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Articles on this Page
- 12/13/15--22:12: _Dragons Bounce Kang...
- 12/13/15--23:07: _St Mary’s Take Pole...
- 12/14/15--19:05: _AFL searching for W...
- 12/18/15--04:39: _A Pilgrimage From Z...
- 12/19/15--22:59: _Women Meeting The M...
- 12/21/15--03:04: _Tigers Turn To Yout...
- 12/24/15--21:30: _A Christmas Footy S...
- 12/27/15--20:18: _NT Boys Take On The...
- 12/27/15--21:52: _Devastating Floods ...
- 12/30/15--01:56: _Festive Season Brea...
- 12/30/15--04:44: _Jason Holmes, The A...
- 12/30/15--13:42: _Towards 2016
- 12/30/15--14:29: _Perpignan Tigers Ch...
- 12/31/15--01:30: _2015 World Footy Ne...
- 01/01/16--04:39: _Brittany Griffins D...
- 01/01/16--13:39: _Tigers Burning Bright
- 01/05/16--16:29: _Kingdom Kangaroos I...
- 01/09/16--04:43: _Is Women's Footy Th...
- 01/10/16--02:26: _Bombers Blaze, Buff...
- 01/10/16--04:32: _The Irish Warrior I...
- 12/13/15--22:12: Dragons Bounce Kangaroos
- 12/13/15--23:07: St Mary’s Take Pole Position – NTFL
- 12/14/15--19:05: AFL searching for Women's Talent in other sports
- 12/18/15--04:39: A Pilgrimage From Zagreb To Adelaide
- 12/19/15--22:59: Women Meeting The Men Head-On
- 12/21/15--03:04: Tigers Turn To Youth Paying Off - NTFL
- 12/24/15--21:30: A Christmas Footy Story
- 12/27/15--20:18: NT Boys Take On The Irish At International Rules
- 12/27/15--21:52: Devastating Floods Won’t Stop Footy
- 12/30/15--01:56: Festive Season Break Allows Clubs To Reset Compass
- 12/30/15--04:44: Jason Holmes, The AFL’s First Born and Bred American
- 12/30/15--13:42: Towards 2016
- 12/30/15--14:29: Perpignan Tigers Challenging History
- 12/31/15--01:30: 2015 World Footy News - World Team
- 01/01/16--04:39: Brittany Griffins Dare To Dream
- 01/01/16--13:39: Tigers Burning Bright
- 01/05/16--16:29: Kingdom Kangaroos In Full Recruit Mode For Season 2016
- 01/09/16--04:43: Is Women's Footy The Perfect Curtain-Raiser For AFL Games?
- 01/10/16--02:26: Bombers Blaze, Buffaloes Bounced - NTFL
- 01/10/16--04:32: The Irish Warrior In Odense
The AFL Middle East season has reached the mid-season, or winter, break with the Dubai Dragons having their say once again. In a shortened competition due to the withdrawal of the Muscat Magpies, the Dragons recorded their second win of the season in an eleven point thriller against the Doha Kangaroos.
The Dragons undertook a significant off-season rebuild with players departing, putting pressure on their claims to another flag. But the win against Doha sees them in the prime position to snare another minor premiership. They now have two wins, the same as the BM Bulls, but with two games to play compared to one for the Bulls.
The game in Doha was tight from the outset. The Dragons led most of the early stages, with a one goal half time lead. But the home side came back hard and jumped out to a ten point lead midway through the final quarter. But the Dragons newer players and last minute replacements stepped up to grab back the lead and hold on for a win.
Dragon’s president, Huwy Jones, recalled the day.
“We won our second game of the year on Friday in Doha, so [we are] undefeated so far. Both teams had a few players out, which made it a very even contest. Three Dragons came out of retirement for the fixture, and all of them contributed in the back line.”
“New Dragons, Dalton Tucker and Brian Harrington played well in the middle. Coby Reynolds our ruckman went head to head with Joey Barnes again in what was an even contest. The Dragons lead most of the day being a goal up at half time. But the Kangaroos were too good for most of the second half, and took a ten point lead midway through the last quarter and were attacking their goals time and time again. Iain Rowe and Will 'The Golden Fist' Cox stood tall for the Dragons though with four desperate clearances resulting in goals to Dragon’s full forward Lachie de Morton. He ended up with 6 goals for the day, as the Dragons won by 11 points.”
“A big shout out goes to both Jake Jackson and Duncan Wilkie (6 foot 8 inches) on kicking their first goals for the club, as well as to Matt Burn as stand-in coach getting us across the line.”
Final Score: Dubai Dragons 10 9 69 d Doha Kangaroos 8 10 58
The loss for Doha all but crosses them out of a grand final berth, having lost all three of their matches to date and playing the BM Bulls in their final match in February.
The Abu Dhabi Falcons and Dubai Dingoes boast a win each. After the break each of them has to meet the Dragons, making the clash between the Falcons and Dingoes in late January a vital match to win to hopefully snare a grand final berth pending the outcomes of other games.
The league is now in winter recess until January 29th when the Dingoes and Falcons clash in Dubai ...
Round 10 of the NTFL season wrapped up in Darwin yesterday with the St Mary’s team ending the Buffaloes’ winning streak, the Palmerston Magpies upsetting the top team, Wanderers finally getting a solid win on the board and the Tiwi Bombers (barely) keeping their finals hopes alive.
The match of the day was certainly billed at the St Mary’s Saints and Darwin Buffaloes clash. Both were locked in a three way battle for top spot and the winner would certainly hold a psychological advantage come finals time. The Buffaloes won the first and last quarters, keeping their final quarter record of fighting back alive, but the damage was done by the Saints with eight goals to one across the middle two quarters. The win sees St Mary’s now alone at the top of the ladder and well placed to seek another flag. For the Buffaloes, their seven match winning streak has ended, but the incentive remains to stay in the finals race.
Final Score: St Mary’s Saints 12 15 87 d Darwin Buffaloes 8 9 57
The Palmerston Magpies produced the upset of the round at TIO Stadium on Saturday night when they stunned ladder leader Southern Districts. The highly fancied Crocs got out of the blocks well with a seven goal first quarter, but from there it was the Magpies ruling the day kicking eleven goals to three for the rest of the day to win by 24 points. Southern Districts relinquished top spot, but can’t blame anyone else after kicking one goal eight behinds in the final quarter and blowing any potential fight back.
Final Score: Palmerston Magpies 15 12 102 d Southern Districts Crocs 10 18 78
Wanderers had experienced a heartbreaking few weeks, coming off four consecutive losses – two of which were by less than a goal. They needed a win desperately to stay in the finals race and achieved just that, downing Waratah Warriors by 28 points. Waratah led narrowly at both quarter time and half time, but a ten goal second half from Wanderers saw them pull safely away to a much needed victory.
Final Score: Wanderers Eagles 13 9 87 d Waratah Warriors 9 5 59
The Tiwi Bombers’ season was slipping away rapidly and they had to find a way to get over a hot and cold Nightcliff Tigers outfit. But the Tiwi boys announced their intentions early with a withering eight goal first quarter. The 41 point quarter time lead set the tone for the day and Nightcliff just didn’t have the answers, until very late in the match, to hold the Bombers at bay. The win sees the Bombers leap frog the Tigers into sixth place and now just a game outside the top five (but with a marginally better percentage that the Palmerston Magpies). They are now a distinct chance to see finals action if they can maintain the rage and keep their best team on the field. The pressure now rises for the Nightcliff crew to bounce back next weekend.
