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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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  • 12/01/14--09:39: AFL Quebec Awards Night 2014
  • Phil Manassa & Elaine Gilmore named Quebec’s best & fairest for 2014.

    AFL Quebec’s night of nights saw Phil Manassa awarded the league’s top honor after a tightly contested points race which went down to the final round of voting. Going into the final regular season round Manassa held a one vote lead over Daniel Robinson, who had led the voting through the majority of the season, and Morgan Whyte, who had climbed the leader board late.

    Despite Manassa’s West Island Wooders winning the final game of the season he polled only 3 votes leaving the door ajar for Whyte. However, Whyte’s Montreal Demons fell to the Laval Bombers courtesy of a 9 goal exhibition from Todd Rogers leaving Whyte in the runner-up position ahead of Robinson who missed the Wooders game through injury. Last years winner Bogdan Rotaru finished fourth while Rogers’ dominant final round display saw him pick up 5 votes to round out the top five despite missing the opening 3 rounds.

    It could be argued that ill-discipline cost the chasing players the title with Whyte, Robinson and Rotaru all missing out on votes due to yellow cards through the season. However, Manassa was a worthy winner on the night where he was presented a premiership jacket, the southern cross medal for best on ground Australian in the grand final, and named Team of the Year at Centre in his first year in the league.

    The Wooders fittingly dominated the evening after conquering the league in their premier season. In addition to Manassa’s triumph, Wilfred Houvion, best on ground International in the grand final, Fabio Petosa, seasons record breaking leading goal kicker, Pierre-Olivier Chemin, rookie of the year, and Thomas Core, coaches award, were recognized with individual honors.

    The Wooders also occupied 5 of the 13 places in the 2014 AFL Quebec Team of the Year with Manassa, Robinson, Petosa and Chemin joined by West Island veteran and former Team Canada representative, Matt Payne. The Demons and Bombers both took 3 places with Whyte joined by bolter Nicolas Poussel and another former Team Canada member, Kyle Graham while Rogers and Rotaru were joined by 2013 rookie of the year David Boulerice. The Old Montreal Dockers, having struggled through the year, fielded the remaining 2 places. Crowd favorite Judd Kozikowski took the last Australian place, with the team having been limited to 5, and hall of famer Ronan Shaughnessy rounded out the line-up despite missing much of the season due to International Cup representative commitments.

    Hosted by the charismatic Steve McCammon, the night capped off a remarkable season for the AFL Quebec family. In a year that included a number of momentous achievements, none were more significant than the introduction of an independent women’s competition. Elaine Gilmore was deservingly crowned the inaugural women’s best & fairest beating world cup winning captain Aimee Legault who was absent from the final rounds of voting.

    Legault and the NDG Devils were presented with their premiership medals but individual awards were shared between the two clubs. Plateau Eagles were represented by Kate Sargeant who was awarded best on ground in the grand final and joined teammate Gilmore and the Devil’s Legault as the first league Allstars. Legault, who has been described as the best women outside of Australia, won leading goal kicker despite missing nearly half the season courtesy of an 11 goal outing in round 6. Legault’s teammate and sister, Margo was also recognized with the coaches award as well as all her effort in pioneering the league and supporting the association. In addition to Gilmore and Sargeant, the Eagles were also able to boast the success of rugby convert Leah Bender in being named rookie of the year.

    There was a strong message throughout the evening of gratitude and appreciation noting that the continued growth and success of AFL Quebec is attributable to the dedication and commitment of all its members. Specifically recognized for their readiness to volunteer were Mark Koser and Margo & Emily Legault. The night also acknowledged the Committee as well as all those who lend their time to this thriving community.

    The AFL Quebec 2015 season is already set to exceed the lofty heights of 2014. The association wishes its members a safe and enjoyable winter break and promises much to look forward to.

    To check out photos from the 2014 AFL Quebec Awards Night and other events then go to the AFL Quebec Facebook page or their website;


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    Last weekend saw the long-awaited and much anticipated grand final rematch between last year’s AFL Middle East combatants, the Doha Kangaroos and the Dubai Dragons. A usual with these re-matches the reigning premiers would be keen to restamp their authority on the competition in a bid to set up a shot at back-to back titles. On the other hand, the vanquished from last season’s biggest day would be seeking their own shot at redemption.



    The following is an extract from the Dubai Dragon’s club newsletter which gives an insight into one of the year’s biggest games for the Middle East competition. The big day started as a military style operation as a contingent of 35 Dragons (players and support) packed the plane to carry out their plans for a Doha heist. The club can take over the story…



    “After the shenanigans of the morning, it was now time to focus and get ready for a crucial opening game for the club. Adding to the spice was the unveiling of our new playing kit on arrival at the ground and subsequent Guernsey presentation from the Prez. It was a great honour to receive the new kit, particularly for the guys playing their first game for the club. When the lads ran out onto the pitch, the WAGS were treated to a new, sleek-fitting design, representing all our new and loyal sponsors. The boys looked magnificent and there was no doubt we were raring to go.”


    “Before the 1st bounce however, a stirring tribute and a minute’s silence was given to honour the tragic passing of Phillip Hughes. Both sides wore black armbands to mark the sombre occasion. The Dragons also wore the black armband in memory of Liz Templeton, the mother of one of the Prez’s best mates, who sadly lost her battle with cancer this week. Our thoughts are with both sets of families. Vale Phillip Hughes. Vale Liz Templeton.”


    “The 1st half was a great arm wrestle and even though the Kangaroos got the 1st goal, the Dragons slowly took the ascendancy as the game developed. A great duel was taking place in the midfield. In the ruck, Coby (the ‘Heat’) was up against a high quality opponent in Joey, but was giving first use more often than not. Nance and Trigga were having an almighty battle against the class of Ben Simpson from the Kangaroos. Despite the will of these two fantastic opponents, it was the depth of the Dragons quality in the midfield that started to tell with rotations in the form of Hicksy, Billy, Browney & Spaniard (Jezza) all supporting the starting trio.”


    Half Time: Dragons 9.1. 55 v Kangaroos 5.1.31

    “The 2nd half produced more of the same. Superb skills and delivery into our attacking half meant our forward line dominated and finished off with accurate kicking. This was matched by a backline that not only negated their opponents, but also ran off their man and spread the ball - beautifully epitomized by Rowie’s goal in the 3rd quarter. With the wind at our backs in the 3rd term, we extended away from Doha and broke their spirit. The lead was further enhanced in the last quarter, which meant we had won every quarter in a 57-point romping of the defending premiers. This was a complete team performance and a great day for the club. Despite again waiting for YT to belt out ‘You’re the Voice’, it was worth the wait as it was sung with more gusto than the Den can remember. Bigger challenges await us but this was the perfect start to the season. Well done to the entire squad.”


    Significant in the Dragon’s lair was “Perko” whose 10 goal haul on the day alone outscored the Kangaroos.



    Full Time: Dragons 18.5.113 defeated Kangaroos 9.2.56 ...

