While Mal Michael is heading into retirement, another international connection is being explored by the Essendon Football Club, who have 19 year old Limerick lad Ian Ryan in Melbourne to trial with the club. The Limerick Leader has reported that Ryan is the first known player from the county to try out for an AFL club. And as far as we know it is the first time the Bombers have trialled a Gaelic footballer. The report implies player agent Ricky Nixon was involved, although at last check Essendon were not one of his signed up AFL clubs.
Meanwhile Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh has reportedly turned down a second offer of a contract by Carlton, and Nixon's two day talent camp at Breaffy's International Sports Hotel in County Mayo is schedule for Tuesday, 26 August and Wednesday, 27 August.
Papua New Guinea born AFL champion Mal Michael, a triple premiership player with the Brisbane Lions, has officially announced his retirement from his third and final club, Essendon (he started his career with Collingwood). Mal is on the record many times as wanting to return to PNG to help his country, as well as having an interest in representing the Mosquitoes in football.
More on his retirement and future plans later, but for now it was interesting to note that Australian media reported that Mal might even wish to represent PNG in next week's International Cup. Three issues would have to be addressed - would he be selected, is he eligible (and if not, would an exemption be granted) and is it too late given the deadline for final squads has passed?
Based on comments from AFLPNG staff in the past, Michael probably would be selected, given the big boost it would give to both the team (not least in the much needed height department) and exposure of the sport in PNG. However based on the tournament rules he would appear to be ineligible (having grown up and learnt the game in Australia) and as such would require an exemption. But the issue that seals his fate in the negative is that squads have indeed been finalised, lodged and the deadline passed. worldfootynews.com checked with AFL International Coordinator Josh Vanderloo, who confirmed that it is indeed too late.
Almost three years ago WFN reported here that the Oslo Trolls had formed. It's taken a bit of time, but the Trolls crew are still kicking on in the Norwegian capital and next weekend will host the first-ever match of Australian rules football in Norway.
Western Sweden's Karlstad Dragons will be making the trip west this weekend, with the 9-a-side game kicking off at Ekeberg Rugby Pitch in Oslo at 2pm on Saturday August 23. Some of the Trolls players have already been getting in some match practice, joining in with Gothenburg and Karlstad in AFL Sweden matches.
With Oslo only a few hours drive from the clubs in western Sweden, hopefully we'll see some regular action for the Trolls in the near future. It also completes the set for footy in Scandinavia, with the code now played in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, with news of some action starting up in Iceland (hopefully some more on that later).
Aussie Sport TV and worldfootynews.com have an affiliation agreement that means if viewers from outside Australia subscribe to Aussie Sport TV via clicking on the icon below right, our website is paid a commission. It also means we can bring you the weekly highlights such as mark and goal of the round in the AFL. Feel free to come back each week and Watch AFL footage here.
As one of five debutantes at the IC 2008, Finland will be eager to make a strong first appearance. The Icebreakers reported to us previously that they may struggle for depth unless they can find a few extras for the list, only naming a 23-man squad to the Cup at this point. No doubt they'd love to hear from anyone else who might qualify.
The team on paper has a broad range of sizes, with their ruckman Jalmari Viima standing 205cm tall. All three of the Finnish domestic teams are represented, with 9 each from the Helsinki Heatseekers and Salo Juggernauts and 5 from the Espoo Roos.
While the team is almost entirely Finnish born-and-bred, the squad will include Irishmen Keith Byrne and Sean Doherty and Colombian Fernando Leon (possibly the first South American at the IC), who learnt the game in the Finnish domestic league.
The date is September 24, 2005, and Sydney defender Leo Barry is about to make an impression like very few before him. Knowing there isn’t much time left with the clock reading 32 minutes 34 seconds in the final quarter of the Grand Final, and with his team trailing by 4 points, West Coast Eagles ruckman Dean Cox has just marked and kicked the ball deep inside his team’s forward line.
A huge pack builds as 91,898 people sit on the edge of their seats awaiting the outcome. Leo Barry, eyes only for the ball, charges in from the side and plucks a courageous mark. No sooner has he got to his feet and the siren has sounded, giving the Sydney Swans their first Premiership since 1933. Barry is mobbed by teammates and euphoria breaks out across the Melbourne Cricket Ground and throughout the city of Sydney.
