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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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  • 08/30/14--05:40: AFL Finals are here
  • The AFL tonight confirmed the fixture for week one of the 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series, to be as follows (all times are local):

    Friday September 5

    Second Qualifying Final, Hawthorn v Geelong Cats at the MCG, 7.50pm


    Saturday September 6

    First Qualifying Final, Sydney Swans v Fremantle at ANZ Stadium, 2.45pm

    Second Elimination Final, North Melbourne v Essendon at the MCG, 7.15pm (series ticket match)


    Sunday September 7

    First Elimination Final, Port Adelaide v Richmond at the Adelaide Oval, 2.50pm

    We will publish the International Broadcast Schedule once it is confimed. 


     
    AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said the AFL had determined that the highest teams on the ladder deserved to have the greatest consideration where possible when weighing up the fixture structure and match locations for the opening week of matches in the 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series.

    Mr McLachlan said the AFL had consulted the Swans, as the first-ranked side on the ladder, on its preference to play Friday or Saturday in week one and the Swans had advised the AFL they wished for consideration to be given to being scheduled on Saturday, to ensure a seven-day break leading into their first final.

    The Swans were therefore scheduled as a day game on Saturday September 6 at ANZ Stadium, which would also allow Fremantle to return to Perth that evening after the game, while the Second Qualifying Final would be played on Friday night at the MCG between Hawthorn and the Geelong Cats at the MCG.

    “It was the AFL’s view that the two qualifying finals between the top four teams deserved to be played as the opening two matches of the finals series, so that the losers of these matches had the longer breaks leading into week two of the finals series than their prospective opponents,” Mr McLachlan said.

    Mr McLachlan said the potential crowd for the North Melbourne v Essendon Elimination Final required the match to be played at the MCG. This match was scheduled for Saturday evening as the winner would play the loser of the Hawthorn / Geelong Cats match the previous evening.

    The First Elimination Final between Port Adelaide and Richmond was scheduled as a day game for Adelaide Oval on Sunday September 7 as the winner of this match would meet the loser of the Sydney Swans / Fremantle encounter.

    Mr McLachlan said he wanted to thank all football supporters for their commitment to the game in the 2014 season, with AFL crowd figures for the home and away season scheduled to eclipse the 2013 tally with three matches still to be played tomorrow.

    “All ticket prices for every match of the 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series have been frozen at last year’s prices, to ensure that fans of each of the eight clubs can have the best chance to see their team in action,” Mr McLachlan said.

    “We congratulate all the teams that have made the eight and look forward to an exciting finals series given the quality of the football that has been on display through the first 23 rounds,” he said.
    ends ...


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    The AFL finals kickoff Friday night in Melbourne with the two Qualifying finals and two Elimination finals to be played this weekend.

    The full international broadcast schedule can be seen below.

    ...
               
        Haw v Geel QF2 Syd v Freo QF1 NM v Ess EF2 Pt Adel v Rich EF1 Highlights
    Australia Network Asia 5/9 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1230 HKT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1700 HKT (LIVE) 7/9 @ 1300 HKT (LIVE) 9/9 @ 2330 HKT
    Australia Network Pacific 5/9 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1630 FJT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 2100 FJT (LIVE) 7/9 @ 1700 FJT (LIVE) 10/9 @ 0330 FJT
    Australia Network India 5/9 @ 1500 IST (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1000 IST (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1430 IST (LIVE) 7/9 @ 1030 IST (LIVE) 9/9 @ 2100 IST
    ESPN-BT Sport UK & Ireland 5/9 @ 1030 BST (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0530 BST (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1000 BST (LIVE) 7/9 @ 0600 BST (LIVE) 9/9 @ 2230 BST
    ESPN Caribbean 5/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) - 6/9 @ 0500 ET (LIVE) - 12/9 @ 0200 EST
    Eurosport 3 Europe     6/9 @ 115 CET (LIVE)   9/9 @ 2300 CET
    Eurosport 3 UK & Ireland     8/9 @ 2300 BST (Delay)   8/9 @ 2400 BST -
    Eurosport 4 Asia     7/9 @ 1400 HKT (Delay)    
    FSP/Fox Sports 2 USA 5/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0130 ET (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0500 ET (LIVE) 7/9 @ 0100 ET (LIVE)  
    ORBIT Middle East 5/9 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0730 KSA (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1200 KSA (LIVE) 7/9 @ 0800 KSA (LIVE) 8/9 @ 2000 KSA
    OTLSM - Boats and Cruises Worldwide (excl. Aust) 5/9 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE) - 6/9 @ 0915 GMT (LIVE) - -
    SKY Sports New Zealand - - - 8/9 @ 2400 NZT (Delay) 9/9 @ 1730 NZT
    Sommet Sports New Zealand 5/9 @ 2130 NZT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1645 NZT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 2115 NZT (LIVE) 7/9 @ 1650 NZT (LIVE) 10/9 @ 1930 NZT
    Supersport Africa 5/9 @ 1130 CAT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0630 CAT (LIVE) 6/9 @ 1100 CAT (LIVE) 7/9 @ 0700 CAT (LIVE) 8/9 @ 1700 CAT
    TSN2 Canada - - 6/9 @ 0500 ET (LIVE) 6/9 @ 0100 ET (LIVE) TSN.ca
    Viva Sports Latin America 10/9 @ 1830 MST (Delay) - - - -
    WatchAFL.com.au Worldwide 5/9 0950 GMT 6/9 0445 GMT 6/9 0915 GMT 7/9 0520 GMT -

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    With the 2014 AFL International Cup complete here are the Men's World Footy Rankings, the unofficial world rankings according to worldfootynews.com

    Rises/falls have been calculated compared with our last complete release, for 26th April 2014 after Denmark defeated Sweden (there were no more matches that qualified by our criteria prior to IC14).

