Whilst their would be no ANZAC Cup today at Villers-Bretonneaux in France, or a myriad of other matches and events around the world that would normally honour ANZAC Day and those who fought and died in war, on lone bugler stood in the middle of the MCG today playing his bugle in an emotional message to the world.
John Mansfield, a member of the army reserve since 1990, always held a dream to play The Last Post in front of almost 100,000 fans one day for the ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon. Today, he alone graced the expanses of the MCG to recite the Ode Of Remembrance and play The Last Post.
The following clip from the Essendon Football Club website shows the stirring occasion.
On face value, the answer to this question will be a resounding yes. When framed against the eventual return of the game at all levels, a large majority of people will proudly boast their love of the game, their sadness over its brief disappearance, impatience for its return and excitement in anticipation of that day.
Most people are counting the days, even if they don’t yet know how many days to count.
However, lurking beneath the surface of this emotion is another realisation. Many people at all levels of society have stated that the world will not be the same in the wake of COVID-19. Aspects of life which we had previously taken for granted have changed already and may never return – at least never return exactly as we remembered them.
An example would be the accepted concept that Australia’s freedom would never see state borders closed. Already that myth is dispelled and could happen again should any other disease threaten.
Back in the aftermath of Round 1, before the AFL had to suspend the 2020 season, American sports commentator Pat McAfee expressed a love for our game. Sporting codes across his own nation had already been in recess leaving little to watch. AFL games filled the Fox Sports void and McAfee became a convert.
The clip below sees Collingwood's "American Pie" spend time explaining the finer points of our game to McAfee. The result is definitely worth watching, and could lead to even greater awareness of our game across the United States.
The following story from Marc McGowan at the www.afl.com.au website is an excellent look back at Mason Cox’s AFL career and the journey to get to where he is today, starting back in the United States. Cox has already enjoyed an almost unexpectedly impactful career, and is likely to leave a great legacy for future prospective players from America.
Mason Cox's unlikely journey from end-of-the-rotation college basketballer to playing on Australian Football's biggest stages has won him fame he never thought possible.
Remember, this is a guy who'd never heard of the AFL and travelled to Australia to meet five clubs, unsure whether the competition was "like an eastern European basketball league that could fall over after a year".
Few football fans will forget Cox's performance from the 2018 preliminary final, where he became the Richmond slayer with a match-winning four-goal effort.
To kick off a series of articles from around the world that look at footy life in COVID-19 times, this story looks at some aspects of footy life in Far North Queensland. It is hoped this story may trigger more stories from people, clubs and leagues across the world as they negotiate events unthought-of at the end of their last seasons.
On my way home from work last week I dropped by the home ground of my former club, Gordonvale's Power Park. It is the home of the Pyramid Power club, set in canefields and overlooked by the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid. It is, in a word, beautiful.
It was around five o’clock – a time when junior footy training would be under way in the first week of April, preparing for the first matches for the new season.
Today, however, the ground was devoid of kids. Only teams of plovers graced the playing surface. Seeming to enjoy themselves, it wasn’t clear who was winning. Perhaps, for them it wasn’t about that – it was about fun.
Nobody could have predicted, even as recently as the AFL Middle East grand final just a few weeks ago, that the football world would come to a premature end, along with many other aspects of daily life, due to the spread of COVID-19. Not only has the live footy - at grounds or on television - been put on hold, but so has the simple kick in a park or even a neighbour's yard.
People across the world are missing their sport.
But that doesn't mean that there aren't stories to be told and shared. Our worldwide footy community, whilst in an enforced hibernation, still craves stories. Reading about the exploits of others might just be a handy, temporary antidote for feelings of loss, loneliness, confusion, despair or just to scratch that niggling itch.
World Footy News invites all leagues, clubs or individuals to tell us their stories and we will put together articles to be shared across the international footy community. Anything at all with a footy link can be sent - serious or funny, informative or just plainly bizarre - as long as footy is at its heart.
