Today AFL Japan announced the Japan Samurai squad to contest the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne in August 2017. The squad announced 20/6/17 has an exciting blend of youth and experience look to it.
Once again the IC veteran Michito Sakaki (I believe this is his 6th IC) graces the squad with his experience and talent, which could well make him the only player in international footy to play in all the International Cups. Other IC veterans include Hisayoshi Oura, Toshiki Matsuhashi (4th IC), Yuosuke Kuno (suiting up for his 5th IC), Yuta Toyshima (played IC14), Jumpei Ito, Yuki Akita and Ryosuke Sato (each 2nd IC).
Amongst the IC debutantes there are some more players who can claim international experience, all having played for the Asia Lions against China in Shanghai in the curtain closer match following the Port Adelaide v Gold Coast match namely Shota Horijuchi, Kyo Nakagawa, Yuji Yamamoto and Yudai Yamaji along with Miticho Sakaki and Yusoke Kuno. New comers Riku Tokutake, Junpei Fujita and Shoki Mukodaka (Box Hill scholarship 2015) also toured Melbourne with the University Warriors in August 2016 along with Ito, Nakagawa and Yamaji.
The full Squad is listed below,
Hisayoshi Oura Tokyo Bay Suns
Toshiki Matsuhashi Tokyo Bay Suns
Kohei Kageyama Tokyo Bay Suns
Hiroo Kuroda Tokyo Bay Suns
Michito Sakaki R246 Lions
Yuta Toyshima R246 Lions
Tatsuya Nasu R246 Lions
Jumpei Ito Eastern Hawks
Kento Takahashi Senshu Powers
Shoki Mukodaka Senshu Powers
Satoru Udagawa Senshu Powers
Sohei Tada Senshu Powers
Shota Horijuchi Senshu Powers
Riku Tokutake Senshu Powers
Kyo Nakagawa Senshu Powers
Hiroto Murayama Senshu Powers
Yuji Yamamoto Tokyo Goannas
Yusoke Kuno Shonan Poseidons
Ryosuke Sato Shonan Poseidons
Satsuki Shimizu Komozawa Magpies
Yuki Tosu Komozawa Magpies
Junpei Fujita Komozawa Magpies
Taisei Matsumura Komozawa Magpies
Yudai Yamaji Komozawa Magpies
Yuki Akita North Gambier, South Australia
Congratulations to all squad members, and apologies for any spelling errors.
The www.afl.com.au website reports that a match for premiership points could be played in India as early as next season. The following article gives details of the planned move which follows in the wake of a premiership match in China earlier this year.
GREATER Western Sydney and Richmond appear to have stolen the march in staging an AFL match in India, with the clubs confirming plans for a premiership-season encounter on the sub-continent.
The Giants-Tigers clash is likely to take place in Mumbai during the mid-season bye round, with GWS playing host.
"Both clubs have the ambition to play for premiership points in Mumbai as early as next year," Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale confirmed to News Corp.
"India is a massive market and the commercial implications in the mid-to-long term could be very significant, so as a business we need to genuinely explore the opportunity.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and former Test star Rahul Dravid are well known supporters of the Tigers.
A Giants spokesman said: "We are aware there is a significant amount of work to do before the ambition of playing an AFL game for points in India can be realised, but we look forward to continuing talks with the AFL and the Tigers.
"Indian-born migrants are the third largest population group in Sydney, with many settling in Western Sydney."
News of the Tigers and Giants' plans comes in the wake of Essendon revealing it hoped to play a pre-season game against Adelaide in India.
A combination of recent premierships and past history – as well as results to date this season – might see the term “premiership favourites” directed towards the incumbent champions the Greater Glasgow Giants, their nearest rival the Edinburgh Bloods or even the historical record of the Glasgow Sharks. The Kingdom Kangaroos are not usually the first name tied to 2017 flag chances.
But after their last start home victory against the Glasgow Sharks, so soon after their maiden win against the Edinburgh Bloods, the Kingdom Kangaroos have sent a clear message to other teams and fans – write us off at your peril.
Their big win against the Glasgow Sharks – 21 16 142 to 12 9 81 – proved comprehensively that the ‘Roos do have the firepower to challenge any of the other teams. Add that to their efforts back in May to ground the Bloods by 45 points and the Kingdom Kangaroos are moving into flag calculations.
Granted, they have to find the ability to win away from home – and the spectre of the Giants looms in the background - but there has to be a growing belief amongst the Fyfe team that on any given day in certain situations they are definitely capable. The biggest change across the league would have to be the respect that opposition teams would have for them – they are now a long way from being a “gimme” fixture.
Aiding and abetting the Kangaroos are the undefeated Greater Glasgow Giants. Their victory this weekend over the Edinburgh Bloods has seen them clear out to a two game break at the top of the ladder and leaves both the Bloods and Kangaroos locked on two wins apiece in the fight for finals.
The Bloods got away to a solid start against the Giants, leading by five points at quarter time. But the Giants kicked into gear and pulled away to a handy nine-point lead by the main break and extended that lead during the third quarter to 21 points. The Bloods came back hard in the last quarter and fell agonisingly close. The Giants held off the fast finishing Bloods by just seven points.
