Toronto, CANADA (October 2, 2010): After joining the league in 2006, the Central Blues who compete in the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL) have won the club's first OAFL Premiership in 2010. In front of a large crowd who enjoyed the OAFL beer tent and catering the Blues defeated a gutsy and determined Toronto Dingos outfit in the OAFL Grand Final played on Saturday 2 October 2010. The past three OAFL grand finals have been dominated by two clubs in the Toronto Eagles and Etobicoke Kangaroos with the Eagles winning two out of the three deciders, so it was a refreshing change to see two different clubs lining up in the biggest game of the season. The Blues, which were established by Bruce Parker and Rob Chapman in 2006 basing their club uniform on the revered Carlton Blues Football Club in the AFL, had played in the past two seasons before reaching its first grand final in 2010.
In an encouraging sign for the Blues their reserves team also featured on the big day, taking on Quebec in the Division 2 grand final.
The Convicts are back on tour again, departing Australia on Tuesday 19th October heading to South America for the first time. The Convicts concept involves bringing together a group of Australian footballers keen to play some footy overseas while paying their way to have a holiday as well.
The tour involves three matches: in Chile against the Santiago Saints, in Argentina and finally in Sao Paulo in Brasil. worldfootynews.com caught up with Adrian Barraza who is involved with Aussie Rules in Chile, to ask him how the year has gone so far and what impact the Convicts tour might have.
The 2010 David Rodan Cup secondary schools footy tournament will get underway later this week in Fiji. David Rodan has more than just his name associated with this tournament, and is working hard in Fiji currently, including generating a fair level of pre-tournament news coverage.
The Dubai Heat continue to build on their reputation as a powerhouse football club, winning their third consecutive Asian Championships. Dubai overcame Singapore in the final, with Hong Kong too strong for Indonesia in the third place playoff. Whilst every team present bar Macau managed to win at least one match, ultimately the previous winners of the tournament who were again participating (Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong) remained in a class of their own.
A fast finishing Melbourne yesterday defeated Brisbane in the Shanghai Showdown. The Dees trailed by as much as 29 points in the final term, but managed to win the match with the last kick of the game, off the boot of Liam Jurrah. This took his tally to five goals and helped earn him Best on Ground.
The match was played out in front of 7,000 fans at Jiangwan Stadium, less than a quarter of the stadium's capacity, and the empty seats were clearly evident on television. An AFL report prior to the match suggested a possible television audience of 30 million. If that many tuned in for the contest it would be less than 3 percent of China's population but more than Australia's whole population. The AFL Grand Final draws around 2.5 million viewers in Australia (12% of population); to reach a total number that is twelve times that amount for a first match on Chinese soil would be quite impressive.
Overall the AFL was happy with the experiment, with David Matthews quoted saying, "Today’s match was a fantastic exhibition of Australian Football in front of a very enthusiastic and big crowd which exceeded our expectations. There’s no doubt we would play another game in China and we will work with our partners and AFL clubs to make that happen.”
Melbourne 12.12 (84) defeated Brisbane Lions 11.13 (79)
The Croatian Knights have proven their 9-a-side class by winning the Euro Cup, held in Parabiago (Milan), Italy. The 1 day tournament featured 15 men's sides: Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Wales and the EU Crusaders (additional players from several countries).
In Europe's first women's international Ireland's Women 6.14 (50) defeated Italy's Women 6.4 (40), in hopefully the first of many such matches. A more detailed report can be read here.
Croatia have a strong history in men's 9s but with European Champions (16-a-side) Ireland debuting a strong challenge was on the table. Croatia and Ireland cruised through their pool matches, although uneven team numbers saw Eire's Warriors have to play one more game, before meeting in a semi-final. England looked dominant in their half while the Netherlands were steady in getting though to their semi-final. Then came the upsets.
AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, head of the AFL Commission and the man who fast-tracked the entry of the Gold Coast and GWS clubs, is in China as part of the AFL's promotion of the sport ahead of the Kaspersky Cup between Brisbane and Melbourne. Fitzpatrick said that "Our game is 150 years old but this Sunday we will play our first ever match here in Shanghai," he said. "To quote an old Chinese proverb: 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step'. Tomorrow we take that step."
Various clinics have been held with school children and an AFL talent combine. Some photos of the events so far can be seen here.
Sri Lankan English-language newspaper The Daily Mirror is reporting that a group of AFL officials recently met with the country's Minister of Internal Trade & Cooperatives, Mr Johsnton Fernando. The meeting, which was arranged by Manel Dharmakeerthie, discussed how best to promote Australian Football in Sri Lanka.
Dharmakeerthie is known in South Asia for his involvement with the Chinese sport of Wushu. He is now working closely with Milton Amarasinghe, a former Director General of Sports, to develop Australian Football in Sri Lanka. Their first aim is a tournament to be held in 2011. Fernando was supportive of their plans, and has agreed to offer, "his fullest support to develop footy (in Sri Lanka)."
Several current and former AFL players were also present at the meeting, including the AFL's new International Ambassador, Brett Kirk. The players are in Sri Lanka to learn more about that country's indigenous Vadda people and their place in Sri Lankan society, in an attempt to assist Australia's own indigenous communities upon their return.
Ireland will play host to Australia in the first test in Limerick on Saturday 23 October and in the second test in Croke Park on Saturday 30 October. Ireland manager Anthony Tohill today announced the Irish squad for the International Rules series.
Of the squad six have spent varying time with AFL clubs in Australia – Colm Begley, Martin Clarke, Tadgh Kennelly, Michael Shields, Brendan Murphy and Tommy Walsh. Shields, Murphy and Walsh did not/have not played any senior matches for AFL clubs. This should add a new slant on the series given their significant experience and knowledge of the Australians. Armagh’s Steven McDonnell has been named as captain and Galway’s Finian Hanley has been selected as vice-captain.
Australia’s Association Football World Cup bid was bedded down in time for the submission bid book to be delivered in May this year. WFN reported on the MOU that satisfied rival codes. And along the way to the December 2 decision day, Australian’s have heard both good and bad things about the bid and some of the ‘FIFA’ style interactions that go on around that. However, the odd thing is FFA supremo Frank Lowy, Australia’s richest man, down playing expectations whilst at the same time attempting to broadside the AFL as if to set the retribution wheels in motion before the fact – just in case the bid should fail.
Chris Adams from USFootyNews.com put together this video over the past weekend at the US Nationals in Louisville Kentucky featuring match footage, interviews with men's and women's team players and the New York Magpies victory celebrations.