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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    AFL Victoria yesterday announced that the long running VWFL would be discontinued and clubs would be moving to a more localised structure as the massive growth of women's footy is accommodated.

    The announcement follows

    SIREN SOUNDS ON VICTORIA WOMEN’S FOOTBALL LEAGUE

     

    Victoria’s female football pathway will have a new look in 2017 with a host of new women's competitions to be established in local leagues across the state.

     

    The community league competitions will replace the current Victoria Women's Football League (VWFL) competition, providing a more localised structure for clubs into the future.

     

    The VWFL’s 47 clubs and 60 teams will be integrated into neighbouring community league structures, with a further 80 clubs registering an interest to join their local women’s competition in 2017.

     

    AFL Victoria CEO Steven Reaper said that the extraordinary growth in women’s football across all levels in the state has allowed community leagues to launch their own female competitions.

     

    “Since 2015 we have experienced a growth of 100 new female teams each season which is an indication of the sheer enormity behind Australia’s fastest growing sport,” he said.

     

    “It’s fantastic to see both regional and metropolitan community leagues embrace women’s football with many already establishing Youth Girls divisions in their region.

     

    “Localised resources will now also help further develop the game in each region which will add further support and focus to women's football.”

     

    After consultation with community leagues, clubs have embraced the new competition structure with 10 leagues to manage women’s football competitions in 2017, including all six metropolitan community leagues.

     

    “When AFL Victoria took over the management and governance of the VWFL, it was always intended that when the competition had outgrown the resources needed to properly manage all divisions from head office, clubs would transition back into community leagues, not dissimilar to the evolution of the Youth Girls competitions from AFL Victoria to local level,” Reaper said.

     

    “We are delighted with the positive response from community leagues, with some local clubs already looking to have senior men's and women's teams in the one competition.

     

    “This new structure will provide a number of benefits to clubs, including better access to umpires and localised resources which will also help with fixturing and ground allocation.”

     

    Established in 1981, the VWFL has played an important role in the female talent pathway both on and off the field and has been the starting point for many players, coaches and administrators for more than 35 years.

     

    “The VWFL has a rich and important history in the development of female football,” Reaper said.

     

    “The VWFL and all involved have played a major role in developing women's football and have assisted in realising the long held dream of a national women's competition.

     

    “It is with that in mind that AFL Victoria is undertaking a number of projects to preserve the history of the VWFL, including the formal documentation of the VWFL’s history including a hard cover publication, as well as installing a VWFL honour board at AFL Victoria’s head office.”

     

    The VWFL’s integration with AFL Victoria has led to the positive establishment of the Swisse VFL Women’s state league which has produced over 90 Victorian draftees to the inaugural NAB AFL Women's league in 2017.

     

    In addition, the VWFL’s legacy has led to a revamped staffing structure which now includes a dedicated Female Football Talent Manager, a comprehensive women’s Academy program and now a local competition structure that will help build the foundations for a strong talent pathway and participation base for the next generation of female stars.

     

    “While it is an end of an era, this is the next step in the evolution of women's football in the state, which is an exciting time for all involved,” Reaper said.

     

    “AFL Victoria would like to thank our VWFL partners in CFA, JMS Hospitality and Melbourne Football Club for all their support of the league in 2016.

     

    “We would also like to thank Adrian Fisher as the VWFL’s Umpire Coordinator and all the clubs and committees who have put in many hours to ensure their club could compete in the VWFL.”

     

    AFL Victoria will continue to work closely with community football leagues over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition of the new competition structure.
    ...


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    The following is an extract from the article at www.newyorkmapgies.com
     
    On Friday November 11th the New York Magpies will take on the New York GAA’s All American team in a Charity International Rules Game at Gaelic Park. Gates open at 7pm, with the game starting at 7.30pm.
     
    The match will see the superb athleticism of Gaelic Football meeting the physical brutality of Australian Rules Football.
     
    The International Rules game on 11th November will take place some 49 years after the first encounter between the AFL and the NYGAA but comes in a more localized competition. The New York GAA team will be made up of several of the victorious World Games team in August.
     
    New York GAA will look to some of their more experienced names like the Hogan brothers Conor and Shane as well as current New York Senior Football panelist Conor Mathers and dual star Shane Slattery, all of whom played in Croke Park in August. They will be back boned by experience in the shape of Liam Deane and some very promising younger players like Tiarnan Mathers and Conor Rafferty. The team is
    managed by Mick Burke, Simon Gillespie and Ciaran Slattery.
     
    The New York Magpies team come off a respectful performance at Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. Dan Lehane will lead the team with his familiarity with the round ball, having also played for the New York Rangers in the Gaelic competition this year. His Gaelic football experience extends to playing for New York Minor teams at Feile and in the Connacht Championship in 2010 and 2011, while he also played Aussie Rules football in Queensland, Australia for the Robina Roos, which earned him selection in the NAB U16 AFL Team that competed in Sydney in 2011.
     
