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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    The AFL Players’ Association is proud to present Supporting Multicultural Footballers, Best Practice Guidelines, a document aimed at promoting multiculturalism within the game.

     Supporting Multicultural Footballers, Best Practice Guidelines is intended to be a resource to help the industry better understand the various cultures represented within the AFL.

     The document profiles 39 countries represented by AFL and AFLW players and provides important information on topics such as cultural awareness, family traditions, language and key dates.

     More than 13 per cent of the AFL player population, both male and female, identify as multicultural by being born overseas or having at least one parent born overseas.


    Supporting Multicultural Footballers, Best Practice Guidelines was formally presented to club staff at a Player Development forum on Thursday morning ahead of AFL Multicultural Round.

    “It’s hoped that the implementation of these guidelines will promote cultural awareness, help players maintain connectivity with their cultures and ensure every player has an equal opportunity to forge a successful career,” AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh said.

    “With more AFL and AFLW players from multicultural backgrounds entering the game than ever before, it’s incumbent on the industry to create an environment that encourages them to maximise their opportunities.”

    The development of the guidelines was driven by the AFL Players’ Multicultural Advisory Board, led by Chairman Mason Cox, and finalised with the assistance of cultural leaders.

    “The time was right for us to create a document that will give clubs the tools to create an inclusive environment for all their players,” Cox said.

    “The challenges I faced moving from the USA to Australia highlights to me why tailored and individualised support is so important.

    “As players we are committed to playing our role in educating the industry about how they can help multicultural players maximise their time in the game.”

    The Multicultural Players’ Advisory Board was established in 2016 following feedback from players that those from diverse backgrounds needed representation on matters of culture.

    Cox is joined on the Board by Stephen Coniglio (Deputy Chair), Lin Jong, Zac Clarke and Pearce Hanley.

    Click here to download Supporting Multicultural Footballers, Best Practice Guidelines.

    Click here to view the Multicultural Players’ Map, featuring AFL and AFLW footballers who are born overseas or have a parent born overseas.


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    The following is a quick review of this author's thoughts on who might win the Women's Division at the 2017 International Cup.

    Let's be honest, no one can really be confident about who will win this competition.  Sure we can (and will) assume that Canada will play off against Ireland again, but with new teams and women's international footy still so young and vibrant it's hard to be confident.  And that makes this event all the more exciting.

    One expects the European Crusaders to struggle, with players drawn from very small leagues or one off teams across Europe.  But who can be sure they won't bond and forge something special on this trip?  And there's no history to tell us what the Pakistan Dragoons may produce, and we don't yet know how many of their players have experience in Aussie leagues.

    The PNG Flames struggled last time they competed but that was 6 years ago, and with large numbers of men playing maybe the women have taken the game up in numbers too.

    Great Britain have played well recently and could push for the top spots, though a loss to a Canadian developmental team dampens the thought.  Could the athletic Fijians rise instead?; They've probably improved but so will the top nations.

    So for all the unknowns outside the top 3 it seems likely it will again come down to Canada, Ireland and the USA.  The North Americans have growing numbers and should be stronger than last time.  The unknown may be how many players with Aussie experience the Irish draw on.  If that number is up on 2014 they may be able to claim their second title.

    But I'll play it boringly safe and tip Canada to narrowly defeat Ireland in a torrid final, every bit as physical as the impressive AFLW inaugural season. No, cancel that. Having fully appreciated the depth of Ireland after reading our preview I've got to lean towards Ireland squeezing home gaining revenge for their 2014 loss, with depth coming from the many new Irish women's team and of course lead by AFLW player Laura Corrigan Duryea.

    (Speaking of AFLW, what a tragedy that the AFL has not made available an international rookie spot on each of the eight AFLW lists for the 2018 season.  It seems a no-brainer than would demonstrate a genuine commitment to growing the women's game internationally.  Costs are one argument but I have no doubt that there are 8 worthy international women out there who would leap, for free, at the chance for 6 months in Australia playing or training at the elite level, with the opportunity to pick up a professional contract the following year.)

    So, who do you think will win the 2017 Women's International Cup?


    Comments welcome and don't forget our poll here. ...

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    After the weekend’s semi-finals, the Wandsworth Demons are the first team through to the AFL London Grand Final. Their win over the West London Wildcats, and the North London Lions own victory over the London Swans has set up a Wildcats versus Lions Preliminary Final this weekend.

    In tough conditions, the Demons and Wildcats slugged out a low scoring match. Both teams have proven themselves capable of high scores all season, but a combination of weather and two very determined defences kept the scoring down and made for a close match all day. In a game described as an arm wrestle, it took a goal from the Demons in the final minute to win the game.

    The final score saw the Wandsworth Demons 4 6 30 defeat the West London Wildcats 3 10 28.

    It was a great day for the Demons all round with four of their teams going through to the Grand Finals on August 5th.

    In the other semi-final, the North London Lions ended the season for the London Swans with a 66 -point victory. The Swans were gallant but outclassed on the day against A Lions outfit that was determined to get through to the bigger games and possibly pull off another upset by pinching a flag from third place.

    The final scores saw the North London Lions 17 7 109 defeat the London Swans 6 7 43.

    The Lions will fancy their chances against the Wildcats, having beaten them recently in Round 8 by just eight points at the same venue as this weekend’s final – the Albert Road Recreation Ground. It is sure to be a huge match and the Wandsworth Demons will certainly be watching the game closely.

    Prior to the finals, the Round 10 results saw:

    Wandsworth Demons 18 2 110 d London Swans 4 5 29
    North London Lions 15 10 100 d Wimbledon Hawks 8 12 60
    West London Wildcats 28 18 186 d South East London Giants 2 3 15

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    Round 19 of the 2017 AFL Season kicks off tomorrow night at the MCG with Hawthorn 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.


    1 28-Jul Night Hawthorn vs. Sydney Swans MCG VIC 19:50 09:50
    2 29-Jul Day North Melbourne vs. Melbourne Blundstone Arena TAS 13:45 03:45
    3 29-Jul Day GWS GIANTS vs. Fremantle Spotless Stadium NSW 14:10 04:10
    4 29-Jul Twilight Port Adelaide vs. St Kilda Adelaide Oval SA 16:05 06:35
    6 29-Jul Night Gold Coast SUNS vs. Richmond Metricon Stadium QLD 19:25 09:25
    5 29-Jul Night Carlton vs. Geelong Cats Etihad Stadium VIC 19:25 09:25
    7 30-Jul Early Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon Etihad Stadium VIC 13:10 03:10
    8 30-Jul Day Collingwood vs. Adelaide Crows MCG VIC 15:20 05:20
    9 30-Jul Twilight West Coast Eagles vs. Brisbane Lions Domain Stadium WA 14:40 06:40





    AUSTRALIA PLUS                    
    Asia 28/7 @ 17:30 HKT (Live) 29/7 @ 11:30 HKT (Live) - 29/7 @ 14:30 HKT (Live) - 29/7 @ 17:30 HKT (Live) 30/7 @ 11:00 HKT (Live) - 30/7 @ 14:30 HKT (Live) 3/8 @ 10:30 HKT (Live)
    Pacific 28/7 @ 21:30 FIJI (Live) 29/7 @ 15:30 FIJI (Live) - 29/7 @ 18:30 FIJI (Live) - 29/7 @ 21:30 FIJI (Live) 30/7 @ 15:00 FIJI (Live) - 30/7 @ 18:30 FIJI (Live) 3/8 @ 14:30 FIJI (Live)
    India 28/7 @ 15:00 IND (Live) 29/7 @ 09:00 IND (Live) - 29/7 @ 12:00 IND (Live) - 29/7 @ 15:00 IND (Live) 30/7 @ 08:30 IND (Live) - 30/7 @ 12:00 IND (Live) 3/8 @ 08:00 IND (Live)
    Africa 28/7 @ 11:50 CAT (Live) - - 29/7 @ 08:35 CAT (Live) - - - - 30/7 @ 08:40 CAT (Live) 2/8 @ 19:00 CAT
    ESPN – BT SPORT                    
    UK & Ireland 28/7 @ 10:30 BST (Live) 29/7 @ 04:30 BST (Live) - 29/7 @ 07:30 BST (Live) - - 30/7 @ 04:00 BST (Live) - 30/7 @ 07:30 BST (Live) 1/8 @ 19:00 BST
    FOX SPORTS 2                    
    USA - 28/7 @ 23:30 ET (Live) - - - - - - - -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS                    
    USA 28/7 @ 05:30 ET (Live) - - 29/7 @ 02:30 ET (Live) - - 28/7 @ 23:00 ET (Live) - - 1/8 @ 21:30 ET
    China - 29/7 @ 11:45 CST (Live) - - - - - - - 2/8 @ 20:30 CST
    ORBIT SHOWTIME NETWORK                    
    Middle East 28/7 @ 12:30 AST (Live) 29/7 @ 06:30 AST (Live) - - - - 30/7 @ 06:00 AST (Live) 30/7 @ 08:00 AST (Live) - 31/7 @ 19:00 AST
    GEE - BOATS & CRUISES                    
    Worldwide (excl. Aust.) 28/7 @ 09:30 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 03:30 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 04:00 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 06:30 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 09:00 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 09:30 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 03:00 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 05:00 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 06:30 GMT (Live) Yes
    SKY SPORTS                    
    New Zealand - - - - - - 31/7 @ 24:00 NZT (Delay) - - -
    Canada - 28/7 @ 23:30 ET (Live) - - - - 30/7 @ 15:00 ET (Delay) - - Yes
    New Zealand 28/7 @ 24:00 NZT (Delay) 29/7 @ 15:30 NZT (Live) - - - 30/7 @ 09:35 NZT (Delay) 30/7 @ 15:00 NZT (Live) 31/7 @ 00:20 NZT (Delay) 31/7 @ 09:45 NZT (Delay) 2/8 @ 12:15 NZT
    Russia 28/7 @ 12:30 MSK (Live) - - 29/7 @ 09:30 MSK (Live) - - 30/7 @ 06:00 MSK (Live) - 30/7 @ 09:30 MSK (Live) 31/7 @ 22:30 MSK
    Worldwide (excl. Aust) 28/7 @ 09:50 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 03:45 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 04:10 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 06:35 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 09:25 GMT (Live) 29/7 @ 09:40 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 03:10 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 05:20 GMT (Live) 30/7 @ 06:40 GMT (Live) -

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  • 07/28/17--00:30: IC17 Preview: Irish Warriors
  • Ireland were runners up in the 2014 International Cup and will be looking to return to Australia and retake the title. 

