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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    The Dubai Dragons have won their third flag in four years today when they defeated the league's newest team, the BM Bulls, today in Dubai. In a match which would re-write the history books no matter what the result, it was the Dragons that made amends for their loss last year to the Doha Kangaroos by taking the 2014/15 flag.

    The final score saw the Dubai Dragons 14 4 88 d BM Bulls 7 8 50.

    This result in the ultimate decider brings to a fitting end an undefeated season for the Dubai Dragons. They took out the pre-season tournament back in October, also against the BM Bulls, going though undefeated, and backed that up with a perfect record in the home and away season before putting an exclamation mark on the season with their win in Dubai today.

    World Footy News will have a match review in the near future.

    For tonight the celebrations will be underway as the Dragons celebrate the premiership success, but also the knowledge that they are now the most successful AFL Middle East team, surpassing the deeds of the former Dubai Heat.



    Picture: Some very happy Dragons (Photo courtesy Dubai Dra ...

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    The West London Wildcats have won the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League tournament played in Amsterdam, claiming their place as the best Australian Rules football club across all of Europe.

     

    Whilst it could be argued that with a shortened game time and just 10 European clubs in attendance a completely accurate story of which team is best is difficult. But the simple fact is that the Wildcats took on the best of the premiership winning teams across Europe from 2014 and won out on the day. With ten of the best teams across Europe in attendance, the Wildcats reigned supreme.

     

     

    With the success of the day, and now a tournament that recognises the best club by title, it is hoped that the event can continue and grow bigger as clubs fight for the title of being Europe’s best.

     

    On a day that alternated between mainly cloudy and occasionally sunny, the day got under way with the host team, Amsterdam Devils, taking on the Edinburgh Bloods. Twenty preliminary matches later the semi –finalists were decided with the host team claiming a spot along with the Belfast Redbacks, West London Wildcats and the Rhineland Lions from Germany.

     

    Rheinland then ended the Devil’s run with a goal in overtime, whilst the Wildcats took the other semi-final honours by narrowly defeating the Belfast Redbacks.

     

    The grand-final then saw the West London Wildcats victorious over the Lions to become the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League title holders.

     

    Results: Red Group

    Edinburgh Bloods 5 1 31 d Amsterdam Devils 4 1 25

    Solna Axemen 3  8 26 d Zagreb Hawks 1 1 7

    West London Wildcats 4 4 28 d Amsterdam Devils 4 0 24

    Solna Axemen 6  1 37 d Edinburgh Bloods 4 8 32

    West London Wildcats 5 9 39 d Zagreb Hawks 1 0 6

    Amsterdam Devils 4 3 27 d Solna Axemen 3  1 19

    Edinburgh Bloods 9 4 58 v Zagreb Hawks 1 4 10

    West London Wildcats 9 6 69 d Solna Axemen 3  2 20

    Amsterdam Devils 4 2 26 d Zagreb Hawks 1 2 8

    West London Wildcats 6 7 43 d Edinburgh Bloods 1 4 10

     

    Results: Black Group

    Toulouse Hawks 8 4 52 s Malmo Redeyes 1 2 8

    Rheinland Lions 5 5 35 d Belfast Redbacks  1 4 10

    Malmo Redeyes 3  1 19 d Manchester Mosquitoes 2  1 13

    Rheinland Lions 4 1 25 d Toulouse Hawks 2 6 18

    Belfast Redbacks 8 4 52 d Manchester Mosquitoes 3  2 20

    Rheinland Lions 3 6 24 d Malmo Redeyes 2  2 14

    Belfast Redbacks 8 6 54 d Toulouse Hawks 1 2 8

    Rheinland Lions 4 3 27 d Manchester Mosquitoes 1 4 10

    Belfast Redbacks 9 7 61 d Malmo Redeyes  1 3 9

    Toulouse Hawks 4 5 29 d Manchester Mosquitoes 3  2 20

     

    Semi-Finals:

    West London Wildcats 3 4 22 d Belfast Redbacks 3 2 20

    Rheinland Lions d Amsterdam Devils (Score TBA)

     

    3rd v 4th Match:

    Belfast Redbacks d Amsterdam Devils (Score TBA)

     

    5th v 6th Match:

    Toulouse Hawks d Edinburgh Bloods (Score TBA)

     

    7th v 8th Match:

    Malmo Redeyes  d Solna Axemen (Score TBA)

     

    GRAND FINAL:

    West London Wildcats d Rheinland Lions (Score TBA)

     

    At the time of publishing this story, scores for all finals matches were not available. These will be updated and published as soon as possible.

     

     

     

     

     

     

      ...


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    John McIntyre, president at the Glasgow Sharks in Scotland, is pretty proud of how his team is travelling in 2015. Apart from the usual match performances which tend to govern the day to day matters within a footy season, the club is also acutely aware that clubs cost money to run and that money doesn’t grow on trees.

     

    The club’s venture, Bonus Ball Bingo, is doing just that – raising funds for the club. A recent article on the Sharks’ website details the idea.

     

     

    Club President John McIntyre believes that Jacko’s Bonus Ball Bingo is only going to get bigger now and having raised a total of £1632, half going to the prize winner and half going to the club, in only 26 weeks John says that Adam has done a fantastic job and does a great job every year raising funds for the club through his tipping competition which has yet to start.

     

    “This is a fantastic Achievement from Jacko and in a year where we are planning a big outlay of funds. We have just paid our associative membership with GHA Rugby Club and we are now looking at getting brand new playing kit for the club”

     

    Jacko’s Bonus Ball Bingo starts up again in a week’s time to let anyone who would like to change their numbers have time to let Adam know.

     

    Remember the concept is simple, you pick 5 numbers and pay £1 a week, when the lottery is played that week should one of your numbers appear as the bonus ball that number is crossed off your list, once you have all 5 numbers crossed off you win!

     

    If you are looking to get involved get in touch with Jacko or drop the club a message. The club are asking all members to get involved and to also get their family and friends involved too!

     

    John also had time to look at how the club, and its ancillary league Caledonian Australian Football League (CAFL), are travelling in 2015.

     

    “The CAFL is going well. Heading into round 4 and we are preparing for our Haggis Cup campaign. The money raised [from the bingo] is going towards buying a new set of kit for the Glasgow Sharks and perhaps going towards buying more tips for our CAFL teams as we have noticed we are starting to need more.”

