The 2007 Australian Football League Grand Final played out just as Geelong would have hoped and Port Adelaide supporters would have had nightmares about. The Cats had been the dominant team all year and there was always a risk throughout the finals series that the other clubs were simply playing off for the right to be belted in the big one.
In hindsight Port fans may well wish they hadn't made it through to the Grand Final. Although their second placing at the end of the minor round meant they had earned a crack at the Cats, there were always question marks over their younger players' ability to handle big game pressure, as evidenced by some of their losses during the year to Adelaide (both times) and Sydney (one from one), teams know for their crushing defensive pressure. Ironically the top placed Geelong ended up with a tougher finals draw, facing the tenacious Collingwood before nearly 100,000 fans the week before, and having squeezed through that they would've been better prepared for a tight final. As opposed to recent thrillers, the AFL's showcase event got two high scoring teams but did they get the two that would put on the best display?
There's been plenty of talk to suggest Australia will take on other countries in a full-scale footy test match in the women's game long before the men catch up overseas - and a group of US students at Fremantle's Notre Dame University have set the standard for international women's footy sides by taking out a three-team tournament last weekend.
In addition to the previous post from a few days ago, here's a list of 2007 parties on in continental Europe for anyone who happens to be in need of somewhere to watch the grand final in the early hours of Saturday morning...
Also, for anyone needing to find footy on TV outside of Australia, prominent international Australian Football journeyman Julian "Rooster" Clarke has just unveiled his latest project, AFLonTV.com, a guide to when and where you can catch footy on the box.
Like so many things, Australian Football doesn't really have one moment in time that clearly defines its origins. But we all like to celebrate anniversaries and mark historic events, so the game between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar in 1858 is often recognised as the first time our sport was played, and you'll certainly hear more about that next year as the AFL celebrates 150 years since that event. Increasingly the popular understanding is that the game was invented by Tom Wills, with heavy influence from a local Aboriginal sport and from Rugby. The indigenous connection is considered somewhat dubious by many historians, but the discovery of possibly the earliest image of a sport resembling Australian Football is sure to spark debate again.
Updated 27th September 2007: The image has now been added to the story (see main article). Museum Victoria's Karen Meehan explains that the image is a print published in 1862 from original sketches and observations made in 1857.
While it seems that some players are already in the bad news books in the AFL offseason (see Greek Islands and Oktoberfest) with the Grand Final yet to be played, others just can’t seem to get enough football action. It appears that both Setanta and Aisake O hAilpin could be playing on that last weekend in September, and Martin Clarke’s season may not have finished with Collingwood’s loss last weekend.
Some of Australian Football's growth areas are in areas that do not enjoy the same socio-economic circumstances as most people living in western nations. This makes seemingly minor issues like obtaining suitable footwear out of the question for many budding young players in countries such as South Africa, Tonga and Samoa. So it's pleasing to see people in both Australia and the United States getting behind the cause of delivering no longer needed boots to less fortunate players in other countries.
As we come towards the end of the 2007 footy season for the majority of leagues around the world, for the first time WFN has decided to publish a list of the premiers in all the major Australian Football leagues around the world - starting from the 2006 season. In fact this is the third year in a row we've intended bringing you a full season wrap of premiers, but the time and effort was yet to match the good intentions. Hopefully this will stand as a good record for recalling the top teams at a glance. Later in the year we intend bringing you the 2007 wrap-up.
Cats fans were not the only ones barracking for Geelong's Jimmy Bartel as he surged towards the Brownlow Medal on Monday night. Football players across Scandinavia had good cause to support the shy midfielder as Bartel has been a friend of the Danish AFL and returns there soon to help develop up to three national sides and with a possible royal appointment.
Chicago finished the 2007 regular season an impressive 5 and 1 record, with their only
loss to the Seattle Grizzlies in Seattle. In MAAFL play Chicago had a 4
and 0 record, ahead of Milwaukee, St Louis and
who all finished 2 and 2. Cincinnati
took home the wooden spoon with an 0 and 4 record in the MAAFL Championship
A decade after the Australian Football League's seemingly one-off experiment in Africa, with the 1998 Brisbane versus Fremantle match in Cape Town, AFL footy is set to return to South Africa with Carlton taking on Fremantle in Pretoria in a February pre-season, pre-NAB Cup match.
As previously reported (Carlton v Fremantle in South Africa) and although not confirmed, The West Australian reports that the match is tentatively booked into SuperSport Park (Google image) on February 2nd 2008. The heart of Australian Football is in North West Province and the likely venue would have been Potchefstroom's Sedgars Park, which hosted the Australian Under 17's against a South African selection earlier this year (see Aussie talent all class on African footy's big day). Unfortunately cricket commitments are reported to have ruled that out. Nearby Pretoria lies in the province of Gauteng, and North West's loss will be their gain. Rather than reward the region where footy has its roots, perhaps this will introduce the game to a relatively untouched audience. Let's hope that it goes ahead and it would be tremendous to see AFL South Africa and the AFL arrange to bus in some of the players and volunteer officials from North West to see what for many would be their first live game of AFL.
Also headed across the Indian Ocean, in December this year, will be West Coast. In the PerthNow story West Coast trip to South Africa a good life lesson it's reported that the Eagles will spend ten days in KwaZulu-Natal, their development province under a four team agreement with the AFL. The players will also be conducting coaching clinics in what is AFL South Africa's newest football region. The other AFL clubs involved are Fremantle, who work with North West, Carlton with Gauteng and Collingwood with Western Cape.
The following article is from Jeff Wortman, well known to many of our readers as one half of the comedy duo that deliver the weekly Footy Wrap posted on YouTube. Here Jeff recounts his memories of watching "the grannie" far from home and sympathises with the many people around the world in search of their footy fix on the big day.
On the last Saturday in September two years ago, I was negotiating the Tokyo subway with two mates, looking for the Clubhouse. I’m not usually an advocate of wearing your footy jumper to a game your team isn’t playing in but I felt desperate to find a way to be parochial in a city full of people who were blissfully unaware of the significance of the AFL Grand Final.