    Canada and Japan are the big risers. Canada has climbed 6 places, winning four of their five IC14 matches, where fortunately for them the rating gap of each opponent was less than +/- 2.95 and as in three of these matches Canada achieved +40 point wins the rate exchange was the maximum of + 3.00 in each case. Their only loss was to their perennial nemesis USA where they lost only 1.04 rating points. The Northwind gained a total 10.91 rating points over the course of the tournament. No doubt the Revolution will be keen for another 49th Parallel Cup battle to climb back above their Northern foe.

    Japan won three from five, two of these winning matches reaped maximum +/-3.00 rate exchanges whilst they dropped only 0.46 rating points in the loss to Tonga seeing the Samurai climb from 19th to 16th place. Japan added a total of 6.78 rating points during the Cup.  Japan had previously played a lot of teams well up the ladder and their rating points had suffered as a result, so their rise can be seen as something of a correction.

    The biggest faller was Peace Team, and although not competing in this year’s IC, each of Japan, Sweden and France added enough rating points to climb above them.

    Ironically Fiji started the Cup on 40.18 rating points and finished with exactly the same 40.18 rating points but slipped one place as Canada climbed above them.

    Congratulations Papua New Guinea on winning a great grand final match and rising to #2 behind Australia on the WFN World Rankings.  And well done to Pakistan and Indonesia who join our rankings (if only provisionally so far) for the very first time.

    World Footy News Australian Football World Rankings

    (as at end of 23rd August 2014, completion of IC2014)

     

    Rank        Team Points Games Rank Change
    1 Australia -   steady
    2 Papua New Guinea 57.66 34 +1
    3 Ireland 56.68 49 -1
    4 New Zealand 55.09 38 steady
    5 Nauru 53.30 27 steady
    6 South Africa 49.63 27 steady
    7 Canada 47.99 42 +6
    8 United States 46.30 42 steady
    9 Great Britain 44.69 54 -2
    10 Denmark 43.67 47 steady
    11 Tonga 41.93 14 -2
    12 Croatia 40.35 8 -1
    13 Fiji 40.18 14 -1
    14 France 39.09 13 +1
    15 Sweden 38.53 35 +1
    16 Japan 37.17 29 +3
    17 Peace Team 36.46 11 -3
    18 Germany 34.09 16 steady
    19 China 28.84 16 -2
    20 Finland 27.45 18 steady
    21 India 23.01 16 steady
    Dorm. Iceland 35.64 4 **
    Prov. Indonesia 32.66 5 *
    Prov. Pakistan 32.35 5 *
    Prov. Timor-Leste 27.40 6 *
    Dorm. Samoa 41.85 18 **

     

    * Nations marked in grey with an asterisk have played less than eight (8) matches under our criteria, and currently hold provisional ranking points, but are not yet officially ranked.

    ** Countries that have not played a qualifying full field match for 4 years are considered dormant and no longer ranked.  Countries that have not played for more than 8 years are no longer listed at all and if they resume it is considered a fresh start.  Samoa must play by 05/09/2016 to stay on the list. In 2013 Spain fell off the list based on this criteria. ...


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  • 09/04/14--04:28: Irish Pies retiring
  • AFL club Collingwood today announced that Irish pair Marty Clarke and Caolan Mooney have opted to return to Ireland and, possibly, Gaelic football (But we also hear the Belfast Redbacks might be able to find a spot or two on their list in 2015).

    Clarke will be fondly remembered after two stints with Collingwood and a career of 73 matches. The Irishman, with his counter-attacking bent and lengthy kick, made a certain impression when he debuted in 2007.

    The call of home drew the popular Clarke back to County Down at the end of the 2009 season and he was absent through the grand final years of 2010 and 2011, but a welcome return in 2012 saw him play a further 27 matches across the next three years. Unfortunately, due to form and injury, he was able to play just one match in 2014.

    Mooney followed Clarke’s lead to leave County Down for the life of a professional Australian footballer with Collingwood. With the asset of withering pace, he played four matches in 2012, his first season. Two more appearances followed in 2013 but his progress stalled this year and he was unable to add to his six match tally.

     

    “Marty played some excellent football over his time and he can be proud of making the transition from Gaelic football to Australian Rules. At his best, he gave the side real zip and punch,” Collingwood director of football, Rodney Eade, said.

    “He was a very popular figure and we wish him well, as we do Caolan, (they) gave us all that they had in their time at the Westpac Centre.”


    Marty Clarke:

    Debut – 2007

    Matches – 73

    Disposals – 16.9 avg

    Goals – 19

     

    Caolan Mooney:

    Debut – 2012

    Matches – 6

    Disposals – 4.5 avg

    Goals – 2 ...


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    The All Australian selection committee met this week to finalise the selection of the 40 players in the running to be named in the final All Australian team.  Each panel member named their best 22 players (not named in position) and the final 40 were selected from that list. 

    One notable omission was Pearce Hanley, the Irishman who has had a great season for the Brisbane Lions despite his team not performing so well.  His stellar season has been widely acknowledged across the football media spectrum.

    Some consolation for him today though as the Brisbane paper The Courier Mail broke that story that his 17 year-old brother Cian Hanley would join the Brisbane Lions.  The younger Hanley though won't feature for a while as he just recently suffered an ACL injury in the All Ireland Minor semi-final playing for County Mayo.

