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Door opening for New Zealand AFL club

Oceania

The last few months of 2012 had a flurry of good news for international footy such as Mike Pyke's success in the AFL Grand Final and confirmation that in 2013 New Zealand will host the first ever AFL match for premiership points to be staged outside of Australia.

Potentially lost in there was even more significant news.  Or if not "news", then certainly positive noises from the Australian Football League, that suggest their minds are slowly turning towards the possibility of an AFL club being based in New Zealand one day.  For many international footy supporters that would be a dream come true and surely go a long way to entrenching the game across the Tasman, opening the door to Australia one day playing a competitive international in Australian football.

The key comments were reported in several articles such as on Sportal on October 31st titled NZ team AFL's long-term goal, which obviously came about when the AFL's Gillon McLachlan was discussing the 2013 AFL match in Wellington.  Another key thing to note is that in an AFL re-structure McLachlan was recently given the title Deputy CEO, which has been widely interpreted as flagging him as the leading candidate to one day replace current AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou.  Thus McLachlan speaks as someone with a key role to play in the AFL's future (though ultimately the AFL Commission directs the overall vision).

"Long-term, who knows where it goes? I think there's 30,000 registered AFL players in New Zealand right now," McLachlan said on Wednesday.

"The dream maybe is that one day it could have a team over there, that's the long-term future.

"There's no time frame (on when a team may be established in New Zealand), it's just a dream."

"I think New Zealand's a really sensible next step, the time zone works, the travel works, they've got a similar-minded, sports-mad group of people who I think will get behind our game".


More immediately, McLachlan is hoping that the St Kilda-Sydney clash leads to an influx of New Zealanders joining AFL lists.

"It's (a matter of) take our product into New Zealand, our near neighbour, (there are) a lot of active, talented individuals over there, grow the participation numbers, grow the interest in our game and it would be wonderful to have some talented kids coming out of New Zealand and
being drafted," he said.

"That's ultimately where we're going in the next few years, who knows after that."

None of that sets such a future club in stone, but it's possibly some of the most open and direct comments ever made by AFL officials on the topic.

And the ABC had earlier promising quotes on September 13th in NZ just step one for expansion-keen AFL:

"We've certainly been unambiguous about our international plans, to look 10, 15, 20 years out," McLachlan said.

"I certainly hope it is (the first of several overseas ventures).

"... I wouldn't be surprised if other deals, other international games, flow on the back of it."

Asked about the prospect of increased New Zealand matches and eventually a New Zealand-based club, McLachlan says it could not be ruled out.

"Whether it's a team in 10 years, I'd love to think it was," he said.

We would too.

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Door opening for New Zealand AFL club | 29 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Thursday, January 10 2013 @ 10:18 PM ACDT

30,000 registered players in New Zealand????

20 clubs in the four leagues x 50 to 60 players in firsts and seconds = 1000 to 1200 players. A couple of hundred juniors associated with each of these clubs = 4000 junior players.

Running total = 5200 players.

20 clubs (we in Aussie don't know about) with 100 players each = 2000 players.

Running total = 7200 players.

200 to 300 university competition players(if this exists) = 300 players.

Running Total = 7500 players.

500 Schools with 20 to 30 players each = 10,000.

Running total = 17,500 players.

Please add competitions (with numbers) that I have omitted so that the other 12,500 registered players don't feel left out.  All Registered???

30,000 registerd players ?????

I'd love to see the break down of where all these players are playing their footy. My maths is not this new fangled electronic calculator stuff, so I might be way off getting the numbers right, but would love  to see where my maths is up the creek!!!!!!!!!!

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, January 10 2013 @ 11:21 PM ACDT

I expect the vast majority to be in Auskick style clinics and to a lesser extent the Hawks Cup high school comp.

I think we all agree Auskick / Kiwikick style participation is less permanent or ingrained as club or school footy so in some ways these numbers are overly positive if one doesn't understand the details.  But it's still a very good first step towards mass participation.

