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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    Majak Daw may have kicked open the door for future Sudanese players, and others from a variety of African countries, but this year has seen first Aliir Aliir debut for the Sydney Swans and now this weekend, the AFL’s showcase 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, Brisbane Lions rookie, Reuben William, will debut.

    William was one of three Sudanese born players to be rookie listed at last year’s draft along with Gach Nyuon (Essendon) and Mabior Chol (Richmond). But William is the first of the three to be upgraded from the rookie list and be selected for his first senior match.

    Like most other current African-born players, William has experienced a journey way beyond the realms of the average AFL player to reach this day. His father died in Sudan’s civil war and his mother took the kids and fled to a refugee camp in Sudan. In 2002 the family migrated to Australia, Reuben as a four year old, and from there his exposure to footy saw him excel through junior pathways to drafting by the Lions.

    Like so many of his fellow Sudanese juniors to make the highest level, it has been an extraordinary journey, and one that William will cherish.

    According to the website, in a story by Michael Whiting, his recent journey has accelerated from last year’s state Under 18 team to playing in the NEAFL this year, replacing Dayne Beams when he was placed on Brisbane’s long-term injury list. According to the website, William was shocked when told the news by Lions’ captain Tom Rockliff.

    "I really don't know what to say. I wasn't really expecting this so it's caught me a bit off guard.”

    "I'll go out there and put on the jumper with pride."

    Certainly people who know Reuben William know he will indeed play with pride. The pride of a family who have sacrificed much along the way to now see this day.

    Picture: Reuben William, Brisbane Lions (Source: Zim ...

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  • 07/07/16--05:31: AFL Heads To The Top End
  • The following media release from the AFLNT details the upcoming clash in Darwin this weekend between the Melbourne Demons, part of their agreement to play matches in the Northern Territory, and the Fremantle Dockers.



    The game is sure to be exciting and attract a strong local crowd. The Demons are still in the mix mathematically for finals action and a win in Darwin may see them just two games out of the eight. The Dockers have endured a horrid season but are determined to turn their season around and a win in Darwin could be the catalyst for change.


    AFLNT is pleased to announce the Melbourne Football Club and the Fremantle Football Club will head to the Top End for their Round 16 Toyota AFL Premiership Season match at TIO Stadium in Darwin this Saturday 9 July.


    Round 16 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season sees the AFL celebrate the Toyota AFL Multicultural Round.


    The 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round highlights the contribution different communities have made to Australian Football, while highlighting the extraordinary power the game has in uniting all people of all backgrounds.


    On Friday 8 July, AFLNT will host an AFL Super Clinic that will see more than 150 local children and Melbourne Football Club players in attendance.


    Melbourne will face Fremantle at TIO Stadium this Saturday 9 July at 7.10pm local time.



    The journey “across the top” continues in Cairns next weekend when the Western Bulldogs host the Gold Coast Suns at Cazalys Stadium. ...

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    I have just finished ready a new book by author Nick Richardson which looks at an amazing football match played at Queens in London in 1916 where two teams of Australian soldiers faced off against each other prior to their journey to the Western Front. Six of those players never came back, paying the ultimate sacrifice.

    Players such as South Melbourne superstar Bruce Sloss and Collingwood captain Dan Minogue and Essendon player Bill Sewart and other well known VFL players of the era played for the Third Australian Divisional Team. Sloss was captain. Playing for the Australian Training Units Team were Essendon player Clyde Donaldson, Collingwood’s Harry Kerley and South Melbourne’s George Bower.

    The game was an exhibition match, organised by Lieutenant Frank Beaurepaire (former Olympic swimming champion and later Lord Mayor of Melbourne) and decreed by Sir John Monash. A crowd of 3000 people watched the game at the venue better known for its pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament.

    The book itself deals with the triumphs and tragedies connected to war as these soldiers faced fears or displayed bravado before going into battle. Yet, the book does so around the central theme of a simple football match.

    For those wanting more information, read this review: . There is also an interview with the author at the following website: .

    Anyone interested in securing a copy can go to the Pan McMillan site to order:

    The book is an emotional, yet uplifting account of the horrors and fears of war from a perspective of soldiers waiting to go into battle. The football match provided a necessary distraction, yet at the same time it was an honourable endeavour to represent their country and military in a game that was so important to those at home whilst their loved ones were away at war.

    Pictures: The Lesser Column


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    The AFL Players’ Association has established its inaugural Multicultural Players’ Advisory Board to better understand the needs and issues affecting the current 122 players with multicultural backgrounds.

    Made up of players from each state, the Board had its first official meeting last week and has since appointed Collingwood’s Mason Cox (USA) to lead the group as Chair.

    Rounding out the Board is:

    ·         Western Bulldogs’ Lin Jong (East Timor and Taiwan)

    ·         Fremantle’s Zac Clarke (USA)

    ·         Greater Western Sydney’s Stephen Coniglio (Italy and England)

    ·         Port Adelaide’s Alipate Carlile (Fiji)

    ·         Brisbane Lions’ Pearce Hanley (Ireland)

    Click here for an exclusive story with Multicultural Players’ Advisory Board Chair, Mason Cox.

    Dedicated to supporting players with multicultural backgrounds, and especially those from non-traditional AFL backgrounds, the Board will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss and take action on a range of issues they see as specifically affecting multicultural players.

    Discussion points from the inaugural meeting included; improving the transition in and out of the AFL system and creating best practice guidelines to increase industry awareness of different cultural traditions.

    Click here to view the AFL Players’ Association’s interactive multicultural map.  

    Passionate about ensuring that all AFL players are on a level playing field, Mason Cox is excited to bring his firsthand experience to his role of Chair.

    “Having only moved here from the United States at the end of 2014, I’ve experienced adjustments that players with multicultural backgrounds may encounter in order to assimilate into the AFL,” he said.

    “We had such great discussion in our first Board meeting – having the boys from such varied backgrounds really brought a lot of different issues to the table.  Through the Multicultural Players’ Advisory Board, we hope to help improve recognition of cultural heritage and minimise any negative impact it may have on a players’ career.”

    AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh mirrored Cox’s comments in stating that it’s important that the AFL industry as a whole, takes a proactive approach to supporting players from multicultural backgrounds.

