The AFL has released details of changes to its Executive structure and a reallocation of duties as a result of a review following the move of key member Ben Buckley to the top position in Australian soccer. Although the changes may have little affect on the day-to-day outward appearance of the AFL, there was a small snippet of promising information in the re-shuffle.
Two players with an international flavour were added to AFL player lists at the Pre-season and Rookie List drafts conducted this week. PNG born Mal Michael ended his retirement of just a few weeks to be picked up by Essendon, while Irish youngster Martin Clarke (pictured) was added to Collingwood's international rookie list via the rookie draft.
As previously reported on WFN, a 'future leadership' group of Essendon footballers conducted coaching clinics in Tokyo and Osaka earlier this month as part of a Development Trip to Japan. JAFL President Hideki Miyasaka hailed the visit a success, with the Tokyo clinic being well supported by players from the Tokyo based clubs, and the Osaka clinic also incorporating a session for women's and junior footy. Hideki also reports that Essendon showed an interest in two young Japanese Footballers, but, at this stage, have still not decided whether they will invite them to pre-season training or not.
The following rundown of both clinics is provided courtesy of Hideki and the JAFL.
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The Gaelic Athletics Association yesterday voted to officially suspend the International Rules series at a meeting held at Croke Park yesterday. While there is still a possibility that the tours may resume in future, many are tipping that 2006 will be the last for some time, possibly forever.
As part of the decision, it was reported that the junior (under 17s) series will also be put on ice - possibly a blessing for international Aussie Rules if it means the planned tour to South Africa takes its place.
The Australian Convicts, a side of amateur players from around Australia, will tour South Africa again for two weeks next February and March playing three games, one against the South African national team. The players will also hold juniors clinics with local children. "Mr Football" Ron Barassi has also recently come on board as patron of the Convicts, featuring in Melbourne daily newspaper the Herald Sun.
As reported in The Age, Melbourne, on 8 December, the AFL has contingency plans for the under-17 Australian team, if the GAA pulls the plug on International Rules for both senior and under-17 competition between Ireland and Australia - contingency plans being a tour instead to South Africa.
This may happen as early as this weekend with the GAA Central Council meeting at Croke Park, however the Belfast Telegraph suggests the GAA will delay a final decision until after meeting with the AFL in Dubai in January.
More details are emerging of Aussie Rules UK's plans for a national league in 2007, with 5 divisions planned across Britain, featuring 21 teams of 9 per side, possibly including quite a few existing British Australian Rules Football League clubs.
Within Australia, knowledge amongst locals that Australian Rules football is being played overseas is far from commonplace. It does gain small mention however, at larger events such as the International Cup, Arafura Games, Barassi Youth Tournament and occasionally, when a national team tours Australia.
Japan is lucky to be one of the more recognised countries that play the game outside of Australia (albeit on an amateur basis). Aside from mainstream media, World Footy News has also run numerous stories on both the clubs in Japan and their representative squad, the Samurais. Yet what most people aren't aware is that there are actually two separate football entities in Japan, the Japan Australian Football League (JAFL) and the Nippon Australian Football League (NAFL). Almost all previous attention has been directed towards the JAFL and their representative side, the Samurais, with two brief mentions of the NAFL, in Four teams, but in two leagues - footy in Kansai, Japan and Japan AFL 2006 Preview.
In a previous story we reported on Brian Dixon's world tour to promote Aussie Rules, visiting China, Argentina, the Philippines and Cuba. While in Calcutta last month he held a number of clinics with local schools, putting down the foundations for four clubs in the metropolis and the potential for Indian representation at the 2008 International Cup.
A battle may be looming in Britain as the long standing league the BARFL (website down at time of writing - a bad omen?) appear set to be challenged by the relatively new organisation on the scene, Aussie Rules UK, in regions outside of London. In an interesting twist last month the founder of ARUK successfully ran for a position on the BARFL Committee before resigning the following day to pursue plans for a new league in 2007 with hints of a significant sponsor. Not surprisingly both sides have different opinions on how this has all unfolded and whether the existing Regional League will be affected. Is there to be a battle or something completely different...