I hope to get data breakdown from the AFL later.  Expect to see similar numbers, with the breakdown, for South Africa in the next 2 weeks - just working on that article now.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 10:57 AM ACDT

I know that guys in the NZ office of the company I work for recently have been involved in AFL 9s in Auckland.  I am not sure how big these adult competitions have been in terms of numbers but you would think that this has added to growth in participation numbers. 

I dont really personally like the way the numbers are used.  While there is certainly value in both Auskick type programs and AFL 9s etc.  The only numbers I really want to know are the numbers of actual games played in each club per year which then can be summed to league participation and state and then country participation.  Comparing this year on year to me gives you the growth figures. 

You can break it down further I guess for international purposes to having the games played, multiplied by number of players per game, multiplied by the number of periods of play (x2 for two half games, x4 for for quarter games - or just by total minutes played).  But again year on year these sorts of numbers to me indicate the real playing participation and growth.

Personally I would like to see a system like this to account  for match participation -  E.g if a club in 2010 plays 6x 9-a-side games (with a roster of 11 players) of two 15 minute halves and two 15-a- side games of four 15 minute quarters (with a roster of 17 players) - they would have a participation score for 2010 of (6x11x30) + (2x17xx60) = 4020.

In 2012 they played 4 x 9-a-side games (with a roster of 12) of two 15 minute halves and 6 18-a-side games of four 20 minute quarters (with a roster of 20 players) - they would have a particpation score of 2012 of (4x12x30) + (6X20x80) = 11040.

In the end just another number but to me represents the ability to compare in a gross manner a number that will grow if more games are played, more time is played, more players are playing (or less if things are going backwards).

Again i think the junior development and Auskick are also important, as well as games they play which would be counted in such a system.

So as Brett said we look forward to seeing some breakdowns of the numbers. 

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 01:26 PM ACDT

Have to agree with you 100% Troy, Some kids putting their name down to have go at an Auskick/Kiwikick clinic at school Friday arvo does not a registered player make.

The kids that turn out over a year is a good statistic to record and keep, but as the round ball crowd in Aussie have realised, the numbers even playing soccer at junior levels do not translate into equivalent numbers at senior level.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist, school kids in about year five or six can see that Including the Kiwikick kids in the number of players(let alone registered players) playing in the country is a total beat up.

Why is it so necessary to fluff up the numbers so much, only makes the guys appear so stupid when the real numbers are found out.

I reckon 15,000 as an estimate of actual registered players in NZ would be being very generous. Smack me down if I'm wrong!!!!!!!!

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: tinka13 on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 05:11 PM ACDT

He should have said "participating" not registerred.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 10:21 PM ACDT

He might have 'meant' to say or should have said "participating players", but what constitutes 'participating players'?

Years ago when I was still teaching, I along with several other teachers in my town decided we would (for something different in Phys.Ed.) teach (and learn) to play European Handball. We actually played a number of games between classes in my school and even played a match against another school in the area. About 50 or so kids took part during the period (a school term) that the exercise took place. I don't think however that those kids could at all be counted as 'participating players' by the 'Australian European Handball Association' if even such an organisation existed in Australia at the time.

Kids attending even a series of Auskick clinics cannot be seriously counted as 'participating players'!!!!!

 30,000 'participating players' remains a very questionable statistic!

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 10:33 PM ACDT

When I was in early high school and before a fully associated club was formed in my area, I used to play baseball in a 2 team, then 4 team, social league.  Social in that it was all organised by parents.  Ultimately it former the basis of the Golden Grove Baseball Club which joined the South Australian Baseball League (and I played a few year in that).

I considered myself a baseballer the whole time, whether we were virtually just playing amongst ourselves, and even thought the season was only about 10 games.  I was playing, I was exposed to the game, it kept me interested in the higher professional levels.  If they were doing these kinds of stats on us back then I would be offended if we were left out.

So again, IMHO, the stats are quite valid, it's just how you present them and what pre-conceived ideas the audience has.  If someone is going in, organising a regular series of training and matches, then by all means I say count them.

