The AFL revealed both its power and its insecurity on the weekend, with AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick revealing in an interview with the The Age's Caroline Wilson that the Executive want not only to have the 17th club, on the Gold Coast, by 2011, but to also bring forward the later plans for a second Sydney side to as early as 2012. The report has sent the Australian media into a frenzy and sparked talk of football wars between the codes. And it raises the question of whether it will help or hinder international development. Will we see the first AFL draftees from Papua New Guinea be picked up by a new Queensland club, and will we see even more pressure on Ireland?
Johns, who moved from Perth in Western Australia to the USA at the age of 18, last played Aussie Rules for Atlanta between 2001-2002, kicking 24 goals from Centre Half Forward. He stopped playing to concentrate on his burgeoning music career. His American Idol performances and popularity may not only put his footy further on hold, but could bring the USAFL and Australian rules football much needed media exposure in the USA (where Aussie Rules is still frequenty confused with rugby) and indeed around the world.
The show is watched by over 37 million Americans. In Australia, American Idol is being screened exclusively on Foxtel, and Michael Johns continuing in the competition could also prove a big hit for the pay-tv network here.
The Convicts tour group have announced plans for a 2008 tour to Melbourne and Warrnambool. The plan is for something of a reunion gathering centred on the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. They're hoping it will help swell crowd numbers turning out to watch the tournament.
Last year the United States Australian Football League celebrated 10 years of Australian Football, and one gesture to mark the occasion was the naming of the USAFL’s Team of the Decade. The team was named under USFooty’s 50/50 (American/Australian) rule with former AFL star John Ironmonger named in the forward pocket and former Collingwood/Brisbane player Cameron Trickey O’Brien named at Center Half Back. Other notable players included former Revolution stand out and Denver’s National Championship coach, Tom Ellis, who was named on the back flank, and West Perth’s American imports Jared and James Brunmeier who were named on the wing and the forward flank respectively. Aussie James “Pato” Patterson was named in the Center, and we recently caught up for a chat.
USFooty got at great write up for the 2008 National Championships last Friday in the paper local to where the event will be held. The Colorado Springs Independent ran the article following the USAFL’s launch and media briefing in Colorado Springs last week at The Penrose House. It explains why the date has not yet been locked in and throws in some nice self deprecating humor about their own town, which shows how in tune the locals already may be with the Aussie wavelength.
The tournament will be held at the Cadet Athletic Fields at the United States Air Force Academy, with the final date to be announced following the release of the Air Force Football schedule in March. The event will fall on either the second or third weekend in October, opposite a home USAFA home game.
International Footy was featured in two articles in Melbourne's Herald Sun today.
In one, both Ron Barassi and Kevin Sheedy are quoted as urging the AFL to invest more in developing the game overseas. The article quotes previous articles about Kevin Sheedy's call for the AFL to go global and adds comments and responses from Barassi and game development manager Dave Matthews. In the article, Matthews is quoted as admitting that the globalisation of Australian Football had become "topical". He mentions the potential in South Africa for participation, the UAE for television and China for one or both.
The second article is about the Peres team for Peace, with key AFL people flying from Dubai to Jerusalem to help in training the team in preparation for the International Cup.
Interestingly, the second article mentions the name of the event as the "World Cup" of Australian Football. Of course, refering to the event as the World Cup is incorrect, as Australia will not participate. However it does show that with more countries attending the media is taking a more serious interest in the event this time around.
Editor: Also worth noting that the article suggests Melbourne may play a pre-season game in Shanghai in 2010 as part of the World Expo Sheedy and Barassi were at >Melbourne's launch of an international student membership, aimed at the estimated 30,000 Chinese students studying in Melbourne.
The 2008 footy season is starting to get underway across the US (particularly in the warmer parts). The Arizona AFL kicks off their league this Saturday 16th Feb at McQueen Park in Gilbert. The metro league is made up of three teams selected at last week’s preseason draft. The teams this year will be the Marshals captained by Darren Toohey, the Devils captained by Adam Smark and appearing for the first time and playing in the Arizona Hawks strips are the Kingsnakes, captained by Joe Swierupski. The season opener will be between the Marshals and the Devils.
The Maffra Football Club from Victoria's Gippsland region will return to New Zealand to play the Falcons on August 2nd. Maffra are an extremely strong country football team and will certainly give the Kiwis some idea of how their preparations are going for defending their title at the 2008 International Cup.
The Atlanta Australian Rules Football League kicks off this weekend with Roswell Rebels taking on the Midtown Bombers. The match will take place from 10.30am at Dekalb Memorial Park opening the Spring season. The league was founded in 2003, and is entering into it's sixth year of action. The Midtown Bombers have won the last two titles and will once again be hard to beat. For many of the teams this will be their second match for the year after the Kookaburras played the US Revolution team last weekend.
worldfootynews.com is conducting a series of interviews with Australian Football League staff as preparations get serious leading up to the August start of the third Australian Football International Cup. We've been speaking with Josh Vanderloo (AFL NAB Auskick Manager and an International Coordinator) and Roger Berryman (AFL Development Events Manager), who have just returned from a planning trip for the rounds in Warrnambool.
First on our agenda was to see whether the AFL is closer to knowing the final list of nations that will attend the tournament.
AFANA has advised that US footy coverage of the AFL 2008 season will commence this Saturday morning 16th February on Setanta with the Brisbane v Essendon match at 4:30 AM EST. For those new to watching footy in North America we recommend that you regularly check back with AFANA and/or subscribe to their newsletter for regular comprehensive updates on the coverage and program schedules.
The following is from the AFANA site: This is the first time ever that fans in North America have had any coverage of the preseason competition. Setanta has indicated to AFANA that they plan similar coverage for the rest of 2008 as we had in 2007. Setanta may cover up to 4 matches per week if schedule space permits. Initially, only 3 are scheduled for Round 1 of the AFL season.
AFANA has been monitoring the situation with ITVN closely. They remain "on the net" (or "on the air" if you will) and the Setanta feed continues however ITVN is no longer taking any new subscribers. Until recently, we had been able to maintain an e-mail dialogue with them and felt assured that the "reorganization" meant they might survive. However, it's now been some weeks since we have heard anything and they have not indicated whether the funds owed AFANA will be paid soon, if at all. Accordingly, if we don't hear from them shortly we will be disabling the links to them until such time as the situation changes.