL is committed to reflecting Australia’s cultural diversity by providing an environment which welcomes people from all backgrounds to enjoy our game as supporters, players, umpires or administrators.”
     
      ...

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     As a feature of Multicultural Round, Indian AFL fans in Australia will be able to watch Essendon Football Club’s Sunday afternoon game on FOX Footy with Hindi and Punjabi commentary by PRESSING RED.  PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA will broadcast the game in the two biggest Indian dialects LIVE from 4.35pm.

    To view the PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA trailer featuring captain Jobe Watson, click here.  Essendon has established itself as the AFL club of choice for Melbourne’s Indian community and PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA is another example of the club’s ongoing commitment to grow its relationship with the Indian community.

    PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA will feature the experienced call team of broadcaster and presenter Manpreet Singh, radio broadcaster Gurtej Singh and special commentary from Essendon captain and AFL Multicultural Round ambassador Jobe Watson as well as a Tom Bellchambers and Alex Browne.

     

    Manpreet Singh said PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA was a fantastic initiative by the Essendon Football Club.  “I think this is brilliant, and I think this is the best way to welcome new communities into a game like AFL Footy,” Singh said.  “It is going to be such an exciting game, not just to watch but commentate it and translate it for our Indian Australians.”

    Gurtej Singh called last year’s AFL Grand Final in Punjabi and said he was looking forward to making his TV broadcast debut.  “I’m a big fan of Anthony Hudson, I try to copy him and I love his accent, he’s full of energy,” Gurtej said.  “I think the Indian fans will love this, it’s excellent, it is a good way to attract other communities to the footy.”

    While not fluent in Hindi or Punjabi Jobe said he was looking forward to his role in the special comments chair.  “The club has a strong connection with the Indian community and I think this is a great way to not only embrace Multicultural Round but to make AFL more accessible to a large portion of our community who clearly love the game,” Jobe said."I have done a little bit of special commentary work, and I’m sure Alex and Tom will be able to step up and give our Indian fans a rare insight into the game.” 

    To coincide with Multicultural Round Essendon has also officially launched its own Indian Hub on the club website.  The Indian Hub will feature articles, player profiles and videos in Hindi for the club’s passionate Indian Bomber supporters.  Essendon has employed an Indian intern, Amandeep Singh, to work with the media team to produce engaging and entertaining content.

    Amandeep said the new Indian Hub was a great way to connect with a passionate footy audience.  “I’m really excited to be a part of this new initiative taken on by the Essendon Football Club, and I can’t wait to provide the Indian community with an insight into this great footy club,” Singh said.  “Given the growing Indian population in Melbourne, and their love of footy, the Indian Hub is a great way to engage with the Indian community, and who knows maybe we’ll see an Indian superstar playing in the red sash one day.”

    To find out more about Amandeep Singh and the new Indian Hub, click here. ...


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    The Irish Banshees are the defending International Cup Women's Division Champions. In 2011 they defeated allcomers including Canada in the Grand Final.  Their squad was made up of players from Ireland but also a heavy contingent of Irish players who had been playing in Sydney.

    There are almost 2 million people living in Australia who have Irish ancestry according to the 2001 Census, and approximately 250,000 Irish Citizens living in Australia. Australians with Irish ancestry form the second largest migrant group after the 6.3m people with English ancestry.

    With strong ties like this, it is no wonder the Banshees will again be right at home when they visit Australia for the IC14, in fact less than half the team are making the long haul journey from Ireland with the rest of the squad already based in either Sydney or Melbourne. Having picked up most players through Australian Gaelic football connections the Banshees already have the building blocks for what will be an impressive line up once again.

     

     Women’s Football in Ireland so far

    The Banshees have a strong track record in a short history after winning IC11 taking the title of the strongest women's footy country outside Australia.  The following year 2012 saw the Irish Banshees win the Euro Cup, backing up from winning the 2011 and 2010 competitions.  But they did not send a team to the 2013 competition which was won by the European Crusaders team. 
     
    The Country and Australian football
     
    Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island in the world. It lies to the northwest of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets. The island is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers just under five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, which covers the remainder and is located in the northeast of the island.
     
    Gaelic football is the most watched sport in Ireland, both girls and boys playing the game as they grow up. Ladies Gaelic football has some slight rules changes but the aim remains the same, to score goals through the H shaped goal posts. Many Australians see a variation of the game played every year as the International Cup Series takes place.
     
    Since 1967 there have been many matches between Australian Rules football teams (mainly from Australia) and Gaelic football teams (mainly from Ireland), under various sets of hybrid, compromise rules known as International rules football. These were part of the official International Rules Series, which attracted large crowds and media interest in Ireland and Australia.
     
    In 2007 the international rules series was abandoned because of the aggression and the severity of the Australian team in the previous year, but in 2008, under new rules to protect the player with the ball, it resumed in Australia.  It has since continued somewhat disjointedly with an Australian Indigenous team representing Australia in 2013.  In 2014 there will be a one off test match in Australia.
     
    Former and current AFL Irish players Jim Stynes, Setanta and Aisake O'hAilpin, Tadgh Kenelly, Zac Tuohy, Pearce Hanley and Tommy Walsh all come from a Gaelic games background.
     
    Strengths and Weaknesses
     

    The squad will have the styling of a Gaelic football team, speed, agility and aggression all playing parts of Banshees code. It should also be noted that 10 of the IC11 champion side will feature in this squad, that experience proving beneficial when it comes down to playing big matches.  They will again be captained by Aimee Louise Hazley  

    With only 11 Irish based players flying in for the tournament the balance of Irish players are from clubs around Sydney and Melbourne who will be joining the squad and who have acclimatised to the game and picked up a far bit of skill.  The Banshees have a mix of coaches, assistants and managers on the ground in Melbourne ready to help us out where needed.   

    Women have only been a part of ARFLI since September 2009 so will have played fewer matches than some of their opposition such as the US and Canada.  Marie Keating who played such a significant part in the IC11 tournament will not be playing for Ireland this time around.  As the reigning champions their will be no doubt who everyone else will be aiming to beat.

    Claire Cunningham has only just pulled out of the squad as she is relocating to Ireland and will not be here for the competition. Claire currently captains the North Geelong football team who are currently on top of the ladder this season. Claire was a part of the IC2011 Banshees and will be missed but we will hopefully see her at the Euro Cup later this year. Melbourne based Oonagh McAnespy will take Claire's place in the team.

    The Banshees also have a mix of coaches, assistants and managers on the ground in Melbourne ready to help us out where needed. Andrew Hickey will not coach the group this time round but the identity of the '"top notch coach" lined up to take the group to another level is at this stage a secret to be revealed at a later date.

    The team lists four IC11 world team' players who will return to play in their second tournament, these are: Emma Kelly, Gillian Behan, Louise Loughlin and Laura Corrigan.

    IC2014 BANSHEES SQUAD:

     

    1

    Aimee Louise Hazley

    2

    Eva Mackin

    3

    Paula Keatley

    4

    Kate Leahy

    5

    Leiha Shrubsall

    6

    Emma Kelly

    7

    Fiona Roarty

    8

    Carolann Cass

    9

    Deirdre Ni Chearbhaill

    10

    Catilin Ni Chianain

    11

    Louise Loughlin

    12

    Laura Corrigan

    13

    Regina Curtain

    14

    Elaine O'Reilly

    15

    Clair Mahony

    16

    Carol McGahon

    17

    Dervla Murta

    18

    Maeve Brogan

    19

    Catherine Collins

    20

    Oonagh McAspney

    21

    Una McKay

    22

    Sandra Ryan

    23

    Christine McCutcheon

    24

    Gillian Behan

    25

    Emma Treanor

    26

    Alice McGahon

    27

    Sarah Rafferty

    28

    Rachel McCann

     Players to watch:

     1. Regina Curtin: Regina is a multiple 'All Ireland Senior Football championship' holder 2005 - 2007 and also achieved an 'All Ireland Camogie League title' in 2012.

    County: Cork and currently in Koroit, Victoria

    Clubs: Milford Senior Camoige Club and Donoughmore Senior Ladies Football Club

    Jersey Number: 10

    Position: Midfield, forward

    Why Play: Love sport, love playing ball, love the team spirit and friendships you make

    Aims for IC2014: Be competitive, train hard, win matches

    Best Sporting Memory: Winning the All Ireland club camogie Championship with Milford (Cork).

     

    2. Laura Corrigan: Laura competed in the IC2011 tournament, she plays in the VWFL premier league division for Diamond Creek, a team that took the cup home in 2012.

    Laura was also selected for the IC2011 World team.

    Name: Laura Corrigan

    From: Cavan Ireland/Greensborough Vic

    Team: Diamond Creek

    Jersey number: 1

    Position: Ruck/ wing

    Why and when I started playing: 2008 as I had always been told I was too rough in Gaelic so I thought Aussie Rules was the game for me.

    Expectations for IC: To go back to back.

    Best footy memory: Winning the last IC and being named in the top 3 players of the tournament.

     

    3Cáitlín Ní ChíanáinCáitlín plays for the Dublin Angels and holds two Euro Cup titles.

    From: Cavan, Ireland

    Team: Dublin Angels

    Jersey number: 33

    Position: Centre

    Why and when I started playing: In 2010/2011 I came back from a year in Australia and fancied a go at the game having not tried it there.

    Expectations for IC: To grow as a player and ideally bring home some silver wear.

    Best footy memory: Beating Switzerland in Euro Cup in Belfast, 2011.

     

    4. Sandra Ryan: Sandra competed in the IC2011 tournament, has represented NSW at state level and she currently plays for the UTS Shamrocks in Sydney.

