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Tuesday, January 19 2021 @ 12:12 am ACDT

Tsunami reaches Vancouver but Burnaby Eagles too strong

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In danger of being lost amongst the many firsts in the BC Footy weekend back in August in which Canada and the United States went head-to-head in men's, women's and under 17's boys Australian Football, was the annual BC Footy Cup. The club competition saw a combined Seattle/Portland side travel up from the US to take on the local Vancouver Cougars and Burnaby Eagles and Alberta's Kangaroos. But the individual journeys across North America were surpassed by the Nippon AFL side that took part in the Cup, with members of the Tsunami squad making the long trip from Japan.

The Tsunami side represents the Nippon AFL (not to be confused with the Samurai from the Japan AFL). It was their first overseas event and unfortunately due to it clashing with the immediately subsequent Obon Summer vacation (Remember your Ancestors holiday) they ended up with limited numbers, but still brought enough players to play a role in the British Columbia event.

Due to their reduced numbers the Nippon players joined forces with the local sides for their matches. Similarly players from the struggling Victoria Lions joined in with other sides. In the end the Burnaby Eagles proved too good, winning the 2007 BC Footy Cup. The Eagles were originally a spin-off from the Vancouver Cougars and it's clear BC now has two strong independent clubs, and there are hopes this will grow further in the next couple of years.

The Nippon AFL's President, Andy Carne, told us that "the NAFL boys and girl had a great time in Vancouver. We took memories away that we'll never lose. We didn't win a game but we won the respect of all the participants in our efforts both off and on the field. Which is to me more important than the scoreboard in our first international event".

Carne also pointed out that the one female member of their playing group was Kaori Ueda, who was invited to have a run with the Canadian National team, which Carne believes to be the first time a Japanese woman has participated in an international Australian Football fixture.

Carne was impressed with the standard of the Canadian and US men's sides and felt both were big improvers since the 2005 International Cup, comparing the standard to that of division three of the South Australian Amateur Football League (SAAFL). He extended an offer to all clubs in North America to visit the NAFL in Japan.

Likewise the staff at BCFooty expressed thanks for the Tsunami's attendance and commented that "the committee members of your club should be very proud of how your club represented itself on and off the field during the event. A special thanks to those members of your club that assisted with umpiring duties during the event".

With the Japan AFL's side travelling regularly to Australia and the Nippon AFL's journey to Canada, the Japanese leagues are surely some of the most active travellers in Aussie Rules internationally.

There's a good review and a few photos of the weekend on the Calgary Roos website.

Later in the season, on September 10th 2007, the Vancouver Cougars gained revenge over Burnaby, before going on to win their season decider against Seattle 11.10 (76) to 8.9 (57), to take out the NWPAFL premiership. See Eagles Wings Clipped.

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