Essendon and Collingwood to repeat overseas ventures
Sunday, September 03 2006 @ 10:09 pm ACST
Contributed by: Ash Nugent
Over the past few years, football clubs in the AFL have started thinking outside the square when it comes to preparation for next year's season. St. Kilda has been to South Africa, Hawthorn to Papua New Guinea, Collingwood to the US and the Kangaroos and Sydney played a game in Los Angeles . The tours in both the US and South Africa also incorporated clinics with locals. In addition to this, Geelong's planned tour of New Zealand was cancelled when the AFL rejected the club's plans to play a pre-season match there and there have been rumblings that Fremantle and West Coast will visit South Africa.
Whilst there was some disappointment with the recent news that Melbourne had postponed its China tour until 2007, Saturday's Age reported that Essendon will go ahead with plans to send its next-generation leadership group to Japan. There they will teach classes at a Japanese high school, spend two nights with a non-English speaking family and hold football clinics in Tokyo and Osaka. The trip will span eleven days and builds on a similar trip from 2004.
Essendon has formed strong ties with Japan over the past few years. They supported the Samurais, Japan's national football team during their recent tour of Australia. Essendon also boasts three Japanese sponsors, Toyota, Japan Airlines and Yakult, and Michito Sakaki, a member of the Samurais' 2005 International Cup squad played in an exhibition match for Essendon against Sydney earlier in 2006.
In other news, a small article in the Melbourne Herald Sun, reported that Collingwood will return to the US to repeat its training regime in Flagstaff, Arizona. Greg Swann is reportedly very happy with the Magpies much improved performance on 2005.