For decades, the AFL’s 18 clubs have survived due to two key factors – television rights and supporter membership. The Perpignan Tigers in southern France have opted to take a leaf from the AFL’s book and attract their own members.
This is a first in France where a club has turned to its own supporters to become members of the club and help support the club financially.
As noted by the club, traditional sponsorship for clubs has become very difficult in COVID-19 times. Businesses all over the world, and certainly in France, are doing things tough. Many are simply unable to operate at all and with no revenue they don’t have the ability to set aside funds for sponsoring. Other businesses have put off staff and trimmed back every possible cost to try and remain viable.
Since the arrival of the most recent coronavirus, Australian Football (also known as Aussie Rules) has captured the imagination of sport fans worldwide, particularly in the United States of America. With their own sporting codes on indefinite hiatus until the threats of COVID-19 disappear, cable and television networks have been showing our unique Australian game.
The audiences have been growing exponentially and a look through Twitter reveals a large amount of people raving about the game – its hardness, its skills and its speed. New fans are even seeking advice on what is the best AFL club to support. One pattern, however, in all of this feedback has been the amount of times people have been asking for an explanation of the rules and how the game works – the logic behind everything that lights up the screen once the ball is bounced.
Having been involved in most facets of the game myself for over 50 years, I felt it might be of value for me to have a stab at “Explaining Aussie Rules”.
I doubt that there has ever been a Round 2 of a season that has carried such a weight of expectation, whether that be at the highest level of the AFL, or the suburban juniors anywhere around the world. Yet, Collingwood and Richmond have played in one of the most, dare I say, important matches in many, many years.
Pitting two great traditional clubs against each other certainly raised the excitement. The canned applause was for the most art innocuous, although at times the crowd appeared to be cheering the wrong thing. That’s technology! The mere spectacle of a game – a live game - returning to the lounge-rooms across the world raised spirits.
However, more important that any of the above, arguably, is the fact that the ‘Pies and Tige’s are the catalyst for a new footy beginning. The fact that they both entered the field of battle tonight heralds what will come.
The Australian Football world on both sides of the Pacific Ocean is in mourning at the news that former New York Magpie, Alex Aurrichio, has been killed in a car accident near Darwin. Aurrichio stands as one of the earlier pioneers of the wave of Americans coming to Australia over the past decade to pursue Aussie Rules careers.
The 198cm giant ruckman was involved in a cycling collision with a car neat Howard Springs, to the east of Darwin. The thirty-year old left his native New York in 2015 to chase his dream of making it in the AFL.
Lured to the game whilst playing for the New York Magpies, Aurrichio decided to throw the dice and try his luck in Australia. The Carlton Football Club had been impressed enough to sign the athletic and huge framed ruckman – the club at the time stating that they saw no novelty value in signing the American as his body could already stand up to the biggest bodies in the VFL/AFL system. He worked tirelessly on his skills to improve his chances.
Of course, All Lives Matter. However, gatherings across the world have been raising awareness to the fact that black lives are a part of that statement and deserve recognition to be included within the term “All”. As a show of respect and support, the following list shows the names of indigenous Australian men and women who have played at VFL, AFL or AFLW level.
Winston Abraham, Matthew Ahmat, Robert AhMat, Joe Anderson, Tony Armstrong, Jarrod Atkinson, Les Bamblett, Chance Bateman, Laurie Bellotti, Harley Bennell, Jamie Bennell, Eddie Betts, Peter Bird, Alan Bloomfield, Ashley Blurton, Shane Bond, Troy Bond, Peter Burgoyne, Shaun Burgoyne, Ronnie Burns, Norm Byron, Barry Cable, Shane Cable, Fred Campbell, Matt Campbell, Warren Campbell, Kevin Caton, Sean Charles, Scott Chisholm, Allen Christensen, Raphael Clarke, Xavier Clarke, Eric Clarke, Che Cockatoo-Collins, David Cockatoo-Collins , Donald Cockatoo-Collins, Adam Cockie, Richard Cole, Clayton Collard, Cyril Collard, Reuben Cooper, Anthony Corrie, Shannon Cox, Percy Cummings, Robert Cummings, Trent Cummings,
Back in 1978, the crowd at Kardinia Park in Geelong held its collective breath as North Melbourne’s Keith Greig fearlessly ran at a high ball on the wing. Coming the other way was Geelong’s Ray Card. Greig never wavered or looked at anything but the ball. Card saw trouble coming and changed to a side on shirtfront – hammering Greig and knocking him senseless.
