Irishman Colm Begley has made the fastest AFL debut ever after lining up for the Brisbane Lions in their NAB Cup quarter-final in just his third game of Australian football. This comes hot on the heels of impressive form last week from Setanta O'hAilpin.
Over the last 15 years, a few clubs have existed in the area Londoners call 'up north' - the Liverpool Blues in the early 90s, then the St Helens (aka Northwestern) Miners and Doncaster Saints more recently. 2006 will be fourth time lucky for the region, with a crew training in Manchester. They may not be the only debutants in the BARFL this year - with an insider tip that there are groups close to startup in a few other British cities.
The Osaka Dingoes were founded a couple of years ago as the first Aussie Rules team in Japan's second largest city. To play matches, their squad spawned a second team, the Kansai Kangaroos (named after Osaka's province). This continued until late last year, when the Dingoes and Kangaroos went their separate ways - the Dingoes continuing as the Japan Osaka AFL with new squad the Kobe Blues, and the Kangaroos with their new league dubbed the AFL Kansai Japan, together with the expansion Kyoto Kockatwos.
The South African tour of talented young indigenous Australian footballers is underway, with the first match in Potchefstroom completed. The tour has three primary goals - as a developmental exercise for the Aboriginal youth players, encouragement for AFL South Africa, and as an investigation by the AFL to find out more about Aussie Rules' potential in SA.
worldfootynews.com is a not-for-profit group helping to promote the internationalisation of Australian Football. Our efforts are based around reporting stories about leagues around the world, sourcing initial information from websites, forums and a large list of contacts from inside and outside of leagues and clubs. We are currently looking for a new writer to assist in covering the Oceania region, in particular one of Australian Football's fast growing success stories, Papua New Guinea.
New French side the St Esteve Saints played their first match last weekend, travelling to Valls, Spain, to take on the Belfry Valls of the Catalan footy community south of the Spanish border. The Saints are based in the vicinity of Perpignan, in the Catalan-French region of Rousillon - and the debutante French side impressed on debut, handing their southern counterparts a 112-28 drubbing.
Note: we have been advised that the team competing against St Esteve were the club from the city of Valls (2005 Catalan premiers), rather than the Catalan overall selection. Article has been updated to reflect this, apologies to the Catalan camp!!
Players and officials in Australian Football leagues around the world are sometimes surprised to find that many Aussies don't realise their top national football code is played overseas. This has surely been changing in recent years with a reasonable amount of coverage given to the 2005 International Cup, the South African experiment, and quite a few media stories on the two Japanese players doing a pre-season with AFL club Essendon. Such an aim was indeed been part of worldfootynews.com's raison d'être. On a smaller scale than some of the national media reports was a recent article in the Loxton News, in South Australia's Riverland. One of their local players had a run in the Golden Gate AFL in San Fransisco and was enthusiastic about the experience.
The Strasbourg Black Devils have officially signed onto the AFL Germany for 2006, with the young French side to be the first from their nation to experience regular league play. Having recently changed their nickname from the 'Kangaroos' to avoid clashing with the Munich side, the Strasbourgeois will play most of their season at home, though their first match is a tough road trip to Berlin on the 1st of April. Also on the schedule are friendly matches against the North London Lions and Brussels Saints.
In further good news for the game in Papua New Guinea, the Brisbane Lions are exploring ways to further their role in the emerging footy country. Top Lions officials recently visited Australia's northern neighbour and were full of praise for the program. AFLPNG, the Australian Football League and Australian Volunteers International have also announced a new paid development position in the country, now open for applications, in the important role of National Operations Manager (a two year appointment).
Japan national team member Michito Sakaki has been named to line up for Essendon in their practise match against the Sydney Swans at North Sydney Oval this Friday. The Bombers have reportedly also recently signed two new major sponsors from the world of Japanese business and are considering a fan-base push into the Tokyo area, including Japanese language editions of their fanzine 'The Bomber' and an exhibtion match in 2007. Speaking to media outlet Sportal, Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy played down the chances of Sakaki being a regular fixture with the VFL Bendigo Bombers, although he was very positive of the progress this summer.
The Golden Gate AFL was one of the groundbreaking leagues in the US, amongst a handful to seriously commit to development of a local city league ahead of interstate travel. This lead is now being followed in other regions of the United States. Now the league has seen another leading spin-off with the development of possibly the first high school club in the US.