The South Africa article with all the details will be up on Monday.  People can dissect that in great detail and tell us what should and shouldn't be counted in their opinion.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 10:45 PM ACDT

Yep! You used the two key words in this debate, Brett. Regular matches.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 11:52 PM ACDT

I don't know the details for NZ yet, so this is just hypothetical, but say it was 8 Auskick style sessions over 8 weeks, each finishing with a 30 min game, say we're talking about 8 year olds.  Do you believe that counts as regular games then?  What if they joined a club and played 6 games in a season on a Saturday morning - does that count?  4 games? 10 games?  Where do you personally draw the line?

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Saturday, January 12 2013 @ 11:37 AM ACDT

No problem with that, Brett, count all those sessions, all legit, but lets assume they get about 30 or so kids out for those sessions/games over the 8 weeks, but 1250 unaccounted for 'participating players' divided by 30 amounts to 416 seperate 8 week Kiwikick sessions across New Zealand in the year.

400 plus Kiwikick clinics??????  very questionable. more than one every day of the year, at least 2 trainers at each session, AFL NZ got 800 Kiwikick instructors working every day of the year? Ya Reckon?

Or are the 30 kids that turn up each week counted as 30 x 8 =240 players even tho they are the same 30 kids. If that is the case then that is fluffing up the numbers.

Only 30 kids go on to join a club (not 240) if the clinic is successful.

These sort of quoted numbers are just handing the anti-international footy dinosaurs enough ammunition to blow you and all the promoters of international footy to kingdom come!

30,000 'participating players' stands out like dog's balls as FLUFFED up.

Understand I'm not taking potshots at AFL NZ here, its the top brass of the AFL(ruling world body) that is the target.

For F Sake 10 year old kids can see the numbers just don't add up!!!!

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Cam Homes on Saturday, January 12 2013 @ 11:43 AM ACDT

That should be 12500 unaccounted players, I've left off a zero, instead of adding one on.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, January 12 2013 @ 12:13 PM ACDT

Yes it would definitely be fluffing up the numbers if the same kid going to 8 sessions was counted 8 times.  We totally agree on that.  But I don't think that's the case.  So perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised if we can get hold of the specific data.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, January 12 2013 @ 12:22 PM ACDT

Here's a sneak peek at the South Africa data.  About 18,000 primary school kids participate (actually a bit more, but let's keep the maths simple), across 18 notional centres.  So 1000 per centre.  Each centre consists of 4 primary schools, so on average there's 250 kids per school involved.  The age groups are 7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13.  So 5 groups, that's 50 kids from each group, so if maybe 1 or 2 whole classes play at each year level across 4 schools across 18 centres, there's 18,000 and that's a lot of people being exposed to our sport.  It's run by 72 volunteers.

But best we hold our horses and discuss those numbers once that article is released.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: tinka13 on Tuesday, January 15 2013 @ 02:25 PM ACDT

Lets get back to the article, do you believe NZ can sustain an AFL side in the near future? Lets look at the facts?; you have 4 million people, 1 million in Auckland (where the game is biggest). You will need to have at least 10% (400,000) of the country interested in following the game to some degree and at least 10% (40,000) of them, interested enough to become paid up members. Sponsors would be mainly common to Australia and NZ with a few locals.

Can this happen, is the AFL serious enough to invest for 10 years or more. There has always been a belief, that if you are not expanding, then you are declining? Wellington has good ground, but Auckland doesn't - everything cost heaps!

I look at it this way, we share Rugby, Basketball, Soccer, etc with NZ sides, so some day its going to be AFL as well. The sooner we plan and get serious about it the better and Melbourne is struggling supporting 9 teams. Should it be the FAR Eastern Bulldogs or the KIWI KANGAROOS?

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: pants on Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 06:54 AM ACDT

It would have to be in Auckland

I've always said, the AFL should help re-develop Western Spirings and there's been some promising news regarding the re-allocation of Auckland's sporting faciltiies.

The main point is moving speedway out of Western Springs and delevoping Western Springs for Test Cricket as Auckland doesn't have a decent test cricket venue.