    History of Irish footy

     The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded in 2000, but Aussie Rules actually came to Ireland in 1999 when squads in Belfast and Dublin recruited through the off season. The new Dublin Demons traveled to London in April, 2000 to take part in preseason matches with the British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL), and finished third out of 12 teams. The Demons then won a best-of-three series with the Belfast Redbacks to be crowned the first Irish footy premiers.

    Michael Currane and Ciaran O hEeadhra both have their fingerprints all over Irish footy, as does Michael’s younger brother Brian, who is the Warriors head coach for IC17. Brian (along with Diarmuid Griffin) helped form the Leeside Lions over 15 years ago. Michael founded the European Australian Rules Football Council (EARFC) in early 2001 with the goal of developing the sport of Aussie Rules across the continent and strengthening ties between the already established leagues.

    The local league, the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI), has become quite competitive and players of all skill levels come to play. Current premiers Leeside Lions are hoping to move to their new 75,000-seat stadium near Ballinderry Park, Mayfeild. Additionally, two university-level teams have begun play and are helping to make the game successful in the long-term. 

    The Warriors have competed in every International Cup, winning the inaugural event over Papua New Guinea in 2002, placing 4th in 2005 and 2008, and becoming the first team to win multiple International Cup titles when they again defeated PNG in the 2011 final. They’re the fourth-ranked team in the world in the most recent World Footy News rankings.

    Both the Warriors and the Banshees on the women’s side will wear a special change strip in the competition honoring the memory of Irish and Melbourne champion Jim Stynes who died five years ago. Stynes was a great footballer who played 264 games for Melbourne and won the 1991 Brownlow Medal. He is the first (and so far only) overseas player to win the award. He also served as former Chairman of the Melbourne Football Club. Jim’s younger brother David has played on both Ireland’s IC-winning squads in the men’s division and will be involved again this time as part of the coaching staff.

    Irish players in the AFL

    Zach Tuohy was born in Portlaoise, Laois, Ireland and grew up playing Gaelic football with Mayo. He played from 2010-2016 for Carlton in the AFL and is in his first season wearing a Geelong Guernsey.

    Pearce Hanley of Ballaghaderreen also played at the Gaelic level, and his AFL career stretches back to 2008 with the Brisbane Lions, with whom he played until 2016. Fellow Irishman Colm Begley was Hanley’s mentor in 2008 with the Lions. Hanley has now played in eight games with the Gold Coast Suns in 2017.

    Tadhg Kennelly of Listowel (County Kerry) played from 2001-08 with Sydney and played in the 2005 and 2006 Grand Final with the Swans, winning in ’05.

    Other Gaelic football alumn currently playingi in the AFL include Conor McKenna (Essendon), Conor Glass (Haththorn), Mark O'Connor (Geelong) and Ciaran Byrne (Carlton).

    Run of Play and Fixture

    The skills required for Gaelic football translate well onto the footy pitch, but the down side is that pitch sizes are smaller and require them to play on smaller fields and to play with teams of nine, 12, or 14, so stamina could become an issue late in games.

    The Warriors have placed second in their last two major tournaments. They went into IC14 as the top seed and defending champions and opened with a 45-point win over Fiji. They moved through to the finals series with wins over France and Nauru. After defeating South Africa in the semifinals, they met Papua New Guinea in the finals for the second consecutive IC, but PNG rallied in the fourth term to take the title.

    They advanced to the finals series at the European Championships in Lisbon, Portugal in October, 2016 with pool play wins over France, Russia, and Jerusalem Peace Team Lions. The Warriors would fall in the Grand Final 53-39 in extra time to Croatia as the Knights would become European premiers. It should be noted that the team in Melbourne will be much stronger than in this tournament due to the inclusion of a number of Australian based players.

    These two close tourney losses will surely serve as motivation for the Warriors as they prepare for IC17.


    The Irish Warriors face a difficult draw in Division 1 as they are due to meet reigning premiers Papua New Guinea, plus France, Great Britain, and New Zealand, who have never placed outside the top 4 and were winners in 2005.

    World Footy News has PNG ranked second, New Zealand 3rd, and Great Britain 8th. Back to back major tournament runner-up finishes will surely have this Warriors team hungry for competition in Melbourne, and they have a knack for playing in big games. Though the schedule does them no favours, expect them to be major players at IC17 as they aim for their third title.
    The Irish Warriors

    The men's team will be Captained by Antrim’s David McElhone and is Coached by Brian Currane, with tournament veteran Mick Finn acting as Player/Assistant Coach.

    Player list

      Player County Club
    1  Muiris Bartley  Cork  Leeside Lions
    2  Patrick Brennan  Derry  UTS Bats, Sydney*
    3  Brendan Browne  Kerry  UTS Bats, Sydney*
    4  Liam Burns  Dublin  South Dublin Swans
    5  Ciaran Caffrey  Dublin  South Dublin Swans
    6  Oisin Collins  Cork  Leeside Lions
    7  Murtagh Condron  Laois  South Dublin Swans
    8  Ronan Cull  Dublin  South Dublin Swans
    9  Michael Finn  Kerry  Heidelberg, Melbourne*
    10  Domhnall Fogarty  Australia  Powerhouse, Melbourne*
    11  Dominic Joyce  Galway  Leeside Lions
    12  Brendan Kelly  Antrim  Belfast Redbacks
    13  Tim Kenneally  Cork  Powerhouse, Melbourne*
    14  Darragh Leonard  Cork  Powerhouse, Melbourne
    15  Colin Lordan  Limerick  Leeside Lions
    16  Padraig Lucey  Kerry  Newtown, Geelong*
    17  David McElhone  Antrim  Belfast Redbacks
    18  Robert McElhone  Antrim  Yeppoon, Queensland*
    19  Paul Murphy  Cork  Leeside Lions
    20  Gavin Murray  Wicklow  South Dublin Swans
    21  Barry Murray  Australia  Powerhouse, Melbourne*
    22  Declan Nannery  Westmeath  Powerhouse, Melbourne*
    23  Padraic O’ Connell  Cork  Leeside Lions
    24  Fiachra O Deasmhunaigh  Cork  Powerhouse, Melbourne*
    25  Paul O’ Halloran  Carlow  South Dublin Swans
    26  Shane O’ Sullivan  Kerry  UCC Bombers
    27  Mark Tubridy  Clare  Karratha, Western Australia*
    28  Gerard Walls  Antrim  Belfast Redbacks
     * Australian club.

    Players to watch

    The tall, imposing figure of Irish Captain Mick Finn will amazingly partake in his fifth straight International Cup having been named in the team of the tournament on four previous occasions. He was named ‘Best and fairest’ in the 2008 tournament and backed that up with a Best on Ground performance in a 4 goal display in the 2011 Grand Final. In 2014 he was again player of the tournament and named captain of the World Team. An outstanding contested mark and noted for kicking goals from distance. This time around Finn will be part of the coaching team as well as playing.

    Padraig Lucey was another big performer at the IC14 tournament after featuring on the FOX 8 show The Recruit that year. Spent two seasons at Geelong and played well in the VFL but did not make it to the AFL competition. In 2017 has been playing in the ruck for Newtown (in the Geelong Football League). Previously played for the European Legion AFL team and the Irish basketball team at underage levels. Will again be a handful in the ruck and up forward for teams without comparable height.

    Muiris Bartley has become a fixture in the Irish team whether it be in Europe or Australia. First coming to prominence in the World XVIII team when it was a mix of International and Multicultural players he has gone on to represent Ireland regularly. He has backgrounds in playing both GAA football and rugby. A confident centre half forward Bartley likes the physical stuff, is pacey and a brilliant finisher.

    Head Coach – Brian Currane (Clare)
    Asst Coaches – Michael Finn (Kerry), David Stynes (Dublin)
    Team Trainer– Dean Ryan (Kildare)
    Team Manager– Michael Currane (Clare)
    Tour Manager– Paul Ryan

    IRELAND SCHEDULE Rounds 1-4 times AEST and BST.
    Sun 6/8 vs PNG (McAlister Oval) 11:15am/2:15am(BST)
    Wed 9/8 vs France(St Patricks,Ballarat) 12:30pm/3:30am(BST)
    Sat 12/8 vs Great Britain(Caulfield Park) 12pm/3am(BST)
    Tues 15/8 vs New Zealand(Ransford Oval) 12:15pm/3:15am(BST)


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    The Croatian Knights will make their first appearance at an International Cup. As reigning Euro Cup champions, the Knights have already proven their prowess as an Australian Rules football force, though an 18 per side format will provide different challenges. Their Head Coach, Josip Kravar, details the Croatian team’s story.

    The Story Of Croatian Footy: “The Croatian national team, also known as Croatian Knights, first started to play in 2006 when the team was made only from one club in Croatia - the Zagreb Hawks. Just after forming a second club in SANH (AAFC) the Knights had a bigger pool of players. In the first two years the Knights played in the CEAFL against Austria, Czech Republic and Finland.

     In late 2007 and 2008 footy in Croatia experienced a small boom and young and athletic players joined clubs in Zagreb which had a reflection on the Knights style and quality of play and the Knights, on their first appearance on Euro Cup in Prague 2008, ended up as runner ups. It was a surprise for us and we saw our direction then after losing to England to one day be the best team in Europe.

    After 2008, the Knights developed 9 per side footy fast, winning two Euro Cup gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze medals until today where we are the current Euro Cup champions. Our best players from seven Croatian teams today are competing to have honour to play for our national team.

    We also played in the European Championship in 2010 and 2013 and both times ended up 5th. It was different game for us and we didn't have the opportunity to train or play on oval and that was our first contact with "real" footy. But during 2016 we found an oval in Zagreb and played games among ourselves (not official AAFC games, but just friendly games) and we are happy to state that our game of 18 per side improved. If anything I believe we adapted quickly to this style of game and there will be time to prove that.



