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Sunday, February 23 2020 @ 08:46 pm ACDT

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa


The AFL website is reporting new details of activities in South Africa (a talent camp in Pretoria) plus apparently confirming what has been reported as on the cards previously - an exhibition match in February '08 and a return tour of an Australian indigenous youth team.

The AFL's story says that former "Essendon premiership player Adam Ramanauskas will be the guest coach at the inaugural Talent Camp in South Africa in December. Ramanauskas will join AFL South Africa head coach Mtutu Hlomela at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria for the camp from December 19-20". There will be 40 players aged 13 to 16, participants of FootyWild, the South African version of Auskick. Hlomela is pictured at left.

It also reports that it will be players from this group that will take on the Australian indigenous youth team in February 2008. Previously the matches have featured a significant representation of older South African players, so this will be the first chance for the young products of the AFL's renewed push into South Africa to strut their stuff.

AFL South Africa operations manager Anthony Kelly said, "In 12 months we have established more than 115 primary school teams across four provinces. To have a player of Adam Ramanauskas’ calibre visit South Africa will enhance the program and assist our best players in their development".

With some exciting news of the continuing growth of footy in Papua New Guinea (coming soon), with its pathway through AFL Queensland, and the rush of Ireland's Gaelic games players to the AFL, there are three clear heavyweight countries emerging in international Australian Football (though Ireland in a very different manner to the other two). Not to downplay excellent work being done in many other countries, but China is also looming as a nation that could leapfrog much of the pack too.

As previously reported, the West Coast Eagles are heading to Durban next week. They will conduct clinics and train at the home of Super 14s rugby union team the Durban Sharks. Fremantle, Carlton and Collingwood are also scheduled to conduct camps in South Africa early next year.

The AFL's article confirms that Fremantle and Carlton will play an exhibition match next year, at Centurion Park in Pretoria on February 2. The original intended venue of Sedgars Park in Potchefstroom, AFL South Africa's home, was unavailable due to cricket commitments.

The full article is Rama goes FootyWild and features as the main story on the AFL website.

It has also been good to see a lot of new content in the AFL's International Leagues section (which has been repaired to allow stories to be displayed dating back to early 2007) and the HQ section on the AFL's front page (including plenty of material not sourced from worldfootynews.com).

Of course not all footy fans voraciously devour news on the major footy websites or newspaper sports sections. So it's pleasing to see the information slowly being disseminated by other means to further fans. The recent edition of the Adelaide Crows' Members Update, emailed as a pdf to all members (around 50,000), included a preview of the club's new recruit, Patrick Dangerfield, from the Geelong Falcons under 18 side. Part of his bio read "He is a graduate of the AIS-AFL Academy and toured South Africa earlier this year". Although that's a small mention, small pieces of information like that will slowly sink into the collective consciousness of the Australian public, and they'll come to accept as the norm that our game is played internationally.

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Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 09:18 am ACDT

The talent camp is interesting, one wonders what the plans may include pushing forward. Would there be annual talent camps also in North America, Europe, Britain etc. I would assume that each market needs some proper sense of a potential pathway - such that keen kids can set themselves within a frame work that ensures that if they warrant it - then they will be noticed, rather than by accident.

On that front too, I often wonder how long the International Cup in Australia will be the 'primary' international 'cup'. Given the distances involved, and that it may not always be the best on merit players coming, but rather those that can affored the time/money to come. Potentially a Nth Hemisphere or fully fledged European or trans Atlantic Cup in years to come might be - by virtue of the standard - become the 'primary' international 'expression' of our game. At least in this sporting world, Melbourne and the MCG will always be the 'Mecca'.

As a developmental process, any chance of 'continental' teams bringing the best together? At present I'd love to see Nth America vs Britain vs Continental Europe as an example.

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 09:37 am ACDT

I don't think it's particularly likely that any other cup would become "the"
international cup, simply because the strongest sides (eg PNG, NZ, USA) will
still be at this one.

It's possible the the IC could move overseas, but I don't think it's likely, as if
the AFL are going to put up the money to run it, they'll want to keep it where
it's most practical from their point of view (and if it was anywhere else, you
wouldn't get the chance as an overseas footballer to kick a goal on the MCG).