If the AFL had any vision, they'd contact Auckland Council and cough up some cash to make it happen.

Here's the link: www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/auckland-city-harbour-news/8089425/Warriors-move-on-the-cards

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:57 PM ACDT

Hey Tinka,

I understand the sentiment but I'm not sure suggesting "FAR Eastern Bulldogs or the KIWI KANGAROOS" endears international footy to a lot of supporters in Melbourne!

Definitely thought the AFL will need to ramp up its investment in NZ if a viable club was to be based there in anything like 10 to 20 years.  But the trajectory of effort/spend over the last 3 years has been pretty good - thinking the Hawthorn committment and HANZ Up and now St Kilda and the ANZAC Day match and the move to have many more tiers of national sides for NZ development and AFL 9s.  If that kind of growth in support was replicated for a few more years then it all starts to look more achievable.

Pants' suggestion about the stadium in Auckland at Western Springs is very interesting.  It has even hosted an AFL match previously.  I'm another person who thinks surely Auckland has to be the go in terms of supporting a permanent club.  The suggestion that the AFL should support ensuring a venue in Auckland can host AFL matches is very sensible.  Where would the Wellington ANZAC Day match concept be if they had no suitable ground?  It wouldn't be happening.  Read the following article for some background on AFL exhibition matches in NZ and the efforts to ensure Wellington can host AFL matches now through intervention when the ground was being developed... hopefully the AFL tries to get involved in a similar way:  Opinion: New Zealand football – a personal perspective from across the Ditch

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, January 11 2013 @ 09:39 PM ACDT

To be honest I think some of the fault (if any) lies in the reader who may choose to get momentarily excited and think it means 100 new clubs or something like that.  The data is what it is.  Exposing kids to the game through Auskick equivalents is very worthwhile and worth measuring and should be reported in the overall total.  If people want a more specific focus on the numbers playing school or club footy then sure, try to dig a little deeper (and we will) but I don't think it's fair to say the overall total is unreal or fluffed up.  That's just my take on it anyway.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: GarethB on Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 10:22 PM ACDT

Fans of the Bulldogs, the Kangaroos or even those in Tassie shouldn't be too worried. It'll be a long time before NZ scoops up an AFL team. If it ever does.

I was in one of the biggest sports stores in Wellington yesterday. Among the hundreds of sports balls for sale were Gilberts, Adidas and Steedens - but not one Sherrin. Maybe the St Kilda game can help change that. Perhaps.

One thing the AFL could do to help itself is take the New Zealand television rights off Sky (pay-TV) and hand them to a free-to-air network. Or open up the online streams. When I last looked, Sky was showing one match a week, near midnight on a Monday or Tuesday. If the AFL wants Kiwis to watch their game they have to make it readily available. At least twist Sky's arm for better coverage.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: KeyWee on Friday, January 18 2013 @ 12:38 PM ACDT

Hi everyone.

Gareth brings up a good point about the rights from Sky tv. Why not offer them to Maori TV for a song and simply ask for maybe a live game a week, one delayed and a highlights show in prime time as part of the deal.

I'd also be curious to know if the AFL has a register of overseas born players living in Australia?

Cheers,

KeyWee

 

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 09:54 PM ACDT

Hi KeyWee,

> I'd also be curious to know if the AFL has a register of overseas born players living in Australia?

The AFL have promoted the AFL players with multicultural connectiosn at stages in the past, so they would have some sort of list.  Of course if you mean Aussie Rules players in general then there would be thousands in Australia that were born overseas.

Actually they did publish a list this year, which we reproduced on WFN:

118 players with multicultural background on AFL lists

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: tinka13 on Friday, January 18 2013 @ 02:01 PM ACDT

Back in 2002 to 2004 Prime TV use to have it on fairly regular, what happened to that??

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: GarethB on Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 07:46 PM ACDT

Gidday Tinka,

Can't help you definitively - someone who's followed it closer might be able to fill in the details.