    As other Irish players Marty Clarke and Caolan Mooney head home and the luckless Tommy Walsh may also be nearing the end of his Aussie oddessy, Cian Hanley could be joined by more Irish rookies as clubs see the payoff that can come from the Irish conversion.

    All signs were that Sean Hurley who trialled at the AFL Combine last year and with Fremantle will return to the WA club for the 2015 season. Padraig Lucey who just finished playing with Ireland in the International Cup could be recruited from his involvement with The Recruit reality TV series.  And Connor McKenna and Paddy Brophy have both been invited to the 2014 AFL Combine in Melbourne where AFL clubs will take a close look at their abilities. 

    Also don't be suprised if Hawthorn have another look at Conor Glass who had a very low key trial with the Hawks last summer.

      ...


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    While this weekend sees the annual ‘Big Meat Pie’ footy carnival – the event will be tinged with sadness at the news of the passing of former Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Special Coordinator Graeme Wilson.

    Graeme Wilson was born in 1953 (December 15) and played 14 VFL Games for South Melbourne across 1974-76. His calling outside of and post football saw him become a ‘career diplomat’ – includig landing in the Solomon Islands where the 2006 elections had seen parts of the capital city, Honiara, burnt to the ground. Head of the RAMSI mission from Jan 2009 he oversaw the successful conduct of the 2010 local elections. However he still loved his footy and was helping coach Auskick programs (now adapted as SolKick) – and in 2010 he oversaw his Solomon Sharks making their way to Tonga for their international debut at the 2010 Oceania Under 16s tournament. Wilson had seen a benefit in using the Auskick and AFL programs to help build a sense of ‘nation’. We reported on his finishing up in the role back in 2011.

    (Above) Graeme Wilson and Solomons 2011 South Pacific representative Anthony Joel at Blacktown - 2011.

    Subsequently he found himself in South Africa as Australia’s High Commissioner and it is there, in Pretoria, that he passed on Tuesday after a short illness. As South African Presdient Jacob Zuma stated "High Commissioner Wilson was a remarkable person, a true gentleman and ambassador for his country.” I only communicated with him over a brief period but can reiterate that he was certainly a gentleman and massively proud of his Solomon Sharks - condolences to the Wilson family.

    And so – tomorrow – Saturday September 6th sees the big annual match of the ‘Nationals’ vs the ‘Barbarians’ at King George VI School. A big day including live music, bbq and drinks – footy all afternoon and more. Last year the Nationals won comfortably on the scoreboard (80 to 19)

    ...


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    The number crunchers will point to sheer statistics. A return of 44 senior games at a cost of millions of dollars. Little room for argument there. Maybe adding on his collection of reserve grade games and his inaugural season in the VFL pushes that number of games higher, but not significantly. No, on statistics alone it is difficult to see success.

    Hunt’s situation is also not helped by the prior failure of Israel Folau. Hunt was clearly the superior Australian Rules player of the two, but the inability of Folau to grasp the game and walk away placed Hunt in the red immediately. No matter what he did, possibly short of a Brownlow, he would always be earmarked as part of the failed Rugby-League convert experiment.

    His after the siren match-winning goal in Cairns in 2012 was briefly deemed evidence that the idea would work out well, but since that time patchy form, injury and opportunity have seen Hunt’s stocks as a player dwindle rather than rise.

    So is there any way that the Karmichael Hunt era might be seen as a positive experience? Very few sections of the media believe so, and word on the streets (particularly southern streets that may not see much outside of their own sphere of involvement) is unflattering. The one constant shown is both his and the club’s statements on his departure was that he was an absolute professional who was a great mentor to the younger players around him. Positive, but some might argue that he was paid enough to be both many times over.

    For me, however, there is a tangible legacy that may still grow into something greater.

    As a Rugby League player I really saw Hunt as an annoyingly good Brisbane Broncos player who had to be contained when my team, Parramatta, played against them. I didn’t like or dislike him – just saw him as another young pup in the Bronco’s production line of talent. I certainly didn’t admire him, just tolerated him.

    During the period 2006-2009 I had been working hard to grow junior AFL through schools in southern Cairns – a heartland of Rugby League. I had been able to chip away through a base of Australian Rules loving families, some kids who played because I made them welcome regardless of abilities and the occasional curiosity player and sometimes a genuine athlete from rugby league who gave it a go out of boredom, or because their mate asked them. I could never crack the rugby league fraternity though. The peer pressures, family beliefs (“I hate AFL”) and choosing career pathways meant I might go for years without making any significant inroads.

    Karmichael Hunt was the catalyst for change. With his signing, and that of Folau, kids who idolised those men as Rugby League players were given a telepathic message. “Play Australian Rules, lads, it’s better than you think.”

    Over the period 2010 to now I have been able to help create a culture where rugby league players actually call Australian Rules their second sport. In some cases players have switched codes. Maybe it will take a player or two to reach the highest AFL level for people to understand that change – and that is closer to happening than you might think. Not only have I seen success a school levels, but that has also spilled into local clubs. It is a quantum leap for a sport to go from hated to being a second, and first, preference.

    My argument is that the Karmichael Hunt era as an AFL player might be over, but I think we are still seeing the ripple effects of his decision to play the game. I cannot speak for other coaches up here in Cairns, or the whole of North Queensland for that matter, so this can only be an opinion piece. But that opinion has been forged at the coal face of the changes to junior Australian Rules football.