    “With the AFL industry recruiting more and more players from outside Australia as the game’s profile grows, it’s important that we have the correct structures in place to ensure these players feel welcome and supported upon joining an AFL club,” he said.

    “By hearing the concerns and issues that players from multicultural backgrounds have faced, the AFL Players’ Association will be better placed to do this.”

    In line with the AFL’s Multicultural Round, the AFL Players’ Association has launched its first interactive multicultural map – click here to access it. ...

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    A group of us were chatting online after training this week about each player’s multicultural heritage. The club is Pyramid Power in Cairns – my team – and we are a club already renowned for having a 92% indigenous playing list. Most of our players are aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander by heritage. When you have that kind of background there mustn’t be much else in terms of diverse backgrounds.


    A closer look unveiled Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Irish, English, Welsh, Scottish, Sierra Leone, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Samoan, South Sea Islander (by description, but uncertain of which islands) and Papua New Guinean. And these diverse origins didn’t come from the 8% of non-indigenous players. Such is the cultural diversity amongst indigenous and non-indigenous Australians – multiculturalism lives across all humanity.

    The 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round celebrates that exact diversity. Whether by the stricter definition of the AFL which considers mainly the birthplace of players and parents, or the wider interpretation of whole family lineage, the cultural diversity in our game is astounding. Not only that, the diversity has grown the game.

    It is an interesting exercise to look at an Essendon reserve grade team player list from 1938, only because I happen to have one. The names featured include: Coates, Drummond, Dibbs, Munro, Roberts, Ellis, McGain, Wallace, McDermid, Goulden, Slater, Buckley, Patterson, Merrett, McLay, Brodie, Welch, Allister, Smith, Beckett, Cooley, White.

    That list is as close to a good, old fashioned Anglo-Saxon/Anglo-Celtic name collection as you could find anywhere with one or two exceptions.

    Fast-Forward to a random list from the Masala Football Club in Noble Park in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. This partial list is from 2015 – near enough to 75 years later. It shows the remarkable multicultural growth with just the first nine names: Alex Adamopoulos (Greece), Bradley Parker (England), David Crkvenac (Croatia), David Inge Iii (PNG), Declan Lee (Ireland), Dylan Shanks (England), Feda Alidad (Turkey), Furkan Erkal (Pakistan), Jarred Aoun(Lebanon). In fact, when the club started in 2013 their list was comprised of around 70% of players from a huge variety of cultural and national backgrounds which included Fiji, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Italy, Serbia, UAE, Kuwait, Afghanistan, NZ, Italy and Estonia.

    The comparison provides a unique snapshot (or two) of how Australian society has changed in the sense of cultural diversity, and how that is mirrored in the uptake of Australian Rules football across our country.

    In a small way our reserve grade list at Pyramid Power makes a similar statement. It is a statement that should be recognised and celebrated, as is the point with the Multicultural Round in progress right now.

    Humanity is diverse, and sporting clubs act as a microcosm of society by mirroring that diversity, no matter what the sport. If sport can claim one thing it is that it brings people together. This is why the Multicultural Round is so important as it brings together people associated with Australian Rules football at all levels. The round is showcased by the activities surrounding the nine AFL matches played, but the round is also very much for the people at grass roots level as well – the junior leagues and the senior leagues, the metropolitan and country teams, the men’s and women’s teams, the Masters leagues, the professional, semi-professional, amateur and social.

    Wherever the game brings people together it brings together the cultural, ethnic and social diversity which sustains the game past, present and future.

    It is funny how we see our club in Gordonvale, south of Cairns, as being culturally diverse by focusing on the paradigm of indigenous/non-indigenous. Yet it takes the Multicultural Round for us to look a little closer and see that our diversity is even greater than that, as is the case with all clubs everywhere.

    That’s what this weekend is celebrating, and we are proud to celebrate it. We hope that you are also.

    Just for fun, this weekend run a survey at your club of the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the players that pull on your jumper. You might be surprised at the results as you look a little closer.

    Picture: Masala Football Club (Source - Masala ...

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    Territory football fans will be able to see four more AFL matches on home turf following a new deal between the NT Government and AFL to stage two premiership matches in each of the 2017 and 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership seasons.

    Chief Minister Adam Giles announced the agreement during Saturday’s clash between the Melbourne Demons and Fremantle Dockers at TIO Stadium in Darwin.

    Mr Giles said the Territory Government was pleased to continue its partnership with the AFL and Melbourne, which will be the “home” club for all Territory matches.

    “Melbourne has embraced the Territory through its support of community football, indigenous development and investment attraction,” Mr Giles said.
    “AFL matches in Darwin and Alice Springs showcase the Territory to footy fans around the world.

    “There are spin-off economic benefits from people travelling to attend the games and tourism promotion.

    “Young footballers also get the chance to see their heroes in action, which encourages participation and shows there is a pathway from local leagues to the highest level.”

    Mr Giles said the Territory Government was contributing $1.6 million per year to bring AFL to the Top End and Central Australia.

    One match will be played each year at TIO Stadium in Darwin and one at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

    Melbourne Football Club CEO Peter Jackson said the club was thrilled to continue its strong association with the NT Government.

    “We are extremely proud of this partnership, which is now in its seventh year,” Jackson said.

    “We see it as an important partnership for the whole of club, both on and off the field.

    “With the launch of the AFL Next Generation Academies earlier this year, we see our club aligned to the Alice Springs region.

    “Our alignment is deeper than playing matches in the Territory for premiership points; the Next Generation Academy will enable us to be actively involved in introducing children of all backgrounds to the game and provide aspirational pathways for players, coaches, umpires and administrators.

    “We will work closely with AFL Northern Territory to utilise staff based in the region and take advantage of the great programs already in place.”
    Jackson said the partnership provides the club with a great opportunity to build its relationship with the local Northern Territory community.

    “Over the past seven years, we have been in partnership with University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Eye Health Unit in driving trachoma elimination programs rights across the NT,” he said.

    “We look forward to continuing this program in 2017 along with our Read Like a Demon Program that provides a great way to engage children in schools in reading.

    “Our club continues to enjoy a strong partnership with the Northern Territory through our partnership the NT Government and Tourism NT and we look forward to building on our relationships in 2017.”