     

    “We are also looking to put a little money aside, whenever we raise funds, to go towards eventually getting our own ground, a long term ambitious goal but something we believe is essential to the long term sustainment of the sport.”

     

    Anyone interested in being a part of the club’s Bonus Ball Bingo, or their Haggis Cup campaign is welcome to visit the Glasgow Sharks’ website at: http://www.glasgowsharks.co.uk/

     

     

      ...


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    It is a week since the 2014/15 season finished in the Middle East, largely due to rest, recovery, work commitments and various celebrations. But in the clear air a week onwards, rather than the heady air of celebration or commiseration, a look back at the day tells a story of the day.

    Huwy Jones, president of the victorious Dubai Dragons, provided his insight into how the day panned out.

    “The Dragons had the wind in the first quarter and didn't capitalise with both sides kicking goals. Quarter time saw the Dubai Dragons 4 2 26 lead the BM Bulls 3 2 20.”

    “The game turned our way during the second quarter - our five goals to one into the wind helped set up a very handy lead at half-time. Dubai Dragons 9 4 58 leading the BM Bulls 4 4 28.”

    The “premiership quarter” was an arm wrestle with neither side able to make the headway they wanted. Two goals apiece for the quarter meant that the Dragons could not run away with the match, but the Bulls were unable to bridge the gap. Three-quarter time saw the Dubai Dragons 11 4 70 leading the BM Bulls 6 4 40.

    The final quarter saw the Bulls with chances to bridge the gap, but the Dragons did enough with three more goals to control the Bulls and claim a famous victory.

    Final Score: Dubai Dragons 14 4 88 d BM Bulls 7 8 50




    Left: Raising the Premiership Cup - Dubai Dragons












    As Huwy states, “five goals to three in the second half [won the game] but the Bulls will rue their missed chances.”

    “[It was a] great effort by the Bulls to make the Grand Final in their first season. They will be a force in coming years once they recruit more players and have more experience in “9’s” footy.

    “Most goals on the day- Ryan Perkins with 5, and 30 for the season to be the league goal-kicking winner.”

    “Best players for Dragons: Matt Burn, Ryan Perkins, Coby Reynolds, Nick Posada, Huwy Jones and The Golden Fist (Cult hero).”

    “The Dragons are very proud to have won the Grand Final, and be undefeated in a season for the first time ever. We couldn't do it without the support of our wags and sponsors and various friends and family who come to watch our games.”

    “We'll be back bigger and better next year!”

    Dubai Dragons coach, Adam “Trigger” Trzesinski, had the final word. “The boys have worked very hard over the past few months to get our game style and game plan at a standard where we knew if we implemented it on game day, we would be every chance of winning the premiership. To the boy’s credit, everything that I have taught them at training showed in the Grand Final! I couldn't be more proud!”

    “It was one of those days where we simply won every position. The Bulls, to their credit took it up to us all day which created a real hard fought and gutsy win for us.”

    For the BM Bulls, their maiden season was phenomenal. World Footy News will look at their season in more depth in an upcoming story.


    ...

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    Earlier this year World Footy news reported on the rise of a new Australian Rules football entity in Poland, based in the city of Bydgoszcz. Since that time, Gareth Smith and his crew have worked overtime to get the team bigger and better.

    The result is the Bydgoszcz Wildcats.

    According to the club’s website, “at the moment, we train at the stadium at ul. Grim Piwnik in Fordon on Saturdays at 13:00. Everyone is welcome.”

    “Most of the team are still novices to using the [oval] shaped ball, and all together we learn the sport.”

    “We mix of people in terms of experience and the level of the sport. No special equipment is required, only sports clothing. Football boots are recommended, but not required.”

    “This is a good time to join the team. I am still learning the game and take pleasure in a new adventure. In the future we hope for a competitive team and now we are talking with teams from Germany and the Czech Republic to play against them.”

    “There is also a chance, if we collect enough players, that we can send a team to the European Championships to represent Poland. At the moment anyone who plays for Bydgoszcz Wildcats is also eligible for the Polish National Team.”

    “We want to move closer to the centre of Bydgoszcz for training as soon as possible. We are in talks with Myślęcinkiem and the Office of the City for a convenient location.”

    “We are very interested in local sports teachers from Bydgoszcz to be involved in our sport and we will be very happy if those come and join our training to learn the sport.”

    “[We are] also looking for sponsors who would be interested in getting involved in the first team of Australian Football in Poland - Bydgoszcz Wildcats. If, anyone is interested in sponsoring the team at any level, we are willing to have discussions with all [potential] stakeholders.”

    “In addition, we would be grateful for any suggestions and ideas on getting sponsorship of the team and the club.”

    Certainly, the fledgling club would welcome any support or assistance from clubs, businesses or individuals across the whole spectrum of European footy.

    The 2015 season shapes to be an interesting one for the Bydgoszcz Wildcats, and it will be worthwhile watching their continued development. They have already had huge victories to date in bringing footy back to Poland and adding another nation to the AFL Europe landscape.

    Should anyone wish to contact the club for more information, or to offer any assistance, find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BydgoszczWildcats




    Left: Footy back on the field in Poland - Bydgoszcz Wild ...

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    The newest team in the AFL Middle East stable off talent enjoyed one of the most remarkable maiden seasons in any league for the 2014/15 season. To play their first game in the pre-season cup in October 2014 and go on to be grand finalists in March 2015 shows an incredible performance in just five months.

    It is not the first such occurrence. Just last year the Raiwaqa Bulldogs in Fiji entered their first ever senior team and swept to premiership glory Fairy Tales do happen - Raiwaqa Bulldogs win AFL Fiji 2014 premiership, but this team had existed as an Under 16 junior team prior to that glory. The BM Bulls came from nowhere, almost.

    Club President, Andrew Campbell, was involved from day one and was happy to share the story of the Bulls’ rise – as much for storytelling as it is a blueprint for development and success that other clubs may be able to replicate.

    “In late July 2014 John Ferguson (Brookfield Multiplex - Chairman Middle East) called me and said that he thought it was time we started an Aussie rules football team. Considering the companies increased workbook over the past few years we had slowly accumulated a good group of guys at Brookfield Multiplex who could kick a footy, half of which were rugby players at heart though.”

    “The first step was to contact the league and ask permission to join the comp. I ended up having a meeting with Matt Burn to tell him what we were about and our intentions. He put this forward to the other teams and it was thought of as a positive for the growth of the league.”