Final Score: Tiwi Bombers 23 15 159 d Nightcliff Tigers 13 9 87
Next weekend is the last before the Christmas/New Year break and sees Nightcliff take on Waratah, the Tiwi Bombers meet Darwin Buffaloes, St Mary’s clashes with Palmerston and a desperate Wanderers must go head to head with Southern Districts in perhaps the match of the roun ...
As the need for top level athletic talent for the upcoming 2017 Women's national league becomes more obvious the AFL today released the following announcement that will aim to find talent from other sports in Australia. As yet there are no announcements about talent from outside Australia being included.
AFL Media Release
The AFL is pleased to announce a female talent search campaign will be held throughout Australia in early 2016.
The campaign is designed to give female athletes who are currently active in other sports the opportunity to test their football fitness and skills.
AFL General Manager Game and Market Development, Simon Lethlean said the testing sessions will seek new talent amongst athletes who are not currently registered as Australian football players.
“We want Australian football to be the sport of choice for female athletes and we know there are many talented footballers who have backgrounds in other sports,” he said.
“We want to engage with these players and give them the chance to enhance their football skills while expanding our talent pool as we look towards the national women’s competition in 2017.”
AFL Female Ambassador and Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce will lead the sessions with state female academy coaches. The AFL has partnered with Rookie Me to conduct the athletic testing.
“This is an exciting time for women’s football and I’m looking forward to travelling around the country and meeting the athletes,” Daisy said.
“Many of the current stars in our game have also competed at the elite level in other sports. If we find more of them through the talent search the standard of our sport can only improve.”
Athletes identified during the campaign will be offered places in female state academies (which support players already identified) and places in state league clubs.
Athletes will experience familiar Draft Combine testing; standing and running vertical jumps, agility, 20m sprint and the shuttle run (beep test).
Participants will get an opportunity to demonstrate skills including kicking, marking and hand balling as well as their decision making, spatial awareness and appetite to compete.
Female Talent Search dates:
Saturday January 23
Saturday January 30
Brisbane 9am-2.30pm Sunday February 7 Anglican Church Grammar Adelaide 9am-2.30pm Sunday February 14 Prince Alfred College Sydney 9am-2.30pm Sunday February 21 St Ignatius College Hobart 9am-2.30pm Sunday February 28 Newtown High School
Sunday February 7
Anglican Church Grammar
Sunday February 14
Prince Alfred College
Sunday February 21
St Ignatius College
Sunday February 28
Newtown High School
As is increasingly the way, talented young footballers from all over the world are being increasingly more often lured to Australia to try their hand at Australian Rules football. Those not able to attend various combines to get on the AFL’s radar are risking much to leave their home lives behind and journey to Australia to try their hand. Some documented examples have been players from the United States making it to the VFL. Others have come from Canada to play on the Gold Coast or country Victoria.
Josip Habljak has been one of the mainstays of Croatian footy in recent years. His interest in the game turned in to a love affair of sorts and his talents grew exponentially. Like others before him, the lure of coming to Australia has seen him make that life change and see how far he can go with his adopted game.
The following interview with Josip is unique in that it gives a very clear insight into the background of a player not brought up with the game and how, by degrees, he developed his own game and explored options to go further. Now with Sturt Football Club in the SANFL, Josip opens up about his footy journey.
Thanks for your time, Josip. To kick off, how did you first find Aussie Rules footy?
“To be honest it happened by a chance. A chain of events led me away from playing basketball which I’ve played since I was ten, and when you’re in a sport for so long it’s really hard to just stop doing any sports. Suddenly you find yourself “not belonging” to any sports team and I kind of felt I wasn’t using my body as much as I could have.”
“So at the time I was just hitting a gym and doing my university stuff that had do be done (Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb) and one day I saw a poster at my university saying “Do you want to play against Oxford University ? Try Australian Rules Football !”. Of course, since being a Croatian usually includes having no idea what Aussie Rules is I immediately thought it was some kind of a rugby since there were Rugby League, Rugby Union and HEY!, I just found about another form of Rugby - Australian Rules Football!”
“It seemed interesting but I didn’t have too much will to try it out since I thought I’d be the only new guy that would actually show up so I didn’t even give too much thought about trying it out. Well, lucky for me, few days later while I was sitting in front of an auditorium waiting for a class to begin, a friend (former rugby player) came up to me and asked me, “Hey, Habljak, you wanna try this Aussie rules stuff ?” I was really thrilled to find out there is somebody besides me who wants to try it out and next thing you know, as soon as I said “Yeah, I wanna try it out but I thought I was alone.” A few guys sitting next to me said the exact same thing. That’s how I started training for Aussie rules and how I fell in love with the sport.”
Since starting your journey, which clubs did you play for?
“The first team I played for was University of Zagreb against University of Oxford after only about a month of training. We formed a team of new guys, all of them students at University of Zagreb , and we gave it a go. We lost our first game ever by 30 points but considering all of us were new to the sport and we played against guys who were a lot longer in it and lot of them even being Australians we didn’t do so bad.”
“Afterwards we had a draft were I was drafted for my first and only Croatian club I have played for, Zagreb Hawks, and I had three unforgettable and prosperous seasons with them in Croatia before eventually moving to Australia to train with, and hopefully play for Sturt.”
“Another team I also played for was the European Legion, a team of the best European guys younger than 23 that played against the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) Academy boys in an event called the “Easter Series” that took place in London. And of course, I can’t even explain the thrill of playing for our national team, the Croatian Knights” at the European Cups and European Championship.”
What attracted you to the game?
“First of all, when I started playing footy it immediately felt like this sport is something different and it really showed up to be more than just a sport: it’s a community, sort of a family for all of us playing. Everybody supporting each other regardless of playing level and experience is something I’ve seen only in footy, it really doesn’t matter if you’re the best player on the team or you just started out and still can’t figure out the shape of this red UFO that has a tendency to bounce everywhere except towards you. You’ll get the same praise and a clap for each good mark, kick, pass, even just for a good effort.”
“Secondly, the sport itself is really rewarding for effort itself, even if you have a bad day and nothing goes your way and “The Sherrin” (brand of that red UFO) just decided not to obey anymore you can still contribute to your team by putting an extra effort in other areas of the game like tackling someone, spoiling some marks, doing blocks for your teammate. I think those two things are something that really made me fell in love for the game.”
Josip, what triggered your decision to travel to Australia to play?
“Ever since I was a kid I had a desire to visit Australia. I can still remember one of my first links to Australia was a shirt my parents used to wear a long time ago, it had a Koala with a beer mug saying: “I’m only here for the beer”. As I started playing footy, going to Australia to play it over there was not even in my wildest dreams but after I’d played for my national team I caught myself daydreaming about how it would be to train and play footy in its homeland.”
“Playing for European Legion against the AIS Academy team gave me a real sense and a feeling of how it is to play Aussie rules against and with someone who grew up with it and since I fared well with and against them, being chosen amongst best on ground on two matches we played I really started hoping and praying that maybe someday there could exist the slightest chance for me to get to Australia via footy to just be able to learn it and play at its highest level.”