    The Road To IC17:

    The journey to IC17 was hard one for us. We confirmed our participation at the last moment. The reason is that most of our players are students and if you take average pay roll in Croatia it is hard to buy ticket to Australia, pay accommodation and other necessities. So, AAFC set goal to provide 50% of airplane tickets and 100% for accommodation for our players.


    To sell footy in this country where it is a sport on the margin is hard but we have our faithful sponsors like Ilirija hotels who sponsor us for 10 years now. We also found new sponsors like Jurcevic Consulting and KPMG from Australia and at the end unselfish help from the Croatian community who provided us with donations, accommodation in their homes and a welcome to their community that indebted us for life. We are very grateful to have support from those communities and our sponsors for which we will, in turn, give our best.



    Knights are team that never calculated with our expectations. Everything beside winning in every game is a failure for us. We highly respect every opponent we have played against – if we played them 100 times and won 100 times we will approach 101st time like we never meet before. In the 18 per side format we are not an experienced team. We are not favourites with anybody, but we will put everyone to a hard test if they want to earn victory against us.


    Players To Watch:

    Tomislav Cvetko, our captain in forward line this year, went to play for Norwood FC in Adelaide from Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers. Tommy has been one of the finest European forwards, consistently over the last ten years. He was best European Championship goal kicker, Euro Cup best goal kicker, has been in the best team of tournament for some years in row, MVP in Croatian league so many times and true leader and the image of the Croatian Knights for the last ten years.


    Josip Habljak, after two years now playing in Australia (currently with the Mercedes Unley Jets). As a dominant ruckman he is beast at 192 cm and 115kg and easily the fastest player on ground. Josip has been playing as a ruckman at a different level and for ever his opponents will be clear why he is called the pain train.


    We have good combination of "old" experienced players with experience of several Euro Cups and European Championships and just a few young players around who we want to build our future. We are hard-working team that have trained together for more than three months.



    Round 1: v China – 6th August (Royal Park)

    Round 2: v Indonesia – 9th August (Eltham College)

    Round 3: v Sri Lanka – 12th August (Lyndhurst)

    Semi Final: Details subject to results of pool matches

    Grand Final: Details subject to semi-final results


    Playing List:

    1.       Igor Galez

    2.       Filip Lenić

    3.       Fran Tonković

    4.       Tomislav Maršić

    5.       Dino Sulić

    6.       Roko Buljanović

    7.       Ivan Molnar

    8.       Tomislav Đuran

    9.       Josip Motik

    10.   Josip Habljak

    11.   Josip Karadža

    12.   Jan Doležal

    13.   David Lazanin

    14.   Dejan Pavković

    15.   Tomislav Cvetko (c)

    16.   Marko Klišanin

    17.   Igor Svoboda

    18.   Viktor Kolčić

    19.   Leo Marić

    20.   Ivan Ivoš (vc)

    21.   Bruno Benčić

    22.   Hrvoje Habljak

    23.   Miro Jurmanović

    24.   Tomislav Nedić

    Head Coach: Josip Kravar


    Map Credit: Lonely Planet





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    This weekend sees the multicultural roots of our national game recognised and honoured with a round of matches, both at the highest level of the game and at grassroots level, played as a mark of respect to those people of multicultural backgrounds and their contributions to our game.

    The timing of the round is ideal, occurring a week before nations from across the world send the national Australian Rules football teams to Melbourne for the 2017 International Cup (IC17).

    The AFL’s positive community message states that:

    “AFL is a game for everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from. Australian Football has the extraordinary power to bring people together regardless of background. Toyota AFL Multicultural Round gives us the opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up our amazing game. Everything’s possible when we unite through the love of the game.”

    “We highlight the contribution multicultural communities have made to the game’s history and welcome new communities to embrace Australia’s game in the future. Many cultures, one game.”

    Our game has been blessed with so many players of multicultural backgrounds who have taken the game to new heights and opened the game up to new communities of people who have since embraced the game.

    We delight in the memories of great names such as Alex Jesaulenko, the Silvagni name (Sergio, Stephen and Jack over three generations), Peter Daicos and so many more.

    A comprehensive list of past players of multicultural backgrounds can be see at the AFL’s website following this link:

    The current players of notable diverse backgrounds includes Nic Natanui (Fiji), Majak Daw (Sudan), Aliir Alir (Sudan), Conor McKenna (Ireland), Pearce Hanley (Ireland), Andrew McGrath (Canada), Jason Johannisen (South Africa), Lin Jong (Taiwan & East Timor), Ivan Maric (Croatia), Adam Saad (Lebanon), David Zaharakis (Greece) and many more.

    A full list of current players can be found at:

    The round will again feature multicultural themed events at many AFL matches as well as themed balls at AFL matches this weekend, multicultural commentators for many media outlets at matches and other ways to promote the weekend’s events. For a full overview of the round, visit the AFL’s own website at:

    One interesting way to highlight the changing face of Australian society over the years as we have welcomed and embraced the contribution of a host of diverse backgrounds is surnames.

    In 1938, Essendon reserves posted their team in The Argus newspaper prior to the weekend’s round of matches. The team sheet read: Coates, Drummond, Dibbs, Munro, Roberts, Ellis, McGain, Wallace, McDermid, Goulden, Slater, Buckley, Patterson, Merrick, McLay, Brodie, Welch, Allister, Smith, Beckett, Cooley, White. The list is a predominantly Anglo-Celtic/Anglo-Saxon collection of names largely from the countries of the United Kingdom.

    Fast forward to 2015 and the Masala Football Club in suburban Melbourne – Noble Park, to be more exact – listed their team. A small sample of their list shows:

    Alex Adamopoulos Masala Football Club (Greek)
    Bradley Parker Masala Football Club (England)
    David Crkvenac Masala Football Club (Croatian)
    David Inge Iii Masala (PNG)
    Declan Lee Masala Football Club (Ireland)
    Dylan Shanks Masala (England)
    Feda Alidad Masala Football Club (Turkey)
    Furkan Erkal Masala Football Club (Pakistan)
    Jarred Aoun Masala Football Club (Lebanon)

    In just that small, random comparison it is clear that the demographics of Australian society have changed markedly in almost 80 years. This change is strongly reflected in the comparison of those two team lists.

    The difference shown within those lists is exactly the purpose of the AFL Toyota Multicultural Round – to highlight, recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes up our game as the societal makeup of our nation continues to change in the most wonderful, united way.

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  • 07/28/17--19:28: IC17 Preview: German Eagles
  • Although they are one of Europe's older footy national sides, with a domestic scene dating back over 20 years to the mid-1990s, the German Eagles are making their International Cup debut this year.

    The Eagles have made big strides forward in the past few years, achieving 3rd place at last year's European Championships after narrowly defeating Sweden in their final match. This year their experience against other European nations, including Div 1 outfits such as Great Britain, means they look to be serious contenders in Division 2 of the IC17.

    The country and Australian rules football

    Footy started in Germany in the 1990s, with the foundation of the Frankfurt Redbacks by German footy pioneer Malte Schudlich, and the foundation of the Munich Roos down in Bavaria.

    These were joined by the Berlin Crocodiles later in the decade, followed in the years thereafter by the Hamburg Dockers, Rheinland (originally Düsseldorf) Lions and Stuttgart Emus. The AFLG national league kicked off in the early 2000s, at one point also including French side the Strasbourg Kangourous, from just across the border.

    Recently, the established clubs have also been joined by the Dresden Wolves, who had also played against the nearby Czech sides based in Prague, and the Freiberg Taipans.

    A number of the AFLG clubs also host metro comps, as is common the world over, where distances between clubs make a local option attractive for recruiting new locals.

    The Eagles have had some success in the European scene, with appearances at the past few European Championships, their 3rd placing at the 2016 edition (behind Ireland and Great Britain) being their best to date. In 2013 they defeated the French national side by 90 points in a European Championship warmup, a good omen considering the French went on to be competitive in Div 2 of the IC14.

    Coaching the side is Australian expat Mark Woods. Woods previously played over 150 games for the Monash Blues in Melbourne VAFA competition, then after moving to Germany won the league best and fairest in his first season with the Munich Roos. He credits his attitude towards growing the game in Germany for his being asked to coach the side.

    "The players are proud and driven to be the best, and to do so we need to compete and see and learn from the teams in Europe but also the world. Ambition is a three part thing: firstly the ambition is to follow the team focus/rules, secondly to be competitive against any opposition we come up against and gain respect in the doing and thirdly to grow the sport of AFL in Germany, so that we can get stronger as a country," Woods says.


    As this is their first appearance at the International Cup, it remains to be seen how they travel. One issue may be a lack of depth if hit by injuries, as two players of their original squad have already been ruled out through knee and back injuries.

    Selection was also limited by availability. As Woods says, "Almost all clubs are represented in the national team. The competition is in the growth phase and there are many students in our squad. We are therefore limited by budgets, time off and injuries, so selection is a cross between selecting the best possible team and availability of the best possible team. This being said, we are a team and will always play as such."

    The squad is more or less fully home-grown - there are are one or two squad members who are currently playing in Australia, however each has played in Germany until recently, with no real long term Aussie-based players.

    Host club in Melbourne are the North Sunshine Roadrunners, who will host the Eagles for training sessions and a practice match pre-tournament, which should give them a further edge.

    The bottom line is that the Eagles should be looking to perform strongly in Division 2. They would be hoping to go in as favourites over first-up opponents Pakistan and India, with the experienced Japan side in the third round being the main thing standing between them and a shot at becoming Division 2 champs.

    Players to watch

    The key players to watch are captain Florian Naumann (CHB/On ball) and Jakob Jung (Centre, RR). Naumann has experience as a goalkeeper in both soccer and handball, whilst Jung has been a long-term German footy stalwart, who learnt the game as a high-school exchange student in Bribie Island, Queensland in 2009-10, and was profiled by WFN in this article a few years ago.

    Woods reports that Naumann and Jung will form the key leadership group along with Martin Schüttoff.