    Recent years have seen the Cairns region produce some great talent: Courtney Dempsey, Charlie Dixon, Jarrod Harbrow, Peter Yagmoor, Sam Michael, Rex Liddy, Lewis Moss. There are more young sixteen to eighteen- year olds headed south to follow in their footsteps. None of these kids are products of the Karmichael Hunt era. But five to ten years from now that pipeline from the north will have grown, and amongst it will be the odd one or two who gave it a try because Karmichael Hunt did. I already know who some of them are.

    I cannot argue with statistics. The whole idea of converting players from another code to ours was costly and arguably a failure across the board. The media also prefers a good “negative” story every now and then.

    But up here, over 3000 kilometres from the heartland of Australian Rules football, I see things a little differently. I might not have cared for Karmichael Hunt as a rugby league player, but as an ally in growing the game in a tough market I have nothing but the greatest admiration for what he has done, and helped me to d ...

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  • 09/04/14--22:12: IC14 by the numbers
  • Here we've put together some statistics on the 2014 International Cup as well as past tournaments.  Some are important numbers, some are useless trivia.

    Feel free to suggest some other numbers.

     


    The Numbers

    0 - the lowest score (shared by six teams) at IC14

    1 - time NZ has won the Men's

    2 - times is the most Men's Cups won (both Ireland and PNG)

    3 - nations have won the Men's IC (Ireland, PNG, NZ)

    4 - South Pacific nations finishing in the top 10 at IC14

    5 - times the event has been held

    6 - years since Samoa attended

    7 - nations have attended the Women's IC (not double counting Canada and US development squads)

    8 - nations have attended every IC (see Australian Football International Cups to work out which ones)

    9 - years since Spain attended

    12 - Pakistan's finishing position on debut at IC14

    16 - Indonesia's finishing position on debut at IC14

    17 - venues used across Victoria for IC14

    23 - nations (or entities) have played in the Men's competition across the 5 IC

    35 - most goals kicked in a match at IC14 (Nauru against Indonesia)

    144 - highest Women's score (Canada Northern Lights over Tonga) at IC14

    147 - shortest listed player (in cm, Therese Tupper, USA Liberty) at IC14

    150 - shorted listed male player (in cm, Frenky Warumu, Indonesia) at IC14

    192 - tallest listed female player (in cm, 'Otolose Tenifa, Tonga) at IC14

    198 - tallest listed player (in cm, Neil Casey, Canada) at IC14

    199 - tallest listed player (but as an emergency, Inoke Ratu, Fiji) at IC14

    208 - tallest listed player at IC08 (Matts Wurmbach, Sweden)

    220 - biggest win at IC14 (Nauru over Indonesia)

    227 - highest score at IC14 (Nauru over Indonesia)

    3.7 billion - approximate population represented at IC14 (out of 7 billion on Earth; the most populous countries not attending, in order were, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam)


    * We accept there could be mistakes, especially misprints in the official Record, e.g. we suspect Nauru's youngest player,listed as 9 years old, might not be correct (though they are a tough people!).
    ...


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    The Japanese national team ventured to Melbourne hoping for success, and to leave with three wins from five starts would have bought heart to the players who made the journey. One of these players is Yuki Akita and he took some time to share his Australian Rules football journey with us.

    “The first time I saw football was when I first arrived in Australia in 2002. I put TV on and there was a strange sport on a weird shaped field and a ball. I didn't pay too much attention but supported the Adelaide Crows, just because I lived in South Australia.” Though, Yuki does have a favourite quote for this – “Which AFL team do you support?” “I will tell you at the end of September!”

    I started playing in 2005 when I enrolled in a University in South Australia. I was 19 years old. I used to hate playing footy, because I didn't understand the rules very well, couldn't bounce the ball or kick the footy properly. I am also short, so often lost the marking contest. However, a life changing opportunity came in the summer of 2005, when my friend invited me to go to training at Modbury Hawks Football Club (SA). It was difficult to start off not being able to kick and bounce properly.”

    “I played in D grade for the first two years, and won the most improved award in the first year and the B&F awards in the following year. I Then played in C grade for a few years. I was relocated to Mount Gambier in 2011 and played for West Gambier for 3 years (won the most consistent award) and I am currently playing for the North Gambier Football Club. I love wing and half forward!”

    “This is my 3rd International Cup, the first one being in 2008. I Still remember the feeling of my first international win against Samoa!”

    I asked Yuki what is the game like in Japan? “Very different. Nine per side and no rough plays (including hard contest / tackles) which you would see in local games in Australia. Small ground means disadvantages to Japanese players. We want space to run.”

    When asked how far Yuki wanted to go with the game he replied, “I would like to go as hard as I can. Honestly, as much as I want to win the cup, realistically we should be aiming to get in the top eight. Personally, my aim was to get selected in the AFL WORLD SQUAD. Unfortunately I pulled my hamstring after the first round and was only lucky to play again in the final round. I was very frustrated at myself that three years of hard working just drained out. But at the same time I was able to support my team by being a Samurai football player, stats recorder, being an assistant manager, runner and even water boy! Who has ever enrolled in 5 different positions in a single AFL International Cup? Me!!! Also kicking a goal in the last seconds of IC14 will be in my heart forever.”

    As this interview was done after the IC14 event was over, Yuki did not have predictions for winners – just observations. “By the end of the group league stage, I thought New Zealand was looking great. For women, I always supported Canada, just because I like its country, so I am glad they won!”