With next weekend being an open training session for the Clansmen national team, the Round 9 clash will see the Glasgow Sharks host the Kingdom Kangaroos. Only four rounds remain before finals with each team playing two more matches in the jostle for finals spot ...
AFL Media Release - Bachar Houli programs set to grow, including female Academy3
The Federal Government, together with the AFL, today announced a $625,000 investment to the Bachar Houli programs, growing the existing programs to include a female component of the Bachar Houli Academy and the Bachar Houli Schools Cup.
The Bachar Houli Academy is a high-performance football talent program while the Bachar Houli Cup engages over 5,000 Islamic school students, providing a starting point for players from a Muslim background to transition into football pathways.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said the Bachar Houli Programs have been an integral part of engaging Muslim youth into the AFL, allowing young men and women the best opportunities to excel on and off the football field through training and guidance.
“We thank the Federal Government for their continued support of the Bachar Houli Programs which have been strengthened each year, engaging more people and most importantly having a deep impact on young Muslim Australians,” Mr. McLachlan said.
“There is no more important time for leaders across sport, Government and the community to stand together and celebrate Australia’s successful multicultural heritage, and the values that tie us together.
“It is that spirit of standing together that we are here today to highlight the success of our Bachar Houli programs, and to thank the Federal Government for their ongoing support.
“It does take partnerships and communities and strength in numbers to drive change and promote social inclusion – and the support of the Federal Government in delivering these programs is absolutely critical,” Mr. McLachlan said.
Bachar Houli said he is proud of what the programs have been able to achieve over the past six years.
“I would like to thank the Federal Government for their continued support of the programs, providing real opportunities for the next generation of boys and girls playing and administering our great game,” Houli said.
“Being a part of the program is a great opportunity for young Australian Muslim boys and girls, providing them with a safe environment to grow culturally and to develop their leadership capacity using football as the vehicle.
“I want talented youth across the country to be given the best possible avenue, support and pathway into the elite system and while the Academy aims to recruit talented athletes, it's not all about football - we want them to grow as people and receive life education, building confidence, awareness and knowledge to succeed.”
In 2017, the program engaged over 11,000 Muslim people across Australia spreading the message of inclusion and fostering pathways into AFL football. Over 30 schools nationally participated in the Bachar Houli Cup and for the first time the program introduced the Bachar Houli Employment program, providing full time traineeships to ten people across Australia.
Over the past year, the Bachar Houli Programs have delivered:
·11,000 participants across 30 schools nationally
·25 participants selected in the Bachar Houli Acadmey with over 1,000 boys participating in state trials
·A total of 150 participants have been part of the Academy since its inaugural year in 2012
·7 participants selected on a leadership camp to the Qatar Aspire Academy
·1,000 attendees across five state-based Ramadan dinners
·10 young men and women representing 13 cultural groups employed on 12-month traineeships across a diverse set of roles in the industry ...
Round 15 of the 2017 AFL Season kicks off tomorrow night at the MCG with Melbourne hosting Sydney. The full international broadcast schedule can be seen below.
In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only). You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL banner below and paying the subscription fee.
Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club announced at AFL website the following news concerning an all-Thai local Auskick Footy match played out in Bangkok.
Saturday 10th June saw the first ever match between all local Thai Auskickers as part of an AFL Tournament in Bangkok. The day comprised of under 9 and under 12 Auskick matches between the Bangkok Tigers and Pattaya Pirates, the 1st ever All Thai Auskick match between the Thai Blues and the Thai Reds and the AFL Asia match between the Thailand Tigers and Cambodian Eagles
The Thailand Tigers AFL Club and Bangkok Auskick and Junior AFL have been working with disadvantaged Thai boys from the Klong Toey Slums in Bangkok with the assistance of the Duang Prateep Foundation and UNOH (Urban Neighbours of Hope Foundation - UNOH Thailand) by running clinics / Auskick sessions as well as providing Auskick backpacks, footballs, runners and boots.
Phil Stevens, President of Bangkok Auskick and Junior AFL, has been pleased to see the enjoyment the local Thai players were getting from their involvement in AFL.
"The Thai boys have been introduced to our great game and have even been introduced to that great Aussie tradition of a Sausage Sizzle after matches, which they enjoyed immensely. Two of the older boys have shown some impressive skills recently and played in the Thailand Tigers Domestic Grand Final," Phil said.
The players, aged between 8 to 14 years of age, had been training for 7 weeks prior to their first match where it was the Thai Reds 7.10 - 66 defeating the Thai Blues 1.1 - 7.
The airwaves for Australian Football will grow even larger, and better, with the addition of a dedicated Multicultural Football Show for the remainder of the 2017 season. The following media release from the AFL details the initiative.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
AFL partners with NEMBC and 3ZZZ Radio to launch Multicultural Football Show
The AFL, together with the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council (NEMBC), is proud to announce 3ZZZ Community Radio Station will produce a series of Multicultural Football Shows and match broadcasts during the remainder of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
The Multicultural Football Show will be recorded in English and select match broadcasts will be available in the Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin and Spanish languages. The programs, set to engage eight multicultural commentators, will provide each commentator with training and the opportunity to commentate Australian Football live at the MCG and Etihad Stadium.
