Natasha Puautjimi from Bathurst Island (off the northern coast of Australia) become the first girl to unanimously win a best & fairest in an Australian rules football league when she beat more than 170 boys in her under 13s division in the Yarra Valley Football League in Melbourne's northern suburbs to take the league's best trophy. The gutsy and highly talented footballer polled 27 out of a possible 30 votes, and over 12 votes more than her nearest competitor.
The Nationalist in Ireland this morning reported that Brendan Murphy has returned from a trial with the Sydney Swans and will return to Sydney in November. It seems that the Swans will win the race to sign Murphy after it earlier seemed that Brisbane were the front runners to obtain his services.
As we reported some weeks ago it was expected he would be checking out the Brisbane setup (Lions in first for Irish Talents), and we also speculated that other clubs may try to sign up players already targeted by the Lions.
With news of Murphy today and Kevin Dyas yesterday coming to Melbourne to trial with the Magpies, the sentiment out of Ireland is one of disappointment for the Gaelic game and the poaching by Australian clubs, but support and well wishes for the individuals to go well in their new professional pursuits.
This year's European autumn will see the biggest season of test matches across northern Europe for a few years, with a few big clashes which will give a few indications of where teams stand leading up to neat year's IC. Heading the card are matches between the big three of European footy - the Irish Warriors hosting the Great Britain Bulldogs in Dublin, then travelling to the Danish city Århus to take on the Denmark Vikings.
Add to this the EU Cup, this year's Sweden-Denmark match and matches between the Scottish Puffins, the England (ARUK) Dragonslayers and newcomers the Welsh Red Dragons and possibly the biggest story of the whole schedule - an 18-a-side match on October 13th between the BARFL's Bulldogs and the ARUK's Dragonslayers. The stage is set for an encounter where both sides have a lot of respect on the line.
UPDATE - Our sources in Scotland tell us that while they have been talking to the guys in Wales about a game, this is not yet confirmed. Reports from ARUK that the Dragonslayers are to play Scotland it seems are also premature. According to the SARFL's Eddie McAvinchey: "Both interesting games for us to have (in theory) but in practice we may not be able to organise any of them, as the SARFL season isn't finished for a few weeks and then it may be getting too late to arrange anything."
The NZ Australian Football competitions generally are played in Spring or early Summer to complement existing football codes rather than challenge them for players. Though junior development has occurred previously throughout the year it can be seen that the recent addition of NZAFL CEO Rob Vanstam has generated some momentum again after the disappointing hiatus while no CEO was in office. Read more of the growth in junior development and about preparations for the Barassi International Youth Trophy and International Cup 2008 tournaments.
Dromintee's Kevin Dyas was an integral part of his team drawing with All Ireland Club Champions Crossmaglen last week as Collingwood’s scout looked on at the Gaelic football fixture. A week later they lost to Crossmaglen and Dyas' season was over.
It now appears that Dyas is on his way to Australia for a month long trial with the Pies, just as Martin Clarke did in July 2006. It is also believed that Brisbane had been interested in Dyas and possibly also offered him a contract. Collingwood were able to keep Clarke under wraps when he came out just over a year ago, we think Dyas might get a little more attention – even if he is hidden away in the Lexus Centre.
It is unlikely that Dyas saw Martin Clarke cop the crude high hit from the Swans' Amon Buchanan on Saturday night but if he did it just might have him thinking twice about the conversion.
Regular readers of WFN will be well aware that South Africa is most certainly the hot spot for international Australian Football development, with good news and funding stories appearing regularly. On a footy chatboard recently someone asked the question that could be summed up as "why is South Africa so heavily favoured?" This article looks at what those reasons might be and whether lessons can be learned by other nations.
The stories and speculation as to where, when and by whom Australian rules has been played in Britain have been discussed at great length. A thriving league is said by many to have existed in the Clyde area of Scotland around World War I, although others claim the league is an urban legend. Similarly, there is much speculation as to whether footy could have gained - or maybe even did gain - a foothold around the turn of the 20th century with a touring British Lions rugby tour playing some matches under Australian rules while on tour.
Matches at Oxford and Cambridge Universities have been played for many decades, although neither institution has ever taken the sport past an annual novelty fixture or entered a side in the BARFL or ARUK.
But there was also a league - the Australian Rules Football League in England - which existed in the 1960s and 70s, supported by "Professional Australian in Britain" Rolf Harris among others. This league got a mention in the obituary of one Michael Cyril Hall, a Western Australian who died in May this year.
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.