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.
The first USAFL game to be televised is eagerly awaited amongst the US footy fraternity. Initial details are just starting to come out. It seems that the first match to go to air will be the East-West All Star game to be held in Texas on April 30th 2005.
In a potentially major blow to spreading the game in the United States, FOX Sports World will not cover the AFL in 2005 or beyond, as it becomes FOX Soccer Channel. The Australian Football Association of North America (AFANA) report that the change should not affect coverage in Canada, and they are hopeful that the AFL can secure a deal with another US network.
In a new step for international Aussie Rules, one round of matches will be played in country Victoria, promising an interesting opportunity for some exposure.
The schedule also includes a march-past of all teams before the St Kilda vs Geelong match at the Telstra Dome on Friday the 5th of August, and the final to be played at the Collingwood vs Carlton match on the Sunday August 13th.
In what is believed to be a first for Aussie Rules football in the US a British team, the Reading Kangaroos, are to play the Atlanta Kookaburras in Atlanta on April 9th 2005 for the Atlanta International Footy Challenge Cup.
Australian Rules Football has taken its first tenuous steps towards gaining a foothold in the Philippines. The following article is by Derek Ackary ("Dezza"), President of the Philippines AFL. This is the story of how it all started and the very positive progress so far.