The weekly Multicultural Football Show will feature eight episodes and will be hosted by Harbir Singh Kang who is of Punjabi background, Salam Hasanein who is Palestinian and Gabriel D’Angelo who is of Spanish heritage. Reviewing and previewing each round of the AFL, the show will focus on news and programs relevant to multicultural communities, featuring interviews with Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors.
AFL General Manager Game Development Andrew Dillon said the AFL is proud to partner with the NEMBC and 3ZZZ to deliver the Multicultural Football Show.
“The AFL’s multicultural strategy has been developed through partnerships with ethnic communities and organisations such as the NEMBC who have become advocates of our game; ensuring it is the most inclusive sport in Australia,” Mr. Dillon said.
“We are proud to have established a formal partnership with NEMBC to host a Multicultural Football Show that will be shared across all the partners of NEMBC in 2017.
“This show will give us the opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up our great game; highlighting the contribution multicultural communities have made to the sport’s history and welcoming new communities to embrace Australia’s game in the future,” he said.
NEMBC Operations Officer Fiv Antoniou said:
“We are proud to partner with the AFL to deliver the first Multicultural Football Show of its kind, engaging passionate multicultural supporters of AFL football and providing them with the opportunity to broadcast the game in different languages,” Mr. Antoniou said.
“The AFL has for several years been investing in multicultural communities around the country and we are excited to play a role in growing the game. The multicultural community is a huge national sector and what better place to commence a regular multicultural AFL program than through the NEMBC, a national radio station network.
“In every state capital there is a large multilingual community radio station and there are hundreds of general community radio stations in cities and towns broadcasting multilingual and multicultural programs. Community radio forms a large part of the media landscape, with 57% of Australians tuning in to community radio at one time or other each month,” he said.
The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council (NEMBC) was established in 1985 and is the only national peak body that advocates for multiculturalism and supports multilingual community broadcasting around Australia. The NEMBC contributes to media diversity in Australia by maintaining and connecting people to their language, culture, identity and reminding mainstream media in the importance of Ethnic community broadcasting in Australia
.3ZZZ is Australia’s largest ethnic community radio station. There are more than 5,000 members from nearly 63 ethnic groups affiliated with the station. All major ethnic communities living in Australia are represented.
Please see below a list of the in-language commentators:
ARABIC: Ahmed Osman, Salam Hasanein
HINDI: Harbir Singh Kang, Renu Tiwary
MANDARIN: Barney Xua, Agnes Lu
SPANISH: Maximo Perez-Torres, Vanessa Gatica
Please see below the schedule of broadcasts that the AFL has granted the Multicultural Footy Show the right to broadcast:
Round Date Match Language
Round 15 Sunday 2
July 2017 Hawthorn vs. Collingwood Arabic
Round 16 Saturday 8 July 2017 St. Kilda vs. Richmond Hindi
Round 17 Sunday 16 July 2017 Carlton vs. Western Bulldogs Mandarin
Round 18 Sunday 23 July 2017 Richmond vs. GWS Giants Spanish
Round 19 Sunday 30 July 2017 Collingwood vs. Adelaide Crows Mandarin
Journalist Wouter Pienaar has reported recently in the Potchefstroom Herald about the exploits of South African footballer, Godfrey Molohlanyi, and his journey towards the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne.
Finding an Aussie Rules Football player in Potchefstroom is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. And, if that player is also representing South Africa in the Australian Football International Cup then you know you have discovered something unique.
Godfrey Molohlanyi is a South African Aussie Rules Football player from Ventersdorp. He is currently employed at Pick n Pay Vanderhoff Park in Potch where he works as a merchandiser by day.
Godfrey Molohlanyi packs merchandise at Pick n Pay Vanderhoff Park by day and, after hours, he plays Aussie Rules Football for South Africa.
By night, he practises his beloved sport for the Wild Cats Aussie Rules Football team at the Mohadin Cricket Grounds.
From 5-19 August, Godfrey will represent South Africa in Melbourne, Australia in this international competition for the second time, having been part of a previous World Tournament in 2008.
‘I started playing in 2004 when I met Sipho Mabongo. He introduced me to Aussie Football in Ventersdorp as part of an awareness initiative. He explained the rules and I started practising from there. I really enjoyed it,’ he remembers.
In Aussie Rules Football there are 18 players per team with four goalposts. It is played on an oval ground with the main aim of scoring goals by kicking the ball between the posts. Think of it as a strange marriage between rugby, football and basketball with a distinct Aussie flair.
Godfrey has played eight games for South Africa in the past and he will look to make his mark as a centre-half forward in this tournament. This is one of the most physically demanding positions as Godfrey has to be able to catch from long distances (mark) and kick the ball accurately out of hand.
‘The sport has taught me a range of skills, such as catching, bouncing, running and kicking.
‘It is also a high contact sport so you have to be fit and strong to play. I practise once or twice a day, often jogging early in the morning and working on skills at practice after work,’ he says.
‘It is the ultimate high to be able to represent your country.
There is nothing like it. South Africa has been doing well at Aussie Football and we are going to push for a win after coming fifth in 2014,’ says Godfrey in his rainbow coloured national jersey.
Pick n Pay Vanderhoff Park has sponsored and assisted Godfrey with his visa requirements and wishes him all the best for the coming world championships.
