The Bali 9s last June saw the debut of two new teams in South-East Asia - the Timor Leste Crocs and the Borneo Bears. Both teams were created this year, with the Bears based in Balikpapan, a city situated on the island of Borneo, in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan.
A few months on, the club was on the training track, with a squad of Australians, Kiwis, Europeans and locals. In honour of the Kalimantan Sun Bear found in the surrounding jungle, the team took on the name "Bears", starting a relationship between the club and a local Bear sanctuary which the club is helping both through donations and volunteer assistance.
In addition to another tournament in Bali in October, the Bears starting an Auskick program in two weeks' time and plans for a mini-league in local schools.
Thanks to the generosity of the North Old Boys St. Patrick's College Amateur Football Club, while the Canada Northwind are in Melbourne for the International Cup, they will have a training base to call home.
NOBS, as they are known, are providing the Northwind team with their training facilities and club rooms, and will be holding social gatherings throughout the International Cup. The two teams will also practice together, something that will be invaluable to the Canadian players, giving them important knowledge of how teams in Australia play and operate.
Everyone associated with the Northwind squad wish to thank the Old Boys in advance for their hospitality, and look forward to an exciting and rewarding visit to Australia this August.
Visit www.nobspc.org.au for more information on the North Old Boys St Patrick's College Amateur Football Club, or www.aflcanada.com for more information on the Northwind and football in Canada.
One of the teams present at this month's International Cup won't represent a country. Yet the AFL's approval of the team, which attracted some scepticism from facets of the international football community, will result in Israelis and Palestinians of Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths pulling on a "Peace Team" jumper and representing unity in a region troubled with violence.
WFN spoke with Roni Kresner, Director of Information & Project Development at The Peres Center for Peace who put things in perspective. "There is no AFL field in Israel or the Palestinian Authority; AFL equipment can not be purchased in this region, and had to be flown in from Australia; there are no professional AFL coaches; and the players speak different languages – Hebrew and Arabic – and accordingly all instruction must be translated into both languages."
And if trying to train a group of players that don't share a common language wasn't difficult enough, "Israelis cannot enter the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinians cannot enter Israel without permits, and so, in order to hold joint training sessions, the Peres Center organised permits for the Palestinian players, allowing them to attend training sessions in Israel."
Positively these hurdles have been overcome and the team will partake in the 2008 Australian Football International Cup.
Last Saturday former Brit Brad Moran put in a star peformance in the AFL, booting Adelaide to victory against a gallant young Carlton side at AAMI Stadium. Moran's family is from England and only moved to Australia's Gold Coast region when he was a teenager. As a late-comer to Australian football, he was given surprisingly little time to develop at North Melbourne despite a great start to his career. Traded to the Crows, he has struggled with injury for West Adelaide in the local state league (the SANFL), and we mentioned his likely eligibility for Great Britain at the approaching International Cup. However the Bulldogs hierarchy were keen to focus on locally developed talent (Brits stick to home grown talent), an admirable pursuit, and as it turns out Moran now appears to be very much required by Adelaide at the business end of the season. We weren't going to follow this up, but a reader from Britain suggested the big fella deserved a write-up, and fair enough too.
WorldFootyNews.com and USFootyNews.com have teamed up to present the USFooty Top Ten Poll for 2008. This is the 5th edition of the poll and the penultimate before the USFooty National Championship Tourney.
The 8.12.60 to 3.9.27 win was spearheaded by Lasse Punttilla, whose best on ground performance was remarkable for the fact it was his first time ever playing a game of Australian Rules football.
"Lassie", who has previously played American Football, troubled the Swedish defenders in the first half, before stamping his mark on the midfield when he was moved to the centre at the start of the third term.
The South African Lions have named their squad for the Cup, with 27 players heading to Australia. In a sign of exciting times to come, the average age is just 22 years. All four development provinces are represented, with 11 players from the original footy regions of North West and 6 from neighbouring Gauteng. There's one from Kwa-Zulu Natal but the big surprise is 9 from Western Cape, a great reward for their second placing at the South African national championships last month, and an amazing achievement given the region has really only been in full swing for 12 months.
