The Japan Samurai have completed their four-match 2006 tour to Australia, with their final match played on Sunday August 13 against Melbourne Vietnam at Windy Hill, spiritual home of the AFL's Essendon Bombers.
As has been the norm on recent tours, the Japanese brought a developmental side on tour, featuring players they hope could step up to IC standard in time for 2008. The Samurai lost to Howlong in their first match, were defeated by Box Hill North Superrules in their second, hung on to defeat Box Hill North in a nail-biter, then were soundly beaten by Melbourne Vietnam.
Pictures from the Japan-Vietnam match follow, full match reports and scores will appear in the next few days.
The British Columbia (in western Canada) junior development program continues to expand to rival any other international footy program outside of the so-called big three of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and South Africa. This season has seen more growth in numbers (both with the league and thousands of Auskick kids), regular television coverage, the possibility of a purpose built oval (very rare outside of Australia) and a plan to integrate the juniors with senior clubs, creating North America's first full club structure. Maybe oneday the'll be able to join a series between juniors from the UK and Denmark, or closer to home take on kids from the US. The following is a season wrap and report on future plans by the President of AFL Canada who is also in charge of the successful North Delta Junior AFL.
The 2006 Ontario Australian Football League season moves into the home stretch this weekend with Round 10 following the break for the civic holiday long weekend. Only 4 rounds are left to play before the playoffs, so every game is important to the seven teams still mathematically in the race for the top five positions.
Thanks to AFL Canada's Bill Frampton for contrbuting this detailed summary of the Ontario AFL heading into Round 10.
AFL PNG is the leading organisation for Australian Football junior development outside of Australia, in terms of both pathways and sheer numbers. It is encouraging to see that girls footy hasn't been forgotten amongst the push to AFL success.
At the 2005 International Cup the South African vice-captain, Benji Motuba, was an inspiration as he returned to the field from a recently broken collarbone. The injury was sustained whilst playing in the South Australian Riverland on a scholarship. After the Cup he returned to Africa where he met his baby son for the first time.
It is believed that Irish wonderkid Martin Clarke has signed with the Collingwood Football Club. Clarke has been in Australia for the last four weeks to assess the possible move and the club, and for the Magpies to assess the young Gaelic star.
The Japanese national Aussie Rules side, the Samurais, are touring Australia from the 4th to the 14th of August. The team will compete against amateur Australia sides Howlong, Box Hill North, Box Hill Super Rules and their final match against Melbourne Vietnam.
Saverio Rocca is likely to follow in the footsteps of Bennett and Graham and head to the NFL to try his luck as a punter. Rocca has been seen over the past few months at a Preston location practicing his punting. The potential move has been confirmed in the past week, with Rocca having his punting filmed at the Telstra dome to send to US scouts. Rocca may have already been trialling with an NFL club by now except that he has been trying to notch up 100 games in the AFL with the North Melbourne Kangaroos to ensure that his sons are eligible to play for the Kangaroos under the father son rule in the future.
The biggest footy clash of the season in Western Canada took place this weekend at Thunderbird Stadium, home of the University of British Columbia's Canadian Football team, as the Vancouver Cougars hosted the Burnaby Eagles, Seattle Grizzlies and Calgary Kangaroos for the West Coast Challenge. The Challenge was a revamped version of the BC Footy Cup, with the cup still on the line. This came on the heels of a successful tournament in Kelowna, British Columbia that put Vancouver/Burnaby and the two Calgarys (Canadians and Australians) against each other. This would be the first time however, that the clubs would meet as a whole.
Twenty two boys and girls aged 6 to 12 participated in two USFooty Kids clinics held in Arlington, VA on July 8 2006 and July 22 2006. Chris Adams and Denis Ryan (USFooty Kids National Coordinator) conducted the clinics with the help of players and coaches of the Baltimore Washington Eagles. Judging by the big smiles on the faces of the players, coaches and parents everyone had a great time!
Queensland Country showed New Zealand no mercy as they vented their disappointment at missing the Division 2 final of the Australian Country Championships. Played over a full time match length in good conditions, the reigning International Cup champions were sadly no match for their strong opponents.