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China home to new AFL Academy
Authored by: Cam Homes on Tuesday, July 24 2012 @ 08:21 am ACST

G'day Aaron.

It appears that the AFL has failed to take into account that there is already a Aussie Rules presence in Guangzhou, the Guangzhou Scorpions. The 'academy' that is being spruiked here, it seems, is the AFL hoping that it might end up with a chinese 'Mike Pyke' or 'Caolan Mooney' that might just end up playing Aussie Rules if they make the grade at the 'Combine'.

One would have thought that the Scorpions might  have been considered as the logical follow up from the 'academy'. The guys that don't get picked  to go to Aussie aren't abandoned with "Thanks, guys, for coming, might see you next year" but  more like "If you really enjoyed the experience you can continue putting the training etc. you've received by actually continuing to play Aussie Rules IN CHINA with the Guangzhou Scorpions.

I believe the Scorpions would be absolutely rapt even if they managed to just get half of these guys to start to play for the Scorpions. 13 or 14 extra players would almost be enough for a two team 9-a-side or a three team 6-a-side comp to be set up in Guangzhou to compliment the Scorpions team in the SCAFL.

Regular and  frequent  play always goes a long way in establishing a permanent  league/competition, especially for new  players taking up a new sport. A dozen or so new guys taking up the sport in China would be more valuable than just two guys ending up playing at/near top level in Aussie several years down the track.

I guess we can all live in hope that the AFL has actually thought all this through.

The 'dedicated' footy Oval in Tianjin keeps getting mentioned when Aussie Rules in China is talked about, but nothing about chinese(or ex-pats) footy players using it. Is there a competition being played on it, any body know?

China home to new AFL Academy
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 07:14 am ACST

Hey Cam,

While I agree it's good for the AFL to work with the local footy sides, I don't think we're talking about some giant missed opportunity here.  They are unashamedly seeking elite athletes, giving the a taste of the game, and if they have the right physical results and an interest, they'll look to get them to Australia.  They want a Chinese athlete to help connect with expat Chinese in Australia, and also hold up as a beacon to Chinese in China.

Ideally yes some will find their way to the local leagues but that may be a stretch... consider Mike Pyke, if he wasn't picked up by Sydney, or Shae not picked by Collingwood, would they have gone and played locally in Canada or the US (or Europe if they were playing Rugby/basketball there)?  Doubtful.  But certainly worth having those connections working.  Hopefully we'll here more from the locals on that.

Agreed, would like to hear about regular use of the Tianjin facility.

Cheers,
Brett

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN