Naomi Ackerman has reported on the Evening Standard website the “clamour to join London teams as hard-hitting game soars in popularity”. With the inaugural AFL Women’s league competition about to kick off in Australia on February 3rd when Carlton and Collingwood play the historic opening match, women’s footy is set to explode further across Australia and the world, and this article reflects that growth with a look at the growth in the game being experienced across London.
It is not a sport for the faint-hearted — but that appears to be the attraction as London women sign up in their droves to play Aussie rules football.
The game, which involves full-body tackles and running for about nine miles in a match, has been played by men in Regent’s Park for more than 25 years but now it has soared in popularity among women who “enjoy a bit of rough and tumble”.
Late last year the ABC reported about a young girl in Toowoomba who was taking Australian Rules football by storm, and in the process taking apart cultural and gender stereotypes to be an amazing role model and inspiration for all young, aspiring football players. Here is the story of Zimra, as reported by Allyson Horn for the www.abc.net.au website.
Ten-year-old Afghan refugee Zimra Hussain is tearing up football fields across south-east Queensland, her hijab flying in the wind.
Zimra and her family are part of the Hazara, a group heavily persecuted in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
They arrived in Australia in 2014.
She played her first game of football less than a year ago, as a new resident of Toowoomba on the state's Darling Downs.
Nick Bowen from the www.afl.com.au website reports that Essendon’s legendary coach has taken the initiative to push for his club to pursue an AFL match in India. With former head of football in India, Sudip Chakraborty, now at the club, there is a real possibility that the club could link with another to bring a match to the nation sooner rather than later.
KEVIN Sheedy will lead a contingent of Essendon officials to India as the Bombers seek to tap into the growing Indian community around the club and, longer term, eye hosting an AFL game on the subcontinent.
The Bombers' party will fly to Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, where they will attend the Indian AFL national championships, after which Sheedy will select the team that will represent India at the International Cup in Melbourne from August 5.
With less than a year to go until the next International Cup in Melbourne, nations are already making provisions to assemble lists and support personnel ready for the event. The GB Bulldogs provisional first list has just been released. Whilst predominantly made up of players in the AFL London and AFL Central & Northern England competitions, the list is also represented by players from Wales and Scotland.
Also featured are players now playing overseas in the Netherlands and Australia. Included in the list is Sam Willatt who will bring his experience to the squad after having been a part of the AFL’s Western Bulldogs/Footscray (VFL) powerhouse, with both winning flags.
But what about the rest of the world? If the Rest of the World were to play against any of the teams above, what is the best team they could muster? We have determined eligibility along the line of the International Cup eligibility rules and we have named the 2016 World Team (so this does not include foreign born but Australian raised players).
Irishman Pearce Hanley has been named captain of the 2016 team despite what was perhaps a below par year by his standards at the Brisbane Lions. He will of course hope to return to form in 2017 with his new club the Gold Coast Suns.
As with the International Cup the coach can be Australian but should have a strong link with international football. This year we have selected the coaches of the Indonesian Garudas that won the Indochina cup against China and Indochina in Vietnam.
In addition to those currently on AFL lists (including International Scholarships) we have named the o'hAilpin brothers who have dominated for a third year running in the Ovens and Murray Football League (and were formerly on AFL lists). Mick Finn the Irish International Cup captain continued his great form for Heidelberg in the Northern Football League in their premiership season and again has been selected. Also among the emergencies named are AFL Europe players Mikkel Kjoege, Sam Willatt and Josip Habljak who all made state league lists in Australia in 2016.
This team is intended to be an annual announcement, you can see last year's team here.
In a move which will see our great game reach more casual Chinese viewers than simply the attendance at the game, the AFL is negotiating with local Chinese broadcasters. It is hoped that the Gold Coast versus Port Adelaide match might attract an even larger market which, in turn, gives greater opportunities to grow the game in China. The following article from Matt Thompson at www.afl.com.au looks at this development for the historic game next season.
CHINESE broadcasters are in talks with the AFL to telecast next year's premiership season game in Shanghai to the local population.
Gold Coast and Port Adelaide will face off at the Jiangwan Sports Centre in round eight on Sunday May 14 in the first home and away game to be played in Asia.
The fortunes of the Irish men’s and women’s squads for the upcoming IC17 tournament in Melbourne next August are already on the rise with their announcement last month of the men’s Warriors squad. Selectors and team officials will continue to fine tune the squad over coming months in preparation. The women’s Irish Banshees squad will be announced in due course.
The Irish Warriors management team have today named an extended Ireland based training squad for the 2017 AFL International Cup. More players may be added in the weeks ahead depending on performance in the Winter Championship and arrangements are also being made for UK and Australia based players to train and have trials and these will be announced in the coming weeks.
After debuts by India at IC08 and then Pakistan at IC14 their Sri Lankan neighbours could be next to make their International Cup debut. A talent search and fundraising effort to bring a team from Sri Lanka to compete in the 2017 AFL International Cup is underway.
The organisers were recently interviewed on Channel 31 in Melbourne on the Sri Lankan Morning Show. They have conducted clinics in Sri Lanka to find the talent to fill out their team and have been assisted by players from Essendon (Courtenay Dempsey) and Carlton (Ed Curnow, Harry McKay and Jesse Glass-McCasker).
It took until their second match in the CNFA competition, but the league’s newest team, the Blagnac Aviators have tasted their first victory in the national league downing their Toulouse neighbours, the Toulouse Hawks, in the inaugural Toulouse Derby.
Whilst it is fair to say that the former CNFA powerhouse, Toulouse, have done much to ensure that their fellow city team succeeded quickly, nothing can take away the fact that Blagnac have already proved themselves capable of big things quickly in their own right. In their first game this season against the improved Bordeaux Bombers, the Aviators were competitive going down by 40 points.
With this victory, the Aviators now know that they belong at this level of competition and can build for this season and into the future with confidence. Their victory was also brave given a high injury toll, suggesting depth on their playing list.
Final Score: Blagnac Aviators 93 d Toulouse Hawks 68
Matthew Agius has reported on the Port Adelaide Power website, www.portadelaidefc.com.au , that a recent visit to China has the club better prepared and well placed ahead of the historic match against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 8 next season.
Successful China trip has Power well-placed for historic game
WHETHER it was Ken Hinkley taking on former world No. 1 table tennis champion Wang Liquin, presenting Australia’s game to a congregation of China’s leading media or educating Shanghai schools about Australian Football, Port Adelaide’s promotional tour last week was warmly received according to club CEO Keith Thomas.
Throughout November the AFL celebrated cultural diversity with a series of films focusing on the journey's of players from multicultural backgrounds. The following clip looks at the journey of Reuben William from the Brisbane Lions - a fascinating insight into how a kid born in Sudan has challenged himself to succeed at the highest level of Australian Rules football.