    German Eagles: IC Schedule

    Round Opponent Date/Time Venue
    1 Pakistan Sunday August 6th, 11.15am Western Oval, Royal Park
    2 India Wednesday August 9th, 12.30pm Mentone Grammar Playing Fields, Keysborough
    3 Japan Saturday August 12th, 12pm Elgar Park, Box Hill North
    Semis TBC    
    Final TBC    

    German Eagles: IC17 squad

    # Name Club
    1 Rob Macher München Kangaroos
    3 Jakob Jung Stuttgart Emus
    4 Felix Grob Berlin Crocodiles
    5 Florian Naumann Hamburg Dockers
    7 Jan Hüsken München Kangaroos
    9 Constantin Pixa Frankfurt Redbacks
    10 Simon Aßmus Freiberg Taipans
    12 Christoph Odenthal Dresden Wolves
    18 Roland Odenthal Canterbury Cobras (VAFA)
    21 Johannes Binninger München Kangaroos
    24 Sebastian Esche München Kangaroos
    25 Gerrit Jung Stuttgart Emus
    27 Fabian Cordts Hamburg Dockers
    28 Tobias Menzel Rheinland Lions
    29 Martin Krichler Frankfurt Redbacks
    32 Julian Wichmann Rheinland Lions
    34 Jan Ostrawsky Freiberg Taipans
    35 Jan Korfmacher Rheinland Lions
    36 Timm Rohrßen Hamburg Dockers
    39 Henrik van de Stay Rheinland Lions
    41 Johannes Orlowski Rheinland Lions
    55 Martin Schüttoff Stuttgart Emus
    61 Armin Mayer Bridgewater (HFL)
    73 Philip Evermann UHS – VU (VAFA)
    89 Jascha Jung Rheinland Lions
    99 Dirk Odenthal Rheinland Lions

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  • 07/29/17--03:37: My Multicultural Footy Story

    To help to promote and celebrate the 2017 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, the   website has published a wonderful collection of vignettes of Australians involved in the game at all levels from diverse cultural backgrounds. From current players at the highest level to those involved with local footy, the stories of these people’s journeys in footy tell a great story of passion and love for our game – as well as highlighting the contributions made to the game by people of such varied multicultural backgrounds.

    FOOTBALL has long been promoted as a game anyone and everyone can participate in. Whether you're playing, coaching or umpiring at the highest level or contributing voluntarily at grassroots, there's a role for all of us.

    Several themes emerge from this snapshot look at the footy stories of 12 people from vastly different backgrounds: the game is fun, can help break down barriers and ease the transition into a new culture, draws families and communities together, teaches various skills and helps build resilience.    

     Stephen Coniglio

    Player, Greater Western Sydney Giants

    Born: Perth, Western Australia

    Background: Italian and English 

    "My dad's Italian and came to Australia with a lot of family in the 1960s, and my mum was born in England and moved over in her early teens. AFL is very foreign to my family, and my Nonna (grandmother) still doesn’t understand it. They were scared for my wellbeing, with the hits and tackles, and couldn't get around it compared to soccer. I grew up loving soccer and still do to this day. It wasn't until I was nine or 10 that I started playing football. My mates played at a local club and at recess and lunchtime at school, so I began playing with them and fell in love with it. My brother ended up playing as well. I'm really proud of being Australian, but also of where my parents have come from. Seeing the number of cultures in the game is why it's so important for me to be an AFL multicultural ambassador. AFL might not be the first sporting preference for kids from other backgrounds, but it's a fantastic sport and I want to be able to show them it's a pathway they can head down as well."

    Greatest football lesson: "The story of the Giants the last few years. There are hard times and hard sessions and huge losses and a lot of downs, but they make the better times sweeter."


    Sabrina Frederick-Traub

    Player, Brisbane Lions

    Born: outside London, England

    Background: Jamaican and Antiguan 

    "I moved to Australia when I was seven. At first I thought footy was rugby and I didn't know much about it. I went to a school in Perth where 'AFL' was religiously played at recess and lunchtime. I could've either joined in with all the kids or I would have been that girl on the sidelines with no friends. I just decided to jump in and I had to learn the rules pretty quickly. I picked up the game and loved it straight away. I had played soccer from the day I could run and my family are passionate about the sport, so it was interesting when I told them I liked footy more than soccer. My soccer skills overlapped into footy and I'm sure that helped in my transition into the sport. Considering my background and that I'm a female, I never would have thought that what I'm doing now in the NAB AFL Women's league would be possible. It's surreal."

    Greatest football lesson: "Nothing comes easily and you have to work hard to realise your dreams."


    Josh Heath

    Player and coach, St Mary's Football Club (NTFL); assistant coach Northern Territory Thunder (NEAFL)

    Born: South Korea

    Background: South Korean

    "I was born in South Korea and adopted to Australian parents when I was five months old. I grew up in Lameroo in South Australia and my Australian Dad – Chris – introduced me to footy at a young age. Growing up in the country I played a lot of different sports but I instantly took a liking to footy. I played all the way from mini colts to A-Grade before moving down to school at Sacred Heart College in Adelaide. After finishing school, I moved up to Darwin for work initially and played in the local competition up there, before playing a season for North Launceston in the Tasmanian State League. I then got a call to play for St Mary's in the Northern Territory Football League and I've played there ever since. Being short in stature (163cm) and Asian, as well, I've always had to carry a stigma with me, but football helped me integrate with the community. When I stepped out on the footy field and people saw I could play, it broke down some of those barriers."

    Greatest football lesson: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."


    Jake Kolodjashnij

    Player, Geelong

    Born: Launceston, Australia

    Background: Ukranian/Russian

    "My Nan is Russian and my Pop was Ukranian. He passed away before I was born so I never got to meet him. They came to Australia to start a better life. I don't know a lot about their history but it's pretty cool to have that background and I'd like to get to both countries one day. Both Kade (twin brother who plays for Gold Coast) and I were introduced to footy through Auskick in Tasmania and all my Mum's family were Hawthorn supporters, so it was quite easy to get involved in footy from an early age. We played a lot of basketball and soccer up until the age of 13, before we decided we wanted to play footy again with school mates. We worked our way up the ranks through the junior football programs and then were lucky enough to get drafted. Nan still lives in 'Tassie' but she loves to get over to watch her two grandsons play."

    Greatest football lesson: "Don't take anything for granted and give everything your best shot."


    Manisha Kulasinghe

    Umpire, AFL Sydney Juniors

    Born: Sydney, Australia

    Background: Sri Lankan

    "You pronounce my last name as ‘Cool-a-sing-er’, but unfortunately I am not a 'cool singer'. I am a 15-year-old who loves to umpire AFL. An injury to my foot kept me from playing AFL competitively, so I decided to pick up a whistle in the AFL Sydney Juniors competition instead, and I haven't put it down since. After all the training I have received, I now watch footy on TV from a completely new perspective. I watch the umpires now, not so much the players. Nowadays, I have a greater – and different – understanding of this Australian pastime. AFL is not a sport that Sri Lankans typically choose to play or watch – before cricket at least – but I like to test my cultural boundaries while running the boundary. Signing up to the local football club has meant my family and I have become closer with our wider community, and that's really important to all of us."

    Greatest football lesson: "Umpiring builds your confidence in playing, watching and understanding the game."


    Sarah Loh

    Chief executive officer, South Metro Junior Football League

    Born: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Background: Chinese

    "We came to Melbourne in January, 1977. I had two older brothers and followed them around. Whatever they did, I did. In winter, they started playing football, so I learnt as well. From there, I fell in love with the game. I was in grade one at the time and said to my PE teacher, 'I'd like to join the team'. He just said 'No, girls can't play football'. I still remember the exact spot he told me that. I was absolutely gutted. He said it in front of every teacher in the school. In 1977, there were hardly any Chinese in Melbourne. It was hard with the racism in those days. In year seven, the high school had a female PE teacher. She was brilliant. I asked if we could get a girls’ team, so she called all the schools in the region and we created a round-robin competition. I captained that side for five years and I think we won the premiership every year."

    Greatest football lesson: "Never give up. Fight for what you believe in."


    Dr Joseph Masika

    Board member, West Adelaide

    Born: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    Background: Tanzanian

    "We entered the football world in 1999 through my son Peter. At primary school, he saw the oval ball and was told he could kick it. When he came back after school, he came with the ball and it was the first time we saw a football. We said, 'What's thisω' so he told us. He joined an under-10s team and that's where we as parents became involved, taking him to the football and being there to participate. Down the track, I became involved as a goal and boundary umpire. Later, he played for West Adelaide under-19s. I like footy because it's not a game we used to know before. Coming here, footy can bring everyone together, regardless of where you come from. Because I love footy, I got the opportunity to serve at the club level as a board member of the West Adelaide Football Club, and I act as a conduit between the multicultural community and the club.

    Greatest football lesson: "It breaks boundaries. Everyone involved in footy, whether you're playing or you're a parent, you become part of the society."


    Paul Mugambwa

    Community engagement officer, West Australian Football Commission; player, Mundijong Centrals (Peel Football League)

    Born: Maseru, Lesotho

    Background: Ugandan

    "I was about one when my family left Lesotho for Canberra, and moved to Perth when I was about 12. Everyone was playing footy at school so I had to get involved. I played lots of sports growing up but footy was the most fun. Early on, I had challenges with my parents – they didn't want me to play. I snuck around behind their back and played, but eventually they came down and watched. Now they're both mad footy fans. Mum once won a tipping competition at work. When you come to a new community, little things like that make a big difference. For work, I look after multicultural and Aboriginal programs, finding ways to engage new communities. With the indigenous programs, we do a lot of work with at-risk youth. Footy's a way out for them. We try to engage them with footy and teach a few life skills along the way."

    Greatest football lesson: "Something as simple as a game of footy can provide so many benefits. You make so many friends at a footy club – they become your second family."


    Hewago 'Ace' Oea

    Player, Gordons Kokofas (PNG) and Broadbeach Cats (Queensland)

    Born: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

    Background: Papua New Guinean

    "I was 12 when I learned about AFL. The AFLPNG development team came to my school and we participated in the ‘Niukick’ program, learning skills to get us ready to play in the local schools’ competition. I was attracted to the game because it is fast and skilful. My friends were playing and I wanted to play too. I like tackling and applying pressure, hunting the ball and getting lots of kicks. My favourite player is Michael Walters from Fremantle. Football is fun and always enjoyable. It has also provided an opportunity for me to come to Australia and learn. My big brother Hapeo is also here playing. Football has given both of us a chance to challenge ourselves. It is fun and helps you stay fit and healthy. I would like to stay involved in football when I finish playing, maybe as a mentor or fitness trainer."