    AFL Northern Territory CEO Michael Solomon said it was great for football fans in the Territory to be able to have four AFL premiership matches to attend over the next two years.

    “The two-year renewal of the agreement between the Melbourne Football Club and the NT Government ensures we continue to build strong links between local communities, grassroots football and the elite level,” Solomon said.

    “We have worked closely with the NT Government and with the Demons to reach this agreement and to benefit both organisations, so we are delighted to be extending our partnership once again.

    “Our gratitude goes to everyone involved inclusive of the Melbourne Football Club, the NT Government, the AFL and the people of AFLNT who have worked tirelessly to deliver this outcome.” ...

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  • 07/09/16--18:33: Russian Combine Success

  • The first ever AFL National Combine In Russia has been deemed a great success by co-organiser, Slava Belov, president and founder of the St Petersburg Cats. Designed to attract more athletes in the two key AFL cities of St Petersburg and Moscow, the event saw prospective players from a variety of sporting backgrounds (basketball, soccer) try their hand at Australian Rules football.

    According to Slava, “it went well, six blokes showed up in every city. We expected 10 at least, so in terms of numbers it's a bit of a disappointment, but five of the six of those participants in St Petersburg went to the [club] training yesterday, so it's a very good result overall.”

    “The disciplines were the 20m run, shuttle run, push-ups, kicking 10m/30m, marking 10m/30m and the horizontal standing jump.”

    “The winners of combine selection are Pavel Eliseev and Nickolay Vanyaev (St Petersburg) as well as Ivan Belyaev and Evgeniy Nikulin (Moscow).”

    The objective was to build both teams in both numbers and athleticism with a view to grow the game further in Russia. Already a healthy competition now exists with a team in both cities, but under a “nines” type format it might be possible to grow to two teams per city in time, creating more opportunities and more matches.

    The footage shown was shot by a local St Petersburg television station, further adding to the widening promotion of the game in Russia. ...

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  • 07/12/16--15:16: Blagnac Aviators Taking Off

  • A new team in France is taking to the air with the new Toulouse-based Blagnac Aviators set to make an impact in the CNFA as early as next season (later this year) if they get their way. Whilst the 2015/16 season has not long finished, the Aviators have been spending their time wisely throughout the year to grow something special for themselves and their supporters, their city and French footy in general.

    Blagnac is a suburb of Toulouse city, just five kilometres from the Toulouse CBD and home to the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, hence the aviation reference in the team’s moniker.

    Rob Aziza is one of the club’s co-founders and is excited at the development of the Blagnac Aviators to date and what the immediate and longer term future holds for the fledgling club.

    “We just have created this new team at the end of this season in order to promote and develop footy around the local region. Toulouse is from now on proud to have two teams, one in the south of the city, the historical club, the Hawks, and one in the north, the Blagnac Aviators.”

    “We would like to make Toulouse one of the strongest spots for development of footy within France. Most of us have been playing for the Toulouse Hawks before, with little experience in footy (1 or 2 years), but the two clubs have decided to get along in order to fasten its development and we are therefore having the support of some of the veterans players with great skills and experience.”

    “To grow the club and its popularity we aim at focusing on recruiting young rugby players, given that we are surrounded by this sport in this region and that both of us, founders, used to belong to some important rugby clubs of Toulouse. We have successfully set up a series of trainings and initiations where about 40 amateurs came to discover the sport, supported by some key players of the club.”

    “Many more exhibition games and training sessions are planned between both clubs from the city in order to allow an accelerated cross development and get more time on the field to the players. We are participating this summer at most of the key sporting events of our region to raise awareness and we are also getting involved in introducing the sport in schools.”

    “Our team will be affiliated with the CNFA (French National League) and will participate in the French Championship in which we hope to get a great result for our first year. We are aiming at a starting workforce of 20 players for this first season and hope to attract young rugby players who are seeking for an enhanced experience as soon as they finish their rugby season.”

    During the 2015/16 season the footy scene in Paris enjoyed a strong and extremely successful growth, with the new Paris Cockatoos taking out the CNFA premiership in just their first season as a footy entity. The Blagnac Aviators are in a great position to add to the Toulouse footy scene in the same way, with a focus on being successful sooner rather than late ...

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    The AFL today announced VU Whitten Oval will host the final AFL Women’s Exhibition Match on Saturday, September 3 at 7.20pm.

    The match will be broadcast live in Australia on the Seven Network and Telstra via the AFL Live App and PLUS7 applications including Telstra TV, Apple TV, mobile and web.

    The Hampson-Hardeman Cup will be the first night match ever hosted by the VU Whitten Oval.

    The best female players in Australia will represent Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in primetime on the AFL’s bye weekend between Round 23 and the Toyota AFL Finals Series.


    AFL General Manager Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean said the All-Star format will be a feature of the Celebration of Football weekend.

    “This stand-alone women’s match is the culmination of 10 women’s exhibition matches this year. It will showcase the best players on the eve of the inaugural national women’s competition,” Mr Lethlean said.

    “I encourage all footy fans to attend the match or watch the coverage to see the women’s exciting brand of football. With this in mind, gates will be open free to all fans to enjoy a night at the football under the lights of VU Whitten Oval.”

    Lewis Martin, Seven Melbourne managing director said: “Seven was there for the very first historic women’s AFL match on free-to-air television and we’re proud to be involved again with the very best female footballers in Australia. Already in 2016, we’ve celebrated elite women’s sport with coverage of the Matildas and women’s tennis at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and we’re also looking forward to a whole host of top level women’s sport at the Olympics.”

    Western Bulldogs chief executive officer David Stevenson said: “We welcome this exciting opportunity to showcase the final game of the 2016 women’s exhibition series at Victoria University Whitten Oval.

    “While we are on the eve of the inaugural national women’s league and with plenty of opportunities ahead, we do see this match as the culmination of four years amplifying women’s football alongside Melbourne and the AFL – and we’d like to celebrate it accordingly on September 3.

    “We have invested significantly in the upgrade of our facilities to ensure we have elite infrastructure for our three teams, including newly-installed lights. We look forward to seeing it come to life in the first ever night match at the VU Whitten Oval.

    Melbourne chief executive officer Peter Jackson said: "The Melbourne Football Club takes great pride in our history of supporting women and girls who play football. This match feature's the very best players from across the country and is a great showpiece for women’s football in the lead up to the national competition starting in 2017."