    Name: Sandra Ryan

    From: Tipperary

    Team: UTS Shamrocks

    Jersey number: 10

    Position: Wing or half forward flank

    Why and when I started playing: Living in Sydney, I got introduced to the game when I played the International rules competition. 

    Expectations for IC: If it's anything like IC11 I'm expecting a lot. It was an amazing experience, shared with amazing people. 

    Best footy memory: It goes without saying the IC11 but also winning the Div 2 State Nationals with NSW. Both were in 2011 so the whole year was a blast

     

    5. Clair 'Glam' O'Mahony: Clair currently plays Gaelic footy for Sinn Fein, winners of 2014 club competition last weekend. She is also a 2 time 'All Ireland Championship' title holder.

    Name: Clair "Glam" O'Mahony

    From: Cork / Melbourne 

    Team: Sinn Fein Ladies Melbourne

    Jersey number:17

    Position: forward 

    Why and when I started playing: to appreciate what a really great sport it is, develop some new skills 

    Expectations for IC: To win #gohardorgohome /make new friends 

    Best footy memory: Winning two all-Ireland medals back to back with Cork Seniors Bs in 2008&2009.

    Form Guide and Bottom Line

    The form line is as good as you could ask for and it will take a mammoth effort for one of the other teams to wrest the title from the Banshees grip.

     

      ...


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    Nauru is a tiny Pacific Island nation that has the distinction of being the only country in the world that has Australian Rules as its national sport (assuming that status is disputed/shared by several sports in Australia). The capital city is Yaren and the population is just 12,000 but the number of Australian football participants is around 300.

    The the national team is known as the Nauru Chiefs and they are a team just below the top tier at the International Cup and capable of stepping up with an upset.

    Road to the International Cup

    After finishing IC08 in fourth place Nauru were probably a little disappointed to finish sixth at IC11. Coming up against PNG in their second Division 1 match was probably an unfortunate draw, which saw them play South Africa in the 5th/6th place playoff. On form most would have expected them to win that match but they were narrowly beaten by the South Africans. The Nauru domestic competition is made up of six teams that are based on AFL club names and colors.  They are the Bulldogs, Magpies, Cats, Bombers, Kangaroos and Hawks.  The Bulldogs have won the last three Grand Finals (and were Premiers and Champions in 2012 and 2013). 

    The senior competition is capped at 180 players (30 on each team).  This number is set due to the number of volunteers available and all matches are played on one ground.  AFL Nauru President Mathew Batsiua told us "We are thinking of expanding next year to 7 teams meaing that we will have a bye each week.  The board will make a decision on that after the cup.  Numbers (of people wanting to play) are definitely increasing hence the thinking of expanding to 7 teams next year as many players have been missing out." 

    In 2011 most of the Nauru team spent time in Australia playing with country footy clubs to acclimatise in the lead up to IC11.  This time around they have taken a very different approach. "Instead of sending some players to country Victoria to acclimatise we have decided to keep the whole squad together in Nauru.  Our senior competition started early this year and concluded in May so we can select a squad and have them training together for 3 months leading up to the cup.  The team bonding has been fantastic and because they have been training together and not scattered like before, the team is gelling very well and has enabled the coaching staff to work on their structures and playing styles much better" Batsiua said.

    This time around the team will be coached by Paner Baguga - a local coach who is also the National coach of the junior Nauru team that wond the Oceania Cup last December in Fiji. 

    Of course the biggest hurdle every team intending to compete at the International Cup is the large cost of bringing the squad and support staff to Australia.  The AFL Nauru President told us the "community support has been fantastic - the major fundraiser was supported well by the corporate sector providing all the prizes and we raised over $38,000 in one raffle draw.  Other fundraisers like food stalls, bingo games etc. have raised a lot of money as well.  Although there is no official majore team sponsor, team jumpers and shorts have been (supplied by and) sponsored by Capelle and Partners and the team tracksuits have been sponsored by Baitsi Laundry.  Other sponsors have been important including Our Airline (providing fare discounts), Transfield Services and Digicel Nauru (raffle sponsors).   

    The Country and Australian Football

    Nauru is an island nation in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometres (186 mi) to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi). With just over 9,265 residents, it is the second least-populated country after Vatican City. Settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Nauru gained its independence in 1968.

    Nauru is a phosphate rock island, with deposits close to the surface, which allow for simple strip mining operations. This island was a major exporter of phosphate starting in 1907 until the deposits ran out during the 1980s. The island also benefited financially when it was an off-shore detention centre for illegal immigrants into Australia for a period recently.

    Football was first played by Nauruan schoolchildren in the 1930’s in schools in Victoria, Australia. Among these schoolkids was Hammer DeRoburt. Schools in Geelong and Melbourne in Victoria were popular destinations of Nauruan schoolchildren of secondary-school age. After DeRoburt left Australia, he headed back to Nauru with a couple of friends and popularised the sport in his hometown. Whilst the phosphate mining continued Aussie ex-pats helped to keep the competition alive and prospering.

    Internationally Nauru first participated in the 1995 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia. The team, coached by former VFL/AFL player Mark Yeates finished third, winning the Bronze medal. In 2000, the Chiefs travelled to Queensland to compete in the inaugural Web Sports Cup to compete against teams from Samoa and the Robina Roos from Australia. The Chiefs won both matches. In 2001, the Chiefs again travelled to Queensland winning another two matches, one against the Gold Coast Old Boys. In the same year the Chiefs won the gold medal at the 2001 Arafura Games, defeating the Japanese national side.

    At the AFL International Cup in 2002, the Chiefs finished in 8th place, ranking Nauru the 9th strongest Aussie Rules nation in the world. Nauru withdrew from the 2005 International Cup. They attended the 2008 event however due to intense rivalry and violence in the National League, the NAFA (Nauru Australian Football Association) placed strict conditions on player eligibility to encourage a sense of unity, meaning that only players under 23 years old with a clean record were able to represent Nauru in the Cup. A number of members of the national team were placed with clubs in country Victoria to spend a few months developing their skills before the tournament. The team performed exceptionally, being beaten once in the opening pool round by the eventual winners Papua New Guinea, their only loss, to place 5th overall.  As detailed above their 2011 tournament saw them perform well but ultimately finish 6th after losing to PNG and South Africa.

    In recent years Nauruan youngsters coming through have benefited from the annual development opportunities offered by the AFL in the form of the Oceania Cup and the chance for players to compete at the NAB Under 16 Championships in Australia. "Ït gives our local junior competition targets and incentives and motivates young players to aim for national selection so they can be spotted in the regional competions and win a spot on the Oceania and South Pacific teams. There is a clearer pathway which helps all adminstrators and coaches of local leagues in motivating our young players" Batsiua told us.  The benefits of this pathway will no doubt be seen in the younger players now coming into the Chiefs squad.

    Strengths and Weaknesses

    Strengths must include the football preparation on home soil and team unity that has been built.  At IC11 when the team was under the pump against South Africa and PNG it was perhaps here they lacked something and the ability to regroup effectively to challenge again.

    In 2008 Assistant Coach Wes Illig described the Nauruan players “all players stand out because of their low centre of gravity and the general carnage left behind them after they have hit the football. We will not have any 6 footers but as the ball is played on the ground 99% of the time height is not all it is cracked up to be and if you have 20 blokes having a go, leaving a physical trail of destruction behind them, teams tend to lose concentration of their game plans and structure”.  We expect to see more of this used to effect at IC14.


    The Squad

     

     

    SURNAME 

    NAME 

    CLUB 

    1 

    ADAM 

    OTTO 

    CATS 

    2 

    ADIRE 

    SNUKA 

    BULLDOGS 

    3 

    AGEGE 

    LENNOX 

    BULLDOGS 

    4 

    AMWANO 

    JONAS 

    BULLDOGS 

    5 

    BATSIUA 

    MALLINSON 

    MAGPIES 

    6 

    BATSIUA 

    MAVERICK 

    HAWKS 

    7 

    BAUI 

    KAZAAM 

    MAGPIES 

    8 

    COOK 

    RONPADE 

    MAGPIES 

    9 

    DAGIARO 

    CHARLES 

    KANGAROOS 

    10 

    DAGIARO 

    JOHNNY 

    BOMBERS 

    11 

    DAGIARO 

    PILO 

    CATS 

    12 

    DANIEL 

    AYKERS 

    BULLDOGS 

    13 

    DEPAUNE 

    TRENT 

    CATS 

    14 

    DETENAMO 

    MARCUS PAUL 

    BOMBERS 

    15 

    FIOLAPE 

    HESS TEKAI 

    CATS 

    16 

    GRUNDLER 

    DJ 

    BOMBERS 

    17 

    GRUNDLER 

    GERMAN 

    BOMBERS 

    18 

    HARRIS 

    YOSHI 

    MAGPIES 

    19 

    HIRAM 

    MIKEY 

    KANGAROOS 

    20 

    IKA 

    KINGSTON 

    BOMBERS 

    21 

    KAMTAURA 

    TIPUNG 

    CATS 

    22 

    MOSES 

    DONATELLO 

    BULLDOGS 

    23 

    MWAREDAGA 

    DAVE 

    KANGAROOS 

    24 

    OPPENHEIMER 

    KENNETH 

    MAGPIES 

    25 

    TEABUGE 

    TIMOTHY 

    HAWKS 

    26 

    TEMAKI 

    ZAC 

    CATS 

    27 

    UEPA 

    JOSE 

    BULLDOGS 

    28 

    UERA 

    GREIGOR 

    CATS 

    29 

    WAIDABU 

    TIANA 

    CATS

     

    Players to Watch

     

    The Dagiaro boys are exciting players.  Veteran Johnny Dagiaro played at the IC08 and IC11 tournaments brings his experience while rookies Charles and Ezekiel "Pilo" Dagiaro should provide a lot of highlights for Nauru with their speed, strength and agility.  