    “We arranged the first training session down at Safa Park and had a core group of about 6 guys who came every week. For the first month it was a matter of finding lights and a patch of grass so that we could do lanework. Once we had our sponsors on board and some cash flowing into the club we started training out at Sports City which took it to the next level and got people more interested. Slowly the team grew to around 14 fully committed players.”

    “September was a mad rush as we designed uniforms (thanks to Dawson Sports) and waited for the delivery which turned up just a few days before the pre-season cup at the end of October. We went into the pre-season cup not knowing what to expect, apart from one or two 15minute practice matches at training we hadn’t played a proper game. We ended up overcoming Doha, Abu Dhabi and the Dingoes to make it into the pre-season cup final on the same day. This was a great result and gave the boys an injection of confidence and motivation to attached the home and away season seriously.”

    “Our first game was against the Doha Kangaroos which was scheduled to be our home game in Dubai. To assist Doha with limiting their travel we offered to play an away game and travel to Doha. Although this was a great bonding exercise for the team a few key players couldn’t travel and we were overrun in the end meaning we started the season 0 – 1. Next up we have the Abu Dhabi Falcons in Dubai. Although we were far from hitting our straps we managed to pull everything together and had a solid win which again sparked some enthusiasm around the club.”

    “Our next game, and the final one for the home & away season turned out to be the most important, heading neck and neck on the ladder we needed to beat the Dingoes by 50+ points to make up the percentage and secure a position in the GF. The 4 weeks leading up to the Dingoes was the best we had – things seemed to click, everyone was on board and we were training the house down. We went into the Dingoes game with a clearer game plan and made it our number one focus to get out of the blocks firing. Results spoke for themselves and we were through to the GF.”

    “Grand Final - you know the story. From our side we were extremely proud as a team to make it that far in our first season. Disappointing result but we are using it as inspiration for next season with the wheels already in motion for the 2015/16 season.”

    The BM Bulls have set the bar very high, and their immediate challenge would appear to be proving that 2014/15 was no fluke. There appears to be plenty of evidence, however, to suggest that the Bulls are going to be around as a power for a long time yet, and we will watch their future development with great interest.






    Every picture tells a story - BM Bulls 2014







    BM Bulls ...

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    The following press release from the AFLNT details the upcoming opportunities for remote Territorian youth at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre. As detailed in a previous article – Michael Long Learning & Leadership Centre Opens in Darwin– the centre aims to provide opportunities and pathways for remote players to develop, and this chance for a remote player contract with the NT Thunder presents something potentially life changing for recipients.

     

    Press Release: NAAFVLS All-Stars Welcomed To MLLLC

     

     

    The NAAFVLS Remote All-Stars have commenced their one week education and training themed camp at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre.

     

    The group of players from remote communities throughout the NT will undergo a week of education based training at the MLLLC, incorporating a Community Legal Education session from key program partner the North Australia Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service (NAAFVLS).

     

    Following on from 2014, all players selected in the NAAFVLS Remote All-Stars team are required to undertake a Working with Children and Police Check and a screen for active Domestic Violence Orders (DVO’s) through NAAFVLS.

     

    AFLNT insists that all program participants clear all checks and screening to partake in the program.

     

    Education sessions in the MLLLC over the next week include respect and responsibility, drugs and alcohol awareness, nutrition and hydration, leadership, and the importance of education and awareness of career opportunities.

     

    Up to five players have the opportunity to leave the camp with a prized NT Thunder Remote Player Contract, and more importantly will become ambassadors for NAAFVLS.

     

    The NT Thunder is the commonly used name for the Northern Territory Football Club which plays in the national NEAFL second tier competition.

     

      ...


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    The Academy New Zealand Hawks recently completed a tour to Sydney where they played games against a NSW Independent Schools All Star Team and the Sydney Swans Academy. The Sydney Swans Academy were coached by former AFL great Michael O’Loughlin.
     
    The Academy is a new pathway for aspiring AFL footballers in New Zealand. With the demise of the AIS funded team tours to New Zealand, and elsewhere, NZ have taken on the challenge themselves of organizing an alternate pathway for their more talented youth.
     

     

    The touring team was selected after 65 boys from around the country were pre-selected into 3 National League teams and came together to play 4 games over a weekend. Players to stand out were Carlos Donnell-Brown (Auckland), Masiu Vanikolo (Rotorua), Utu ah Kuoi (Wellington) and the player of the tournament Connor McGeough (Wellington). McGeough, ah Kuoi and Donnell-Brown all were part of the travelling team. Other key players included Barclay Miller (Canterbury) who is now an International Scholarship holder for the St Kilda Saints and William Kempt (Wellington) whose father, Gregor, played previously for NZ at the Arafura Tournament in Darwin during the late ‘90’s.
     
     
    Tournament Director Sam McKenzie was blown away by the support of the parents who came out to watch the tournament. “This has been by far the most amount of support we have had at an AFL New Zealand local event”.
     
     
    Academy New Zealand Hawks Head Coach Shannon Wall was excited about the fact that the squad has been exposed to a lot of AFL Football through the AFL New Zealand Academy over the past 2 months and was well prepared as a result of this in implementing a solid structure that the team could focus on.
     
     
    The travelling team represented 15 different secondary schools across NZ with Wellington College (5 players), St Pat’s Silverstream, Wellington (3 players) and Green Bay High School, Waitakere, Auckland (3 players) the most heavily represented.
     
     
    The players came from across NZ and the growing impact of AFL in Northland, north of Auckland, is evident through the number of representatives from there. Interestingly there is little representation from Canterbury, Otago or Waikato but sometimes player development in areas is cyclical dependent on who is there in the regions to drive it.
     
     
    Though the results were probably not unexpected with the Independent All-Stars defeating the Academy 49 to 17 and the Swans Academy blitzing the NZ Hawks team 27.15:177 to 1.1:7 success is not always measured by the scoreboard. For the NZ boys to play at the prestigious St Ignatius College, Riverview, Lane Cove followed by their second game at AFL venue Blacktown International Sportspark would have been fantastic opportunities that might help them choose AFL as a preferred sport…crucial in development markets for progressing the code.
     