    Greatest football lesson: "Football has taught me about the importance of working as a team to achieve our goals and having trust in my teammates."


    Adam Saad

    Player, Gold Coast

    Born: Melbourne, Australia

    Background: Lebanese

    "My parents moved to Melbourne from Lebanon when they were young, and Dad started playing Australian Rules. He hurt his knee and didn't play after that, but from the age of about six we'd go and watch my uncle play in Seymour (country Victoria). So footy’s been a part of our family ever since I can remember. I started at Coburg Juniors (in Melbourne’s north) and then moved to West Coburg. As a young kid, I just tried having fun and loved playing with my mates. One of my favourite memories in footy was playing with my cousins and going through the year undefeated and winning the premiership – it's still the only premiership I've won. My coaches were always great to me, taught me the basics of the game, and I was lucky to have (Carlton premiership player) Ange Christou as a neighbour. He's given me advice and been a great help to me. I still chat to him whenever I head home. I'm grateful to Gold Coast for giving me a chance in the AFL to continue playing a sport I've loved my whole life."

    Greatest football lesson: "Keep your eye on the ball. When I was young I was having trouble marking, so my uncle told me to keep my eye on the ball and watch it go right into my hands. It was simple as that and it changed things for me."


    Darcy Vescio

    Player and graphic designer, Carlton

    Born: Wangaratta, Victoria

    Background: Italian and Chinese

    "I started playing because my older brother started playing Auskick. When I was younger, I just wanted to do everything he did, and tried to do it better. Dad's side of the family lived in Wangaratta as well and they all loved footy, so I was always around football. Dad pushed a footy into my hands at a young age. I started playing Auskick when I was five and junior footy when I was 11, until I was 14. Then I had to stop playing, just because girls couldn’t play with boys past that age. I walked into the Darebin footy club when I came to Melbourne for university when I was 18 and I've been playing ever since. Joining Carlton was amazing. I didn't think I was going to play again after I stopped, so to be here now and to be working at the club and for the first AFLW season to have gone so well is pretty mind-blowing."

    Greatest football lesson: "If you love something, just keep doing it."


    Dayne Zorko

    Brisbane Lions player

    Born: Brisbane, Australia

    Background: Slovenian

    "Dad moved from what was then known as Yugoslavia to Melbourne when he was 10 and got Australian Rules into his blood. He was a St Kilda supporter. When my brother was old enough to play sport, there was only one choice – our family loved it. He was in the under-10s and I wasn't old enough to play yet, but I didn't want to be left at home, so I went along and got to be the mascot for a year and ran out in front of my brother's team. I played at Surfers Paradise from the age of five until the under-16s and I’ve still got three mates from those early days I speak to every week. The close friendships are some of the best things I've got from footy. I was a bricklayer with dad for five years until I got drafted at the age of 22 – getting up at 5.30 every morning and working in the Queensland sun really showed me what hard work was. I feel like it gave me a greater appreciation for how lucky I am to be paid to play a game I love."

    Greatest football lesson: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

    The original story can be found at this link: ...

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    The blueprint for success at any team sporting level is deceptively simple. Well drilled, disciplined, well trained, great communication, ability to execute team plans and essential skills, group goals, positive team ethos, a liberal dose of talent, a great support network off the field and a hunger that is never satisfied.

    There are more, but those qualities listed are common to any team that has enjoyed long-term success – and the Manchester Mozzies are proof of that after winning their fourth consecutive AFLCNE premiership in England. To their list of skills, however, can be added two others that come with empires in football – experience in big occasions and belief.

    All of that came to the fore this weekend when the Manchester Mozzies downed the Nottingham Scorpions in the AFLCNE Grand Final at Sheffield. In one of the hardest fought slogs of the year - and possibly many years in a finals sense - neither team was prepared to yield for the first three quarters.

    The Scorpions got away to just the start they would have been seeking to lead the Mozzies at the first change, albeit by just two points. Still, it was the signal that they were determined to take it up to the Mozzies and avenge last year’s Grand Final loss.

    The Mozzies hit back in the second quarter, rattling on three goals to one for the term. It was a small muscle flex from the dynastical Mozzies, but enough to see them go into the main break with a very handy two goal lead.

    The “premiership” quarter was always going to be about messages, and the Notts crew did just that. They came hard at the Mozzies with a four goal to three effort to reduce the margin to just two points again by three-quarter time – this time in the Mozzies favour.

    Then came the final quarter, and each of the attributes suggested earlier were displayed by the Mozzies. When the match was there to be taken, it was the Mozzies that unleasged a powerhouse final term with a withering seven goals to one. The final margin was a 43 point premiership victory, but that doesn’t really reflect the fight from the Nottingham Scorpions. But in time all that will matter is the name inscribed on the premiership cup. The Manchester Mozzies had won their fourth flag in a row – and remarkably their sixth flag in eight year from seven grand finals.

    Nottingham will find it difficult to find solace in defeat, but to reach the big dance in consecutive years takes a special team. Of that they should be proud on the back of two excellent seasons. They could also look back to 2016 and an 83-point loss. They have bridged that gap significantly, especially when looked at from their first three quarters.

    But it is now time for the Mozzies to revel in their success, which I am sure they are doing right now without any advice from me.

    Quarter Time: Manchester Mozzies 3 3 21 v Nottingham Scorpions 3 5 23
    Half Time: Mozzies 6 8 44 v Scorpions 4 8 32
    Three-Quarter Time: Mozzies 9 9 63 v Scorpions 8 11 59
    Final Score: Manchester Mozzies 16 13 109 d Nottingham Scorpions 9 12 66

    In the Plate final, it was another compelling performance from the Tyne Tees Tigers after taking out the inaugural Plate Final in 2016. Up against the league’s newest team, the Merseyside Saints, the Tiger were ruthless in the first half when they set up victory keeping the Saints to a solitary goal. After that, the Saints would always struggle and did as the Tigers continued on a path of determination which mirrored their best performances in their best season to date.

    Colum Donaghy was judged best on ground while Harry Telfer was adjudged third best after just a hand full of games or Australian football. A point to note is that Tiger forward, Liam Robinson, kicked three goals in the match to take his career total to 45 and become the Tiger’s all time highest goal kicker.

    In other news from the AFLCNE, Wolverhampton Wolverines player, George Dibble has taken out the 2017 AFLCNE Best & Fairest award after a stellar season for the Wolverines.

    Now clubs will commence their off-season plans – with and without football – and start the various rebuilds for a brand new season in 2018. The Mozzies’ blueprint for success is sure to be high on club agendas during those rebuilds.

    Pictures: The victorious Manchester Mozzies (Top), and the Plate winning Tyne Tees Tigers (Bottom)


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  • 07/30/17--23:09: IC17 Preview: Japan Samurai
  •  Japan and Australian Football

    Japan has the oldest non-English speaking league in the world that kicked off in 1987 following an exhibition match in Tokyo between Essendon and Hawthorn. The oldest club is Senshu Power, a university based team that was one of the foundation teams of Japanese football along with Keio and Waseda universities that had scraped together teams to play the curtain raiser to the exhibition match.

    The Samurai, Japan’s national team has a long history, having played “internationals” since the late 1990’s participating in the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia several times. Japan has contested all International Cups, their best placing being eighth in IC08, although IC14 was probably their most successful winning three from five matches, enabling them to rise from 19th to 16th in the WFN World Rankings.

    Japan Samurai IC17 Squad.

    The Samurai IC17 squad was announced on 20th June and has an exciting blend of youth and experience. Once again 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 and Yuki Akita (4th IC), Yuosuke Kuno (suiting up for his 5th IC), Yuta Toyshima (played IC14), Jumpei Ito,  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 Michito Sakaki and Yuske 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                               Kyo Nakagawa-Senshu Powers

    Toshiki Matsuhashi-Tokyo Bay Suns                         Hirito Murayama-Senshu Powers

    Kohei Kageyama-Tokyo Bay Suns                            Yuji Yamamoto-Tokyo Goannas

    Hiroo Kuroda-Tokyo Bays Suns                                Yusoke Kuno-Shonan Poseidons

    Michito Sakaki-R246 Lions                                        Ryosuke Sato- Shonan Poseidons

    Yuta Toyshima-R246 Lions                                       Satsuki Shimizu-Komozawa Magpies

    Tatsuya Nasu-R246 Lions                                          Yuki Tosu-Komozawa Magpies

    Jumpei Ito-Eastern Hawks                                          Junpei Fujita-Komozawa Magpies

    Kento Takahashi-Senshu Powers                               Tasei Matsumura- Komozawa Magpies

    Satoru Udagawa-Senshu Powers                                Yudai Yamaji- Komozawa Magpies

    Shota Horijuchi-Senshu Powers                                 Yuki Akita- North Gambier, South Australia

    Sohei Tada-Senshu Powers                                        Riku Tokutake-Senshu Powers

    Players to watch  

    Michito Sakaki (c) Veteran midfielder with blistering speed and great skill.  His experience and leadership in the team will be vital.
    Yuki Akita - Been playing since came to South Australia to Uni in 2005, this is his fourth International Cup.  Currently playing with North Gambier in South Australia.  Experienced player under Australian conditions and one of the few used to large Australian grounds.  Dangerous in front of goal.
    The Samurai at IC17

    Japan has drawn Pool B in Division 2 at this year’s International Cup along with Germany, India and Pakistan.

    The Samurai are currently Ranked 16th (37.17 Rating Points) and come up against India WR 21st (23.01) in Round 1. Japan has the wood over India 1-0 with the win at IC14 so should expect to win this one also. Tip: Japan 1-0

    Round 2 has Japan up against Pakistan (5th highest provisional ranking at 32.35 points) having also defeated the Shaheens at IC14. Pakistan is again a bit of a mystery this time as we can’t really know whether the Pakistan based players will improve or detract from their performance this year. Tip: Japan 2-0

    The third match for Japan in the Pools matches sees them up against IC debutantes Germany WR 15th (37.44). The World Rankings suggest that these teams are very evenly matched separated by only 0.27 rating points. Germany has an International match record of 7-0-13 playing only against other European nations to date, whilst Japan’s international record stands at 8-0-21 but have played against many more different nations. Tip: Japan 3-0      


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    Firstly, let me preface this article by clarifying two things – I was on the losing end of that scoreline, and this was only my second game for this club so I haven’t endured the season this particular club has. Having said that, very few articles about footy dare to look at the positives that might be found in a 290-point loss. Here goes!

