The first ever match by the Canadian and United States women's Australian Football teams takes place on Saturday 4th August 2007 in Vancouver. Is this the first international match, country versus country, of women's Australian Football - let us know if you can think of any others? If it is, there would be some historic symmetry - the first ever men's international cricket match is reported to have been between Canada and the US, in 1844, despite neither being amongst the leading cricket nations today. The respective coaches of the Canada and US women's footy teams gave us a preview of their sides before the historic match.
It seems that as previously reported here Brendan Murphy will be coming out to check out the Brisbane Lion’s facilities (as Martin Clarke did at Collingwood 13 months ago) after a visit from Gabby Allen recently and confirmed by Brisbane’s Michael Bowers yesterday. Also yesterday it was confirmed in many Irish papers including the Mayo News (Hanley hits for Oz) that Pierce Hanley has been offered a two year contract to join the Brisbane Lions.
File footage of a Binatangs squad from a previous year
The twenty five young AFL players returned home to PNG last week after an exciting and successful inaugural tour to Queensland for the Queensland Under Fourteen State Championships. The PNG Binatangs won 2 and lost 2 matches, a great result for a side that hadn't played together as a team until their first match of the tour, and was touring to a foreign land for the first time.
National Operations Manager Peter Cates said "The boys that were part of the U14 Binatangs were selected at last years Junior National Championships and have been undergoing training under local AFLPNG supervision in their provinces, until they came together as a squad, just prior to flying to Australia".
The Bournemouth Demons have defeated Sussex in Aussie Rules UK's first Southern Division grand final. The nine-a-side competition featured six teams competing over 10 rounds, with Sussex knocking over Southampton in the preliminary final to advance through to the decider where the Demons were too good, winning by a convincing 53 points.
Yes, it's time for WFN to put out another request for assistance. With the steady ebb and flow of work and life commitments of our volunteer reporters we are currently in need of help covering two countries and one continent.
Our writers are all volunteers who have a passion for seeing Aussie Rules grow internationally. At the end of the day we're only a very small piece of the puzzle, but feedback from leagues, clubs and fans is that WFN helps that community achieve its goals, so getting involved this way is a chance to help with the cause even if you aren't based in any of the place we have vacancies for. In fact your location isn't particularly important - being based in the given country or region is helpful but not a realistic requirement for the job. More important are reasonable writing skills, a love of footy and the willingness to get involved.
Our main area in need is Asia, covering such growing areas as Japan, China and many more. Language skills relevant to those countries would be a huge plus but again, not a requirement, and we have plenty of English speaking contacts. We also require people to write on Canada and Ireland.
In all cases we will give you support, provide plenty of contacts, and no particular computer skills are required - we'll show you how to upload your stories through a relatively simply web page. So if you have an interest in supporting international footy and getting a behind-the-scenes view on the game's growth, then consider volunteering to write for WFN. Contact Brett here for more information, or visit our About Us page to see our current structure.
Big Sav Rocca is interviewed on Philadelphia Eagles TV as he finishes his first three days of training camp. Rocca has been in full-time training for the punting job at Philadelphia for the last 5 months and is hoping that his stronger leg is going to win him the position over veteran Dirk Johnson. Although Sav is now bidding for a spot in the United States' NFL, his background as an Aussie Rules star can only help raise the profile of the sport in America - as evidenced by Sav's interview which extensively discusses his career.
In an effort to continue to develop its ties with the Australian football
community, USFooty has
introduced an Australian Ambassador program with five initial ambassadors -
former Hawthorn champion, Robert "Dipper" DiPierdomenico, businessmen and former
Hawthorn President, Ian Dicker, former South Fremantle player and current
USFooty Nationals Commentator, Rod "Grilla" Grljusich, Brownlow Medalist and
former Brisbane Lions star, Michael Voss, and mangement consultant and current
AFL Commissioner, Colin Carter. According to USFooty, "the mission of the
USAFL Ambassador program is to promote the interests of the USAFL and the growth
of Australian Football in the US. The USFooty Ambassador program is
comprised of individuals who have a high profile who will help promote the USAFL
in Australia and America and have the capacity to assist the USAFL board in a
number of different arenas." The Ambassador Program rolls out hot on the heels of
Australian Advisory Board. USFooty's Paul O'Keeffe says the Ambassador
program is meant to compliment the Advisory Board by creating a network of
Australians in the football and business community who are interested in helping
to develop footy in the US.
