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?
The AFL South Africa national jumper didn't fair too well in our recent poll, coming in equal 14th with the USA shirt. We're not sure if that stung them into action or whether a change was always on the cards, but here's an exclusive look at their new design, hot off the presses (large view inside the story). Definitely an improvement as the FootyWild slogan takes a more modest role in the overall image.
The GC17 group, aiming to be granted the 17th AFL license, have begun signing young players under the AFL concessions to allow them to build a second Queensland team. So far three 17 year olds have been signed up - two from the Gold Coast and one from Cairns in the state's far north (it's encouraging to see talent coming from up there - we once likened the start up of Aussie Rules in Cairns to that of international efforts).
Australian football is turning 150 and Australia Post is celebrating by issuing a single 50 cent commemorative stamp that features the earliest known engraving of a game of Australian football.
The engraving, entitled “Winter in Australia: Football in the Richmond Paddock” by Robert Bruce, depicts a game at Richmond Paddock, the parklands that today sit adjacent to the MCG. This image was first reproduced in the Illustrated Melbourne Post on 27 July 1866.
While the teams featured in the image are unknown, it depicts football as it was played in those early days, from 1858 until the mid-1860s. During this time, the game was played on rectangular fields and sometimes with a round ball, as shown in the engraving.
The playing area at Richmond Paddock changed
proportion and size between 1858 and the mid 1960s, finally becoming an oval in the 1880s.
The United Arab Emirates is now home to four Australian Football clubs, following the recent establishment of the Dubai Dragons. Sharing Dubai as their "home city" with the Dragons are Middle Eastern football pioneers, the Dingoes and two-time Dubai 9s champions, the Heat. The Emirates' fourth club are the Falcons, who are located in the capital, Abu Dhabi.
Dragons' President, Matthew Gribble shared a brief background of the club with WFN.
You can catch up on the Irish footy league at www.arfli.com. The site also reports that Collingwood will once again host Ireland during the Cup. Given the Magpies now have two Irishmen on their list (Martin Clarke and Kevin Dyas) one hopes the club will be keen to look after the Warriors as best as possible. So far so good, with Ireland offered the "use of the world-class facilities at the Lexus Centre following their games in Melbourne. Further to this the Magpies are assisting Ireland with training tops, training sessions at Collingwood and a chance for the lads to meet the players and talk all things football". There's also a jumper up for auction - check out ARFLI for more details.
Former Essendon AFL Premiership player and Australian representative, Chris Heffernan, made his debut for the highly ranked New York Magpies in Philly as they took on the Philadephia Hawks on Saturday July 26 2008. Heffernan retired as an AFL player after the 2007 season at the age of 28. The midfielder player made his AFL debut in 1997 and played 170 AFL games, mostly for the Bombers, including their 2000 AFL Premiership. He also represented Australia in the International Rules series against Ireland in 2000.
Heffernan recently moved to New York. Heffernan joins a talented mid-field with Jordon McIntyre, Michael Murphy, and Joel Keating and Andrew Bridges in the ruck. Heffernan wore #10 for the Pies against the Hawks with some useful possessions (see video). Assistant Coach, Shane Devine, named Heffernan in the best players for the Magpies in their demolition of the Hawks. Heffernan is certainly a welcome addition to a very talented New York team that is looking at challenging for the USFooty National Championship.
Heffernan follows a few former AFL players into USFooty including John Ironmonger (Golden Gate) and Cameron Trickey O'Brien (San Diego), although Heffernan comes in with many more games of AFL, an AFL Premiership and an Australian cap.