July is the time of the year when northern humidity is at its lowest and conditions are ideal for Australian Rules football in our most northern cities. Hence, the next two weekends are the annual showcase of northern footy with two AFL premiership matches being played in both Darwin and Cairns.
Many good teams have travelled north at this time of year to play, but usually not in matches which would determine finals fortunes – at least not both matches together. But this year Darwin will be blessed with a genuine match which could determine the makeup of the top four, whilst Cairns will host a game which will spell curtains for the loser in terms of 2017 finals.
TIO Stadium in Darwin will see the top team, the in-form Adelaide Crows, take on the season’s surprise packet, the Melbourne Demons. Adelaide currently sits atop the ladder. Melbourne sits fifth, but only percentage out of the top four. An Adelaide win will see it further strengthen its hold on the minor premiership and consign the Demons to the lower rungs of the top eight.
Conversely, a Demon win could see it enter the top four and see the Crows drop as low as third place depending on other results. For these reasons the match looms as a huge showcase of footy for the local Darwin crowd. The word ‘sell-out” could yet be a reality given the stakes and the standard of the two teams. The names of Betts, Walker, Sloane, Laird, Lever, Jenkins, Crouch and company will be pitted against the new Demon era with players like Petracca, Gawn, Oliver, McDonald, Harmes, Lewis, Garlett and troops.
On paper Adelaide probably looks like the favourite, but try telling Melbourne that.
The following weekend Cairns will host its first ever reigning premier when the Western Bulldogs take on the Gold Coast Suns. The exquisite irony here is that over the three years of the Dogs and Suns having played here they have both been pretty well in the mix around the middle of the ladder and the same goes for this year – the Bulldogs sit 11th with just seven wins. The Suns are 14th with just six wins. Yet the winner will stay in the race for the finals (both have winnable games this weekend). The loser will begin the planning for 2018.
Once again the match will be fascinating and will genuinely shape the remainder of the season. It should be enough for a huge crowd to descend upon Cazalys Stadium.
Can last year’s premiers, the Western Bulldogs, shrug off the premiership hangover and make their charge to the finals over the final rounds? With a list that includes the mercurial talents of players like Stringer, Dalhaus, Picken, Johannisen, Wallis, Hunter and so many more talented kids and veterans alike, they should again be triumphant. Yet the Suns keep finding enough stars or just good, solid hard workers to pick off wins – probably none more so that Ablett (should he play), Lynch, Harbrow (the local favourite), Saad, Martin and local kid Jack Bowes (like Harbrow, a Cairns product).
Whatever happens under the northern lights of TIO Stadium and Cazalys Stadium, the northern climes of Australia are about to be treated to some tremendous and absolutely desperate footy over the next two weeks – broadcast to a national (and in some cases international) audience for all to see.
Heading into the Round 9 clashes – the penultimate round of the AFL London home and away season – the league’s two perennial heavyweights were locked in a huge battle for minor premiership honours and subsequent premiership favouritism.
At the end of the round, both sides were locked on seven wins apiece with the Wandsworth Demons ahead of the West London Wildcats by percentage only (236.8 to 222.8). Their respective Round 9 clashes this weekend would certainly tell some stories. The Demons taking on the last-placed Giants, whilst the Wildcats (2nd) would take on the North London Lions (3rd).
Lower down the ladder, the fourth placed Wimbledon Hawks will to take on the fifth placed London Swans with the winner likely to snare a place in the finals. Each plays one of the higher ranked teams in the final home and away round, so this weekend’s clash between the Hawks and Swans is likely to be cut throat.
Round 8 Results:
Wandsworth Demons 11 12 78 d Wimbledon Hawks 5 6 36
North London Lions 21 18 144 d South East London Giants 3 2 20
West London Wildcats 19 16 130 d London Swans 7 5 47
One of the great thing about competitions with smaller amounts of teams is that every match has the capacity to impact the whole competition. Such is the case with the last round results for the SARFL competition in Scotland. The Glasgow Sharks went into the game without a win for 2017. The Kingdom Kangaroos were sitting second looking to consolidate that position.
The Edinburgh Bloods looked on from afar with keen interest, while the Greater Glasgow Giants watch all those below them fight and jostle. In the end it was the Glasgow Sharks that enjoyed their first win of the season, after a number of unlucky close shaves. But their win at home against the Kingdom Kangaroos – 147 to 74 - has ramifications for the whole competition.
Firstly, it still gives to Sharks a better chance of reaching the Preliminary Final and then, by extension, the Grand Final. If the top team, the Greater Glasgow Giants can win both of their next matches against both the Bloods and Kangaroos, it sets up a chance for the Sharks to host the Bloods in the final round. A win there could see the Sharks close to finals action as they already have a reasonable percentage.
The Edinburgh Bloods sat third on the ladder prior to the match. Now they have jumped to second by virtue of a huge percentage drop for the Roos. The Bloods have two games left and will now be energised to win them both and secure second place going into the finals.
The Kingdom Kangaroos would be disappointed, but they would also be aware that they have a game left and it is a huge make-or-break affair. They will host the ladder leaders, the Giants, in a must win match. The Kangaroos have enjoyed good form at home this season – now comes their biggest test and they will be fired up. Whilst the Giants are undefeated, they have just fallen over the line in a couple of matches this year – they are beatable and the Roos will know that.