    The Seven Network will air the match live nationally on Channel 7 (Melbourne/Victoria and Adelaide/South Australia), 7Mate (Perth/Western Australia, Sydney/NSW and Brisbane/Queensland) and via its regional affiliates into Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Telstra via the AFL Live App and Channel 7 via Plus7 and 7Live will also stream the match live.

    The match will also be broadcast on radio by Crocmedia and streamed on

    The VU Whitten Oval will also host the Youth Girls All-Stars match as a curtain-raiser from which the 2016 All-Australian team will be selected and a feature McDonalds AFL9s match during halftime of the Hampson-Hardeman Cup.

    Footy fans of all ages will also have the opportunity for kick-to-kick after the Hampson-Hardeman Cup match.

    The Melbourne and Western Bulldogs squads of 37 were also released today:


    Ebony Antonio Swan Districts WA

    Ellie Blackburn Melbourne University VIC

    Kiara Bowers Coastal Titans WA

    Madeline Boyd Nth Geelong Magpies VIC

    Jess Cameron Diamond Creek VIC

    Courtney Cramey Morphettville SA

    Penny Cula-Reid St Kilda Sharks VIC

    Jessica Dal Pos Darebin Falcons VIC

    Kara Donnellan Swan Districts WA

    Tiarna Ernst Diamond Creek VIC

    Alicia Eva Melbourne University VIC

    Lara Filacamo Coastal Titans WA

    Angela Foley Waratahs NT

    Sabrina Frederick-Traub South Fremantle WA

    Kellie Gibson Morphettville SA

    Kate Gillespie-Jones Seaford Tigers VIC

    Brianna Green East Fremantle WA

    Ashleigh Guest VU Western Spurs VIC

    Tayla Harris Zillmere Eagles QLD

    Melissa Hickey Darebin Falcons VIC

    Nicole Hildebrand Melbourne University VIC

    Breanna Koenen Queensland Uni QLD

    Brooke Lochland Melbourne University VIC

    Ebony Marinoff Morphettville SA

    Cecilia McIntosh Melbourne University VIC

    Hayley Miller Coastal Titans WA

    Lauren Morecroft Diamond Creek VIC

    Elise O'Dea Darebin Falcons VIC

    Karen Paxman Darebin Falcons VIC

    Daisy Pearce Darebin Falcons VIC

    Lauren Pearce Darebin Falcons VIC

    Kira Philips Peel Thunderbirds WA

    Chelsea Randall Swan Districts WA

    Emma Swanson East Fremantle WA

    Tayla Thorn St Marys NT

    Bree White VU Western Spurs VIC

    Hayley Wildes Cranbourne VIC



    Western Bulldogs

    Lauren Arnell Darebin Falcons VIC

    Kaitlyn Ashmore Melbourne University VIC

    Nicola Barr Sydney University NSW

    Emily Bates Yeronga South QLD

    Libby Birch Darebin Falcons VIC

    Katie Brennan Darebin Falcons VIC

    Tayla Bresland Peel Thunderbirds WA

    Nicole Callinan Darebin Falcons VIC

    Steph Chiocci Diamond Creek VIC

    Maddy Collier UNSW/ES NSW

    Richelle Cranston Nth Geelong Magpies VIC

    Brianna Davey St Kilda Sharks VIC

    Kimberley Ebb Seaford Tigers VIC

    Amanda Farrugia Macquarie University NSW

    Renee Forth Coastal Titans WA

    Elyse Gamble Burnie Dockers TAS

    Moana Hope St Kilda Sharks VIC

    Emma Humphries Burnie Dockers TAS

    Meg Hutchins Eastern Devils VIC

    Bianca Jakkobson Cranbourne VIC

    Leah Kaslar Coolangatta QLD

    Emma Kearney Melbourne University VIC

    Beth Kearney Eastern Devils VIC

    Maddy Keryk Melbourne University VIC

    Emma King Coastal Titans WA

    Norieul Kinross Darebin Falcons VIC

    Melissa Kuys Knox VIC

    Jaimee Lambert Eastern Devils VIC

    Rebecca Privitelli Eastern Devils VIC

    Pepa Randall Eastern Devils VIC

    Tahlia Randall Maroochydore QLD

    Hannah Scott Eastern Devils VIC

    Nicola Stevens Melbourne University VIC

    Jessica Trend Eastern Devils VIC

    Darcy Vescio Darebin Falcons VIC

    Jess Wuetschner East Fremantle WA

    Emma Zielke Queensland Uni QLD


    Note the team squads may change with the addition of AFL club marquee players, injury or illness.

    The coaching panels are yet to be confirmed.

    Further event details scheduled for the Celebration of Football week to be announced in coming weeks.


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    The final round of the AFLCNE home and away competition was played last weekend with final places determined ready for next weekend’s finals series. Once again, thee Manchester Mozzies have taken out the minor premiership with an undefeated season to date, downing their nearest rivals – the Nottingham Scorpions – in the final round.

    After a brave showing, and a huge learning curve throughout 2016, the Merseyside Saints took bottom place but have a chance to fight for higher honours during the finals series. Their heavy loss to the Huddersfield Rams assured a finish that was not unexpected, but it has been a year of excitement to offset disappointment in their first season. The Rams are now able to pursue bigger game during the finals and are on a roll now.

    The Wolverhampton Wolverines also finished the season on a strong note, downing the Tyne Tees Tigers convincingly. The Wolverines managed to finish third and will be keen to improve on that throughout the finals series. The Tigers can still pursue the premiership plate, starting with a clash with the Saints next weekend and if victorious a clash with Sheffield Thunder on grand final day.

    Next weekend the Mozzies, Scorpions, Wolverines and Rams will play off in their semi-finals to decide this year’s grand finalists and chase the premiership cup. The Tyne Tees Tigers will also meet the Merseyside Saints for the right to take on Sheffield Thunder on grand final day for the premiership plate in the battle for those teams that missed the finals.

    Weekend Results:

    Manchester Mozzies 17.17.119 d Nottingham Scorpions 11.9.75
    Tyne Tees Tigers 37 lost to Wolverhampton Wolverines 144
    Huddersfield Rams 33.27.225 d Merseyside Saints 9.11.65
    Bye: Sheffield Thunder

    So, after all the hard work to get to this point the hard work now begins. Finals time is an entirely different animal to the home and away season. One slip up or one down day could spell the end of a season’s work. No team will be wanting that, so it will be seven teams fighting tooth and nail for glory.


