Nicola Barr, the inaugural number one draft pick for the AFLW has made a name for herself not only on the footy field but also off field too.
“I have recently graduated from the degree and am now working at Starlight Children’s foundation as well as taking a couple of spin classes each week,” Barr said.
“Balancing these things in addition to AFLW training can be quite a challenge at times! For me the best way to juggle these commitments is to ensure that while I am doing something to be completely focused on it," Barr said.
This weekend in Birmingham, the National University league for men’s and women’s fixtures returns after their break. It will be the second last round in the competition’s inaugural season before a final round to be played in Wales (venue to be advised).
Going into the round, Oxford University has the bye. Their men’s team sits on top of the ladder, whilst their women’s team is second, but this round they can only watch as the other teams chase them. It is a huge opportunity for the host team, University of Birmingham, to seek two wins each in both men’s and women’s matches to chase top spot in both.
In this extraordinary story from Lucy Murray at ABC North West Queensland, the team from Lake Nash in the Northern Territory, their trials to simply get to a footy match are explored. If you like, it ould be called extreme car-pooling to get to a match each week. It is an amazing snapshot into what it takes to play footy in one of the most remote parts of Australia.
The Lake Nash Young Guns footy team struggles for money to travel the 600km to their games, and if they do not get a kangaroo on the way to the game, they most likely play on empty stomachs.
Alpurrurulam, or Lake Nash, as it is commonly known, is an Indigenous community on the Queensland–Northern Territory border.
In the centre of town is a red dirt Australian Rules Football Oval, where the Lake Nash Young Guns can be seen training every evening.
As they run, often barefoot, or in socks, they leave a trail of red dust behind them.
A thunderstorm and cloudburst, and a rampant Crocs outfit, were not enough to stop the Darwin Buffaloes from taking the four points in their match at TIO Stadium on Saturday. It was part of another exciting round that saw The Buffaloes grab a one point win, Palmerston held off Waratah by four points, The Tigers shook of a desperate Saints by 20 points and the Tiwi Bombers romped home by over 100 points against Wanderers.
Perhaps the match of the round, however, was the Buffaloes/Crocs clash. After a solid first half, where Darwin held a three-goal lead over Crocs at the main break, Southern Districts started to fight back in the second half to get to within seven points by the final change. But with a storm close, the final quarter was delayed until the all clear was given to resume. After the enforced break, Crocs kept coming, but Buffaloes held them off by just a solitary point.
The following article from Kavisha Di Pietro on the AFL Players website www.aflplayers.com.au explores the journey of another young Sudanese footballer making his way onto an AFL list and hoping to emulate the deeds of Aliir Aliir and Majak Daw.
Western Bulldogs draftee Buku Khamis’ memories of his childhood in South Sudan are hazy.
He can recall how the sand would burn his feet as he played outside in the heat but he doesn’t remember much more from back home.
The 18-year-old was only six when he migrated to Australia with his parents and siblings.
His journey across the globe would be his first time on a plane.
“I don’t remember too much from living there but I do remember coming on the plane to Australia not knowing where we were going or what was going on,” he told AFLPlayers.com.au during his first AFL pre-season.
Recently, an interesting football conversation commenced nearby. It involved the concept of whether or not scoring should be removed from games of AFL Masters to reduce the amount of aggressive competiveness amongst players whose glory days are behind them and should possibly just be playing for fun.
Footy is many things to many people. Therefore, there will not be a consensus on whether this (at this stage unofficial) idea has merit. But what is compelling is the link between this potential expectation for our oldest players and the arguments for our youngest players – kids.
For a moment, let’s assume that the idea has merit and one day we have AFL Masters playing for no scores – just enjoyment. We have already seen AFL Victoria introduce no scores for junior grades from the 2015 season where grades up to Under 10 would play with no scores and develop “an enjoyment philosophy rather than a winning philosophy’’ (Herald Sun, 2014). Since then most states and territories have more or less adopted the same policies.
You start by heading north from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, towards the border with China. Eventually you link up with the Karakorum Highway, passing through never ending vistas of amazing mountain scenery. It isn’t the Himalayas, but a magical land in its own right. Then you arrive at the village of Gilgit Baltistan.
Here, Saliha Baig Jaturi is running Aussie Rules footy clinics. Not only does she face the challenges of being a woman in a Muslim country, where particular expectations on women can restrict what a woman can do, she is also selling Australia’s national game to kids and older villagers who know little or nothing about the game.