“To my enormous surprise, after two years of successful appearances for my national team and the European Legion appearance, I was presented with a few possibilities from AFL Europe and its former CEO, Mr Ben MacCormack, to go and play footy in Australia. The thrill I’ve then felt is something I can’t really explain and it really was something special. I don’t even have to tell you that I didn’t have to think twice about it and the dream of going to Australia little by little started becoming true.”
“Despite already having a possibility to go, a friend of mine, our national team coach, Ante Loncar, told me to wait just a little bit, because he could possibly have something else for me. He got in touch with Sturt’s president Jason Kilic, since two of them were good friends, and sent him some videos of my games and Sturt gave a green light for me to come and try out with them. A big desire and an opportunity of a life time to improve my footy game by learning it from the best really gave me no other option than moving to Australia to chase my dreams.”
Since having arrived in Australia, and specifically Adelaide, how have you settled into your new club?
“I really love it here. The conditions at the club are exceptional and everybody at the club, players and staff, have been really supportive and made me feel very well accepted amongst them. The passion I see here from everybody involved in the club is really something to be admired and I personally enjoy every moment of my time here. Also, our head coach for this season, Martin Mattner, a former AFL player with a premiership title behind him at the Sydney Swans, also works with everybody willing in one on one sessions, so I really have a chance to learn from the best.”
Do you think your journey might inspire others to try their luck?
“Hopefully it will show people that Australia isn’t something unachievable, but I also hope that my story will inspire people to try whatever they dream of. I now firmly believe that you can achieve anything you want if you really put your mind to it and of course, put in a lot of hard work. In my case I believe it was with God’s help I got here, but however you want to call it - God, Universe, Karma or something else - be sure that if you put hard work into focusing on your goal, you’ll get it’s help along the way.”
Josip, you have left Croatia to chase a dream, but what is the state of the game back in Croatia?
“We’ve only got footy in Croatia for ten years but it’s developing quite well thanks to everybody doing hard work in ensuring so. When I started we had a little “baby boom” because they managed to gather a lot of new players from University of Zagreb and since then it has been developing steadily with two new clubs opening in last two years and we even started a women’s footy club back in my home town, Velika Gorica, that also appeared as a women’s national team at the European Cup which was held in Umag this year.”
“Today we’ve got five men’s clubs and one women’s club and a quite respected national team that was good from the day they started playing it ten years ago. In that time it [the national team] managed to become the most successful national team in Europe with 7 medals from 8 competitions. Unfortunately we don’t have any conditions for training. We don’t even have a playing field. We are basically using a meadow that’s more like a wasteland for our trainings and games. Locker rooms, club rooms and showers are still sci-fi for us and the only thing we’ve got are jumpers from our sister clubs in Australia, a couple of Sherrins and big, big hearts.”
Thank you so much, Josip. Was there anything else you wanted to add?
“I miss Ljubac (it’s not a dog) and that’s all folks!”
Left: Josip playing for his beloved Zagreb Hawks (Picture: Sports News - Croatia)
Top: Josip playing for the Croatian Knights (Photo: http://www.scena.hr - AFL Eur ...
The AFL is currently gathering the momentum to place women’s footy on the national stage with the upcoming granting of licences to clubs to hold an AFL women’s national league. Whilst this is a wonderful step forward for women’s footy, and certainly validates and celebrates the incredible work done in Australia and overseas to grow the women’s game, the AFL is oddly behind many smaller national and international leagues in the development of women’s footy.
Even though the AFL’s endorsement of women’s footy opened the gates for people to develop the game, it is those leagues that have in reality sown and tended the crops to the point where the AFL must pursue highest level competition to complete the talent pathways already laid down.
An example of how the women’s game has been taken to places not dreamed of even just five years ago is the Pyramid Power club near Cairns in Far North Queensland. The year 2015 saw them enter an all-girls Under 13 team in a boy’s competition – girls taking on the boys head on in a scheduled competition. This may not be the first such team, though it is hard to find documentation of many others. But it is a huge step forward for women’s footy as younger girls are being exposed to the competitive aspects of team footy in an environment long dominated by boys.
Former Power coach and president, Brett Kennerley, hatched the idea with new president, Jim Floyd and has an interesting story of how the idea came about, became a reality and explains where the idea might fit in the grander scheme of women’s footy.
Brett starts by stating that “the idea came about because we had to work out how to fairly split our Under 13's numbers, as we had too many for one team. As I looked through the players, I realised that we had a very large amount of females in that age group, although not enough for a stand-alone female side at that stage. But it dawned on me that this was a chance to do something radical and different.”
“So I pitched the idea to Jim, that we split the side on gender, and then sign up more young girls. I knew it would be an easy sell to the League [AFL Cairns], because they were screaming out for higher female participation, so the timing was just right. When we got the thumbs up from the league, we immediately knew we wanted this team to have its own identity.”
“I asked Jim to speak to our local indigenous leaders, and get the local language name for female. There were a couple of different ones, mostly dependant on age, but we chose Waragnu. Even though it actually means older girls, it just fit better. Although the girls didn't have a lot of on-field success, they improved significantly, over the course of the season, and were certainly feared by the boys teams for their tackling prowess. As people they seemed to harness the positivity that this season provided them, and I believe they revelled in their opportunity to show the footy world that girls could mix it with the boys.”
“It was an important step because, at least locally, people still haven't invested in the theories of women in footy. This Waragnu team, although only a small step, had a profound effect on many people, and for every single thought process that gets changed, we are closer to going full circle or full journey on this.”
“This concept basically will need to be developed and maybe wound back in future years, when we can have strong enough numbers to fill numerous divisions of female football including, but not limited to, all grades from Under 11 age groups through to senior women’s teams - essentially a replicated pathway to that which already exists for boys and men.”
“These girls are the first generation of footballers who can dream to aspire to become professional athletes, knowing all too well that they are in the age window to be successful in that pursuit. All other women and girls before them were surely hopeful, but with no real knowledge that it would ever happen. When an athlete knows that it's actually possible, they can work harder toward that goal, with a one track mind.”
“I, too, see a national competition, where the expectation is for every senior men’s team, there will be a team competing in the women’s league as well. It may never truly have the same pulling power as far as spectators or sponsors or television deals go, but who knows? The BBL has the ladies on prime time television now and the ANZ Championships gets primetime now, so maybe AFL can garner that same kind of attention.”
“I was lucky enough to get to umpire the WA v Vic game at the Women’s Nationals in 2013, and I honestly believed that to be one of the highest quality matches of any gender football that I have witnessed, so I have no doubt about women’s footy’s ability to collect the consciousness of the masses.”
“I have been lucky enough to work with the Youth Girls program, and helped to get the league off the ground in AFL Cairns as either a coach, umpire, administrator, or all on the same night at times. I have had numerous girls play amongst my boy’s underage teams. Later on I went on to develop and nurture the idea of Pyramid’s senior women’s side, culminating in that team gaining acceptance, and then coaching the side for its first two seasons. It has its challenges, mostly still with being relatively unknown, and under-appreciated, but i can see it as the obvious next evolutionary step for AFL in growing our brand, and continuing to get the youngest kids coming into the game, by keeping the minds of their mothers considering AFL as a natural choice.”
