Australian Rules football has a long and successful history in Australia. Around the world the game has been much slower to take hold, but is now clearly doing so in several countries, with over 20 others starting to show promise too. The United States is one nation where the game has gone beyond the tenuous year to year situation in which an exodus of expat Australians could see the game disappear. But behind all the growth in the last 10 years, for any given city it usually (but not always) takes a keen Aussie to get the game started. Many such fledgling clubs start brightly but what next? In some cases they will become powerhouse clubs, the foundation from which large metro leagues emerge and support strong sides competing in interstate leagues. But in other cases they will slowly fade away. In hindsight we can look back and speculate where a club went wrong, or just wonder what could have been. No one knows in advance.
World Footy News exists to help promote international Australian Rules football, raising awareness of the game's growth. We hope to help show both Australians and the rest of the world the great potential for this sport. This job is made much easier with the support of as many leagues and clubs as possible. We hope by spreading news of the respective leagues, all the nations playing footy can benefit from new ideas and fresh challenges. We're also aware that mainstream media peruse our site, so this also raises awareness with people who can assist the cause.
Aussie Rules has grown steadily in the US since first getting off the ground in 1996. It is easy to overlook how recently the game has been recently in that country. The sport's current strength is individual clubs scattered around the US, but increasingly the clubs are developing social reduced player number "metro" leagues to support the game. Now it appears the next step in growth could be in the college system, the corner-stone of US professional sport.
Salt Lake City, in Utah, has made some attempts at getting an Aussie Rules side together since 2003 but so far there has been no resulting game time. With a recent Arizona influence, hopes are up not only for a full side but also a metro league.
Australian Rules is alive and well in Asia with four international matches played in May. The results are a good form guide in the run up to the Asian Champs in September, with current title holder Hong Kong showing impressive form.
Two well known internationals trying to make their
way at the highest level of footy are Carlton's Irish recruits Setanta
and Aisake O'hAilpin. The elder brother Setanta has received plenty of
press and recently played his first game for the Blues, promoted from
their VFL feeder club the Northern Bullants. But less is known about
Aisake. The pair were recently interviewed on Carlton's Blues Club
Corner radio show and the audio is available online.
The long awaited exhibition match between the AFL's North Melbourne and an undetermined AFL side, now planned for the 2006 Australia Week Festival in Los Angeles, California, appears to be firming. Several aborted attempts have been made in recent years to get this off the ground, but a story this week in the Herald Sun suggests the match is increasingly likely to go ahead.
One of the big stories of international Aussie Rules in 2004 was the news that the USAFL had signed a three year broadcast deal with new company All Sports Television Network. The agreement involved ASTN recording and broadcasting selected US Footy matches on free to air television in the United States. There had been an expectation that the All-Star East versus West games in Dallas in May would have been telecast by now, and the delay is causing considerable disquiet in the US Australian football community. World Footy News discussed the current situation with the USAFL's Scott Hunt.
On the 26th of May AFL Germany club the Hamburg Dockers played a friendly exhibition match against the HMAS ANZAC Slayers football team. The game was played hard and tough, but in a friendly spirit, with the ANZAC Slayers running out eventual winners, 6.15.51 to 4.6.30.