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    With the 2014 AFL Rookie Draft complete, the final list has a predicted yet pleasing smattering of international players. Most of these had already been announced by clubs earlier in the year when they nominated their international recruits or “B List” rookies.

    But it places a full stop on these selections when they are seen formally listed on draft day.

    The list was kicked off by the West Coast Eagles when they announced Irish recruit, Patrick Brophy, as their Pick 45. He was the first of five Irish players to make their way to club rookie lists in 2014.

    As it stands, the list reads:

    Pick 45 – Patrick Brophy - Ireland (West Coast)
    Pick 46 – Sean Hurley – Ireland (Fremantle)
    Pick 49 – Padraig Lucy – Ireland (Geelong)
    Pick 56 – Cian Hanley – Ireland (Brisbane)
    Pick 60 – Mason Cox – USA (Collingwood)
    Pick 62 – Conor McKenna – Ireland (Essendon)
    Pick 68 – Ivan Saldo – International Rookie Category B (Richmond)

    Richmond’s pick is little known to most, but he has a great pedigree and a Croatian background. The following extract is from the AFL website detailing Soldo:

    “Signed by the Tigers in July, the teenage giant played one game with the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup before spending considerable time developing his game at Punt Road. Soldo has a basketball background, representing the ACT at state level in the under-16 and under-18 age groups and is the cousin of Richmond ruckman Ivan Maric, who also came from a basketball background. The Tigers selected Soldo as a three-year, non-registered Category B rookie ...

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    The Australian Inaugural AFL Indigenous Woomeras Tour to New Zealand will depart from Melbourne for Auckland on Saturday, December 6.

    Launched earlier this year at the National Youth Girls Championships in May, the Woomeras is a national Under-18 female Indigenous development program which immerses participants in an elite training environment with the aim of increasing football skills, personal development and leadership skills.

    The squad of 21 will meet in Melbourne today for a two day training camp where they will be mentored by Hawthorn three-time Premiership star Shaun Burgoyne, before they depart internationally for the first time on a 10-day tour of New Zealand.

    Highlights of the tour include a cultural exchange and rafting in Rotorua, the Tongiraro Crossing, kayaking in Taupo and playing two matches against the New Zealand Kahu, a team made up of the best female players from New Zealand.

    AFL Head of Diversity Jason Mifsud said the inaugural (Australian) AFL Indigenous Woomeras Tour to New Zealand represents a fantastic opportunity to both learn from and give back to community.

    “This is the first time the Woomeras side will assemble to take part in an international tour. The cultural and social benefits of travelling to another country are widespread.

    “We look forward to being immersed in the New Zealand Indigenous culture, and developing our young indigenous female athletes to go on to become leaders in their community.

    “The word Woomeras symbolises strength and power which is what the program is about – launching Indigenous females into their futures using football to engage and empower,” said Mr Mifsud.

    2014 Woomeras Squad:

    Kiarnie Jennings (Macarthur, NSW), Vera Duncan (Rockhampton, QLD), Courtney Hodder (South Lake, WA), Winona Greenhalgh (Ballarat, VIC), Shaleise Fisher (Wondai, QLD), Renee Guligo (Horn Island, QLD), Nayiyana Briggs (Charleville, QLD), Maddison Radford (Windsor Gardens, SA), Paige Baksh (Shepparton, VIC), Leashay Warburton (Alice Springs, NT), Kiara Cooper (Echuca, VIC), Ella Wonaeamirri (Tiwi Islands, NT), Angela Giles (Blair Athol, SA), Imahra Cameron (Kelmscott, WA), Tashina Ketchup (Rockhampton, QLD), Mikayla Saunders (Ceduna, SA), Desiree Atkinson (Echuca, VIC), Klarindah Hudson (Brisbane, QLD), Jordan Mifsud (Cheltenham. VIC), Demi Doomadgee (Deniliquin, NSW), Kaitlyn Wonaeamirri (Tiwi Islands, NT)

    Woomeras Tour Schedule:

    Friday December 5: Training at Queens College, Melbourne
    Saturday December 6: Squad departs for Auckland
    Sunday December 7: Te Puia Guided tour and Mitai Maori Village visit in Rotorua
    Monday December 8: Rafting in Rotura
    Tuesday December 9: Tongiraro Crossing
    Wednesday December 10: Kayaking in Taupo
    Thursday December 11: Joint training session with Female New Zealand Kahu in Auckland
    Friday December 12: Woomeras v News Zealand Kahu Match One in Auckland
    Saturday December 13: Football clinic in Auckland
    Sunday December 14: Woomeras v News Zealand Kahu Match Two in Auckland
    Monday December 15: Return to Melbour ...

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    Having this week received both a recommendation and invitation to become a Multicultural Ambassador, I thought it prudent to brush up on information about their role and the wider aims of the AFL’s Multicultural Program. Along the way it became clear that this concept, whilst no longer in its infancy, is still some way from its potential. It is entirely possible that the Multicultural Community Ambassadors could play a greater role in the wider uptake of the game internationally as well as here in Australia.


    The AFL’s own website features pages which detail both the Multicultural Program in its entirety as well as a brief about the role of the ambassadors. It says:


    “The aim of the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador Program is to further engage multicultural communities in Australian football through a network of dedicated volunteers. The ambassadors will connect AFL staff with their particular communities and promote AFL activities as a vehicle for engagement and inclusion. The program will also provide community leaders with an official platform to become involved in the introduction and coordination of AFL related programs in their communities as well as opportunities for professional development.”



    In short, the ambassadors become the bridge which unites the multicultural communities with the AFL or, if you like, the game. They become a two-way link – not only do they take their training, involvement and understanding of the game out to their local or wider communities, they are also a conduit of information for the AFL as they develop plans and strategies for the future engagement of community groups with the game.


    How does this link to the wider international sceneω One argument would be that as more people from a variety of multicultural, ethnic or other international groups take up the game within Australia the spillover to family, friends or other interested parties overseas will grow exponentially. A long bow to draw some might say, yet I can name three clubs in Melbourne that I have had associations with – Pakistan Shaheens, Masala Football Club and Southern Dragons – that are already in this position. All three clubs had links directly to the International Cup back in August. There are others.


    The Australia Post AFL Multicultural Program is the umbrella under which the ambassadors operate. Again, the AFL website has this to say about the program:

    “Australian football is becoming the sport of choice for diverse communities. Up to 25% of current AFL lists are from diverse backgrounds (11% Indigenous and 14% Multicultural).


    The Multicultural Unit has been established to ensure Australian football is a vehicle that encourages community strengthening and inclusion within the wider Australian community.


    The AFL's Multicultural programs are enabling more young talent to be identified and giving more opportunities to aspiring young AFL players.”


    Recently World Footy news ran a story detailing the Essendon Football Club’s multicultural program within the nearby Indian Communities. The club also had a contingent of players visit India to help in the promotion and development of the game. It is not hard to visualise the links that as Multicultural Ambassadors link the AFL and communities together, the international clubs and organisations can work with that growth to possibly increase their own.