    In helping out another local team earlier this season, and playing my first ever senior game in the process, I was a part of a similar hiding. Without bothering to research the web for the actual scores, I can say with some surety that the opposition that day kicked about 35 goals. Our tally was far easier to deal with – we got one. It marked the first time in my predominantly junior and reserve grade career that I had experienced such a loss. It was an eye-opener, but for vastly different reasons that many might think.

    On the weekend the chance to play seniors again presented itself and the match unfolded more or less like this: Quarter time 10 goals to nil. Half time 25 goals to nil. Three-quarter time 35 goals to nil. Final siren – see story title. On paper looks quite bleak, but in reality I learned so much from the day.

    I have reported on or researched many thrashings of this nature around the world. It is never pleasant, and can certainly be soul-destroying – especially for clubs on their knees to begin with. But even in the greatest defeat there is still something to hang a hat on. You just have to look closely. From my privileged, and unharmable (new word), position I can say I saw plenty that I liked.

    I watched a team from close quarters dismantle an opposition with the relative ease> We have all heard the negative saying about a team make another look like witch’s hats. In part that is true, but it totally misses the endeavour that is going on behind the scenes. My team mates never stopped running and trying. It was mostly a case of chasing, but from first siren to last that is what my team mates did. In my language it was inspirational – nothing to play for except pride yet that is exactly what they did. The jumper meant more that the scoreboard.

    Some may see that as a negative – the scoreboard determines your performance – but when you see and feel heart and pride from just feet away in the heat of battle it changes your perspective. I felt awed by the brilliance of our opposition that day, but I was equally (possible more so) impressed by the incredibly valiant way my team faced the inevitable. First versus last approaching finals had thrashing written all over it, but that didn’t matter. Footy and team mattered and that’s how our boys played.

    To learn first-hand how to lead, pass, tackle, run, kick, handpass, shepherd, bump, anticipate, support, talk and virtually every other skill of the game by watching a better side do it so well is potentially the best footy education you can get. It doesn’t come cheap – 48 goals to two is a high price – but it was a clinic and I had front row tickets along with my team mates.

    A coach might well be suffering severe hair loss, finger nail removal, laryngitis and a propensity for colourful language watching a game like this one. But this coach on my respect for a completely measured address at each break and afterwards, only prepared to focus on the positive things being done and using that as the template for more. It was a style of coaching that should be the blueprint, but often isn’t. As a coach myself it was refreshing to see such an approach and I know that I learned an enormous amount about composure and how to deal with reality.

    Probably the last of my enduring lessons from the game was how easy it can actually be to hold your head up. So often the phrase rings out on fields across the world “keep your heads up, boys”. To a man the team kept their heads up for four quarters. They copped a thrashing in each quarter yet the heads didn’t drop. They probably should have, but these boys had a spirit that transcended score-lines. It is easier to keep a head up when it is proud – and these boys were proud of each other. They didn’t drop their heads because to do so would erode the pride.

    Where this club goes from here is an unknown. Thankfully, they appear to be on the way up – so they should with a team of players prepared to face defeat with such staunch resilience. But there is a spirit deeper than any scoreboard in this tea and club and that should carry them a long, long way into the future. Should. Time will tell.

    I can live happily with that experience. A scoreboard that read 305 to 15…OUCH!!! But it is just another experience in footy. I cannot say I want to have that experience again, but I know that I would be proud to stand beside these blokes again in adversity and learn more about the true spirit of footy that I might in ten wins…maybe more.

    I knew real pride that day – pride in a team that I was a part of. Pride in a side of a footballer’s character that is rarely written about.

    Thanks, boys…it was an honour.

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    The Lions are coming to Australia with one goal in mid – to roar loudly and look to continue their climb of recent years to take the Division 1 title. Finishing fourth at the IC14 event was something to be proud of, but not enough. This time they have an even bigger fish to fry.

    The Road To IC17:

    According to AFL SouthAfrica, “the road to the IC17 started immediately after the IC14. Fresh new talent and some of the talented kids who were too young to participate in the IC14, as well as the senior players were invited to camps that made sure that everyone’s skill set is progressing.” 

    “These players participate in our national premiership known as footyWILD Premier League. The league has eight clubs ( Divines, Bluebirds, Warriors, Super Owls, Hurricanes, Giant Bees, Wildcats and Platinum Buffaloes) and we also have Provincial League - sort of like interstate league made up of four provinces (KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape and North West Province). Finally, we have the footyWILD Under 14 championships. They involve the kids we train everyday via mass participation. So the elite kids participate and they feed the senior teams depending on player development.”

     “[The] selection process is on-going, running concurrently with our various leagues. When we are looking at selecting a player we are mainly looking at their skills set, attitude and fitness as the key points.”


    Strengths & Weaknesses:

    An excerpt from the 2014 IC14 preview described the South African team as follows: “Traditionally the South Africans have played a fast, attacking, but at times chaotic style.  A lack of regular club matches has probably deprived them of the chance to consistently experience pressure football every week for a long season, and to practice structured play under real match pressure.  But their academy program and the first steps towards a national league are addressing these issues so it will be interesting to see whether the Lions can return to the top four and challenge the best the rest of the world has to offer.”

    The same can be said again this time around in many ways, but the big difference since IC14 is the establishment of the Footywild Premier League in South Africa which has seen eight clubs formed in a national competition. The regularity of a permanent competition as well as the benefits from sustained matches provides a useful platform for growth of players. 

    As stated by AFL South Africa in the lead up to the IC17 tournament, “in terms of our squad going to the IC17, our strongest points are our speed and agility.” Once again the modus operandi of the Lions will be the all-out attack approach – run hard and keep the ball away from opponents to set up scoring options. Whilst it is always a high risk approach, it has served them well in past International Cups and is likely to cause more headaches for opposition defences in 2017.



    The Country and Australian Football:

    The Republic of South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation as it integrates so much of the cultural spectrum. Estimates vary, but the population is around 51 million and it is steadily, though too slowly for some, building up the standard of living after years of repression. Australian football got its start in South Africa in the 1990s, but then did it tough for some time. But building up to IC08 it became the number one focus for international development, with its relatively cheap costs, abundant population without access to organised sport, and various synergies with business investment. With extra AFL support and a genuine grassroots movement the sport began to flourish.

    The game has been branded FootyWILD and grew rapidly in numbers, but over the last few years there has been an effort to consolidate and growth has slowed. But 2011 saw a drop of two spots in their International Cup finishing position and it's also been unclear whether AFL support has been steady or declined.  With the rise of international rookies from South Pacific nations and none currently from South Africa one can imagine that there's pressure building to produce some potential AFL talent soon. 

    A focus has been talent identification and this year's team has been selected from a group that have had dedicated training as an elite squad as well as the regular competition in the footyWILD Premier League as mentioned earlier. 


    1. Vuyisile Sokoyi-Blue Birds FC

    2. Atang Moshoeshoe-Blue Birds FC

    3. Denmark Baloyi-Warriors FC

    4. Ncedo Tywaku- Blue Birds FC

    5. Xolisa Dutyulwa-Blue Birds FC

    6. Aubrey Velele -Blue Birds FC (Vice-Captain)

    7. Thimna Bartman-Blue Birds FC

    8. Banini Sekori-Wild Cats FC

    9. Asanda Funda-Divines FC

    10. Steven Matshane-Wild Cats FC

    11. Jabu Mngomezulu-Divines FC

    12. Emmanuel Mtomboti-Divines FC

    13. Xolani Xaba-Hurricanes FC

    14. Thato Manoto-Wild Cats FC

    15. Kealeboga Mmasa-Wild Cats FC

    16. Benefit Baloyi- Warriors FC

    17. Luzuko Mlonyeni-Divines FC

    18. Karabo Marokoane-Platinum FC

    19. Msizi Mkhize-Hurricanes FC

    20. Tshoboko Moagi -Warriors FC (Captain)

    21. Scelo Tenza-Hurricanes FC

    22. Mandilakhe Lungile-Divines FC

    23. Godfrey Molohlanyi-Wild Cats FC

    24. Uzenzile Gotyana-Wild Cats FC

    25. Thembinkosi Zwane-Hurricanes FC

    26. Malibongwe Mlamli-Divines FC

    The team’s Head Coach will be Benjamin Motuba. Tshoboko Boagi from the Warriors Football Club will be captain and Aubrey Velele from the Blue Birds Football Club will be vice-captain.

    Players To Watch:

    The South African Lions are a genuine mixture of youth and experience. Older heads who have been to previous International Cups will certainly mentor the new comers, whilst the youth can offset any lost pace from previous campaigners. In a relatively low-key outfit, one player who will have people watching is Godfrey Molohlanyi who returns to the national team after a nine-year absence – having last played for South Africa at an International Cup back in 2008. 

    With youth and regeneration of the list a selection consideration it will be interesting to see what has caught the selector’s eyes after such a lengthy time away from this level.



    The South African team has a tough draw at this year’s International Cup. Matches against reigning champions, Papua New Guinea, and honest toilers over past cups – the USA, Great Britain and Fiji – present a tough challenge. But the national team has been a consistently well performed team at past International Cups, finishing 4th at the last event in 2014, 5th in 2011 and an all-time best performance of 3rd back in 2008. This new squad will be going all out to better those results and set a new benchmark for South African footy.

    Round 1: v Great Britain - 6th August (Royal Park)

    Round 2: v USA – 9th August (Wesley College)

    Round 3: v Fiji – 11th August (St Mary’s – South Geelong)

    Round 4: v Papua New Guinea – 15th August (Royal Park)

    Grand Finals: 18th/19th August (subject to placings after qualifying rounds)



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    World Footy News will be highlighting as many aspects of the International Cup (IC17) as possible over the course of the event, including player profiles. First up is veteran Fijian defender, Nagasavulavula Sovuta.