The Pyramid Power initiative is a positive step and a pathway that more clubs might now seek to explore. As stated, other clubs may have already travelled down this road. But by highlighting this novel approach the pathway for girls and women to play the game may be expanded and holes that once threatened the pathway can be filled.
As the AFL embraces women’s footy on the broader national stage, looking towards the 2017 season, a huge shout out and vote of enormous thanks must go to the women and men that have already put in the hard work, and at times risks, to see that a women’s game on the national stage is supported by a strong and committed foundation.
Top Picture: Waragnu Girls 2015 (courtesy: Pyramid Powe ...
In the final round of NTFL matches in Darwin prior to the Christmas/New Year break, the young Nightcliff Tigers took positive steps to the future, the Tiwi Bombers enhanced their finals prospects whist the top two teams, Saints and Crocs, pulled a little further ahead of the competition.
The Nightcliff Tigers have taken a youth development approach this season as they look towards a long term success, and their latest debutant, Isiah Farrell-Nelson, proved that the results are worthwhile. His six goal haul on debut contributed greatly to the Tigers’ big 134 point thrashing of the Waratah Warriors. The win sees Nightcliff jump into the top five, joining the Tiwi Bombers, Palmerston Magpies and Wanderers Eagles on five wins. Waratah’s horrid season continued, though they can take heart from the Nightcliff youth project as they build towards next season.
Final Score: Nightcliff Tigers 24 18 162 d Waratah Warriors 4 4 28
After six rounds the Tiwi Bombers sat winless and facing a long season. Since then things have turned around in a hurry. They have won four of their last five as well as receiving the points from their Round One match against Waratah. Suddenly, after a big win against a flagging Darwin Buffaloes, the Bombers sit in fourth place by means of a superior percentage. Their upset win against Buffaloes was built around a huge eight goals to one first quarter, leading at the first break by 46 points before going on to win the match by 61 points. After seven successive wins, the Buffaloes have now lost two in a row and seem shaky.
Final Score: Tiwi Bombers 14 15 99 d Darwin Buffaloes 5 8 38
St Mary’s consolidated their position at the top of the ladder with a strong win against the Palmerston Magpies. The teams were separated by just three goals at half time, but a nine goal to one second half saw the Saints flex their muscle, especially defensively. Whilst the Magpies upset the Crocs last start, the reality is they have lost four of their last five matches and face the prospect of missing the finals unless they can get their mojo back after the break. Saints are now a game clear of Crocs at the top of the ladder but still need to keep winning.
Final Score: St Mary’s Saints 15 12 102 d Palmerston Magpies 4 11 35
Last year’s premiers, Wanderers, have slumped to another loss which consigns them to second last on the ladder. Their second half capitulation to Southern Districts painted a grim picture that suggests that a late season revival is still possible but increasingly unlikely. The fact that Wanderers kicked just one goal after quarter time showed a lack of attacking ability. Whilst they are equal with the Tiwi Bombers (placed fourth) on points, their form is light years behind. Crocs needed the win to remain in touch with top placed St Mary’s.
Final Score: Southern Districts Crocs 15 9 99 d Wanderers Eagles 5 2 32
Teams now have a three week break to spend with families and lick wounds as they prepare for a final assault on finals. The next round will see the Tiwi Bombers hoping to consolidate their place in the five with a win against Waratah. Wanderers task becomes tougher with a clash against St Mary’s, Southern Districts take on a resurgent Nightcliff and Buffaloes will be hoping for a steadying win against Palmerston.
The young girl positioned herself behind the goalposts as usual. She did this at every training session to watch her brothers. On the field the coach barked orders and the players continued another set of sprints, sweat pouring from their brows, but knowing this was the last training session before the Christmas break.
Hannah watched the players. She watched them complete their handpassing drills every training night. She watched the kicking drills. She watched the tackling, the marking, everything. Tonight a tear ran down her cheek when she wished that maybe Santa might one day grant her the chance to play her favourite game. Maybe this Christmas?
As she sat watching, her cheeks still red from her gentle weeping, the coach turned around and faced her. Hannah was unsure why or what had happened. Maybe something was going on behind her. But the coach started motioning for her to come out onto the field.
A startled Hannah was lost for words. Instead she motioned that she couldn’t. But the coach was insistent. Again he waved his arms to invite her on to the field. Hannah started to move, then stopped as she noticed that all the players had stopped training and were watching. Embarrassment overcame her and she remained paralysed with fear.
At this the coach left the group and came over to the goal square. He then spoke in a gentle, reassuring way. “Hannah, your brothers tell me you would love to play footy for Christmas.”
Hannah didn’t know what to say.
The coach motioned again for Hannah to come to him. This time she touched the controls and drove her wheelchair out onto the field and met the coach in the goal square. When she reached the coach, she started in a flood of words “I…I, can’t play footy….I…am paraplegic…I…”
Before she could continue, the coach gently held up a hand and asked. “Hannah, you can handpass can’t you?” Hannah nervously replied “Yes”. The coach added, “and you can mark can’t you?” and with that he handpassed a ball at Hannah, which she caught competently in front of her face. She smiled, and handpassed back.
For a few moments they handpassed to each other, Hannah breaking into fits of giggles and the coach applauding every ball Hannah caught.
By now the rest of the team, led by Hannah’s brothers, had gathered around the scene. Very soon the other players joined in handpassing to Hannah, who marked every ball in sight. This was the most amazing night. Training had never been this good.
For the first time ever, since her first memories of following her brothers to training or going to matches, Hannah felt like she was a part of the team.
The coach marked the ball and stopped the game. A hush came across the group, then the coach spoke. “Hannah, show me how you can kick.”
Hannah went white. On the verge of tears she tried to speak, but nothing came out. She tried again. “But….my legs…I can’t…I..can’t…kick. I can’t…stand. I can’t…walk.”
But the coach, kindly but assuredly, said, “We can help you.”
At that Hannah’s brothers came to her side and lifted her from the wheelchair to her feet. They helped turn her around to face the goals. The coach leaned down and placed the footy at her feet.
Hannah trembled. She looked around at the players who stood by her side, absolutely there for a team mate. Nobody said a word. Her brothers held her steady. The coach looked up into her eyes. “Kick the winning goal, Hannah.”
Slowly and surely Hannah overcame her fears and doubts. She began to believe that she could do this. She had never in her life kicked a football. A dogged determination to succeed took hold and Hannah looked down at the ball. She was just nine metres out from goal, directly in front. As they say, she would have to fall over to miss it. That was her fear. That could happen.
And how could she move her legs? How could she control them?
Hannah looked at the ball again, then glanced quickly around the crowd of players surrounding her. Everyone there was willing her to succeed. She could see it in their eyes.
It was now or never.
Hannah watched the ball -A fundamental skill of kicking. She emptied her mind of all doubt and focused solely on the ball and the target. Another skill she had learned from her brothers. She summoned every bit of strength, power of mind, divine providence and sheer luck that she could muster and asked her foot to kick the ball. At that, her leg swung and her foot made contact with the ball. Leather perfect as Denis Cometti would say.
The ball took off. It leapt about a foot in the air, then fell. It bounced, rolled, bounced, rolled, rolled and rolled…across the line and through for a goal.
At that, everyone cheered wildly. Hannah’s brothers hugged her. The players whooped and high fived each other. Then, to Hannah’s total shock, the siren went. One of the players had run over to the timekeeper’s room and blown the siren. Hannah had kicked the winning goal.