The other big challenge is snow. The mountains on the Pakistan/China border zone rank amongst the highest in the world and have the cold to prove it.
Half way through the AFL off-season and fans are now counting down to the 2019 season. Media is reporting on how teams have recovered from their breaks. Injury lists are being finalised to get players back for Round One. New recruits are being paraded on the training tracks in their new colours and teams are bringing them into their revised game plans – or building game plans around them.
It is an exciting time, but the best part is that supporters of 18 teams know that there is a new dawn arriving with – potentially – greatness around the corner. A premiership this year might be the start of something greater – a dynasty, perhaps.
The following is a purely personal point of view about which clubs might be on the cusp of something great. By great I am referring to sustained success. Hawthorn claimed three flags from four grand finals between 2012 and 2015. Before that, Geelong took three flags from 2007 to 2011 from four grand finals. Sydney and West Coast dominated 2005/6 and the Brisbane Lions also had four grand finals for three flags between 2001 and 2004.
Round 12 was played in the NTFL last weekend, the first round back after the Christmas/New Year break. Whilst fans were delighted to see the footy back again, the round has seen a tightening of ladder positions with top spot, top five and wooden spoon well and truly undecided and set for big finishes from all clubs over the remaining six rounds.
The Southern Districts Crocs are locked in a battle with the Nightcliff Tigers for top spot, both teams on ten wins. In third place, four games behind the leaders, the Darwin Buffaloes sit level with Waratah. Just outside the five on five wins are Palmerston, followed by the Tiwi Bombers on four wins and Wanderers on three.
On Saturday, the Tigers downed the Buffaloes by 14 points. The teams kept up a tight match to three-quarter time, with the final quarter set for one of the other side to break the game open. However, neither team goaled in the last quarter leaving the Tigers victors.
The AFL's All Australian team was announced back in September this year. State of Origin football is in a long hiatus - but theoretical State teams are announced each year - a number of media outlets still name theoretical state teams. They generally take in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia as well as an Allies team (NT, Tasmania, ACT, Queensland and NSW).
But what about the rest of the worldω If the Rest of the World were to play against any of the teams above, what is the best team they could musterω We have determined eligibility for our theoretical world selection along the line of the International Cup eligibility rules and we have named the 2018 World Team (so this does not include foreign born but Australian raised players).
This year we have again named Irishman Zach Tuohy as captain of the team after another sucessful year at Geelong where he was a key part of the Cat's defence and featuring in finals footy.
As with the International Cup the coach can be Australian but should have a strong link with international football. This year we have again selected David Lake the coach of the PNG Mosquitoes and assistant coach of the Brisbane Lions AFLW team. Lake led the Mozzies to their second consecutive International Cup title in 2017.
The work and passion of Mohammed Hashem and his Auskick in Egypt initiative was at risk of falling away. But the Australian Embassy in Cairo stepped in and suddenly there are Australian Rules footys in Egypt. Mo Hash’s dream can now continue. Following is his account of what it has taken to grow the game in a part of the world that previously seemed worlds away from the Aussie Rules heartlands.
“Auskick in Egypt was an initiative started by myself at three distinct attractive sports facilities in Cairo and one out of Cairo in New Valley Governorate. The idea was to give children aged 5-12 the opportunity to learn about Australian culture through playing AFL. We have not charged any of the participants for any of the programs.”
Things were challenging early on for Auskick in Egypt, as Mo explained. “I was only using grid iron balls and whatever else I could find in the sports facilities. We used a combination of witches hats, soccer balls and the mentioned grid iron balls where possible.”
Richmond star Bachar Houli has been joined by Essendon speedster Adam Saad and former Saint, Ahmed Saad, to lead a group of Muslim boys on a football and cultural journey to the United Arab Emirates – home of the AFL Middle East – as part of the Bachar Houli Academy initiative to develop youth.
The travelling party were based in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, enjoying training sessions, some sightseeing and cultural experiences amid the overall objectives of developing youth through a leadership course.
Houli has long been working with Muslim youth with his academy back in Australia, but Adam Saad, the Essendon speedster, happily donated his own time to be a part of the trip to the UAE. Former St Kilda footballer, Ahmed Saad, was also there and has been instrumental recently in getting football gear to Auskick clinics in Egypt in his role within the AFL Diversity Unit.