A great review of the Nashville vs. Baton Rouge match recently played can be read at CBS Sportsline’s Spin on Sport. Columnist Clay Travis attended his first ever USAFL match with a buddy and gives a full account of the experience. This is exactly how many Americans end up playing Aussie Rules by just turning up to a park and watching the game played. Once they get an understanding of what initially seems chaotic they can't help but be drawn to it.
For the record the final scores were Nashville 15.15.105 to Baton Rouge 6.7.43.
Footy Darts is a magnetic darts game that simulates the ebb and flow of an Australian Football match. WFN writer Ash has reviewed the game, and creator Dale Wilson has two free sets of the Ultimate Footy Pack to offer international clubs (containing the magnetic football darts game and a markmaster footy, package valued at AUD$50).
We think the game could be used at footy clubrooms or as a prize for an up and coming junior. Readers from clubs outside of Australia are encouraged to write (click here) and tell us about your footy club and how you think you might make use of a set. We'll select two responses and courtesy of Sports Darts send them the Ultimate Footy Pack. Read on for Ash's review.
The recent US versus Canada women's international in Vancouver received some great coverage on Melbourne sports station SEN. The US Freedom's coach, Wayne Kraska, was interviewed by Tony Schebeci for 15 minutes back on August 16th. During the chat they discussed the women's programs in both countries, the upcoming US Nationals in Louisville, and Kraska also mentioned the possible tour by his squad to correspond with the 2008 International Cup in Melbourne. Pleasingly Schebeci invited Kraska to report back to the show during the US Nationals, so it should provide further awareness of the game's international progress.
You can find links to the interview on Women's Footy here.
Recent comments by the GAA Head of Games, Pat Daly, and the AFL Talent Manager, Kevin Sheehan, show that influential figures on both sides are willing to bring the hybrid code series back onto the calendar, but also that different perspectives remain. Daly talks of the need to stamp out violence, Sheehan of cultural differences that are hard to resist under big match pressure.
Groups attempting to establish football programs outside of Australia face many issues, with sustainability particularly hard to achieve. Many clubs and associations will form, only to have disbanded or be on hiatus a few years later. A proven technique for developing a senior team has been a solid junior foundation. Denmark’s junior program in Farum is now paying dividends for both the club’s senior and national sides. The Vikings recently thrashed a German outfit, with 18 year-old Nicolai Secher starring.
Samoa is another football-playing nation aware of the value of junior competition. They have been running a tournament for High School students and clinics for Primary School students for several years now, and have taught thousands about the Australian brand of football. With a population of less than 200,000 Samoa has one of the highest participation rates of football per capita, outside of Australia. Below we look at Samoa's burgeoning junior football program.
Melbourne's The Age newspaper reported today that the Victorian state government was "on the verge" of providing financial backing for an exhibition match in Los Angeles, likely to be held at UCLA on January 20th next year. The article, in Craig Hutchison's Pssst column, also mentioned that if the match can become a regular event in the AFL's calendar it was a possibility to become a NAB cup match in future.
Full article reprinted below (not available on the Age website).
New York Magpie (3) forward Luke North took control of the game against the Milwaukee Bombers last Saturday (8/11) with a 5 goal bag and a best on ground performance as the Magpies defeated the Bombers 75 to 25. North's haul included one of the goals of the year so far as he dodged around bomber defenders and put a wrong sided snap through for six points.
In a beautiful day for the footy, the Mid-American Australian Football League Milwaukee Bombers hosted the Eastern Australian Football League New York Magpies at Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee WI. At game time the temperatures were in the low 80s with a breeze and the sun shining through a few clouds in the sky. The Bombers started the game out pretty even with the first quarter ending with the Pies having a one point lead at the end of the first 1.2 to 1.1. However, in the second quarter the Pies showed their class and kicking 4.3 to the Bombers 2 points. In the second half the Pies were able to extend their lead to get an easy win 11.9 (75) to 3.7 (25). Through out the game the Bombers had moments. There was a great diving mark that ended with a goal and Patrick DeFors showed some excellent skill. However, the New York Pies forward line of North and Shane Batty (who had 3) had too much class. North and Batty now share equal 4th on the USFooty goal kicking table with 9 goals a piece.
