In November last year, a representative Under 15 Pancawati side from the West Java Australian Football League (WeJAFL) hosted a Jakarta based British International School Under 15 team. Excitingly, this was the first time that the BIS kids had played a game of Aussie Rules. Even so though, the BIS squad gave the WeJAFL team a run for their money in a nail biting clash. A full match report by Robert Baldwin of the WeJAFL can be seen here on the Jakarta Bintangs website.
In another article posted on the Jakarta Bintang website, From Little Things, Big Things Grow: Banda Aceh Bandits AFC, veteran Bintang, Matt Stephens, takes a humorous look at the tentative first steps of a couple of the Aussie Rules faithful as they attempt to establish a new Australian Football Club in the devastated Indonesian province of Banda Aceh.
Australian football first came to Pakistan through the drug-help organisation, Tanzeem-e-Insidad-e-Manashyiate (TIM) in April of last year (see Pakistan keen to spread the word). Whilst the sport is still very much in its infant stages in the country, WFN marks the league’s first birthday with a look back on AFL Pakistan’s story so far.
In a positive move for Australian football in the Pacific, the NZAFL website reports that a new Chief Executive Officer has been appointed to oversee the growth of the sport in New Zealand.
Robert Vanstam, a former Queensland State representative and a member of the coaching staff that led the NZ Falcons to their 2005 International Cup win, will take over the position vacated by Rob Malone. He has a background in business administration and operations management, and has identified player development pathways as a key priority for NZAFL to put in place. (Editor: The appointment followed a disturbing period in which the position was vacant leading to concerns about the game's direction in NZ).
Further positive news in New Zealand concerns a report that SKY Sports will continue to televise Australian football in 2007. Details are yet to be confirmed, but early indications are that as many as four games may be televised in full per week, in addition to the weekly highlights package currently on air.
As this month’s Dubai 9s approach, ARI and the Dubai Dingoes have released the schedule for matches and other events on the day. There has also been a slight alteration to the teams that will be attending, now including five squads from around the city of Dubai, one from Doha (Qatar) and a combined squad from Oman and Abu Dhabi.
Details for Scotland's VB Haggis Cup have been finalised with six teams fronting up for the Glasgow tournament. The 2007 event will feature sides from Scotland, England, the Republic of Ireland and a combined Brussels/Strasbourg team.
Melbourne daily newspaper the Herald Sun reported on Sunday, 25 March that Ms. Abbe Land, mayor of California's 'busiest precinct' and Democratic senate candidate for California, will be at the MCG on Saturday.
Apparently the Roos have been adopted by Hollywood business leaders since they played the G'Day LA match in 2005 and they, like Dean Laidley, want the team to return in January.
Rumour has it that if they don't return the Socceroos will play a game there instead against an MLS side, possibly including David Beckham - although our sources tell us that the NRL wanted to do the same this year and were rejected as the AFL said they were still interested in future matches.
Australia’s indigenous population is very important for football. The indigenous community makes up only 3 per cent of Australia’s population and yet a staggering 12 per cent of players in the AFL are regarded as indigenous Australians. Last week the AFL and the Federal Government took a step to strengthen this relationship, establishing a $2.4 million program centred on encouraging indigenous Australians to take up Australian Rules.
Discussion between touring Australian side "the Convicts", USFooty and the AFL Canada has come upon the possibility of the Convicts taking on the US Revolution on Sunday, October 14th this year as part of the 2007 USAFL National Club Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky. The match will follow one week after the Convicts take on the bulk of the Canadian Northwind in Toronto on Saturday October 6th, as a curtain-raiser to the Grand Final of the Ontario AFL, Canada's oldest league and one of the biggest and strongest outside Australia.
Like Michito Sakaki and Tsuyoshi Kase last year, two young Japanese Samurais from the JAFL's Tokyo league have spent two months joining the AFL’s Essendon Football Club in pre-season training. Hiroyuki Toyama, aged 20, and Hiroaki Seino, aged 21, both joined Bombers training following the Aboriginal All-Stars game at the start of February and will finish up at the end of this week when they have to fly back to Japan for Uni. Among their experiences with Essendon, Hiroyuki and Hiroaki took part in an intra-club practise match and lined up for the Bendigo Bombers Reserves.
The Adelaide Football Club has inadvertently demonstrated just how long the journey may be for any other country to be in a position to be competitive against a true All-Australian senior side. Back in 2005 top Victorian country club Maffra flattened New Zealand before the Kiwis went on to win the second International Cup. Again in 2006 the Falcons were on the end of some hidings at the hands of country representative sides at the Australian Country Championships. Those results demonstrated the gulf between quality country players and the best international footy had to offer, but the Adelaide Crows recently showed just how big the gap is between the top two tiers of Australian Football within Australia itself.
In an interesting piece of news, a source at the AFL tells us that two Chinese sportsmasters recently visited Melbourne for a week-long workshop centered around Aussie Rules coaching and administration. According to the AFL's Josh Vanderloo, "Essentially, our international plan with countries such as China, India, Argentina and I would think Pakistan, involves identifying key personnel who can be trained over a week in Melbourne and return to their home country and begin teaching AFL to others. We feel this is a cost effective way to introduce the game to new countries and by providing basic resources and working through the language barriers, this form of training should be a good starting point. So to answer your questions, we are keen to follow this method of 'training the trainer' to help the country find their feet at a very basic level".
Also on this topic, Vanderloo tells us the planned visit of two development officials from India has been delayed by visa problems (as also happened when the last visit by an Indian squad was organised through the second version of the IAFC a few years ago), but that they are intending to organise another time for the Indians to visit. (WFN tried to help ensure the visa issue was solved in time but obviously not successfully.)
A program such as this could be the best starting point for a program in countries such as those listed above, particularly as the impetus in India, Pakistan and Argentina is largely reliant on locals rather than ex-pat Australians.