    1. Where is home and who is your home club?

    My home is Ra but I’m living in Raiwai in Fiji. My local club is Raiwaiqua.

    2. How many years have you been involved in AFL footy?
    I started playing football in 2011 and have been involved until now. I was also involved in the creation of the Raiwaiqa Bulldogs club. We won our first AFL Fiji premiership in 2014.

    3. What is your favourite playing position?

    My current playing position for the Fijian team is back pocket, but I love being in the centre/forward zone.

    4. How will your team go at IC17?

    From 2011 to 2014 and now in 2017 selections are tougher and the preparation is more organised though we are still struggling to get the team over to Australia for the event. We will be very competitive.

    5. Which AFL club in Australia do you follow if any?

    It is the Adelaide Crows ...

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    1.       Where is home and who is your home club?

    I am from Tembisa [midway between Pretoria and Johannesburg] in South Africa. My home club is Warriors FC in the footyWILD Premier League.


    2.       How many years have you been involved in Australian Rules football?

    I’ve been playing the game since 2008. I got a scholarship in 2011 to spend 6 months playing footy in Tasmania with South Launceston. I’ve played two International Cups and this will be my third International Cup. 

     3.       What is your favourite or best playing position?

    I am better suited to the midfield and back line.


    2.      4.  How will your team go at IC17?

    We have a strong team with new faces, everyone is ready to go with their best skills. I think we will get through to the final and also win the cup.


    3.      5.  Which AFL club do you follow, if any?

    I do follow a team in Australia, an it’s the Hawthorn Football Club.


    4.       6. Do you have anything else you would want to achieve or gain from the IC17?

    It will be an exciting thing to see the AFL start scouting from the international teams to play in the AFL. ...

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  • 08/01/17--13:49: IC17 Preview: Nauru Chiefs
  • Nauru is a tiny Pacific Island nation that has the distinction of being the only country in the world that has Australian Rules as its national sport (assuming that status is disputed/shared by several sports in Australia). The capital city is Yaren and the population is just 12,000 but the number of Australian football participants is around 300.

    The the national team is known as the Nauru Chiefs and they are a team just below the top tier at the International Cup and capable of stepping up with an upset.  We think tactically they may have advanced their game and this may be the impetus for them to rise to a higher finish.

    Road to the International Cup

    After finishing IC08 in fourth place, IC11 at sixth and IC14 seventh it might seem like footy in Nauru was going backwards or at least not keeping up.  In reality they only lost the one match, against (eventual runner up) Ireland in Bendigo and they were in with a show to win that match until the last quarter.  They defeated Indonesia, Great Britain (twice) and the USA.  Any potential IC17 opponents would be foolish to take them lightly based on that seventh place finish.  

    The Nauru domestic competition is made up of six teams that are based on AFL club names and colours.  They are the Bulldogs, Magpies, Cats, Bombers, Kangaroos and Hawks.  The Magpies defeated the Bombers in the 2017 season spearheaded by Richmond Spanner and Kenneth Oppenheimer.

    The senior competition is capped at 180 players (30 on each team).  This number is set due to the number of volunteers available and all matches are played on one ground.  

    In 2011 most of the Nauru team spent time in Australia playing with country footy clubs to acclimatise in the lead up to IC11.  In 2014 it was decided that time spent together in Nauru was more valuable.  Adding to this the IC rules this time around restrict the number of players that have been playing in Australia in a squad.

    The Nauru team did play an All Star team against Zillmere in Queensland and Strathfieldsaye in Bendigo earlier this year to test out their squad in Australian conditions and will have a warm up match in Beenleigh this week against PNG before arriving in Melbourne. 

    This time around the team will be coached by the Premiership coach with the Magpies this year, Zac Temaki .  Temaki has twice coached the Nauru stars to victory at the Oceania Cup and as a player played with the Cats in the AFL Nauru competition where he won the 2013 AFL Nauru Best & Fairest winner, and has twice represented the Nauru Chiefs at the International Cup as a player.

    The Country and Australian Football

    Nauru is an island nation in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometres (186 mi) to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi). With just over 9,265 residents, it is the second least-populated country after Vatican City. Settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Nauru gained its independence in 1968.

    Nauru is a phosphate rock island, with deposits close to the surface, which allow for simple strip mining operations. This island was a major exporter of phosphate starting in 1907 until the deposits ran out during the 1980s. The island also benefited financially when it was an off-shore detention centre for illegal immigrants into Australia for a period recently.

    Football was first played by Nauruan schoolchildren in the 1930’s in schools in Victoria, Australia. Among these schoolkids was Hammer DeRoburt. Schools in Geelong and Melbourne in Victoria were popular destinations of Nauruan schoolchildren of secondary-school age. After DeRoburt left Australia, he headed back to Nauru with a couple of friends and popularised the sport in his hometown. Whilst the phosphate mining continued Aussie ex-pats helped to keep the competition alive and prospering.

    Internationally Nauru first participated in the 1995 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia. The team, coached by former VFL/AFL player Mark Yeates finished third, winning the Bronze medal. In 2000, the Chiefs travelled to Queensland to compete in the inaugural Web Sports Cup to compete against teams from Samoa and the Robina Roos from Australia. The Chiefs won both matches. In 2001, the Chiefs again travelled to Queensland winning another two matches, one against the Gold Coast Old Boys. In the same year the Chiefs won the gold medal at the 2001 Arafura Games, defeating the Japanese national side.

    At the AFL International Cup in 2002, the Chiefs finished in 8th place, ranking Nauru the 9th strongest Aussie Rules nation in the world. Nauru withdrew from the 2005 International Cup. They attended the 2008 event however due to intense rivalry and violence in the National League, the NAFA (Nauru Australian Football Association) placed strict conditions on player eligibility to encourage a sense of unity, meaning that only players under 23 years old with a clean record were able to represent Nauru in the Cup. A number of members of the national team were placed with clubs in country Victoria to spend a few months developing their skills before the tournament. The team performed exceptionally, being beaten once in the opening pool round by the eventual winners Papua New Guinea, their only loss, to place 5th overall.  As detailed above their 2011 tournament saw them finish 6th after losing to PNG and South Africa and in 2014 finished 7th losing only to Ireland.

    In recent years Nauruan youngsters coming through have benefited from the annual development opportunities offered by the AFL in the form of the Oceania Cup and the chance for players to compete at the NAB Under 16 Championships in Australia. "Ït gives our local junior competition targets and incentives and motivates young players to aim for national selection so they can be spotted in the regional competions and win a spot on the Oceania and South Pacific teams. There is a clearer pathway which helps all adminstrators and coaches of local leagues in motivating our young players" Mathew Batsiua told us.  The benefits of this pathway will no doubt be seen in the younger players now coming into the Chiefs squad.

    Auskick programs and women's matches have been a feature in recent times and can only continue to grow the strength of footy in the small island nation.

    Strengths and Weaknesses

    Strengths must include the football preparation on home soil and team unity that has been built.  The domestic competition is regular and hotly contested making them match hardened.  The All-Stars tours should have given them a good warm up in Australian condition.

    Their weakness has been their inability to defeat the top nations and around stoppages they have sometimes been found out tactically by these sides. 

    In 2008 Assistant Coach Wes Illig described the Nauruan players “all players stand out because of their low centre of gravity and the general carnage left behind them after they have hit the football. We will not have any 6 footers but as the ball is played on the ground 99% of the time height is not all it is cracked up to be and if you have 20 blokes having a go, leaving a physical trail of destruction behind them, teams tend to lose concentration of their game plans and structure”.  Expect no different at IC17.

    The Squad


    Bronco Deidenang Kangaroos
    Yoshi Harris Magpies
    Kenneth Oppenheimer Magpies
    Aykers Daniel Bulldogs
    Joeson Kanimea Kangaroos
    Trent Depaune Cats
    Tipung Kamtaura Bombers
    Donatello Moses Bulldogs
    Jencke Jeremiah Hawks
    Richmond Spanner Magpies
    Mikey Hiram Kangaroos
    Mallinson Batsiua Magpies
    Darnel Diema Hawks
    Patrick Agadio Bulldogs
    Dave Mwaredaga Magpies
    Agir Nenabo Amwano Bombers
    Kais Tatum Bombers
    German Grundler Bombers
    Tiana Waidubu Cats
    Charles Dagiaro Kangaroos
    Jose TripleJ-Jems Uepa Bulldogs
    David Japheth Adeang Cats
    Jeremiah Gil Kam Hawks
    Devine Agir Bulldogs
    Teolime Kamtaura Magpies
    Tama Jeremiah Magpies
    Niga Haulangi Bulldogs
    Shawnkemp Maaki Cats
    Ishmael Fritz Hawks
    Mick Vorbach Bombers

     Unfortunately Pilo and Johnny Dagiaro were late withdrawals due to other commitments.

    Players to Watch

    Ken Oppenheimer and Richmond Spanner are a tag team combination that has given nightmares to defenders in the AFL Nauru competition this year. Both strong targets up forwards, Oppenheimer perhaps better on the lead and Spanner in the air.  Both know where the goals are and love to rack them up.

    Yoshi Harris - once an international scholarship listed player with AFL club GWS, Harris is an exciting utility that could be found anywhere on the ground, he has silky finishing skills.  Will be pivotal in taking on whatever jobs are required of him to ensure a victory for the Chiefs.

    Form Guide and Bottom Line

    Eighth in 2002, fifth in 2008, sixth in 2011 and seventh in 2014.  This time the Chiefs are a chance to make it a top 4 finish if they can pull it all together but there are no easy games at IC17.  There is high anticipation and excitement across Nauru for the team to go far in the tournament this time.

    Last night Nauru played PNG in a practice match in Beenleigh (Qld) and went down by around 6 goals.  Given that the two nations play each other in the tournament next week (Round 2) we might not take to much from that friendly hit out other than they were not on the winning side.

    Nauru play NZ in Round 1 which will be a big test first up if they can upset the Kiwis that boast a huge amount of talent experienced in Australian conditions then they may be primed for PNG.  If not then they may be somewhat blunted going into Round 2. 