However, Prime NZ was sold to Sky in the mid-2000s and now shows replays of some rugby union, rugby league and cricket matches. AFL games dropped out of the Prime mix fairly early in the piece, from memory.

Over the years Sky has dipped its toe into the AFL waters by sometimes showing live games and highlights packages on its pay channels. Despite its woeful regular season coverage last year, Sky did better in the playoffs. There is the odd oasis in the desert for AFL fans over here.

The St Kilda game has given AFL's media profile a boost in NZ, as has Hawthorn's recruitment of a couple of young Kiwis, but TV coverage is one of the ducks that have to be got into a row for the sport to do any growing here in Godzone.

Maybe the AFL are locked into an unfavourable contract with Sky, or perhaps they just have trouble convincing NZ broadcasters to show the game. It'd be interesting to know.

 

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: pants on Monday, January 21 2013 @ 11:42 AM ACDT

 A few years back, the CEO of Genesis Energy was an Aussie and through him they sponsored the AFL coverage on Sky. He left 3 years ago and since then, the coverage has been pathetic and it boils down to two things...money and broadcast space.

It costs money to broadast AFL, and Sky won't pay for live rights especially when they have to show a whole bunch of other stuff at the same time. On some weekends, there's Super rugby, NRL, sometimes Golf, sometimes Cricket and when there's aq 4 way clash, AFL used to miss out. It's probably cheaper to broadcast the replay.

Although, if the AFL sponsored it, I reckon it would be on.

And now with Livesport.tv, I don't bother to complain as I get every game live.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: GarethB on Monday, January 21 2013 @ 08:09 PM ACDT

 

Top stuff. Thanks for the background info. 

Sounds like the AFL need to split from Sky, which has too much content locked up for anyone's good. The earlier suggestion of Maori TV might be on the money.

 

 

 

 

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: tinka13 on Friday, January 25 2013 @ 07:15 PM ACDT

The AFL are fully aware of what's needed to make a real go of it in NZ. The things we have been commenting about were discussions between NZAFL and AFL back in early 2000's. Its all a matter of politics. They can't be seen spending to much money on overseas expansion plans, whilst some AFL clubs continue to fail financially in Australia. Its a real shame because we have lost 10 years of expansion opportunities, especially in NZ.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, January 25 2013 @ 09:04 PM ACDT

Exactly, it's a slow process primarily because of the need to keep the "heartland" happy.  We've often commented and tried to explain to people that the AFL aren't ignorant about international development, they have simply pragmatic about not alienating the players, clubs and supporters of the AFL.  Easy to criticise and ignore the political reality but alas politics are important.

I've been pleasantly surprised with some reason rapid developments and the fact that, publically at least, there doesn't seem to have been much backlash.  If the Wellington match(es) go well and clubs keep signing NZ talent, it could really embolden the AFL to accelerate things.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: KeyWee on Saturday, January 26 2013 @ 05:11 PM ACDT

Brett, thanks for that link.

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: tinka13 on Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 06:16 PM ACDT

Brett, do you think the AFL will play an AFL Premiership game in South Africa in the near future?

* Money goes further in SA

* Pleny of Cricket grounds/stadiums for game to be played

* A big investment has also been made in that country already

* There is a good sporting rivaly (just like NZ) between countries

What do you think could be the game link or timing to be able to make this happen???

[ # ]
Door opening for New Zealand AFL club
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 09:56 PM ACDT

There seemed like real momentum about 3 or 4 years ago, with a NAB Cup pre-season game planned, then the GFC occurred and the match was cancelled, AFL South Africa went into a consolidation mode and the AFL got a little less adventurous - basically the appetite of sponsors dried up.  So I can't really see it happening soon, and there haven't been any little coded messages in the AFL speeches that makes me think it's imminenent.

Most likely it would need a major sponsor of one of the 4 existing AFL clubs involved in development over there to feel like they've got plenty of cash to spread around.  So perhaps one of the mining companies with links to Freo and South Africa.  I'm hoping to catch up with the AFL's Tony Woods and various issues so I'll add that to my list to see if they still have any eye on it.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]