A couple of weeks ago at the BC Footy international weekend in Vancouver the Canadian men had their first ever win over the powerful United States team, winning the 49th Parallel Cup, before going down the next day in the keenly contested exhibition match. On the other hand the Canadian women struggled against their more experienced American counterparts, losing both matches by big margins, but the youthfulness of their squad promised better things to come. Now to the juniors and it was very positive to have the next generation of stars on display. The under 17s matches saw a large squad of young men from Canada - the Wolfpack - take on a smaller travelling party from the US.
The West London Wildcats have again crushed their rivals to win two of the three senior Grand Finals in the finale to the British Australian Rules Football League's 2007 season. The Wildcats were home by 90 points over the Wandsworth Demons in the Premiership League after their second side, the Sheperds Bush Raiders (pictured at left), knocked over Wandsworth's second team, the Clapham Demons, by 46 points in the Conference League final. It wasn't all doom and gloom for Wandsworth, as their South London squad savoured victory by 31 points against the Wildcats' third side, the Ealing Emus, to end the inaugural Social League season.
The Victoria Lions football club started 2007's AFL Canada season with expectations of getting the side going again. Things started relatively well, with planning starting in late January or thereabouts, moving on to things like recruitment and fundraising. The first training brought out around six people, with numbers peaking at 12 in late April. After that, attendance petered off to the starting six, then less, then the same four people in different combinations for a few months, then nothing. Basically, people lost interest all over again and it began to be quite clear that this season hadn’t worked out either. Why? There’s quite a lot to it really, most of the problems are the same ones facing other Canadian amateur sports.
Eleven teams are currently scheduled to take to the pitch for this year's EU Cup, with a diverse range of team backgrounds. Although this year's cup will include a quota of non-Australians in the squads, there is great variation between the local content of teams - some based heavily around Australians, some consisting entirely of locals. The selection processes relfect the difference stages of development the clubs display - some teams have active local leagues and a formal selection process, some have to work pretty hard to get fifteen guys together for the tournament.
WFN recently caught up with Pere Casan from Catalonia, Marc Jund from France and Israel Barker from Finland to see how their preparations are going.
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).