Contributed by: Brett NortheyMany believe the Mid American Australian Football League (MAAFL) is fast becoming the benchmark league in the United States. The following report is from eastern USA correspondent Wayne Kraska. He reviews the history of the MAAFL and gives us a season wrap to date. Although the MAAFL spans what is described as the American mid-west, it still falls in the eastern half of the country.
With now seven teams spread from Milwaukee in the north to Atlanta in the south it's a fast rise for the MAAFL and the top matches are generating a very competitive atmosphere. The teams are basing their success on their ability to recruit American talent well through local Metro competitions with the league rule being that 60% of players on the field must be non-Australian. This ensures teams are diligent about going after local Americans to play the game. Most of these teams are forming strong 'one team per city' units that will only increase the development curve of all teams wanting to aspire to be the best in the land.
Originally the MAAFL was just Nashville Kangaroos, Cincinnati Dockers, Chicago Swans and the Louisville Cats commencing in 2000. However all those teams predated that inaugural year as the Mid West teams in the US developed quickly after the first official Aussie Rules game between Cincinnati and Louisville in 1996.
St Louis Blues and Kansas City Power had MAAFL debuts in 2001 with Louisville not taking part and those five teams continued on into 2002. Dallas Magpies came on board in 2003 and in 2004 Kansas City decided to opt out of the competition but the MAAFL replaced them with two highly credentialed and well organized clubs in the Atlanta Kookaburras and the Milwaukee Bombers. Atlanta is coming off a treble of SEAFL Premierships and Milwaukee a Premiership in division 2 of the 2003 Nationals.
The season so far in 2004 has been the talking point of the US scene. The Milwaukee Bombers sit atop of the ladder with 3 wins but have road games against Dallas and St Louis to come. Dallas must also travel to danger territory in Atlanta to prove themselves a worthy contender and have league leaders Milwaukee last game at home. Atlanta itself has a last round clash away at St Louis. Chicago Swans have been slightly disappointing in 2004 though are competitive enough to give any side a scare and Nashville, although losing several experienced players this year, have shown enough to be big improvers as the year goes on. Cincinnati, although having plenty of players, appear in more of a development stage with more than enough inexperience for any side to handle. Their inability to travel in numbers, an important criteria for success in the MAAFL, has been found wanting thus far in 2004.
This next round on August 14th, Milwaukee shapes up in St Louis in another game sure to shed more light on the Premiership chase. Nashville have the task ahead away to Atlanta and the Chicago Swans get a chance to improve their standing with a game against the undermanned Cincinnati Dockers at home. Dallas have the bye.
It's interesting to note in 2003 three teams Dallas, Atlanta & St Louis all were given Div 1 Nationals seedings. With the improvement of Milwaukee it might mean one of these teams might miss out in 2004. Or will the strength of the MAAFL show through by a fourth team displacing a Div 1 regular from the west or north in October at the Nationals in Atlanta? Time will tell.
Try the MAAFL website for more news and scores posted immediately after games www.midfooty.com.
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