    Form Guide and Bottom Line

    Eighth in 2002, fifth in 2008, sixth in 2011.  This time the Chiefs are a chance to make it a top 4 finish if they can pull it all together.  There is high anticipation and excitement across Nauru for the team to go far in the tournament this time.

    A final note

     We asked Mathew Batsiua if there were any moves towards women's footy being played in Nauruω  He told us "Not at this stage, if we get more volunteers then we can consider it.  

     

    ...


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    The Community Round fixture has been released.  Clubs across Victoria were asked to apply to host these matches and the AFL reportedly had a very strong response.  So much so that many clubs missed out and subsequently made their disappointment known to the AFL and requested to remain as backups should there be any issues with the selected clubs.

    Matches will be played across suburban Melbourne and in regional centres including Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong.  Some top quality matches that will majorly determine who will battle for the top few places in the mens tournament include the NZ vs USA match as Montrose, Ireland vs Nauru at the QEO in Bendigo and PNG vs South Africa at Geelong.

    The three Women's Division matches will be played at Plenty, St Albans and Wheelers Hill.

    Fixture details below.

     

    ...
    Saturday, August 16 (Community Round)
    Men's Ireland v Nauru 5:15pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Corner of View and Barnard St – Bendigo, VIC, 3550
    Men's GB v Fiji 11:40am Koonung Reserve, Corner Allen & Furneaux Grove, Bulleen, VIC, 3105
    Men's France v Indonesia 12:00pm Diggers Rest Reserve, Plumpton Road, Diggers Rest, VIC, 3427
    Men's PNG v South Africa 12:00pm St Mary's Oval, La Trobe Terrace, Geelong (next to Simonds Stadium)
    Men's Tonga v Japan 11:40am Elgar Park, Corner Elgar & Belmore Rd, Box Hill North, VIC, 3129
    Men's India v Pakistan 4:00pm Highgate Recreation Reserve, Corner Cleveland Drive & Grand Boulevarde, Craigieburn, VIC, 3064
    Men's NZ v USA 12:30pm Montrose Recreation Reserve, Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Montrose
    Men's Canada v Sweden 11:45am Ben Kavanagh Reserve, McDonald St, Mordialloc, VIC, 3195
    Men's China  v Finland 11:10am Eureka Stadium, Creswick Road, Ballarat, VIC, 3350
    Women's Ireland v USA Liberty 2:00pm Plenty Park, Cnr Yan Yean road and Memorial Drive,  Plenty
    Women's USA Freedom  v Tonga 4:30pm Kings Park Reserve, St Albans
    Women's Canada N Lights v Fiji  2:00pm Mulgrave Reserve, Garnett Rd, Wheelers Hill

    0 0

    AFL Fiji return to the international arena with the Senior mens team "Fiji Tribe" and their first ever senior womens squad the "Fiji Vonu" looking to fight for a spot in the final of the mens and womens fixture at the 2014 International Cup.

    The Fiji Tribe hope to make it one better and take it to the premier squads such as 2011 Premiers Ireland, Pacific neighbours New Zealand and the powerful Papua New Guinea after claiming top spot in Division 2 at IC11.

    Fiji Tribe return a more stronger, skillful but most of all experienced side compared to the side which claimed division 2 at IC14. The new look Fiji Tribe in the black and ocean blue strip look set to fire up IC14 and be a very competitive group of young men.

    Also featuring for AFL Fiji will be their first ever senior womens side the Fiji Vonu.
     
    The Vonu (turtles) come into IC14 as one of two new sides looking to make an impact. AFL Fiji introduced the women competition for the first time this year and this suited well as a large number of women who started training in 2013 with no real match practice teamed up with new members in 2014 to form two full teams.
     
     
    The Country and Aussie Rules Football.
     
     Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the north-west, New Caledonia to the southwest, Tonga to the south-east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. It is a well known tourist destination for thousands of Aussies each year.
     
    As well as tourism, Fiji has one of the most developed resource economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. 
     
    Fiji is widely known for producing some of the worlds best professional athletes in Rugby, Rugby League and of course Aussie Rules football.
     
    AFL Fiji was formed in 2009 by a group of AFL enthusiasts predominately ex-pats such as the Wolfgramm, Ratu, Loki, and Rodan families, and former AFL South Pacific Development manager Andrew Cadzow.
     
    Since 2009, AFL Fiji has grown and reached new heights in the footy community. From finishing third in Inaugural U16 Oceania Cup 2009 to claiming top spot in 2011, and starting from a small number of 40 participants in 2009 to a whopping 5500 country wide participants in 2013. The code has grown from 3 footy clinics a week in the capital Suva to conducting footy clinics all around the country with the assistance of an AUSAID grant and the cooperation of the Fiji National Sports Commission.
     
    AFL Fiji also has a team of great Ambassadors who play at the elite level in Australia such as West Coast Eagles Football Club and AFL superstar Nic Naitanui, and Port Adelaide Football Club superstar Alipate Carlisle.
     
    IC14 Round by Round - Fiji Tribe
     
    Round 1 : Ireland v Fiji Tribe - The Tribe's biggest international game to date. Coming up against the heavy favourites and IC11 reigning premiers Ireland in round 1 is not how they may have wanted to start the tournament, but it is one they will take as a challenge and a measure of where they stand. But as they say, never underestimate the under-dog tag. The Tribe are never to be written off and will make this game a contest. The Irish will have a greater range of experience, skill and kilometeres in the legs and should win this quite easily.
    Where it can be won : The Tribe will need to make it contest after contest, their big bodies and physicality will no doubt damage the Irish. Convert every chance they get. 
     
    Round 2 : Fiji Tribe v Indonesia - Fiji should come out on top. A great game to test their structures, skills and game plan. Will need to get on top early and take control, Indonesia are a strong team and with a number of Melbourne based players, should be a great contest and game of football.
    Where it can be won : Sheer pressure around the ball and contest. Power and strength should get them on top.
     
    Community Round 3 : Great Britain v Fiji Tribe - In order for the Tribe to make the final 4, they will need to win this match. likely to be the game of the round.  Two hard teams producing a great contest. 
    Where it can be won : Once again, the pressure around the ball is needed for four quarters.
    The British have similiar set of skills, physical pressure but more experience. The Tribe can win this with four quarter defensive pressure and keep the Brits below 10 goals and counter on the score board.
     
     Strengths & Weakness
     
    Strengths
    1. Physical presence - Teams won't want to come up against the hard hitting Fijians
    2. Speed - Fijians are known for their speed, so expect a fast pace game.
    3. Experience - With majority players having represented Fiji before, the experience levels will show and help.
     
    Weakness
    1. Rules Knowledge -  Expect a lot of free kicks given against the Tribe.
    2. Skills - Have improved dramatically but can let them down in under pressure moments.
    3. Discipline - Can get hot heads very quickly and can let them down by giving away silly fee kicks.
     
    Players To Watch
     
    Fiji Vonu
     
    1. Litia Matanisigadrau (Midfield) - Vice Captain of the pioneering women's team. Litia has pace and a good skill set.
    2. Shelly Fong (Midfield) - Fittest in the squad, very solid and can rove the ball all over the field. Looks to lead the team with her hard hits and strong right foot.
    3. Arieta 'Dee' Delasau (Centre Half Back) - She has a great pair of hands, a good kick, and reads the play well. Look for her to tear up the half back line and generate the forward attack.
     
    Special mention - Halamehi Tuilomani is the first Fijian women to play with a disability in any Fijian national sports Team. Another great rover with a big engine. Does not hold back and has a great skill set.
     
    Fiji Tribe 
     
    1. Juita Vateitei (Rover) - An original foundation member of AFL in Fiji. Started in 2009 with the first Fijian national team in the U16 Oceania Cup. Great experience, skills, fitness and hardworker. 
    2. Mesake Koroi (Forward) - Leading goal kicker for AFL Fiji at IC14 and was the Best and Fairest in the Division 2 Grand Final. Great pair of hands, a strong right and left foot and has a great jump. Will aim to kick a bag every game.
    3. Atunaisa Lewanavanua (Ruck) - Strong player with great experience. Another member of the IC11 Fiji team. Strong leap, hands and kick. Watch him to push forward and sneak a few.
     
    Special Mention - Yabaki Gade has been a part of AFL Fiji since the inclusion of the sport in Fiji. He will make his long awaited debut against the Irish as a senior player and will hopefully dominate the game. 
     
    Conclusion 
     
    Fiji teams have willing players - no doubt about that - and are not scared of the physical presence of the larger players who will dominate the opposing teams they will meet. The cold winter conditions however will test their fitness and endurance and may make them susceptible to injury. With only a few exceptions, none have travelled outside Fiji to cold climates before. But what they lack in experience, they will make up for in enthusiasm. Each player has sacrificed at home raising the $2000 out of their pockets to participate in what for them is a new code. And more, they intend to earn the respect of those they meet as well as their Australian hosts. If their preparation is anything to go by, they will give their international opponents and the public of Australia every last cent of their commitment at IC14. Stand by for some entertaining footy - and perhaps even some upsets.  
       ...

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    The Finland Icebreakers are readying for their second International Cup campaign this year, after attending back in 2008. With a relatively small local league and a limited pool of players to choose from, the Finns have been battling to finalise their squad for the tournament, with numerous withdrawals due to finances, injuries, work and family commitments.