For the last couple of seasons the Collingwood Football Club have held part of their pre-season training at an elite sports facility at high altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona (USA). But with their commitment to a match against Adelaide in Dubai in the Middle East as well as taking an active role in South Africa's Western Cape province, the Magpies have decided they can't reasonably fit too much overseas travel into one pre-season. So they will shift their high altitude camp to Potchefstroom, in South Africa's North-West province, and support development in Cape Town from there, before heading direct to Dubai.
The push into KwaZulu-Natal is also underway, with the launch of the program in Umlazi. More details of both these initiatives follows.
Footy in China has received plenty of attention in recent times, with Tom Mattessi and Andrew Sawitsch both working hard to kick-start local participation. Along the way they've had the assistance of a sister-city arrangement between Melbourne and Tianjin, as well as active Australian expat-based footy clubs in Shanghai and Beijing.
Currently footy is established in two main regions of China (three including Hong Kong). In the north, the Beijing Bombers are a mainly Australian footy club in the national capital, with some fairly new mainly Chinese university teams about two hours away in Tianjin. On the coast further south the Shanghai Tigers are also about two hours' away from the city of Suzhou, where a burgeoning juniors program is taking root in local schools.
The people working on the ground in China believe the potential to be massive, although there's talk the next step could require a funding injection from the Australian end to really create a solid, self-sustaining footy scene. Certainly many consider a Chinese team at the 2008 IC to be a strong possibility - and possibly a huge surprise packet on the field. Could China become the "new South Africa" with regards to development funding?
The countdown to the 2007 Narita Cup has officially begun with the Japan AFL this week beginning its promotion of the event. To be held in early October, it will coincide with the 20th anniversary of football in the country. Japan’s first taste of Australian football was a curtain-raiser to a Hawthorn and Essendon AFL match at Yokohama Stadium in 1987, and involved the renowned Waseda and Keio Universities. Since that initial game, the Japan AFL has been diligent in expanding football's profile throughout the country, with both a senior and university competition underway and representation (through the All-Japan Samurais) at the 2002 and 2005 International Cups. The Samurais have been one of the more active national sides, making an annual trip to Australia which will continue this year.
San Diego Lions (1) is hosting Golden Gate Roos (4) in a game that San Diego is strong favorites but would have interesting implications for the Top 10 if the Roos were able to win. This is only the second game for the Roos after they hosted and beat the OC Bombers (6) a few weeks ago. San Diego is coming off a convincing win at the Western Regional Tournament with victories over the OC Bombers and the Denver Bulldogs (2).
Denver is heading to Minnesota this weekend for a tourney against the Milwaukee Bombers (8) and the Minnesota Freeze. It should be a very interesting weekend as this will be one of the few opportunities for us to see a Western club vs an Eastern club prior to Nationals.
Very early on Monday we suggested Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy was unlikely to be reappointed beyond this season, and that Carlton coach Denis Pagan was a probable casualty at the Blues. Little did we know that within three days both men would have had the termination of their services confirmed. As discussed in Coaching casualties - writing on the wall for international footy friend, both have supported the internationalisation of footy, Pagan through the Irish experiment and Sheedy on a variety of fronts. We certainly hope this change for Sheedy won't see that commitment reduce, but rather increase. As we've alluded to before, an involvement in promoting the game via a position on the AFL staff is a possibility, and AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has offered a tantalising suggestion of that.