The journey to the finals continues this weekend when the Edinburgh Bloods host the Greater Glasgow Giants. It is sure to be a massive game for both teams and the competition as a whole.
The SARFL finals series is held on the 12th and 19th of August and pretty well anything could happen between now and then.
The Leeside Lions and the Belfast Redbacks were the big winners at last weekend’s ARFLI carnival, hosted by the Redbacks at their home ground at the Boucher Road playing Fields. Both teams won both of their matches, and in the process the Lions have locked in a home final for the second year in a row after finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder.
That result certainly means that the Lions will firm even further for premiership favouritism.
The results of the weekend matches saw:
Belfast Redbacks 7 6 48 d South Dublin Swans 1 2 8
Belfast Redbacks 6 9 45 d Galway Magpies 1 4 10
Leeside Lions 7 5 47 d South Dublin Swans 1 10 16
Leeside Lions 10 8 68 d Galway Magpies 1 1 7
These results see the Lions finish on top of the ladder with seven wins from eight matches (29 points). The Redbacks finished second with five wins (23 points) from their eight matches, including an important win against the Lions recently in Dublin which will be a spur for them during finals. The Swans and the Magpies finished in third and fourth spots respectfully with two wins apiece (14 points each).
Details of the 2017 ARFLI finals series will be confirmed and advised shortl ...
Ireland is significant as one of the first European nations to have adopted the sport of Aussie rules. However, footy has never enjoyed significantly broad popularity in the country due to the dominance of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which overseas the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, handball, and Gaelic football.
Gaelic football — by far the largest Irish spectator sport — has several similarities to Aussie rules, which have been well-documented over the years. The primary differences are the number of players, the size and shape of the ball and pitch, and the fact that Gaelic football is not full-contact.
Irish interest in footy was most likely initially sparked in 1967 during the Australian Football World Tour, which played a couple of test matches in Dublin. The hybrid sport of international rules football (a combination of Aussie rules and Gaelic football) has its roots in the World Tour. In addition, many Gaelic footballers have given Aussie rules a shot since the 1980s, primarily due to the lure of a quality salary; the Gaelic games are only played at an amateur level in Ireland.
As far a domestic competition goes, there were no official footy clubs in Ireland until 1999, when teams were formed in both Belfast and Dublin (the Redbacks and Demons, respectively). The following year, the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded, and the Demons and Redbacks began playing test matches against teams in England. Having recruited well, both clubs performed admirably, providing a strong foundation for footy to grow in the Emerald Isle. Three more clubs — the Leeside Lions, the Midland Tigers, and the Drogheda Dockers — were founded within the next year, helped by an established group of Aussie expats.
ARFLI’s co-founders, Ciaran O’Hara and Michael Currane, attempted to strengthen ties with other organized footy clubs and leagues in both the UK and Continental Europe, helping form the European Australian Rules Football Council in early 2001. This was a key development in the eventual formation of AFL Europe in 2010, of which Ireland was a founding member.
Due to a lack of available cricket ovals, the ARFLI originally decided to create two competitions, starting in the 2001 season. The premiership season was the original five teams competing in traditional 18-a-side formats, while the Super 9’s competition was nine-per-side, and was played on Gaelic football pitches in order to give players a smoother transition.
In addition to a growing local competition, Ireland’s national footy team, the Warriors, were inaugural members of the International Cup in 2002, when they won the premiership over heavily-favored Papua New Guinea, in addition to prior victories over Canada, Samoa, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
In both 2005 and 2008, the Irish team (AKA the Green Machine) finished in fourth place, suffering losses to both PNG and the US in ’05 and falling to New Zealand during round one of the finals in ’08. However, Ireland rebounded three years later, taking home the 2011 IC title with another nice win over PNG. The Green Machine/Warriors are one of the most successful IC teams ever, as they’ve never finished below fourth place overall and are tied with PNG for the most premierships.
The women’s national team, the Banshees, was also an inaugural member of the women’s IC in 2011, winning the Grand Final that year and finishing as runners-up to Canada in 2014.
While Gaelic football still dominates the local media coverage and captivates spectators, the future of Aussie rules in Ireland still looks bright, due to the triennial International Rules Series, the emergence of several Gaelic converts in the AFL, and the chance to compete abroad at the International Cup. There are roughly 150 registered Irish footy players, as well as a junior development program.
AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL LEAGUE OF IRELAND
North Leinster Giants
South Dublin Swans
IRISH (Heritage) IN THE AFL
Dermott Brereton (played 1982-1992) — One of the greatest goalkickers ever, Brereton is a first generation Irish Australian who played in 189 career games for the Hawthorn Hawks, winning five VFL premierships during that time. After briefly attempting a comeback with Sydney and Collingwood in the mid-90s, Brereton permanently retired and is now a prominent radio and TV commentator.
Jock McHale (played 1903-1920) — The son of Irish immigrants to Sydney, McHale mostly grew up in Melbourne and played for Collingwood during the VFL’s infancy. However, he is best remembered for his 714-game coaching career with the Pies, which lasted over two decades and resulted in seven premierships. McHale passed away of a heart attack in 1970 and was posthumously named as a Legend in the AFL Hall of Fame.
