A key aspect of Papua New Guinea's development over the last 10 years has been providing elite pathways for juniors via participation in Queensland competitions. It started off with PNG contributing to regional sides in the QLD state championships, leading to PNG entering full sides in state championships and having players go on to represent Queensland.
Now the rest of the South Pacific nations will get a similar opportunity through participation in New South Wales. As a "football frontier" within Australia, NSW development people will have a good understanding of supporting raw talent and taking the sport to new areas, and also benefit from AFL development dollars.
First up an Oceania Under 16s side will compete in the NSW state under 16 championships. These commence on April 18th, with the visiting players arriving in Sydney on April 16th. Besides matches, the players will also have training, excursions and education sessions. Most players will depart on April 22nd.
The following announcement was made this week on the USAFL website.
USA Freedom Coach, Leigh Barnes, announced the USA Freedom squad for the 2011 AFL International Cup today. The team will travel to Australia in August to compete in the first ever women’s International Cup competition in Sydney and Melbourne from August 15-27.
The team was selected from a talented group of players spread out all across the USA. Many of these players secured their position on the squad through attendance at the 2011 Training Camp in Austin, Texas, displaying their dedication to the cause.
“We went in to the training camp as a bunch of unknowns, the coaching staff did not know the players and vice versa, but at the end of the weekend, the enthusiasm of the players absolutely blew me away, and we put in place our plan for the IC tournament, as a team, not as individuals. Since then, I have been grateful that the word has been spread that we are in this to win, have a good time, and represent the USAFL Woman’s program to the best of our ability” coach Barnes opined. “I welcome all to the International Cup, set your sights high, enjoy your teammates, your coaches, and above all, enjoy representing your Country, no higher honor indeed in this great game of ours.”
The Welsh Australian Rules Football League will expand to seven clubs in 2011, with the debut of the Bridgend Eagles and the admission of western England's Bristol Dockers to the competition.
The WARFL committee voted unanimously to admit the Dockers, with new WARFL secretary Josh Davey stating the league wants to maintain a healthy rate of expansion for the league, adding to an already competitive list of clubs. "Historically it was no problem, as in the first years of Aussie Rules in Wales the now defunct Swindon Devils from England were involved, even winning the League on occasions. It was unanimously agreed by all clubs to welcome the Dockers to the WARFL," Davey says.
The Bridgend Eagles will be making their competitive debut in the WARFL in 2011, bringing the number of teams in Wales up to six, and the number in the league to a total of seven. The Eagles played in friendlies last year, with some of their squad also playing for different clubs during the 2010 WARFL season, and even going on to represent Wales.
We all love getting on the pitch and hip-and-shouldering our opponent. We all love the social aspects of the sport which bring us together, making new friends that last a lifetime. We all enjoy the endless banter about the shot we missed and the superman block you accidentally tripped into. What pushes a person to sign up for more work than they already have in their already busy life, organising the footy so that others have the opportunity to play?
Love of the game.
My name is Adam Bennett and in November 2010 I was voted in as the President of AFL GB at the 2nd annual national conference. There were numerous changes in the AFL GB committee and I'd like to recognise up front the massive contributions from Glen Ocsko - the previous President who helped steer the organisation onto the path; Kat Wheeler - one of the most passionate supporters of footy growth and development I've ever had the pleasure to work with; and Sam Percy - who continues to be a stalwart of the sport in London, spending untold hours supporting the sport.
Richmond Football Club tonight confirmed that it is the club that has signed American born Irishman John Heslin. Heslin, an 18-year-old Agricultural Science student from University College Dublin, who has competed at hurling, soccer and Gaelic football at a high level, will be selected by the Tigers as an international rookie in next December’s Rookie Draft.
Heslin currently plays Gaelic football for his university team, as well as at senior level for county club Westmeath. As a junior, he represented Ireland in soccer, and made such an impression that he was noticed by a number of Premier league clubs and invited to trial at then English Premier League club Derby County.
In a first-ever for Australian rules football in Europe, the AFL’s future stars from the Australian Institute of Sport will take on a representative European side in London on Saturday April 23.
