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.
The improvement in South African football, expected over the next few years, may be coming on quicker than first thought. Although a cursory glance reveals abundant resources being pumped into the country, a slightly more considered opinion would suggest that since the development is mostly being done amongst children, the adult national side may not be greatly improved yet. However the national side, the Lions (formerly the Buffaloes) has in the past been dominated by North West province players. Given that they were given very competitive matches by the other three provinces at the recent National Championships, a host of new players have pushed their way into the squad, suggesting greater depth than in 2005. Combined with more regular domestic matches, the Lions could roar louder than expected in 2008.
In a surprise move, Mike Pyke, a 200 cm 24 year old Canadian International Rugby Union player has signed on with the Sydney Swans as an international rookie, the first non-Irish international player signed up on the AFL's alternative lists.
It was hoped the two year international lists would lead to AFL clubs scouting international Aussie Rules players, but young athletes from other codes was always another likely source, though at age 24 it's a surprising decision.
One of the IC08 favourites, Papua New Guinea, has named their final squad, with all the vital statistics (listed below). Their tallest two players are 184cm, a fraction over 6 foot and clearly an issue that other teams will seek to exploit - if they can get the ball off the fleet footed runners.
PNG communications company Telikom have gotten behind the Mozzies' bid to win the AFL Australian Football International Cup for the first time. It's not often we see images of footy from PNG - pictured below are some of the players in action at Colts Oval in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Getting a squad of 33 players, as well as officials, down to Australia is no small task for any of the countries heading to the 2008 Australian Football International Cup, and generous sponsors play a huge role. China was no exception, and although they committed to the process and will be a very exciting addition to international footy, up until quite recently there were still some doubts about getting the team to Australia - what a great opportunity lost if they had not made it. Fortunately a major sponsor in Mitchells and their Australian partner company, Oomiak, backed the Red Demons to the point that they will indeed be appearing at the IC08. Mitchells design, manufacture and install conveying and materials handling systems worldwide. Oomiak's expertise includes industrial refrigeration. The Mitchells website also features a great history of footy in China and their plans for the IC08.
The Allansford Football Club of the Warrnambool & District Football League are teaming up with Canada’s Northwind team when they travel to Warrnambool for the International Cup.
Allansford are providing their training facilities for Canada’s National team while they are in Warrnambool for their match against Ireland, as well as including the team in the club’s social activities to make the Canadian squad feel right at home in country Victoria.
The Northwind squad would like to offer thanks beforehand to everyone involved with Allansford Football Club for their generosity they are showing, and everyone from the Canadian team looks forward to a great experience when they arrive in Warrnambool.
Timor-Leste, better known to Australians as East Timor, is one of the newer sovereign nations in the world, becoming independent from Indonesia in 2002.
It also has one of the world's newest Australian football sides, with the Timor-Leste Crocs taking their name from a local legend about a crocodile who rescued a boy stranded in the ocean. When the crocodile stopped swimming, its body became the island of Timor, and the boy the first of the Timorese people.
While footy has had an on-and-off-again presence in the country since around 1999, the new-look Crocs look like being here to stay, with plans for a development officer and recruiting underway to send a team of Timorese nationals to the Northern Territory FL's indigenous footy carnival in Darwin in October.
The USAFL today announced that the 2009 National Championships will be held in Mason, Ohio at Heritage Oak Park, 24 miles north of downtown Cincinnati and South of Dayton Ohio.
The City of Mason covers over 11,200 acres and is home to nearly 25,000 people and approximately 500 businesses. Cintas Corporation, Mitsubishi, Procter & Gamble's Health Care Research Center, and Luxottica Retail are among the companies located in Mason. Mason is known as the resort area of southwest Ohio. Kings Island Amusement Park, The Beach Waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge and Conference Center, and The Golf Center at Kings Island are among the prominent recreation destinations in Mason. Mason is home to the world-recognized Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati. The main host hotel is the Kings Island Resort, located nearby to the championship grounds.