The 2008 footy season is starting to get underway across the US (particularly in the warmer parts). The Arizona AFL kicks off their league this Saturday 16th Feb at McQueen Park in Gilbert. The metro league is made up of three teams selected at last week’s preseason draft. The teams this year will be the Marshals captained by Darren Toohey, the Devils captained by Adam Smark and appearing for the first time and playing in the Arizona Hawks strips are the Kingsnakes, captained by Joe Swierupski. The season opener will be between the Marshals and the Devils.
The Maffra Football Club from Victoria's Gippsland region will return to New Zealand to play the Falcons on August 2nd. Maffra are an extremely strong country football team and will certainly give the Kiwis some idea of how their preparations are going for defending their title at the 2008 International Cup.
The Atlanta Australian Rules Football League kicks off this weekend with Roswell Rebels taking on the Midtown Bombers. The match will take place from 10.30am at Dekalb Memorial Park opening the Spring season. The league was founded in 2003, and is entering into it's sixth year of action. The Midtown Bombers have won the last two titles and will once again be hard to beat. For many of the teams this will be their second match for the year after the Kookaburras played the US Revolution team last weekend.
worldfootynews.com is conducting a series of interviews with Australian Football League staff as preparations get serious leading up to the August start of the third Australian Football International Cup. We've been speaking with Josh Vanderloo (AFL NAB Auskick Manager and an International Coordinator) and Roger Berryman (AFL Development Events Manager), who have just returned from a planning trip for the rounds in Warrnambool.
First on our agenda was to see whether the AFL is closer to knowing the final list of nations that will attend the tournament.
AFANA has advised that US footy coverage of the AFL 2008 season will commence this Saturday morning 16th February on Setanta with the Brisbane v Essendon match at 4:30 AM EST. For those new to watching footy in North America we recommend that you regularly check back with AFANA and/or subscribe to their newsletter for regular comprehensive updates on the coverage and program schedules.
The following is from the AFANA site: This is the first time ever that fans in North America have had any coverage of the preseason competition. Setanta has indicated to AFANA that they plan similar coverage for the rest of 2008 as we had in 2007. Setanta may cover up to 4 matches per week if schedule space permits. Initially, only 3 are scheduled for Round 1 of the AFL season.
AFANA has been monitoring the situation with ITVN closely. They remain "on the net" (or "on the air" if you will) and the Setanta feed continues however ITVN is no longer taking any new subscribers. Until recently, we had been able to maintain an e-mail dialogue with them and felt assured that the "reorganization" meant they might survive. However, it's now been some weeks since we have heard anything and they have not indicated whether the funds owed AFANA will be paid soon, if at all. Accordingly, if we don't hear from them shortly we will be disabling the links to them until such time as the situation changes.
The recent stream of international Australian Football news stories in the Australian and international media continued over the last week. We've pointed you at a lot of them and here is a small sample of some more, ranging from footy in Dubai to South Africa, from China to Ireland, New Zealand and even Australia.
The ambitious plan to bring a combined Israeli-Palestinian team to the 2008 Australian Football International Cup in Victoria appears to be well under way. The concept is based on a similar team that has toured the world playing soccer, but has the added complexity that for the players, Aussie Rules is a completely foreign game.
Athletes with strong soccer and basketball backgrounds have been targeted, and 75 are now in training, from which 35 to 40 will be selected to represent Israel-Palestine. The side will compete in the second division of the Cup. Beyond the challenges of a foreign game, historical conflict and the need to have the rules translated into Hebrew and Arabic, the players have also faced a lockdown on the West Bank when US President George Bush visited the area, and a massive snowstorm that prevented training in Jerusalem.
You can read more about the newest team to hit world footy in Making the impossible possible, by Chelsea Roffey, on the AFL website. In good news for footy, Roffey, from Media Giants, will be working with the AFL to expand coverage of international Australian Football leading up to, and through, the International Cup. As per 2005, worldfootynews.com will also be providing material to the AFL, and plans are under way between the three groups to pool resources to make the third Cup the best covered yet.
According to reports Collingwood will find themselves playing the Blues in front of 80,000 fans later this year - but it won’t be "We are the Navy Blues" echoing from opposition supporters - rather “Molly Malone… crying cockles and mussels alive alive oh” from the Dublin fans decked out in their Sky Blue team jerseys. And it also seems that Australia versus Ireland in International Rules could resume later this year or 2009.
The Adelaide Crows and Dubai Heat have run out easy winners in their respective matches in the AFL's first foray into the Middle East. The main match, the NAB Cup opener between Adelaide and Collingwood, saw the Crows run away with the game 4.15.10 (136) to 0.7.13 (55) - note under NAB Cup rules goals from outside 50 metres are "supergoals", worth 9 points each. In the curtain raiser, the two local teams proved to be a mismatch, as the Dubai Heat defeated the Dubai Dingoes 11.8 (74) to 0.5 (5). Perhaps more important than either result (though tell that to Pies fans, who have been knocked out of the NAB Cup), was that the day appears to have gone very smoothly and the AFL are now talking up more pre-season games internationally.
Editor: USFooty's Revolution headed to Atlanta for their second training camp of the year last weekend. The following report courtesy of Chris Adams at our partner news site, usfootynews.com. Chris will continue to provide stories for the international readership on worldfootynews.com, as well as working on the dedicated United States website.
The Revos have three training camps planned before they head to Melbourne for the Australian Football International Cup, one camp in each region of the US. The Western training camp was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. The Central training camp is this weekend in Atlanta. The Eastern traning camp will be April 12 as part of the Fort Lauderdale Spring Tournament at the new Broward County Cricket Stadium. The Fort Lauderdale camp will be the last opportunity for hopefuls to impress the coaches and USFooty plans to name their squad for Melbourne soon after the last training camp.
Pearce Hanley is the Brisbane Lions' latest Irish recruit and already is being favourably compared to Colm Begley who played 19 games last year for the Lions.
Hanley is interviewed by the Queensland Courier Mail talking of his homesickness for County Mayo in Ireland's west and the challenges he has had adapting to the oval ball.
He makes the point that the only real challenges are adapting to the oval ball and tackling, but that otherwise Gaelic football and Aussie Rules "are nearly the same".
Hanley was the Barassi medallist as best player in the 2006 Under-17 International Rules series. The loss of such top young talent from Gaelic Football has been cited as one reason for abandoning the under age series by the GAA, and losing Hanley would have been a particularly painful blow.
On that score, GAA fans can console themselves with some of Hanley's comments - that returning to Ireland a better footballer and playing for his club and county in the GAA remain his long term ambition. However it is early days and whether he will still think that way once he tastes AFL finals action and other attractions of the land down under remains to be seen.
The Australian Indigenous under 16 side, the Flying Boomerangs, have completed their African tour undefeated, knocking over the locals 164 to 38 in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The match was preceded by an under 13s game between the home town and another local area, Nyanga. In another good sign for development of the sport, both matches received some local media coverage, an important step in exposing locals to footy and opening people's mind to the game.