    These figures from the AFL give some indication as to why the diverse multicultural groups across Australia are seen as a huge potential growth area for the game:


    “Twenty percent of Australians were born in another country, of whom more than half came to Australia from non-English speaking nations. Combined with their Australian-born children, they constitute 43 percent of the population.

    By 2025 overseas born families will outnumber locally born families and by 2049 Australia’s population is expected to grow to 35 million, the majority of this increase will come from migrant sources. Two thirds will continue to come from Asian nations.

    In 2009, the number of permanent and long-term migrants arriving in Australia has soared to more than 500,000 a year.

    Multicultural Australians have economic clout. Their spending power has doubled since 1991 and is now over $58 billion a year.

    Sydney and Melbourne more than 50% of the population is born overseas or has one or more parents born overseas.”


    There has to be some logic attached to that growth suggesting that the wiser Australian Rules football bodies worldwide could link with those communities to grow the game beyond Australia. Time will tell, but the Multicultural Ambassadors will become the front line in linking the game and the community together.


    My own role, should my nomination be successful, would be much as it has been for many years: working with indigenous players from northern Australia and Torres Strait, as well as a burgeoning African community with families from Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and other nations settling in the region and seeing their kids take up the game. I look at it this way: If my role gets one kid to take up the game, then the game has one more player. Simplistic but true.


    There is sure to be one reader, maybe more, who has considered the possibility of becoming a Multicultural Ambassador before. Well, join me and so many others by giving it a go. Let’s see what change we can bring together as we provide the bridge between the game and the communities on whose support the game will grow.


    Who knows how far we can goω


    For more detailed information about the AFL’s Multicultural Programs, click this link to the website:ωid=443





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    This year's NPC will be held in Wellington this weekend. With 4 teams competing- Auckland, Canterbury,Otago and Wellington it should be a great weekend of footy.

    Auckland's team is dominated by the AAFL's Grand Final winning University Blues and their opponents, the Waitakere Magpies. It is a team that is chock full of International Cup experience and includes current Hawthorn international scholarship holder Siope Ngata and previous scholarship holder, Rhys Panui-Leith, They are defending champions and will be a formidable team.

    Canterbury won the three previous titles and will be ready to reclaim their Cup. They too are a team chock full of experience internationally and will possibly be part of the title deciding game on Sunday afternoon.

    Otago are a team without any formal competition. They have 2014 International Cupper Logan Toomer as their captain and as a tight knit group from the way south of NZ will be keen to win their first game at this level.

    Wellington are at home and have put together a solid team. They only have two players with International Cup experience but that will not stop the Tigers from looking at pinching the title. With 11 of the Premiership winning Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs in their line up and it also including their Grand Final opponents, North City Demons, very talented Waylon Baker and some of his teenage teammates they are talking it up.

    Please view the AFLNZ preview for more information ...

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    The Saints have returned with their Community Camp Camp to their 2nd home, and have met with supporters, local AFL players and schools.

    Players and club staff visited Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with a busy schedule in each location of coaching clinics and public appearances
    In Wellington, a highlight was the homecoming of Porirua teenager Joe Baker-Thomas, now an International Scholarship holder with the St Kilda Saints.

    Joe Baker-Thomas brought some of his teammates to his former school Porirua College, where they trained and played with students at the school.
    Other school visits covered the breadth of the Wellington region.

    On Tuesday the players visited Amesbury School, Johnsonville School, Fraser Crescent School and Hutt Central School. On Wednesday they saw kids at Paremata School and Rangikura School, along with the Porirua College visit.

    The school visits included coaching of AFL KiwiKick skills, the programme that has been the bedrock of AFL in New Zealand over recent years.
    With the support of Sport Wellington, Activation and other Regional Sporting Trusts and Community organisations, AFL KiwiKick is delivered to more than 30,000 children every year, teaching them fundamental movement skills and encouraging a lifelong love of sport. The participation of so many children in the programme was particularly influential in securing top level AFL matches in Wellington, with strong numbers in Wellington a testament to Sport Wellington and Activation’s support.

    Head Coach Alan Richardson and a group of players including Kiwi-born Shane Savage also made a pilgrimage to the National War Memorial, to pay their respects to the history of the ANZACs shared between New Zealand and Australia. The match against Carlton in Wellington next year will take place on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, a symbolic and important date for both nations.

    The events didn’t end there, with St Kilda players also passing on their skills at an AFL New Zealand High Performance programme training session. The athletes involved with the programme were thrilled to have the opportunity to train alongside fully fledged AFL players, who were generous with their time and their knowledge.

    For the Saints, the visit to New Zealand hasn’t ended yet. Their next stop is Queenstown, where the squad will gather for a training camp to build fitness for next year’s AFL season.

    The Community Camp will have cemented the loyalties of many New Zealanders towards the Saints. With the club making Wellington and New Zealand their home away from home, New Zealanders are making the Saints their team of choice. ...

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    The following story from Jennifer Phelan at details the granting of funding to Richmond player, Bachar Houli, to allow his leadership academy for Islamic participants to develop and grow further. In keeping with the previous article looking at the Multicultural Community Programs initiated by the AFL, the Bachar Houli Program and Bachar Houli Leadership Academy represent further cultural advances as the AFL itself, and through individual initiatives such as these, which will continue the link between the game and the communities and cultural groups which embrace it.


    Bachar Houli has received a $200,000 grant from the Australian government to help push the 'Bachar Houli Program' into western Sydney. This year, the program engaged more than 5000 participants from Islamic schools across the country.


    In 2015, the national Bachar Houli Leadership Academy, based at Punt Road, will include 35 participants – up from 25 – and will further increase its encouragement and engagement with young Muslims aged between 14-17 across Australia. And, it will create another leadership academy in western Sydney, which will include a further 35 participants.

    The Richmond defender admitted he had not forecast such growth in the program over the past three years but was excited by the challenge of working with youths who might not have been exposed to the game before. "To deal with 70 young men, I'm really looking forward to the challenge and really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer," Houli said on Monday, at the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne.


    "We're really prepared to provide them with the best opportunity, not only from a talent pathway but also from a leadership program perspective.


    "This began as a Victorian based program and I thought, how big can this becomeω


    "To my amazement, it has grown quite significantly within two or three years and to get the Government's support is outstanding.


    "Some of these young boys [in western Sydney] have probably never played footy in their lives before.


    "To see them get involved and show them what AFL is all about, we'll be there to offer them every single tool that they need to take it up as a sport, and also more importantly create great leadership within these young men."


    Next season will see two more Muslim players join the AFL – Adam Saad, the VFL player rookied by Gold Coast last week, and Ahmed Saad, who will return to St Kilda after serving an 18-month banned substance suspension. Houli hopes youngster Hisham Kerbatieh – the winner of the Bachar Houli medal for his off and on-field performances this year – will also join the AFL fold in 12 months time.