For video highlights of the game go to You Tube (note the F-word gets a lot of repetitions in the sound track).
Like any diehard fan, when Timmy Brown was given the opportunity, he named his team the Fairfax Kangaroos and gave them the Blue and White of his favorite AFL club. What is a little bit different is that Fairfax is a suburb of Washington DC, Timmy is a 25 year old American and the Fairfax Kangaroos are an Ice Hockey team.
Teams in other sports have been known to be named after AFL clubs - Lindsay Gaze's Melbourne Tigers in the NBL for example, and of course there are footy teams in other countries named for AFL clubs. There are the Nashville Kangaroos, the Golden Gate Kangaroos, the Calgary Kangaroos, the Reading Kangaroos, even the Etobicoke Kangaroos. But I'm not sure there has ever been a team in another sport in another country named for an AFL Club (although Formula One team Minardi chose the black and white stripes of Collingwood).
The Newcastle Centurions and their founder Rick Shrowder were in the news this week, with a summary of the first season for the Aussie Rules UK northern league and a preview of this weekend's grand final in Newcastle's "the Journal". Shrowder, who played for SANFL club Norwood until he was around 20, talks about footy in the area and his plans for the future, including taking the Centurions from a social-based side to more of an organised club.
International footy fans often feel deprived of seeing quality football footage. One website worth keeping your eye on is the BigpondTV site. It has wrap ups of games each week, but in particular as an Adelaide fan my attention was drawn by a highlights package dedicated to the Crows' retiring skipper Mark Ricciuto. The decorated captain played in over 300 games, was All-Australian an amazing eight times, played in one premiership (in 1998, having missed the 1997 flag through injury), won three Malcolm Blight medals as Adelaide's club champion and shared the 2003 Brownlow Medal with Nathan Buckley and Adam Goodes. Missing most of this year through injury, Roo has decided that 2007 will be his last season, ending his career at age 32. Other champions expected to finish this year are Essendon's James Hird, Collingwood's Nathan Buckley and North Melbourne's Glen Archer, though the latter two are yet to confirm a decision either way. Carlton's Greek (and Italian) Adonis, Anthony Koutoufides, has already played his last game, succumbing to a hip injury which has cut his last season short.
Ricciuto's greatest asset was perhaps his leadership and ability to maintain a very high standard over so many years - something which has made the last two seasons of injuries all the more frustrating. Of particular interest in the video is the degree to which it unintentionally demonstrates how much the game has changed in recent years. A lot of the spectacular big hits and strong body marks that were often a feature of his game just a few years ago are now outlawed. It seems we won't ever see the likes of him again.
The 1970s - when the Victorian Football League was at best semi-pro, goal umpires donned their long white coats, players wore tight shorts, sported moustaches, and science and footy certainly didn't mix. Warriors without Weapons is a video from 1979 following the pre-season and opening game of the North Melbourne Football Club (before they were pushing the Kangaroos brand and looking headed for Queensland). It can be freely viewed on the ABC website and features some words of wisdom from Aussie Rules legend Ron Barassi - interesting to hear him talk about society becoming softer, something people continue to lament 30 years later. His speech to the players during the match sounds a little dated now - AFL coaches tend to be a little more eloquent in addressing their team, but of course the video has to be viewed in the context of the era in which it was filmed.
This weekend sees two of Europe's strongest Australian Football clubs go head to head across an amazing three grand finals in the dramatic conclusion to the UK regular season. The dominant West London club fields the Wildcats in the BARFL Premiership, Shepherds Bush Raiders in the Conference, and Ealing Emus in the Social League. All three teams made it through to the big one, where they'll be up against Wandsworth's three sides in the Wandsworth Demons, Clapham Demons and South London. Around 1000 fans reportedly turned out for the preliminary final matches, and many more are on the cards for this Saturday.