We've seen the inaugural European Championships, and each year North America has the US versus Canada. Now a senior Oceania Cup will be played in Auckland from November 12th to November 17th. Hosts the New Zealand Hawks will play against the inexperienced Tonga, traditional footy rivals Papua New Guinea and an exciting Oceania Allstars team.
New Zealand's initial selections for the Oceania Cup took place in September 2009 shortly after the Senior National Provincial Championships held in Auckland - part of long and steady build up to the tournament.
In perhaps one of the most surprising results of the international football year Chile's Los Santos (The Saints) have defeated the touring Convicts side in Santiago, inflicting possibly only their second loss (the first in 2007 to the South African national side in Soweto).
It's difficult to gauge the standard of play in South America given that there are few clubs and until now no cross-over matches against teams from other continents. And although the Convicts is a tourist group of Australian footballers which changes every year, they normally provide a good contest that is more than enough to defeat the locals. Of course the calibre of any particular tour party is unknown and these matches are friendlies so you can't be sure how determined to win each team was, and the South Americans appeared to have some expat-Aussie assistance, but still, it was obviously a fine victory for the locals and should provide them with confidence and motivation to keep growing the game moving forward.
The Victorian Amateur Football Association U18s touring side were successful in retaining the Trans Tasman Challenge in a repeat performance from last year’s inaugural event.
The standard was a step up from last year’s clashes and progression was evident, particularly through the Under 20 National Provincial Championships, which are now part of the New Zealand football calendar every March.
The NZ Hawks Under 20 team contained four players who have graduated from Under 16 ranks including Hawthorn signing, and Trent Croad Scholarship holder, Kurt Heatherley.
As always, let us know if there are any significant errors or omissions. We do realise that the Census data (2004) is well out of date, and there is some more recent data available. We'll hopefully address that at the end of the year.
Hawthorn Football Club has recently held talent testing days in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Athletes have been invited to attend as a result of school visits and the Hawks Cup Secondary School competitions.
Hawthorn FC had Graham Wright (East Coast Recruiting Manager) and Chris Pelchen (General Manager Player Personnel and Strategy) in attendance whilst Andrew Crighton, Secondary School and Talent Identification Officer for AFL New Zealand, was at all venues.
For those wondering what an initial screening such as this comprises here is a run down for each of the NZ sessions:-
The AFL’s Professional Approach to Developing European Footy
After 21 years of Australian Football in Europe, now that the game has reached its traditional ‘majority’, the AFL has adopted a professional approach to conquering Europe. The formation of the European Australian Football Association in January 2010 has been followed by an AFL-supported appointment to the Association. Peter Romaniw (pictured) has been selected, and now commenced work, as European Regional Manager.
The AFL has now developed a resource-committed approach to game development of the Australian game in a continent which already has Australian football from Helsinki in the north to Madrid in the west, further south to Milan and to Prague in the east. No longer is Europe forgotten due to either traditional connections or exotic fantasies.
Australia has won the two Test International Rules series against Ireland after a 55-52 victory in the second Test at Croke Park Dublin before a 61,000 crowd.
After an attacking start from the Irish, scoring the first 4 points, the second Test for the Cormack Cormac McAnallen Cup looked like a regulation game for the fast, ball controlling and ball using Australian side. Several small and speedy players such as Bryce Gibbs and Eddie Betts of Carlton, all of whom star in the AFL when there is less pressure, and the similar stars in Collingwood’s Dane Swan and St Kilda’s Lee Montagna, and the marking and long kicking for goal of Brad Green, who went on to kick 16 points, were the difference.
However, the Irish drew closer in the third quarter, with an "under" (goal) reducing the difference to 10 points (48-38) at the break.
Two weeks ago the Brisbane Lions were defeated by the Melbourne Demons in the AFL clash in Shanghai for the Kaspersky Cup - see Jurrah lights up China match. The curtain raiser, also at Jiangwan Stadium, saw a Japanese Under 21 side take on China in a 9-a-side match. It was a great opportunity for the Japanese to give their younger players a taste of travel for the Samurai, whilst giving AFL China a chance to begin building a national squad.
Even though it was a developmental list it was not surprising that Japan ran away with the match. Wingman Ohashi provided the opening goal, and Samurais midfielders led by Tada, Nakamura, and Ichinose dominated the centre. Centre half forward Ken Sato, who spent 6 weeks at Box Hill North in Victoria as a scholarship player this year, was unstoppable ending up with 8 marks and 3 goals. Hiroki Ichinose also added 3 goals to his superb with 20 disposals. For China the highlight must have been the third quarter goal to Shao Lei.
Unfortunately Brisbane has not renewed the rookie listing for young Japanese-Australian Sean Yoshiura. The history of dropped rookies means it seems unlikely that the 19 year old will be picked up by another AFL club in the near future, and will have to prove himself at state league level to get another AFL chance.
Yoshiura, who was born and initially raised in Japan, was rookie listed at the end of 2009. Ideally he would have become a role model for Asian-Australian players and indeed internationals such as those playing in AFL Japan.
The Canterbury Cobras have won New Zealand's Senior National Provincial Championships (NPC) for the first time in the League’s history.
The tournament was played at Westminster Park Christchurch on the 23/24 October. The competition was blessed with brilliant weather and four committed teams battling out national honours. Early results on Saturday and Sunday resulted in the Canterbury and Auckland match providing the tournament winner.
Effective from October 1st this year, the Australian Sports Commission has launched its Illicit Drugs in Sport Policy (PDF available here). It’s come with little fanfare. The policy will apply to AIS Athlete Scholarship Holders, and Athlete Support Personnel and employees and Board Members of the ASC, as well as anyone else who agrees to be bound by the policy. What is most interesting about this policy however, is the number of strikes. Effectively, a 3-strike policy with a 4th strike resulting in termination of AIS scholarship. Given the broad public debate that has surrounded the AFL and its 3 strikes policy, it’s astounding that this piece of news effectively went through to the keeper.
The most successful Aussie Rules junior development program in North America has undertaken another community initiative. For the first time since the North Delta Junior AFL was formed in 2003 they were able to award two scholarships to graduating players who were planning on attending post secondary school. As part of their mission statement to be good citizens in the community, the British Columbia (Canada) based organisation raised funds for the scholarships.
All players who were eligible for the scholarships were asked to write a letter to the NDJAFL committee stating how footy had affected them and how they had contributed to the league and planned to give back to younger players. From these submissions the two recipients were chosen.