Firstly, let me preface this article by clarifying two things – I was on the losing end of that scoreline, and this was only my second game for this club so I haven’t endured the season this particular club has. Having said that, very few articles about footy dare to look at the positives that might be found in a 290-point loss. Here goes!
In helping out another local team earlier this season, and playing my first ever senior game in the process, I was a part of a similar hiding. Without bothering to research the web for the actual scores, I can say with some surety that the opposition that day kicked about 35 goals. Our tally was far easier to deal with – we got one. It marked the first time in my predominantly junior and reserve grade career that I had experienced such a loss. It was an eye-opener, but for vastly different reasons that many might think.
Japan has the oldest non-English speaking league in the world that kicked off in 1987 following an exhibition match in Tokyo between Essendon and Hawthorn. The oldest club is Senshu Power, a university based team that was one of the foundation teams of Japanese football along with Keio and Waseda universities that had scraped together teams to play the curtain raiser to the exhibition match.
The Samurai, Japan’s national team has a long history, having played “internationals” since the late 1990’s participating in the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia several times. Japan has contested all International Cups, their best placing being eighth in IC08, although IC14 was probably their most successful winning three from five matches, enabling them to rise from 19th to 16th in the WFN World Rankings.
The blueprint for success at any team sporting level is deceptively simple. Well drilled, disciplined, well trained, great communication, ability to execute team plans and essential skills, group goals, positive team ethos, a liberal dose of talent, a great support network off the field and a hunger that is never satisfied.
There are more, but those qualities listed are common to any team that has enjoyed long-term success – and the Manchester Mozzies are proof of that after winning their fourth consecutive AFLCNE premiership in England. To their list of skills, however, can be added two others that come with empires in football – experience in big occasions and belief.
All of that came to the fore this weekend when the Manchester Mozzies downed the Nottingham Scorpions in the AFLCNE Grand Final at Sheffield. In one of the hardest fought slogs of the year - and possibly many years in a finals sense - neither team was prepared to yield for the first three quarters.
To help to promote and celebrate the 2017 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, the www.afl.com.au website has published a wonderful collection of vignettes of Australians involved in the game at all levels from diverse cultural backgrounds. From current players at the highest level to those involved with local footy, the stories of these people’s journeys in footy tell a great story of passion and love for our game – as well as highlighting the contributions made to the game by people of such varied multicultural backgrounds.
FOOTBALL has long been promoted as a game anyone and everyone can participate in. Whether you're playing, coaching or umpiring at the highest level or contributing voluntarily at grassroots, there's a role for all of us.
Several themes emerge from this snapshot look at the footy stories of 12 people from vastly different backgrounds: the game is fun, can help break down barriers and ease the transition into a new culture, draws families and communities together, teaches various skills and helps build resilience.
Although they are one of Europe's older footy national sides, with a domestic scene dating back over 20 years to the mid-1990s, the German Eagles are making their International Cup debut this year.
The Eagles have made big strides forward in the past few years, achieving 3rd place at last year's European Championships after narrowly defeating Sweden in their final match. This year their experience against other European nations, including Div 1 outfits such as Great Britain, means they look to be serious contenders in Division 2 of the IC17.
This weekend sees the multicultural roots of our national game recognised and honoured with a round of matches, both at the highest level of the game and at grassroots level, played as a mark of respect to those people of multicultural backgrounds and their contributions to our game.
The timing of the round is ideal, occurring a week before nations from across the world send the national Australian Rules football teams to Melbourne for the 2017 International Cup (IC17).
The AFL’s positive community message states that:
“AFL is a game for everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from. Australian Football has the extraordinary power to bring people together regardless of background. Toyota AFL Multicultural Round gives us the opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up our amazing game. Everything’s possible when we unite through the love of the game.”
The Croatian Knights will make their first appearance at an International Cup. As reigning Euro Cup champions, the Knights have already proven their prowess as an Australian Rules football force, though an 18 per side format will provide different challenges. Their Head Coach, Josip Kravar, details the Croatian team’s story.
The Story Of Croatian Footy: “The Croatian national team, also known as Croatian Knights, first started to play in 2006 when the team was made only from one club in Croatia - the Zagreb Hawks. Just after forming a second club in SANH (AAFC) the Knights had a bigger pool of players. In the first two years the Knights played in the CEAFL against Austria, Czech Republic and Finland.
Ireland were runners up in the 2014 International Cup and will be looking to return to Australia and retake the title.
History of Irish footy
The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded in 2000, but Aussie Rules actually came to Ireland in 1999 when squads in Belfast and Dublin recruited through the off season. The new Dublin Demons traveled to London in April, 2000 to take part in preseason matches with the British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL), and finished third out of 12 teams. The Demons then won a best-of-three series with the Belfast Redbacks to be crowned the first Irish footy premiers.
Michael Currane and Ciaran O hEeadhra both have their fingerprints all over Irish footy, as does Michael’s younger brother Brian, who is the Warriors head coach for IC17. Brian (along with Diarmuid Griffin) helped form the Leeside Lions over 15 years ago. Michael founded the European Australian Rules Football Council (EARFC) in early 2001 with the goal of developing the sport of Aussie Rules across the continent and strengthening ties between the already established leagues.
Round 19 of the 2017 AFL Season kicks off tomorrow night at the MCG with Hawthorn hosting Sydney. The full international broadcast schedule can be seen below.
In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only). You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL banner below and paying the subscription fee.
After the weekend’s semi-finals, the Wandsworth Demons are the first team through to the AFL London Grand Final. Their win over the West London Wildcats, and the North London Lions own victory over the London Swans has set up a Wildcats versus Lions Preliminary Final this weekend.
In tough conditions, the Demons and Wildcats slugged out a low scoring match. Both teams have proven themselves capable of high scores all season, but a combination of weather and two very determined defences kept the scoring down and made for a close match all day. In a game described as an arm wrestle, it took a goal from the Demons in the final minute to win the game.
The final score saw the Wandsworth Demons 4 6 30 defeat the West London Wildcats 3 10 28.
The following is a quick review of this author's thoughts on who might win the Women's Division at the 2017 International Cup.
Let's be honest, no one can really be confident about who will win this competition. Sure we can (and will) assume that Canada will play off against Ireland again, but with new teams and women's international footy still so young and vibrant it's hard to be confident. And that makes this event all the more exciting.
One expects the European Crusaders to struggle, with players drawn from very small leagues or one off teams across Europe. But who can be sure they won't bond and forge something special on this trip? And there's no history to tell us what the Pakistan Dragoons may produce, and we don't yet know how many of their players have experience in Aussie leagues.
The PNG Flames struggled last time they competed but that was 6 years ago, and with large numbers of men playing maybe the women have taken the game up in numbers too.