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Tuesday, January 19 2021 @ 12:51 am ACDT

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas

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Former Richmond and Essendon great Kevin Sheedy has called for future AFL seasons to commence with Round 1 played outside of Australia. He made the comment at the AFL Coaching Conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland. As strong an advocate for international footy as worldfootynews.com is, even we might hesitate to seriously suggest such a dramatic change due to the risk of alienating supporters in Australia.

There's little doubt that such a move would be highly unpopular if it were to occur in the next few years. However staging a lot more NAB Cup games in other countries would provide a good balance, plus consideration given to occasional home-and-away matches outside of Australia, such as during the mid-season split round. Sheedy has always been controversial and this new call fits the same mold. But the international development of Aussie Rules is a journey that will be so much faster if the AFL clubs and fans are willing partners, and it seems like the AFL's official ambassador for the 150 years of Australian Football will not get his way on this one any time soon.

"Round one should always be played overseas in the next 10 years," Sheedy said.

"Round one could get auctioned like the grand prix races do. You could then play the other 21 rounds in Australia – that would be a better way to take the game around the world".

Another quote from the coaching conference, not specific to world footy but a powerful message to coaches, came from former Melbourne and North Melbourne player and St Kilda coach Stan Alves.

"I think there wouldn’t be a person in this room who couldn’t tell you about their first coach and the impact that coach had on them," Alves said.

"I was very fortunate growing up in the little town that I did that there was just a desire to be part of something and in winter it was football.

"I went down to a little club at 12 years of age to try and get a game for the under-17 thirds.

"People say to me; ‘you must have been a good player to get a game at 12’. And my response is; ‘hang on, I never said I got a game – I said I went down there.’

"I went down there for two years and never got a game and people say; ‘why would you go down’. And I say; ‘the coach'.

"Because every night at training at some stage the coach would come up to me, pat me on the back and tell me; ‘keep it up Stan, you’re getting better and better all the time and one day you are going to make it'."

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Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas | 9 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Sean Finlayson on Tuesday, February 05 2008 @ 03:04 pm ACDT

I think he's actually on the ball with this one. You could never touch the AFL Grand Final or the ANZAC match, but footy fans are pumped for round one, it is the next biggest thing. And it is not unusual for many footy fans to travel interstate to see their team at least once or twice a year - I do at least. Realistically a flight to NZ or South Africa cost a similar amount as a flight to Perth. These are the countries who have the infrastructure in place for top level footy matches. You'd start with them first and then as fans get used to the concept, you could start to experiment with places like The Oval, maybe India and the new cricket stadium in Florida.
It would be invaluable local media exposure should plane loads of Aussies turn up for such an event.

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, February 05 2008 @ 03:27 pm ACDT

That's okay for 100 or even a 1000 fans. But the AFL has already alienated a section of the community - note the outcry over the boutique nature of the Grand Final each year, where most fans of the clubs competing have no hope of getting a ticket. And season tickets are not cheap for an average family.

The AFL do make an effort to get to everyone, with pre-season community camps etc, which really are a great initiative and make the players accessable. But they have to be careful to not alienate people. Yes fans are pumped for round 1 - so they won't be happy to see it's overseas. And bear in mind that unless they arranged the draw carefully, in many cases round 2 will also be interstate for many fans, e.g. we could have Adelaide vs Collingwood in Florida round 1, and if all other teams also travelled, then in round 2 Adelaide may well have to travel to say Brisbane or Melbourne - we know it's not likely Collingwood would have to travel again. 8)

So home fans wouldn't get to see their team live until round 3 - not a good scenario. The way out of that would be to schedule the local derbies/showdowns for round 2 - Adelaide vs Port, WCE vs Freo, Melbourne teams facing each other, just leaving Brisbane and Sydney to be sorted (and of course one day we should have Gold Coast and West Sydney).

I'd still favour starting with all round 1 NAB Cup games internationally for a few years (builds those markets, gets clubs used to international travel), then perhaps look at the split round, when fans have had a major fill of games anyway and it's the middle of the cool and wet (sometimes) winter in Victoria and SA.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Tuesday, February 05 2008 @ 06:10 pm ACDT

I'm leaning more towards Sean and Sheeds on this one.

Although it'll largely depend on how well-attended (or cost effective) overseas
NAB Cup matches prove to be in the near future.

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Evan Read on Wednesday, February 06 2008 @ 04:25 pm ACDT

I read that to mean Round 1 of the AFL Regular season, not Round 1 of the NAB
cup as some seem to be saying.

