Footy in Tromsø - the World's Newest most-Northerly Club
Friday, June 12 2009 @ 07:11 AM CST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway, roughly on the same latitude as the northern coast of Alaska. The town is far enough north that when the sun sets in October it doesn't comes up again until well into the following year. It's also the new home of the most northerly footy club in the world.
Last month, Swede Johan Julin and Tasmanian Ben L. Jago kicked off Aussie Rules in the town, with three social matches played to date. A group of recruits, mainly Swedish and Norwegian, but also including a Canadian, a New Zealander and Dutchman, have been taught the rules and taken part in matches in a park with ski poles serving as goal posts.
World Footy News spoke with Julin about the group's progress so far.
As Julin tells us, "I started to find people for the first game, but I didn't know anyone with knowledge about footy. I am from Helsingborg and have been playing for the Helsingborg Saints, AFL Sweden for two to three years. Ben Jago heard about the footy game and he joined in. So now we have an Australian guy in the 'team', a great contributor since he has more experience and lots of enthusiasm for the game. Now Ben and I are trying to get more people involved and play some more games."
Jago for his part has played at a high level in both Tasmania and Queensland. As he explains, "I played in Tasmania for the Burnie Dockers in the Tasmanian Football League and the Northern Tasmanian Football League when the Tasmanian league stopped. The club was one of the most successful in history - we won 5 premierships in a row. I played mostly reserve grade as captain and captained the U18’s, also cracking the seniors a few times under ex-Collingwood legend Mick McGuane as coach. I then played a few years in the AFL Queensland, for the Yeronga Devils."
Recruiting for the social games has so far been based around university students. The first games were played by mostly students. "The good thing about Tromsø is that there are a lot of students who are very active. They do lots of sports and are keen on trying new things. Ben brought some friends with sporting backgrounds, one playing rugby and the other ice hocky. A few more Australians are moving here in the start of July, which is really great."
Regarding a local competition in Tromsø, Julin says there is definite interest among the group. "We think we would be very interested in getting something together, but as it is very early days, and being only 3 games so far, it's hard to tell. The only problem is that the season here is so short, approximately between May and October, because of the snow and the dark season. "
"But with the enthusiasm and ability to get good numbers to the games we think it is highly possible and we are very enthused to try and make it work. We are also looking at the possibility to maybe get an indoor field to play some indoor footy in the winter."
The Tromsø footballers haven't had any contact yet with fellow Norwegian club the Oslo Trolls, although they are hopeful that the opportunity will arise. Julin mentions though that the Swedish clubs also look like an option for competition, saying "As a goal I would think maybe to enter a team in next year's Swedish VB Cup would be great."