    Alongside him are veteran players like Jordan McIntyre, Juice Desai and Mike Fraietta, who have previously played International Rules before, and look forward to getting their hands on the round ball again.
     
    Coach Sean Holmesby will aim to have his players utilize the Aussie Rules football characteristics to be competitive in this game. This will come through high marking, strong tackling and consistent defensive running.
     
    All proceeds from the game on November 11th will be given to community organization nominated by the Magpies and NY GAA. The New York GAA have chosen the Aisling Irish Community Center to be their beneficiary from the night.
     
    The New York Magpies have selected as their beneficiary charity to be the Center Against Domestic Violence.
     
    Tickets for the game are $10. On the night the concession stand will be open with a range of Irish foods and some authentic Australian meat pies! Gaelic Park is located at 4000 Corlear Avenue, Bronx New York.

    ...


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    The Perpignan Tigers leapt into second place on the CNFA ladder in France after a solid win against the Bordeaux Bombers on the weekend. The Bombers got away to a good start before being worn down by the Tigers. They held a 14 point lead at the first break before the Tigers came back and took a four point lead to the break. The game was up for grabs by three-quarter time with the Tigers up by 10 points, but they held firm in the final quarter to win by 34 points.

    Final Score: Perpignan Tigers 112 d Bordeaux Bombers 78

    In the other game over the weekend, the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes leaped back to the top of the table with their third win of the season. This time they remained undefeated with a big win over the Toulouse Hawks. The Coyotes dominated early and continued to pull away, recording a 99 point win over the still winless Hawks.

    Final Score: Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes 132 d Toulouse Hawks 33

    The weekend results see the Coyotes and Tigers holding first and second place. The remaining Round Four match will see the Paris Cockatoos host the undefeated ALFA Lions. The result will have an impact on the top four after the first four rounds with just a round to go before the winter break. A win for the Cockatoos will see them displace the Tigers in second place. A win for the Lions will see them hold top spot on percentage from the Coyotes.

    The unplayed Round Three match between the Toulouse Hawks and the Blagnac Aviators has been postponed until the 17th December. With the defeat to the Coyotes on the weekend, the match against the Aviators becomes vital for the Hawks if they have any thoughts of finals this seaso ...

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    Lee Gaskin reports on the www.afl.com.au website that Port Adelaide are set to be the next club to place an African born player on their list with the opportunity given to Ugandan born Emmanuel Irra.

    PORT Adelaide is set to have the first Ugandan player on an AFL list, with midfielder Emmanuel Irra training with the Power.

    The versatile 22-year-old has been granted permission to train with the Power ahead of the national, pre-season and rookie drafts.

     

    If Irra is not selected during the draft process, the Power is free to list him as a Category B Rookie since the club earlier nominated him for its next generation academy.

     

    Irra joined the Power for its first pre-season training session featuring the entire squad at Alberton Oval on Monday.

    He has played 38 SANFL games for South Adelaide since graduating from Sacred Heart College.

    He and his family fled war-torn Uganda and arrived in Australia when Irra was 11 in 2005.

    At 183cm and 82kg, Irra is a powerful midfielder who can bust through tackles and uses the ball well.

    Under the new AFL rules, clubs can list players as Category B rookies from the AFL's indigenous and multicultural academies.

    The Power's senior players joined for a one-hour session with the club's first to fourth year players, who have been training for the past two weeks.

     

    Original story can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-11-21/ugandan-emmanuel-irra-training-with-port-adelaide ...


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    The following article comes from Alex Andryushin as he reports on the final leg of the AFL Russia Unity Day Cup, taken out this year by the St Petersburg Cats. Such has been the growth of the game in Russia that St Petersburg can now truly mount a case for a long term rivalry. Also, having two teams again in Moscow sees the game developing further in the national capital. 

     

    On a freezing day of November 4th, three Russian teams played the final tournament of 2016 – Unity Day Cup – on the Moscow State University pitch. It was a home ground for two capital city teams – “Slavyane” & “Lazy Koalas” - and the third one came from Saint-Petersburg – “St.Petersburg Cats”. It was a snowy day with -2°C on the thermometer, but the competitors were ready for such unpleasant weather.

     In the opening minutes of the first game (Slavyane vs Cats) the home team got a quick 7 points, scoring a goal and a behind. The Cats, however, found strength to fight back and dominated the rest of the match, scoring a goal every 3-4 minutes and playing a decent defensive game. After two periods of 15 minutes the final score was 66 to 9 in favour of St. Petersburg squad.

    The second game of the tournament was played between Koalas and Slavyane. Both teams were playing hard, but luck was against Slavyane this day, they conceded several goals, and Koalas calmly finished the match with the score of 72 to 13. The last game was a part of long-lasting rivalry between two cities; Moscow and St. Petersburg.  