I would absolutely support a round of AFL Regular season to go overseas (America,
Europe, Africa - not just SA) etc - but not the first round.

First round of OUR comp should be here.

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Thursday, February 07 2008 @ 02:45 pm ACDT

I don't really see the point in a full round of regular season matches overseas. There's no way that scale could be cost effective for quite some time yet. As an indicator, I dare say most if quizzed in Pretoria streets last week would be suggesting it must be a form of Rugby League or something that was being played.

For now, there aren't 8 markets that would really benefit from hosting a game. And those markets that might, don't necessarily have suitable venues.

Better for now, to think of a full round of games in NSW & QLD regional centres - it's been (regional round) done years and years ago, only this time playing places like Coffs Harbour, Bathurst, Newcastle, Townsville, Tamworth, Blacktown etc etc - at least then, you'd probably carry a smaller loss and be exposing the 'highest' level of the game to people ALL in potential growth regions where there HAS been investment by the AFL. And also, perhaps building towards breaking down the regional tv barriers throughout NSW and QLD.

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 09:31 am ACDT

Round 8, 1952, Euroa, Albury and Yallourn.

Actually, I'd love to see an AFL round in the following locations:
Geraldton, Albury, Toowoomba, Newcastle, Ballarat, Townsville, Alice Springs and Port Lincoln.
That'd be suitable playing surface and sirens pending.

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 11:34 am ACDT

I think most of those places see matches every few years in the other half of the NAB Cup, where teams go play when eliminated from the main competition. The community camps also get there, but of course so many places to visit. I wouldn't be against an AFL round in the country, but would cost a fair bit with limited capacity grounds to make up the difference, and a full round of people's season tickets not being used. That's why NAB Cup games which are more about the TV audience are more likely candidates.

In terms of what I was saying about alienating the public in Australia, see eread's comments and consider that that person is probably a supporter of international footy, so to get the average supporter view, put a slightly more negative slant on it and replicate that over 100,000s of fans.

I'm arguing for what I reckon will be best for international footy, I want to see a round outside of Australia, but the AFL have to keep the local fans on side. It's real politick. I just think trying to move round 1 would be a public relations disaster. But yes, we are really talking about in a few years time anyway, not going to happen soon - first step is a few more NAB Cup matches.

An interesting related article is the English Premier League (soccer) looking at the same thing, and that's getting a big backlash, from supporters through to politicians. And they are only talking about 1 round out of 39, not 22. With the big following that league has, I suspect they could easily sell out 50,000 seat stadiums at top dollar in many countries around the world, so it would pay for itself immediately.

British Govt lukewarm on Premier League plan.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Tuesday, February 12 2008 @ 09:02 am ACDT

That's the whole issue though.
Firstly, AFL overseas. How many decent size venues able to hold a game - - where those games would be of greatest benefit.
Even in Denmark, about 400 registered players, and a few more hundred past associates - and a few coming in from Sweden and Finland and Germany - - and what, maybe 2000 people max who might care - but how many actually CAN get there when it's on.

Better for now - for overseas - to ensure that the Jimmy Bartel visit to Scandanavia is the exception - but the norm.

Or - if 4 clubs have divided up amongst 4 provinces in Sth Africa, are we going to do 'international zoning' - for the time being at least - and see Geelong claim Denmark (would be logical), and someone else claim Austria/Germany, and a couple of clubs divide America, and 3 or so divided up GB etc etc.


an alternative, is play the Under 18s championships overseas. To counter the 'travel' on offer for underage soccer rep teams - - we send the kids to the US for the championships, based at Florida but taking in a bit of exposure to 'elite' sports and training over there. That way, invite along the best of the local juniors and allow them to see people potentially on the pathway, rather than people who've achieved the goal.

Other countries - obviously SthAf, perhaps a Euro/GB base might be available. Hmmmm, NZ, maybe - but that's like going to Tassie and calling yourself an international traveller!!

Sheeds wants AFL Round 1 overseas
Authored by: Rod Shaw on Tuesday, February 12 2008 @ 09:25 am ACDT

Munro Mick, Munro Mick, Munro Mick

NZ is a little like Tassie but their are a whole heaps of maori who would disagree. It is a great opportunity for any young sportsman to travel to NZ abnd see and do some things quite differently to how they are in Aussie.

It is a potentially important market that should not be forgotten in the rush to internationalise the game. It is a market that already makes Australian comps international in basketball, soccer and netball and should also do so in Pura Cup and eventually AFL