    “I would like to thank AFL International Cup organisers for giving us the opportunity to play footy with similar background athletes and participate in a once in a life time experience. This included special entries to official’s only sites and functions, being on the national TV and being treated like a VIP. I also would like to thank all the supporters, trainers who looked after me very well and most importantly my team mates and coaches who taught me the skills to play footy! Oh, and thanks for letting me take 2 weeks off of work! I am very motivated and inspired again! I look forward to playing footy again in 2017! Until then all the best to you all.” ...

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    The movie that brought footy around the world to Australia is now going offshore. Aussie Rules the World will be shown in London and Zagreb in the next two weeks. Details below or go to www.aussierulestheworld.com

    SPECIAL LONDON Screening - ONE NIGHT ONLY Thursday 18th September 7.00PM DOWN UNDER CENTRE 48 Haven Green Ealing Broadway (near station).
    Don’t Miss Q+A with director Michael Stringer McIntyre. Buy Tickets Now www.aussierulestheworld.ticketsource.uk
     
    SPECIAL ZAGREB Screening - ONE NIGHT ONLY - Come see the movie starring Zagreb Hawks! Saturday 13th September, 1700 Old Pharmacy Pub at Hebrangova 11a, Zagreb.
    Plus don’t miss discussion with director Michael McIntyre.

     

    You can also purchase the DVD here. ...


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    Every year since 2005, World Footy News has promoted an extensive list of Grand Final Parties around the world. And with the 2014 AFL Grand Final being played in just a few weeks we are calling for clubs around the world to send details of your party to us, so that fans of the game in your country/city can watch the big game with you.

    You can either post details as a comment below (you must register before you are able to post a comment or login via Facebook) or email troy@worldfootynews.com - all these details will be collated as per previous years.

    NORTH AMERICA

    Atlanta, GA

    Atlanta Kookaburras Grand Final Party

    Where: The Albert Pub, 918 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30307

    When: Friday, September 26th, 10.30pm

    Cost:$25 per head. (Group discounts available pre purchased)

    On Offer: Food, drinks, door prizes, a huge time and the live broadcast of the greatest game in the world. The AFL Grand Final, who will be Premiers in 2014?

    More Info?: Braden Medders 404 323 9636 Tickets at $25 can be purchased now online. Discounted tickets are available also when purchasing 4, 6 or 10 tickets. Plenty of food and drinks come with your ticket price plus free door prizes. BUY ADVANCE TICKETS HERE - GROUP DISCOUNTS? YES!! & RSVP here on the Facebook Event and invite your friends.

      ...


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    Much has been happening in Croatia during a hectic 2014. Some of the reports, such as the arrival of the Slavonski Brod Tigers, have been accurately reported, whilst some reports have been the subject of whispers and opinions. It was time to contact our man in Zagreb – Josip Kravar, President of the AAFC (Association of Australian Football Croatia) - to give us the good word in a wide ranging set of interviews.

    New Oval

    “It is not true that we have deal with University. Unfortunately we have one year to move from that ground as there will be new gym for University games 2016 that will be held in Zagreb. But, we are just building a new oval in Slavonski Brod and are in negotiations with town council for a new ground in Zagreb. I think now it is just question of place of new oval in Zagreb.”

    “We are also in negotiations to go with Croatian Rugby Association and be provided with one sport centre. We are hoping that this will be future for our association and we will play 18 per side next season.”

    “We are amateurs and we are putting lot of our time and hard work to build future for footy in Croatia. I am sure that we are heading in right direction but we need to be patient and persistent, and results will be here.”

    Netherlands Game

    “The Netherlands game went really nicely. We had a crowd of 500 spectators. The Town of Drniš provided us with lovely dinner after the game and with a beautiful trip the next day to national park Krka. We were hosted like real stars and I think that our Association will from now on play in small communities because they can provide more resources and people are more interested in new things.”

    “Regarding the game, we won 215-18. (see World Footy News story - http://www.worldfootynews.com/article...4134620234 )Our national team this year is in good shape. Young players from last year were raised to be leaders and experienced players now can take some burden from their shoulders. I think we have nice mix of experience and young blood. We are now looking forward for Axios Euro Cup this year in London.”

    Slavonski Brod

    “The Tigers are doing fine. They finished last but made some breakthroughs defeating Dockers and Dogs. They were amazing as only four to five months from entering our league they were competitive and hard match to beat for rest experienced teams. Also, two players played for our national team which proves their worth.”

    “What makes me happy is that they are investing in community and raising new players, finding new ground (on one nice soccer field) and organizing games in league on a high level. They even won our prize for "Best Team of 2014" which is awarded to the team that is not only a good team on the ground but team that have best organisation, dedicated staff and good community spirit.”

    “I think our own Hawks are equal with Tigers on that criteria, but taking into account the fact that Tigers were founded by the end of 2013, that was amazing. It is nice to have them now.”

    Local Footy Season

    “This year the Hawks won HLAN (Croatian League of Australian Football) and CEAFL (Central Australia Football League)

    “Having been last year premiers, Zagreb Hawks showed again this year respectful footy, organisation and big commitment from players to the club. The Hawks finished season without losing a game. From the first period of season some of key players were injured for three games but that did not stop some courageous forwards and defenders to jump in the middle and take place of injured rovers (three of our four rovers were injured in first period of season).”

    “With the return of the injured, and once the teamed were again warmed there was no doubt that Hawks would be champions second year in row. Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers were all the time at the back of the Hawks and in the game of the season they led first two quarters against the Hawks who came back in the great style. Zapruđe Giants were third and new club, Slavonski Brod Tigers, were last.”
    “Slavonski Brod Tigers showed rapid progress in their first season thanks to their coach Luka Đukić (ex-Hawks player). Tigers managed in the HLAN competition to take down the Dockers and clear the way for the Hawks.”

