With another year gone WFN looks back at some of the big events and
interesting stories for 2005. By no means an exhaustive list, we
nevertheless review where the international game went and ponder emerging
trends. Obviously the key story of the year was the build up towards and
then playing of the second International Cup. It was also a year when
funding to South Africa was significantly increased, several new
countries put their toe in the water of footy, and hopes for others faded.
International interest from AFL clubs was unprecedented and there were
many new signs of promise. As always there were a few setbacks but
overall the game appeared to march forward with increasing speed. With so much happening in 2005 a succinct summary has proved impossible, but if you're feeling fresh then read on for WFN's end of year wrap.
After existing for many years in the shadow of its neighbour and longer established rival, Denmark, Aussie Rules in Sweden, with leagues developing now in three regions, has staked its own claim on the footballing map.
In another boost for the game in Australia's northern neighbour, the AFL has agreed to increase funding to AFL-PNG by AU$15,000 per year. Garry Breust, AFL-PNG board member, released the information last week and has advised that the Board will meet "in the New Year to discuss this decision and the
practical implications". He went on to say that "We are pleased to see an extended commitment from the AFL and AFLQ and look forward to working with you (AFL-PNG supporters) to see the further growth of AFL football in PNG in 2006."
The original advice was from AFL Queensland CEO, Richard Griffiths - more information follows.
2005 saw the New Zealand Aussie Rules community assert itself as the pre-eminent footy nation outside Australia, the senior Falcons winning every match at the International Cup by an average margin of 55 points, footy played in more cities around New Zealand than ever before, two young NZAFL players attending the AIS-AFL draft camp and the national team being invited to join the Australian Country Football Championships.
World Footy News takes a look at NZ's domestic leagues and development programs and how they shaped up in 2005.
While the US Footy season pretty much finishes with the Nationals in early October, some footy continues on through the US winter. While in many parts of the US it is virtually impossible to play footy with fields covered in Ice and Snow, some southern regions find the winter months cool for footy.
As many may be aware, the Australian Football League has decided to speed up the great game, after analysis has shown stoppage time has increased in recent years. But it isn’t only the sport's major league that it affects. It affects the whole Australian Footballing world, with most leagues in Australia and around the world following the AFL's lead.
World Footy News was recently contacted to review a new publication called Australian Football - Steps to Success. The book is a joint effort between star Adelaide Crows player Andrew McLeod and long time club Training Services Manager Trevor Jaques. It details training methods and how to learn the skills of the game. This may be of particular interest to our many readers outside of Australia who are often new players to the sport and don't always have expert coaching readily available.
This is just a quick note to advise that the WFN staff are doing some end of year tidying up, which includes checking all our Links. A few old websites for defunct clubs are being deleted and some new addresses added where clubs have changed URL etc. Where there have been changes, the link appears in the What's New section to the right.
The first footy match on record between two 100% French teams was played in Strasbourg on 3 December 2005, with the hometown Kangaroos defeating the Razorbacks 91-17. Senlis are the latest new club in France, with a team also hoping to form in Perpignan in the country's south.
One of the more recent countries on the international footy stage is the Kingdom of Tonga, a Pacific nation whose nearest neighbours include Samoa and Fiji. Australian Mark Korsten was based there in 2004 and started the game going, and although he has moved on, Mark has continued to ensure a sound structure is built. His focus has been on junior development, with the assistance of an AusAID position (currently filled by Ed Cowan), and includes a scholarship at an Australian school. In a year when start-up plans in Fiji were shelved and the promising Solomons Island program appears to have gone a similar way, it's encouraging to know that Mark has a long term strategy to ensure the game in Tonga.