Former high profile AFL player Jason McCartney takes the coaching role, with Mtutu Hlomela returning as captain and the oldest player at 27. There are five teenagers in the side. Three vice captains have been named in Steven Malinga, McDonald Mashigo and Benji Motuba (pictured), who was named overall best player at the nationals. The full squad is listed below, and we'll have a full preview of the Lions next week.
At last our great game seems to be getting some coverage from mainstream media sources. The Lao Elephants game v Jakarta Bintangs game earlier this year got good coverage in the Vientiane Times, and it was excellent to see a very nice write-up of the recent Thailand Tigers clash with the Hong Kong Dragons in the major English daily The Bangkok Post.
The following is an excerpt of the original article available here.
AUSSIE RULES - Thailand Tigers beat Hong Kong in Pattaya thriller
by DAVID PATERSON
Thailand's Australian Rules Football club, the Thailand Tigers hosted reigning Asian Champions the Hong Kong Dragons recently at Horseshoe Point in Pattaya and handed the champions their first defeat in more than a year.
It was a significant victory by the Thailand Tigers as the best Australian football sides have not been able to get close to the Hong Kong team in recent times.
The last time the Dragons came to Thailand, they were undefeated in their run through the 2007 Asia championships, eventually taking home the trophy after a thrilling extra-time final against the Bali Geckos. However this time a rejuvenated Tigers team took it to the champs to come away with victory.
Final score: Thailand Tigers - 8.7.55 defeated the Hong Kong Dragons - 6.6.42
It is great to see the increased coverage the game is getting. With the Singapore Asian Championships promising to be a massive event, Asian Football is really moving ahead in leaps and bounds.
Zac Tuohy today confirmed that he will be heading to Melbourne for a trial with the Carlton Football Club. The Irish Independent reports that the Portlaoise clubman has slightly delayed his departure so that he can play with his Gaelic football club against Stradbally in the opening round of the Laois senior football championship.
"I'm going out there to Carlton on a trial basis," said Tuohy. "I was supposed to be going over on Saturday but I have delayed it because of the Stradbally game. I think I will be going over after that," he concluded. This comes just weeks after Michael Shields departed the Blues to return to Ireland.
Staging the International Cup during the Olympics probably has the potential to reduce the exposure the tournament gets, as papers in Australia and around the world squeeze in sport and human interest stories related to the Summer Games. But a benefit that might not have been immediately obvious is that with the Australian media in Beijing en masse they've been happy to report back to Australia on the progress of Aussie Rules in the host nation. Several media pieces have been done, hopefully all adding to the growing realisation in the Australian public consciousness that the Aussie indigenous sport has gained a foothold in many countres around the world.
Here's David Koch from the popular Channel 7 Sunrise program having a kick with the Beijng Bombers against the Chinese national side: Sunrise on footy in China. Looks like "Plugger" could be a cult figure at the Cup, and the Sunrise team has promised to follow the Chinese team's progress at the Cup.
And here is footage featured on the Canberra Times website, including China Red Demons' coach Darryl Hoffman: Canberra Times footage (perhaps more easily viewed if downloaded first)
Today marks 150 years since the first recorded match of Australian Football was played and to celebrate, the AFL has declared it ‘Kick Around Australia’ day. All Australians have been encouraged to join in the celebrations by wearing their football colours to work or school and having a kick of the footy.
It initially seemed there would be no official international aspect to the day, but the AFL has teamed up with the Australian Defence Force to ensure that our servicemen and women overseas will be able to join in today’s celebrations. Kits containing all the essential tools for a football match have been sent to defence bases around the world, so that defence personnel will be able to have a kick of the footy with the rest of Australia.
Still imagery of Defence Force personnel playing football at various bases around the world will be available the ADF site. Vision will be fed to the television networks at Parliament House.
The writers at worldfootynews.com have worked their way through the draw for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup (we'd better also call it the AFL International Cup to make sure we get search hits - people seem to be regularly punching that in to search engines).
Putting together the final rankings of the seven writers who contributed, we've come up with the average placings and thus our consolidated tip as to the ranks come the end of the tournament.
Probably no major surprises, but read on to see how we ranked the sides.