     
    Academy New Zealand Hawks Sydney NSW Tour 2015
     
    Coach: Shannon Wall
    Assistant Coach: Chris Mundell Assistant Coach/Manager: Mick Coultard
    Assistant Coach/Runner: Samuel McKenzie
    Physio: Skye Renes
     
     
    Players
    Dylan Absalom Wellington College, Wellington
    Naitoa Ah Kuoi Wellington College, Wellington
    Utusa’itoa Ah Kuoi, Wellington College, Wellington
    Joseph Alesich-Tamariki, Rosmini College, Auckland
    Ben Armstrong, Bay of Islands, Northland
    Alex Awatere, Aotea College, Wellington
    Lewis Barrow-Young, Northcote College, Auckland
    Joel Brown, St Paul’s College, Auckland
    Carlos Donnell-Brown, Greenbay High School, Auckland
    Misilifi Faimalo Porirua College, Wellington
    Sam Green, Wellington College, Wellington
    Nathan Halloran-Mclean, Greenbay High School, Auckland
    Shaun Hanning, St Patrick’s College Silverstream, Wellington
    William Kempt, St Patrick’s College Silverstream, Wellington
    Connor McGeough, St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, Wellington
    Zeon McNabb, Rosehill College, Counties
    Barclay Miller, Middleton Grange College, Canterbury
    Jack Morris, Greenbay High School, Auckland
    Isaac Piper, St Peter’s College, Auckland
    Jackson Rolleston, Te Wananga, Hamilton, Waikato
    Jacob Tucker, Northcote College, Auckland
    Sebastian Valadares Roman, Sacred Heart College, Auckland
    Joseph Wadman, Kerikeri High School. Northland
    James Watkins, Wellington College, Wellington ...

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    AFL footy is officially back in Melbourne on Thursday night.  The season opener is Richmond vs Carlton at the MCG.

    Once again viewers around the world can access matches live or delayed on a number of TV networks or stream the telecast via subscription to Watchafl.com.au.

    The broadcast schedule can be seen below.

     

     

    ...
    Network Region Rich v Carl Melb v GC Syd v Ess Bris v Coll WB v WCE St K vs GWS Adel v NM Freo vs Pt Ad Geel v Haw Highlights
    Australia Plus Asia 2/4 @ 1600 HKT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 1030 HKT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 1330 HKT (LIVE) - 4/4 @ 1600 HKT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 1100 HKT (LIVE) - 5/4 @ 1630 HKT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1300 HKT (LIVE) 8/4 @ 0200 HKT
    Australia Plus Pacific 2/4 @ 2000 FJT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 1430 FJT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 1730 FJT (LIVE) - 4/4 @ 2000 FJT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 1500 FJT (LIVE) - 5/4 @ 2030 FJT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1700 FJT (LIVE) 8/4 @ 0600 FJT
    Australia Plus India 2/4 @ 1330 IND (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0800 IND (LIVE) 4/4 @ 1100 IND (LIVE) - 4/4 @ 1330 IND (LIVE) 5/4 @ 0830 IND (LIVE) - 5/4 @ 1400 IND (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1030 IND (LIVE) 8/4 @ 1130 IND
    ESPN BT Sport UK & Ireland 2/4 @ 0900 GMT (LIVE) - 4/4 @ 0630 GMT (LIVE) - - - 5/4 @ 0600 GMT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 0930 GMT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 0600 GMT (LIVE) 8/4 @ 1000 GMT
    ESPN Caribbean - - 4/4 @ 0130 ET (LIVE) - - - - - - 8/4 @ 0100 ET
    EUROSPORT2 Europe - - - - 4/4 @ 1000 CET (LIVE) - - - - 7/4 @ 2215 CET
    EUROSPORT3 UK & Ireland - - - - 6/4 @ 2230 GMT (Delay) - - - - 7/4 @ 2315 GMT
    EUROSPORT4 Asia - - - - - - - - - -
    FOX SPORTS USA - 3/4 @ 1030 ET (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0130 ET (LIVE) - - - - - - -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS USA - - - - 4/4 @ 0400 ET (LIVE) - - - 5/4 @ 0100 ET (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1700 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME Middle East 2/4 @ 0800 GMT (LIVE) - 3/4 @ 0530 GMT (LIVE) - - - - 5/4 @ 0830 GMT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 0400 GMT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1700 GMT
    OTLSM Worldwide (Boats & Cruises) 2/4 @ 0800 GMT (LIVE) - - - - - - - - -
    SKY SPORTS New Zealand - 6/4 @ 2400 NZST (Delay) - - - - - - - 8/4 @ 1830 NZST
    SUPER SPORT Africa - - - - - - - - - -
    TSN2 Canada - - - - - - - 5/4 @ 0430 ET (LIVE) 6/4 @ 1300 ET (Delay) TSN.ca
    CLARO SPORTS Latin America 4/4 @ 0830 CTU (Delay) - - - - - - - - -
    WATCHAFL.COM.AU Worldwide (excl. Australia) 2/4 @ 0820 GMT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0240 GMT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0535 GMT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0820 GMT (LIVE) 4/4 @ 0820 GMT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 0310 GMT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 0520 GMT (LIVE) 5/4 @ 0840 GMT (LIVE) 6/4 @ 0520 GMT (LIVE) -

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    The AFL today confirmed the present broadcast coverage for the 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season into New Zealand.

    As a long standing international partner of the AFL, Sky NZ will again broadcast AFL matches in 2015. Sky NZ coverage will include: One match per week (delayed), Anzac Day matches LIVE from Westpac Stadium and the MCG, one delayed match each week of Finals Weeks 1-3, and the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final LIVE. Sky NZ will also broadcast the AFL Weekly Highlights Program.

    AFL General Manager Broadcasting, Scheduling & Major Projects, Simon Lethlean said the AFL and AFL New Zealand continue to investigate supplementary broadcast solutions in the New Zealand market following the closure of the Sommet Sports channel.

     

    “The AFL is aware many in New Zealand love watching AFL matches and we are working hard to expand our coverage," he said.

     

    AFL fans can continue to view AFL content via WatchAFL, the AFL’s international online and digital partner. This subscription service provides access to all matches LIVE on your mobile or tablet. Further details at: http://watchafl.afl.com.au/

    The 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, April 2.

    The St Kilda Saints will return to Wellington to play on Anzac Day, Saturday April 25 at 1:10pm (local time), against the Carlton Blues. Sky NZ will broadcast this match live into New Zealand.

    Tickets for the match are available through Ticketek: www.Ticketek.co.nz/AFLnz ...


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    In an announcement from AFL Europe, the Croatian city of Umag will host the 2015 Axios Euro Cup in an enormous coup for the rapidly growing Australian Rules football nation.

    According to the AFL Europe website, “It’s with great enthusiasm that AFL Europe, with the help of the Croatian Australian Football League (SANH), is thrilled to announce the location for 2015 Axios Euro Cup is the beautiful town of Umag.”