NOTABLE GAELIC FOOTBALL CONVERTS TO AFL
Tadhg Kennelly (played 2001-2008) — An athletic 6’3″ defender, Kennelly made history with the Sydney Swans in 2005, when he became the first born-and-raised Irishman to win an AFL premiership. Before he transitioned to footy, Kennelly was a stellar underage player for GAA powerhouse club County Kerry.
Pearce Hanley (played 2008-present) — The son of an Irish father and Welsh mother, Hanley played for GAA’s County Mayo. In 2005, after a positive showing at the International Rules Series, Hanley began to receiving scouting attention from the AFL. He ultimately signed with the Brisbane Lions as a midfielder/defender and played in 129 career games there before being traded to the Gold Coast Suns last year.
Jim Stynes (played 1987-1998) — Born in Dublin, Stynes spent his entire AFL career with the Melbourne Demons and is considered the first major success in the so-called Irish experiment, playing in 264 career games and winning a Brownlow Medal in 1991. Following his retirement, Stynes became well-known for his charity work and penned two memoirs. He was also selected to the AFL Hall of Fame and named to the Melbourne Team of the Century. Stynes passed away in 2012 at the tragically young age of 45 due to recurring melanoma.
Ciarán Byrne (played 2014-present) — Byrne is another Gaelic convert who originally made his presence known to the AFL when playing in the International Rules Series. Hailing from County Louth, Byrne signed as a category B international rookie with Carlton in 2013 and has since played in a dozen AFL games, primarily in the half-back line.
Conor McKenna (played 2015-present) — McKenna hails from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and played at the minor league level in Gaelic football before deciding to give Aussie rules a try. Now a midfielder for the Essendon Bombers, McKenna has seen more and more senior level footy in recent months, drawing praise for his style of play from ex-Bombers captain Jobe Watson.
Colm Begley (played 2006-2009) — Begley moved to Australia in 2005 from County Laois and signed with the Brisbane Lions, where he played for three seasons. Unfortunately, injuries marred the latter half of his career; he retired in 2009 and elected to return to Ireland.
Zach Tuohy (played 2010-present) — Tuohy is one of the more recent Irish success stories. Originally from County Laois, he began his career as a versatile defender with the Carlton Blues before getting traded to Geelong at the end of last season. Tuohy also represented Ireland at both the 2011 and 2013 International Rules Series.
Interchanger is the game management App currently used by more than 400 teams around Australia. Interchanger are providing software for 11 of the 18 AFL clubs in 2017.
The creator and owner of Interchanger Murray Bird has offered the App free (including the stats feature) to all of the International Cup teams to manage their team and stats during the tournament.
Additionally Murray has offered to meet team coaches prior to the event to run them through functionality of the App.
The App takes 'guessing' out of the equation when it comes to player management on game day.Coaches are able to focus on tactics & teachingwhile Interchanger Club manages your player rotations.
More widely junior teams find that the App helps ensure playing times are fair for participants and complies with AFL & league guidelines. So other clubs around the world may want to take a look at what the App can offer.
As well as managing playing time and rotations Interchanger Stats can be added on to manage your players’statistics via generic and customisable fields.
MANAGE YOUR TEAM LIKE THE PROS! (The offer above is for all competing International Cup Teams - the pricing referred to below is the regular pricing).
You can contact Murray to get Interchanger for every team at your school/club for as little as AU$250Call (in Australia) 0433 001 588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The AFL is pleased to announce a collaboration with Thomas & Friends in an international first for the two brands.
The collaboration will see four short episodes produced, centred around the AFL and following Thomas and his friends on their Australian adventures with the first episode to be released today, Wednesday July 12.
Two AFL superstars will voice characters in the four short episodes, with former Richmond Tiger Matthew Richardson starring as Shane the Train, an Australian character introduced in the last Thomas & Friends movie ‘The Great Race’ and Brisbane Lions AFLW player Sabrina Frederick-Traub as Tracy the Melbourne Tram.
Shane the Train - Image Courtesy Mattel
In the first episode, Thomas arrives at the historical Flinders Street Station where he is met by his friend Shane the Train, who needs Thomas to help him transport some stranded Western Bulldog players from Footscray Station to the iconic MCG for a match.
Thomas quickly learns the local lingo and gets immersed into the AFL way of life.
AFL General Manager of Digital, Growth and Audience Darren Birch said this collaboration was the first of its kind for the AFL as it embarked on content creation with a high-profile international pre-school brand.
“Thomas is as popular today as it was twenty years ago, and it’s so pleasing that Thomas and his friends will embark on adventures with Australian Football over four specially produced episodes,” Mr Birch said.
“The creative development of the episodes with Mattel has truly been collaborative and we were so excited to have the opportunity to add two of our own voices, in Matthew Richardson and Sabrina Frederick-Traub, to characters,” he said.
Mattel/Thomas & Friends Director of Marketing in Australia, Chedney Rodgers said the collaboration was an exciting one for the brand.
“We are incredibly excited about the multiyear partnership we are embarking on with AFL,” Ms Rodgers said.
