Bangkok airport will be overrun by flying Sherrins and Aussie Rules banter this coming weekend as nine nations descend on the land of smiles to fight out the fourteenth annual Asian Australian Football Championships. It will be the fourth time the Thailand Tigers host the largely ex-pat dominated tournament affectionately known as the ‘Asian Champs’. In a change from previous years, Pattaya has been selected as the host city over traditional venue Bangkok.
The most up-to-date list of competing teams is as follows: Bali Geckos, Jakarta Bintangs, Hong Kong Dragons, Singapore Wombats, Laos Elephants, Malaysian Warriors, Thailand Tigers, Phillipine Eagles, and Vietnam Swans.
The Cambodian Eagles leave Vietnam unbeaten, after defeating both the Saigon Whites Swans and the Hanoi Reds Swans in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, on Saturday. The Saigon Whites beat the Hanoi Reds in the third and final match of the day.
Each game was played with two halves of fifteen minutes and consisted of fourteen players on each team. The tournament was played in a round robin format at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) International University in Saigon South.
The AFL is pleased to advise the first Chinese Academy has been launched in Guangzhou.
Located at a Guangzhou Sports University campus in the Guangzhou, Guangdong province, north of Hong Kong, the academy is designed to introduce athletes to Australian football and help identify and develop potential elite players who have the ability to transition into Australia and the AFL.
The two-week pilot program commenced with 27 athletes aged between 17 and 22 who are from basketball, soccer and rugby backgrounds. The academy program will be conducted annually.
Last year we saw the development of Aussie rules in southern China when Andrew Sawitsch reported on the South China AFL league and the AFL has just opened an academy in Guangzhou with the aim of developing Chinese players and bringing two players to the AFL draft combine in Melbourne.
Now we see the work of Macau based Aussie expat Darrell Egan who has been training and promoting Aussie Rules in Dongguan, another of the major cities in Guangdong province and forming the Dongguan Blues Football Club.
We present a recent interview with Darrell from Radio Australia where Darrell tells that story of what he has achieved so far.
The AFL continues to put in place opportunities for athletes around the world to be exposed to Aussie Rules and for their abilities to be tested in the style of the new "combines". This is part of a wider AFL plan to one day see star players emerge from international markets, thus helping promote the game in both those markets and amongst immigrant communities in Australia.
The latest piece in that puzzle is an academy in Guangzhou, China. Opening on July 9, with a total of 30 athletes to be selected for the two-week program, the AFL will select two players to attend the annual draft combine at Etihad Stadium that follows the AFL Grand Final.
The Malaysian Warriors at the fourth attempt have taken out the Manila Cup with a 22-point Grand Final win over the Singapore Wombats. Grand Final Malaysian Warriors 7-5 (47) d Singapore Wombats 4-1 (25)
Wins over Philippine Eagles, Jakarta Bintangs and the Wombats and a loss to previous Cup nemesis Hong Kong Dragons in the preliminary round robin games were enough to put them thru to the Final with a rematch against the Wombats.
The Malaysian Warriors have broken the stranglehold the Hong Kong Dragons have had on the Manila Cup competition for the past four years by defeating the Singapore Wombats in the Grand Final. Played in searing heat the Warriors were too strong to win by 22 points, Warriors 7-5 (47) d. Wombats 4-1 (25).
Played at the Nomad Sports Club, ‘headquarters’ of the Philippine AFL under clear blue skies and roasting sunshine the player’s skills were on show although the energy sapping heat kept the ‘interchange gate’ very busy. All the teams put in great efforts and despite a couple of blowouts the sizable crowd were witness to an exciting day’s footy with four matches decided by less than a goal.