Newly-appointed AFL Europe General Manager Ben MacCormack views the event as a perfect opportunity for Aussies and locals with an interest in Aussie Rules to get a sneak peek at the future of the AFL.
“We are excited this event is coming to London as it is a great opportunity for not only the Aussie community living in the UK but includes locals being introduced to a sport that flows in the veins of so many Australians” MacCormack said.
The AIS-AFL Academy squad will be made up of the best 16 & 17-year-old footballers in Australia. In the past over 80% of players in this squad have been drafted on to an AFL list and some have become champions of the game. Players in previous academies include the likes of Chris Judd (West Coast/Carlton), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn), Joel Selwood (Geelong), Lance Franklin (Hawthorn), Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs) and David Swallow (2010 #1 Draft Pick – Gold Coast)."
“AFL Europe are extremely pleased to have secured the services of Glenn Lovett (ex-Melbourne FC player) as coach of the European Legion which is a squad of Under 21’s made up of players from Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Wales. These boys have the talent to surprise a couple of the AIS young guns which will lead to a great spectacle” MacCormack added.
Over the past two years the Hawks Cup Secondary School competition has involved Secondary School students from years 9 and 10. The success of the competition sees 2011 as the first year of the Senior Secondary School Hawks Cup now catering for years 11, 12 and 13.
This could be the vital step in getting what appears to be a very talented mid-teenager group to stay in the sport within school and move into local senior competitions. In fact in areas such as Otago and the Bay of Plenty these students might be the ones that cause local competitions to be created.
Over March 22nd, 23rd and 24th, cluster tournaments have seen 16 teams compete in five regions through out the North Island.
The weekend of March 12th and 13th saw the Under 20 National Provincial Championships played in Auckland at Parrs Park, Oratia. After losing their first game of the weekend, the Under 16 NZ Hawks went on to win all of their remaining games including the Grand Final against the Wellington Tigers 9.8 (62) to 6.9 (45).
This is the third year the tournament has taken place with previous winners Auckland in Christchurch in 2009 and Canterbury in Wellington in 2010.
Teams from Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury and the New Zealand Under 16 team, competed in matches comprising of two 22 minute halves over the two days. After a round robin, the two top teams were selected to enter into the grand final with Wellington undefeated (including a tie with Auckland) and NZ Under 16’s with just the one loss to Wellington. In the third and fourth playoff, Auckland was too strong for the Canterbury Cobras.
Former Geelong captain and now NFL punter with the Arizona Cardinals recently spoke to SEN radio about life in the US, visiting home and the NFL lockout that could potentially see the next NFL season not go ahead. He also goes indepth into the NFL player benefits post retirement and how that may relate to AFL players making similar claims to the AFL in their own negotiations of their own pay packages. The part 1 of the audio of the interview can be heard below.
Over the years the AFL has slowly expanded its various metrics for testing young players, steadily adding to fitness and agility tests. Recently a "hands" test was added under guidance from Matthew Lloyd and a kicking analysis by Nathan Buckley. Now the AFL's Kevin Sheehan has combined all the measures to give an overall result for players, and so far Tasmanian and South Pacific players have been tested. Encouragingly for international footy fans, the "newcomers" recorded some impressive results. Besides providing more evidence to AFL recruiters to consider international talent, it also continues the rise in profile of international footy.
Top 10 scores from the Tasmanian and South Pacific NAB AFL Under-16 Combines (all scores out of 60):
Eli Templeton (Burnie, Tas) - 42.9
Ben Killalea (Lauceston, Tas) - 42.5
Tommell Raidinen (Nauru, South Pacific) - 41
Seniol Hermon (Samoa, Sth Pac) - 40
Kade Koladjashnij (Launceston, Tas) - 38.4
Kurt Heatherly (New Zealand, Sth Pac) - 38
Max Lavia (Papua New Guinea, Sth Pac) - 38
Marcus Lee (South Launceston, Tas) - 37.9
Gideon Simon (Papua New Guinea, Sth Pac) - 36
Ryan Dowling (Clarence, Tas) - 35.8
We're not sure when this footage is from, but it features AFL Indonesia's junior footy league. The players look to have a mix of experience with some looking very smooth and others a little raw. Some clever soccer skills were also on display.