In Finland's third appearance of their first season, with the addition of 3 "experienced" Stockholm recruits they managed an upset first victory against a 24-man mixed squad of the Stockholm Royals and Dynamite, who as always put up a great fight. The game was played in Helsinki, 26th August, 12pm at a full sized Myllypuro oval, to a good "sausages sold out" crowd who gathered for the Footy and then the Rugby which followed.
Whereas once the Asia region was seen by the international footy community as being a bunch of expats having a kick in the park, it is now gaining recognition as an area of real growth potential for the sport.
Editor: Thanks to regular reader Sean for this report on Asian footy in Australian media.
Soccer-playing Brad Moran emigrated from England to Australia's northern state of Queensland just 4 years ago at the age of 15 - now making his first appearance for the AFL's North Melbourne Kangaroos. His remarkable adaptation to the indigenous code is profiled in a recent WFN story and then last Friday on afl.com.au.
This Saturday the 26th of August, over 200 Aussie Rules Footballers lace up their boots and take to the Jakarta Bintangs' home ground in Ciburbur to compete in the 2006 ANZ Asian Australian Football Championships. Despite the withdrawal of teams from Shanghai and the Philippines, this year's tournament attended by the Hong Kong Dragons, Japan Goannas, Thailand Tigers, Malaysian Warriors, Singapore Wombats, Bali Geckos and, of course, the Jakarta Bintangs promises to be one of the closest fought yet. In anticipation, we take a quick look at the competing teams.
19 year old Irishman Colm Begley made his senior debut for the Brisbane Lions on the weekend, capping off a meteoric rise to AFL football. Recruited from amateur Gaelic Football club County Laois, Begley played his first game of Australian rules football this year, and lined up in the NAB Cup quarter-final in just his third game of Australian football.
As profiled in a previous story, 18 year old county Down star Martin Clarke had signed with Collingwood. It is now confirmed that he will join Collingwood at the end of this year's Gaelic football season. Clarke captained the under-18 'Minor' county Down team to victory in the 2005 All Ireland Minor Football Championship Final.
Footy in Holland has had a number of false starts in recent years, but a team wearing the national colours finally made an appearance at last year's Eu Cup. Although they haven't had a chance to take on outside opposition since then, a crew have recently been training in The Hague. A temporary website has been created at aussierulesnetherlands.blogspot.com with plans for a permanent webpage in the works.
Interested new players can contact Arnout Brokking via email - email@example.com
At last weekend's Adelaide versus Fremantle match, participants aged from 5 to 13 from the 'Sporting Chance' program formed a guard of honour for the Crow's players. All the children have immigrated to Australia over the past year from countries like Sierra Leone and The Sudan.
Steve Harris, CEO of the AFL's Melbourne Demons, has announced that the club's planned tour of China, set for later this year had been cancelled. Hopefully this proves only a minor setback for the sport's development in China, with the club remaining committed to developing football in the third largest and most populous country in the world and still planning to play an exhibition match against the Geelong Cats in Tianjin during 2007.
In other news, Footy's ambassador to China Tom Mattessi was interviewed on Australia's SBS Radio. Mattessi was quizzed about the locals' grasp of the game and gave an insight into the inroads football has made in China.
The team has been selected from throughout the country with an even spread of players from Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury with some outstanding athletes being recruited from other sports. The selection process began in earnest at the National Provincial Championships held earlier this year in Auckland and the NZAFL High Performance Committee is confident of a strong showing at the tournament.
On the weekend of September 16 and 17, for the first time ever, a junior footy team from England will make its way to Farum, Denmark. Saturday will see the English kids join the various junior teams from Denmark and Scania in a lightning-premiership, followed on Sunday morning by probably the first ever full-scale junior international ever between a representative Danish junior side will clash with their English counterparts.