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Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 11:06 AM ACST

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Interview with Revo Brett Ullman

North America

USFootyNews.com's Jeff Blankman has interviewed San Diego Lions and US Revolution backman Brett Ullman, ahead of next month's International Cup.

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AFL's South Korean born Peter Bell retires

General NewsPeter Bell, one of only a few players in the history of the professional Australian Football League with a direct Asian background, has retired at age 32 having played 286 AFL games.

Born in South Korea to a Korean mother, Bell moved to Western Australia at a young age. Bell was educated in Perth, where he achieved a Bachelor of Law. Bell was recruited from the South Fremantle Football Club in the WAFL. He was often regarded as short for an elite footballer at 175cm, although he played as a rover developing a reputation as a nuggety and creative ball-winner with accurate disposal skills and good goal sense, Bell played much of his career in Melbourne with the North Melbourne Kangaroos where he played in two premierships. He returned to Perth to captain the Fremantle AFL club. During his career he was named All-Australian twice, represented Australia in International Rules and best and fairest at both North Melbourne and Fremantle. His coaches at Fremantle managed to squeeze more out of Bell's AFL career, as he has considered retirement on more than one occasion.

While Bell was the oldest of the AFL's current crop of "internationals", Papua New Guinean born Mal Michael is another veteran, whose career at 31 years of age appears to be drawing to a close, having recently spent much of his time outside of the Essendon senior list.

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Valentine's Day footy film

General News

Aussie Rules fictional films are fairly rarely, with only occasional movies such as the 1978 classic The Club, loosely based around Collingwood. A recent telemovie heavily related to football is Valentines' Day, which screened last night on Australia's ABC. Set in the Victorian country town of Rushworth, it follows the arrival of a former big-time player and his misguided efforts to save the local side from merger.

Although perhaps not the most riveting of shows (and fair to say the skills on display are less than exemplary), it's a nice little yarn about what footy means to local communities and for those keen to soak up anything footy related it's pleasing to note that the 90 minute movie can be downloaded from the ABC (around 330 MB), and there's also a preview available.

Sadly we've been informed that the video cannot be downloaded outside of Australia, presumably based on an IP address check, so unless you have a friend in Oz who will do it for you...

Preview Valentine's Day
Download full movie Valentine's Day

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Chile wins historic first international fixture in South America

South America

On most weekends, the parks and stadiums of Buenos Aires are crowded with some of the most passionate round ball enthusiasts in the world.

On Saturday afternoon however, puzzled locals at club DAOM, which is only a couple of drop punts from Maradona’s famous Boca neighborhood, witnessed the sight of a new Sherrin being bounced as play kicked off in South America’s historic first international fixture.

Los Santos (Saints) from Chile and Las Aguilas (Eagles) from Argentina were playing for the inaugural 9-a-side Andes AFL Cup, although both clubs agreed beforehand that the promotion of “Futbol Australiano” in South America was more important than the result.

After a tight and physical first quarter, Chile eventually got on top of their hosts and ran out comfortable winners 19.10 (124) to Argentina's 1.5 (11), largely due to the influence of their expatriate Australian forward line consisting of Pedr Chapman (9 goals) and Tristan Bradbrook (4 goals).

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New Era for Australian Football in France

Europe

Sunday 28 June 2008 on the playing fields in the Bois de Vincennes in the east of Paris will go down in history as the beginning of a new phase in the establishment of Australian Football in France, the commencement of a new era.

Four teams came from around France to compete in a round robin series concluding in the final. The Montpellier Fire Sharks in the south west is the newest team, having only formed this year. Coming from the Atlantic coast, just above the surfing beaches of south west France, the Bordeaux Bombers are also relatively new, having formed only in 2007.

The Strasbourg team, the oldest team playing ‘le Football Australien’ in France, a team which played for a season in the German league, were the third team, and the losing team in the final. One of the Strasbourg players was Marc Jund, the first pioneer of Australian Football in France.

Home ground advantage matters in Australian Football around the world as the travelling teams are often missing players who are either busy or find the journey financially pressing. The Paris Cockerels, with the home ground advantage and a few more experienced (that is Aussie) players, ran out winners in the final.

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All systems go for Tassie bid - but where are they going?

General News

It appears that Tasmania is going full steam ahead with its bid to have a team in the Australian Football League. We've previously reported (Tasmania bid adds AFL expansion twist) that the island state has upped the ante to have their own team in the sport's elite competition, a dream the Apple Islanders have harboured since the VFL morphed into the AFL.