The coach, still kneeling on the ground, looked up at Hannah and said, “I knew you could do it.”
As the players lifted Hannah onto their shoulders to chair her from the field, she thanked the coach, the players, her brothers and family. In her mind she thanked God, and all those people who had helped her through life.
And today she had another thought.
Merry Christmas to all from World Footy News. ...
In this article from the NT News, four boys from the Northern Territory get a taste of international footy through their participation in an International Rules match in Ireland. In a unique stepping stone to bigger things, both for themselves and others who might wish to follow in their footsteps, these Territory lads have travelled ground that few of their contemporaries have.
From never kicking a round ball in Tennant Creek to beating the Irish in Ireland.
That is the story and journey of Barkly quartet — Liam Holt-Fitz, Matthew Green, Mattaniah Bain and Kyrell Barton who beat the Irish in a number of contests at the hybrid International Rules game over the past fortnight.
The lads, along with their Wanderers Australia AFL Training teammates, earned some green and gold pride as they went undefeated through the tour.
Coached by former Sydney Swan Jason Saddington, they racked up wins against Irish teams Monaleen, Ballinacourty, Lucan Sarsfields and Emmets Gaelic Athletic Associations.
The group travelled through Ireland playing against and training with local teams as well as touring the facilities of professional clubs.
Tennant Creek Clontarf Academy director Randall Gould, who accompanied the four on the trip, said they were all standouts against the local teams.
“Our fellas played so well, Matthew Green really dominated — coaches and opposition were in awe at times,” Gould said.
“Against Lucan Sarsfields, not only did our boys hold their own they were in the better players. “Mattaniah and Kyrell both spent a half in the goals.
“It was played in 80kmh winds and with rain that felt like needles in the face.”
Gould said they made lifelong friends from all over Australia.
“They have left a huge impression on their fellow players, coaches, supporters and families they have stayed with all over Ireland,” Gould said.
“Personally, I am so proud of these young men.
“They have represented themselves, their families, Tennant Creek and the Northern Territory so well.”
Now back in the Territory, the Barkly lads returned to the oval ball in the NTFL Under-18’s with Green and Bain playing Waratah while Holt-Fitz represented Nightcliff at TIO No. 2 on Saturday morning.
Holt-Fitz got the bragging rights over his mates with a starring performance in the Tigers win in damp conditions.
Thoughts turn to those who live in the flood devastated parts of England after the Boxing Day weather events which have effected many locations including parts of Manchester, Huddersfield, Merseyside, Leeds and York as well as many more towns and cities across the areas of northern and central England. Record rainfalls have seen rivers and streams swell to levels rarely and sometimes never seen.
World Footy News send their wishes to those people effected throughout the region and hope for a quick recovery.
Wolverhampton football supporters will be hoping that their own event, two International Rules matches against St Mary’s GAA in January and March, can defeat the weather and bring welcome relief and excitement to the region for those craving the game.
First played last February, the inaugural event was won by the Wolverhampton Wolverines crew against the willing St Mary’s Gaelic football team. The International Rules match was deemed successful enough earlier this year to spawn two challenges in 2016. The Wolverines will be keen to win these test matches and retain the trophy.
The matches will be played at the Aldersley High School in Wolverhampton on both the Australia Day weekend on Saturday 23rd January and a rematch on the St Patrick’s Day weekend on Saturday 19th March. More information about the event can be found at the St Mary’s GAA website at: http://www.stmarysgaa.co.uk/ ...
There are certainly some advantages to be found playing footy from October to March, or thereabouts. Whilst other leagues have wound down and turned their attention to cricket, tennis or anything else other than footy, those leagues whose seasons commence later get to have the immediate Christmas/New Year period, and more, to regroup or reassess.
A case in point is the NTFL (Northern Territory Football League). Their season begins in October and runs through until March. They are currently in the midst of a three week break where festivities can be enjoyed, but also injuries can be eased and plans can be re-developed.
According to the NT News, bottom placed Waratah has a new goal. Their coach, Tim Weatherald, has set a new goal of winning four of their remaining seven matches after a winless season to date. They will be rested and will have new plans in place, so they can finish an otherwise disappointing season on a high ready for next season. Article: http://www.ntnews.com.au/sport/local-...bedfe62b0b
Wanderers sit second last on the ladder, or equal fourth depending on how you look at it. The NT News also reports that their coach, Dean Rioli, concedes his team has a lot of work to do but has a history of strong finishes to seasons. He is right, as last year’s premiers were drubbed by the Tiwi Bombers in Round 16 last season and sat in sixth place. But from there they were unbeaten on the way to a premiership. Wanderers proved that if you refocus and keep winning, anything is possible. Article: http://www.ntnews.com.au/sport/local-...aa425906c3
At the other end of the ladder, Darwin Buffaloes are keen to fight for a top two spot or better. After seven straight wins that saw them holding second place at one stage, two consecutive losses leading into the break have seen them fall a little. They would be seen by lower teams as the weak link that needs to drop for them to see finals action. Their coach, Mark Motlop acknowledges that his players should enjoy the holiday time, but need to return their minds to the run home if they want the club’s first flag in 10 years. Article: http://www.ntnews.com.au/sport/local-...4b01e18ba0
This makes for a fascinating run to the finals after the break. Those teams in the top five will have cleared their minds and cured their ills ready to hold their ground. Those teams outside the five have had a chance to re-imagine their seasons and set new achievable goals. The three week break is something that most leagues do not have. An odd bye or a weekend off for all teams is not always enough to come up with a new plan and rehearse it. For the NTFL teams, three weeks sees a chance to forget what has happened to date and write a new ending to the script.
As it stands, from here on in all teams have something to gain from the coming weeks.
Round 12 of the NTFL season commences on January 9th. ...
The following article by Russell Jackson at The Guardian explores the journey and AFL career to date of St Kilda’s American import, Jason Holmes. On the back of his best season to date, Holmes is now in pre-season for the Saints’ 2016 campaign.
Up close the modern AFL footballer is a far different physical specimen than his predecessors of the last few decades, far more sinewy and slight. On account of his finely-calibrated diet and training regime and the relentless pursuit of success, he’s closer in shape to a middle distance runner than a wide receiver, as was once the case.
This is a good thing, in many respects. The AFL footballer is now faster, stronger and more physically resourceful than ever and generally more skilled too, concepts not lost on St Kilda ruckman Jason Holmes when he emerged from almost total obscurity in 2015 to become the first born and bred American to play in the AFL. It was a truly remarkable achievement for a college basketballer who’d never properly watched a full game, let alone played in one, before the Saints secured him as an international rookie.
That debut might have happened sooner, in actual fact. Holmes had been on the verge of selection late in 2014, which is scarcely believable when you consider the increased physical toll of his new vocation and its myriad tactical complexities or take in his spindly 6’6” frame up close, as I do when he walks out of a team meeting at St Kilda’s Seaford training base, head and shoulders taller than many team-mates.
In round 21 this year Holmes reached a summit in both a figurative and literal sense, joining the ranks of elite Australian rules footballers and from the first moments of his debut against Geelong, soaring high over the top of opponents to dish out 34 hit-outs in a heart-stopping draw. He played the final two games of the season too, more than whetting his appetite for bigger and better things in coming years.