    "To see two of my mates – Adam and Ahmed – get back into the system is extraordinary," he said.


    "From just one Muslim player in the AFL, now we've grown to three and hopefully next year we'll have one of the young boys joining us.


    "I'm not putting too much pressure on the young fella but he's got so much talent."


    Kerbatieh will train at Richmond next week as part of the program.


    The Federal Attorney General, Senator The Hon. George Brandis QC, was on hand on Monday to announce the Government's contribution to the program's expansion. He said he had been inspired by Houli's leadership within the Muslim community and hoped the program continued to engage young athletes and encourage careers in the sport.


    "The Australian government wants to work in close partnership with Australia's Muslim communities in order to ensure that the members of those communities – in particular the youth and the young men of those communities – feel a complete sense of belonging in the Australian community," Senator Brandis said.


    "One of the best ways of reaching young men and youths is through sport and team sport in particular.


    "I say that with some feeling as a former minister for sport and I know what a great thing it is to engage adolescents and young men in team sport."


    Next year's program will also include Houli visiting Islamic schools across Australia, the Bachar Houli Cup held in four states and the AFL Ramadan Dinner in Victoria and western Sydney.




    Pictures: ...

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    The 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Youth Carnival got started on Monday with a Lightening Cup tournament held at Albert Park in Suva, Fiji. With national teams from host Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru as well as a composite Pacific All Stars side – the tournament was well contested and a good warm up for the main tournament matches to follow.

    AFL Pacific Development officer Ben Drew described the opening day as a terrific day of footy. Each side bringing something of their own to the games - "Tonga were tough, Vanuatu were slick, Fiji were silky, Nauru were skillful and the Pacific All Stars fought hard all day"

    Match Results: Monday 8th December Game 1:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 2 4 16
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 0 0 0
    Goal Kickers:Fiji: Simione Kurovoli, Josua ModrauVanuatu: NilBest Players: Fiji: Simione Kuruvoli, Josua Modrau, Jone Baba, Iliesa Nakibo, Anasa Lecavi, Isimeli Lagicala, Rata Mua CavuilatiVanuatu: Mark George, Semesa Roqara, McKendrick Seirangi, Daniel Tahi, Keven Niamak, Ryan BongaGame 2:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 3 4 22
    Pacific All Stars 0 2 2
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Kalumpa Tannang, Sheik Doae, Sheen GaroaAll Stars: NilBest Players: Nauru: Enovy Tungi, Devine Agir, Kalumpa Tannang, Jeremiah Kam, Macho Teabuge, Fuvae Botelanga, Darnell DiemeAll Stars: Tuxudio Tuilevuka, Alivereti Ratemateca, Josua Saukilaki, Siveli Cabebula, Laisenia BuliGame 3:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 3 3 21
    Tonga Thunder 0 0 0
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Rata Mua Cavuilati 2, Koliniasi DegeiTonga: NilBest Players: Fiji: Apenisa Sailo, Simione Kurovoli, Maciu Kalou, Jone Baba, Joseph Magoh, Tonga: Mofuike Hafoka, Rully Steven Sulunga, Kinania Dacaiti, Taniela Loti, Vaiola KivaluGame 4:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Pacific All Stars 2 2 14
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 2 1 13
    Goal Kickers: All Stars: Tomasi Vuniyacawa, Josua SaukilakiVanuatu: Kevin Naimak 2Best players: All Stars: Alivereti Ratemateca, Josua Saukilaki, Nemani Bola, Asalli Tubega, Turudio TuilevukaVanuatu: Lent Tevi, Kevin Naimak, Meldes Miller, Shris Sope, Mathias Tahi, Serevy SekoGame 5:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 1 2 8
    Tonga Thunder 0 0 0
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Sheik DaoeTonga: NilBest Players: Nauru: Enovy Tungi, Lucky Ika, Kalumpa Tannang, Jeremiah Kam, Zillman Gioura, Devine Agir, Dacson TemakiTonga: Maselino Naufahu, Vaiola Kivalu, Kinania Palati, Mofuike Hafoka, Sosefa FinauGame 6:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 2 4 16
    Tonga Thunder 1 2 8
    Goal Kickers: Vanuatu: Joseph Berangranreivi, Ryan BongaTonga: Mofuike HafokaBest players: Vanuatu: Fred Iesul, Rickslie Abraham, Ryan Bonga, Lent Tevi, Mark GeorgeTonga: Siven Sulunga, Kinania Palatti, Maselino Naufahu, Sosefa Finau, Sione SanftGame 7
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 3 2 20
    Pacific All Stars 0 0 0
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Koliniasi Degei 3All Stars: NilBest Players: Fiji: Simione Kurovoli, Josua Modrau, Anasa Cecavi, Apenisa Sailo, Kaliopate DanAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevuka, Manasa, Akuila Gonerogo, Jolame Bera, Tomasi VuniyacawaGame 8
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 2 3 15
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 1 2 8
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Yuan Smythe, Sheik DaoeVanuatu: Kevin NaimakBest Players: Nauru: Macho Teabuge, Darnel Diema, Yuan Smythe, Sheik Daoe, Devine Agir, Felando Gaiyabu, Rockson DageagoVanuatu: Kevin Naimak, Semesa Roqara, Solomon Malcom, Lent Tevi, Joseph Berangranrem, Ryan BongaGame 9
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Tonga Thunder 2 2 14
    Pacific All Stars 0 2 2
    Goal Kickers: Tonga: Mofuiki Hafoka, Atonio SekonaAll Stars: NilBest Players: Tonga: Mofuiki Hafoka, Taniala Loti, Kinania Palatti, Siosefa Finau, Vaiola KivaluAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevuka, Tomasi Vuniyacawa, Manasa, Nemani BolaGame 10 & Lightening Cup Final
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 2 6 18
    Nauru Stars 1 0 6
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Apenisa Sailo, Simione KurovoliNauru: Aizia DoguapeBest Players: Fiji: Simione Kurovoli, Apenisa Sailo, Josua Modrau, Jone Baba, Anasa LecaviNauru: Aizia Doguape, Felando Gaiyabu, Darnel Diema, Lockett Mau, Enovy Tungi, Jeremiah Kam ...

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    When Essendon Football Club went so hard to secure the signing of Irishman, Conor McKenna, after his performance at the AFL Draft Combine, it raised the question. Why? The following video from AFL Europe gives a very good idea of why Essendon representatives courted him on two trips to Ireland, and why AFL Talent manager, Kevin Sheehan, has stated that Conor may yet be the pick of the Irishmen this year and maybe of all.

    Conor is a product of the AFL Europe Talent Program, a talent pathway which includes the European Legion team which has played Australia's AIS Academy team in recent years. This year's team not only featured Conor, but also fellow 2014 Irish rookies Paddy Brophy (West Coast), Padraig Lucy (Geelong), Sean Hurley (Fremantle), Daniel Flynn (Port Adelaide) and former Greater Western Sydney rookie Aksel Bang from Denmark.

