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.
As fans would know, the much anticipated telecast of
USAFL matches into US markets appears unlikely to take place in 2005,
despite USFooty's deal with ASTN. Nevertheless, Australian Football's
governing body in the United States still holds out hope that ASTN and
its parent company can resolve financing issues and deliver in 2006.
Another good story on the international players attending the AFL-AIS Camp appeared on The Age's Realfooty on December 7th. It profiles the players and speaks with AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan.
With games now having been played in over 25 cities across Ireland, Australia, England, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Canada and the USA - it seems International Rules has come late to the place which tries everything - California.
As reported yesterday in major Melbourne newspaper The Age, AFL club Hawthorn have cancelled a series of clinics due to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the Hawks' request for the AFL to help fund their pre-season training session was turned down.
The Tokyo Goannas failed by 6 goals in their quest to win the Japan AFL premiership for the 3rd year in a row yesterday going down to the Samurais in the Japan AFL's season decider at the Radisson Ground, Narita. Final score 170 - 133.
Following on from our story several days ago International players invited to AFL Camp, we now present the complete list of players attending the AFL camp. The camp is run in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport which gives scholarships for talented juniors. The AIS targets the best players coming out of the AFL Under-16 National Schoolboys' Championship each year. As such the Australian players will generally be younger than the internationals invited this year, although countries such as PNG will be sending boys of similar age. It appears although invitations for 15 players were sent, only 7 are attending the camp.
Luke Matias is a 22 year old Englishman from Nottingham in the Midlands who represented his country at the 2005 Australian Football International Cup. He also recently completed a Business Enterprise degree at Manchester University, but has now found himself devoting his time to preseason training with Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football League. Whichever footy team he is with, Luke is renowned for his biceps, and has earnt the nickname "Crusher" - as the profiles on the Nottingham Scorpions and British Bulldogs websites show. Natural leadership qualities have often seen him in captaincy positions no matter what sport he has played. We spoke with Luke about how he came to play footy, what inspires him and where he'd like to go in the game.
The AFL website currently features stories advertising a short term development officer position in South Africa through Australian Volunteers International (although the ad indicates New Zealanders are also eligible) and a story describing three Multicultural Development Positions to ensure the game's continued spread amongst Melbourne's diverse community. All positions close shortly.
Samurais Michito Sakaki and Tsuyoshi Kase are heading Down Under in the hope that they may be able to cut a swathe through the opposition and make it as professionals in Australia's national game. The following article is by Ryann Connell and appeared in Japanese paper The Mainichi Shimbunon November 23, 2005.
Our understanding is that the two Japanese players have been assisted in travelling to Australia with sponsorship from QANTAS, Robert Walters and members of the Japan AFL. Kase and Sakaki are pictured in action for Japan at the recent 2005 International Cup in Melbourne.
The Milwaukee Bombers, a member of the USAFL competing in the MAAFL, are looking for an Australian player to play for them in the 2006 North American summer. No doubt this will be one of many in a growing exchange of Australian Football players in the years ahead as footy continues to internationalise. The following is a release from Milwaukee.
The annual Australian Football League's AIS Camp sees elite young players from around Australia invited to attend a training camp in which they are put through athletic and skill tests under the watchful eye of AFL scouts. In a tremendous breakthrough for international Australian Football, 15 players from outside Australia have been invited, the first time this has occurred.