2006 Barassi Youth Tournament approaches
Wednesday, September 27 2006 @ 04:31 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The 2006 Barassi Youth Tournament (also known as the Barassi International Australian Football Youth Tournament, and formerly the Jim Stynes Cup) begins on October 1st, with several of the strongest international youth sides due to arrive in the coming days. Junior teams selected from around Australia will also be heading to the Australian Capital Territory for the series, which is supported by the "VFL Club", and which organisers hope will one day form the basis of an Australian Football Youth World Cup.
On Thursday 28th the New Zealand Junior Falcons are due to arrive in Canberra, with a South African Under 16s squad from the North West Province due the following day. Unfortunately PNG withdrew, though with their close links to the AFL Queensland system and involvement in elite carnivals there, it may have been deemed their juniors are receiving adequate development given their modest budget. Nauru's economic difficulties have been well documented and they were late withdrawals from the 2005 International Cup, but organisers are hopeful they will have a junior side compete. Efforts by Jeff Finsand in San Francisco were unrewarded, unable to get enough support to bring a US side, though there are rumours of a US junior tour in 2007.
Australian teams competing are coming from Kormilda College in the Northern Territory and a specially selected group of indigenous boys from the East Kimberleys (in Western Australia), chosen as a reward for good behaviour and to give them the opportunity to develop themselves.
Locally there will be two teams from the ACT. In keeping with the aims of the Barassi tournament the local players have been selected as good representatives of the sport, but not necessarily the elite players of the region. The organisers recognise that at this stage of international development there is little to be gained by potentially crushing the young players with some of Australia's best players.
Having said that, the Tuesday night games will be played in front of the AFL coaches and talent scouts who are visiting Canberra for the Australian Institute of Sport Draft Camp. On that night, at Queanbeyan under lights, the emerging talents of South Africa and New Zealand (and indeed Kormilda and the ACT) will be on display.
Other highlights will be a tour of the Sydney Cricket Ground (home of the Sydney Swans) for the visiting countries, a special morning tea at Parliament house hosted by the President of the Senate, and a visit to the AFL AIS Draft camp to see what it takes to be at the top of the sport.
Photos and results should be available daily on the tournament's website: Barassi Youth Tournament. The matches will be held at Royal Military College playing fields at Duntroon, with the Opening Ceremony at 11am on October 1st, with spectators welcome. The final day is October 7th. Thanks to Rob Nisbet for tournament details.
Update: The draw is now available here.