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    Round 17 kicks off in Sydney on Thursday night with Sydney hosting Hawthorn at the SCG. 

    If you want to know when you can see the footy on TV in your part of the world, check out the full schedule below.

    As always schedules are subject to change at the discretion of the local broadcaster so please check local guides for updates.

    1 Thursday July 14 Night Sydney Swans vs. Hawthorn SCG NSW 19:20 09:20 SEVEN
    2 Friday July 15 Night Fremantle vs. Geelong Cats Domain Stadium WA 18:10 10:10 SEVEN
    3 Saturday July 16 Day Richmond vs. Essendon MCG VIC 13:40 03:40 FOX
    4 Saturday July 16 Twilight North Melbourne vs. Port Adelaide Etihad Stadium VIC 16:35 06:35 FOX
    5 Saturday July 16 Night Adelaide Crows vs. Collingwood Adelaide Oval SA 19:10 09:40 SEVEN
    6 Saturday July 16 Night Western Bulldogs vs. Gold Coast SUNS Cazalys Stadium QLD 19:25 09:25 FOX
    7 Sunday July 17 Early Carlton vs. West Coast Eagles MCG VIC 13:10 03:10 FOX
    8 Sunday July 17 Day St Kilda vs. Melbourne Etihad Stadium VIC 15:20 05:20 SEVEN
    9 Sunday July 17 Twilight Brisbane Lions vs. GWS GIANTS The Gabba QLD 16:40 06:40 FOX


    AUSTRALIA PLUS                    
    Asia - 15/7 @ 18:00 HKT (Live) 16/7 @ 11:30 HKT (Live) 16/7 @ 14:30 HKT (Live) 16/7 @ 17:30 HKT (Live) - 17/7 @ 11:00 HKT (Live) - 17/7 @ 14:30 HKT (Live) 20/7 @ 11:00 HKT
    Pacific - 15/7 @ 22:00 Fiji (Live) 16/7 @ 15:30 Fiji (Live) 16/7 @ 18:30 Fiji (Live) 16/7 @ 21:30 Fiji (Live) - 17/7 @ 15:00 Fiji (Live) - 17/7 @ 18:30 Fiji (Live) 20/7 @ 15:00 Fiji
    India - 15/7 @ 15:30 IND (Live) 16/7 @ 09:00 IND (Live) 16/7 @ 12:00 IND (Live) 16/7 @ 15:00 IND (Live) - 17/7 @ 08:30 IND (Live) - 17/7 @ 12:00 IND (Live) 20/7 @ 08:30 IND
    China - - - - - - - TBC - -
    CLARO SPORTS                    
    Latin America - 16/7 @ 08:30 CTU (Delay) - - - - - - - -
    ESPN - BT SPORT                    
    UK & Ireland 14/7 @ 10:00 BST (Live) 15/7 @ 11:00 BST (Live) 16/7 @ 04:30 BST (Live) - 16/7 @ 10:30 BST (Live) - - - 17/7 @ 06:00 BST (Live) 19/7 @ 19:00 BST
    Caribbean - - - - 16/7 @ 05:30 ET (LIVE) - - - - 20/7 @ 13:00 EST
    FOX SPORTS 1                    
    USA - - - - 16/7 @ 05:30 ET (Live) - - - - -
    FOX SPORTS 2                    
    USA - 15/7 @ 06:00 ET (Live) - - - - - - - -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS                    
    USA 14/7 @ 05:00 ET (Live) - 15/7 @ 23:30 ET (Live) 16/7 @ 02:30 ET (Live) - - - - - 18/7 @ 23:00 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME NETWORK                    
    Middle East 14/7 @ 13:00 GST (Live) 15/7 @ 14:00 GST (Live) 16/7 @ 07:30 GST (Live) 16/7 @ 10:30 GST (Live) - - - - - 19/7 @ 18:00 GST
    GEE - Boats & Cruises                    
    Worldwide (excl. Aust.) 14/7 @ 09:00 GMT (Live) 15/7 @ 10:00 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 03:30 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 06:30 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 09:30 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 09:00 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 03:00 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 05:00 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 06:30 GMT (Live) -
    SKY SPORTS                    
    New Zealand - - - - - - - 18/7 @ 24:00 NZT (Delay) - -
    SUPER SPORT                    
    Africa - - - - - - - - - -
    Canada 14/7 @ 05:00 ET (Live) 16/7 @ 14:00 ET (Delay) - - - - - - - -
    New Zealand - 15/7 @ 22:00 NZT (Live) 16/7 @ 15:30 NZT (Live) - - 16/7 @ 21:00 NZT (Live) 17/7 @ 15:00 NZT (Live) - 18/7 @ 15:30 (Delay) 20/7 @ 18:00 NZT
    Worldwide (excl. Aust) 14/7 @ 09:20 GMT (Live) 15/7 @ 10:10 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 03:40 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 06:35 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 09:40 GMT (Live) 16/7 @ 09:25 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 03:10 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 05:20 GMT (Live) 17/7 @ 06:40 GMT (Live) -

    *We also recommend you check out the AFANA website if you are in North America as they tend to have the very latest information on broadcast schedules or changes. ...

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    Our intrepid writers in Austria - Michael Jud, Martin Schittegg and Oliver Krajacic from the Styrian DownUnderDogs - have provided this update from the CEAFL competition so far in 2016.

    The 2nd round of the CEAFL 2016 was held in Dobl near Graz. After the 1st round in Zagreb, the ladder looks like this:

    1. Giants 15 Points
    2. Dockers 12 Points
    3. Double Blues 10 Points
    3. Hawks 10 Points
    5. Dogs 08 Points
    6. Eagles 06 Points
    7. Bombers 04 Points

    Originally planned with 8 full teams, the tournament was finally played with 5 teams, including the Styrian DownUnderDogs, Sesvete Double Blues and the VG Bombers with a full squad, the Zaprude Giants with 7 players and a mixed team with 4 players from the Prague Dragons, 3 from the Hawks and 2 from the Dockers.

