On two sides of the world over the past fortnight, some significant Aussie Rules and GAA clubs competed against each other in International Rules. In Gaelic football-playing and Gaelic-speaking Gweedore in Donegal, north-western Ireland, the West London Wildcats Aussie Rules football club, the biggest of the BARFL clubs, played CLG Ghaoth Dobhair, one of the best Gaelic Football clubs in all Ireland. Meanwhile far from the cool mists of Donegal in a steamy hot Sydney a 12 team International Rules tournament was played out by 6 Sydney AFL clubs and 6 Sydney GAA clubs.
The hybrid game came to Auckland on Sunday 5th March 2006 when representative teams from the Auckland AFL and Auckland GAA clashed at the Gaelic grounds at Seddon Fields, Point Chevalier. Gaelic football in NZ focuses on a half dozen clubs in Auckland and a few clubs in Wellington; Australian Rules also has its Kiwi stronghold in Auckland with Auckland winning the recent Provincial Championships. Auckland AFL went into their first game of International Rules with confidence fresh from their national victory, but as Rob Malone of the Auckland AFL reports, the skills of the Gaelic lads with the round ball saw the first game of this kind go their way.
A big weekend of footy in Arizona on February 25th and 26th with six teams, Chandler Outlaws, ASU Sun Devils, LA/Orange County combine, Inland Empire, Nashville and San Diego taking part in the 9 a side tournament. Seven games were played on day one at the Tempe Sports Complex, with the top four teams advancing to the semi finals and final being played on Sunday. The Chandler Outlaws team taking out the 2006 tournament.
Perpignan will this weekend host a promotional 12-a-side Aussie Rules match between a side drawn from clubs across France and a squad from England, composed mainly of Reading Roos players. The match is expected to capitalise on a strong media push, with television, radio and print media promotion over the last few weeks and more than 300 tickets sold as of a few days ago.
Former Dublin Gaelic footballer and Melbourne Demons Australian football legend and Brownlow medallist, Jim Stynes, has spoken out about plans by the GAA and the AFL to put an end to the drafting of Irish teens by AFL clubs.
The Australian indigenous youth footy tour of South Africa has come to an end with the Aboriginal lads winning all three matches comfortably. But the tour was a great experience for the South Africans and if the tour becomes a regular event as hoped then the benefits will be all the greater. We review each of the three games, played in Potchefstroom, Mafikeng and Stellenbosch, with thanks to AFL South Africa Development Officer Jack Arnold for the information. Apologies for lack of information about the Australian details - understandably the busy AFL South Africa staff were focussed on their team. Photos to follow later.
Danish Footy took a bit of a hit when Denmark surprisingly pulled out of the 2005 IC, but the latest developments indicate that DAFL is getting its act together - with a rejuvenated leadership corps, a juniors tour to Australia in April and more internationals including Denmark and Sweden in the works.
Irishman Colm Begley has made the fastest AFL debut ever after lining up for the Brisbane Lions in their NAB Cup quarter-final in just his third game of Australian football. This comes hot on the heels of impressive form last week from Setanta O'hAilpin.
Over the last 15 years, a few clubs have existed in the area Londoners call 'up north' - the Liverpool Blues in the early 90s, then the St Helens (aka Northwestern) Miners and Doncaster Saints more recently. 2006 will be fourth time lucky for the region, with a crew training in Manchester. They may not be the only debutants in the BARFL this year - with an insider tip that there are groups close to startup in a few other British cities.
The Osaka Dingoes were founded a couple of years ago as the first Aussie Rules team in Japan's second largest city. To play matches, their squad spawned a second team, the Kansai Kangaroos (named after Osaka's province). This continued until late last year, when the Dingoes and Kangaroos went their separate ways - the Dingoes continuing as the Japan Osaka AFL with new squad the Kobe Blues, and the Kangaroos with their new league dubbed the AFL Kansai Japan, together with the expansion Kyoto Kockatwos.
The South African tour of talented young indigenous Australian footballers is underway, with the first match in Potchefstroom completed. The tour has three primary goals - as a developmental exercise for the Aboriginal youth players, encouragement for AFL South Africa, and as an investigation by the AFL to find out more about Aussie Rules' potential in SA.
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