Contributed by: Brett Northey
Many of the twelve nations attending the Cup are putting in place very professional programs to ensure their players can represent them at their very best. Team Canada recently appointed former Brisbane coach and North Melbourne player Paul Feltham as Consultant and Sports Psychologist, and have now welcomed Julian Thornbury as Team Manager and Kieran Sparks as a Team Runner.
In addition, they have had a relationship with the Sydney Swans since late in 2004, and the General Manager of the Swans' Melbourne office, Tony Morwood, has assisted the Northwind with training while vacationing in Canada.
World Footy News spoke with Canada's head coach Greg Everett about the relationship with the Swans. "They have been very receptive. From the moment I contacted the club regarding the possibility of them being our host for the 2005 International Cup they have been extremely helpful". AFL Canada and Sydney, who were formerly South Melbourne in the old VFL, had several obvious reasons to link together. Everett again: "AFL Canada President and former national player Mike McFarlane is the cousin of Swans legend Bob Skilton, my grandfather was a life member of South Melbourne and a former Vice President, VFL league delegate and was on the selection committee and assistant manager of the Victorian State team. Of course Sydney and Canada are both Red/White and this lead me to the idea that we would be a great fit and that it was a worthy idea to present to them".
Already the Swans have been very helpful to the Northwind's program. Discussions are underway for further interaction, and Sydney are endeavouring to assist Team Canada with transport in Melbourne, as well as finding a suitable place for them to stay. "It is great to have people in Melbourne with contacts to be able to do this instead of trying to do it from Canada".
It certainly sounds like Sydney are making a great effort to assist with the international expansion of Aussie Rules. No doubt they appreciate the difficulties faced in spreading a sport beyond its traditional boundaries.
World Footy News