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Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships

General News

In another amazingly positive and unexpected move the Australian Football League has decided to field two international sides in the NAB AFL Under 16 championships in 2010, to be staged in western Sydney.

Originally a World side was to be selected to compete in Division Two of the tournament against Australian states and territories Queensland, NSW/ACT, Tasmania and Northern Territory, giving international youth an unprecedented chance to be exposed to AFL scouts and to compete at a higher level. The recently selected Oceania Training Squad was likely to fill most of the World spots, but the AFL has now decided to field both World and Pacific Islands teams.

The addition of the Pacific Islands team opens the door for many more juniors from around the world, with South Africa likely to dominate the World XVIII but presumably a number of spots up for grabs for players from other countries. The only downside is that the strength of the international teams will be less than a single side, making it that much more difficult to be competitive with the Aussie opposition.

AFL General Manager of Development David Matthews said several factors had led to immediately enlarging the AFL’s search for international talent including:

  • The success of the recent AFL Oceania Under 16 Championships which had been attended by AIS-AFL Academy Coach Jason McCartney.
  • The recent experience for four young talented South Africans to engage for a week with the AIS-AFL Academy and a week with an AFL Club.
  • The fact that a key feature of the NAB AFL Draft and NAB AFL Rookie Draft was the selection of several international or international born players.

“We have an opportunity to better engage other countries in our game and while eight teams representing the states and territories of Australia will continue to generate the majority of the talent for the AFL competition we do want to provide more compelling career pathways for international talent,” Mr Matthews said.

According to AFL statistics there are currently 52,908 international Australian Football participants playing in 273 clubs in 38 senior leagues throughout Europe, Asia, the United States and the Pacific region.

AIS-AFL Academy Coach Jason McCartney said he was so impressed with the talent at the recent AFL Oceania Under 16 Championships that it definitely justified the inclusion of a separate representative team in next year’s NAB AFL Under 16 Championships.

“The raw athletic capability of some of the players was outstanding. It is certainly quite exciting to think what this squad could look like with the natural skill and speed of these boys,” McCartney said.

The NAB AFL Under 16 Championships will be played in Western Sydney between July 3 to 10 next year.

The competing teams will now be:

Division I: Vic Metro, Vic Country, Western Australia, South Australia

Division II: Queensland, NSW/ACT, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Pacific, World XVIII

Tell us which countries you think might have junior talent ready for the World XVIII. In a squad of say 30, what would the make up be?

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Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: tinka13 on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 01:01 am ACDT

This is fantastic for International footy. It makes you think that they (the AFL) just might of underestermated the strenght of these juniors and would have been highly embarassed if they had beaten an aussie side. It would not have surprised me, as junior Kiwi sides have done it in the past! Now they are split, it is probably only a dream!

Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 08:28 am ACDT

You'd have to hope that Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK can get kids in the world squad, that, obviously will be dominated by South AFrica. Possibly out of Asia too??

The question is as to whether the budget will be stretched enough to ensure that there's at least one kid from each region/nation with junior programs - - even if just to be a part of the squad and to bring stories of adventure back home.

This is all pretty exciting,

now, all we need is for Simon Crean to come good on his 'Australian football as an export product' and sign a couple of blank cheques as the Aust Fed Govt seems to have a want to do for soccer. How well spent would $10 million of Fed Funds be in this area???

Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: Mister Football on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 08:58 am ACDT

This is quite unexpected news, it shows how quickly things can develop with a bit of organisation.

Crean is a big supporter of your club - get onto him!!

Mister Football

Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: seanlacey on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 10:35 am ACDT

Wow, awesome news indeed.

Hi tinka, actually I think the AFL would love noting more than for an international side to beat an Australian side. look at the publicity Majak Daw has attracted, featured in the AFL web site prominently, interviewed on Melbourne Radio etc.

Sure there would be the usual claims of, hey how easy must aussie rules be if a new side can beat an aussie side etc, but I think the readers of this site are smart enough to see the bigger picture and know that success breads interest and participation.

In other words. just the kick start the AFL would want in a new territory.



Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 12:28 pm ACDT

It starts touching the sorts of areas that a network like SBS really should be getting right behind......you'd think......alas, they were set up from the outset with a soccer agenda.

Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: krabby_me on Friday, December 18 2009 @ 08:23 pm ACDT

Two international sides is great recognition of the tireless work that many people have been doing around the world to help grow football (im doing my bit from aust).
Not wanting to go off topic too much, but there is a growing consensus on BigFooty that SBS is a monoculture broadcaster intent on basically taking the biggest foreign TV programs that they can without representing the multicultural aspect of Australia. It is beginning to become a very monoculture (ie European) based broadcaster. Perhaps some emails to them and whoever their boss is may push them to do some stories on the International growth of football.
Perhaps a program that follows the growth of football in indiviual countries. Ie South Africa in an 8 part series, and then Denmark, followed by Canada.

Two international sides for AFL Under 16 championships
Authored by: pH on Monday, December 21 2009 @ 09:57 am ACDT

Lobbying SBS makes sense, Craig Foster seems to snear every time he has to report on an AFL game whilst giving the news, and then his face and tone of voice brighten considerably for the next item on the EPL or some other soccer report. He's entitled to his personal opinion, but as the main sports news commentator for SBS he should be more even-handed.