Like the Lund Bulldogs who briefly appeared in the mid-90s, the Lund Magpies have struggled with both playing numbers and off-field issues in their history, difficulties with finding a field meaning they never even got to play a home match inside the city of Lund. The Magpies recently announced they would fold for this season, but nearby Landskrona will see a strengthened Bulldozers side playing as a self-sufficient entity in the Scania league this year. Further north, the Karlstad Dragons are Sweden's newest team, and the first in the region of Värmland. One of the Dragons' founders, Jörg Pareigis, talks to WFN about the club's development so far.
Over the past few months, WFN has run two stories on the promising possibilities for Aussie Rules in Dubai. The first article, Dubai tries to get footy moving in the Middle East was about the city's newly formed football club, the Dingoes. The second, AFL match on the go for Dubai, spoke about an upcoming football match in Dubai, between AFL clubs Collingwood and Adelaide (scheduled for early 2008). Football in Dubai even made their local news, with Gulf News publishing an article on the Dingoes' story, although disappointingly, it was placed under the heading of rugby. Now the Dubai 9s tournament is on its way, with teams from Dubai, Oman and Qatar among those hoping to attend.
Game three of the 2007 Convicts tour of South Africa saw the touring Aussies lose their first ever match under the Convicts concept, going down by seven points in one of the country's spiritual hearts - Soweto. Although the Australians were hampered by injuries, it sounds clear that the Africans have improved significantly and one must now wonder whether they will threaten the top group at the 2008 International Cup.
Aussie Rules fans around the world can now get a weekly dose of AFL gossip and news presented in a humourous style on Youtube. Footy Wrap is the brainchild of director and comedian Jeff Wortman, who teams up with Paul Hogan (not the one of Crocodile Dundee fame). The duo write and film their show from converted warehouse space in Fitzroy each week. Several episodes have already appeared on Youtube and WFN thought the light entertainment might be of interest to our audience and the the Footy Wrap guys were happy to hear they might be getting an expanded international following.
Croatia's Zagreb Hawks will play host to the West London Wildcats on March 31st this year, with the Wildcats venturing to eastern Europe for the first time after recent years saw them take on sides in Denmark, Sweden and Barcelona as pre-season warm-ups. The match will be held in the city of Split, where organisers hope a new team can be created in the near future.
The Convicts squad has completed its three matches in South Africa, knocking off the strongest province, North West, in two matches. Early reports suggest their task then proved too difficult in Soweto, going down narrowly to the South African national side. This would be the first loss by a Convicts team - at first glance no cause for excitement amongst the Australian players but surely a good sign for the international growth of Australian Football. Tour leader Anthony Nanfra has sent WFN details of the first two matches (the final match report to follow later), as well as preliminary plans to travel to the US and Canada later in the year.
In more exciting news for "Rules" in Papua New Guinea, four PNG players have been included in a 27 man country Queensland talent squad - Ali Pinda, Stanis Susave, John Vincent and John James. A record ten PNG players were invited to the U18 country Kookaburras selection trials in Rockhampton, with those missing out on the final selection including Bergman Talingapua, Lewis Reu, Willie Aisi, Phenam Sioni, Moses Tibong and Raphael Gotuno.
It appears that the Louisville Kings website has jumped the gun (as have I) in announcing they are hosting the 2007 US Nationals. The club has contacted us to say that there is no definite decision on the location and that US Footy will make the announcement when the final decision is made. They have said they are removing the announcement from their site as it was added by a team member getting “ahead of himself”.
Rich Mann the National Championship Director also posted on the US Footy Forum today saying that nothing is yet confirmed but they were “VERY close to signing final contract with venue, fields etc” and “we should be officially announcing by end of week, but again, be aware I'm waiting on contract from city, so out of our hands to a certain extent.”
The Louisville Kings Footy Club website appears to be breaking the news (although rumours have strongly suggested it would be the case) that the 2007 Nationals will be held in Louisville, Kentucky (note that their website has since gone down). This will be the 11th staging of the event, in the 10th year of the USAFL. It will no doubt be promoted as a celebration of that milestone with a return to the original location of the first game of footy played in the US between Louisville and Cincinnati back in 1996.
Aussie Rules or International Rules? That has been the question some Australian Football fans have been asking since the re-birth of the hybrid game several years ago. Arguments are made for and against the concept, with some seeing International Rules as a vehicle for promoting Aussie Rules amongst younger Australians who want to see international competition and also as a tool for growing awareness in the footy community of international possibilities for our game. Others condemn it as barely a hybrid and more a slightly modified version of Gaelic football and question whether the AFL will not back Australian Football and forsee a future of International Rules only. Of course most people hold a view somewhere in between these extremes, or haven't given it much thought at all. Recently David Matthews, the AFL's General Manager of National and International Game Development, gave his views on what role International Rules may have long term and whether that clashes with dreams of Australian Football going global.
After all the media hype over the past year, Bachar Houli last night got the chance to let his football talents do the talking. The young Bomber was named to play in the evening’s NAB cup match against Carlton, held at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome. This level of match is arguably inferior only to a Premiership match (at least standard-wise), and depending on how the coaching staff rated his performance, it may help determine if and when he sees his first match for points.
While it may not be strange to find kids kicking a football in Ghana (a soccer powerhouse where the round ball game takes on an almost religious fanaticism) it would seem strange to see the Australian football being kicked around. At least in Dawhenya, a rural town just east of the Ghanian capital Accra, the local children are keen to try it.