    However, they have also been able to select Finns playing at clubs in Ireland, the USA and Asia, as well as a handful of Finns currently living and playing in Australia, so the Icebreakers are still optimistic about their chances of making a good impression Down Under in 2014.

    Mika Kupila spoke to WFN about the team's preparations and goals.

    LEFT: Some of the Icebreakers members at the IC08

    The country and Australian Football

    Finland is the easternmost of the Scandinavian countries, bordering Russia to the east. Its population of 5.5 million is roughly equivalent to the Australian state of Victoria, but Finland's land area is around 50% larger.

    The first Finnish national team appeared around a decade ago, with domestic matches beginning in 2007 with the creation of the Finland Australian Football League (FAFL), initially with just two clubs, the Helsinki Heatseekers and Salo Juggernauts. They were joined in 2008 by the Espoo Kangaroos, but the Roos only lasted one season. Since then, the Turku Dockers and Vaasa Wombats have brought the league up to four stable clubs.

    There are also active projects to create news sides in the cities of Tampere and Lappeenranta, as well as to resurrect the Espoo Roos.

    Previous International Cups

    The Icebreakers 2008 campaign saw them finish 14th out of 16 competing nations. Their tournament was marred by injuries and illness taking a heavy toll on the playing squad, although they managed one win against fellow debutant India.

    Coaching staff

    Coaching the squad this year will be David King, with Anthony McDonald as assistant.

    David King has been involved in Finnish footy since its inception back in 2005, playing with the Finnish Squad during their 2007 campaign at the EU Cup in Hamburg, Germany.

    He has been the Head Coach of the Icebreakers since 2012, taking the team to the Euro Cup in Edinburgh in 2012 and Bordeaux in 2013. He has also been a regular fixture with the Helsinki Heatseekers since 2011, coaching the team to a Premiership in 2012 and to Runners-up in 2013. In 2014 he has taken more of an officiating role with the league by switching to umpiring in an effort to lift the knowledge and standards of the rules.

    Anthony McDonald has 35 years of playing experience in metropolitan AFL with both the Eastern Football League in Melbourne and the South Australian Football Association in Adelaide. He has played in 2 premiership sides, one of which was the first ever for EFL club Mooroolbark as well as numerous other finals appearances at both senior and junior levels. However, McDonald only played one game of domestic footy in Finland and broke his arm.

    As Mika Kupila explains, "We had a preselected squad but ultimately it came down to who can afford the trip. The length of the trip also meant that some players needed to priorities family responsibilities over the trip. Injuries to key players also meant that the squad had to changed somewhat."

    "We still have five players in the squad who participated in 2008. Their experience will undoubtedly be a key to guide younger and less experienced players in the tournament. We then have four or five players who are currently playing and/or living in Australia."

    This year's squad contains only Finns, with Australians involvement limited to coaching and administrative staff.

    The squad include includes players based in Australia, Sweden, Ireland and Asia, making it difficult to get the squad together before the tournament for practice matches. The FAFL domestic league also is scheduled for all weekends this summer, excluding the possibility of holding national team training camps.

    Players to Watch

    Lasse Punttila has been a solid full back for the Icebreakers for many years. Kupila says "He's been a foundation of the national team for years and is one of the strongest defenders and contested markers around. And having a background in American Football he's known to give a good bump as well."

    Fredrik Romar, national captain in 2008, has been living and training in Ireland for the last few years. He's also played in Australia in the past and is going to be a cornerstone of our midfield. Kupila says "He is strong, versatile, always goes hard for the ball and delivers it forward cleanly. I believe he'll be one of the best players in the tournament."

    The Draw

    In the first three rounds, the Icebreakers will face the USA, Sweden and China. The match against China will be in Ballarat as part of the country/suburban round.

    According to Mika Kupila, the Icebreakers are fairly happy with their draw, although they'd prefer not to play Sweden again, as they are the one opponent they have the most opportunity to play at home.

    "It would've been more interesting to play some team we haven't faced before. Then again, the US will be really good to play against as they are one of the top teams in the tournament," Kupila said.

    "USA will be tough, Sweden close and China I believe we should win."

    "In 2008, we won one game. I believe our team is much more experienced and well rounded than back then. Being realistic, we're still a small footy nation with only 4 teams, I'm however looking to improve on the 08 result and optimistic that we can win at least 3 games."

    "I'd like to thank everyone involved in making this trip come true. We've got a lot of help from locals in organizing accommodation and program for the days off so that the trip is as good as it possibly can be. Couldn't have done it without them."

    The Squad

    TBC

    The Icebreakers at the Euro Cup in Bordeaux, France 2013. Image courtesy of AFL Europe.

    ...


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    The South African Lions finished 11th in 2002, 8th in 2005 and roared up to 3rd in 2008. Their goal in 2011 was to make the Grand Final but they dropped to 5th.  2014 sees them return to Australia with only a few experienced campaigners and some very young talent.  Their goal - make the top four and from there have a crack at winning the tournament.

    Traditionally the South Africans have played a fast, attacking, but at times chaotic style.  A lack of regular club matches has probably deprived them of the chance to consistently experience pressure football every week for a long season, and to practice structured play under real match pressure.  But their academy program and the first steps towards a national league are addressing these issues so it will be interesting to see whether the Lions can return to the top four and challenge the best the rest of the world has to offer.

    When asked about the likely style the Lions will bring, AFL South Africa National Operations and Local Partnership Manager July Machethe explained "To play entertaining and competitive footy in all of our games".

    The Country and Australian Football

    The Republic of South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation as it integrates so much of the cultural spectrum. Estimates vary, but the population is around 51 million and it is steadily, though too slowly for some, building up the standard of living after years of repression. Australian football got its start in South Africa in the 1990s, but then did it tough for some time. But building up to IC08 it became the number one focus for international development, with its relatively cheap costs, abundant population without access to organised sport, and various synergies with business investment. With extra AFL support and a genuine grassroots movement the sport began to flourish.

    The game has been branded FootyWILD and grew rapidly in numbers, but over the last few years there has been an effort to consolidate and growth has slowed. But 2011 saw a drop of two spots in their International Cup finishing position and it's also been unclear whether AFL support has been steady or declined.  With the rise of international rookies from South Pacific nations and none currently from South Africa one can imagine that there's pressure building to produce some potential AFL talent soon.

    A focus has been talent identification and this year's team has been selected from a group that have had dedicated training as an elite squad, starting with a list of 55 in 2011 that has been steadily trimmed.

    July Machethe explains, "The Squad has 13 players from last International Cup, with 15 players making their debut for SA Lions. The squad contains 5 players Under 19 with our youngest player being 16 that have come through our development system".

    "The players have all been involved (in) the local competitions as well as in the new footyWILD Premier League which is a national competition of 8 clubs. Refer to team list for the names of clubs".


    Strengths and Weaknesses

    Although very competitive at the last two International Cups, three key weaknesses preventing the Lions from advancing to the Grand Final have been lack of height in key positions and ruck, lack of a structured game and skill errors under pressure.  We can expect to see some or all of these areas addressed in 2014.

    With the above mentioned elite academy development the South Africans should have a much more settled game plan than in past Cups, but the squad includes very few players with more than one previous campaign to their credit.  Such veterans as Steven Malinga, Benjamin Motuba and Mtutuzeli Hlomela are absent, with the exception of Motuba being an assistant coach and listed as an emergency.  So Cup experience is down but hopefully the academy has prepared them well, addressing the game plan and skill under pressure issues identified above.  The average age of just under 23 is much the same as last time.

    The average height of 180cm is up from 177cm, thanks largely to the inclusion of three players over 190cm, compared with none in 2011.  If these big men can give their onballers an even share of taps to advantage and clunk an occasional mark it, then the Lions could well be on their way back into the top four.


    The Road to IC14

    July Machethe explained the long road, both to get to Australia and then once touching down.  "There’s been over 5 camps since 2011 which players participated in and we will be camping in South Australia, Jamestown from the 1st – 6th August 2014 including practice matches against Jamestown Peterborough FC & Aboriginal Youth Academy Team.  The Jamestown camp was facilitated by Joel Kelly whom is our former Operations Manager and funded by the Jamestown community under the Jamestown Peterborough Football & Netball Club. They also organised for us to play the match on the 6th at Adelaide against the Aboriginal Youth Team which is part of the South Australia Aboriginal Sports Training Academy".


    Players to watch


    We're told that players to look out for are Tshoboko Moagi No 20 (pictured below), Atang Moshoeshoe No 2 (17 years old ), Vuyislie Sokoyi No 2 (17 years old), Msizi Mkhize No 19 (18 years old), Asanda Funda no 10 (Captain), Thabiso Phakedi No 8, Marco Mongia No 11 (pictured above) and Tshukudu Moagi No 21.  Former GWS Giants rookie Bayanda Sobetwa also returns.


    Form Guide and Bottom Line

    After a meteoric rise the South Africans dropped back a peg at IC11.  It's time for the investment and the hard work of the locals to yield at least a top four finish again, maybe better. But then again the teams above them have not been standing still either, with PNG and New Zealand continuing to develop and Ireland with a core group hardened by living and playing in Australia for several years now.

    The extra height may be a key to a rise up the ladder but we don't yet know the quality of their talls.  The Lions start with new-comers Pakistan then play the tough Tongans before clashing with one of the favourites in PNG.  It's hard to see them winning that final match, and the likely outcome of the other pools is that there will be 3 teams undefeated (Ireland, New Zealand and PNG), so to snare the fourth semi-final spot the Lions would need to defeat Tonga and have the highest percentage of all other teams that go 2 wins 1 loss.  To achive that they may have to beat Pakistan by as much as 150 plus points.  With all due respect to Pakistan, the history of new nations suggests this is possible unless the Shaheens have unearthed some players with Australian experience (we look forward to their preview!).