By the same token though, if it was held in Europe for example, you'd get a
few more teams (for division 2 at least) such as Austria and Germany who
can put 22 locals on the paddock but who wouldn't have the resources to
get them to Australia.

The Asia/Pacific sides might not be there though.

Ultimately, as long as the game's at an amateur level, it doesn't matter where
you hold it, you're going to have problems where sometimes the teams that
are there are determined by who has the money to get across.

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 11:38 am ACDT

Certainly, the IC in Melbourne hopefully must always be retained - and it is the spiritual home.
However, as far as being a 'showcase' of the best of International footy rather than a display of the diversity - I would think that for a period of 'evolution' of the game internationally that 'intra-continental' championships would probably become the highest standard that players get to experience (relative to BOTH their own team makeup and the opposition) [especially those not directly tied into an AFL development pathway such as PNG, NZ & Sth Af]- until especially such time that general quality of depth increases and/or various nations secure solid lines of revenue and sponsorship that can ensure the 'best' team is presented. Unless the AFL were to get the Govt onside to prehaps 'underwrite' each nation to perhaps a certain point, perhaps to ensure that the 10 best players on merit MUST on the plane.

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 12:33 pm ACDT

Personally, and we're all doing our best to change this, I think you'll still find that most Melbourne footy fans snub this event. The Melbourne-based rounds last time had only 200 people tops turn up. It worries me that the Melbourne matches are scheduled for weekdays, and having the first two rounds on weekdays at what I understand to be a fairly open amateur level oval is not conducive to crowds turning up. If a lot of matches have to be weekdays, and by nature of the event they do, I would really like to see a feature match held at night, when most workers and families can attend. The event will always look a little sad when played to empty ovals. And the improving skill level and unquestionable passion, along with the colour and culture, means these matches certainly deserve a good showing.

My point in all that is that if Melbourne doesn't turn it on for the third Cup, then surely it will be time to give another city the chance. In many respects, and I've discussed and argued this point for a few years, Melbourne is the worst place to hold the tournament. Many other capital cities are smaller (and have less AFL sides) so its easier to grab attention, and the people seem to be more open minded and curious about international footy. If developed with the local city council, a city like Perth, Adelaide, Darwin or Hobart would embrace the concept much more greatly. Think the Wangaratta experience but on a much greater scale. And organisers could charge a modest entry fee to matches, helping offsetting the costs of travel. As has been discussed before, a small entry fee of say $5, children free, actually adds to the credibility of the event.

Anyway, that's something for 2012. In the meantime, I hope Melbournites prove me very wrong.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 12:59 pm ACDT

I agree that you'd probably get better crowds elsewhere in Australia, I hear
Darwin got much better crowds to Arafura Games footy than the IC ever has in

And it should be noted that Wangaratta got way better crowds than Melbourne
did last year.

Talent camp as AFL stars and clubs head for Africa
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, December 03 2007 @ 02:04 pm ACDT

So far the AFL barely acknowledges doing anything internationally - there's enough angst re developing non-traditional states let alone spending money O-S. But, it's one thing to 'underpromote' the event deliberately, it's quite another to treat it without due respect and dignity when it is on.

Down at Port Melbourne in 2005, it (the crowd) was a little embarrassing, and we were down on the weekend, however, most people are still concerned with the progress of their own local and or AFL clubs - [will be a challenge with the 'hosting' via VAFA clubs next year].

Perhaps the AFL will become self confidant enough to proudly promote and display the international cup - and it seems they are coming around gradually via actually updating the International section of the website. The standard and depth of a core group of nations continuing to improve should ensure this.

The 2 best things that could have happened that did are probably that Sheedy got sacked, and therefore available - because, we need the next Ron Barassi and the next Brian Dixon.

And the 2nd is that Jimmy Bartel won the brownlow - because, the last time that he was over in Denmark, no one knew - this time, the reigning brownlow medalist visiting has generated a variety of media stories and snippets.

Personally, I'm envious, sitting back here in Melbourne, of the Denmark, Sweden, Germany annual tri-series. How cool is that, bugger the Bledisloe Cup or the RU tri-nations - - these people are playing OUR game. All Australians should know about that, and be proud about that, even if their favoured code is something else.