    For more information on the AFL Europe Talent Program, go to:

    Left: Essendon rookie, Irishman Conor McK ...

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    Day 2 of the 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Cup Carnival in Suva, Fiji, witnessed the first matches of the main Oceania Cup tournament after Mondays lightning carnival.

    The AFL's Ben Drew described the culmination of another terrific day of footy "And to finish the day with one of the best games of football between Nauru and Tonga to be played at the Oceania Cup in the 6 years we have been coming together was a fitting end to a great day."

    The day also included the match up of Nakasi Cats taking on Suva Swans in Round 7 of the 2014 Vonu Challenge - played as an exhibition match for the Oceania Cup 2014 championship. Vanuatu Development officer, Nancy, (GO NANCY!!) joined along with a number of new local players. The Cats better in front of goals with 6.5(41) to Swans 2.9(21). Woman of the Match was Lini Drotini (Cats).

    Match Results: Tuesday 9th December

    Game 1:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 11 7 73
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 1 2 8
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Rata Mua Cavuilati, Kaliopate Dan, Anasa Lecaui 2, Simione Kurovoli, Josua Modrau, Waisale Koto, Petaia Kilisama, Alifereti BautaruaVanuatu: Ryan BongaBest Players: Fiji: Simione Kuruvoli, Josua Modrau, Kaliopate Dan, Apenisa Sailo, Macio KalouVanuatu: McKendrick Seirangi, Ryan Bonga, Fred Iesul, Chris Willie, Chris Sope, Rickslie Abraham

    Game 2:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 5 8 38
    Pacific All Stars 2 0 12
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Sheik Doae 3, Zilman Gioura, Macho TeabugeAll Stars: Tomasi Vuniacawa, Aliveveti RatemateciaBest Players: Nauru: Enovy Tungi, Kalumpa Tannang, Macho Teabuge, Darnell Dieme, Sheik Daoe, Aizia Doguape, Rockson Dageago, Yuan SmytheAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevuka, Tomasi Vuniacawa, Jolame Bera, Nemani Bola, Namasa

    Game 3:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 5 4 34
    Tonga Thunder 3 1 19
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Joseph Magoh 2, Kaliopate Dan, Alifereti Lui, Simione KurovoliTonga: Atonio Sekorin, Mofuike Hafoka, Kinania PalaitiBest Players: Fiji: Apenisa Sailo, Simione Kurovoli, Maciu Kalou, Kaliopate Dan, Kolinasi DegeiTonga: Maselino Naufahu, Mofuike Hafoka, Rully Steven Sulunga, Taniela Loti, Vaiola Kivalu Atonio Sekona

    Game 4:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 4 4 28
    Pacific All Stars 1 5 11
    Goal Kickers: Vanuatu: Keith Andrew, Mark George, Lent TeviAll Stars: Turudio TuilevukaBest players: Vanuatu: Lent Tevi, Mark George, Solomon Malcom, Fred Iesul, Keith Andrew, Rickslie Abraham, Chris WillieAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevuka, Peni Tuwai, Akuila Gonerogo, Laisenia Buli, Tomasi Vuniacawa, Nemani Bola

    Game 5:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 4 7 31
    Tonga Thunder 4 3 27
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Darnel Diema 4Tonga: Taniela Loti, Lakataha Leha, Gregor Wolfgramm, Mofuiki HafokaBest Players: Nauru: Enovi Tungi, Darnel Diema, Felando Gaiyabu, Yuan Smythe, Kalumpa Tannang, Sheen Garoa, Sheik Daoe, Macho TeabugeTonga: Steven Sulunga, Taniela Loti, Vaiola Kivalu, Mofuike Hafoka, Sione Sanft ...

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    After a rest day on Wednesday, and some warnings about bad water, the 2014 AFL U/15 Cup carnival in Suva, Fiji, continued on Thursday with largely one sided – on the scoreboard at least – matches.

    AFL Pacific Development Officer Ben Drew sums up the day :It was another action packed day at the AFL Oceania Cup here in Fiji. Vanuatu pushed Nauru all the way to the end and then Nauru turned the tables later in the day against Fiji to remain undefeated through the pool stage! Tonga were strong once again and the Pacific All Stars gave everything in their last round! Tomorrow we will see Vanuatu Volcano’s take on the Tonga Thunder for the 3rd and 4th playoff and Fiji Tribe take on the Nauru Stars in the 1 v 2 Grand Final day! Albert Park will be packed to capacity! It has been a fantastic week, and today also marked the arrival the Australian Wanderers U/14 side who are playing a 4 match test series against the Fiji Jnr Tribe U/14’s! Very busy week with lots of Football action! What more could you want?! Jump on the AFL South Pacific Nations Facebook Page to see all the action from today.

    Match Results: Thursday 11th December

    Game 6:

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Tonga Thunder 4 3 27
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 0 0 4
    Goal Kickers: Tonga: Mofuike Hafoka 2, Lakataha Leha, Atonio SekonaVanuatu: NilBest Players: Tonga: Maselino Naufaha, Sione Sanft, Lakataha Leha, Sosefa Finau, Atonio SekonaVanuatu: Chris Willie, Daniel Tahi, Serevy Seko, Danny Manuel, Mathias Tahi, Chris Sope, Keith Andrew, Kevin NaimakGame 7:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 6 7 43
    Pacific All Stars 0 1 1
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Alifereti Bui 2, Anasa Lecavi, Kaliopate Dan, Joseph Magoh, Petaia KilisamaAll Stars: NilBest Players: Fiji: Petaia Kilisama, Simione Kurivoli, Apenisa Sailo, Qereqeretabua Baleicaku, Jone BabaAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevuka, Tomasi Vuniacawa, Jolame Bera, Nemani Bola, Namasa, Tevita SeruitawecenaGame 8:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 5 6 36
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 1 4 10
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Darnel Diema, Sheik Daoe 2, Macho Teabuge, Vanuatu: Ryan BongaBest Players: Nauru: Darnel Diema, Sheik Daoe, Kalumpa Tannang, Enovy Tungi, Macho Teabuge, Aizia Doguape, Rockson Dageago, Yuan Smythe, Kaworski AkuaVanuatu: Meltes Miller, McKendrick Seirangi, Semesa Raqara, Chris Willie, Kevin Naimak, Mathias Tahi, Lent TeviGame 9:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Tonga Thunder 4 5 29
    Pacific All Stars 1 1 7
    Goal Kickers: Tonga: Kinania Palaiti 2, Mofuike Hafoka, Alferd CockerAll Stars: Manasa RokowailoaBest players: Tonga: Maselino Naufaha, Paea Lave, Alferd Cocker, Mofuike Hafoka, Siosefa FinauAll Stars: Turudio Tuilevukeva, Solame Bera, Josua Samkilaki, Laisenia Buli, Manasa RokowailoaGame 10:
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Nauru Stars 5 3 33
    Fiji Tribe 2 7 19
    Goal Kickers: Nauru: Kaworski Akua 2, Kalumpa Tannang, Darnel Diama, Ishmael FritzFiji: Simione Kurovoli, Kaliopate DanBest Players: Nauru: Enovi Tungi, Darnel Diema, Yuan Smythe, Kalumpa Tannang, Macho Teabuge, Rockson Dageago, Jeremiah Kam, Robert TemakiFiji: Joseph Magoh, Fasio Vuni, Iliesa Nakibo, Ratu Napolioni, John Macdonald, Simione Kurovoli

    A feature event of the rest day on Wednesday was a screening of the movie "Aussie Rules the World".