Fast forward to January 2006, and Barry and his Premiership winning teammates are in Los Angeles, California to play an exhibition match against the North Melbourne Kangaroos, as part of the Australia Day celebrations. Little does Leo know he is about to make another lasting impression.
Toronto Eagles footballer George Dimacakos has been invited to train with the Swans while they are in LA, having been approached by former Sydney forward Tony Morwood during the banquet celebrating the 2005 International Cup teams. Growing up in Canada, and playing for the Eagles of the Ontario Australian Football League, it was only natural that Dimacakos would be a West Coast Eagles supporter. His favourite team had just lost that heart-breaker four months earlier, and now, here he was running around on the same field as the team that won that memorable game. For a young man who had only ever been to four AFL matches from his one trip to Australia, he could be forgiven for being slightly nervous and over-awed.
While PNG and New Zealand are firm favorites to hoist the cup in early September, with the US and Ireland hot at their heels, a few punters are saying a dark horse has emerged.
The Great Britain Bulldogs finished middle-of-the-table at the first two International Cups, though the past year has seen some impressive performances, including impressive victories over IC02 champs Ireland, a team who for a long time reigned supreme as the best side in the northern hemisphere.
With a new-look youthful team from across England and Wales, the Bulldogs are coming to the Cup to win. In the words of coach Charlie Kielty, "No point travelling 12000 miles just to participate. We are quietly confident."
The Denmark Vikings have a squad ranging from veterans such as captain Pall Finnson and Danish footy stalwart Erik Krolmark to youth developed over the past decade in the Farum junior program.
All four of the Danish clubs in the DAFL premier league (the other two premier league clubs, Helsingborg and Port Malmö, are in Sweden) are represented, with the Farum Cats supplying 13 players, the North Copenhagen Barracudas 7, the Jutland Shinboners 5 and the Copenhagen Crocodiles 1.
With the 2008 Australian Football International Cup starting in just 11 days, worldfootynews.com thought it would be timely to check out the grounds that will be used in Melbourne for rounds 1 and 2 and then the last round of finals.
Located just 3 km north of the CBD, the ovals have had a difficult year. Firstly drought, then extra matches as other games were transferred there, and now with some rain the centre square areas are getting muddy and chopped up. But the majority of the surfaces are well grassed and if the weather is kind the field conditions should be reasonable - it is after all a winter sport Down Under. Fans will appreciate being able to move easily from one match to the next.
The full report by WFN's Troy Thompson is below as a Youtube video.
To help improve Canada’s emerging junior talent in Australian Rules Football, AFL Canada are sending their Under 18 National Junior Team to tour Melbourne from August 16th- 28th. The Wolfpack, as they are know in Canada, will be competing in five matches against various local junior teams in the Melbourne area.
After playing the USA in Vancouver last August, the Wolfpack management sat down and looked at where they needed to go with the Canadian Junior National Team program to best prepare the kids for the Senior National Team.
With this in mind they began to explore the opportunity to travel to Australia to play against some local competition and have them see how they need to work hard to improve their game. And with the International Cup and the 150th anniversary happening this year, they also felt that this was the perfect time to bring the first Canadian Junior Team to Australia.
After securing monetary sponsorship from Darrel Lea Australia and Sleep Country Canada, product sponsorship from Darrel Lea, Kellogg's Australia, SPC Ardmona and Sports Unlimited the tour became a reality. The Sydney Swans, Hawthorn Hawks and Tourism Victoria have also lent the Wolfpack support by assisting them whilst they are in Melbourne.
The full British squad has been named, with a large list of 36 players. With most games likely to be 18 plus 6 interchange, and each nation playing 5 matches in a short space of time, having such a large list could be a real advantage in the later rounds as fatigue and injury take their toll.
The Japan Samurai have named their squad for the International Cup, with the squad drawn from the three Tokyo university clubs of Komazawa Magpies, Senshu Powers and Tokyo Leopards, as well as the university graduate team Eastern Hawks and the Osaka Dingoes.
As was the case at the last two cups, the team is fairly young and may be lacking in height, with only two players (Junji Tanaka from the Dingoes and Kohei Kamoshita from Komazawa University) standing 6 feet tall. However, the Samurai have in the past tended to be fairly quick and have pulled off a few wins.
Also included in the squad are seven players currently honing their footballing skills in Australia, two in the Warrnambool area, two in South Australia and three in Melbourne.