    There were three cups previously in 2016: Koalas celebrated the victory in April, Cats got their revenge in May, and Koalas were stronger in September tournament. But during this cold day the luck was on the side of guest team. The Cats started the game with four goals and a couple of behinds, then Koalas narrowed the gap to 10 points. But shortly after the team from St. Petersburg maintained the control on each part of the pitch, locking up everything in defence, dominating in the middle, delivering quick passes and converting them into points.

    The final score was 54 to 26 in favour of the Cats, and they were declared the winners of Unity Day Cup. The 2016 season of Australian football in Russia is over, but teams continue to conduct training’s on a regular basis, constantly improving their skills and preparing for a next season.

      ...


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    Cardwell sits midway between the northern Queensland cities of Cairns and Townsville. Both suffer from, and tolerate, the November heat but the grass doesn’t. Completely brown, devoid of life and feeling like sandpaper, the surface of the Cardwell oval was a challenge in itself.

    The football gods must have been in a benevolent mood, however, providing occasional light showers and cloud cover to make the temperature and conditions agreeable.

    First up was the feature match – the championship match of AFL Masters Over 35’s season, playing for the highly coveted Cardwell Cup. The Cairns Stingers took the field against the Townsville Sharks. The rivalry is always intense between these two cities – whether playing footy, backgammon or chess – but with the ageing teams determined to relive yesteryear, this game was serious.

    Townsville started best with the aid of a strong breeze. They rattled on a couple of goals before Cairns steadied. They held a narrow lead at the first break. Come the second quarter and Cairns began to rally. When I kicked a goal midway through the quarter I jumped about as if I’d won them the quarter, game, title, tournament. But I hadn’t…not even close. What a goose! There were still two and a bit quarters to go.

    The second half remained tight, but in the end Cairns held on with a late goal to manage an eight point win in a thrilling finish – Cairns Stingers 9 5 59 to Townsville Sharks 7 9 51.

    The Stingers held the cup aloft and enjoyed the spoils of victory – for a short while anyway as Townsville came back hard in the second match of the day, the AFL Masters Over 45’s match. In a tight match at three-quarter time, Townsville ran away with a strong final quarter to win by four goals. At a personal level, if I hadn’t missed a set shot from 25 metres out by hitting the post, then shanked another kick running unchecked inside 50, things may have been different. But I did miss them, so I hold myself personally responsible for Cairns’ loss.

    To play in the two matches was an honour and a joy, but it also gave me a different insight into the game in Northern Queensland. It is a region which is heavily Rugby League. Cairns and Townsville both have strong junior and senior leagues and the game is growing. Since 2011 the AFL has scheduled premiership matches in Cairns and NAB Challenge games in Townsville. All of that is easy to see.

    But what is unseen is the passion of these Masters players. Their bodies and minds are not as quick as they were. Their kicks don’t travel as far as they once did. The catchcry of the players is “the older I get, the faster I once was”. Yet their passion hasn’t diminished one bit. Their desire to get every ounce out of their bodies and enjoy the game is inspirational. They love the game and their continued presence as players as they reach the mid 30’s, 40’s (or in my case 50’s) acts as a vanguard for others to follow. Bluntly, if these guys can do it, anyone younger can do it even better.

    Masters footy is a different world. It is populated by great people who were good players in their prime, though evidence from the weekend says that many still have it now. Younger players would do well to go and watch a Masters game and see the enthusiasm, pride and desire on show. I have seen that now.

    To Cairns Stingers, however, the Cardwell Cup is theirs for 2016. Townsville will go away and plan retribution for next year, and all players will rest their weary and battered bodies (I know I am). Now summer will take over in the north and footy will be restricted to air-conditioned rooms in front of the television.

    But, look out for the AFL Masters boys again next year.



    Picture: The scoreboard at Cardwell and support vehicle. ...

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    AFL Canada yesterday announced they will be sending their men's and women's development teams to Europe in 2017. The women's development team the Midnight Suns competed in the 2014 International Cup alongside their official team the Northern Lights.

    But 2017 will see them compete against the Irish Banshees and the Great Britain Swans who will both be warming up for IC17. A fourth team made up of the best players from the four AFL London women's clubs will also compete.

    The men's development team has previously only played matches against the USA as part of the 49th Parallel Cup in the past.  But they will play for the first time outside North America against the Irish Warriors, the Great Britain Bulldogs and a fourth team yet to be named.

    Games are set to be played on the 19th-21st of May 2017; with games being played on the Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

    It is a welcome push for more international footy matches outside the International Cup tournament.  The USAFL have indicated they will send a team to Europe in 2018 and Great Britain have indicated they may play in Canada in 2018.

    AFL Canada’s President Lachlan Griffiths said, “We are very grateful to AFL Europe, AFL England and the Great British and Irish National Teams for coming together for this tournament next year. We have been looking to provide our players with more high quality games, and are excited by the opportunity to play against two very strong football nations."

    "It is going to provide our development squad players with a first-hand look at the level of football required to compete at the International level, with the hope that these players will go on to represent Canada in future international games and press for selection at IC20”.