    “Best and Fairest of the HLAN was Josip Habljak the Hawks’ ruckman and best rookie was Lovre Čudina, Dockers forward. Also, we are keen to expand league next year with one new club that is in development process.”

    CEAFL
    “This competition is played with our friends from Austria, the Styrian Downunderdogs. Tigers and Hawks played finals, and Hawks were celebrating 137-50. The most important thing to note is the improvement of Tigers and Downunderdogs. “

    “Tigers managed to beat Dogs and Dockers on their home ground and lost against Giants and Hawks on the away games. Downuderdogs this year finished last but there is big improvement in their style of play and also the results. They managed to shake Hawks, lost to the Tigers in a tight game after five hours of driving and lost by just seven points to Dockers in last game. There are some new young players that brought fresh blood and I think they will get better and better.”

    “Also, we are hoping to expand CEAFL with new clubs from other countries. We are following development in Budapest, Hungary and Zenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are hoping that clubs will develop to the level so we can include them in our league.”

    For more information about the Australian Rules footy scene in Croatia, you can make contact via the following links:

    Association webpage: www.sanh.hr

    Hawks Blog : www.zagrebhawks.blogspot.com

    Facebook: https://hr-hr.facebook.com/zagrebhawks


    ...

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    With the International Cup for 2014 complete and most teams back home recovering and getting back to normal lives, players can reflect on their journey. The Tonga Thunder finished 6th overall after a narrow finals loss to Canada, and can hold their heads high after an event which saw three wins from five games.

    One of those players is Kisione Taulani, a young 17 year old midfielder in his first International Cup event. As well as playing for the Tongan national team, based in Nukalofa, Kisione is also a member of the Lauderdale Bombers Football Club in Tasmania, where he hopes to continue to develop his skills in Australian Rules football, and no doubt look to be a long term part of the Tongan national team at the next International Cup and beyond.


    A small interview with Kisione unearths a few things. His favourite AFL club is Hawthorn and his favourite player is Cyril Rioli. His overall sporting hero, however, is Israel Folau. Revered as a Tongan product (born in Sydney to Tongan parents), Israel has inspired Kisione and so many others not only for his enormous success at international level in Rugby Union and Rugby league, but also for his courage to give AFL football a shot.

    He lists his career highlights to date as this IC14 experience, as well as playing semi-finals for Lauderdale in the Tasmanian State League. Kisione also prefers the banana to the checkside kick when shooting for goal. He lists his funniest footy moments as the times he tries to speak English after a game to Australian people.

    Kisione had predicted that the men’s champions would be the Irish team and that the Canadian Northern Lights would take the women’s. Close, though the PNG Mosquitoes threw out many people’s predictions.

    We certainly wish Kisione all the best for his career, both at Lauderdale and in his pursuits to be a part of a successful Tongan national Australian Rules team into the future ...

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    The Big Meat Pie Nationals vs Barbarians annual footy festival day was the place to be in Honiara across the weekend - below is a report from AFL Solomon Islands.

    The stage was set at King George VI for yet another historic clash between the Solomon Islands Nationals against the combined expatriate & local side – Barbarians. A hot and dry day would see plenty of rotations and test players endeavour and willpower to win the footy for their team. With several National players unavailable for selection this year the Barbarians were hoping for an upset victory and to claim the trophy for first time.

    Nationals won the toss and elected to kick to the school end with the breeze. Both teams met in the centre of the field for the official anthems and a minute silence to pay respect for two close friends of SIAFLF who recently passed, Graeme Wilson and Ed Smith. As the game got underway both teams took some time to find touch and settle into positions. Opening goal came off the boot of Nationals centre half forward Rossco Maeloboa. Barbarians snagged a quick goal a few minutes later and it was game on.

    Nationals continued to use their pace to break the lines and move the ball forward in the first half. They could have secured the match had they kicked straight in front of goals but wayward kicking in the second quarter kept the Barbarians within reach. Barbarians were able to convert a couple goals of their own to keep the pressure on. The Nationals now needed to continue their work rate. Sam Bua found a lot of the footy and was instrumental in the first half setting up the Nationals along with ruckman Jermaine Akaramo who was taking strong grabs around the field and giving first touch of the footy to his midfielders.

    After the halftime break, the Barbarians would have to work extremely hard to not let the scoreboard blow out. Nationals opened with the first goal but the game was evening out. Both teams showed good passages of play around the ground. Nationals were very composed coming out of defence, often switching the ball to the open side of the ground before attacking. Barbarians lacked the speed to run with the Nationals when the ball was out in space. Javvy Serere, David Holo and Ringamoto Mosese were all finding a lot of the footy for the Nationals and Jermaine continued to put the Nationals forward through his ruckwork. Chris Idu worked extremely hard on Sam Bua to keep him to only a handful of touches and Freddy Una stood tall in defence. Gut running wingmen for the Barbarians – Andrew McEvoy and Andrew Piper provided targets coming out of defence and also kept the pressure on the Nationals coming the other way. Pizza Pete was also working extremely hard to make it to the contests. Barbarians were able to score 3 successive goals to bring the margin back to 11 points but a late goal from the Nationals saw them take a 17point lead going into the final quarter.

