In March 2004, the inaugral Australian Football Multicultural Cup was held, celebrating the achievments and contributions of Melbourne's ethnic communities to Aussie Rules. This year sees the cup return, with three Mediterranean sides in Greece, Italy and Turkey taking the field.
The second match of the Convicts tour has been played, on 3rd February, in the northern city of Mafikeng. The Australians encountered a tougher side than their first match, so had to lift their tempo, but again ran out comfortable winners.
The only new nation to step up for the International Cup 2005, Spain is still a mystery to everyone but a few of the European sides such as Paris, Brussels and some of the German teams who have come up against them in the past year.
There are some promising signs from the nation, and as a Spanish national team largely organised by the Madrid Bears players prepares for the International Cup in Melbourne, a four-team league has resurfaced and is kicking on in the small Catalan town of Valls, 120km from Barcelona.
Continuing a series of Aussie Rules exhibition matches at US pro sports events, the Orange County Bombers will take on the San Diego Lions in an experimental exhibition match on February 20 during the halftime break of a Los Angeles Avengers (Arena Football League) match.
The biggest Australian Football event in 2005 might be the AFL grand final, or Australia versus Ireland in the International Rules series. But it could be argued that on the world stage, nothing will be bigger for footy than the 2005 International Cup. With very few internationals since the last Cup in 2002, it's a tough job predicting winners, but the World Footy News writers have all put their tips in and the results tallied to give our rankings.
In an attempt to find the first American to play in the AFL, the Collingwood Football Club will hold open tryouts in early April in conjunction with USAFL powerhouse the Denver Bulldogs. The Collingwood Magpies, one of Australia's oldest, largest and most successful clubs, are actively searching for young men with athletic abilities to possibly draft from the USA.
Polynesia Airlines and TAFA have today announced that young Tongan Semisi Takelo is the first recipient of a scholarship to study and play Australian Football in Australia.
The announcement was made today (January 25) at the Polynesian Airlines office with the Tongan Australian Football Association (TAFA) president Mr Malakai Vakasiuola present. Takelo’s mother, Ms Lesieli Takelo of Fotua Ha'apai was also in attendance for the announcement.
The touring side, comprising amateur footballers from around Australia, will be playing three matches in South Africa in February. It has been announced that the final match will see "the Convicts" clash with the South African national side in what will hopefully be a great promotional match in Soweto, Johannesburg.
One of the success stories of Australian Football has been Papua New Guinea. The game has had a solid base in Australia's northern neighbour for several decades, but it has recently been boosted with the AFL assisting in junior development. World Footy News has had several stories on the sport there, and some of the talented juniors coming from the country, but the following is from the AFL PNG itself, a body responsible for growing the game at junior level.
The Japan AFL have just gratefully received a grant from the AFL to help continue the upward development of the past few years. Now with 13 teams and over 500 players nationwide, the Japanese league has made some great sides forward and the national side is eagerly awaiting the International Cup in August.
As Australia's Jewish community grew over the past fifty years, many new arrivals and their children grew to love the indigenous code. Melbourne's predominantly Jewish AJAX football club have a proud history in the VAFA and a side representing Israel won the inaugral Multicultural Cup in 2004. Australian Jews migrating to Israel also took the game with them, and moves are afoot to start something more permanent.