    “The Axios Euro Cup is being held on the 10th October 2015 in Umag, which is located in Istra, the coastal region of Croatia. Taking place in the resort that also plays host to the annual ATP Croatia Tournament, the Cup promises a well organised, cheap and warm weekend. With special Euro Cup accommodation and being accessible from three airports under an hour and a half drive and the alternate option of hiring a car and driving from Italy or Slovenia, the 2015 Axios Euro Cup will be affordable for all.”

    The small city of Umag is located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, some 250 kilometres to the west of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. Whilst having a population of around 10,000 people, Umag also beats a healthy tourism industry. The APT Croatian Open tennis tournament is held in the city each year, bringing many visitors along with the coastal scenery. It would be hoped that the Axios Euro Cup will become another drawcard which may also lead to further development of Australian Rules football in the area.

    Croatian footy has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. The national team, the Croatian Knights, has long been very competitive at the Euro Cup level in a range of tournaments with the Knights being runner-up to the all-conquering team from Denmark at the 2014 Euro Cup in London.

    Recent developments in the nations national league has seen the addition of the Slavonski Brod Tigers, further strengthening the competition as they seek to develop a full sized playing field in Croatia.

    Further details will be released as they come to hand. Anyone requiring additional information should go to the AFL Europe website at: http://www.afleurope.org/




    Umag on the Adriatic Coast - Home to the 2015 Axios Euro ...

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    The following is an extract from an excellent article by Justin Robertson in the Toronto Star, the largest daily newspaper in Toronto, Canada. It looks closely, and proudly, at the success of Sydney Swans ruckman, Mike Pyke, but also paints a good picture of the game of Australian Rules football in the Canadian sporting landscape.  

     

    Australians can spend 20 years trying to win a premiership. Pyke won a flag three years into his AFL career.

     

    Ask a rookie viewer of Australian Rules Football to describe the sport, and they might say utter chaos — and, also, a bit like rugby. Ask Canada’s Mike Pyke to describe it, and he’d say it’s one hell of a job.

     

    Pyke is, perhaps, the unlikeliest of this rough-and-tumble sport’s heroes: A 6-foot-6 native of Victoria, B.C., he grew up playing basketball, soccer, and hockey before turning his focus to rugby. But in 2008, when he was playing for French rugby union team US Montauban and injuries took its toll, it forced Pyke to look for work after his rugby dreams fell through. On a whim, a friend suggested he give Aussie Rules a try — no pun intended.

    At that point, Pyke had only seen a smattering of YouTube clips of the sport, of men jumping on shoulders to catch the ball in front of 80,000 fervent fans. But Pyke thought his rugby ball-handling skills were transferable, so that June of that year he headed to Sydney for tryouts with the Swans, runners-up in last year’s Grand Final.

    A few days later — after endurance tests, agility and speed analysis — they signed him, and this weekend marks Pyke’s seventh year with the Swans. For the first time in his 90-game career, Pyke will start the season as the number one preferred ruckman, a position where the player is in the thick of play, battling for the ball.

    “It’s something I’m more comfortable with this year. I know what to expect. Last year I’d only played on my own three times. I certainly wasn’t used to it,” said the now 31-year old Pyke. “Having a short pre-season didn’t help my campaign, but this year I feel a lot more comfortable with it.”

    Recently, Aussie Rules has seen an influx of international recruits from Ireland, Sudan, New Zealand, France and the United States; Pyke was the first Canadian to play in the league, and in 2012, he became the first to win an AFL title, with the Swans.

    When Pyke first joined the Sydney Swans, many predicted it would take him years just to be competitive, and some former Aussie Rules players called the Canadian experiment a joke.

    Australians eat and breathe their football, the way Canadians pay homage to hockey, but for foreigners making the switch it's not so easy. (There is an Aussie Rules league in Toronto, called the Australian Ontario Football League, with 800 players, roughly 400 of whom are Canadian. It has two men’s divisions and a women’s league. The men’s second division trophy is called the Mike Pyke Cup.)

     

    To read the rest of this story about Mike’s journey and success at the highest level of the sport, follow this link: http://www.thestar.com/sports/2015/04/02/pyke-reaches-the-peak-of-aussie-rules-football.html

     

     

    Picture: Craig Golding/AFL Media/Toronto Star ...


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    Back when Michael Gallus, director and founder of the Footys4all Foundation, first linked with the Pyramid Power junior football club in Gordonvale, Queensland, he saw and fell in love with Walsh’s Pyramid, the mountain that towers over the small sugar town.

    He always stated that one day it was his wish to “have a kick of a footy” at Power Park in Gordonvale, home ground of the Power, and a ground with one of the most picturesque backdrops anywhere in Australia. Last week, Michael got his wish.

    As part of his latest Footys4all sojourn to distribute sporting balls to less privileged kids across the country, Michael and his crew of fellow volunteers made their way to Cairns and linked up with the people of the Pyramid Power club to travel the region and visit a number of schools.


    Pyramid Power president, Brett Kennerley, put the itinerary in a nutshell. “We went to Yarrabah High School, Yarrabah State School, Cairns Adventist College [a new campus based in Gordonvale] and Djarragun Indigenous College.” At each location Michael and his team gave out footballs and netballs to grateful students who, in many cases, did not have a ball of their own. That is part of the joy that Footys4all brings to kids.

    The timing was also right for Pyramid Power. As a club they have just embarked on another new crusade. They have so many girls wanting to play Aussie Rules locally, especially through Djarragun Indigenous College and the aboriginal community of Yarrabah, across the range to the east, that they have recently entered the first ever AFL Cairns Juniors girls only team in the overall Under 13’s competition – a first for the region and something rare otherwise.

    Footys4all arrived at the height of the launching of this new team, and with girls receiving just as many footys as the boys did, this girls team may grow even bigger. The new Waragnu Power team played their first game last week. As Brett Kennerley says “they lost, but at least they scored.” It might be that way for a little longer until the girls find their feet, but the boys need to prepare now for the future.

    Brett stated that “Waragnu comes from the local dialect and means Female/Lady. The idea was to give an initiative that is different, a name that is different. It gives the team ownership as most are related to the local clan, even though most wouldn't know much about the native tongue. It also shows that Pyramid Power are proud of the fact that we are numbered at around 92% indigenous players.”