To read the full article at the Guardian, follow this link: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/dec/28/2015-newsmaker-jason-holmes-the-afls-first-born-and-bred-american
Photo Credit: Michael Wilson/AFL Media/Getty Images ...
2016 will see clubs gearing up for the new season and contemplating their strategies. Two years ago WFN orchestrated a survey of techniques used by leagues around the world for growing the game and to gauge their effectiveness. We repeat those suggestions with the addition of some new ones (from feedback) in a quick reference format and with a quick summation.
At a basic level it was found.
01. Word of mouth via players, friends or colleagues, was at least moderately effective 89%.
02. Formulating a website or Facebook page was at least moderately effective 75% (add Twitter)
03. Posting in prominent places like sports, shopping and educational centres, surprisingly had little effect 69% and modest effect 13%.
04. Media promotion, as in flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet also had little effect at 55% and modest effect 26%.
05. Tournaments or challenge matches of a promotional nature like I.R. were popular 60%, with about half having a moderate or better response at 27%.
Most of the following hadn't generally been tried or wasn't applicable to the club's particular circumstances but enough had made the effort.
06. Most hadn't paid media promotion as in flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet 67% with little benefit to those who had 22%.
07. Just over half had not participated in community sports gala events or fairs at 55% with 19% overall achieving moderate or better response.
08. Most hadn't secured the appearance of a prominent personality, player, coach at 69% but more were effective 16% than not 15%.
09. Just over half had not taken part in exhibition games at a more prominent event at 55% with 16% overall saying it was worthwhile.
10. About half had co-operated with other codes to share resources at 49% with about half having a moderate or better result at 23%.
Again, most clubs hadn't attempted the following because of the obvious difficulty but were generally worthwhile where attempted.
11. Most hadn't tried establishing women's football 55% but otherwise very effective at 35%.
12. Most hadn't tried establishing youth football 73% but those who did were more effective at 16% than not.
13. About half had tried establishing recreational football variants 53% with about half having a moderate or better result at 27%
14. Most hadn't tried establishing indoor football 75% but it was very effective in Northern climates only if the cost was moderate.
15. Most hadn't tried conducting junior football clinics as part of their club 67% or generated limited results at 12%.
16. Most hadn't approached other sporting or educational organisations to run with Auskick 58% or received limited response at 15%.
(Though difficult to achieve, more programs are being established by individuals and a potential argument for cost/benefit analysis funding)
Individual feedback suggestions that have worked at least once.
17. Using football variants as a fitness pitch and introduction to regular football.
18. Using social viewing parties, of AFL games or special events like G.F., ANZAC Day, Australia Day.
19. Working closely with local publicans and sponsors.
20. Closer networking and co-operation with local clubs.
21. Networking with Brother Club Project to widen links.
22. Approaching Universities as sources of recruitment.
23. Reaching out to Australians in the local community.
24. Exchange programs.
25. Differentiate between AFL and other sports.
With regards suggestion #25.
Most people start out by saying what it is not or as a mixture of other sports giving a somewhat non-defined image to the attendee.
Rather we could say that Australian Football is a free flowing game where the object is to move the ball downfield by kicking, catching and hand-balling
to within range of a target of two tall posts and kicking the ball through those goalposts to score.
We could also note the fact that a ball that is kicked travels far & fast and as such has led to a fast, physical, spectacular game with the minimum of overhead .
As it is a game largely without restriction, other football and other sports have some elements in common with Australian football.
The 2014 survey also delved into bit of a wish list and there was a wide range of suggested resource assistance.
One particularly strong theme that appeared was the desire to establish a stronger links with footballing Australians.
In that regard WFN has been trying to encourage overseas clubs to raise the profile of Australian Football overseas
by broadcasting their stories, by being pro-active in forging links and fostering co-operation within the footballing community.
A petition to raise the awareness of the AFL International Cup would be an example of that.
It is sometimes said that in sport a single win can be the start of a new chapter in a club’s history. New eras have to start somewhere and it is often a single win which triggers a change of fortunes. The Perpignan Tigers, playing in the CNFA competition in France, may be on their way to a different future as a result of their most recent victory.
In the final match for 2015, the Perpignan Tigers surprised almost everyone when they defeated the newly formed Paris Cockatoos earlier this month. The win saw the Tigers kick 13 13 91 to the Cockatoos 9 15 69, and quite rightly their supporters had cause to celebrate.
Some see a win as just a win. But this win was special. It was the Tigers’ first victory in the Championnat De France (the nation’s premier competition) since 2011 when they defeated the Aix-Marseilles Dockers 129 to 53. Whilst they received the points in two games during the 2011/12 season in forfeited matches, the Dockers win was their first and only win from a match on field. Their win this month becomes just their second since joining the French national competition for the 2009/10 season.
That season they also received points for a forfeit win against the Andorra Crows, but in their short history wins have been rare. They have had the occasional win in the other competitions – the Coupe De France and Coupe Du Sud – most recently in September when they downed the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes in the 2015 Coupe de France by 7 points – but their recent win is significant.
After missing the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons altogether, the Tigers returned to the national battleground for the 2014/15 season. They went winless but showed signs of development. But so far 2015 has been their most productive to date with wins against the Coyotes and the Cockatoos and a reasonable chance of sneaking at least another win for the 2015/16 season.
It might prove to be a turning point for the club as they begin to see the rewards for all the hard work from so many dedicated and committed people.
Despite being early in the season, the Tigers sit in fifth place on the ladder. That marks a huge milestone for the club to be so high on the ladder after four rounds. Their next assignment is in February when they host the Bordeaux Bombers (currently sitting seventh). In Round 9 they also host the ALFA Lions (currently eighth) and have to be some chance of winning one or both. Even a win in one of those games would see this as their most successful on-field season in their history.
Our eyes will be on the Perpignan Tigers as they continue to build for the future and challenge history. It is fair to say that the eyes of all other clubs will also be trained on the Tigers as a team that should no longer be treated lightly.
The CNFA season is currently on its winter break. Catch up matches are scheduled for 6th February (Bordeaux Bombers v Strasbourg Kangourous) and 20th February (ALFA Lions v Paris Cockerels) whilst Round 5 will also commence on the same da ...
The AFL's All Australian team was announced back in September. State of Origin football is in a long hiatus - but theoretical State teams are announced each year - the ones on the AFL Player's Association site here for 2015 are worth a look. They take in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia as well as an Allies team (NT, Tasmania, ACT, Queensland and NSW).
But what about the rest of the world? If the Rest of the World were to play against any of the teams above, what is the best team they could muster? Using the International Cup eligibility rules we have named the 2015 World Team (so this does not include foreign born but Australian raised players). As with the International Cup the coach can be Australian but should have a strong link with international football. We intend this team to be an annual announcement going forward.
In addition to those currently on AFL lists there are two players that have played in premierships in the O&MFL the past two seasons after having previously played with AFL clubs and three players named on the interchange bench that have all played in the International Cup for their country and also played senior footy in strong Victorian leagues in 2015.
Here is our 2015 World Team
The French footy landscape has been constantly changing since the game started to take root back in the late 20th century and throughout last decade. Teams have come and gone on a fairly regular basis, yet many existing clubs have continued the journey and the hardships to become strong and provide the backbone of the league.
