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First internationally staged AFL Premiership Game bound for NZ?
Authored by: Rory Slater on Friday, March 09 2012 @ 08:03 am ACDT


With due respect, what I am about to express you will probably have little or no sympathy for and yes - I have done so many times before however I feeled compelled to do so again to the good community i.e. wfn.

So Wellington has a respectable population and is the capital of NZ.  It would seem that the inferance here is that this is adequate enough criteria to be afforded four games of AFL footy per year!  Quite frankly this is extremely arrogant to my mind.

We have a capital in this country and its called Canberra.  It has a population approx the same as Wellingtons while we have been told ad nauseaum by the AFL over decades of lobbying for recognition by the governing body, that this is not enough to sustain fixtures here let alone an AFL permanent gig.

Canberra actually has a long and proud pedigree in respect of the code, unlike NZ and a powerful symbology not yet realised, exists to have a stand alone side here, as opposed to the expedient scraps i.e. the most recent GWS arrangement we now have in place for just three games per season one of which is a pre season NAB non event, couresy of the AFL.

As a St Kilda supporter since birth and someone who can still tell the the difference between the nurturing and respectful governance of loyal footy heartlands and the cynical commercial bottom line cash grabs that seem to be justification enough in compromising the former these days, the propostion of gifting NZ 4 elite AFL fixtures per year, in the light of what we in the nations capital have endured over many years, is insulting to say the least.



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First internationally staged AFL Premiership Game bound for NZ?
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, March 09 2012 @ 03:06 pm ACDT

Rory -

I guess in the perfect world, the ACT would've been nurtured more carefully through the 1980s.  Alas, the old VFL was cash strapped and TV/media was much different then to now; let alone that the VFL had to find some way to morph into an AFL.

Canberra certainly appeared to have been a lost opportunity - but, the Swans in Sydney was a key start and, at very least - as often seen - the drive/flight down from Sydney to Canberra is not seen to be too prohibitive for many Swans fans when the Swannees are 'in town'.

As a long time North fan/member - I made the trek to 'sunny' (but chilly) Canberra once for a game at Manuka.  So, let's not hide from the fact that in the late '90s North Melb were playing 3 games a year there......sadly, Norths' attention wandered seemingly aimlessly across Canberra, Sydney and Gold Coast - - so, I think we can all identify careful/patient nurturing vs cash grabs.

That said then - the 'nurturing' that Hawthorn has embarked on in NZ looks to be of the non-cash grabbing sort.  That Chris Pelchen sees the opportunity in NZ to go where Hawthorn pretty well can't - whilst the Hawks Tassie engagement remains - is of course ironic given that St Kilda has the opportunity at one point to engage more in Tasmania!!!  Obviously Pelchen wasn't there then.

For now too - given the zonal carve up of NSW-ACT b/w Swans and Giants - NSW and Canberra are out of reach now - and the reality now is that for an AFL club with a genuine interest in a form of 'zonal/academy' work - the international scholarship is the primary opening, esp now that the NSW scholarship scheme is basically a thing of the past.  Interesting there that a club like Collingwood was several years ago signing up the NSW Scholarship kids at a rate unknown south of the Murray, along with testing the waters of the Irish Sea and bringing in an American basketballer. 

Point being - - don't get blinded by notions of 'cash grabs'.  Clubs always have to look for a point of difference and I reckon at very least with Pelchen on board at (once was) Moorrabbin that this is something to look on with interest rather than concern.

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