    The arrival of Footys4all at this time gave great drive to the idea that girls can get on board, not as a minority addition to existing teams, but with a voice and team of their own. Watching the girls at the local schools kicking their Footys4all footys around proudly just added to the power of the outings.

    Quite apart from Michael Gallus linking up with two of his Footys4all ambassadors in Cairns (Brett Kennerley is a Sporting Ambassador, whilst I am an Education Ambassador for the cause) – he desperately wanted to have that kick on the oval.

    A match was cobbled together with those wearing the Footys4all promotional shirts to play against the speed, skill, power and athleticism of the Pyramid Power players present.

    The theory was that if the Footys4all team ever actually got possession of the ball they were to take off like startled hares towards to goals using any means possible (Aussie Rules, Soccer, Rugby League – any skill at all that retained possession). As it turned out the planned was flawed from the start – it involved getting access to the ball, which the Power boys would not allow.

    However, we did all have a run around together. Some of us did get a few kicks – mainly in the backside – but we did achieve something special. Footys4all and Pyramid Power united in a cause to spread the joy of footys to kids across the northern reaches of Queensland AND united as a footy team playing against the youth of the future.

    The only evidence of the game came through a highly doctored piece of video footage. For the benefit of our Footys4all team egos (our average age would have been in the 40’s somewhere, despite having the youth of Ross Faulkner’s son, Jack, in the team – thanks to Ross Faulkner and his team for the generous sponsorship of the footys) it was decided to keep the footage of us dinosaurs in everytime we did well, and edit out the youth so they didn’t show us up. The result was 30 minutes of footage reduced to about 1.17 minutes of Footys4all team player highlights.

    So, Michael’s wish came true. To have a kick around on Power Park under the watchful gaze of Walsh’s Pyramid. But at the same time the dreams of many kids came true also as they received their own footy or netball from the Footys4all team as they travelled Far North Queensland.

    Thank-You Footys4all.




    Power Park



























    Cairns Adventist School, Gordon ...

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    The tropical North Queensland city of Cairns will play host to this year’s Kickstart Championships and All Nations Cup this weekend, which together comprise the AFL Diversity Cup. Last year’s event was held in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The North Queensland city of Townsville held the event in 2013.

    The event presents the opportunity for Cairns to further establish its credentials as a regional venue for high calibre AFL events, following on from hosting AFL Premierships matches and other key national events such as the Women’s Championships in 2013.

    According to the press release from AFL Queensland:

    “AFL Cairns will host the 2015 Kickstart Championships and All Nations Cup (AFL Diversity Cup) at Cazalys Stadium from Friday 10th to Wednesday 15th April. The U15 Kickstart Championships is in its 5th year and the structure has been developed to provide a supported, talented player pathway that compliments the National U16 Championships. It aims to expose indigenous and multicultural players, coaches and umpires to an elite AFL program environment.”


    “The carnival is the first stage for players to be involved in a high performance environment and will provide players with an opportunity to test themselves against the best emerging Indigenous and Multicultural players from across the country.


    AFL Queensland North Queensland Development Manager, Graeme Pratt, who spearheaded the initiative to get the championships to Cairns said, “These Championships are significant to both AFL and the national sporting community. They recognise upcoming talent from our indigenous and multicultural communities, as well show the participants a pathway to elite opportunities.”

    AFL Cairns President, Gary Young, said, “The announcement of Cairns as host for these important national championships is an exact fit with the significant push our city and region has nurtured to attract sports tourism.”

    “These championships in Cairns serve three main goals. We want to give some kids from a specific part of the community a great new opportunity, we want to recognise AFL as a terrific sport and to highlight and show off the city, region and State as a great place to compete in no matter what sport it is that comes our way.”

    Mayor Bob Manning said Cairns Regional Council had offered its full support to the event.

    “This tournament encourages greater participation in AFL and is a great stepping stone for young players looking for a future in the game,” Cr Manning said. “We welcome the Kickstart Championships to Cairns and look forward to hosting visiting players and officials.”

    Key features of the Championships include;

    KICKSTART CHAMPIONSHIPS
    • 22 players per team
    • Players need to be born in the year 2000 (u15)
    • Head Coach required to be Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander

    ALL NATIONS CUP
    • 12 players per team
    • Players need to be born in the year 2000 (u15)
    • Players born overseas from non-English speaking countries
    • Players from emerging communities that have a parent born overseas from Asia and Africa.
    • Head Coach required to be from Multicultural background

    UMPIRES
    This year in line with the new Diversity Umpiring strategy each State will be required to bring 2 umpires (boundary, goal or field) and they will become part of the Diversity Umpiring program. National AFL Umpiring department will manage education and mentoring program at the Championships.

    Further details about the event will be released closer to the event date. Interested people can either contact World Footy News for further information, or contact Graeme Pratt by email at AFLQ at: Graeme.Pratt@aflq.com.au

    ...

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    AFL Round 2 kicks off tonight in Perth with West Coast Eagles hosting Carlton.

    Once again viewers around the world can access matches live or delayed on a number of TV networks or stream the telecast via subscription to Watchafl.com.au.

    The broadcast schedule for this round can be seen below.

     

     

     

