With Finland entering the International Cup for the first time in 2008, the push for new recruits has been in top gear since the first tufts of grass appeared through the melting snow. It is a big ask for one of the newest footy nations on the world to embark on such a mammoth task, and so the net has been cast far and wide to secure Finland's best athletes.
Julian "The Big Rooster" Clark, Finland Footy's Founding Father, recently journeyed out to the British International School in Jakarta, Indonesia where 16-year old Finn Tuomas "Timebomb" Antilla has been developing well with the Jakarta Bulldogs AFC.
The Jakarta Bulldogs are an under 18 team that often play in conjunction with (and sometimes even against) the Jakarta Bintangs AFC, as well as some of the Java AFL's localised senior sides.
The NZ Falcons played their yearly game against the touring Maffra Eagles last Saturday, going down to the champion Victorian country club by 71 points. As a spectacle it did not attain great heights due to 50% greater than average July rainfall for Auckland, most of it in the 2 weeks prior to the match. The organisers also dodged a bullet when they managed to convince local authorities not to cancel the game due to the ground condition - an issue familiar to many sports these days.
With coach Rob Vanstam trying a variety of combinations from his entire 29 man squad it would be also fair to say that the result would not be a true reflection of the Kiwis' talents. Much will have been learnt by the coach as he now fine tunes the squad for the IC 2008.
Maffra 13.13 (91) defeated New Zealand 3.1 (19).
A full report is available here from the NZAFL website.
The 2008 Australian Football International Cup is set to go, with 16 teams attending, and over 16 nations represented. The Peres Peace Team unofficially "represents" both Palestine and Israel and Great Britain effectively represents three nations, in England, Scotland and Wales. Although the bulk of the British players come from England, and unfortunately none from the Scottish league, at least Wales now has its first Bulldogs representatives in Ed Doe and David James.
worldfootynews.com spoke to Ed, a 17 year old who is still at school yet about to represent his country at senior level on the other side of the world.
The AFL’s recently appointed Oceania Development manager Andrew Cadzow last month undertook a “whirlwind” tour or Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand (meeting only), to help him better understand the region’s football needs.
WFN spoke to Cadzow about his time in Samoa. The island nation has shown football potential in the past, which even attracted a Richmond delegate, Craig Cameron to investigate the possibility of awarding a scholarship to a local player, through the AFL's International Rookie program. On the downside, the country has only managed irregular senior football matches and has at times struggled to break down negative perceptions that the game lacks “physicality” (compared with the more established Rugby).
Final preparations are underway for the region's biggest Australian football event, the Asian Championships, to be held in Singapore at the Singapore Polo Club on September 6th.
The first Championships were held in Bangkok in the year 2000 and the event has grown in stature each year.
It is expected that this year at least 10 sides will compete for the coveted trophy. Confirmed participants include the current title holders Hong Kong Dragons, 3-time runner-up Bali Geckos, 2-time winner Jakarta Bintangs, Malaysian Warriors, Vietnam Swans, Thailand Tigers, debutante Laos Elephants, UAE Heat, China Reds, and hosts and 2-time winners Singapore.
Beverly Knight, Director of the Essendon Football Club, shares her experiences and observations of the game of Australian Rules football in a free public lecture, celebrating cultural difference in sport. In her 15 years as an official of the Essendon club, Beverly Knight has seen massive change in the game’s treatment of racial vilification, sexism, and the masculine culture that dominated the AFL and VFL. She will discuss her involvement with AFL and Indigenous Australians, as well as her views on the game’s origins in this, the game’s 150th year.
Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre, University of Melbourne - Wednesday 6th August 2008 6:30pm.
The Denmark Australian Football League is one of Europe's oldest and strongest Australian football establishments, finishing fourth at the inaugural International Cup in 2002. After the disappointment of missing IC05, a lot of work and preparation has been done to place the Danes back on the footy map.
With a team built around a solid core who have come through Europe's oldest juniors competition, the Vikings have been consistently on the winners' list, defeating arch-rivals Sweden and newer test adversaries Germany this year and last, although the Irish proved too strong in their 2007 test.
The Vikings will be back to show they are a force to be reckoned with this year, under the guidance of veteran coach and long-time Danish footy identity Jim Campion.
Recent AFL Commissioner Colin Carter has returned to a position on the board of the Geelong Football Club. He left Geelong in 1993 to join the AFL Commission, serving there until early 2008. Amongst more widely known activities such as the report "Establishing the basis of future success" (adopted by the original VFL commission in 1985 as its strategy for competition equalization, ground rationalization and growing the national competition), Carter is also regarded as a key driver who pushed the AFL towards greater international involvement.
An emotional email sent by Kevin Nafte, an Israeli member of the Peace Team that will take part in the 2008 International Cup can be read below. It helps an audience outside of the Israel/Palestine region understand the huge challenges faced in getting the Peace Team to Melbourne. But after reading the email, it's easy to see that it was well worth the effort.
The Australian squad of 20 was selected from some of the best amateur players in the nation and Victoria, SA, WA and Tasmania are all represented (these are the states that are members of the amateur council).
The Australian team leaves for Ireland on Monday 29th of September and returns on Wednesday 15th of October.
With the Asian Championships fast approaching, a number of the contenders had serious hitouts on the weekend of July 26th.
At the picturesque Cibubur Oval in Jakarta, the visiting Singapore Wombats proved too powerful for the Jakarta Bintangs, running out winners 19.13.127 to 11.12.78. Jakarta are always very hard to beat at home so this was a big win for the Wombats. As hosts of the Asian Championships they deserve to be favourites to lift the trophy. Match report at the Wombats website.
In Pattaya, south of Bangkok, the Thailand Tigers overcame a spirited Hong Kong Dragons side. The Dragons fought back from a five goal half-time deficit before going down by 11 points in a fierce, low-scoring game. The Dragons have often lost away games only to come up trumps in the Asian Championships so not too much should be read into this, but reports are that Thailand could spring some major surprises on September 6th. Match report at the Dragons homepage.
And at the University of Laos the Vietnam Swans overcame the Laos Elephants 80 points to 55. A good win for the Swans with a depleted team but given that this was only the second international game the Laos boys have played, the Swans were expected to win. Match report at the Lao Elephants homepage.
The next big game in Asia is at the Alice Smith Ground in Kuala Lumpur on 26th August when the current Changi Cup holders, the Malaysian Warriors, take on Singapore in both teams' final games prior to the Championships.
Editor's note: WFN welcomes Graeme "GC" Carey from the Malaysian Warriors onboard as our new Asia correspondent. GC is a well-known figure around the Asian club circuit and we look forward to benefitting from his insights into this neck of the footballing woods.
The USFooty Website last week ran a note on its front page that Greg Norman was playing golf in Colorado Springs at the US Senior Open golf tournament with a tenuous link to the fact that the 2008 USAFL Nationals will be taking place in Colorado Springs. More interestingly was the following footage featured in much press in Australia (and I assume elsewhere in the world) of a black bear roaming the course.
Always looking for media attention to bolster the profile of the game in the US, it would seem that the organizing committee might want to organise some wildlife of their own. Perhaps scenes reminiscent of the International Rules clash in Ireland a few years back (where a small dog decided to join the match) could see a bear run onto the ground during a game and chase the ball and players around? Then again it might be easier to dress up Rich Mann or Paul O’Keefe in a bear suit and let them loose?