    Overall, expect to see an improved South Africa but top 4 may be just beyond their grasp, in which case they should be favoured to take out Division 1 (the AFL's slightly odd description for teams that are ranked 5th to 12th after round 3).


     

    Head Coach: Wayne Miller - Assistant Coach: Benjamin Motuba Team Manager: Phindile Khambule

    AFLSA Board: Reginald Mokotedi, Tonie Prins, Cornelius Roodt

     Support Team

     July Machethe - Kabelo Seoka – Sikhona Vezi – Peter Augustin – Cleopatra Figlan - Benjamin Miller

     

    No.

    Given Name

    Surname

    DOB

    Height CM

    Weight KG

    Local Club

    1

    VUYISILE

    SOKOYI

    1996-08-28

    167

    65

    BLUE BIRDS

    2

    ATANG

    MOSHOESHOE

    1996-11-09

    176

    69

    BLUE BIRDS

    4

    AKHOLIWE

    FIGLAN

    1995-06-12

    178

    65

    BLUE BIRDS

    5

    KARABO ASHLEY

    MAROKOANE

    1991-12-23

    175

    68

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    6

    KHWEZI AUBREY

    VELELE

    1997-09-22

    179

    73

    BLUE BIRDS

    7

    AYABULELWA HAROLD

    MPHOTYE

    1992-02-25

    174

    75

    REAL DIVINES

    8

    THABISO RICHARDS

    PHAKEDI

    1990-02-22

    172

    76

    WARRIORS

    9

    ASANDA (C)

    FUNDA

    1989-04-10

    174

    66

    REAL DIVINES

    10

    STEVEN RANCHANE

    MATSHANE

    1988-04-02

    175

    69

    WILD CATS

    11

    MARCO

    MONGIA

    1991-04-12

    171

    78

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    12

    ZOLANI

    NYIKI

    1991-03-24

    176

    70

    REAL DIVINES

    13

    LUCKY

    TYWAKU

    1989-02-03

    189

    79

    BLUE BIRDS

    14

    MONTHUSETSI TSHEPISO

    MOGAPI

    1991-02-28

    172

    61

    WARRIORS

    15

    SIVUYILE

    PANI

    1993-09-16

    185

    71

    REAL DIVINES

    17

    KHAYALETHU YANDISA

    SIKITI

    1985-04-06

    174

    82

    BLUE BIRDS

    18

    OBAKENG PRENNEL

    PONI

    1989-06-04

    174

    60

    WILD CATS

    19

    MSIZI THEMBA

    MKHIZE

    1996-01-07

    186

    78

    HURRICANES

    20

    TSHOBOKO JOHNVISS (VC)

    MOAGI

    1990-08-12

    174

    79

    SUPER OWLS

    21

    TSHUKUDU GLADMORE

    MOAGI

    1991-10-16

    182

    82

    WARRIORS

    22

    THANDO

    DLAMINI

    1992-01-10

    172

    74

    SUPER OWLS

    23

    BAYANDA

    SOBETWA

    1990-03-13

    183

    77

    REAL DIVINES

    24

    CAMERON

    DALY

    1992-08-15

    187

    97

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    25

    ANDRIES STEFANUS JOHANNES

    DE WET

    1992-02-17

    179

    91

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    26

    THEMBINKOSI ELLIAS

    ZWANE

    1989-08-27

    186

    76

    HURRICANES

    27

    JACQUES

    TERBLANCHE

    1993-05-05

    185

    97

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    28

    MALIBONGWE

    MLAMLI

    1988-01-05

    198

    88

    REAL DIVINES

    29

    JURIE HENDRIK WYNAND

    WESSELS

    1991-08-06

    196

    96

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    30

    CORNE

    DUVENAGE

    1992-02-11

    194

    103

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

    3 *

    IAN MFANELO

    MTHIMKHULU

    1985-10-10

    171

    65

    GIANT BEES

    16 *

    TEFO BENJAMIN

    MOTUBA

    1984-05-12

    171

    79

    PLATINUM BUFFALOES

     *Emergencies

     

     
      ...


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    On 2 August 2014 the small town of Drniš in Dalmatia, Croatia, will play host to a friendly match between Croatia and the Netherlands, a reply of the 2010 Euro Cup final.

    With the Croatian Knights unable to attend this year's International Cup, the match will be a chance for the national team to prepare for this year's Euro Cup.

    The Drniš town council is excited to see footy for the first time and host an international match, providing transportation, field, dinner and a tour to the nearby national park.

    The match will kick off at 6pm. During the game, funds will be raised for parts of Croatia devastated with recent foods. All are welcome to join in the BBQ event after the match.

    LEFT: A view of Drniš from a nearby hill. ...


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    With the AFL season closing in on finals time the smaller regional matches have come to an end for 2014. In saying that the two Tasmanian venues at Aurora Stadium and Blundstone Arena are still active but are part of a six match deal for footy in the state, as is Star Track Arena (formerly Manuka Oval) in Canberra which has three matches throughout the year.

    The matches referred to here are the one-off regional showcases in Alice Springs, Darwin and Cairns which finished last weekend when the Western Bulldogs upset the Gold Coast Suns up at Cazalys Stadium in Far North Queensland.

    Now that these matches are done and dusted, it is possible to look at the value of these games. But that value cannot simply be results or money made. When considering value, local aspects need to be taken into an overall equation.

    There is an argument from down south that taking clubs away from their home fans is not always a popular move. Some say that the average fan cannot afford to travel to such far flung locations, which is probably true. Even if this results in better TV coverage, there is nothing like watching your team from the grandstands.


    Another argument used by some, though rarely the clubs, is the loss of home ground advantages. This argument is muted though by the creation of neutral venues.

    There may or may not be credence in these arguments, but from the point of view of a “North Queenslander” like myself these arguments pale into insignificance when compared to the benefits for the regions visited by the travelling AFL teams. Whilst some less enlightened writers tried to paint the recent Cairn match in a negative light, the overwhelming response from everyone I have spoken to is wildly positive. I cannot speak on behalf of the people of Darwin or Alice Springs, but I do know that many of the benefits to Cairns are mirrored in the experiences of our Northern Territory neighbours.

    This article will not be a chronological list of events. Instead I will detail aspects of my own experience, which when magnified across the region would amount to a very positive experience for all Australian Rules followers in the north.

    So what did we get out of the visit?

    The most obvious answers include massive publicity for the code locally. There were opportunities for our players to interact with actual AFL players. The ability to watch a match of the highest level and begin to see what is required to reach the top. Local coaches learned through watching and listening how to better coach their players.

    Not only was I able to get an interview with Kevin Sheedy (see article: http://www.worldfootynews.com/article...1173123974 ), but I was able to get a private chat in the grandstand with Guy McKenna, coach of the Gold Coast Suns. This informal chat covered training to kick into the wind, how to set up behind the play and advice for me to pass on to my own team on how to win under enormous odds. We don’t get that kind of free advice very often.

    The coaching “master-class”, held the Thursday prior to the match, allowed us to hear from Brendan McCartney (Western Bulldogs coach) about how to put together a club with the right personnel by telling us the story of how the Geelong Powerhouse was put together over a number of years. Kevin Sheedy was also there and told many stories, but most harked back to his Richmond and Essendon days. The array of topics he covered was too vast to list here, but what incredible insights we were given into training, coaching, club building, relationships and so much more.

    During other events a chat with Gold Coast Suns player Josh Hall enlightened me to the sacrifices needed to get to the top. Being a Townsville boy his story resonated to me, as well as the other junior players listening. On the day of the match a chat with Bulldogs player Tom Campbell gave insights into player decision making.

    When Western Bulldogs players, Liam Picken, Lachie Hunter and Jordan Roughead arrived at our club ground to join in training with our juniors the excitement was palpable. Not only did these players have time to chat with kids, but they gave our kids invaluable tips, joined in training drills with our younger players and joined in a small match with our older ones. What an experience for these kids.

    The value of the visit of these two clubs has been enormous in encouraging young people in far North Queensland to either remain with the game or give the game a try. The net result of that down the track could be huge as numbers of junior players increase. Without these visits we would all find a way to recruit and retain players. But with these visits our job locally has been made so much easier. The examples I gave largely represent one local club. By multiplying this success across all local clubs the impact is tremendous.

    The AFL is sure to look at Darwin, Alice Springs and Cairns again for matches next year. It is hoped that when the decisions are made to fixture games in these centres in 2015 and beyond a whole game benefit is considered – balancing the needs of the AFL clubs and supporters with the tremendous impact these games have on the centres they visit.

    Of course, sitting at Cazalys Stadium watching the Suns battle the Bulldogs for premiership points was a pretty special finale for all who went.

    Let’s hope we see everyone back again next year.


    ...

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     AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans tonight announced Geelong Cats coach Chris Scott would join the coaching panel under Alastair Clarkson for the 2014 Virgin Australia International Rules Series.

    Scott, who led the Cats to the 2011 premiership and boasts a career winning percentage of 76 per cent with 69 wins from 90 matches in charge of Geelong, will join Fremantle coach Ross Lyon as one of Clarkson’s two senior assistants.

    Evans said he was delighted Scott had accepted the invitation to be part of the Australian coaching structure, as the AFL was determined to gather the best possible resources around the playing group in a bid to regain the Cormac McAnallen trophy.

     

    “Chris has done a superb job since taking over as the coach of the Geelong Cats, progressing deep into the finals every season since 2011 while introducing a new breed of young players to keep the club at the top of the ladder,” Evans said.