    Because of not having 9 players, the Giants started every game with a handicap of 18 points, in addition, all games from the Giants plus the Semi final from the Bombers (injuries) were played as 7aside games.

    The group stage consisted of all the 5 teams – every team played against each other. Only the last two games were not played, where the mixed team resigned from their last game and the Double Blues and Dogs agreed on a draw.

    The final series was played first between the Dogs and the Bombers as well as the Double Blues against the Giants. The Bombers had to start with a handicap because of too many injured players, which led to a big win for the Dogs. The second final between the Giants and the Double Blues showed an extremely thrilling game that was turned over by the Giants in the last two minutes.

    The Grand Final between the Dogs and Giants was also played as a 7aside game. The Giants, despite starting with 18 points handicap, turned over again and were leading with 19:18 at halftime. Even though the Dogs showed courage and almost draw even in the middle of the second half, it was the lack of experience of the Dogs with playing finals that led to a 8 points win by the Giants.

    Final ladder:

    1. Giants 15 Points
    2. Dogs 12 Points
    3. Blues 10 Points
    3. Bombers 10 Points
    5. Dragons 08 Points

    2016 CEAFL ladder after 2 of 3 rounds:

    1. Giants 30 Points
    2. Dogs 20 Points
    3. Blues 20 Points
    4. Bombers 14 Points
    5. Dockers 12 Points
    6. Hawks 10 Points
    7. Dragons 08 Points
    8. Eagles 06 Points

    The 3rd and final round of the 2016 CEAFL will be played in Prague on the 10th of September and there are still 3 teams – Giants, Blues and Dogs – who could win the title.

    Review of the teams:

    Prague Dragons

    The Dragons faced some late cancellations from various players, therefore only 4 guys made the long the trip down from Prague. Nevertheless, together with left players from non-playing Hawks and Dockers, the teamed up and showed great passion and enthusiasm. With a full squad that operates together at their home tournament, the Dragons will be another difficult opponent and definitely raise the value of the CEAFL.


    Founded in early 2016, the Bombers already show great courage and massive improvement from game to game. In their second group game, they even had the chance to beat the way more experienced Giants but eventually failed to mark the final kick of the game only centimetres before the goal, losing only be 3 points. They also won their first CEAFL game this season and will try to continue their on-going development.

    Double Blues

    In their second year of existence, the Double Blues from Sesvete catch up more and more with the established clubs from Zagreb. After winning all their group games, the Blues were dominating the first half of their semi final against the Giants. In the second half, it seemed that their energy reserves were fading from minute to minute and after the Giants were leading 2 minutes before the final whistle, they were not able to revolt against the facing defeat anymore.


    The 1st round of the CEAFL in Zagreb showed the first win of Dogs against a Croatian team since almost 5 years. With this success in their minds, they started their home tournament with another win and managed to beat all the other opponents in the group stage. Together with the win in Zagreb and the one against the Bombers in the semi final, the Giants in a thrilling final only stopped the Dogs’ unbroken run of 5 successive victories in the league.


    Winning 2 out of 2 tournaments, the Giants emphasised their ambitions to win the CEAFL this year. If they combine their level of skills and experience again in Prague, it will be a tough challenge for the Blues and the Dogs to challenge their league title.

    The Dogs want to thank all the teams for many entertaining games and all the friends involved before, while and after the tournament. The whole CEAFL is now looking forward to the 3rd and final round of the 2016 CEAFL on the 10th of September in Prague.

    Ladder and results after Round 2 as follows:


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    “I love coming up to Cairns. It is a break from Melbourne. We get to wear t-shirts and shorts which we can’t do down in Melbourne.”

    Western Bulldogs’ champion Mitch Wallis has just created one of the best possible tourism slogans possible as he espouses a love affair with our northern city. Here in Cairns for his third AFL Premiership match against the Gold Coast Suns in the tropical north, Wallis was happy to profess his love for our region which he says is shared by the players and the club.

    Maybe “love affair” isn’t quite the right term, but the Bulldogs have certainly turned Cazalys Stadium into a very happy hunting ground – and that alone is grounds for true love! In 2014 the Western Bulldogs turned on a six goal to two final-quarter to beat the suns by 28 points. They bettered that in 2015 with a blistering 10 goal final quarter to turn a 37 point deficit into a 22 point win.

    So, does this form just come naturally in Cairns? “We love it up here in Cairns but we do a fair bit of preparation. We have to get used to the sun [missing today] and humidity. We train in the heat and we use saunas,” Wallis said.

    Mitch Wallis was recruited to the Western Bulldogs in the 2010 draft at pick 22 as a father/Son selection (his father, Steve Wallis, was a club legend with 261 games for the club, state representation and a former Bulldog captain). Since his debut in 2012, and a Rising Star nomination that year, Mitch Wallis has gone on to play 91 games and also shows the attributes to follow his dad and one day lead the Dogs.

    But for now he has a job to do as part of a Western Bulldogs team intent on chasing their first premiership since 1954. Mitch is proud to follow his father’s footsteps, but he knows he has a chance to get something his decorated father didn’t. “Dad didn’t play in a premiership, but that’s what we all want now,” Wallis added about the current team’s united goal.

    Wallis is also aware of the club’s desire to keep coming to Cairns and make it a part of their club. “We can see that footy in Cairns in developing many programs to grow the game, and we are a club growing and developing also.” Wallis is aware of the synchronicity between the Western Bulldogs heartland surrounding the Whitten Oval and their new northern “home”.

    Today’s open training session and Fans Super Clinic hosted by the Bulldogs at Cazalys was eagerly attended by kids from all over the Cairns region – and their families. It was exciting to watch hundreds of kids with hundreds of footys doing tricks with the whole Western Bulldogs team. Die-hard Bulldog fans had travelled from Melbourne and beyond to be there also.

    AFL Cairns CEO, Gary Young, is aware of the positive energy of the Cairns/Western Bulldogs connection. He is cheered by the knowledge that the Bulldogs want to keep coming to Cairns, and aware of how much value that brings the game in the northern city, as well as other community benefits including increased tourism and associated spending, investment and promotion.

