The successful 2007 CEAFL Championships tournament hosted in Vienna earlier this year pitted many of the newer Australian Football countries on the continent against each other in what was a great exhibition of footy, played by a vast majority of non-Australians, with most of those running out on the paddock being nationals of the country represented by the jumper they pulled on for the day. Now the championships has honoured some of the competition's best players. Report courtesy of Julian "Rooster" Clark.
The Australian Football League has officially announced the 2008 Australian Football International Cup on their website, in the story Melbourne to host 2008 International Cup. It confirms our previous reports on the likely dates being August/September 2008 and to be played in Melbourne and a country venue. Teams to have expressed an interest were listed as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Samoa, South Africa, Spain, USA, Nauru, Sweden, Denmark, Tonga, China, Czech Republic and Finland. Other nations are still welcome to nominate.
Over the last couple of years we've reported on one of British Columbia's (Canada) rising young stars from the North Delta Junior AFL - Scott Fleming. He's now getting some local press at home in Vancouver, with the Vancouver Sun detailing his hopes of one day making it with Sydney in the AFL. Once his studies are over, Fleming's family are planning on travelling Down Under so the 6 footy 3 inch, 17 year old full forward can have a genuine crack at the game. In the meantime, his focus has been on his local side, the Vancouver Cougars, and consolidating his spot in the Canadian Northwind squad to head to Australia in 2008. If Fleming can get part of a season under his belt with an amateur club in Australia, he could be a star player to look out for at the next International Cup. Starting in footy at age 12, he has a head start on many of the other players he's likely to encounter at the tournament - whether he can match it with the best Aussie players, only time will tell.
Dunedin, the capital of the Otago Province in the South Island of New Zealand has seen a lot. Maori settlement was followed by the arrival of the Scots, who saw the hills which reminded themselves so much of home that they named their new town the "Edinburgh of the South" through to the goldrush years during the 1800's that brought many prospecting Aussies to their goldfields. Australian rules is now being reborn here, hoping to capitalise on a large student population from all over NZ, including former juniors from leagues further north.
Following from their match against Melbourne-Vietnam the previous weekend, the All-Japan Samurai continued their 2007 Australian tour this weekend with a match against top Melbourne amateur side St Bernard's Old Collegians. The Samurai stayed close to the Bernards all day, thrilling the local crowd with their intensity before going down 14.8.92 to 11.10.76.
Saturday 25th August saw the Austria Kangaroos, Czech Lions and Croatian Knights descend on Prague for the second leg of 2007's Central Europe Tri-nations. The battle-hardened Croatian squad, featuring a few Croatian-Australians with experience kicking the footy down under, again proved too strong for the Czech and Austrian sides, although the Austrians were notably improved and broke through for their maiden tri-series win over the Czechs.
Aussie Rules competitions all around the world, including in Australia, often struggle to find enough umpires. Perhaps we haven't been looking in the right places. In another example of innovation in growing Australian Football, AFL South Africa (North West Province) is commencing a program of delivering training in the coaching, umpiring and playing of footy into four correctional centres - Klerksdorp, Christiana, Wolmaranstad and Potchefstroom. No one doubts that the country faces many large challenges as its economy and people continue to overcome the legacy of apatheid and the weight of HIV/AIDS. But it does so with a strong sense of energy and reconciliation, and clearly this extends to its correctional system which has a policy of rehabilitating inmates.
Melbourne-Vietnam tonight defeated Japan in what is becoming an annual match between the two sides. Around 50 people braved very cold conditions in Melbourne to see the home side run out 13-7-85 to 6-9-45 victors, at Elgar Park in Box Hill.
The Vietnamese squad, comprised mostly of Elgar Park Dragons players performed strongly, but were frequently tested by a Samurais outfit keen to avenge last year’s 103 point drubbing. Recognition should be given to the Japanese players, their coaching and support staff and Troy Beard on the side’s continually improving performances.
A full report on the Samurais tour will follow in the next few weeks.
The Leeside Lions were crowned Premiers of the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) on Saturday last following their victory over the reigning premiers, the South Dublin Swans. The final score in the Grand Final played in Durrow, County Laois saw the Lions 9.13.67 comfortably win over the Swans 2.7.19.
The Cork Side lined out with four Australians in their playing squad compared to fourteen in the match day squad of the Swans. The league’s rule that 50% of the players on-field at any time must be non-Australian meant that the Swans Irish players and one German were tested physically as they had to play much of the game without a rest while the Lions were able to rotate players freely - including local star Teu Ó hAilpín, the brother of AFL club Carlton's champion import Setanta.
The Cologne-based Rheinland Lions have broken through for their first-ever flag in the AFL Germany, with a triumphant 48-point win over German powerhouses the Munich Kangaroos at the 2007 AFLG Grand Final carnival - final scores Rheinland 13.7.85 to Munich 5.7.37. The win not only marked the first premiership for the Lions, it was the first for a team with a majority of German players on the pitch.
In the playoff for third prize, the Hamburg Dockers comfortably accounted for the Frankfurt Redbacks 8.12.60 to 2.6.18. The third match for the day saw German wooden-spooners the Berlin Crocs join with the Flying Dutchmen of Amsterdam for win in a friendly match against the Rheinland reserves team.
The Baltimore Washington Eagles (4) took their hard running game to New York and defeated the Magpies (3) 11.11 (77) to 4.8 (32). The win puts the Eagles in the box seat for the Eastern Australian Football League title and a high seed in the USFooty National Championship Tournament. The Eagles finish their regular season next week against the Philadelphia Hawks and New York host their arch rivals the Boston Demons (8).
The AFL Papua New Guinea, who oversee PNG’s junior programmes, and the AFLPNG Rules Council, who oversee the senior competitions, have announced their representative weekends for September. From these competitions the national squads will be formed to take part in the Queensland State Championships 2008 at junior level and for the International Cup 2008 at senior level.