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.
The outside chance of Tasmania being granted an AFL licence looks likelier with the bid announcing a $4 million, three-year sponsorship deal.
The announcement comes as the Gold Coast (GC17) and Western Sydney syndicates have yet to announce a major sponsor for their bids and while at least two Melbourne based AFL clubs, the Western Bulldogs and Richmond Tigers are still without a sponsor for 2009.
The AFL's 150 website continues to chart the history of the game. A recent table lists the premiership winners in the stronger leagues, starting from right back in 1877 when South Adelaide won the inaugural SAFA (now the SANFL) title and Carlton the inaugural VFA (now the VFL) title. Other leagues shown include the AFL (and its forerunner the VFL, starting with Essendon in 1897 as it split from the then VFA), and various winners in Tasmania starting with "Cricketers" in 1880, Rovers in WA in 1885 (followed by a Fremantle side in 1886). New South Wales entries begin with East Sydney in 1903, Queensland lists "Norths, Souths, Wests" in 1904, the Northern Territory has Wanderers in 1917, and finally Acton in 1924 is the first winning club listed for the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).
New Zealand's media are continuing to profile talented members of the Falcons' squad. Those in developing football markets would be only too aware of how this helps to promote a minority sport to current and future sponsors as well as attract potential players and generate increased awareness.
Scott Morgan of NZ's Sunday paper, The Sunday Star Times, had this to say about quality Mt Roskill and NZ Falcons' on-baller Lewis Hurst...
Football in the US is for the most part a game of distance. To play an away game requires at best a road trip and in many cases an air trip. So any time a new team comes along it usually means less travel and more games for their nearest neighbors. Many teams in the US will only play a handful of games each year (outside of tournament weekends) and desperately need more teams and less distance to travel for the game to prosper.
Each year there are stirrings of new teams coming on line, some never make it much further than this (the Mobile team rumored last year come to mind) and some struggle on for a long time but eventually put things together. Columbus in Ohio has struggled to get things happening for a couple of years and looked to almost be getting to a playing stage in 2006.
This didn’t amount to anything in ‘06 or ‘07, but a team has emerged in 2008, and what’s more they have their first competitive game on the board. Their next challenge is will be to stick around unlike some other teams that have raised their head briefly and disappered again soon after.
The Sydney Swans have beaten out other AFL clubs such as Carlton and Brisbane to sign Irish talent Kyle Coney as an International Rookie. It also will remove Coney from Ricky Nixon’s scouting pool list which has several other AFL clubs on board. The Sydney move was foreshadowed as early as December 2007, and Coney has continued to impress with good form in Gaelic minor football this year. He will join fellow Irishmen Tadgh Kennelly and Brendan Murphy at the Swans later in the year, possibly in October after Tyrone’s minor team’s bid for the All Ireland title is over.
Coney is the first that we know of to be signed this year, and the big question really is how many other new Gaelic footballers will be nominated on AFL lists by the year’s end?