The Brittany Griffins are one of the newest footy incarnations in France. Whilst other infant clubs have either folded or are on hiatus, such as the Pau Bears, Nancy Bobcats and a Toulon based team, the Brittany club is looking to realise their own dreams and last the journey to becoming a major player one day.
Arnaud is, in his own words, the key forward, coach and president of the Brittany Griffins. A recent chat with Arnaud gave an insight into France’s newest team.
“The idea started in March 2015 about the need to play footy in Brittany, a French region without any footy history. Why not, with Eurosport 2 Channel and internet, it is easier to know this sport in Brittany.”
“Having only five players it is very strange for a sport association but it is not so bad because all are very interested to discover this sport from [which originates from] afar. The guys have an experience from rugby and they have researched something different in their home area. To get more players is difficult because we tried to attract by communication but without good results.”
“The club is based in a village near a small town called Combourg which is between Rennes (Population: 200 000) and Saint-Malo (Population: 50000) on the French "West Coast" in Brittany. This village has a pitch just for our club. But why in this village? Because there is a free pitch with lights for the winter season which is something difficult to find when we are not from a football club such as soccer.”
“The aims are to have a team of 12 players for the next year. We also aim to know this sport well, understand the rules better and to have fun for playing a nice game of footy in France. After this, we will try to play in the French National Championship. For the moment we will try to play in other French teams in order to obtain the techniques and learn the game.”
“Here in Brittany, there are many clubs of Gaels, so we hope to exchange experiences and commence training with the two clubs in Aussie rules and GAA rules. Maybe we will play friendly matches in international rules in Brittany. It is something crazy for Brittany but we hope for this.”
A place in the national CNFA league is still a considerable distance away, but led by Arnaud and his small but dedicated team the Brittany Griffins may yet serve their apprenticeship and become a team to fear. At least, that is what Arnaud and his team are dreaming. ...
As teams around the world are enjoying their breaks from footy, either in their off seasons or for the festive season, many are happy to put football on the backburner for a while and focus on other things. But many clubs, like the Tyne Tees Tigers in the AFLCNE competition in England are using the down time to consolidate their longer term futures.
On the back of a promising finish to the 2015 season where they won four of their last five games (one by forfeit) including huge wins against eventual finalists Sheffield Thunder and Huddersfield Rams, the club has now found a new home to strengthen its position in the league.
According to the AFLCNE website, “AFLCNE club the Tyne Tees Tigers are looking to the future with an exciting development for their club, announcing their new home ground and training venue for 2016. Based in Gosforth they will be becoming affiliate members of the Gosforth Sports Association alongside Gosforth Rugby Club and Newcastle City Cricket Club.”
“Tigers President Phil Martin had this to say about the move ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for the tigers to be a part of a community sporting venture and the permanent home for both training and playing opens the club to be more accessible and part of a wider community’.”
“The Tigers are looking for opponents for a match to help celebrate the move in March. If your club is interested please get in touch with Phil via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Previously the Tyne Tees Tigers had been based at North Shields to the east of Newcastle city, but the new location at Gosforth in to the north of the city, placing the club more centrally to the Newcastle population base from which it would hope to recruit.
The move adds further excitement to the AFLCNE for the 2016 season as they also welcome new club the Merseyside Saints into their eight team fixture as well as pursuing an 18 per side representative team as well as a new Plate competition at finals time where the teams which miss out on a top four placing finishing from fifth to eighth) get to fight for another trophy.
The 2016 season kicks off with the AFLCNE rep side playing the England Dragonslayers on April 2nd and a rep team entering the AFL London Pre-Season Cup on April 16th. The Haggis Cup is on April 9th.
A Lightning Premiership will be played at the Merseyside Saints home grounds on April 23rd before the Round One clashes on April 30th when the Tyne Tees Tigers get to use their new home when hosting the Huddersfield Rams in another historic day for the young club.
Some clubs across the world are brushing off the lethargy that goes with the festive season and cranking up their machines for the 2016 season. Many clubs, however, such as Scotland’s Kingdom Kangaroos have used their off season to shore up their futures and prepare to hit the 2016 season running. The following article from the Kingdom Kangaroos website looks at the club’s off-season recruiting drive.
By all accounts the Kingdom Kangaroos had a good year in 2015, a few league wins saw them finish 3rd in the SARFL.
Long time player and secretary for the club Charlie Snedden said that while his side were improving year on year, there was still a lot to do in 2016.
“2015 was a good year for us, we had a few players come to us from the local rugby clubs in their off season” he said.
“On paper we had a great team, unlike last year, it was a bit easier to get a team on the field each week as our presence in the local area has been noticed.”
The side have roped in Mark Flanagan as their coach again this year, and he has brought extensive knowledge to the team.
Snedden said the club were on “full blown recruitment drive” and that coach and a new alliance with Kirkcaldy High School and the Active Schools coordinators were sure to make all the difference.
“We may have a few retirements from last season, all difficult to replace in terms of talent, experience, commitment and drive,” he said.
“There is always space for a few retiree cameos if we can twist arm or two.
However, I am quietly confident that we will post more wins than last season, but the most important thing is to continue building or club, to create a sustainable and enjoyable club atmosphere with a culture and attitude that will engender success in the future.”
Snedden “We are a very inclusive team that caters for and enjoys a wide range of ages, personalities and skill levels.”
Following a recent award of £1700 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust the team will be embarking on targeted recruitment drive.
“We want to increase female participation in AFL and provide a pathway for junior girls and boys to progress and continue playing footy into the women’s and juniors open competitions, as well as welcoming anyone who wants to come and try AFL at any age or point of life.
To follow the Kingdom Kangaroos club, go to their website at: http://kingdomkangaroos.com/
As the push for a national women’s AFL competition continues to go from strength to strength, an argument about the possibility of women’s matches being played as curtain-raisers to AFL matches has grown. As the women’s game continues to grow both across Australia and abroad, any type of positive publicity generated by the women’s game will only aid that growth.
The following arguments are from an article on the www.afl.com.au website, written by Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards, looking at the various for and against debates on the issue. Some of the points would also resonate with other women’s competitions in terms of strategies for the future growth of the women’s game across the world.
Yes - the perfect curtain-raiser
AS THE AFL pushes towards a fully-fledged women's competition in 2017, the only way for it to work is to become the standard curtain-raiser to men's games every weekend.
As a one-off TV event in 2015, the year's second women's game between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne attracted significant viewers. But the proof will be in the pudding when it comes to long-term success.
There's no doubt the AFL will be very careful about the way the new League is implemented, but stand-alone is not the way to go.
It's essential the new teams are aligned with current brands, as the Demons and Bulldogs have done so well already. And to that point, the teams need to match the men's game when the new League is introduced.
It's crucial that there's a legitimate reason for fans to engage with the women's team, because it's the only way to ensure growth.
Fans are going to be a critical part of the women's League, and by integrating with the men's teams every step of the way, they'll be able to latch onto the already established supporter base.
So too will television coverage, and you'd expect the AFL to twist the arm of its current partners to get the games on air.
While the ratings were good for a stand-alone game, if the novelty does wear off, the League will need the broadcasters to stick with the concept.
There's absolutely an argument for a women's league growing the supporter base of Australian football, but we have to begin with including the fans we've got.
