Adam Curley reports on the www.afl.com.au website about the story of Chinese ex-pat Matt Ma and his own journey in footy and how he hopes to impact the future of Chinese descent players in AFL circles.
MATT MA won't be the game's first Brownlow medallist of Chinese heritage.
He won't even play first grade for his club side.
However, Ma, originally from the city of Liaoyang in China, is determined to play a key role in growing the game he's fallen in love with since he arrived in Australia.
Ma is part of the Hurstville Dragons Auskick Program, which has been run in conjunction with the Swans in Sydney's south this year.
Last year, World Footy News reported on a young woman who was defying the odds of gender, culture, religion, economics, geography, climate and other challenges to take the game of Australian Rules football to the mountain villages of northern Pakistan.
Saliha Baig Jaturi inspired many with her determination to take the game she learned to love, by virtue of being a part of the inaugural Pakistan Shaheens women's team at the IC17 in Melbourne. Now her story has caught fire with many other stories in print and television, as well as across social media.
Riley Beveridge reports on the www.afl.com.au website the deal that will see the Port Adelaide Power and St Kilda commit to China for another three years. With new teams and leagues continuing to grow across Asia, the news will be welcomed as the centrepiece to future Asian development from grass roots to elite levels.
PORT Adelaide has struck a deal to take on St Kilda in its annual China clash from 2019 and beyond, with the two sides confirming a three-year agreement on Thursday.
Gold Coast had been Port Adelaide's opponents in Shanghai over the past two seasons, with the first home and away game played on Chinese soil back in the 2017 campaign.
However, the Saints will replace the Suns in 'hosting' a match at Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium, which has a capacity of around 11,000 people for AFL matches.
Next year's match will be played on a Sunday in round 11, with the AFL confirming that the two sides will again have the bye the following week as they return to Australia.
From the earliest days of Australian Rules football in India, one young man has dedicated his time beyond expectations to help grow the game. Sumesh Sawant (also known to some as Sumesh Bond) has been involved as a player, coach, official, teacher and so many other roles and he is only 24 years old.
When I spoke to him a few years ago, Sumesh said he fell in love with the game when introduced to is as a teenager, mainly because of the athleticism and strong body contact involved. He also loved learning the skills, but especially loved the team aspects of the game, and has made many of his friends today from his involvement in the game.
Whilst there are times where the unification of all footy parties in India could be questioned, there is no questioning Sumesh’s commitment to the game. He has been a constant conduit between the kids and players from many sectors of Indian communities and the organisations running the game. His own infectious enthusiasm has been spread to others, helping grow the game in India.
(Picture: Sumesh with then AFL India President Sudip Chakraborty in 2013)
In yet another amazing example of Asian expansion, the Mongolian Wolves Australian Football League is under way. Whilst only in their early stages of development, the league already has kicked goals – men’s footy and also kids – and has grander plans.
According to the league’s Facebook page, the league was given the green light when the league announced, “[we are] excited to announce that the Mongolian Australian Football League has been accepted as an official foundation member league with AFL Asia. This affiliation provides us with a range of great resources, support and events and we look forward to working with the AFL Asia team to grow the sport and provide opportunities for participation in Mongolia.”
Since then, the MAFL has already instigated junior development. “We are excited to announce that the AUSKICK junior football program will be conducted at the International School of Mongolia starting week one of the next school term (after the summer break) as part of the schools CCA programs.”
The Osaka Dingoes are hosting the Aussie Night for the season launch and to recruit more players.
Aussie beers and food will be served at reasonable prices and the live AFL coverage of North Melbourne versus Adelaide Crows will be on.
Please share this article on your social media platform to spread the information so that we will attract more people to come in. Everyone is welcomed, and we hope patrons will enjoy the event and them getting involved in Osaka’s own AFL club.
AFL Japan GO League Round 3 - Osaka Dingoes versus Senshu Powers
Saturday 16 February 2019 7:20 pm - Izumi Sports Village, Kaiduka, Osaka Prefecture
By Yoshi Imagawa Osaka Dingoes player & Public Relations Officer
The Osaka Dingoes hosted a GO League match for the second time in 2019. The match was played in quite windy conditions at five degrees under lights at a soccer field on a hill. Eight players on each side were fielded because of Dingoes’ players availability. The home side had no interchange player available.
With so many Australians visiting Bali for so many years it is hardly surprising that an Australian Rules football presence was likely to grow there. The journey of the Bali Geckos is the story of just how that presence took hold and grew to where it is today with the Bali Geckos a key part of the AFL Asia competition. Club founder, Greg Hinchcliffe, kicked off the club in 1997 and was keen to tell their story.
The starting point was their creation. According to Greg, “basically we started as a challenge from a mate of mine who played in Jakarta. No team ever existed here and so I formed one to take them on and then discovered there were already a number of teams throughout Asia.”
Initially, ex-pat Australians formed the core but before long locals from Bali got involved. “We started inviting locals down from day one and have had various ones come and have a kick. Firstly, it was guys that had visited Australia before and knew what the game was but since then, we just open our doors to anyone that wants to try a new sport.”