Image Courtesy AFL Media
“It is undoubtedly a fun opportunity to bring Thomas to Australia while partnering with an iconic brand sharing the same values of friendship, teamwork and participation,” she said.
Richmond great Matthew Richardson said he was surprised but delighted to be asked to voice the Shane the Train character.
“It wasn’t your every day request, but Thomas and Friends is iconic and I couldn’t be more thrilled to add some Aussie charm into these episodes,” Mr Richardson said.
“With a baby on the way, this has been great preparation for what I’ll be watching for the next few years,” he said.
Brisbane Lions AFL Women’s star Sabrina Frederick-Traub was born in England and raised on Thomas and Friends.
“Obviously having being born and living in England until I was seven, I watched a lot of Thomas growing up,” Ms Frederick-Traub said.
“When the AFL asked if I would be interested in voicing a new friend of Thomas, in something so cool as Tracy the Melbourne tram, I jumped at the chance to be involved in something I loved so much as a kid,” she said.
The first episode in the series will be released today, Wednesday July 12, on YouTube and across AFL and Thomas & Friends channels.
The other three episodes will be released one at a time in August and September 2017.
Families have the opportunity to have a Day out with Thomas at Queenscliff Station with the Bellarine Railway on October 7 and 8. Unlimited rides with Thomas and the Troublesome Trucks, meeting Sir Topham Hatt and heaps of other fun activities are available. Bellarine Railway’s Thomas is seen in the launch photos. For more information, visit bellarinerailway.com.au
About Thomas & Friends™
Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created over 70 years ago by a British clergyman, the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families in more than 150 territories and in over 40 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 400+ original TV shows; 11 feature-length films; 14 websites in nine languages; apps; toys (ranked number one property in the pre-school toys category in the UK and Australia and number two in the US); consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more. Thomas & Friends has scooped prestigious accolades including a Parent’s Choice Award, a Webby and a Licensing Award for Best Classic Licensed Property. The famous and cheeky No.1 blue engine and his friends invite children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train. Together, the children and engines embark on timeless adventures while experiencing valuable yet fun life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Thomas & Friends™ is viewable on more than 30 world-class broadcasters including PBS KIDS® in the US, Super RTL in Germany, and on Five’s Milkshake! and Nick Jr. in the UK. Downloadable episodes are available through iTunes and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/thomasandfriends.
So many times the dream and our reality are vastly different. It is certainly true in Tyler Ames’ case, but his current reality is somewhat of a dream, and it certainly doesn’t resemble what he saw for himself.
Tyler went to college in the US as many of us do. He figured he’d become a businessman and have the American dream - a wife he loved, two kids, two cars, and such. He settled on accounting and finance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and landed a job.
One day he became good friends with Michio McGrath, an Australian expat who persuaded him to try his hand at footy. Ironically, it was Tyler who helped recruit Michio to his accounting firm. McGrath in turn spent an entire Colorado winter selling Tyler on the game as well as on his favorite club the West Coast Eagles.
McGrath wore him down and eventually Tyler began to play for the Denver Bulldogs, a strong American club in Colorado.
“The moment I really bought fully in and truly started loving the game was during the 2015 USAFL National Championships in which I played on the Bulldogs’ Division 4 team. I had never played in the ruck before that tournament but because of injuries I had to step up and play the entire time. I didn’t feel like I played well but I was somehow given the Most Consistent on ground for the tournament in Division 4. From that point on I was motivated and driven to get good at footy,” Ames said.
Ames also thinks the camaraderie is something special. “(In the states) we can’t play every weekend like here in Australia so instead large tournaments are held roughly once a month during the summer with smaller 3 or so team tournaments intermixed as well. These were where I fell in love with not just the game of footy but with the Australian culture, team camaraderie, and spirit.
We would all stay in a hotel as a group, throw 4 guys to a room, play a full day of footy, and then go out on the town totally beat up where the tournament was being held with the other teams. The stories and fun from these and the relationships I developed with my teammates was what gave me the passion and excitement to make Australia and footy a bigger part of my life.”
Once he gained a foothold in the game another seed grew. “The first person to even float the thought of Australia was my now Montrose teammate Sam Nix. He was playing for the (USAFL) Austin Crows and we were in Austin for a tournament and said I should look into it. I then talked to a few of my Denver Bulldogs teammates and word must have traveled through the grapevine because at the USAFL National tournament last October, I met with Tony Fairhead from Perth and Rod Buncle of Melbourne both of whom work with the USAFL.
Tony had said they’d been looking for someone from the US to be the first chosen to represent the USAFL in an exchange through Darwin. I believe they wanted someone who’d embrace the full Darwin experience and everything it had to offer,” Ames said.
The Darwin Buffaloes celebrated their 100th anniversary in season 2017, and Tyler was very complimentary about his time with the Double Blues. “The greatest things about living in Darwin were the relationships I made with my Coach Mark Motlop who will forever be an inspiration and father-like figure to me, my teammates, and becoming a real part of the Buffaloes family.”
He’s been mentored by Motlop, spoken to former Adelaide Crow champion Andrew McLeod, and met the Longs, Riolis and so many others. Tyler even had the chance to meet Darwin legend Ali Muir (Nicholls Medallist 1968-69) before Muir’s recent passing.
