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!"
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.