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.
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.