The Arafura Games were once a huge part of footy's international takeoff, with the competition the first tournament to feature international representative matches between national teams such as PNG, New Zealand, Nauru and Japan, as well as some of the expat sides from Asia and Aboriginal squads from the Australian outback.
Although the International Cup largely filled the market for a major international tournament, the Arafura Games still has Aussie Rules, albeit as a demonstration sport, and a developmental team from the Japan AFL is currently in town for the event. The Japanese have played three matches so far, defeating the NT Buffalos twice and the NT Crocs once, with another game against the Crocs to come tonight.
The AFL's Melbourne Demons have increased their push into the Chinese market, now announcing a focus on Chinese students studying in Australia and a new club website, melbournefc.com.au/china, published in Mandarin. Melbourne's The Age newspaper reported today that Demons officials have spent the past 10 days in China furthering plans for Australian Rules to be played at over 20 schools and universities in Tianjin.
Daily News ran their front page article on Saverio Rocca's attempt to become
Eagles punter in 2007. The front page pictured Sav holding an NFL ball
and a USFooty ball. Rocca is trying to displace current punter Dirk
Johnson. The Eagles are also looking for Rocca to take over holding
duties, much as Ben Graham does for the
New York Jets.
Rocca is currently listed as 50-50 to get the spot but has done well with his
hang-time clocked at 5.4 seconds which is well above the required 4.5
seconds. Rocca follows in the footsteps of Darren Bennett and Ben
Graham. Mat McBriar the All-Star punter for the Dallas Cowboys is also
Australian although McBriar never played in the AFL.
22 year old New Zealand rugby convert Adam Campbell is being hyped in the Australian media after a heroic effort against Hawthorn in the AFL.
Campbell was playing rugby union until he switched to Aussie Rules at the age of 16, after moving from Hamilton on New Zealand's north island to Aussie Rules heartland in Ballarat in country Victoria. At 192cm the tough key position player has been improving at a rapid rate, with a string of strong performances since his recent debut for Fremantle.
The Tonga Australian Football Association has applied to AusAID for their next Development Officer. We understand the position is not yet approved, hence TAFA are initially looking for expressions of interest. Some of the current achievements were outlined in our story Tongan footy bounces back from run of bad luck. Their requirements follow:
TAFA is presently applying for an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) through AUSAID and is seeking expressions of interest from talented Australian citizens aged 18-30 who may wish to become our next Development Officer. This may not apply directly to you, but please feel free to pass the following link to a relative or friend who might be interested and up to it.
This will be a unique opportunity for someone to practice every element of sports development right through from primary school introduction to coaching and managing the Tongan national team as part of the International Cup in Melbourne in Aug 08. TAFA development programs also have very strong links to community development, so it will also be a unique opportunity to make a real difference to other people’s lives.
Edinburgh has won the 2007 Haggis Cup, restoring Scottish pride after Ireland's Dublin Demons had a successful raid across the Irish Sea in 2006. Edinburgh also repelled a second Irish raider, the Dublin Swans, who merged with the Brussels team due to travel problems. Hosts Glasgow were also in the mix, and North London, fielding many non-Australians, were brave grand finalists. In surprisingly warm weather the combined Edinburgh team knocked over all-comers, going through undefeated. The following report is courtesy of the Scottish Australian Rules Football League's Eddie McAvinchey. No word yet on whether the vanquished were forced to eat haggis as punishment.
The Papua New Guinea national under 16s side completed their recent campaign at the Queensland state chapionships with a lot of positives and experience to take home. After being defeated 103-12 by the Northern Raiders (rep side of Brisbane's northern suburbs) and 114-19 by the Suncoast Power (from the Sunshine Coast area just north of Brisbane) in their first two matches, PNG managed a good win against the AFLQ Colts.
Although no players from PNG made the cut for the Queensland state squad selected from the tournament, AFLQ Talent Manager Mark Browning announced that four players from PNG will be brought to Brisbane for a four-six week block of training with the State squad.
Recently we reported on the first game played by the Karlstad Dragons against Gothenburg. Further north and east, two more clubs are starting up in Sweden - one based around Australian students in Uppsala and a mainly Swedish team dubbed the Diggers in the city of Falun. Both sides recently played practise matches against opposition from Stockholm, Uppsala going down 55-22 to SAFF metro club Bromma on April 21st and Falun losing 190-67 to the Stockholm Dynamite last weekend.
The Lliga de Futbol Australia de Catalunya kicked off its 2007 season on April 22nd with a match between the Barcelona Stars and Belfry Valls, Valls running out fairly comfortable winners. This was then followed on May 5th by a much closer encounter, with Valls hanging on for an 8-point win. The league has dropped to two teams for this year's season as Lleida and Tarragona have gone into recess until 2008, but on a positive note is looking forward to some international competition this year, including taking part in the EU Cup in Hamburg in September. The LFAC also recently relaunched its new website at lfac.cat.
On a promotional tour to Australia for the new Fantastic Four movie, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, some of the Hollywood actors in the cast (Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis and Jessica Alba), were treated to an introduction to Australian culture. As part of this, they attended an AFL Aussie Rules game between classic rivals Hawthorn and Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This was their first experience of the sport, and subsequent interviews with the stars revealed nothing but praise for the Australian game.
Washington Eagles (8) and the
Carolina Tigers (9) kick off their seasons on Saturday (5/5) in Raleigh,
NC - our first
clash of the season. The game is officially a "pre-season" game as
it doesn't count for Eastern Australian Football League (EAFL) points, although
it is not clear that the teams are taking it that way. According to first
year Tiger's Coach, Jason Heathcote "At the end of the day, if we are going to
bleed on the field, it might as well be for something!"