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    The 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Cup Carnival in Suva, Fiji has wrapped up on Friday with the finals well contested.

    AFL Pacific development officer Ben Drew summaries the day :We certainly witnessed some terrific, disciplined football today from all 4 finals side’s. Tonga held off a determined Vanuatu team who pushed all the way to the last second! Both teams have been fantastic all week. Tonga held on for a narrow victory to finish 3rd. The Grand Final was certainly the best game we have had at the Oceania Cup! It was hard, tough and low scoring. The game was on the edge with both teams having their opportunities throughout. A couple of the Fiji players lost their discipline at times and were severely penalised. Time in possession was very even throughout the game. Read moreIn the end the Fiji tribe just held on to record the win in a very tight and exciting contest. It has been a tough week and I thank everyone for their efforts not only on the field but off it as well. To the 3 travelling teams Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru thank you for your assistance around your accommodation, I know Milika at FNU can’t speak any higher of all the boys! Also a big thank you to everyone that has chipped in and supported, organised and assisted in getting these boys to where they were today! For those that were unable to be their and watch, It was truly an amazing week of Pacific AFL football played at the highest standard.

    Match Results: Friday 12th December


    Game 11: Playoff for 3rd :

    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Tonga Thunder 3 6 24
    Vanuatu Volcano’s 2 4 16
    Goal Kickers: Tonga: Gregorio Wolfgramm 2, Taniela LotiVanuatu: Kevin Naimak, Chris WillieBest Players: Tonga: Vaiola Kivalu, Taniela Loti, Mofuike Hafoka, Sione Sanft, Sosefa FinauVanuatu: Mathias Tahi, Mark George, Meltes Miller, Serevy Seko, Daniel Tahi

    Game 12: GRAND FINAL :
    Team Gls Bhd Total
    Fiji Tribe 3 3 21
    Nauru Stars 1 2 8
    Goal Kickers: Fiji: Joseph Magoh, Kiliopate Dan, Simione KurovoliNauru: Rockson DageagoBest Players: Fiji: Simione Kurovoli, Jone Baba, Apinisa Sailo, Macui Tuicaufia, Josua Modrau, Joseph Magoh, John Macdonald, Kalipate DanNauru: Rocky Demauna, Tuvae Botelanga, Kalumpa Tannang, Robert Temaki, Devine Agir, Enovy Tunfi, Jeremiah Kam, Lockett Mau, Ishmael Fritz, Macho Teabuge


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    The 2014 AFL Europe Talent Combine took place in Dublin, Ireland, over the weekend. Whilst the vast majority of attendees were from Ireland, one Englishman, Sam Willatt, was there to fly the flag for England and pursue his own individual journey to the big time.

    As Sam says, “I’ve always wanted to try the combine as a way of taking the next step in my football journey, and leapt at the chance when AFL Europe invited me. My dream would be to get picked up by an AFL club.”

    So how did Sam’s journey start, and where will it go from here?

    “I discovered the sport at my first week of university in 2012. Before this I played soccer and basketball to a local and school level. The speed and athleticism of the AFL players caught my interest, and highlight reels seeing blokes take huge marks definitely appealed to me.”

    “I started playing in October 2012 for my university (University of Birmingham) and then played for the local Birmingham Bears. I was lucky enough to play for the Great Britain team in the Euro champs and the 2014 International Cup. Being selected for the European Legion in April was a highlight.”

    When asked about his sporting role models, Sam turned to the world of Rugby. “My sporting hero is Sonny Bill Williams of the NZ All Black's. The way he approaches his training and preparation is something I look to replicate.”

    But the recent success of Irish players making it to rookie lists at AFL clubs in Australia is also one of Sam’s motivations. “Seeing the Irish players do so well recently is a great boost to my hopes. It shows the AFL is willing to look elsewhere for talent. I roomed with Paddy Brophy over the European Legion camp, and seeing him being drafted to West Coast showed to me that it can be done with the right mind set.”

    Left: Sam Willatt in action

    How did Sam go at the combine? “I don't know all of my results yet, but my two highlights were probably a time of 8.5 seconds in the agility run [Fremantle Dockers star Stephen Hill holds the record with 7.77 seconds in 2008, whilst Essendon recruit Conor McKenna holds the European record with 7.85 seconds in 2013] and a 13.8 in the beep test [record held by Hawthorn youngster Billy Hartung of 16.06 seconds, whilst McKenna holds the European record of 14.10 seconds in 2013].”

    Sam is certainly heading in the right direction to pursue an AFL dream, and if he has his way that’s exactly what will happen. It certainly couldn’t hurt for AFL club talent scouts to spend some time having a look at Sam.

    Watch this spac ...

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    Ryan Davidson from the website has reported on the 2014 AFL Europe Talent Combine, held in Dublin over the weekend. 
    AFL International Talent Manager Tadhg Kennelly believes the influx of Irish players to the AFL is set to continue following the European Combine in Dublin.
    Twenty two hopefuls aged 16 to 20 – including players from Denmark and England, gathered across two days at Dublin City University for a series of athletic, psychological and match simulation tests in front of club recruiters.
    "The combine has been a huge success," Kennelly said.
    "It's well resourced, we're getting great results, and I'm sure we'll get one, maybe two players recruited next year."

    Kennelly pointed to the recent recruitment of Irishmen Conor McKenna (Essendon), Sean Hurley (Fremantle) and Paddy Brophy (West Coast) as proof the search for talent in the Emerald Isle should continue.

    "The players picked the skills up so quickly you would think it was an under 18 team from Australia, so it was pretty impressive what they achieved in two days," he said.

    "It shows Irish players can make the transition to the AFL, but you've also got to work out who can handle it mentally, who can adapt moving to the other side of the world." 

    At 192cm, promising hurler Darragh Joyce impressed with his game-sense and skills, while Kerryman Michael Burns showcased his agility, aggression and huge aerobic capacity.

    Dane Mikkel Kjoege recorded the second highest vertical leap of the AFL Combine era with an effort of 84cm, just short of American Marvin Baynham's record-breaking 88cm benchmark at October's AFL Draft Combine.

    Carlton's national recruitment manager Shane Rogers was an interested onlooker and said the Blues were a good chance to add to the three Irishman they already have at the club.

    "I haven't been to the (European) combine before, but it has been very worthwhile," he said.

