Chile prepares for Convicts' arrival
Thursday, October 21 2010 @ 01:32 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Convicts are back on tour again, departing Australia on Tuesday 19th October heading to South America for the first time. The Convicts concept involves bringing together a group of Australian footballers keen to play some footy overseas while paying their way to have a holiday as well.
The tour involves three matches: in Chile against the Santiago Saints, in Argentina and finally in Sao Paulo in Brasil. worldfootynews.com caught up with Adrian Barraza who is involved with Aussie Rules in Chile, to ask him how the year has gone so far and what impact the Convicts tour might have.
Barraza explained, "During 2010 we have continued having trainings every Sunday morning, our efforts have been placed in get more players into the team and so has been. The problem we faced during 2010 is that 5 or more experienced players have returned to their countries so we had to replace their experience with new blood. This process has been great with new players (locals and expats) coming along and everyone is really motivated to improve their skills and knowledge of the game. The team now has more Chileans than Australians and they look very promising".
Having a team of Aussies coming to play them has helped focus the raw squad. "The Convicts game has been a great motivator for the players but their commitment to the team is not triggered only by this situation because it goes deeper than that, the guys who show up every weekend to training they do it because of their love for the game and for the team. We have a steady group of 15 players committed to the club and a broader group of another 12 players that have trained with us during the year and showed up every other weekend or when they can".
"The Convicts game has come as a fire trial for the new players and as a main objective for the older players and the club, we truly want to win this game as we did it in Brazil last year, yes we are aware that is not going to be an easy task but everyone in this club is committed to this objective", Barraza said.
The Saints also have an eye to the next generation of players. "We are talking with 3 schools which are interested in get Australian football into their sports curriculum as a complementary sport for their rugby union players in the off season (which runs between September and December) so we think we are on the verge of transforming Australian Football in one of the the sports played by the schools that are part of the 'British Schools Association' ".
The Santiago Saints are sponsored by Orica and the match by PacificHydro.