    With 1000 Western Bulldogs club members venturing north this year (almost double the figure for 2015) it seems that the club and its supporter base is embracing Cairns. Gary Young is certainly hoping that a ten thousand strong crowd this year will ice the Cairns cake and secure games in the city a long way into the future – and the Bulldogs also want to be a part of that.

    A cool, windy day is expected in cairns for the match tomorrow. Wallis is happy for the notorious north/south howling gales to occur again as he believes that kicking into or against a wind brings out the practised skills in clubs. Gary Young is just happy for the possible showers to stay away.

    But no matter what, Mitch Wallis, his Bulldog team mates and the Gold Coast Suns are set to once again light up the north and entertain the AFL footy loving public. They can all play their part in keeping the Cairns love affair alive and growing deeper every year.

    Picture: (Top) Mitch Wallis is tackled by Dion Prestia from Gold Coast Suns in Cairns 2015 (With permission Western Bulldogs)

    Picture: (Left) Bulldog Stars Matthew Boyd and Caleb Daniel help mascot Woofer with the Cairns kids (With permission Western Bulldog ...

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    Last year the North London Lions were on a roll in the lead-up to the finals and went all the way to win the 2015 flag. It’s a very long bow but the Wimbledon Hawks are playing themselves into form at the right time of the season.

    Round 9 saw the Hawks down the Lions for just their third win of the season. But it will be enough for them to see finals action. With a very winnable final round match against the London Swans this weekend, the Hawks could enter the finals with momentum – and that’s what helped the Lions last year. It’s a long shot, but then very few predicted the Lions’ journey last year.

    As the Wildcats and Demons continued to rampage towards the finals with big wins, neither can be complacent now. Both teams slipped last year when they held the competition to ransom for most of the season. To take the Lions, and now maybe the Hawks, lightly could be damaging. It makes for an interesting final round with the Putney Magpies taking on the Wandsworth Demons and the Wimbledon Hawks clashing with the London Swans hoping to enter the finals series on the momentum of back to back wins.

    The final match of the round is a genuine finals preview with the West London Wildcats up against the North London Lions in a match that won’t determine ladder positions but could act as a pointer for the chances of two finalists.

    Round 8:
    West London Wildcats 23.13 (151) vs 9.3 (57) Wimbledon Hawks
    Putney Magpies 4.4 (28) vs 13.12 (90) London Swans
    North London Lions 7.6 (48) vs 19.11 (125) Wandsworth Demons

    Round 9:

    Putney Magpies 4.7 (31) vs 20.20 (140) West London Wildcats
    Wimbledon Hawks 8.18 (66) vs 4.6 (30) North London Lions
    Wandsworth Demons 20.18 (138) vs 3.4 (22) London Swans


    1 West London W'cats 32
    2 Wandsworth Demons 32
    3 North London Lions 20
    4 Wimbledon Hawks 14
    5 London Swans 6
    6 Putney Magpies ...

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  • 07/17/16--06:20: Will Thiego go?
  • We're all familiar with players trying to raise money to head Down Under for the International Cup so this one is a little different.

    Porto Alegro's Thiago Vacile has quickly become a keen Adelaide Crows supporter and posted about his passion for the team Adelaide fan Facebook page Adelaide Crows Pride. Suddenly there was a groundswell of support to try to raise funds to send him from Brazil to Australia to see a Crows game at Adelaide Oval. With the Pride of South Australia climbing to 2nd on the AFL ladder this weekend it seems a good time for Thiago to make the trip.

    You can read more about the push on the Footy Almanac here or chip in a few dollars here. ...

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    The home and away season is now done and dusted in the AFL London competition and now the finals series is set to start. There are plenty of questions to be asked now as teams jostle for their spot on Grand Final day. Last weekend’s round just added to that list of questions.

    The Wandsworth Demons stole the minor premiership away from the West London Wildcats after a massive 213 point victory over the Putney Magpies. The resultant percentage boost saw the Demons grab top spot in a psychological strike against the Wildcats ahead of their finals clash next weekend.

    The Wildcats themselves inflicted another unwanted loss on the North London Lions. It wasn’t enough for them to hold top spot, but the result certainly has the Lions on shaky ground facing the resurgent Hawks in next weekend’s other semi-final.

    The Hawks didn’t have it easy against the London Swans, home by just 22 points, but it meant they finished the home and away season on a winning streak which included the scalp of the Lions. It gives the Hawks a big sniff to go deeper into the finals.

    So, two very even and exciting finals next weekend makes for a great start to the 2016 AFL London finals series. The Wildcats probably hold favouritism over the Demons only due to their last meeting which saw the Wildcats hold sway with a 13 point victory. The Demons, however, won their first encounter in Round One by 17 points, so maybe it is too close to call.

    Likewise, the Lions won their Round Two match against the Hawks by 33 points before the hawks reversed that with a 36 point win against the Lions in Round Nine. In a season that saw a large proportion of one-sided games, it is remarkable how evenly matches the teams are for this coming weekend.

    Below are the weekend results and ladders.

    Wandsworth Demons 37 17 239 d Putney Magpies 4 2 26
    West London Wildcats 15 14 104 d North London Lions 10 8 68
    Wimbledon Hawks 11 5 71 d London Swans 7 7 49


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    WFN readers will likely remember the name Jaye Macumber. Jaye was formerly coach of AFL Canada club the Central Blues and in 2011 coached the Canadian national team, the Northwind at IC11.

    Jaye is now coach at Minyip-Murtoa in the Wimmera League in country Victoria (Australia). Well known footy journalist Paul Daffey interviewed Jaye this week for his The County Footy Show on his site PD Footy  The original posting on the site is here The Country Footy Show Epidsode 15.


    For more great stories and interviews with great characters of Victorian country, metro and amateur footy check out  ...

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    With the 2017 AFL International Cup just over a year away the Irish Banshees team might want to sound out Sinead Omahony when they put together their squad. 

    Omahony is a rising star in the VFL women's competition with Melbourne University.  The following story by Callum O'Connor featured on The Footy Almanac this week - the original story can be read here.

    November, new country.

    January, new sport.

    April, debut in the state’s highest competition of said sport. During its most revolutionary stage.

    It’s been an interesting nine months for Melbourne Uni’s Irish recruit Sinead Omahony.

