North Melbourne versus Sydney in Los Angeles gets a step closer
Wednesday, June 15 2005 @ 11:59 pm ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The long awaited exhibition match between the AFL's North Melbourne and an undetermined AFL side, now planned for the 2006 Australia Week Festival in Los Angeles, California, appears to be firming. Several aborted attempts have been made in recent years to get this off the ground, but a story this week in the Herald Sun suggests the match is increasingly likely to go ahead.
World Footy News has previously reported such attempts (AFL match for Los Angeles in 2005? and AFL eyes several international games in 2005/06) but they have fallen through due to "logistical" issues. Certainly a January match is earlier in the pre-season than most clubs would prefer. Herald Sun reporter Damian Barrett has reported that North are "pushing to play the match, tentatively booked for January 22, against the Sydney Swans at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)".
As has been reported earlier, Kevin Sheedy is keen to see his Essendon side play in the match, but presumably for marketing purposes the Swans are seen as a better option, given the higher international profile of the city of Sydney. Apparently the Kangaroos will seek official pre-season competition status for the match, making it part of the pre-season tournament and a reasonably serious hitout.
USAFL President Mark Wheeler has also suggested that if the match goes ahead, the US National side, the Revolution, may play another international side in the curtain raiser (undercard). If the event occurs, it will be a testament to the hard work of many individuals over several years, and prove that persistence really can pay off.