    ...
    Network Region WCE vs Carl Rich v WB GWS v Melb Coll vs Adel Pt Adel vs Syd GC vs StK Geel vs Freo Ess vs Haw NM vs Bris Highlights
    Australia Plus Asia 10/4 @ 1800 HKT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 1130 HKT (LIVE) - 11/4 @ 1430 HKT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 1730 HKT (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 1100 HKT (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 1430 HKT (LIVE) 15/4 @ 0200 HKT
    Australia Plus Pacific 10/4 @ 2200 FJT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 1530 FJT (LIVE) - 11/4 @ 1830 FJT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 2130 FJT (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 1500 FJT (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 1830 FJT (LIVE) 15/4 @ 0600 FJT
    Australia Plus India 10/4 @ 1530 IND (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0900 IND (LIVE) - 11/4 @ 1200 IND (LIVE) 11/4 @ 1500 IND (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 0830 IND (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 1200 IND (LIVE) 15/4 @ 2330 IND
    ESPN BT Sport UK & Ireland 10/4 @ 1100 BST (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0430 BST (LIVE) - 11/4 @ 0730 BST (LIVE) 11/4 @ 1030 BST (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 0400 BST (LIVE) - - 15/4 @ 1000 BST
    ESPN Caribbean - - - - 11/4 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) - - - - 17/4 @ 2400 ET
    EUROSPORT2 Europe - - - - - 11/4 @ 1100 CET (LIVE) - - - 14/4 @ 2200 CET
    EUROSPORT3 UK & Ireland - - - - - 13/4 @ 2300 BST (Delay - - - 14/4 @ 2315 BST
    EUROSPORT4 Asia - - - - - 11/4 @ 1715 HKT (Delay - - - -
    FOX SPORTS USA 10/4 @ 0600 ET (LIVE) - - - 11/4 @ 0530 ET (LIVE) - - - - -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS USA - 10/4 @ 2330 ET (LIVE) - 11/4 @ 0230 ET (LIVE) - - - - - 13/4 @ 1700 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME Middle East - - - 11/4 @ 0630 GMT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0930 GMT (LIVE) - 12/4 @ 0300 GMT (LIVE) 12/4 @ 0500 GMT (LIVE) - 13/4 @ 1700 GMT
    OTLSM Worldwide (Boats & Cruises) 10/4 @ 1010 GMT (LIVE) - - - - - - - - -
    SKY SPORTS New Zealand - - - - - - - - 13/4 @ 2400 NZT (Delay) 14/4 @ 1830 NZT
    SUPER SPORT Africa - - - - - - - - - -
    TSN2 Canada 10/4 @ 0600 ET (LIVE) - - - 11/4 @ 1400 ET (Delay) - - - - TSN.ca
    CLARO SPORTS Latin America 11/4 @ 0830 CTU (Delay) - - - - - - - - -
    WATCHAFL.COM.AU Worldwide (excl. Australia) 11/4 @ 0345 GMT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0940 GMT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0635 GMT (LIVE) 10/4 @ 1010 GMT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0410 GMT (LIVE) 11/4 @ 0920 GMT (LIVE) 12/4 @ 0310 GMT (LIVE) 12/4 @ 0520 GMT (LIVE) 12/4 @ 0640 GMT (LIVE) -

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    It starts today. My new role as an AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador for 2015 kicks off with the opening ceremony and function here in Cairns to kick of the AFL Diversity Cup. Bought forward a little as my induction is not until next week, but footy won’t wait. Being a resident of Cairns I am front and centre for this carnival, living five minutes from Cazalys Stadium, it makes sense to start today.

    The five days of gladiatorial combat between the state Kickstart indigenous teams will be a brilliant showcase of future talent. The best talent on show will make their way into the Flying Boomerangs national indigenous team or the World Team programs. To be present helping the AFL with various media roles will be an honour and a great way to start twelve months as an ambassador and try to initiate ideas, projects and programs which may assist the multicultural growth of the game here in Far North Queensland and maybe beyond.

    Maybe I could be excused for thinking that after five days of the Diversity Cup my job would be done, but far, far from it. In taking on the role I have agreed to use whatever is at my disposal to forge links and keep taking Australian Rules football in both new directions and further develop existing directions.

    One of the aspects of induction is to lay out a plan, or at least an idea, of what I plan to pursue and achieve in 12 months. That part is relatively easy, as most of these programs are either started already or have been brewing as ideas for some time. The very reason for this largely self-indulgent first-person story is to lay the ideas on the table and see what responses and assistance might come from it.

    So, to task one.

    Cairns has seen an increase in the number of migrants from African countries over the past decade. There are growing communities from Sudan, Uganda and many other nations. Locally, some of the kids from these families have entered the arena of Australian Rules football, either in addition to an existing sport or as a first choice adopted sport.

    There is a tremendous chance to work within these communities, conducting footy clinics and a good old-fashioned multicultural barbecue, and extend the welcoming hand of our national code to young people and promote the uptake of the game within their own communities and also bringing people together in the wider community.

    Similarly, the Indian communities within the Far North have not been heavily linked to the AFL scene to day. Sudip Chakraborty, President of AFL India, has done an incredible job with his team of fellow football lovers across India to grow the game. AFL clubs at the national level have worked closely with local Indian communities to establish connections to the game. There is an opportunity to bring the local AFL scene in Cairns to the Indian communities in a more proactive way, and that is another goal of mine this year.














    Cairns is ideally placed geographically to one day be a hub for Australian Rules football throughout the South Pacific, sitting as it does on the western edge of the Coral Sea. We already have strong footballing links with Australian Rules in Papua New Guinea, and have the ability to connect in a bigger way with footballing nations such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tonga and Samoan nations.

    A concerted effort in 2015 to reach out and develop stronger local links to South Pacific nations might be a useful step in the direction of Cairns playing a bigger role in helping host, foster or grow football across the South pacific region in years to come. Friends at clubs in Lae, Papua New Guinea and Raiwaqa in Fiji will be invited to further strengthen their links to Cairns, through local Cairns club Pyramid Power, to raise awareness.

    The change here will be further into the future, but if I can use this 12 month period to increase local awareness to embrace our geographical advantages then another pebble will start rolling down the hill.

    Working so closely with the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community, near Cairns, for many years has been rewarding for our own local club. It has also provided many opportunities for local Yarrabah kids to play the game, even through to representative level. Gold Coast Sun player, Jarrod Harbrow, is of Yarrabah descent.

    There has always been a polarisation of sorts in many North Queensland communities to support Australian Rules OR Rugby League. There is a very dominant Rugby League following up here, with Australian Rules making headway to get a growing market share. There are many who play and support both, but a new promotion “WHY NOT BOTH?” will be aimed at, and trialled, in Yarrabah in a bid to get kids, and families, to consider playing both sports and opening up potential success pathways through both sports – a bid to stop the “us or them” style of sporting choice.

    The Pyramid Power Brother Clubs Project, and side projects such as the “Teaching Australian Rules Football” Facebook group have seen our club, and by extension our region, become closer to the Australian Rules football scene across the world. These projects will also be ramped up during the following 12 months with a reverse psychology – by making greater connections across the world we can reach out to local cultural groups in a more relevant and meaningful way.

    That is a lot of work, but 12 months can be a long time if used creatively. Additionally, the people of AFL Diversity, Australia Post AFL Multicultural Program, AFL Cairns and AFL Cape York may also have further opportunities to be explored and developed. But that’s the role.

    I am proud to hold this role and look forward to the opportunity to assist in the growth of our wonderful national game through a wide variety of diverse cultures in and around Cairns. ...

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    The idea of an AFL premiership match being played in Singapore is a long, long way from being a reality, but news from the www.afl.com website suggests that the Brisbane Lions are looking at the option.