Curtain-raisers are the best answer to making the Women's League a success. - Matt Thompson
No - women's footy should be standalone games
THERE is no doubt that if a national women's competition is to be successful, the teams need to be aligned with the current clubs in the AFL.
What they don't need is to become a "support act" for the men every weekend. They deserve their own stage, and the chance to take ownership of the footy field, rather than play second fiddle.
In fact, there are some examples already in sport, that show having standalone games for females, and perhaps more radically a standalone season, is the key to long-term success.
Let's look at the English Football Association. The Women's Super League, which has teams aligned to English Premier League clubs, is played across the summer months as a standalone competition.
When the WSL was introduced in 2011, to supersede the winter-run Women's Premier League, the number of fans attending games increased by a staggering 604 per cent.
Crowd figures have continued to grow during the summer WSL competition, increasing from an average of 550 per match in 2011 to 1,076 in 2015.
As it is, footy fans are already inundated with football during the winter months. There's AFL, WAFL, TAC Cup, local leagues- the list goes on. With so much on, it's impossible and somewhat tiring to try and consume everything.
The appetite for footy is becoming so great in the off-season, that it isn't inconceivable to play the women's competition as a standalone season that runs for 8-12 weeks after the men's Grand Final.
Better weather and a hunger for more footy would draw bigger crowds to watch the women battle it out on the field.
It would also give these talented ladies a chance to prove their brand of football is good enough to take centre stage. - Nat Edwards
The article can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-01-05/is-womens-footy-the-perfect-curtainraiser ...
The Tiwi Bombers’ charge to the NTFL finals gathered even more momentum as the competition returned after the Christmas/New year break. Their big win over Waratah was one highlight of a round which produced two upsets and left the competition tight for finals action just six rounds from finals time.
Waratah led their game against the Bombers at quarter time, and even by half time were down by just 29 points. But the Tiwi Bombers went on a rampage after the main break kicking 17 goals to just one to run out 130 point victors against the hapless Waratah crew. The win strengthened Tiwi’s position in the top five, giving them their sixth win, but also a huge percentage which will be very important as the log jam for finals spot continues in coming weeks.
Final Score: Tiwi Bombers 27 16 178 d Waratah Warriors 7 6 48
The chance to celebrate club legend Iggy Vallejo’s record breaking 315th game for St Mary’s, and the chance to secure top spot still weren’t enough incentive to hold Wanderers Eagles at bay. In a low scoring game, Wanderers needed a win to keep pace with the other prospective finalists. Having lost three of their previous four matches, Wanderers were at great risk of falling too far behind the other finals contenders, and a loss to St Mary’s would have seen them in a worse dilemma. But a courageous display saw then graft a narrow win in a match where the margin was always close. Wanderers are certainly back, but need to keep winning if they hope to defendd their premiership title.
Final Score: Wanderers Eagles 7 9 51 d St Mary’s Saints 6 12 48
Southern Districts returned to the top of the ladder with a solid win against the Nightcliff Tigers. However, the game wasn’t all one way as the young Tigers kept the pressure on until well into the game, trailing by just three points at three-quarter time. It took a disciplined final quarter to see the Crocs gradually pull away from the determined Tigers. Whilst the win sees the crocs back on top, the defeat for the Tigers drops them a game behind the other teams fighting for a place in the top five.
Final Score: Southern District Crocs 12 9 81 d Nightcliff Tigers 8 9 57
The Sunday game was a chance for the Darwin Buffaloes to get their season back into a winning rhythm, and with a two goal lead at half time they had set a platform for victory. But the Palmerston Magpies had other ideas, needing a win of their own to stay in the top five. Their 10 goal to six second half was spirited and sent a strong message to other campaigners that the Magpies are still well and truly in the finals mix. The Darwin Buffaloes now just sit a game ahead of the Bombers, Magpies and Eagles and need to find a couple of wins to keep the other teams at bay.
Final Score: Palmerston Magpies 17 12 114 d Darwin Buffaloes 15 6 96
Round 13 will see Nightcliff tackle Wanderers, the Tiwi Bombers clash with the resurgent Palmerston, Waratah will meet St Mary’s and the Southern District Crocs will battle the Darwin Buffaloes in perhaps the match of the round.
The Odense Lions in Denmark have used their off-season very wisely, recruiting a new head coach for both the Lions men’s team and the Lionesses women’s team. They have also been recruiting players that will take them the next step towards being a power in the DAFL.
The following article comes from the Lions’ website detailing their recruiting ahead of the new season.
The new head coach of Odense, Gerard Lenihan, who goes by the name Lenny, is far from unfamiliar with Australian football. He has gained experience from around the world and even played semi-professionally in Australia. To understand this passionate, Irish warrior, and how he was Odense's new coach, we must look back to when Lenny was even introduced to our sport.
Before Lenny fell for Australian football, he cultivated a sport called hurling. An old, hockey-like sport is most widespread in Ireland. Due to his performance in this sport, he was invited to try Australian football. The invitation came from the former president of Kenmore Bears, an AFL club in Brisbane, Australia. The invitation came with the message "you have an AFL player's characteristics." He accepted the challenge and turned up for a trial without any experience of Australian football. It was also the first time Lenny had an oval ball in his hands. This is a good example of a man who is not afraid of new challenges and the unknown. Traits that also led him to choose the role of Odense's head coach.
Lenny did not have to wait long for his first major football superstar moment. His talent and hard work made him in 2011 was selected for Ireland's national team that participated in the world championships in football in Australia. Along with his Irish teammates, he played in the World Cup final against Papua New Guinea on the biggest stage in Australia, with capacity for 100,000 spectators. Not only Lenny played every minute of the final, he also won the title with his team, and took the trophy back to Ireland.
Following the success of the national team, Lenny continued his football career. Here he found himself in both Chile Boston in the United States and China, where he was involved in the training and organization of Australian football. Odense is therefore not only a very experienced coach, but a coach who has been involved in the development of clubs and introduction of our sport to people who do not win an oval football. He can lift both our teams, both the men participating in the Danish Australian Football League, and the women in the Women's Nordic Australian Football League.
It is clear that our new head coach will bring energy and experience to Odense. This is a giant step in Australian football history in Odense. We hope it will make the experience for our members even better. 2016 looks to be an excellent season with a new track, new coach and new players.
In addition to their new Lions’ coach, the highly experienced Gavin Ward has been named coach of the Lionesses team for 2016, bringing another layer of welcome know-how to the club’s coaching ranks. They have also recruited a former QAFL player in Tom Ielasi, a midfielder/forward who played for the Western Magpies in Queensland and will bring his experience to the club in an on-field capacity.
Their new ruckman is also from Australia, and the club introduced him on their fanpage as: "Australian Football in Odense is happy to announce another addition to the coaching staff and our DAFL squad for 2016. Justin Kristensen has booked his flight to Denmark and is looking to join us on the 16th of February. Justin is an 29 year old Australian with more than 20 years of football experience from his former club East Brighton in the southern part of Australia. Everyone in Odense are very excited about the deal with Justin Kristensen, being an tall player with a strong physique and many years of experience in the ruck where he will surely strengthen the team. Justin will work with head coach Gerard Lenihan and share his experience with the rest of the team in Odense and help us improve and develop our great club. The 2016 season can't come fast enough now"
After enduring a winless 2015 season, the Lions have certainly set about the task of resurrecting the club’s fortunes for 2016 on and off the field. ...