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!"
The selection of Kieran Jack to debut for the Sydney Swans this weekend in the AFL is a true example of the value of footy development. Kieran is the son of rugby league legend Gary Jack who represented Balmain, NSW and Australia - showing that in a city dominated by rugby league, and where it had long been said that Aussie rules would not get local kids to play the game, the attractions of the game can overcome.
The Karlstad Dragons made their first appearance on the weekend, taking on the Gothenburg Beserkers in a friendly in Gothenburg. Although the Dragons went down 134-61, the Beserkers are reportedly a much stronger side than previous seasons, making the game a fairly promising start for Karlstad. The South Sweden Saints and Port Malmo Maulers have both kicked off their DAFL Premier League seasons, although they are both still seeking their first win. In the Swedish capital, the three-team city league coordinated by the Stockholm Dynamite has also begun its season.
The Finnish AFL may soon have its second club take the field, with the formation of the Tampere Kestrels. Around 170km from Helsinki, Tampere is Finland's third-largest city overall and the largest outside the Helsinki metropolitan area.
In the biggest employment recruitment operation of international Aussie Rules history, the AFL South Africa are currently seeking community development officers, four to be stationed in the North West Province and two each in the provinces of Kwa Zulu Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape. The positions are advertised as having a minimum monthly salary of 2000 Rand, with applications closing on May 9.
According to a recent edition of a Melbourne newspaper, following the 2007 AFL season, as many as four clubs will run community camps overseas, with South Africa the AFL’s recommended destination. Other countries that may figure in calculations are the US, England, Japan, China and Dubai.
Two overseas-born players from Pacific islands are resurrecting their AFL careers at new clubs. Samoan-born Aaron Edwards is blazing a trail with the Kangaroos at AFL level, while Fijian-born David Rodan is returning to form for Port Adelaide.
Zimbabwean-born Tinashe Nyatsanga took up upiring footy while at university in Geelong. After umpiring local Geelong and Bellarine Football League matches, he was one of the umpires able to officiate at the match between South Africa and the Clontarf Academy in Perth recently. An account of his trip is featured on the AFL website here, let's hope he's a sign of things to come in the increasing multiculturalism of Australian rules.
With a controversial summer behind it, the British footy season is about to begin in earnest with the new Aussie Rules UK seniors competition opening up with the Southern and Wales leagues on April 28th and the Northern league on May 5th, with the BARFL's first 2007 match also on April 28th (not confirmed) but the rest starting on May 5th. After a frenzy of meetings, emails and phone calls, the two separate leagues appear to have settled into their final configurations for 2007. We untangle the complicated web of which clubs ended up where and how the year is scheduled to unfold, and reveal that there is a glimmer of hope of the two sides working together in future.