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Tigers search Samoa for 'international rookie'

Oceania

A Richmond Football Club delegate, Craig Cameron was in Samoa last week searching for potential Samoan 'international rookies' and it made news headlines in the small Pacific nation. Cameron also made an appearance on a high-rating sports television program, Sports Centre and was interviewed for an article which received colour, back page coverage in Sunday's Newsline newspaper.

Cameron revealed he was on the lookout for "people who are enthusiastic about AFL" and to "find some guys that have the athleticism who could go and play Australian Rules" and see "if there is a possibility of developing the game (in Samoa)." The Tigers' Strategy and List Manager also watched an AFL Samoa practice session at Leulumoega.

According to Michael Roberts, AFL Samoa's National Game Development Manager, "Samoan media is finally warming to Australian football which is great. The support of local radio presenter Ben Talogota from Polynesian Radio is great, along with his weekly review with Rohan Connelly."

One reader of the Samoan newspaper confirmed the positive effect that a non-Australian playing in the AFL can have for that particular country, admitting that they were "raised in Australia" but "still do not understand the concept of AFL" yet would "try to understand it and back our boys if they ever get into the game of AFL. I think Samoans should get into playing this game, it could only take us further."

Roberts was very pleased to have a "visit from such a professional club who was interested not only in the talent and programs but in the future welfare and adaptation to western life for these young players." Cameron had expressed interest in understanding the 'Faa Samoa', a set of Samoan cultural rules to live and treat others by, in order to benefit potential recruits.

WFN can reveal that other AFL clubs have since expressed interest in talent identification in Samoa.

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Naitanui and video highlights from Under 18s

General NewsThe AFL has some video highlights from the Under 18s Australian Football carnival (Sneek Peek at Future Stars).

Of particular interest is the diversity of names among the talent. Among the standouts are video highlights of multicultural players previously mentioned on WFN including Fijian-Australian Nicholas Naitanui (WA), Ranga Ediriwickrama (NSW/ACT), but also other interesting multicultural names like Zaharakis (Vic Metro), Martiniello (Vic Country) and De Boer (WA).

Unfortunately for international footy fans, true PNG international, John James (QLD) is not included as his state was knocked out early in the carnival. Nevertheless, the AFL has published an article on him called "A buzz in the air", discussing his conversion from rugby league, his enthusiasm for Australian rules football, his upcoming International Cup campaign and his AFL prospects.

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Binatangs blitz in Queensland as Lions watch on

OceaniaPapua New Guinea's junior pathway program continues to rush ahead, with the Under 14 Binatangs having wins in warm-up matches against a New South Wales region and Queensland development side, followed by a comfortable win in the Queensland Under 14 State Championships, and pushing one of the top regions in their other game so far.

Further down the pathway are another group now playing for Coolangatta, and some Papuans have even lined up for the Brisbane Lions Reserves side in the southeast Queensland league. These young men are the real deal and we review their progress below.
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AFL aiming to release IC08 draw early next week

International Cup 2008

The AFL has confirmed their intention to finalise and next week release the official draw for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. The tentative plan is to go public on Monday 7th July, however that is not guaranteed as the final adjustments are made.

We can reveal that one of the listed likely competing nations unfortunately looks like pulling out this week, due as much to difficulties securing the availability of enough of their players as the financial burden.

This would leave the AFL with a difficult task to satisfy all desired outcomes for the draw, and we think readers will find the final schedule very interesting if it plays out the way we expect. But that is yet to be finalised. Sit tight until next week.

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Is Britain Great?

Europe

When the BARFL re-badged as AFL Great Britain there were two naming concerns to be addressed - the slightly unwieldy length of the name and confirming their new designation and logo with the AFL. After some debate and a few unexpected delays the new title is official - AFL Britain (i.e. they have dropped the term "Great").

AFL Britain's President, Sam Percy, had some interesting things to say on the name and an honest appraisal of the current role of the association in relation to England, Scotland, Wales and their position on Ireland. For the wider audience not across the topic (it's more a curiosity than vital knowledge), we also look at the difference between the terms Britain and Great Britain.

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Rec Footy and Auskick arrive in Vanuatu

Oceania

According to a recent article on the AFL website, Vanuatu has joined a growing list of Australian football-playing nations.

Football arrived in the country "when a Gold Coast couple living there introduced Rec Footy." Whilst a senior league is yet to develop, eight teams participated in Rec Footy over the summer. These matches were initially played by expatriates at an international school but before long had attracted "broader interest". AFL Queensland Auskick Manager, Fiona McLarty has since visited the island to help establish a NAB Auskick program, with eighty children signing up after participating in introductory clinics.

Participation in the sport by Vanuatuans adds weight to calls for football's inclusion in future South Pacific Games.

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