    As players tired in the blistering heat the Barbarians would have to leave nothing in the tank if they were going to win this match from here. Nationals maintained their quick ball movement and were able to find target s up forward. Barbarians struggled out of defence with Jermaine taking several contested marks across the Barbarians halfback line. Barbarians started dropping like flies with players cramping. Unable to run with the Nationals, the game was all but over for the Barbarians as the Nationals kicked away in the final quarter. All though it was a blow out in final term, the Barbarians fought gallantly against a younger, fitter and faster side. Coach of the Nationals: - Job Vulita was happy with his team’s effort considering many of their more experienced players were unable to play. Nationals declared the 2014 Big Meat Pie champions.

    Final Scores: -

    goals behinds total
    Nationals 12 14 86
    Barbarians 7 4 46

    Nationals Best on Ground –Jermaine Akaramo
    Barbarians Best on Ground – Pizza Pete


    Captain of the Nationals, Ringamoto Mosese lays a strong tackle


    Andrew McEvoy forced to dodge


    Germain Aka and Dave Kelly contest the ruck


    Danny Nugent tight on the boundary ...


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    The Fiji Vonu players at this year’s IC14 can all be proud of their place in history as representatives of the first Fijian women’s national team at an International Cup. But if at all possible, Siteri Tadrau might be even more proud, being the first woman to captain that national team. Siteri shares some of her experiences with us in this interview.

    “[I found Australian Rules football because] my sister informed me that her classmate who is a training personnel for AFL is looking for interested women to train for footy. Since I am a sporty person who started playing Netball since I was a kid and very much interested in keeping myself fit I decided to check it out, joined AFL training in August 2013, and the first day of learning how to handball, kick and mark I instantly fell in love with the game.”

    “I started as I mentioned above in August 2013, and I have played this sport for 1 year 2 months till today. Since the sport is not so popular in Fiji before the IC14, I joined the boy’s team known as the Suva Lions and played a bit to keep my knowledge and physicality intact and then later on made the nine per side girl’s team and joined team Golden and from there I was chosen for the Fiji Vonu Tribe women’s team to take part for the IC14.” “This was my first ever International Cup.”

    “The game is becoming much more exposed now since 2011. Here in Fiji in the coming years I assume it will become popular.”

    “I want to play the game as long as I could bear the physicality and the challenging side of it. But at the same time I ask that if we here in Fiji can be provided and given a proper coach and training instructor who have played this game all their life and could give his/her time in leading us in a proper way to prepare us physically and mentally for AFL. Because for me AFL is to do more with how you read and master the movement and the game in the field when you are under a lot of pressure from your opposition.”

    The next question for Siteri was to predict the tournament winners. “Since I’ve created great memories with the Canadian women’s team I gave them all my trust and hope that they win and for the men’s my bet is on PNG.”

    “I love AFL - every bit of it - and since I learnt that there is a world team created after every tournament my personal aim is to be one of the women in the next World team in the IC17 and in order to achieve that my advice is to keep playing the game whenever I have time and double my fitness level and knowledge of the game.”

    Many thanks, Siteri and we at World Footy News congratulate you and the Vonu team on your efforts and hope your future goals will come true.
    ...

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    On purely a win/loss ratio, the Sweden team at this year’s IC14 came out in front with three wins from five starts. On that basis, the Swedes can be justifiably proud of their standing – going down heavily in two games off set by wins against Finland, Indonesia and China. The performance also highlighted some of the new breed of Swedish players, including Timothy Lindgren.

    Timothy is a newcomer to the international Australian Rules scene. A product of the Port Malmö Maulers, the 17 year old represents an investment in the footy future in Sweden. Having said that, Timothy has been playing the game for 6 years, so international selection is reward for that commitment. Timothy discovered the game at such an early age due to his teacher also being the national Australian Rules coach, opening up that pathway early in his school years.

    At just 176 centimetres, Timothy plays as a half-forward. He is a Port Adelaide fan and lists his favourite player as Chad Wingard from the Power. His overall sporting idol, however, is Michael Jordan. When asked which is his favourite kick for snapping goals, Timothy opts for the “banana” kick over the “check-side”.

    Timothy says his favourite footy moment, other than his recent IC14 campaign, was being named best player afield in his very first senior match. He offers his most embarrassing moment in footy as the time he got lifted up and then smashed into the ground during an exhibition match against an England team.

    Always confident in his and the team’s ability, Timothy predicted a win for the Sweden Elks to take out the International Cup in the men’s tournament, whilst choosing the USA team in the women’s.

    We wish Timothy and all of the Sweden Elks team all the best in their footballing futures, and will watch their progress with interest – particularly Timothy who is young enough to be at the next 3-4 International Cup events ...

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    In this final instalment of the International Cup vignette series – one player interviewed per team of the 25 teams at the event – we chat with Hao Zhang, legendary player and team manager of the China Dragons. We look at his Australian Rules football journey and his take on the scene in China.

    “I have played footy for seven years. I started to play footy on 2007. One AFL promotion officer went to my school and attracted us to play footy and then I begin to play footy. This is my third time playing at the International Cup.”

    “I am organizing the local players join this sport in South China right now. We join the SCAFL which includes Hong Kong , Macau and Guang Dong players. Also we have another local league called GDAFL which include GuangZhou, HuiZhou and DongGuan. There are about 100 players. Our team still have a long way to travel. I hope I can help the China team to be better in the future. I also hope I can help AFL to find some potential players in China.”
    “I suggest that the AFL can use IC11 method to have the seeding round game. It is very difficult for the development team to play against the strong team. I hope more clubs can build more cooperation with China player. Maybe the clubs can choose some potential players to go to Australia for training and study.

