The Hamilton Wildcats, one the clubs in Canada's biggest footy league, the Ontario AFL, recently had a good write up about them in their local press, The Hamilton Spectator. Wildcats President Charles Thompson is hopeful the coverage will help them recruit a few new players and maybe even supporters. The reporter does a good job of describing the level of awareness of the sport in North America, with its rise in profile through marketng and the notorious Jacko adverts of the 1980s.
The GAA news website Hoganstand reports Ireland has selected its manager (coach) for this years International Rules Series. The job has gone to Sean Boylan, who in a reign to rival that of the Essendon and Australia coach Kevin Sheedy, guided power Gaelic football county, Meath, from 1982 to 2005. Indeed in the era of modern football codes it would be difficult to find two coaches worldwide who could compare with single club reigns like Boylan's 23 years with Meath and Sheedy with his 25 years at Essendon. Yet to be built floodlighting should also add a new dimension to the series for the Irish, and the two countries have confirmed that the series will continue on an annual basis for the next two years (2006 and 2007).
Sadly the Australian Rules Football League Ireland has announced that two of its six clubs have withdrawn from the main season. Not surprisingly it was regional clubs Clare and Mullingar (Midlands). We previously reported that a question mark hung over them (see South Dublin Swans are born), and unfortunately lack of numbers willing to travel and organise has ended their seasons.
On Saturday 22nd April of this year, five Czech Lions played a match in the AFL Germany, helping the Rheinland Lions to their first victory for the 2006 Season. Pavel Mikula, Chad Dixon, Kevan Lyons, Patrick Truss and Ashley Ball made the journey to Cologne to play against last years' AFLG Grand Finalists the Frankfurt Redbacks, the Rheinlanders coming away with a 69-24 victory.
The Adelaide Crows have embarked on a program to encourage recent migrants to South Australia to become invovled in the great Australian game. Supporting other local football teams in the initiative, the AFL club recently invited thirty African children to a training session and tour of the facilities at AAMI Stadium (formerly Football Park).
Live Australian football will be telecast across New Zealand from this week after the New Zealand AFL and its corporate partners successfully lobbied for the sport's inclusion in cable television programming.
The 2006 Scottish ARFL draw has been released, with two new clubs in the Middlesbrough Hawks and Glasgow Redbacks. Middlesbrough is located in far northern England, near Durham and Newscatle - the first footy side in the north east. The arrival of the Redbacks means that this weekend can see a derby played in both Glasgow (between the Redbacks and Sharks) and Edinburgh (Bloods vs Body Snatchers), reminiscent of the classic cross-town clashes in Scottish soccer.
The Papua New Guinea under 16s have again won the U16s Queensland Country Championships, defeating Cairns comfortably in the grand final. PNG are the one country consistently taking on and defeating Aussie sides, thanks both to the great grassroots development of the game in the nation, and to the strong support from AFL Queensland. Four of the boys have been selected to represent the Country Kookaburras in the Queensland U16 Championships, though from the scorelines it would seem plenty of other lads deserved a spot.
Aussie Rules may not have conquered the troubled African nation of Zimbabwe just yet, but it has won a convert in recent arrival to Australia Tinashe Nyatsanga. He quickly fell in love with the sport and is now one of the game's most sought after commodities - an umpire.
In an historic first for an Osaka player, the 2006 Robert Walters scholarship winner is Genki Tanaka (25). The selection of Genki of the Osaka Dingoes is an endorsement of the fantastic strides Australian Football has made in this densely populated, dynamic Japanese city. Like a number of Japanese players over the past few years, Genki will play with Melbourne club side Box Hill North, the first Japanese player from a non-Tokyo club to receive the scholarship.
The 2006 National Championships for senior footy in PNG will be held on June 10th to 12th in Lae. Expected to attend are representative squads from the leagues in Lae, National Capital District (Port Moresby), Western Highlands Province (Mt Hagen),
Eastern Highlands Province (Goroka), West New Britain (Kimbe, Hoskins), East New Britain (Rabaul, Pomio) and Buka. Runners-up at the International Cups of 2002 and 2005, the strong PNG leagues should see some great action. WFN speaks with PNG footy legend Peter Michael, father of champion Brisbane Lions fullback Mal.