    For more details see the AFL Canada announcement here - http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-7259-0-0-0 

     

      ...


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    It was very disappointing for international footy followers at the end of the AFL Women's draft when no international players (by IC rules at least) were selected. Kate Shierlaw and Lauren Spark were on the lists which was some vindication of the footy played in London, but they were still Aussie women.

    So it would come down to the free agency period, and fortunately there would be an international foot in the door.  Firstly Collingwood added Canadian Kendra Heil to their list.  Perhaps missing out on the draft as she missed most of the 2016 season due to a serious ACL injury, Heil was also close to being drafted in 2015 (when there were just the two women's teams for the exhibition match). 

     

    Heil is a bona-fide Canadian national who learnt the game in Canada.  Heil played for Canada in the 2014 AFL International Cup and was named in the World Team at the end of the tournament.  She played mostly up forward in the tournament and kicked two goals in her nations winning Grand Final team and was named in the best players.  In 2015 she returned to Australia to further her game playing with the Eastern Devils in the VWFL.

    Also in the free agency period Melbourne would add Laura Corrigan (pictured) to their list.  Ireland had their own representative on board and Corrigan will be the first female professional Aussie rules footballer from Ireland. Corrigan, is originally from Cavan and (as far as we know) learnt the game in Australia after moving here about 8 years ago.   She has played for Diamond Creek in the VWFL (and more recently VFL Womens) for the past seven seasons playing mostly in the ruck or in defence. 

    Corrigan was named full back in the World Team at the 2011 International Cup where she was dominant for the tournament champions Ireland and named joint best player of the 2014 International Cup tournament (along with Canada’s Aimee Legault who is currently back in Canada).

    Corrigan is known to be hard at the contest.  In the 2011 International Cup she left one match in the first quarter after splitting her head open and was sent off in the 2014 International Cup grand final after taking the Canadian captain high. She told us in 2014 that she took the game up because "I had always been told I was too rough in Gaelic so I thought Aussie Rules was the game for me."

    Tonight both players who lined up against each other at Punt Road in the International Cup Grand Final will train with their new club's full teams for the first time in open sessions in Melbourne.  Hopefully come Round 1 of the AFL Women's league in February 2017 both players will have the eyes of the football world on them as they debut. 

    And hopefully they are the international foot in the door of this new league, with the rest of the world's best women from outside Australia coming to Melbourne in August.  Having the AFL Women's league recruit international women who have never played with Australian clubs will be the next big step for women's footy outside Australia. ...


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  • 11/22/16--19:20: Two Test IRS returns in 2017
  • It has been agreed that Australia will host Ireland in a two-test Virgin Australia International Rules Series to be played in Australia in November next year.
     
    The return to a two-match series in 2017, to be played over the weekends of November 11 and 18 at venues still to be confirmed, comes on the back of successful one-off Virgin Australia Tests in Perth in 2014 and Dublin last year that reinvigorated the series.
     
    The GAA and the AFL have also agreed in principle to play a two-Test series back in Ireland in 2019.
     
    Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: "We are pleased to confirm the re-instatement of a two-game series commencing next year in Australia when Joe Kernan will bring the Irish team down under.
     
    "We believe the two-game series is a logical development after the success of the last two single games series, given the distances involved and the potential to generate even more momentum around the games.
     
    "We look forward to renewing rivalries with the best the AFL has to offer and we acknowledge the progress made in recent months with our AFL counterparts in helping to confirm the plans for 2017."
     
    AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said it was the AFL’s view that the commitment to field a team comprised only of All-Australian players, under the leadership of the best coaches in the AFL, had been crucial to the agreement to extend the series again, as Australia had to match Ireland’s commitment to fielding its best players.
     
    “The one-off Virgin Australia Test matches in Perth and Dublin over the last two years were two high-class encounters played in front of very strong crowds. Australian and Irish fans have shown they want to see a spectacular and competitive contest played between the most talented AFL players and Ireland’s best Gaelic footballers,” Mr Evans said.
     
    “Restricting selection to only a player who has earned All Australian selection through his AFL career has ensured the prestige of playing in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series and we look forward to hosting the Irish side again next year.” ...

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    Tom Morris from Fox Sports reports that Essendon will be looking closely at gambling on an untried American footballer as a Category B rookie, and could know very soon as they prepare for their selections at this week’s national draft. I would be the first time Essendon has travelled down the American road for potential recruits, hoping they can find another Jason Holmes.

    ESSENDON is poised to take a punt on little known American football player Travis Wilson.

     

    Wilson, who was a quarterback with scrambling ability for the University of Utah Utes in the US college system for four years, has attracted interest from the Bombers despite having never travelled to Australia, let alone Melbourne.

    It’s believed his athleticism is the trait that first caught the eye of Essendon’s international recruiting network.

    At 200cm and 105kg, the 24-year-old signed on with the North Coast Heat in Australia’s National Gridiron League late in 2015, although in January it was announced that the competition would not go ahead in 2016 due to a variety of Visa and venue problems.