    "I think we're in the market for another one now. Zach Tuohy and Ciaran Sheehan have both played AFL footy and Ciaran Byrne is another one on the way who has the attributes.

    "The boys here have picked up the skills so quickly and they are willing to listen, which is really good."

    Two of the potential draftees will be invited to next year's NAB AFL Draft Combine, with clubs also able to fly them out to Australia beforehand to conduct their own testing.


    Photo: AFL Europe ...

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    Parrs Park in the West of Auckland is the setting for the return match of women’s  U18 Football, the Australian Woomeras versus the New Zealand Kahus. It’s the last football game on the N.Z. football calendar.  Fortunately Parrs Park is well drained  as the area had received torrential rain for much of the Sunday morning leading up to the game which was played in light rain and  a blustery East wind.

    The Kahus were looking to improve on their first outing with the Woomeras where they were comprehensively beaten. Parrs park is quite a picturesque ground with good a surface, good markings, facilities and solid goal posts. It’s also the home ground of the Magpies, one of six teams in the Auckland league.

    The Kahus won the toss and decided to kick with the aid of a slight cross wind which unfortunately swung around almost straight after bounce down. The Woomeras were immediately into attack and the Kahus were constantly defending but after a period they able to break out of defence and mount attacking moves. It was a good quarter with the slightly inaccurate Woomeras scoring only one goal four behinds.

    In the second quarter the Woomeras were on target slotting in some great shots to extend their score to five goals and five behinds.

    The third and final quarters were similar in that that Woomeras were able to extend their score to nine goals six behinds and fourteen goals fourteen behinds respectfully. The Kahus had definitely improved on their first outing not only restricting the Woomeras to half their previous score but started orchestrating their style of play both in defence and in attack.

    Considering that the Woomeras were drawn from all over Australia with a long history of Australian Football and the Kahus were drawn from the Auckland and Whangarei with a more limited playing experience it was a very encouraging result. In the slippery conditions there were some good skills on display. With more experience the Kahus will learn to instinctively make the right decisions and not to hesitate, making them competitive at national level. Indeed they were little unfortunate to be caught by some of the nuances of the game like slipping over on top of the ball or holding onto the ball a little too long when busting through a pack to be penalised for holding the ball.

    Talking to Alex from AFLNZ he is very positive about the direction of Australian football in N.Z. The recent investment by the AFL in N.Z. is starting to show dividends with some juniors filtering through to community football. Even though N.Z. is a predominantly R.U. country there is a positive attitude by participants in AFL programs towards a new sport particularly because it is less restrictive and very physical.

    The Kiwikick program is constantly expanding with a growing number of schools and participants. As such it needs a great deal of organisation and help made easier by an enthusiastic reception. Alex is also confident that crowd numbers will rebound at the next game in Wellington as the game will be in the afternoon, on a normal weekend, with popular teams and hopefully with reasonable weather.

    Most people don’t know that there was a period when Australian Football was strong in N.Z. and that in 1908 N.Z. defeated NSW and Qld at the Australian Carnival winning 6 out of 11 games whilst on tour. Considering N.Z. isn’t too far removed from the situation in Sydney that saw the introduction of the Sydney Swans at AFL level we might seeing the foundations of something much bigger in the future.


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    Tokyo Bay Suns victorious in AFL Japan Top League.

    The AFL Japan Top League2014 Grand Final was played out between the Tokyo Bay Suns and the Tokyo Goannas at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club on the 29th November.

    In a close fought match the Tokyo Bay Suns reigned supreme 12-10 (82) at the final siren, to the Tokyo Goannas 10-13 (73). 


    Following an even first quarter where both teams kicked 3-4 and the second quarter in which the Goannas kicked ahead with a nine point lead at half time. Goannas 7-7 (49) to Suns 6-4 (40)

    The third quarter could be said to have followed the “traditional/proverbial” premiership quarter format with the Suns piling on 4-4 to the Goannas five behinds. Suns 10-8 (68) to Goannas 7-12 (54)

    The Suns were able to hold on to that lead (actually increasing by 1 point) 2 goals 2 behinds to the Goannas 2 goals 1 behind, running out the game 9 points ahead 12-10 (82) to 10-13 (73)

    Leading Goal kicking for the Grand final was shared by Kunpie Komura (Suns) and Gordon Jones (Goannas) with 5 apiece.

    Goals -

    Suns: Komura 5, Tanaka (jun) 4, Aoyama, Nakamura, R Ho 1.

    Goannas: G Jones 5, L Eyes 2, Selinger, Kerr, Wilson 1.

    Best player in the Grand Final was Masaya Nakamura.

    Today 11th December the 2014 AFL Japan Awards were announced.

    Peter Wilson Medal : Michito Sakakai (R246 Lions)

    Season Leading Goal Scorer: Kunpei Komura (Tokyo Bay Suns) 45 Goals

    Rising Star Award: Kyosuke Sato (Shonan Poseidons)

    All Star Team for 2014:

    Michito Sakaki (R246 Lions), Brett Snowden (Suns), Sohei Yoshida (Komozawa Magpies), Luke Eyes (Goannas), Yoshiharu Sasaki (Senshu Powers), Masaya Nakamura (Suns), Daichi Tanabe (Powers), Jumpei Ito (Powers), Evan Kerr (Goannas), Gordon Jones (Goannas), Tsuyoshi Kase (Eastern Hawks), Kunpei Komura (Suns), Seamus Ryan (Goannas) and Takuya Koizumi (R246 Lions).

    Source; AFL Japan

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    In coming weeks World Footy News will be looking at the 2014 seasons for leagues across Europe, as well as looking towards the 2015 season. This first article features a look at the Australian Rules footy scene in Croatia, courtesy of Josip Kravar, president of the AAFC (Association of Australian Football Croatia).



    “Croatian league (HLAN) started with new club, Slavonski Brod Tigers and first time we played with four clubs.”

    “During the season the Hawks showed the best performances and won all games during the season and won back to back [premierships], pretty much as Hawthorn did in Australia. MVP was Josip Habljak, ruckman of Zagreb Hawks and best rookie was Lovre Čudina, player of Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers who were runners up.” 

    “We also played CEAFL (Central European Australian Football League) with our friends from Austria (Styrian Downunderdogs).”


    “The Austrians showed during the league that they had improved their game and were a tough opponent for Croatian clubs. The final game was played between Hawks and Tigers who were the surprise of year by how much they improved in just six months. Hawks won that league also to win their second title this year.”

    “The Croatian Cup was played in Slavonski Brod where Hawks won in a thriller game against Tigers on their home ground. “

    “Our National team played in the Axios Euro Cup in London and we were runners up, losing against Denmark in the final.”

    “We are satisfied with the results as the Danes were better and deserved that medal a long time ago. We introduced as always our best players to Knights, including a couple of players from Tigers who deserved to play in the Knights team. Preparation for national team was two months long and we as usual tried to win that cup or at least come back home with one of medals.”