     

    According to the AFL’s website, “THE BRISBANE Lions' financial woes and restrictive deal with their home stadium, the Gabba, have driven the club to pursue options for a home and away match overseas.

     

    Lions officials have started investigating a viable international option which has taken their focus to the Singapore National Stadium.

     

     

    The stadium, opened last year, has a capacity of 55,000 and has hosted soccer giants such as Juventus. It has the dimensions to extend to host an AFL match.

     The Lions are yet to formally put the proposal to the AFL.”

     

    Should the concept get off the ground it would see a continuation of an international match journey for premiership points following on from the recent ANZAC Day matches played by St Kilda in New Zealand.

     

    There are many miles to travel before the idea catches fire, not the least of which is the Lions finding a better long term deal at the ‘Gabba. Similarly, there may prove to be other viable options that present themselves as the Lions explore all ways of improving their financial situation. But a match in Singapore would certainly be a bold move and a further endorsement of international venues being capable of hosting premiership matches.

     

    Throughout history there have been pre-season, post-season and exhibition matches played across the world. But the idea of playing matches overseas for premiership points is now being seen as a viable option for AFL teams to consider. Without doubt, this move would move the game a long way forward on the international scene.

     

    World Footy News will keep a close eye on possible future developments. ...


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    A packed house of players, officials, volunteers and dignitaries filled The Tanks Arts Centre tonight to usher in the official welcome of the National Diversity Championships in Cairns. On a humid but pleasant night the assembled audience were treated to entertainment, formal welcomes and player interviews as a prelude to the real action on the football field over the next five days.

    The evening commenced to the resonating power of the didgeridoo and dance from the Wuba Indigenous performing troupe before Rick Hanlon, AFL Cape York Programs Director and Master of Ceremonies for the night, acknowledged the traditional owners of the land on which we were meeting before introducing State Treasurer and member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, and Marc Harbrow, brother of Gold Coast Suns star Jarrod Harbrow, who gave the traditional welcome on behalf of his people.


    The captains of all teams in both the Kickstart Championships and the All Nations Championships were presented to the audience and asked a series if probing questions by MC Rick Hanlon. All captains were put on the spot, but showed their leadership skills by attacking the questions head-on with direct and insightful answers.

    AFL Head Of Diversity, Jason Mifsud, spoke to the audience – most particularly the players, of the opportunities this carnival presented for their futures, explaining the career pathways for all players as well as recognising the great work done by many people both from the AFL Diversity teams across the country, the coaches, trainers, umpires and volunteers and also the AFL Cairns staff for bringing the event together.

    Former Footscray and Carlton VFL player, Max O’Halloran, a long time stalwart of the AFL crusade in Cairns, addressed the crowd with his views on the value of the carnival and the part women play in the new era of AFL football.

    Chinese musicians then brought the evening to a close, replete with two very happy and energetic Chinese Dragons that danced giddily through the audience, before closing addresses.

    The action now shifts to Cazalys Stadium in Cairns tomorrow as matches commence and the Kickstart and All Nations teams from host state Queensland, New South Wales/ACT, Victoria/Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory commence their assaults on glory to be crowned 2015 champions.

    Picture: All Kickstart & All Nations team captains (Courtesy AFL Diversit ...

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    The 2015 Haggis Cup is about to get underway in Scotland. Played at the CSE Peffermill Playing Fields in Edinburgh, this years competition will feature men's and women's divisions again.

    Competing in the Men's draw are last year's winners, the Glasgow Sharks, host city team the Edinburgh Bloods and fellow Scottish teams the Kingdom Kangaroos and newcomers the Falkirk Razorbacks and Greater Glasgow Giants.

    Two English teams are in town for the event also with the Huddersfield rams and the Tyne Tees Tigers competing.


    In the Women's draw there will be three teams. The Scottish Select ladies are the great local hope but will be sternly challenged by the Tyne Tees Ladies and the Wimbledon Hawks Ladies, coming up from London.

    Always a challenging event to coordinate, this year's Haggis Cup has come together with eight clubs from across Scotland and England competing as well as the combined Scottish women's team. This number of teams betters the 2014 roster, boding well for the future of the event.

    World Footy News will monitor results and update the Haggis Cup 2015 story across the week ...

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  • 04/11/15--19:14: Half Time

  • The Queensland Kickstart team were up against the Victoria/Tasmania team. After a half with the aid of a useful but not powerful breeze, Queensland faced a two goal deficit. To win from here would take a turnaround in fortunes.

    So what is said at half-time?

    Rhan Hooper, former Brisbane Lions and Hawthorn Hawks footballer, is head coach. He is assisted by former North Melbourne player Eddie Sansbury and his other lieutenants Dwayne, Travis and Keith.

    The coaches get the forward, defensive and midfield units aside to chat amongst themselves about how things panned out in the first half. Players urged each other to lift and suggestions are offered.

    Eddie prowls from one group to another with his insights. Player positioning, players to watch, match-ups, responsibilities. The players listen intently. These guys have played at the highest level – the AFL – their words are from experience, and lots of it.

    Rhan brings the whole squad together. He asks them how they think they are going. One or two braver souls venture some positive words. “Better than yesterday!” says one. Others know they have come up short. They know they have to lift.

    Rhan tells them to be more predictable – code for conventional – follow the team plan and stick to it. Be precise on kick-ins. Head to the ruckman who can contest. He points to his whiteboard with a message scrawled on the back – “Pride, Hard At The Ball, Commitment”. He implores the players to again read those words, and makes a point of saying “look at the middle one – hard at the ball boys.”

    Rhan, Eddie and the crew can’t do much from here. They have given their message and now the players will respond. Some will – hopefully all of them. It’s in the players hands for the second half. Messages will come from the bench, players will be interchanged, advice will be barked from the sidelines. But at the end of the day the players hold the key now.

    The players raise hands together and shout the unintelligible group chant, which sounds something like “Queensland”, just with lots of extra “r’s”, “g’s” and seemingly new letters to the alphabet. But it is a shout of unity no matter what.

    The coaches return to the comparative safety of the bench. The players go back into combat. The siren starts and the messages will be put into action

    Just 15 minutes later the game is all over. Victoria/Tasmania have won by five odd goals. They had the wind and it helped. Did the coach’s messages miss their mark? No. In the field of battle the team tried very hard to implement the half time advice, and for the most part succeeded. They just couldn’t hold back the tide of a stronger team on the day.

    Such is coaching.



    Left: Queensland Kickstart players listening to co ...

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