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.
As reported in an earlier WFN article students from the International School of Manila were to play a curtain raiser to the Eurekas v Dingoes match in the PAFL. The match was duly played on Saturday 19th May with the Eurekas’ Juniors victorious over the Dingoes ‘Pups’ 8-4 (52) to 6-4 (40).
The Director of Athletics/Activities at International School of Manila, Mark Pekin, last year introduced an Australian Rules Football program for the middle school aged 9-13 years of age children, which was very well attended with 18-20 kids participating in weekly 90 min skill sessions and modified 9/10-a-side game play.
The Malaysian Warriors are this year returning to Manila to contest the Manila Cup after a hiatus in 2011. They are determined to go one better than in each of their three previous appearances in the cup, that is, competing in but losing the Grand Final to the Hong Kong Dragons, going agonisingly close in 2009.
This year the traveling party is about 23 strong with about 15-16 players and support staff of around 7 including the coaches. The team is made up of mainly cup veterans, some who have played in all three of their previous contests in the tournament. There are three players, however, touring for the first time, namely Marcus Coombes (ruck), Stuart Job (centreman) and Adam Kaminski (ruck rover). This year the entire touring squad is ex-pat Aussies.
The Malaysian Warriors were founded in the late 1980's by ex-pat Aussies working and living in Kuala Lumpur and in the early years played against the RAAF stationed at Butterworth, Penang. Later, matches were played against the Singapore Wombats and Jakarta Bintangs.
The Malaysian Warriors currently number between 25 and 30 regular players of which there are twenty ex-pat Aussies, a handful of Malaysians and a couple of Irishmen.
The Warriors' touring party is traveling to Manila on the Friday before the Cup and will fly out on Sunday night as the Sunday brunch gatherings have become somewhat a ritual for the Warriors who all love playing in Manila, although a few stay on till Monday to return home.
The Warriors have twice hosted the Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur first in 2004 and again in 2009.
Thanks to Michael D'Oliveiro with assistance for this story.
The annual Anzac Day Match of the Philippine AFL was a great success with eight new players turning out for the match, some with experience but also several keen to learn and play footy.
The game was played at the Nomads Sports Club, played at 10-a-side as there were enough players for interchanges, with Eurekas running out victors over ther Dingoes 15.11 (101) to 4.4 (28). The weather was "a stinker" it being hot and dry at this time of the year in Manila, so the very respectable crowd of spectators made good use of the bar.
Group Captain Craig White, Royal Australian Air Force, who presented the Anzac Medal to Travis Bull, a new recruit from Australia, as the player who best typifies the Anzac Spirit, also conducted the Anzac Ceremony. He also unexpectedly presented all players and officials with a medallion to commemorate the day's events. This gesture was very much appreciated by all.
Preparations for the 2012 Manila Cup are reported to be well in hand with six teams contesting the event again this year. There are two Philippine teams as last year, the Philippine Eagles and the Alabang Crows, with the visitors being Hong Kong Dragons, Malaysian Warriors, Jakarta Bintangs and Singapore Wombats, the tournament expected to be played at 12-a-side this year.
This year the tournament will be played at the Nomads Sports Club, the new 'headquarters' of the PAFL, with matches starting at 8.30am and finishing around 6.00pm but late matches can be played under lights if need be.
This coming weekend on 19th May 2012 for the first time students from the International School Of Manila will play a curtain raiser to the Eurekas v Dingoes match. As part of their curriculum the students have been studying and training at Australian Football. The match will start at 1.00pm and all involved at the league are hopeful that this game is just the beginning of more to come.
Thanks to Peter Stone for assistance with this story.
The reigning Premiers of the Japan AFL, the Osaka Dingoes, one of only two non-Tokyo based clubs in Japan (Nagoya Redbacks being the other) currently have around twenty players. About fifty percent are Japanese, the rest ex-pat Aussies except for one American and a Frenchman.
Osaka, third most populous city in Japan, after Tokyo and Yokohama is connected to many other major cities such as Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo (over 400 kilometres distance) to the east, and Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka to the west by the famous Shinkansen (bullet) train. All Dingoes away games involve long journeys that are costly for these amateur players, so dedication and passion to play footy is not in short supply.
The Vietnam Swans have defeated the China Reds in a hard fought contest in the third instalment of the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vietnam.
The match was played in warm conditions in Vung Tau, where the Australian Army was based during the Vietnam War, with many footy matches played by troops on the Lord Mayor’s Oval between 1966 and 1971. The ground has since become a greyhound-racing track, but remains a fitting location to hold the ANZAC event.
The event has already become the most important fixture on the Vietnamese football calendar.
Each player wore a black armband on either arm to remember and symbolise the loss suffered by all, to celebrate the present and to look forward to the future.
A Legends and All Stars match preceded the main event, which allowed for those who were not playing for the Swans to don a jumper and have a fun kick of the Sherrin.
The Japanese AFL Top League kicks off the 2012 season on May 12th with the introduction of a completely new team, the R246 Lions. The Lions will bring the league to a seven-team competition playing at 9-a-side.
The Lions could well be the most uniquely named team in world footy in that the name is derived from Route 246, the highway that connects Tokyo with Kanagawa. The Lions aim to establish themselves as a community based club although the bulk of the players are graduates from Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU) and are very new to footy. The NSSU is considered the most traditional and honoured sports university in Japan.
The Lions founders, Jun Sekiguchi and Michito Sakaki (pictured with Kevin Sheedy) however are seasoned participants; Jun was assistant coach of the Samurai at IC11, and Michito, a highly respected player in Japanese football having been named in the Allstars team at IC05 and the World Team at IC08. He also played a preseason at Essendon in 2006 making the squad to play the Sydney Swans in a pre-season match in February that year.
The genesis of the R246 Lions was in Jun Sekiguchi introducing footy to a small group of friends who in turn brought along some of their friends to the next training session. More new friends were recruited until 16 players were training together. It was then decided to contest the Pocari Sweat Cup, a one day tournament held in October 2011. The 'Lions' managed to finish equal fifth with the Tokyo Goannas.
An annual Anzac Day Match is an important event held near the start of the Philippine AFL season. The match has been held on or around Anzac Day since 2007, and is contested for "The PAFL ANZAC Day Match Sands Of Gallipoli Trophy" which was donated by the Defence Attache to the Philippines. The Defence Attache also donates and awards the 'Anzac Medal' each year to the player who best typifies the Anzac spirit - courage, tenacity, initiative and teamwork.
This year the official season kicks off on 5th May 2012 with matches now played at the Nomad Sports Club in Manila.
Aussie Rules ‘Touring’ season is heating up as AFL in Asia gets underway.
It’s a competition that requires a passport and plane ticket for nearly every away game, has one team boasting a forward line that includes champion Hawthorn AFL premiership player Trent Croad and another that fine-tuned its campaign under the guidance of Brisbane Lions triple premiership player and Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis – welcome to AFL Asia.
The five time winners and reigning Asian champion Singapore Wombats will kick off their 2012 campaign at the end of March, playing an opening fixture against the Jakarta Bintangs in Indonesia.
In a 2011 season that saw the dominant Wombats taste defeat on only the rarest of occasions, their Bintang rivals were able to buck the trend and solve the Wombatsin two of their three encounters. Adding insult to injury, Jakarta claimed both victories by the narrowest of margins, taking the honours at home by 3 points and then again in Manila by a solitary point.