    “A coaching panel of Alastair, Ross and Chris brings together some of our leading coaching minds and we are delighted that each has committed to be part of this year’s series.”

    Australia will host Ireland in a one-off Test at Patersons Stadium on Saturday November 22 and all media are welcome to attend.

    Tickets for November’s Test match went on general sale last week with prices as follows:
    ADULT $65.00 $50.00 $35.00 $20.00 $15.00
    CONCESSION $49.00 $38.00 $26.00 $15.00 $11.00
    JUNIOR $20.00 $15.00 $11.00 $5.00 $5.00
    FAMILY $70.00 $40.00

    TICKET AGENT
    Ticketmaster
    www.ticketmaster.com.au
    Phone: 136 100 ...


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    AFL ASIA MEDIA RELEASE

    2006 Norm Smith Medallist, Andrew Embley, from the West Coast Eagles has signed on as the inaugural coach of The Indochina All Stars, a combined football team of nationals from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

    The team will play its first match in Thailand on Saturday, 16 August as part of the Indochina Cup, now in its 8th year. It is expected that the team will develop over the next three years and compete in the International Cup in 2017 in Melbourne.

    Andrew who had an illustrious 15 year career at the West Coast Eagles is excited about getting involved in Asian Football and developing local players over the longer term. Andrew has Anglo/Burmese ancestry with both his Grandparents and Father being born in Burma (Myanmar) migrating to Perth in 1964.

    The idea for an all Indochina Team was the brainchild of Thai player, Rut Ngarmariyakul from the Thailand Tigers who regularly flies from Chiang Mai to Bangkok just to train with the Tigers, such is his enthusiasm for Aussie Rules.

    “It’s great that AFL Asia has been able to make this happen. The players from all teams in Indochina are really excited about the opportunity to play under a Norm Smith Medallist in Andrew Embley. This will be a big step for Indochina players and a big part of developing Australian Rules Football in Asia” says Rut

    AFL Asia’s President Phil Johns said that “we look forward to welcoming Andrew and introducing him to inspiring local players like Rut. He will see that footy is growing in Asia – and the energy is contagious”.

    Johns added that “the Indochina All Stars team is a great example of Australians, who work in the region, successfully integrating with the nationals of the host countries. As the relationships develop, so too does the significance of AFL Asia’s professional network across Asia.”

    Also in August, but back in Melbourne, five Asian teams will compete in the AFL’s International Cup. The day after the Indochina Cup, AFL Asia will host an event in Port Melbourne to celebrate those five teams as well as the organisation’s 1st birthday.

    It is an exciting time for football (of the Australian Rules variety) in Asi ...

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  • 07/25/14--18:35: A decade of World Footy News
  • Today marks 10 years since World Footy News ran its first story.

    In fact it was simply a message announcing our arrival and it wasn't until the next day that we ran our first proper footy story: 2004 Season Review - Australian Football League Germany

    Since then WFN has published nearly 4700 stories, at a bit over one per day. The most popular in terms of reads is the review of the 2002 International Cup with over 167000 views.

    The site was founded in 2004 by Aaron Richard and myself when we saw a void in reporting on the growth of the international side of Australian football. Just as we are now, we were keen to see the sport grow both in Australia and around the globe and wanted to support the international leagues, raise awareness in Australia of their efforts, and help with the cross-pollination of ideas to build a successful world footy community.

    Back then there were far less club and league websites, Facebook was in its first full year but just open to US college students, and social media probably only meant journalists having a chat together.

    Over the journey we've had the pleasure of growing along with the game's international presence. Numerous writers have come and gone as life takes them on various journeys but we've always been lucky enough to have some core dedicated volunteers to keep the site ticking over. Mentioning names risks hurting feelings but I am keen to acknowledge the great work being done by Troy Thompson, who has been with us for a long time and more recently has stepped up to shoulder the bulk of editing duties and is coordinating our 2014 International Cup effort.

    Speaking of which, it has always been a delight for us to get as many staff together as possible to cover the Cups every 3 years and meet some of the wonderful players and administrators from around the world. In a way I've always seen WFN as similar to an international footy club. We aren't quite mainstream, we're pushing the same cause, run on a shoestring budget, we rely entirely on volunteers who will come and go, there's never enough spare time in a day to do everything we want, and in the end the rewards are primarily about trying to enjoy what you do and hope that you've made a difference.

    Personal highlights, besides the International Cups, include seeing the rapid growth across South Africa and the South Pacific, the formalizing of AFL Europe, and some of the personal contacts and individual stories along the way. Working with the AFL, sometimes closely, has been interesting and revealing about the way what is perceived as one big shiny monolith is of course really an organization of individuals doing the best they can and still within a budget that is a very small fraction of the entity as a whole.

    It's also been rewarding to have had people involved in the World Footy News family go on to play important roles in international footy, such as Jake Anson's involvement in the early days of women's footy in Canada and Ash Nugent's work to keep Indian football alive before going on to co-found the Masala Football Club in Melbourne.

    So thank you to everyone who has contributed to WFN over the past ten years, be it one story, one tip off, one shared link, or a 100 stories. We can only exist because of your efforts.

    And thank you to all our readers. I hope we've achieved some of our goals and can continue into the future. You can help us by linking to us, be it your league or club website or Facebook, and telling your friends. We also love to get people logging in and commenting on stories. To anyone that thinks they'd like to join the cause or perhaps is retiring from a role internationally but wants to still be involved somehow, feel free to contact us and see if we can use you to keep reporting from Australian football's global frontier.

    A few thoughts on the future. This should be the subject of a larger article, but in brief, where might we realistically hope to see the game go over the next ten years? Personally, new countries getting started is always exciting so hopefully we'll see a few more join the sport. South America in particular is a largely untapped area that deserves some more seeding. But just as important is consolidation and I'm very hopeful that we'll see leagues such as in London, Auckland, Ontario, Vancouver and Port Moresby grow to have 8 to 10 clubs with second and even third divisions plus under 18s, and country-wide leagues such as in Germany and France have regional divisions with 6 to 8 clubs each, and some of the US metro leagues blossom into full multiple division leagues of their own. Having several international rookies become genuine AFL stars will also help the cause, as will further AFL investment across the world, and finally I think it's vital that the AFL heavily invests in football in New Zealand with a genuine plan to introduce an AFL club no later than 2030.

    What of WFN's future? Well we're not planning on going away, and I hope we continue to grow our readership, continue to have your support, and who knows, maybe one day we'll be a shiny bright professional organization bringing all the international footy news to millions of fans around the wo ...


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    International rookie Eric Wallace has signed a new one-year deal to keep him at North Melbourne until at least the end of the 2015 season.

    The 196cm, 102kg former US college basketballer from North Carolina joined the Kangaroos at the end of 2012 and has made significant inroads since switching codes to Australian Rules Football.

    Playing as the number one ruckman for VFL affiliate North Ballarat, Wallace has fast-tracked his development throughout the 2014 season.

     

     For the full story and quotes from Wallace click here. ...


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    After a successful 2013-2014 season the French Coqs are returning to Australia to take part in their second IC. The team is eager to build on their great results in last year's Axios Euro Cup, where they finished in second place.

    In 2011, the Coqs impressed the crowds with their performances on and off the field, finishing second of Division 2 and by introducing the world to a very unique celebration. They will no doubt try to improve their luck this year.

    The country and footy

    Although some games have been played by ANZAC soldier during WW1, Australian football in France only took off in the late 2000's. After a brief stint in the 90's in Paris and Normandy, the first established team started to appear around 2005 with the creation of the Strasbourg Kangouroux. This was followed by teams in the southern half of France a few laters and the first official competition was held in 2008. Since then footy in France has steadily grown and now boasts 7 well established teams peppered throughout the country. In the last couple of years women teams have also made their apparition but they won't be travelling to Australia just yet.

    On the international scene, France has been present to most of the major European competitions since the 2005 Euro Cup in London and have enjoy many great success. The last in date, finishing second of the 2013 Axios Euro Cup at home in Bordeaux. The team first travelled to the Australia for the IC11 where they had an impressive run in Division 2 culminating with a second place.

    As a testament to the progress of the domestic competition, all the french clubs will be represented in this year IC squad, with only 6 players honing their skills overseas (2 Aus, 2 Canada, 1 USA, 1 England). In addition, a sizeable number of players took part in the previous edition of the IC and will no doubt share their experience with the newcomers.

    Strength and weaknesses

    France faces a tough start to the competition. They will first face the GB Bulldogs, and then the Irish Warriors. They hope to carry the momentum of their great results at last year Euro cup. They will also rely on the expert advice of Richmond Tiger’s player, Daniel Jackson who got involved with French footy after the IC11.

    The cohesion and passion that the French players display on and off the field will no doubt be their greatest assets, and although they are not ready to take on the big teams just yet, they have the potential to create some major upsets.

    Players to watch

    Midfielders Alban Scheiber and Joevin L'Hotellier, who have been very impressive in recent years during the Euro Cups.

    Gregoire Patacq, the towering team captain, who will be returning for his second IC.

    2013 AFL Quebec All Star Clement Coste, who will be put to the test in the ruck.

    Squad :

    ALLIOT-MARTY Yoann

    BARBARIA Yvan

    BARRANCO Kévin

    BERNAD Anthony

    CANONICI Jérôme

    CASSAVETTI Stephen

    COCHET Thomas

    COSTE Clément

    DANDALEIX Pierre-Etienne

    DAVID Adrien

    DENERF Jérôme

    DEPONDT Thomas

    GIL Julien

    LABIGANG Pierre-Jacques

    L’HOTELLIER Joévin

    MARTINEZ Emilien

    MAYLIE Sylvain

    MENDOZA Valentin

    MONDIN Simon

    PATACQ Grégoire

    PICARD Thibault

    RAMDANI Amine

    ROSADO Jean

    SCHIEBER Alban

    TAPIA William

    TIEFENBACH Henri

    UBEDA Raphaël

    VIDAL Florian ...


