Plans are being made for AFL Hall of Famers John Platten, Doug Hawkins and Ron Barassi to go on a world tour in January 2006, covering Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and the Pacific Region.
While the project is still in the planning stages, the idea has been trialled as a successful fundraising venture for Australian Football in Papua New Guinea and organisers are hoping it can become a regular fixture for clubs and leagues around the world.
Each year in Thailand the ANZAC spirit is commemorated by conducting a Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass and a Memorial Service at Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery.
2005 marks the 90th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in World War 1. In honouring the ANZAC tradition, the Thailand Tigers Football Club will host an Australian Rules Commemorative Match to be played at the Kanchanaburi Sports Complex on Saturday 23 April 2005.
The Brian Clarke-led IAFC (disputed - see note below) have announced that they are to hold a 'Australian Football World Cup' in Melbourne in 2008. The IAFC have issued an announcement via a dedicated webpage, however as the Australian Football League is understood to be planning the third International Cup also to be held in Melbourne in 2008 it is as yet unclear what the political ramifications of this announcement will be.
Football playing and coaching legend Malcolm Blight has spent the past few years relaxing in Queensland, away from the pressures of the AFL. But an impromptu training session with some talented young Papua New Guinean players may have rekindled his passion for coaching. The following story courtesy of AFL-PNG and Neil Kearney, from the 9th March 2005 The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia.
The greatest growth in international Australian Rules Football in recent years has been in the island countries surrounding Australia. Their location makes this no surprise, but until the 1990s, there was no real sign of the developments to come. Now two strong countries have emerged, with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea numbers exploding, and several new nations have begun the struggle to establish the sport.
It was pleasing to see that international footy received some recognition in the Australian Football League's season review. Although small, it is another small step as the game's growth around the world receives more attention.
Australian Rules Football appears to be going from strength to strength in Papua New Guinea. Numbers are growing fast, especially at junior level, and the game is developing a great reputation in the community, both on and off the field.