Four internationals have been invited to this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne. Americans Marvin Baynham and Evan Bruinsma will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eric Wallace, Patrick Mitchell and Jason Holmes who were signed as International Rookies after attending the Draft Combine.
Baynam is 6'7" and 210 lbs and played college basketball at the Georgia Southern Eagles. The 22 year old recorded 344cm for the Vertical Jump, 2.82s for the 20m Sprint and recorded 8.14sec in the agility test at the L.A Combine.
Bruinsma is a 21 year old college basketballer who played with the Detroit Titans and stands at 6'8" and weighs in at 214 lbs.
With the AFL’s International Cup set to commence in Melbourne later this month, the South African side “the Lions” are landing in Jamestown this week for a training camp. Current Jamestown Peterborough Magpies Coach and former North Adelaide and South Australian State of Origin Star Mick Redden will also provide the players with some tutelage.
Last winter saw South African National Team representatives Thembinkosi “Dhino” Zwane and Thabiso Phakedi based in Jamestown, as part of a unique opportunity in an AFL South Africa exchange program titled “Up There Down Under”. As part of the program, they played for the Jamestown-Peterborough Magpies, whilst gaining valuable work experience, particularly on local farms. It was the brain child of former AFL South Africa Football Operations Chief and current consultant to the organisation, Tony Kelly who grew up in Jamestown and still has much family residing in the area.
Canada's Northwind are ranked 9th for IC14 and could potentially finish higher depending how they fair against the stronger teams in their pool. With the largest organised league outside of Australia, many would see the Northwind as an underachiever when it comes to the international scene.
Whilst being competitive during group stages they have failed to progress further, with their previous Cup finishes being 9th (2002), 7th (2005), 6th (2008) and 9th (2011). With the last 2 years being used to develop a team that can match it with the powerhouses, they are expecting to be competitive in all their matches.
Japan is an island nation in East Asia comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. It lies between 24° to 46° north latitude and from 123° to 146° east longitude.
There are four major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands”, (from north to south) Hokkaidō, Honshū (the "mainland"), Shikoku and Kyūshū. There are also 2,456 islands, including Okinawa, some inhabited and others uninhabited. In total, as of 2006, Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km2, of which 374,834 km2 is land and 3,091 km2 water. This makes Japan's total area slightly larger than Norway.
We're closing in on the 2014 fifth instalment of the AFL International Cup and the world's footy nations are gathering for an assault on the Cup. Our previews continue with the 2005 champions and 2008 runner up.
After finishing third to Ireland in 2002 and 2011, winning in 2005 and being the runner up in 2008 to PNG in a wonderful game of footy, NZ continue their trend of sending a younger team to try and regain the title. This squad is very reflective of the work AFL New Zealand have been doing over recent years with their junior age groups.
The squad has benefited from regular international football either in Australia in age group teams or in NZ against touring sides such as the VAFA U18’s and the AIS. It has been very noticeable that although a gap still remains against the Australian sides there is no doubt it is narrowing. With the consistent high level preparation afforded by competition of this level it provides a pathway for junior talent to be recognised quickly as an international sportsman and provide exciting opportunities for their continued involvement.
New Zealand stalwart Andrew Howison will captain the team, and will be supported by a core of senior players who have been part of previous International Cup campaigns. Three players are set to compete in their third International Cup in 2014. David Rattenbury, Matthew Van Wijk and Aaron Harris were all part of the 2008 and 2011 teams. Chris Mundell, Andy Christensen, Michael Gregson, Andrew Howison, Justin Clark, Brendan Clark and Jared Court are returning from the 2011 team, and have been key members of New Zealand Hawks teams in the intervening three years.
After a successful 2013-2014 season the French Coqs are returning to Australia to take part in their second IC. The team is eager to build on their great results in last year's Axios Euro Cup, where they finished in second place.
In 2011, the Coqs impressed the crowds with their performances on and off the field, finishing second of Division 2 and by introducing the world to a very unique celebration. They will no doubt try to improve their luck this year.
The country and footy
Although some games have been played by ANZAC soldier during WW1, Australian football in France only took off in the late 2000's. After a brief stint in the 90's in Paris and Normandy, the first established team started to appear around 2005 with the creation of the Strasbourg Kangouroux. This was followed by teams in the southern half of France a few laters and the first official competition was held in 2008. Since then footy in France has steadily grown and now boasts 7 well established teams peppered throughout the country. In the last couple of years women teams have also made their apparition but they won't be travelling to Australia just yet.
Since then WFN has published nearly 4700 stories, at a bit over one per day. The most popular in terms of reads is the review of the 2002 International Cup with over 167000 views.
The site was founded in 2004 by Aaron Richard and myself when we saw a void in reporting on the growth of the international side of Australian football. Just as we are now, we were keen to see the sport grow both in Australia and around the globe and wanted to support the international leagues, raise awareness in Australia of their efforts, and help with the cross-pollination of ideas to build a successful world footy community.
Back then there were far less club and league websites, Facebook was in its first full year but just open to US college students, and social media probably only meant journalists having a chat together.
2006 Norm Smith Medallist, Andrew Embley, from the West Coast Eagles has signed on as the inaugural coach of The Indochina All Stars, a combined football team of nationals from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.
The team will play its first match in Thailand on Saturday, 16 August as part of the Indochina Cup, now in its 8th year. It is expected that the team will develop over the next three years and compete in the International Cup in 2017 in Melbourne.
Andrew who had an illustrious 15 year career at the West Coast Eagles is excited about getting involved in Asian Football and developing local players over the longer term. Andrew has Anglo/Burmese ancestry with both his Grandparents and Father being born in Burma (Myanmar) migrating to Perth in 1964.
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans tonight announced Geelong Cats coach Chris Scott would join the coaching panel under Alastair Clarkson for the 2014 Virgin Australia International Rules Series.
Scott, who led the Cats to the 2011 premiership and boasts a career winning percentage of 76 per cent with 69 wins from 90 matches in charge of Geelong, will join Fremantle coach Ross Lyon as one of Clarkson’s two senior assistants.
Evans said he was delighted Scott had accepted the invitation to be part of the Australian coaching structure, as the AFL was determined to gather the best possible resources around the playing group in a bid to regain the Cormac McAnallen trophy.
With the AFL season closing in on finals time the smaller regional matches have come to an end for 2014. In saying that the two Tasmanian venues at Aurora Stadium and Blundstone Arena are still active but are part of a six match deal for footy in the state, as is Star Track Arena (formerly Manuka Oval) in Canberra which has three matches throughout the year.
The matches referred to here are the one-off regional showcases in Alice Springs, Darwin and Cairns which finished last weekend when the Western Bulldogs upset the Gold Coast Suns up at Cazalys Stadium in Far North Queensland.
Now that these matches are done and dusted, it is possible to look at the value of these games. But that value cannot simply be results or money made. When considering value, local aspects need to be taken into an overall equation.
There is an argument from down south that taking clubs away from their home fans is not always a popular move. Some say that the average fan cannot afford to travel to such far flung locations, which is probably true. Even if this results in better TV coverage, there is nothing like watching your team from the grandstands.