    As a result, Wilson never arrived in Australia to compete in the fledgling league.

    After his college career finished, Wilson had a tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s understood he has now set his sights on a Category B rookie spot with Essendon.

    The Bombers have shown keen interest in the would-be ruckman, sending him apparel and footballs to train with ahead of a potential move to Melbourne, as seen in his below Instagram post from earlier this week.

    The club has asked him to send it video footage of him kicking and marking.

    Wilson broke a host of records while at Utah, including most starts (39), games played (46) and total touchdowns (75 – 54 passing, 21 rushing).

    He suffered a heavy concussion that revealed pre-existing brain artery conditions that, at the time, almost ended his football career completely.

    Some recent examples of clubs signing Category B rookies are Mark Blicavs at Geelong, Alex Keath at Adelaide and Jason Holmes at St Kilda.

    A club can contract up to three Category B rookies, provided the player either:

    — Has not registered in an Australian Football competition for three years immediately before inclusion on the Rookie List;

    — Is an international player, meaning he is not an Australian citizen and has not lived in Australia for a substantial period;

    — Is a former NSW Scholarship player with that club;

    — Is a former International Scholarship player with that club;

    — Is a rookie Zone Selection for clubs based in NSW or Queensland.

    Technically Essendon can sign Wilson at any time, but must lock him in ahead of Monday’s rookie draft if he is to be on their list in 2017.

     

    The original story can be found at: http://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/essendon-keen-on-signing-us-college-quarterback-travis-wilson-as-category-b-rookie/news-story/354021ca0c65c3941f6ecd36e2b8a960

         ...


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    AFL Women's League recruit to the Melbourne Football Club Laura Corrigan Duryea was this week interviewed on SEN Radio in Melbourne.

    Thanks to Peter Ross for the heads up on this interv ...

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    Geelong's delisted International rookie Padraig Lucey looks like staying in Australia into next year whatever happens. He could be taken by another AFL club or even relisted by the Cats. But even if that doesn't happen, Geelong's VFL coach Shane O'Bree expects he will stay.

    In the Geelong Advertiser O'Bree said “As far as I know he’s loved his time in Australia, and especially Geelong, and he’s pretty keen to continue his AFL career...and if it’s not at AFL level it will be at the highest possible level, which is VFL.”

    An extra incentive to stay might be the prospect of another crack at the International Cup which will be held in Melbourne next year.  The big fella was a handful up forward and handy in the ruck for the Irish Warriors in 2014 with little footy experience. He was also named in the World Team of the tournament at CHF.  This time around he would be looking to go one better with his team after they went down to PNG in the Grand Final at the MCG.

    And with two seasons of VFL footy under his belt might be hard to stop for any international full backs. ...


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  • 11/25/16--03:47: Made In Canada

  • Andrew McGrath has been named the number one draft pick at tonight’s NAB AFL Draft, and in one of a number of quirks for the night, McGrath was born in Canada. He still holds Canadian citizenship and even speaks with a slight Canadian accent when conversing with Canadian friends and family.

    The Bombers’ newest addition, and first ever number one draft selection, was born in Mississauga, near Toronto, and moved with his father’s new job to Australia when he was five. He took up footy in Melbourne largely because most other boys at school did also. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Canada has proudly watched the career of Sydney Swans’ premiership ruckman, Mike Pyke, from a distance. But now they can claim a potential superstar, with McGrath effectively holding the honour now of the best young player in Australia, drafted as the first selection nationally.


    McGrath is also a gifted athlete, very close to going to Colombia last year for the world youth championships. A sensational 400 metre hurdler, he chose footy instead. Essendon fans remember one of the greatest club hurdlers ever – Tim Watson hurdling a pack of players to goal sensationally back in 1981 against Carlton. But maybe McGrath can top that.

    McGrath’s extended Canadian family wasn’t fully briefed on Australia’s national game, nor the importance of the draft, in the years leading up to his rise to the top. But you can bet your life that they know now, along with many more proud Canadians, as they understand the gravity of McGrath’s achievement and Essendon’s selection.

    One of the key players in the Sandringham Dragons TAC Cup Grand Final win this year, McGrath recorded an incredible 38 possessions in the game to lead the team to victory and at the same time propel himself into the rarified air of “potential number one draft pick”. Essendon took a long time agonising over McGrath, or Hugh McCluggage from the North Ballarat Rebels or even GWS Academy player, Will Setterfield.

    But history will now record that McGrath got the big nod and now embarks on the next part of his football journey at the highest level.

    And you can bet that a good portion of Canada will be watching.

    For full details on the NAB AFL Draft, go to: http://www.afl.com.au/draft/draft-tracker

    Picture: Courtesy ...

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    Whilst much has already been made of Essendon’s selection of Canadian born number one selection, Andrew McGrath (see Made In Canada, this draft had its usual share of certainties, surprises, sliders, bolters and great stories. But from a northerner’s point of view, this draft has certainly recognised the talent coming out of leagues across northern Australia.

    To go from the Halls Creek Hawks to the Carlton Blues in just three years is a remarkable journey for Sam Petrevski-Seton. Leaving behind the vistas of The Kimberley in northern Western Australia, Petrevski-Seton was nabbed at pick number 6 by the Blues. According to The West Australian newspaper “one of his biggest challenges in moving to Perth three years ago was remembering to speak standard Australian English, rather than the Kriol he used back home in Halls Creek.”

    Cedric Cox was grabbed by the Brisbane Lions with pick 24 and became the second player from Halls Creek. The small town is a little less than 3000 kilometres from the state capital, Perth, yet Cox and Petrevski-Seton have both defied distance to start their careers in the AFL.

    Now he is on an AFL club list and has even been compared to champions like Tim Watson and Lance Franklin for the freakish and powerful skills he has.

    Cairns has a new champion – Jack Bowes was taken at pick 10 by the Gold Coast Suns. A local product from Cairns Saints juniors, Bowes now holds the record for the highest ever draft selection for a Cairns player, surpassing Courtney Dempsey’s pick 19 by Essendon in 2005. Bowes is a fluid and game changing future star and continues the legacy of past Cairns greats. (See story Cairns Footballer Jack Bowes To Make Draft History) Daniel Charlesworth, formerly a junior at Cairns City Lions and a mate of Jack Bowes, was always a chance by missed out. His chance may come next week with the Rookie Draft.

    Townsville has a hero of its own with young star, Josh Williams, being nabbed by North Melbourne at pick 36. A Gold Coast Suns Academy product, Williams is described no none other than development guru, Kevin Sheahan, that “speed is his X-Factor”. Williams started with the Hermit Park Tigers as a junior in Townsville and is great friends with fellow academy and Cairns players, Bowes and Charlesworth, showing a great northern Queensland bond.

    Each year, players from the Northern Territory Football League find their way onto AFL lists…names like Long, Rioli, McLeod and Buckley are some of the greats of the game. This year hasn’t been any different with three NT boys finding their way to clubs. Geelong had snared young Nightcliff Tigers junior, Brandon Parfitt, at pick 26. Always viewed as a X-Factor player, the Cats pounced early on Parfitt.


    Two other great NT names were further highlighted with Ben Long, nephew of the great Michael Long, being selected by St Kilda at pick 25 after heading on his journey from the St Mary’s club in the NTFL to be a part of the Footscray Bulldogs premiership team this year in the VFL.

    Willie Rioli, another former NTFL junior star and NT Thunder product, who also played for both St Mary’s and the Tiwi Bombers, was grabbed by the West Coast Eagles with their pick 52.

    With seven northern talents grabbed at the draft, from The Kimberley, the Top End and the tropical cities of Cairns and Townsville, it shapes as a landmark year for this huge but often underrated part of the football country. The eyes of those regions will also be on Monday’s rookie draft to see if talent like Charlesworth or NT’s Tony Olango can add to that collection ...

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  • 11/26/16--18:42: Lions Roaring Towards Finals

  • Maybe it is a bit premature, but the ALFA Lions may have just set themselves on a path to the grand final this year by downing last year’s premiers, the Paris Cockatoos, in Paris this weekend. It makes three wins from three starts for the undefeated Lions and places them back on top of the CNFA ladder.

    Whilst some could argue that consecutive home games for the Lions helped them along, the fact is the opposition was Toulouse Hawks and Paris Cockerels, both perennially successful, which rather cuts out the home ground argument – it took good football to win those matches. The Lions’ acid test was to win away from home, and to do so against the reigning champions says quite clearly that the Lions are a good team and are here to stay for the finals mix.


    Their remaining four matches are all winnable against the Aviators, Tigers and Bombers. Their other match against the Coyotes is a home match, evening out the battle for top spot as the match might yet become.

    The Lions downed the Cockatoos convincingly 86 to 40.

    In the other game in Paris, the Perpignan Tigers almost pulled off their own away game upset, holding the lead throughout much of the day and a being goal in front at the final break. But the Paris Cockerels stood firm and found the extra gear required to squeak past the Tigers and claim an important 7 point win. The Tigers are still in the top four and have lost no respect from anyone – proving again they are an improved team.

    But the Cockerels needed the win to get back into the upper reaches of the top four and they did so. It gives them some breathing space now from the Bombers and Cockatoos.

    Final score: Paris Cockerels 94 d Perpignan Tigers 87

    Two matches remain before the winter/festive season break. Both will feature the Toulouse Hawks in clashes against the Bordeaux Bombers – a vital match now for both teams – and the rescheduled Toulouse derby match against the Blagnac Aviators. Wins in both will place the Hawks back into the finals mix, but should they drop one their run home will be tougher. The Bordeaux Bombers host the Hawks and would certainly be aiming for a home win to keep their own finals chances in orde ...

