Since the U16 national squad, the Kurakums, first showed the world they could play by finishing 3rd at the Queensland State U16 Youth Girls, female football has developed considerably in Papua New Guinea. Long known for their strong Youth Girls players, today PNG also has its own senior women’s leagues and they are excited to be able to put a women’s team, the Flame, into this year’s International Cup Women’s Division.
The men’s team, the Mosquitoes, have done considerable well in the International Cup and now the women of PNG will have the same experience competing at international level. With confidence and experience from playing on par with Queensland’s best, the team is confident that like their male counterparts, they are the best in the world.
The Canadian Wolfpack Under 19 team played against Healesville on Friday night under lights. The conditions being cold and a little wet. Coach Mike McFarlane tells us "We had a great game against Healesville...the boys had learned from the game against St.Pats. They came out hard from the opening bounce and even led at one point in the first quarter."
At half time the Wolfpack were in a position to possibly get their first win on Australian soil. In the end the boys just fell short but gave a great account of themselves losing 9.4.(57) to 4.5 (29). "The Healesville group commented on how much the skill level has improved since our last trip in 2008" McFarlane said.
Best players were Andrew Roosdahl, Jason Silen, Chris Harbour and Darren Ledoux.
Jumping to this year and we shift focus to suburban Melbourne.
WFN : In 2011, this season, you’ve come to Melbourne and you’re playing with Avondale Heights in the powerful Essendon District Football League. It’s a tremendous credit to you that you’ve played all games so far in the seniors, and more so that from Round 4 to 12 inclusive, you’d only missed out on the media reported best six on two occassions, and snagging 5 goals along the way – we must assume you’ll be polling well at the B&F count.
DW : To be Playing at Avondale Heights in the EDFL is once again another achievement that I am very proud of. To come into an A-Grade club and to be in the EDFL – the best district league in Australia, is something I never thought would happen; at the first training session I attended I barely lasted 30mins, cramping 4 times, out of breath and so many more things happened.. I thought getting a game in the seniors was a long shot. But I guess I’ve been able to improve over the pre-season and playing all 12 games so far is an honour. Getting named in the media report every other week is comforting knowing that I’m getting somewhere with my football but the first thing is to help the team out. Getting five goals is just a plus. (A fluke I reckon). People say things about the B&F count but I ain’t (sic) worried about that.
Stateside Footy presents an EAFL match between the Florida Redbacks and the Boston Demons. Stateside Footy is a cable access TV show produced at WCTV - Wilmington Community Television in Wilmington, MA. It features Aussie Rules Football as it is played in the U.S.A. Visit the show's website at http://www.statesidefootytv.com.
The island nation of Fiji will debut at this year’s AFL International Cup. A nation that until a couple of years ago was unknown on the footy international scene – but, also a nation with a fair representation in the AFL by way of David Rodan, Alipate Carlile and Nic Naitanui. It is with great interest then that we’ve tracked the progress of AFL Fiji over the last couple of years and a name that has been at the forefront is the Wolfgramm family name.
Recently WFN caught up with one of the family and Fiji’s inaugural under 16s captain (from the 2009 Oceania Cup), Dylan Wolfgramm, who will be a key member of the Fijian squad in Sydney and Melbourne later this month.
WFN : Firstly, confirming that Dylan would be playing alongside brother Max, I asked how exciting the build-up has been for the Fijian International Cup debut.
DW : Yes I have been named in the Fiji IC11 Squad and proud that I have been named along with my brother Max. The build-up to the cup has been both a challenge and exciting in terms of this, being Fijis debut and that in finding support back in Fiji through sponsors and also the public to embrace and help carry AFL Fiji along.
The Canadian Under19 team known as the Wolfpack are back in Australia. They played a series of matches just prior to IC08 and are doing the same thing again this year.
Their first hitout was against the Ballarat school St Patrick's college, which traditionally has a very strong football talent pool drawn from far and wide as the school has many borders from other rural areas in Victoria as well as interstate.
The Canadians went down to St Pats in the match but Mike McFarlane told us that "Our boys were a little in awe for most of the first half but in the second half they played really well and competed right to the final siren. St.Pats told us that they were impressed by the boys tackling and general skill level and the way they keep going right to the end regardless of the score. They said that they had to work hard for the win. Our best players were Nico Valderamma, Cormac Hotti and Chris Steer."
Footy doesn’t stop in nations not attending the International Cup. In the Solomon Islands activities have been ongoing. With the previous RAMSI head Graeme Wilson finishing his stint in the Solomon’s, which included being heavily involved with footy, the Solomon’s have welcomed Ed Burton, taking up an AYAD (youth ambassador) posting and assuming the role of AFL and Cricket Development Officer.
The week just gone has been a big week. As WFN tweeted recently, there was a move to establish a schools program, and Ed is able to report that most school clinics are now up and running for the school term, along with 2 new training centres. Ed and other volunteers have been working hard and getting more people involved.
“We have had a good response at Tenaru, Burns Creek and Honiara High with around 40 participants at most centres.”
The Southern Dragons Football Club, in Melbourne’s Southern Football League (SFL) have had quite a big week. They have received a great little kick along financially and have received some mainstream media exposure. One example is the Herald Sun article that can be found here.
AFL Victoria and the TAC have this year run a campaign named 'Blood Oath’. It’s targeted at young men and is about getting them to pledge to look after their mate’s safety when they're driving. More info: www.facebook.com/mybloodoath
It might not capture the world's imagination quite like being invited into the Oval Office at the United State's White House, but a visit to the Australian Prime Minister's Sydney residence, Kirribilli House, is still a special invitation. That's what some of the International Cup combatants will experience on the morning of Tuesday 15th August.
Each nation has been invited to nominate two representatives to attend Morning Tea at Kirribilli House on the morning of IC11 Game Day 2. No word yet as to who the guests will meet, but both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson are very serious footy fans.
Note that the Prime Minister's official residence is The Lodge in Australia's capital Canberra, but Kirribilli House also commands a special regard given Sydney's status as Australia's financial capital and largest city and is often used for official receptions.
The Peace Team are returning down under for the IC11, again bringing a squad of Israelis and Palestinians to play footy and build bridges between the Jewish and Muslim communities.
Coordinated by the Peres Centre for Peace, the team were a widely reported good news story in the Australian media during the 2008 tournament.
The Peace Team faced a steep learning curve onfield at the IC08, finishing 13th overall in a field of 16. Five players from the 2008 tournament are back again this year, including Kamal Abu Althom, Yonatan Belik, Kfir Kol, Abed Abu Raduan and Naseem Almanasra.
Another name in the squad which may be familiar to WFN readers is Doron Zauer, who is a long-term member of the "AFL in Israel" group which organises social footy in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.