    “We are satisfied with that tradition and our 7th appearance in a row at that Cup, when is hard to find sponsors in this economic situation in Croatia.”



















    “We have big plans for 2015 and lot of work. I am a lucky president as I have dedicated people around me who are consistent in their work and give their best to this sport in Croatia.”

    “First of all, Josip Habljak (23 years old), ruckman of Zagreb Hawks and national team, is going to play for Sturt Football Club in Adelaide. This is the first player that will go from Croatia to Australia to play footy. Josip will be on try out for four months and we are sure that he will be big boost for this team when they see his physicality and style of play. Josip was introduced to footy via Academic Cup program here and in two years has become one of best players in Croatia. With 192cm and 110kg he is one of the fastest players around, enough to say.  Josip will be good story for all athletes from the Sports University who decide to play footy in Croatia.”

    “The Academic Cup will be held in April 2015 and we are again keen to create team from students from University of Zagreb, who will train for  2 months and play against another University (we are hoping that someone is also keen to start this project at their country and to play against us). This program provided great benefit for us as we gained a lot of players from the University and created safe income of new players who train footy. Every student who wants to train after Academic Cup, does not need to go on sport sessions on their faculty (but they are obligated to go to those  sessions prior to cup).”

    “Also, a big task for association is our oval project. We are now in last 10% of realisation of oval in Slavonski Brod, and in Zagreb we are in process of negotiation with Zagreb City Council.”

    “We are hoping that in 2015 we will have grand opening of two new ovals (one with locker rooms and association facility) where we will be able to host some games and tournaments and most of all start junior programs.”

    “The oval and junior programs are our target for next year, and I know we are thinking big, but I think that is only way to accomplish goals.”

    “Our last news is that we have new club. The City of Sesvete is very near Zagreb and they started with training sessions one month ago.”

    “They have already gained a field (soccer field) with locker rooms and recruited many young players from that area and will start in Croatian League next year when we will start for the first time with five clubs. They are now in process of gaining jumpers and deciding what their name will be, but those are sweet worries.”


    It is clear that Josip and his wonderful crew in Croatia are continuing to drive the game forward at a great rate. Their performances in major European and more localised competitions is impressive, as is the growth of the game through new clubs and players. Their determination to secure grounds and enlist the assistance of university programs is paying off in a big way. It appears that 2015 will be an even bigger and better year for Croatian footy.




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    Danish footballer Mikkel Kjoge has dreams to follow in the footsteps of fellow Dane, Aksel Bang, and make it to an AFL team list in Australia. Having just tested at the AFL Europe Talent Combine in Dublin (one of just two non-Irish players to test), Mikkel is keen to chase his dream further, and confident that he can.


    The following is Mikkel’s story, looking at his early playing days, his journey to date and where he hopes to be in the very near future.



    “I first heard of Aussie Rules when I was about nine years old from a family friend. My mom’s cousin had been playing for quite a while, and to begin with he was my head figure. I went to my first practice with Farum Cats when I was nine. I was a little kid and everybody would just throw me around but I liked the roughness. I kept up the spirit and went to practice every week and I liked it even more every week. I always loved sports and I played soccer when I was younger, but I found AFL way more fun.” 


    “I’m a quick learner and I grew into the sport quite fast and became pretty good for my age, and since I love progress and had a lot of support, I began to take the sport more seriously.”

    “I went to Australia for the first time in 2009 with the junior national team of Denmark, to play against Geelong College and other teams. Farum Cats and Geelong College had this exchange agreement, which meant that two Danish players could receive a term scholarship in Geelong, so I went. It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again since I grew a lot as a footballer, and a lot as a person.”

    “In April 2012 I was selected to go to join the European Legion in London for the Easter series. We did a lot of testing and because of my results, and other things, I was given a spot on the World 18 team to play in the National Under 16 championships in Sydney. I learned a lot and became even more interested in making AFL a career. The three weeks in Australia with the World 18 was pretty much the time of my life. I loved living as a professional footballer, and playing the sport that I love.”




















    “I went to London again in 2013 with the European Legion, and again in 2014 where I was captain for the European side. Other than that we won the Danish premiership four years in a row, and I went on many trips with the Danish National side to play international matches such as the Euro Cup - that we one this year.”

    “Everything I do, I do to become a better footballer, to hopefully one day be the first Dane to play a senior match for an AFL club in Australia. This would be my biggest dream, and definitely something I aim for. I was invited to the combine and I saw it as an opportunity to prove myself right.”

     “I’m ready to do anything to play in the AFL.”

    “In February 2015, I’m going to Australia to join a team in Melbourne. This meant I had to quit my job as a soldier in the Danish army and leave family and friends in Denmark, to come closer to playing AFL some day. That’s how much I want to do this.”

    “I have a lot more experience within footy than any of the Irish footballers, and I am sure that Danes can make it in to the AFL as well, if only someone takes the first step, which I want to do.”


    If confidence and determination are anything to go by, then Mikkel is well on his way to his dream. We will keep track of Mikkel’s progress as he continues his inspired and exciting journey.



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    The Footy Almanac is a game by game account of every AFL match of the season. Over 150 shameless one-eyed writers tell the story of their day following the footy. 

    They are passionate fans. The result is a wonderful collection of footy writing: funny, insightful, one-eyed.  They are from all walks of life and many varied locations, including international contributors.  The contributions are selected by the editors from those submitted to the website during the season.

    Some of the contributors giving the The Footy Almanac international flavour are Glen Brownstein from the USA, Peter Cresswell from NZ and Candian expat living in Australia Glen Mudie.

    World Footy News scribe Prof. Stephen Alomes is a regular contributor to The Footy Almanac as well, his Round 5 Melbourne vs Gold Coast match report is featured and WFN editor Troy Thompson makes his Footy Almanac debut in this year’s edition.

    The book is over 500 pages of writing that is full of insight and humour in so many different styles.

    Forewords for the 2014 Almanac are by musician James Keogh (Vance Joy) – fantastic essay celebrating footy.   John Mosig – on Tommy Hafey, Yvette Wroby – on Lenny Hayes, Tom Martin – on Matt Spangher and editor John Harms’s season review.

    The book contains a report on every single game of the season, with multiple reports for the finals.  In addition every player (and umpire) for the season has their jumper number, games and goals listed.  A great for reference in years to come is the list of club Best and Fairests, the Coleman medal  leading goalkickers and season summary tables and graphs for each club.   All the scores, best players and Brownlow votes for each match are also there for the record.

    The Footy Almanac 2014 sells for $35 (including postage in Australia).

    Purchase and Payment options:
    EFT (preferred option)
    To Malarkey Publications
    BSB 083166
    AC 856905683  (please include your name and FA14)

    Or cheque/money order to
    Malarkey Publications
    PO Box 1402
    Fitzroy North Vic 3068

    You can also buy online at the following link
    For international orders; please email first to to arrange shipping and payment options. 

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