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    Travis King from the www.afl.com.au website reports in the wake of the AFL’s Rookie Draft yesterday that Port Adelaide has, as expected, selected the first Ugandan player in the AFL. The league already had a number of players of Sudanese and Kenyan heritage, but Emmanuel Irra proudly becomes the first Ugandan.

     

    EMMANUEL Irra has become the first Ugandan player to earn a spot on an AFL list after joining Port Adelaide as a Category B rookie.

     

    The powerful and versatile midfielder was one of seven players given a chance as Category B rookies as clubs finalised their lists on Monday.

     Irra, 22, has been training with the Power since the players returned for pre-season and, as a member of their next generation academy, was able to join the club when no rival outfit selected him in the national or rookie drafts.

    Under the new AFL rules, clubs can list players as Category B rookies from the AFL's indigenous and multicultural academies if they were overlooked in the drafts.

    Irra, whose family fled war-torn Uganda in 2005, was ecstatic to have the chance to officially join the Power.

    "I'm absolutely stoked. I'm pumped for the opportunity and I'm just here looking to work hard – so I'm pretty excited," Irra told the club's website.

    "Officially last Monday was my first week (of training) and that was just a good eye-opener leading into ahead what's to come.

    "(I've noticed) the intensity (of training), how hard guys are on each other and how specific everything is."

    West Coast also made club history by selecting its first next generation academy member, Tarir Bayok, as a category B rookie.

    Bayok, a speedy midfielder/forward with a Sudanese background, turned heads at the WA state draft combine by recording the third-fastest time in history (2.79 seconds) for the 20m sprint.

    "The selection of Tarir Bayok is historic in that he is our first Next Generation Academy player and we're really excited about that," football manager Craig Vozzo said.

    "I know Adam Selwood, our head coach at the academy, was keen for that to happen.

    "Tarir is super quick. We think he’s got a lot of upside, having played for East Perth and the WA under-18s team this year."

    Meanwhile, the Brisbane Lions have added Redland star Blake Grewar as a Queensland-zone selection, while Sydney has recruited Canberra product Sam Fisher as a NSW/ACT-zone pick.

    Gold Coast brought in its third academy player – after Jack Bowes and Brad Scheer – by picking up defender Max Spencer, with Greater Western Sydney gaining access to versatile tall Zach Sproule from its academy as a Category B rookie.

    Carlton was also allowed to bring back Irishman Ciaran Sheehan as a category B rookie after delisting the 26-year-old last month.

     

    In other news from the draft, Essendon shocked the footy world by naming Sam Draper, a 202cm ruckman, as their number one pick. Whilst born in Australia, Draper lived for the next six years in the village of Brede in East Sussex, near Hastings. He played soccer there a a junior, mainly as a goalkeeper and remained so until this year when he joined the Reynella Wineflies in South Australia. Since then he has experienced a meteoric rise to an AFL club, just nine months after taking up the game.

     

    His journey, whilst having spent only a few years in England, still stands as a great example that players, from England or elsewhere, can still pursue a career in Australian football.

     

    The Essendon club has not proceeded, at this stage at least, with the pursuit of US college quarterback, Travis Wilson.

     

    The original story can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-11-28/ugandan-emmanuel-irra-joins-power-as-clubs-confirm-category-b-rookies ...


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  • 11/29/16--03:48: Dingoes Back In Finals Mix

  • The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes have righted their ship with a solid win over the Doha Kangaroos in their Round 3 clash in Qatar. After taking out the pre-season cup, much was expected of the Dingoes this season, but a first round slip to the Abu Dhabi Falcons put them on the back foot.

    The win on the weekend, however, places the Dingoes right back in the finals frame, with four teams – Bulls, Dragons, Falcons and Dingoes – locked on one win apiece. Only the Kangaroos are yet to record a win, despite being highly competitive.

    Final Score: Entertainer Dingoes 13 7 85 d Doha Kangaroos 10 9 69.


    The Middle East is not a place synonymous with rain, but it does arrive from time to time. Such was the case on the weekend, so much so that the Dingoes’ flight from Dubai had to be turned back and a later game time arranged to allow for a later flight. But ultimately the wind and rain had little effect on the Dingoes as the held on for an important first win of the premiership season.

    The ladder after three rounds sees the top four separated only by percentage, though the Bulls and Falcons have a game in hand. The Bulls hold top spot ahead of the Dragons, with the Dingoes edging into third place.

    The next match on Friday 9th December will be huge with the Bulls and Falcons playing their game. The winner will automatically leap clear in top spot as the season heads towards the winter break.


    ...

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    The annual Nathan Blakey Movember Cup was played last weekend, hosted by the Manchester Mozzies at their Burnage Rugby Club. This year was the fifth running of the event, commencing in 2011.

    The Manchester Mozzies website states that, “we would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about the Movember charity. Movember is “the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale.” (uk.movember.com). The charity focuses mainly on prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

     

    “Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 35…Every hour 35 men lose their lives due to prostate cancer…Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under 40.”