    They play France in Kew and Canada at Royal Park in Rounds three and four, and while not easy matches would expect to win both these matches.

    If they can finish 3-1 in this new format, that would be a good result and if everything went their way 4-1 is not impossible.  I don't think they can go all the way though.  But they could also finish 3-2 which would be acceptable for most outsiders but very disappointing to the Aussie rules nation.


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    The Footy Almanac and World Footy News and the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel invite you to enjoy a classic Melbourne experience at the Odd Friday Lunch to celebrate the International Cup.

    Join Carlton legend Percy Jones (249 games and three premierships) and take in the atmosphere of a traditional Melbourne corner pub, with superb dining room, real fires, lots of Fitzroy Football Club and Carlton Football Club art and photos. This is a genuine, time-honoured Melbourne lunch experience.

    Hosted by John Harms, writer and champion luncher.

    Where: North Fitzroy Arms Hotel, 296 Rae St, North Fitzroy
    When: Friday, August 11
    Time:   12.30pm
    Three courses for $40
    Drinks at bar prices


    Get the tram:
    Tram 11, Stop 21 (Alfred Crescent) or Tram 96, Stop 20 (Richardson Street)

    Follow our International Cup coverage at: and ...

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  • 08/01/17--17:10: IC14 Highlights
  • Just to get you in the mood for IC17 that kicks off at Royal Park in just 4 days time. Here's a look back at some highlights of IC14.


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  • 08/01/17--23:10: IC17 Preview: The Umpires
  • The unsung heroes of the game. The Umpires. The AFL have been able to organise a great group of umpires from across Australia to umpire at all five international cups so far.  This one will be no exception and with these volunteers the game will on.

    Lesser known are the umpires that have travelled from overseas to be part of the International Cup to boost the umpiring pool. But since at least 2005 been the case. Usually volunteering week in week out so that the game can go on around the world, the opportunity to come to the home of Australian football is a great reward for those that can make the trip.

    Rick Shaibani interviewed Chris Adams*, an Aussie that has been part of footy in the US for many years about his upcoming stint as an International Cup umpire along with his son CJ who is very much an American. We also detail all the international umpires rostered for the competition.

    *Chris is also a former World Footy News writer.

    With the International Cup less than a week away, I recently had the pleasure to talk to one of the umpires, Chris Adams, who will be in Melbourne with his son CJ for the IC. Adams is an Australian expatriate who has lived in the US for 20 years and has been involved with footy at numerous levels. We had a nice chat about the rise of Aussie rules in the States, what to expect from this year’s IC, and how footy can continue to reach audiences worldwide.
    Q: Where are you from originally?
    A: Melbourne; I moved to the US in 1994.
    Q: Cool. Which USAFL club did you first get involved with after you moved here? And in what context (i.e., umpiring, coaching, or playing yourself)?
    A: The Milwaukee Bombers formed around 1998. I joined them in 1999 while I lived in Madison, Wisconsin. I played with them until I moved to Vermont in 2000. In 2001, I moved to DC and joined the Baltimore-Washington Eagles. I was a player and assistant coach with them until I retired in 2003. I founded the junior program in DC in 2006 and started umpiring about three years ago.
    Q: That’s awesome. Coming from Melbourne, what struck you the most about footy here in the States? Obviously, you came when the USAFL was still in its infancy.
    A: That I could get a kick. I played footy--badly--as a little kid and ended up playing basketball for most of my youth. I went to my first training in Milwaukee all worried about my skills. I had nothing to worry about. Going to my first Nationals was amazing. Seeing a few hundred fellow footy fans running around an oval in southern Ohio was pretty crazy.
    Q: I can imagine. As an Aussie, how does it feel to see footy take off in the States?
    A: Well, it has been a lot of hard work. I have been on the USAFL board, I’ve helped build the Milwaukee Bombers, the Baltimore-Washington Eagles and now the Washington Junior Australian Football Club, as well as umpiring in the DC area. I’m excited to see my son start playing for the Eagles (CJ is pictured below working with kids at the Washington Junior Australian Football Club) .
    Q: Awesome. How old is he?
    A: 17.
    Q: Is this the first time you’ve been to the IC as an umpire?
    A: It’s my first time at the IC; I’m excited to finally have a go at it. I should be a great experience for me and my son. He will be boundary umpiring at the IC.
    Q: Cool. I’m sure it’ll be a rewarding experience for you both! I assume you’ll be catching up with other family members down there too?
    A: We will be staying with my mother. We are all Carlton fans, so my brother and his family will go to watch the Carlton U19s take on Essendon.
    Q: Sounds good. Which games will you be umpiring at the IC?
    A: So far, I have Papua New Guinea vs. European Crusaders, and Canada vs. Pakistan in the women’s side.
    Q: Good stuff. What about CJ?
    A: He’ll have Japan vs. India (Men’s Division 2) and Canada vs. Great Britain (Men’s Division 1).
    Q: Who do you think could be the dark horse in the IC this year? And what do you think of the Revos’ chances?
    A: New Zealand seems to be really good on paper. I think Papua New Guinea and New Zealand will be the teams to beat. I hope the Revos are in the mix in all of their games. They have a pretty nice draw.
    Q: Agreed. What do you think is the biggest key to keeping footy going worldwide, whether in the States or elsewhere?
    A: Juniors. The AFL has a wonderful program in Auskick for the under-9s. I think the AFL needs to help international organizations develop elite pathways for juniors and opportunities for young athletes to experience high quality AFL coaching and training.
    Q: Yeah, that could be very valuable. As an American, I feel like one of the bigger obstacles to expanding footy is the fact that there’s not much of a community sports culture over here (at least compared to Australia). But I also believe that there’s a mostly untapped part of our sporting culture that’s very much into full-contact sports. Getting kids and teens involved via more junior programs would be a terrific step forward.
    A: Raising an American, it’s been cool to teach him a game that he will continue to play for the foreseeable future, through college and as he starts his career. I know that he has a ready-made group of friends in any city he moves to.
    Q: For sure. One of the best things about footy is the type of community it fosters. Regardless of sports background, nationality, etc. you can find a place at a footy club if you put in the work.
    A: We head out tomorrow. Should be a lot of fun. Thank you for doing this.


    The International Umpires



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  • 08/02/17--06:45: IC17 Preview: Team India
  • India returns to Melbourne for their fourth successive International Cup. Their first visit Down Under resulted in a series of heavy losses, however the team continues to improve with each return.  At IC14 the team did go winless again, but will be expecting to notch up a victory in 2017 where they will be known as the Essendon India team.

    The Country and Australian Football

    India is the world’s second most populous nation (1.2 billion people) and arguably one of the most diverse.

    Football arrived in India with former VFL player Brian Dixon in the months prior to the 2008 International Cup. Dixon hoped the tournament would serve as a catalyst for growth of the sport in India. Whilst not in the manner Dixon had intended, such growth did occur, albeit more than three years later.

    That growth since then has been driven by Sudip Chakraborty, a member of the 2008 and 2011 squads and an occasional World Footy News writer. Chakraborty was sufficiently taken by the game to pursue a postgraduate qualification in Sports Management and ultimately establish the Australian Rules Football Association of India (ARFAI).  Chakraborty continues to be the head of footy in India which he runs from Melbourne where he is now placed with the Essendon Football Club.

    Since its establishment, ARFAI has launched programs in six Indian states, has seven paid full time roles and has hosted two successful National Championships. 
    Also helping the growth of the game was the endorsement of former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting.

    Growth has continued in the last few years in different regions of the country as for the first time in 2017 Bengal were beaten for the title at the AFL India national championships.

    Also a recent match between India and an Australian Masters team attracted 6000 spectators with locals showing a great interest in our game.

    Whilst in their four appearances at the AFL International cup India has managed just the one victory, the 2017 squad looks easily their strongest with more height, skill and speed then at previous tournaments. The club is also receiving fantastic support from Essendon and AFL level and Bendigo powerhouse Golden Square at local level.

    Whilst Golden Square is their host club for a training camp this week it has actually been a combined effort from Golden Square and other parts of the Bendigo Football Community that has seen a team from Bendigo travel to India each year for their national championships in recent years.

    Player to watch:  

    Maidul Ali has been tearing it up at the last 3 Indian national championships including being awarded player of the tournament this year by a panel including Kevin Sheedy who we know has a great eye for Talent. Ali is short in stature but that’s all his lacks as he can still take a grab shows good kicking skills and is lightning earning him the nickname of The Pocket Rocket.

    Schedule: Rounds 1-3

     Sun 6/8 vs Japan (Western Oval) 2:45pm/10:15am(IST)

    Wed 9/8 vs Germany (Mentone Grammar) 12:30pm/8am(IST)

    Fri 11/8 vs Pakistan (Golden Square) 7pm/2:30pm(IST)

    Form and the bottom line:

    The Essendon Indian team probably have drawn the tougher pool in Division 2 but no doubt they have improved a long way in the last 3 years. Based on the current WFN rankings they would not beat any of these three teams.  But the rankings are based on India's footy past.  Just how much have the others improved and have india improved enough to notch a few more victories in 2017? Time will tell.

    The Team

    1 Rajbanshi Sudip
    3 Sharma Aashish
    4 Beshra Daman
    5 Kalia Abhi (VC)
    6 Shah Tarak
    7 Baig Zuber
    8 Ali Maidul
    9 Tirkey Mahesh (VC)
    10 Akhtar Jasim
    11 Annedi Raul
    13 Chakraborty Sudip (C)
    14 Saxena Gaurav
    15 Jamal Haaris
    16 Bara Amar Roshan
    17 Sidhu Komal
    18 Hemrom Manish
    19 Gaikwad Peter
    20 Kujur Asheet
    21 Ashoka Sagar
    22 Sharma Samrat
    23 Singh Prasanjeet
    24 Aind Gulab
    25 Singh Karanbir
    26 Selvam Pachamuthu
    28 Singh Parveen
    44 Malhotra Akash
    77 Ashraf Abdul
    88 Dev Amal
    90 Sangwan Nishant
    99 GK Arjun
    Coach Hussain Yasser
    Asst Coach Singh Sana
    Manager Chokshi PM
    Asst Manager Kalra Mona


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