Contributed by: Brett Northey
There have been numerous mainstream Australian media reports that have some bearing on international Aussie Rules in the last week or so. Here we draw our readers' attention to a few of those stories.
In Swans on track for 2006 (on the AFL website), Sydney's performance manager Dave Misson discusses the challenges of getting his club ready for the 2006 season. They face the dual challenges of having had the players in action so late in 2005 (playing through to and winning the grand final) and having much of the club travel to the United States for the LA exhibition game. Misson explains that for practical purposes some of the clubs older players and those still doing rehab from surgery will not make the trip
Australian Football pioneers (also on the AFL website) reports on the 7 international players invited to the AFL-AIS camp to train with some of Australia's elite under-16s. AFL National Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan said the young players had accepted invitations to learn more about the game. "Although Australian Football is essentially an indigenous game, it is played in numerous countries. In recent years through the globalisation of the game there has been an expansion of both participants and interest in the game. The time will come very shortly when a player who learns our game outside Australia will make it onto an AFL list".
As we reported in Footy development jobs in South Africa and Melbourne, the AFL is keen to target ethnic communities in Australia, to ensure that the game continues to spread in recent migrant populations, something that could ultimately assist in seeding the game back in their countries of origin. Although the linkage may not be immediately obvious, there are quite a few examples of first or second generation Australians attempting to take the game back to their ancestral homes. Although this may not be the AFL's focus, it could be the productive spin-off for international footy. More on the AFL's program in AFL wants you, say migrant recruiters.
Following on from the successful work of Kable Kelleway in Samoa, the AFL with the Australian Government through AusAID and ViDA are again offering a young Australian the chance to help develop footy in Samoa. Information can be found in Position Vacant - Samoa Development Officer on this great chance to see a beautiful part of the world, help spread the Aussie game, and make a positive difference to the lives of kids in a developing country.
The Brisbane Lions website has on several occasions mentioned the work going on in PNG, with particular reference to Brisbane's PNG-born fullback Mal Michael. In PNG's future bright: Michael, Mal Michael says "it is only a matter of time before a Papua New Guinea-schooled footballer makes it to the AFL". He hopes his Foundation will be in place during 2006, giving young PNG players the opportunity to make it all the way to the AFL, as well as doing something to help improve conditions in the country. Brisbane recently returned from hiking the Kokoda Track, made famous in World War II as Australia and New Guinea defended against the Imperial Japanese forces. Michael discusses the trip in Big Mal's big homecoming.
Australian Football has been crying out for a non-contact version to be played in the hotter summer months Down Under and by the large percentage of the population that may not be up for the rigorous nature of the game week-in and week-out. WFN reporter Peter Parry was one such advocate and has commented that he wrote to the AFL ten years ago suggesting such an alternative. It was not until after the Carter Report in 2001 that action was finally taken and Recreational Football was born. Now in its second year in some states of Australia, it appears to be taking off with perhaps 100 to 200 teams springing up already. Queensland alone has over 50 listed sides, each with probably 10 to 15 players. The AFL site has links to all the Australian state competitions. If the rapid development continues it should dramatically strengthen Australian Football in Australia and will surely then become more prominent internationally.
In other news, in Indonesia a junior Australian Football competition has been run for several years by an expat New Zealander. We reported on the Java league in our census story for Asia but haven't been able to track down any updates recently. Andrew Warmbrunn for The Age's Realfooty has done the leg-work, having a great article published. Flying high in the Pancawati Cup discusses the junior competition, the Asian AFL Cup and the emergence of a senior league in Pancawati. Further, it reports that:
With an expanded league next year encompassing more villages, the future of football in Indonesia is bright.
A push to get teams from universities in Bogor and Depok, as well as teams from the University of Indonesia and the Institute of Agriculture, involved in an Australian football competition is also looking promising. Another idea is to bring volunteer English teachers into the villages to coach.
World Footy News