     

    Movember helps fund over 1,200 projects across the globe to help give men the facts about their health, change their health behaviour for the better (with regular checking of their testicles, prostate and mental health) and develop accessible health services for men.

    The event is named in honour of former Manchester Mozzies player Nathan Blakey who passed away a week before the inaugural Movember Cup at just 28 years of age. The event was named in his honour for his commitment to growing the game in a variety of roles including player, coach and umpire. 

    This year’s event saw six men’s and two women’s teams. The Manchester Mozzies and University of Birmingham fielded two teams each along with teams from the Huddersfield Rams and the Wolverhampton Wolverines. The women’s exhibition match was played after the men’s matches.

    The Huddersfield Rams took out this year’s final downing the host, Manchester Mozzies. All teams place a high degree of import on this event, and the Huddersfield Rams are proud to take the title to finish their 2016 season on a high. 

     

     

      ...


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    While in Australia the Chappell-Hadlee One Day cricket series kicks into gear today – over in the land of the long white cloud attention may be directed elsewhere. Not by everybody mind you – but for AFLNZ it’s the big day of the year for the Auckland AFL with their Grand Final.

    Waitakere Magpies take on the University Blues at Aucklands QBE Stadium (not that you would know it by checking “What’s on” via the stadium website!!) with ball up 2pm (local time) today. The scene is set for a monster game – the defending premier (Uni Blues) defend their crown against the thus far undefeated Magpies. The script writers have penned the dream encounter. In fact the Magpies will contest their 7th Grand Final in 8 seasons – lead this year by skipper Shane Tyson-Leat. The Uni Blues have perhaps had to do it the hard way this year, coming from 4th.

    Undefeated Waitakere won their way through to the big one with a solid 16 pt win over the North Shore Tigers in the 1st Semi Final. The Maggies have won 11 straight this season which puts all the pressure on them to make it the perfect season. Footy fans know all too well just how fickle the footy gods can be.

    The Maggies were well served last week by the very experienced former skipper Dave Rattenbury, along with Carlos Donnell-Brown and Dan McGregor.

    1st Semi Goals Behinds Total
    Waitakere 7 9 51
    North Shore 5 5 35

    In the other Semi Final – the way it turned out Mt Roskill Saints took on the Uni Blues for the 2nd consecutive week with the results falling the Blues way each time.

    The round 10 result saw the Mapgies smash the previously undefeated at home Saints by 80 points. The Semi Final was another matter entirely, and it was largely that the Blues were more efficient in front of goal to come away with a hard fought 9 pt win. Coach Chris Mundell identified Liam Beattie as BOG, along with Chris Bailey, Darren Vernon and defender Harrison Marks. The Saints on the other hand had been well served by competition B&F winner Will Dickinson, along with their captain and comp B&F runner up Sam McKenzie.

    2nd Semi Goals Behinds Total
    Uni Blues 7 2 44
    Mt Roskill 5 5 35

    This will be the 3rd straight Grand Final appearance for the Uni Blues will the Magpies last featured in the GF in 2014; an unsuccessful crusade to topple todays opponent so revenge has a chance to be served. ...


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    Hutt Park Wellington plays host today to the Wellington AFL 2016 Grand Final. First bounce at 3pm will see the Wellington City Saints engage in battle with the Eastern Suburb Bulldogs who have played in every grand final for the last 10 years and are gunning for a FourPeat.

    For the Saints, it is former player and 2nd year coach Gregor Kempt has the task ahead of him of undoing the Doggies. The Saints have focussed over the time on developing a great culture and building player numbers. Key senior players for them today will include Jason Cox and Conner O’Fee, along with a lot of enthused and talented youth that add excitement to the combination. The Saints squeezed into the Grand Final ahead of the Hutt Valley Eagles.

    The Bulldogs under coach John Jackson are led on field by skipper James Terry. All season their defensive pressure has held supreme – and have conceded just over 2 goals a game as they build an almost impenetrable defence. Some of the keys have been Shane Wineera, Luke Shervey, Matt Lewis, Micheal De Fazio and Hugh Wilson. The midfield has been well served via Stan Chung and 4 time Grand Final BOG in Peter Halstead.

    The Bulldogs clearly go in as raging hot favourites – undefeated not only in end results in season 2016 – but also yet to drop a quarter. Clearly all the expectation lies with the Bulldogs – however the Saints have nothing to lose and enter the contest as the hunter.

    A footnote – Peter Halstead is also an accomplished soccer player for the Miramar Rangers. At age 32 he is extending his AFL NZ focus this season and is participating in the AFL New Zealand Premiership where he has been drafted into the Northern Suns line up. At 190cm Halstead plays in the ruck – and has been playing in the Wellington AFL for about 5 years and also played while in Sydney completing a Master of Physiotherapy course. Halstead has set his sights on getting to Melbourne next year for the 6th AFL International Cup. Northern Suns picked him with their first pick for the 2017 Premiership – having retained 12 players from last season. /p> ...


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