    Last year, Omahony was living in Dublin when her partner Jamie Hagan was offered a two-year contract at the Melbourne Rebels, making him just the second fully capped Irish international to play Super Rugby. Omahony made the leap to join him – the move, she says, made her “a little bit heartbroken” – and left behind not just friends and family but a very impressive Gaelic football record. She first played at the age of five and has been in representative sides since she was 12.


    “I was pretty devastated to have to leave but the decision was there,” she recalls. “And Jamie was just amazing, he’s been very supportive of my sport over the years and it was an amazing opportunity for him.”

    In a stroke of luck, Hagan passed on a Rebels’ physio’s recommendation that she try out in the VFL Talent Search. Omahony caught the eye of Mugar forward Louise Stephenson, who invited her to come train at their Arden St base.

    “Lou brought me to the club,” says Omahony. “She was just amazing to me.”

    It didn’t take long for Omahony to realise what a serious operation she had gotten herself into. In her first session, coach Andrew Jago screened the Mugars’ 2015 one-point preliminary final loss to Diamond the rest of the story here. ...

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  • 07/19/16--04:13: A Young Girl’s Journey

  • This is not a unique experience. Girls and women have been playing footy for many, many years. To see a team of girls running around as part of the half time entertainment at an AFL venue has been seen and done many times.

    However, there is something a little symbolic, prophetic and visionary about seeing girls on a footy field in 2016, the year the AFL committed to the first ever national women’s competition for 2017. Unlike most years before, this year a future, stark and defined, sits in front of any young girl or woman who takes to the fields of footy.

    Such was the case on Saturday night in Cairns. As part of the NAB Auskick half time entertainment on-field, primary school girls from Gordonvale State School (to the south of Cairns) and Freshwater State School (loosely to the north) played each other in front of the 8500 appreciative footy fans under the glaring lights of Cazalys Stadium. Both schools were involved in the same match last year, but this year was different.

    This year the footy world is very aware of Daisy Pearce (Melbourne Demons), Katie Brennan (Western Bulldogs) and Tayla Harris (likely Brisbane Lions). They are now role models to young girls and as the women’s national competition grows in standards and stature their names will mean to young girls what Ablett, Franklin and Dangerfield mean to boys as players to aspire to emulate.

    The girls on the field on Saturday night are all around the 10-12 age group – too young yet for the big time. But they are on a pathway now towards local junior footy if they want it – in Cairns a healthy youth girls competition exists as well as a senior women’s league. Now the pathway extends from local to regional, state and as of next year national.

    In eight to ten years from now when Daisy, Katie and Tayla have possibly retired their replacements could be the Mia or Tiffany or Summer or Caitlyn or any of the other girls that took the field last weekend for their respective schools. That is the beauty of entering into something as exciting as the national women’s league - an entire new generation of girls gets to travel a path not wholly available in 2016 but fully open and available in 2017.

    The girls who played on Saturday night have another appointment in August when they play each other for the local “Women In AFL Freshwater Challenge” which will be held for a fifth year. The game is designed to give the girls another opportunity to play but also to make a bold statement of thanks to the girls and women who have gone before at all levels of the game – on the fields and off – and recognise the true trailblazers who have never shirked an inch in chasing a dream of women’s footy at the highest level.

    But the highest level can only exist when it has all levels beneath supporting it and providing a healthy future – and that’s where the girls at Gordonvale and Freshwater and across schools all over Australia and even internationally come into it. Daisy, Katie, Tayla and their team mates are the here and now and the immediate future. The girls in schools just beginning their journeys are the wider future.

    And that future was proudly displayed on a windswept Cazalys Stadium in Cairns. Goosebumps formed when those girls left the field along the eastern boundary line and the enthusiastic crowd leaned over as one solid line to “high-five” the girls as they jogged off the field. That was one of the greatest endorsements of the place of women in footy this author has witnessed.

    There will be more – much more – to come.

    (Picture: Girls in action on Cazalys Stadium, Cairns - courtesy Tamara Bl ...

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    Out there, playing somewhere in Australia right now, is a weekend warrior the AFL recruiters have either never seen or missed, a man dreaming of an AFL career. He is ‘The Recruit’ and he will win arguably the biggest prize ever given away on a TV show – a guaranteed place on an AFL list.

    THE RECRUIT is a 10-part reality series that follows a group of ‘Recruits’ who live and play together as a team, while at the same time competing against each other, in order to win this life-changing prize.

    Season one of THE RECRUIT aired in Australia in 2014 and was one of the breakout hits for Foxtel’s flagship, general entertainment channel, FOX8.   The premiere of that series was one of the highest program launches in subscription television history, and finished as the channel’s most watched series that year.

    Season two returns with the legendary Mick Malthouse, leading the search for Australia’s next sporting hero.  Renowned for his record-breaking coaching career, Mick takes on the role of Head Coach.

    Mick will be joined by the returning Executive Team comprising of former Hawthorn champion and FOX FOOTY commentator Ben Dixon as Assistant Coach, Port Adelaide’s world class fitness guru Darren Burgess as High Performance Coach; and accomplished sports administrator Leigh Russell as Mind Coach, responsible for the mental strength and wellbeing of the Recruits.

    The 2014 series saw the introduction of two international recruits (partway through the series), Irishman Padraig Lucey and American Mark Cisco.  Lucey went on to be listed as an International Rookie with Geelong where he continues to play in their VFL team.  

    In 2016 PNG's JJ (Jeconiah) Peni is part of the show from the opening auditions and from the sneak previews offered up by Foxtel so far looks like he will be featured on at least the early episodes of the series after making it to the final 15 selected for the show.  JJ has now been living in Australia for three years and last year was best afield for Balwyn Tigers reserves in the Eastern Football League Grand Final.  He made his senior debut for Balwyn this season.

    His profile and video can be seen here.

    JJ also was part of the 2014 PNG International Cup winning team that defeated Ireland in the Grand Final on the MCG.

    We did hear a whisper that Denmark's Mikkel Kjoege was going to audition for the series but for reasons unknown was unable to make the audition day. 

    If the 2014 formula is followed we may see some other internationals introduced later in the series, so we will keenly be watching for that eventuality.

    THE RECRUIT is produced by McGuire Media exclusively for Foxtel. The 10-part series will air on FOX8 from July 20 (tomorrow  night) on Wednesday nights at 8.30pm only on Foxtel in Australia.


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