His adventures have now taken him to Montrose in the Eastern Football League, where he is taking advantage of his chance to improve as a player and student of the game. “I still also feel like I have a lot of untapped potential and I’m continuing to improve leaps and bounds each and every week,” Ames said. “I hope after a full season here and an entire offseason of hard work and dedication, I’d really like to contest for a regular ones spot with the Demons and hopefully play a role in getting a flag.”
Tyler said he’s played all over the ground. He worked almost exclusively as a ruckman with Darwin, which involved some transition since he played the forward line as a Denver Bulldog. He’s been all over the field with Montrose, but says he’s most comfortable at centre half forward and rotating into the ruck position at times.
“(Playing in Australia) has been nothing short of incredible in every sense of the word. For someone who is just experiencing footy for the first time really to embark on a journey like this has been mind-blowing. The thing that I think strikes me most is the culture of football and the community aspect that surrounds it. What I learned very quickly, especially in Darwin, footy is family and family is footy and I’ve never seen anything like it in the world,” he said.
So if the USAFL wanted someone to truly immerse himself in footy and in Australia, they found their man. It’s something Tyler has trouble believing. “In all honesty I still wake up and can’t believe I’m actually living this life. I’m so unbelievably fortunate and there’s still so much that I want to experience and get out of my footy and my Australian adventure,” he said.
“I do still have high aspirations of being one of the best American players and I’d like to represent our team in the 2020 as well as the 2023 footy World Cups.” ...
Round 17 of the 2017 AFL Season kicks off tomorrow night at the Etihad Stadium with St Kilda hosting co-tenant Essendon. The full international broadcast schedule can be seen below.
In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only). You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL banner below and paying the subscription fee.
The final matches of the AFLCNE home and away season will be played this weekend in Nottingham when the Scorpions host the third and final Lightning Round. The matches will determine the final placings for the season before the finals series over the last two weekends in July.
Whilst there is interest in which team will finish on top of the ladder – currently the Mozzies are two points and a big percentage ahead of the Scorpions – it is the battle for the last finals place which will have the league buzzing. Currently the Huddersfield Rams hold fourth place ahead of the Tyne Tees Tigers. Should the Tigers win enough games in Nottingham to pass the Rams it will be an historic event. It would mark the first finals campaign for the Tyne Tees Tigers. It will be a tall order, playing against both the Mozzies and Wolverines, but they will throw everything at the chance.
Either way it is a landmark year for the Newcastle based Tigers with either a premiership semi-final on offer or a Plate final guaranteed at least.
The Wolverhampton Wolverines are safe in third place and barring miracles will stay there. Then there is the battle for the wooden spoon with the Sheffield Thunder boys 2 points ahead of the Merseyside Saints. Neither team has enjoyed a great season, but the final round is sure to offer incentive for both to play their hearts out.
Recent results have seen:
Lightning Round – Hosted by Tyne Tees Tigers
Wolverines 8 5 53 d Saints 2 6 18
Wolverines 9 9 63 d Scorpions 6 6 42
Rams d Thunder (forfeit)
Rams 12 6 78 d Saints 1 5 11
Scorpions 13 9 87 d Rams 3 5 23
Saints d Thunder (forfeit)
Tigers d Thunder (forfeit)
Mozzies 11 5 71 d Wolverines 6 4 40
Mozzies 10 3 63 d Saints 1 4 10
Nottingham Scorpions 21 13 139 d Wolverhampton Wolverines 9 12 66
Tyne Tees Tigers d Merseyside Saints (forfeit)
Manchester Mozzies d Sheffield Thunder (forfeit)
Huddersfield Rams (bye)
Just when the script appeared to be settled after Round 8 results, along comes Round 9 with some new plot twists to shake up the competition with just one home and away round to go. The West London Wildcats were locked in a battle for top spot, until the North London Lions defeated them. Of equal significance – or greater depending on your point of view – was the London Swans efforts to defeat the Wimbledon Hawks and usurp them in the top four.
The Lions hosted the Wildcats and in a tough and close match it was the ions that found the little bit extra to get them over the lie by just nine points. Granted the result could have been greater had the Lions kicked straight, but they did enough to keep their heads in front at the final siren – and that’s what counts. The final score saw the North London Lions 7 16 58 defeat the West London Wildcats 7 7 49.
The London Swans simply had to win against the Wimbledon Hawks to play finals. Thy went into the match a game behind the Hawks but with a better percentage. As required, they did win and are unlikely to drop. Whilst they come up against the top team, the Wandsworth Demons, the Hawks have just a tough a challenge against the Lions at their North London home. Percentage could still be a factor however, so both sides will fight tooth and nail to hold a finals place. Final score saw the London Swans 10 8 68 defeat the Wimbledon Hawks 7 10 52.
In the other game, the Wandsworth Demons did what was needed to down the gallant South East London Giants. The win as good as secured the minor premiership for the Demons, but once again in their first season in the Premiership Division, the Giants fought hard. The final score saw the Wandsworth Demons 12 16 88 defeat the South East London Giants 8 5 53.
This weekend’s final home and away round will see:
London Swans v Wandsworth Demons
North London Lions v Wimbledon Hawks
West London Wildcats v South East London Giants ...