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    We're closing in on the 2014 fifth instalment of the AFL International Cup and the world's footy nations are gathering for an assault on the Cup. Our previews continue with the 2005 champions and 2008 runner up.

    After finishing third to Ireland in 2002 and 2011, winning in 2005 and being the runner up in 2008 to PNG in a wonderful game of footy, NZ continue their trend of sending a younger team to try and regain the title. This squad is very reflective of the work AFL New Zealand have been doing over recent years with their junior age groups.

    The squad has benefited from regular international football either in Australia in age group teams or in NZ against touring sides such as the VAFA U18’s and the AIS. It has been very noticeable that although a gap still remains against the Australian sides there is no doubt it is narrowing. With the consistent high level preparation afforded by competition of this level it provides a pathway for junior talent to be recognised quickly as an international sportsman and provide exciting opportunities for their continued involvement.

    New Zealand stalwart Andrew Howison will captain the team, and will be supported by a core of senior players who have been part of previous International Cup campaigns. Three players are set to compete in their third International Cup in 2014. David Rattenbury, Matthew Van Wijk and Aaron Harris were all part of the 2008 and 2011 teams. Chris Mundell, Andy Christensen, Michael Gregson, Andrew Howison, Justin Clark, Brendan Clark and Jared Court are returning from the 2011 team, and have been key members of New Zealand Hawks teams in the intervening three years.

     At the other end of the scale, a talented group of teenagers will be playing in their first International Cup.

    Joe Baker-Thomas, currently on an International Scholarship with the St Kilda Saints, is one such player. He is joined by Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas, Ben Miller, Kyle Smith and Levi Inglis.
     
    Geographically, the squad features strong contingents from Canterbury and Auckland, but overall includes players from six regions around New Zealand.
     
    From Auckland, current AAFL champions the Waitakere Magpies are strongly represented. Chris Mundell, the player/coach of the University Club and Auckland NPC team, is also part of the New Zealand squad.
     
    The Country and Australian Football
     
    New Zealand (Aotearoa in Māori) lies 1500kms across the Tasman Sea to the east of Australia. It is is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands. It is roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. NZ has a forty year modern history in the game since it was restarted during the early 70’s in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
     
    The truth is it has a much deeper history than that with Australian Football having been played in New Zealand well over a century ago. In fact New Zealanders have been playing Australian footballial for almost as long as Aussies have. In 1882 there were 36 New Zealand clubs playing the sport. By 1901, they had 115 Australian football teams. The game fizzled out during the Great Depression. 
     
    Today three leagues operate under the banner of AFL New Zealand – six clubs in Auckland, four 500km south in Wellington and another four in Canterbury on the South Island. Waikato, two hours south of Auckland, has struggled in recent times but is represented within the Hawks. Otago on the South Island of NZ and Northland are the newer frontiers for footy in NZ and progress is being made in both areas which have players in the team representing them. 
     
    With a population of around 5 million people it is a country where Australian Rules remains a minority sport in a nation dominated by fanatical rugby union players and supporters with the other football codes Rugby League and Soccer also widely played and supported. As such, football is played during summer to accommodate rugby and soccer schedules In purely football terms, NZ's best young players have now got the opportunity to really gain a love for the game whilst developing their skills.
     
    The impact of a range of programmes has been of immense benefit. These include the NZ Hawks Cup for Secondary Schools and the HANZ Up programme, carried out by AFL New Zealand in conjunction with the Hawthorn Football Club. 
     
    There are also many opportunities to represent the country at youth level through the Oceania Cup for U16’s, for the NZ U18’s to annually play the Vic Amateur U 18’s and for others to be part of the Sth Pacific team at the AFL U 16 Championships.  The St Kilda home games being played on Anzac Day in Wellington have provided a great opportunity for both promotion of the game but also another opportunity for the NZ Hawks to play together, often opposed by many of their countrymen playing for the South Pacific Academy. 
     
    Strengths and Weaknesses 
     
    Their greatest strength will be their ability to play a structured game plan and their increasing depth. Coach Justin Davies said “I expect that the side will be a typical NZ side, that is fit and organised”. 
     
    Off field they are both experienced and organised. Head Coach Justin Davies and Assistant Coach Andrew Congalton will be returning for their 2nd successive International Cup campaign, along with manager Tim Stevens. Physiotherapist Jenny Lucy will be taking part in her 5th International Cup campaign, having been involved since 2002.
     
    As far as weaknesses the pure football ability of PNG remains a perennial challenge as will the Irish team with their recruitment of the many ex-pat Irish now playing footy on a weekly basis in Australia. Given the relative youth of the squad anything is possible but I believe they may still struggle to beat the Irish who were hugely impressive in 2011 when I viewed them. The ability of the gaelic players to translate their skills and game understanding from gaelic to the similar AFL, who already have adult, match-hardened bodies makes them a hugely formidable opponent.
     
    Players to watch 
     
    Those who play regularly in Australia are sure to be foremost- Brendan Clark, Andy Christensen, Andrew Howison and Adam Simpson. Michael Gregson is a very natural rover with good skills and certainly Joe Baker-Thomas, an international rookie at St Kilda, will be interesting to view. 
     
    2014 New Zealand Hawks International Cup Squad
    1 Joe Baker-Thomas (Wellington)
    2 Dan Benny (Otago)
    3 Michael Boyce (Auckland)
    4 Andy Christensen (Wellington)
    5 Brendan Clark (Queensland)
    6 Justin Clark (Canterbury)
    7 Jared Court (Canterbury)
    8 Nick Fisher (Canterbury)
    9 Michael Gregson (Auckland)
    10 Will Gregson (Auckland)
    11 Aaron Harris (Auckland)
    12 Andrew Howison (Canterbury)
    13 Levi Inglis (Canterbury)
    14 Jay Johnson (Canterbury)
    15 Cam Lubransky (Canterbury)
    16 Shane Leat (Auckland)
    17 Sam McKenzie (Wellington)
    18 Ben Miller (Otago)
    19 Tim Morton (Auckland)
    20 Chris Mundell (Auckland)
    21 David Rattenbury (Auckland)
    22 James Roughan (Auckland)
    23 Adam Simpson (Auckland)
    24 Kyle Smith (Canterbury)
    25 Ty Smith (Auckland)
    26 Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas (Northland)
    27 Logan Toomer (Otago)
    28 Matthew Van Wijk (Waikato)
    Emergencies:
    Waylon Baker (Wellington)
    Josh Robles (Canterbury)
     
    Form Guide and Bottom Line 
     
    Many of the squad have come through junior rep squads together and most of the squad have represented the Hawks previously at some level. The squad has had a long preparation and under former Frankston (VFL) player Justin Davies, as Head Coach, with former NZ Captain Andrew Congalton as his assistant they will be very well prepared.  Given the opportunities to improve their game it is likely that their team will be several goals better than last Cup even given the churn factor when participating as an amateur team which annually leads to the loss of important players. 
     
    New Zealand will play their pool games against Sweden and China whom they should comfortably beat. Their third pool game against the USA in Montrose on August 16th should be a game and a half and one I can’t wait to see. That said I would expect them to win and certainly be a semi-finalist. 
     
    Winning the Cup will be a mighty challenge but a distinct possibility.
     
      ...

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    Japan is an island nation in East Asia comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. It lies between 24° to 46° north latitude and from 123° to 146° east longitude.

    There are four major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands”, (from north to south) Hokkaidō, Honshū (the "mainland"), Shikoku and Kyūshū. There are also 2,456 islands, including Okinawa, some inhabited and others uninhabited. In total, as of 2006, Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km2, of which 374,834 km2 is land and 3,091 km2 water. This makes Japan's total area slightly larger than Norway.

     

    Japan has a population of 127,341,000 people, The female population is the greater, with 65,473,758 women, representing 51.41% of the total, compared to 62,087,731 or 48.75% men. Japan has a high population density, with 337 people per square km..

    The Country and Australian Football

    Japan has the oldest non-English speaking league in the world that kicked off in 1987 following an exhibition match in Tokyo between Essendon and Hawthorn. The oldest club is Senshu Power, a University based team that was one of the foundation teams of Japanese footy. Currently Japan has nine clubs (with another in the process of forming) with matches played in two regional Leagues.  Top League East based in Tokyo has seven teams/clubs, whilst Top League West comprises Osaka Dingoes and Nagoya Redbacks and possible newcomer Hiroshima Hawks.

    The Samurai, Japan’s national team has a long history, having played at ‘international level’ since the late 1990’s with participation in the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia. Japan has contested all the International Cups, the best placing being eighth in IC08.

    IC14 Squad

    The Samurai squad was announced on3rd June 2014, twenty six Top League East players and two players currently playing in Australia have been named along with a management and support staff of seven.

    There is an exciting blend of youth and experience in the squad, roughly half having played at IC’s before, the most experienced player being Michito Sakaki, suiting up for his 5th International Cup. Yusuke Kuno also has experience aplenty for his 4th IC whilst Masaya Nakamura, Junji Tanaka, Jun Sekiguchi ,Hiroyuki Toyamai and Toshiki Matsuhashi are all playing their third International Cup.

