As described by the Irish national broadcaster, RTE, this year's under-17 series has been a "super advertisement for International Rules football" with the Irish and Australian lads fighting out two draws in 4 days. Ireland's ability to find the net has kept them in it despite Australia's greater number of "overs". But in other less positive news Brisbane's Irish recruit has begun to feel the pull of home, and the seniors International Rules series looks like being scaled back.
The new Irish Aussie Rules season starts soon and amongst the six teams competing for glory will be the South Dublin Swans. Alas this isn't quite a boost in the number of clubs in Ireland, as South Dublin is really a fresh start for the Dublin Eagles, a solid team but which carried some baggage from seasons past. Thanks to some help from the Sydney Swans the new club is kitted out and ready to go for round 1.
Australian Football League boss Andrew Demetriou is scheduled to fly to Dubai in May in an attempt to secure a pre-season match in the United Arab Emirates for early 2007. Collingwood versus Adelaide was mooted for earlier this year (see AFL eyes several international games in 2005/06) but it fell through. With a large itinerant population it's unlikely Aussie Rules will develop at grass-roots level any time soon in the region, with the current plans more likely to revolve around sponsorship dollars, with major internationals such as the Magpies' sponsor Emirates Airlines based there.
British power club the West London Wildcats last weekend visited Barcelona for a match against Catalan 2005 champions Belfry Valls. The match was held at La Taixoneras Rubgy Field, with the Wildcats running out 76-point winners, 16.9.105 to Valls 3.11.29. A good time was had by all, as is the tradition on the increaingly regular BARFL preseason tour matches and the Catalan players came out of the match feeling they'd learnt a great deal through playing against the experienced Australians of the Wildcats squad.
The Farum Cats are well known for their junior development of Aussie Rules. A significant part of that junior development are their tours to Australia which take place every three years. Their 2006 tour has just begun ...
The Japan AFL season promises to take the sport in Japan to new levels in 2006 following the spectacular results achieved by Michito Sakaki and Tsuyoshi Kase, who trained with Essendon throughout the pre-season. It is hoped that the publicity generated in the Australian and Japanese press will see more Japanese players take up the sport through upcoming recruiting days across Japanese universities.
In recent years the AFL has begun to focus its international attention on South Africa, moving from a fairly passive international footy role, supporting a few countries, to actively pursuing growth. A complete review of the AFL's approach to international development is underway, following a restructure of the influential Game Development section headed by David Matthews. We previously reported that the West Australian Football Commission was keen to take on a lead international role in their region (see Western Australia to target development for Indian Ocean region?)
and this has taken a step forward with a submission to the WAFC and discussions between the Fremantle Dockers and the AFL in the last few days. Also read on for Andrew Demetriou's thoughts on an AFL match for premiership points being staged internationally.
The Strasbourg Black Devils played their first two matches in their new colours, hosting the North London Lions then making the long road trip to Berlin to meet the Crocs in their first-ever AFLG appearance. While the Black Devils went down in both matches, they were far from disgraced - the all-Australian Lions team beating them 124-55 and the Crocs actually trailing at quarter time before their experience allowed them to pull away.
As we reported in Footy in the Cayman Islands, Australian Football is now periodically played on the island, and in 2006 the compromise rules game combing Gaelic and Australian Football was successfully introduced. The following is a match report of the St Patrick’s Day International Rules clash between the Australians and the Irish at the rugby club at South Sound, supplied by Matthew Borthwick.
The Glasgow Sharks are the proud inhabitants of a brand new permanent footy ground in the city, one of the few in Europe. To celebrate, the ground's inaugral gameday saw the second annual Scottish Cup on March 25th, a three way tournament between the Sharks, fellow Scots the Edinburgh Bloods and the Dublin Demons - the Irish visitors proving the strongest outfit on the day.
WFN updates a couple of recent US stories on the 2006 USAFL Nationals and the 2006 US television coverage of the AFL season - including confirmation of Las Vegas as location for this year's national club championships and two broadcasters (Setanta broadcasting live, MHz carrying match of the week) bringing footy to US television.