    Zhang and his team can be proud of their efforts to not only grow the game in China, but to take to the fields of battle at the International Cup and win against Finland as well as a narrow defeat to Japan. We wish them the best of luck for the futur ...

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    It's unusual to see AFL Europe make the mainstream news in Australia but unfortunately it has done so in controversial circumstances which may have an impact on all international AFL affiliates.

    The ABC has reported that the AFL-affiliated body has signed a sponsorship deal with Royal Brunei Airlines, including to fly players from Europe to Australia.  Unfortunately the airline is state-owned and Brunei is the subject of a boycott campaign in response to harsh new laws that include the death penalty by stoning for gay sex and adultery.

    The AFL has now stated that:

    "These laws are counter to everything the AFL stands for in regards to inclusion and diversity".

    "In conjunction with AFL Europe, we are currently reassessing the appropriateness of the sponsorship arrangement and also the broader issue of the AFL's oversight of potential sponsorship deals that are put to affiliate organisations overseas."

    Although AFL Europe is an independent body the AFL will presumably have a strong influence on it through their financial support, despite that being relatively modest. ...


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    As most competitions across Australia reach their finals time and begin to wind down for 2014, the people of the Top End are just waking to the pre-dawn of their new 2014/15 season. Whilst many are unaware of the “off-season” competition based in Darwin, the locals certainly are well aware and don’t see it as the “off-season” at all. To them it is GAME ON.

    And far from being a small local competition, the NTFL boasts a very high standard, and can we watched via live streams right throughout their season. When a competition boasts a history of names such as Rioli, Long, Motlop and Davey you can be sure the quality will be electric.

    The new season starts in just over three weeks, with a first up rematch of last season’s premiers, St Mary’s and Wanderers, to get the ball rolling in a triple header at Darwin’s TIO Stadium. That match will be followed by Southern Districts against Tiwi Bombers and Palmerston Magpies taking on Waratah. Nightcliff will take on the Buffaloes on the Sunday.

    After two seasons experimenting with the development and inclusion of possible future Premier League clubs (Central Australian Redtails & Banks Bulldogs), this season neither will appear, providing a much simpler format of eight teams playing across 18 rounds.

    The new season brings a clean slate and each of the eight clubs has their wishes and dreams. For St Mary’s, the reigning premiers, the lure of winning three flags in a row (they won in 2012/13 and 2013/14) and a 31st flag in total would be irresistible. For Wanderers it would be all about redemption and a chance to achieve the premiership they narrowly missed last season.

    The Tiwi Bombers will be out to prove last year’s slump was an anomaly and put themselves back into flag contention. Southern Districts, Nightcliff and Waratah, last season’s other finalists, will come out again to find the consistencies that eluded them at crucial times last season and give the flag a crack.

    Palmerston will look to capitalise on a stronger second half of the season last year and push towards finals whilst Buffaloes will look to put last season behind them and start the climb back up the ladder.

    Whatever may happen, the new season kicks off on Saturday, October 4th. Get ready for one hell of a show for 2014/15. As the pre-season winds down, and the training ramps up, the new NTFL season is about to explod ...

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    Geelong vs North Melbourne and Fremantle vs Port Adelaide Semi-finals are on this week with the winners headed for the Preliminary finals and the losers heading to the offseason.

    The international broadcast details for both matches and highlights packages can be seen below.

    ...
    Region Network Geelong vs North Melb Fremantle vs Adelaide Highlights
    Asia Australia Network 12/9 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) 13/9 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) 15/9 @ 2330 HKT
    Pacific Australia Network 12/9 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) 13/9 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) 16/9 @ 0330 FJT
    India Australia Network 12/9 @ 1500 IST (LIVE) 13/9 @ 1500 IST (LIVE) 15/9 @ 2100 IST
    UK & Ireland ESPN BT Sport 12/9 @ 1030 BST (LIVE) 13/9 @ 1030 BST (LIVE) 15/9 @ 2200 BST
    Caribbean ESPN 12/9 @ 0530 EST (LIVE) - 17/9 @ 1400 EST
    Europe Eurosport 2 12/9 @ 1130 CET (LIVE) - 15/9 @ 2300 CET
    UK & Ireland Eurosport 2 15/9 @ 2300 BST (Delay) - 15/9 @ 2400 BST
    Asia Eurosport 2 - -  
    USA Fox Soccer Plus - - 14/9 @ 1300 ET
    USA Fox Sports 2 12/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) 13/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) -
    Middle East Orbit Showtime Network 12/9 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE) 13/9 @ 1230 KSA (LIVE) 14/9 @ 2000 KSA
    Middle East OTLSM - Boats and Cruises 12/9 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE) 13/9 @ 0950 GMT (LIVE) -
    New Zealand Sky Sports - 15/9 @ 2400 NZT (Delay) 15/9 @ 1730 NZT
    New Zealand Sommet Sports 12/9 @ 2130 NZT (LIVE) 13/9 @ 2130 NZT (LIVE) 17/9 @ 1930 NZT
    Africa Supersport 12/9 @ 1130 CAT (LIVE) 12/9 @ 1130 CAT (LIVE) 14/9 @ 1700 CAT
    Canada TSN2 12/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) 13/9 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) TSN.ca
    Latin America Viva Sports 17/9 @ 1830 MST (Delay) - -
    Worldwide (excl Australia) WatchAFL.com.au 12/9 @0950 GMT 13/9 @ 0950 GMT -

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