An article surfaced last week which revisited the years Karmichael Hunt spent with the Gold Coast Suns. It was an era when glitz and glamour reappeared in a strange way – almost akin to the Geoffrey Edelsten days at the Sydney Swans – when the Gold Coast Suns announced Karmichael Hunt as their cross-coding marquee player and the GWS Giants joined the party with Israel Folau.
In an article that is sure to reignite the argument of which code is tougher – Australian Rules footy or Rugby League – the Fox Footy article saw Hunt in a reflective mood about many things.
As for his decision, Hunt is quoted as saying, “the switch from rugby league to AFL delivered “everything I asked for” – but revealing it left him “pretty broken” physically.” That is a big statement coming after his time with the Brisbane Broncos in a code described by many as the toughest of them all (Rugby League).
AFL Europe has announced that the 2020 Euro Cup, set for Stirling in Scotland, has been postponed to a date later in 2020. This is pending the ongoing advice on the progress of COVID-19. A new date is yet to be set, though the Scottish city of Stirling cannot accommodate a new date.
AFL Europe is currently looking at other options across Europe to host the postponed event. AFL Scotland has been told that they will now host the 2010 Euro Cup instead. According to AFL Europe, “due to a lack of field and venue availability in Stirling in the second half of the year, AFL Europe will be sourcing an alternate location for the rescheduled 2020 event.”
“Given this, AFL Scotland has been automatically granted the rights to host the Euro Cup in Summer 2021”. It is yet to be determined if Stirling will be that venue.
It was the sort of meeting you read about, hear about or see in those emotionally engaging love story-type movies. It is the story of a brief encounter where love blossomed, then just as quickly is cruelly taken away.
America fell in love with Australian Football. It wasn’t a one-night stand. It was at least a weekend. In fact, the two knew each other with a small amount of fans and teams within leagues across the United States. However, last weekend, that simmering romance took off.
The two – AFL and American audiences – spent the weekend wining, dining, marvelling at each other’s attributes. They made plans to spend the rest of their lives together, going out each weekend – just the two of them (problematic, really) enjoying one weekend and looking forward to the next with quivering anticipation and, possibly, desire.
The AFLW season has been cancelled and AFL season has been postponed to May 31st, due to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the world.
And we all knew that the axe that has fell on sport globally was eventually going to fall on the AFLW and AFL.
It's disappointing that the AFLW season has come to an abrupt end, after such an exciting finals series and enthralling home and away season, but this coronavirus is bigger than sport and through these trying times globally we have to accept that there are more important things than sport right now.
The first week of the AFLW finals certainly delivered with four cracking matches and who would have thought they would be the last women's football matches in 2020.
The AFL today announced that it would immediately move to suspend the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season at the conclusion of this weekend's matches and conclude the NAB AFL Women's season as a result of the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Today's match between West Coast Eagles and Melbourne will be the final match before the AFL season goes into a temporary halt with the suspension of all games until May 31, 2020.
The AFL will review the situation by the end of April to determine whether a further suspension period would be required.
Today's AFLW semi-final between Carlton and Brisbane Lions will be the last NAB AFL Women's match to be played with the 2020 season ending today. Given the twin conference structure and that the finals series was not completed, the AFL Commission has determined no premiership will be awarded for this season, following a recommendation from the AFL Executive.
Humanity is a resilient species. We adapt and find ways to move forward. Despite the current doom and gloom surrounding the coronavirus, we will again find a way to meet the challenges we are now facing as the pandemic spreads its reach.
It seems that the same might be said about aspects of Australian football.
Whilst the commentary from the three completed AFL matches to date has surrounded rule changes, some changes may be more profound over time. The shorter quarters have won the approval of fans, players, clubs and the media.
The sixteen-minute quarter is changing how players are managed across a game, leading to less fatigue and greater impact of players across four quarters. Essendon’s Dylan Shiel said as much when he said the shorter quarters suit his high running style of play. Others have chorused similar thoughts.