Back then it was considered a brave act by all parties. Today, the same move would result in suspension (consider Shane Mumford’s hit a few years back against Geelong’s Mitch Duncan…some eerie similarities).
In different eras, each represents the brutality of our game. Whilst the rules that define what constitutes legal and illegal tackles have changed, the ferociousness of players and courage have not.
What made the Greig/Card hit more memorable was that it headlined football media just three years after the tragic hit at the Western Oval in 1975 when Footscray’s Neil Sachse was left a quadlaplegic after a horror collision with Fitzroy’s Kevin O’Keefe.
A smidgen or a glimpse of some Good News for Footy?
Trawling Footy websites to see how teams ,clubs, leagues and nations are coping with or surviving the shut down of sport and footy because of the Covid 19 pandemic and have come across a couple of situations where planning for a reopening of footy is being seriously considered.
AFL Japanare looking to restart with the following matches scheduled for late September - Eastern Hawks v Tokyo Goannas and Senshu Powers v Tokyo Bay Suns.
No actual date is set as yet as an early September start may be on the cards if health authorities lift restrictions in August or earlier. AFL Japan have ruled out an August start as they feel hot weather/temperature may impact too severely thru lack of training.
AFL Vietnam are about to start training in June with sessions in Hanoi on Saturdays, 10am at Phuc Xa Football Field and in Saigon also on Saturdays, 10am at Salo Fields, District 2. AFL Vietnam also indicate that initial planning is underway for several events later in the second half of the year.
Take part in our poll at the bottom of this story and on the website's side panel to gauge interest in whether the AFL should move towards a night grand final. The story below looks at the concept based on Eddie McGuire's beliefs.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire added further fuel to to fire concerning the AFL moving towards a night grand final. The argument has been emotive for a number of years now without any firm decision being reached. However, McGuire today suggested that the AFL might be forced to consider the change in light of the season postponement due to COVID-19. With the MCG being booked already to accommodate cricket fixtures, and the cricketing powers at state and national level unwilling to budge, McGuire believes we could see an "historic" end to this season.
McGuire told radio station Triple M, “If everything goes according to plan I think we’ll have a night Grand Final this year.”
“I think we’ll have the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on the Friday night, I think we’ll have the holiday on the Friday, then Saturday will be the Cox Plate and Saturday night will be the Grand Final.
“I think for AFL football, Channel 7 and Fox Footy would be very, very keen to get as much viewership as possible on the Grand Final given the restrictions that have happened so far this year.”
As the 2020 AFL Premiership season prepares to explode to life again after the coronavirus postponements on field, the mechanisms of the game that go unseen off field for most of the time are also gearing up for action.
Such is the case for the team of AFL Multicultural Community Ambassadors across Australia.
In 2013, the AFL initiated a program to have everyday people from all walks of life, and all manner of cultural backgrounds, head out into communities all over the country to espouse the virtues of Australian Football. Whether at junior or senior level, male or female, schools or clubs or anywhere else in the spectrum of community, volunteers will find innovative ways to involve and immerse children and adults in our great game.
Callum Twomey and Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au have reported on the return of the various Irish players acros the AFL who went home during the COVID-19 shutdown and have returned for Round 2 next month.
Whilst Essendon’s Conor McKenna returned last week, players from Collingwood, Brisbane, Essendon and GWS arrive back in Australia this weekend.
The remaining six players in Ireland will return to Australia this weekend to resume their AFL careers after winning visa approval to re-enter the country.
Collingwood pair Mark Keane and Anton Tohill, Essendon duo Cian McBride and Ross McQuillan, Brisbane's James Madden and Greater Western Sydney's Callum Brown are all set to jet back to Australia on Saturday.
Ahead of the 2019 AFL Draft, the son of club champion Dustin Fletcher was being touted as a chance to be drafted by Essendon. Having been closely watched by the club since his childhood, and particularly during his time at the Calder Cannons, Mason Fletcher was seen as a walk up draft selection under the Father-Son criteria.
After siting out the 2018 AFL draft due to injuries, it was anticipated that Fletcher would follow his decorated father and grand-father by joining the Bombers. However, he turned his back on the AFL before the 2019 draft to work with ProKick and set up a college pathway as a punter in the USA’s NFL.
Whilst Fletcher has not yet reached the NFL, his chances are greatly enhanced by gaining a college scholarship. Fletcher announced last week that he was "over the moon to announce I have accepted a full scholarship to study and play football for the University of Cincinnati."