    The other IC ‘veterans’ are Mitsugu Kazawa, Takashi Kamada, Daichi Tanabe, Kumpei Komura, Hisayoshi Oura and Yuki Akita (3rd IC) who is one of the players currently playing in Australia  at Mt. Gambier North, South Australia. Takashi Kamada is also playing in Australia with West Footscray in Melbourne, Victoria.

    First timers include Yukihiro Ami, Sohei Yoshida (spent five weeks on scholarship playing at Box Hill North, Victoria recently), Takumi Sato, Yoshharu Sasaki, Takuto Tsuneto, Yusei Hasagawa, Yula Toyoshima, Ryosuke Sato, Kotaku Takasaki, Daiki Kai, Yusuke Matasumoto, Tomokazu Soda, Kohei Sekine,  Yohei Kichiraku and Junpei Ito.

    Debutant players to watch

    Sohei Yoshida: Great young player from Komazawa University Magpies. Played Volleyball at Junior High School and High School but started playing Footy on entering University.

    Kotaku Takasaki: still at High school, also plays Rugby at High School. He started to play footy as he wanted to improve his kicking skills and has shown talent and rapid improvement at footy.

    The Full Squad

    Senshu Powers: Yoshihara Sasaki, Takumi Sato, Kohei Sekine, Tomokazu Soda, Daichi Tanabe, Takuto Tsuneto and Yusuke Matsumoto.

    Tokyo Bay Suns: Yosuke Kuno, Kunpei Komura, Katsuyoshi Shimizu, Junji Tanaka, Hiroyuki Toyama, and Masaya Nakamura.

    R246 Lions: Yukihiro Ami, Michito Sasaki, Jun Sekiguchi, Kotaku Takasaki, Yuta Toyoshima and Yusei Hasegawa.

    Komazawa Magpies: Hisayoshi Oura, Daiki Kai, Mitsugu Kazawa, Toshiki Matsuhashi and Sohei Yoshida.

    Shonan Poseidons: Yohei Kichiraku and Kyosuke Sato.

    Management and Support Staff are:

    Brett Snowden – Coach

    Hideki Miyasaka – Manager

    Support Staff – Naoki Ishii – Powers, Ai Shichinohe – R246 Lions, Momoko Yasunga – Magpies, Junpei Ito – Senshu and Tatsuya Tomioka – Magpies.

     

    IC14 Round by RoundJapan Samurai  

    Round 1

    Papua New Guinea: WR = 3rd:-  Record: 0-2 :-Japan last played Papua New Guinea at IC02 for their 2nd loss to the Mosquitoes the first being at the Arafura Games in 1990. Hideki Miyasake, AFL Japan President believes PNG will be very tough to beat. Five of the IC veterans have been playing together for Tokyo Bay Suns, (last season’s premiers) whilst 3 of the 4 Komazawa Magpies are also IC veterans,  these players creating a very experienced core for the team consequently Hideki and Coach Brett Snowden believe this side is stronger than previous Samurai squads. Score: 0-1

    Round 2

    Pakistan: Not Ranked:- Being a debutant nation to International footy Pakistan are an absolute unknown, although if precedent matters, debutants don’t win too many games (exception being Fiji). Pakistan has, however, had a squad playing in Australia for some time now so they could cause an upset or two. Japan is determined to not take them lightly. Score: 1-1

    Round 3

    Tonga: WR = 9th:- Record 0-0:- Japan’s most recent wins are against Fiji IC11 and Samoa and India IC08 the Samoa match was somewhat an upset. Tonga can be compared to Samoa and Fiji in athletic ability and style, so if the Samurai bring their best game into this match then success in this match is very possible. Score: 2-1

     

      ...


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    Canada's Northwind are ranked 9th for IC14 and could potentially finish higher depending how they fair against the stronger teams in their pool. With the largest organised league outside of Australia, many would see the Northwind as an underachiever when it comes to the international scene.

    Whilst being competitive during group stages they have failed to progress further, with their previous Cup finishes being 9th (2002), 7th (2005), 6th (2008) and 9th (2011). With the last 2 years being used to develop a team that can match it with the powerhouses, they are expecting to be competitive in all their matches.

     

    The Country and Australian Football

    One of the world's largest countries by area, Canada in some ways shares a lot in common with Australia. Both are wide open lands but with much of them not particularly hospitable and relatively small populations, which are mostly of European descent as well as a significant indigenous population. Both have strong friendship with the USA and are heavily influenced by it, but also have a healthy scepticism towards that country in some respects and enjoy their differences.

    Australian Football got its North American start in Canada in 1989 with the Mississauga Mustangs and Toronto Panthers, which lead to the formation of the Canadian Australian Football Association (now called AFL Ontario) and a very strong league in the province of Ontario. Across on the west coast Vancouver (British Columbia) got started in 2001, which has ultimately lead to a successful junior program and more senior clubs. Further provinces (Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia) and the capital Ottawa have since begun programs giving the game an increasingly broad base.

     

    Strengths and Weaknesses

    Since 2011 Team Canada has employed a new approach in developing and building their national squad. Since 2012, the Northwind now has a solid contingent of players developing and playing around Canada and the world. With their largest base of players in Ontario & Alberta they now source players from all over, with a couple of players in BC, some in Australia and one in Quebec & London, UK.

    Preparation has been good with the team training regularly and players being placed on tailored programs since they selected the initial squad last October.

    “We knew we needed to get bigger, faster and better execution with the footy. Cody Royle (Assistant Coach) and I have been around the country hand picking the squad for 2+ years.” Commented head Coach, Benjamin Roberts. “We tailored the team to the style we want Canada to play.”

    Team Canada has been known for having a tall squad but this time around they are a little more balanced with a range of players who can adapt to the game. The coaches and senior players have worked hard to improve the team structures and develop a direct game plan to help compete with the world’s elite.

    Their biggest weaknesses are likely to be their team play and decision making, given some inexperienced players and limited opportunities to play together. It’s extremely hard to gauge how all the team members will play as a unit as it hard having players all over the place.

     

    Players to Watch

    Neil Casey - Came out of nowhere, won the AFL Ontario Rookie of the Year and Canadian Best and Fairest last year. Is big, strong and reads the game well.

    Nathan Strom - Was the Northwinds best player vs the USA in last year’s parallel cup. Quick, strong and well-rounded talent.

    Nathan Singh- Calgary Kangaroo midfielder, team where the runners up to Austin in last year’s USAFL final last year. Strong built midfielder who gets plenty of possessions.

     

    Form Guide and Bottom Line

    The Northwind have been seeded 9th by the AFL after the completion of the 2011 international cup and will be looking to improve upon that ranking at this year’s cup. Unfortunately, like the US, Canada rarely play internationals other than against their southern neighbours and so their international play and experience has been very limited. Since 2011 the Northwind have played the US revolution twice in the 49th Parallel Cup and each time has resulted in a loss. Because of this, it hard to gauge how Canada with fair against the top tier teams.

    With a good mix of height, speed, grunt and experience it’s all about development and trying to progress too match it with the big boys, Ireland, PNG and New Zealand. A finish between 7th - 5th would be a good result, higher would be a fantastic achievement.

    ...


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    James Lang's article about the South African Lion's IC14 warmup appeared earlier this week on The Footy Almanac website.

    With the AFL’s International Cup set to commence in Melbourne later this month, the South African side “the Lions” are landing in Jamestown this week for a training camp. Current Jamestown Peterborough Magpies Coach and former North Adelaide and South Australian State of Origin Star Mick Redden will also provide the players with some tutelage.

    Last winter saw South African National Team representatives Thembinkosi “Dhino” Zwane and Thabiso Phakedi based in Jamestown, as part of a unique opportunity in an AFL South Africa exchange program titled “Up There Down Under”. As part of the program, they played for the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies, whilst gaining valuable work experience, particularly on local farms. It was the brain child of former AFL South Africa Football Operations Chief and current consultant to the organisation, Tony Kelly  who grew up in Jamestown and still has much family residing in the area.

    As part of the camp, the players will arrive in Jamestown Friday night, before heading North to Orroroo the following day to watch the clash between the Roos and the Magpies. That evening, a community event will be hosted at the Jamestown Football Complex, with teas and other catering available. It will offer people a chance to grab an insight in to the team’s journey and the growth of Australian Football in the Rainbow Nation.

    Read the rest of the story on The Footy Almanac site here. ...


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    Four internationals have been invited to this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.  Americans Marvin Baynham and Evan Bruinsma will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eric Wallace, Patrick Mitchell and Jason Holmes who were signed as International Rookies after attending the Draft Combine. 

    Baynam is 6'7" and 210 lbs and played college basketball at the Georgia Southern Eagles.  The 22 year old recorded  344cm for the Vertical Jump,  2.82s for the 20m Sprint and recorded 8.14sec in the agility test at the L.A Combine.

    Bruinsma is a 21 year old college basketballer who played with the Detroit Titans and stands at 6'8" and weighs in at 214 lbs. 

    Two potential Irish converts in Connor McKenna and Paddy Brophy (pictured) have been invited after testing well at the combine held by Tadgh Kennelly in Ireland at the end of last year and impressing in the AFL Europe matches played as part of the AIS tour of Europe.  

    Brophy is 6'2" and 13st 5lbs at 20 years of age and plays club Gaelic football with Celbridge GAA.

    Conor McKenna is another Gaelic footballer who has huge wraps on him and plenty of AFL clubs with an interest in him after he appeared a natural in the trial match showing off his speed and kicking four goals.  At the combine he recorded 7.85 seconds for the agility run and 14.10 in the beep test. 

    We hope there might be some other internationals added to the list with players on show at the upcoming International Cup matches in Melbourne.
     
     
      ...

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