As suggested in recent articles, the AFL has now confirmed that the Brisbane Lions will take on the Melbourne Demons in Shanghai's World Expo on October 17 next year. The match will be staged at the Jiangwan Sports Centre, which has a capacity of up to 30,000.
Dual announcements were made, with Victoria's premier John Brumby and Kevin Sheedy at a press conference in Melbourne's Chinatown and the AFL's David Matthews and Western Bulldogs showman Jason Akermanis attending a signing ceremony in Shanghai.
Brumby has predicted that "This will be a great way to promote our game, it will be a great way to promote AFL and it will be a great way to build a stronger relationship between China and Victoria". His state will be spending AUD $6 million promoting themselves at the six month World Expo.
Matthews signed the stadium agreement with representatives from the Yangpu Government at the KIC Resource Center. Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions will play for the Kaspersky AFL Cup, named after software protection company Kaspersky, one of Melbourne's major sponsors. Matthews said "We are extremely excited to be able to bring Australia's indigenous game and all its unique skills to Shanghai as we continue to develop the code internationally. This is a great way to position ourselves as we keep ramping up our international strategy. We will see what the opportunities are across the world".
"Jason Akermanis put on a kicking display to the schoolkids at the signing ceremony here in Shanghai and he was amazing. He just has universal appeal."
The Australian media today reported that plans for an exhibition match between the AFL's Brisbane and Melbourne football clubs in the Chinese metropolis Shanghai are well underway.
The game is slated for next October, with an Asian club championship also linked into the plans for an Australian Rules Football World Expo.
Long-time international footy fan Kevin Sheedy told the ABC that they were close to signing a ground for the match, and that he saw huge potential across Asia for the game to expand beyond the current expat-majority scene.
2007 Brownlow medalist Jimmy Bartel and Bulldog Tim Callan will tomorrow return from India, where they have spent time assisting charity Red Dust. Red Dust is a, "non-profit health promotion charity that seeks to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged youths in remote communities." They are based in Australia but are, "globally focused".
Bartel and Callan worked for five days at a slum in Bapatla, a remote town in Southeastern India (in the same state as Hyderabad), conducting sports clinics, "as a means of developing rapport with the children, before encouraging them to attend afternoon classes focusing on hygiene and other life skills."
An article about their journey, which was completely independent of AFL India, appeared in the Geelong Advertiser, prior to their departure.
The minor rounds of the 2009 JAFL season have finished in exhilarating fashion with the makeup of the Top Four not settled until the final seconds of the final match.
Heading into the final round, the top two teams, the Eastern Hawks and the Tokyo Goannas, would play off to decide the minor premiers. The Tokyo Goannas earned that honour by running out 14.9 (93) to 7.13 (55) victors.
Following India’s participation in the 2008 International Cup, it appeared that football had finally established a presence in the world’s second most populous country. An AFL India board had been established; the product of ex-VFL footballer Brian Dixon’s earlier work, and despite no clubs, a small playing group and high costs, it managed to get a team to the International Cup. On top of this, the board seemed to have reasonable plans for growing the game in India, based around the country’s major population hubs.
Yet twelve months later there has been no news from the country. World Footy News set out to investigate why.
As indicated in the Friday October 2nd edition of Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun, it appears an AFL match exhibition match is scheduled to be played in China in October 2010.
The article "China Sold on Footy" mentions AFL identity Kevin Sheedy's trip to Shanghai in July of this year, with Sheedy visiting the proposed stadium in Shanghai and claiming there was "huge potential for the game" in China. The match is scheduled to take place on October 16 between two AFL teams yet to be finalised.
The scheduling of the match in October next year will ensure a busy month of football for the AFL, with Draft Camp, Draft Selection, AFL Trade Week and the expected International Rules Series all expected to take place in October 2010.
The Jakarta Bintangs have for the past 12 years conducted an AFL Grand Final breakfast in Jakarta an event which has grown to be arguably the largest AFL Grand Final function held outside Australia.
This year was no exception though the Bintangs, always the innovators, seem to have pulled off a coup by having the Jakarta Globe as one of their sponsors.
The English language daily newspaper, which has mainstream circulation in Jakarta, had a 4-page liftout on the AFL Grand Final, including full teams, analysis and predictions along with a write-up of the Bintangs' current progress in developing the game locally in Indonesia. I would venture to say that the coverage exceeded that of most of the Sydney and Brisbane dailies.
The piece-de-resistance however, was at the conclusion of the game, where those who were at the Bintangs function in the Shangrila Hotel were presented with a Jakarta Globe Cats 2009 Premiers poster in the style of the late WEG of the Melbourne Herald.
Round two of the Japan AFL season has been (mostly) played and won, with another emphatic win to the Tokyo Goannas, who after only two rounds, are already looking like favourites for the flag.
The Goannas started the round with a 108 point victory, their 15th in succession since 2007, over the Komazawa Magpies in Chiba.
The reigning premiers booted 5.4 to nothing in the first quarter on the way to an 18.22 (130) to 3.4 (22) demolition job. Although led tenaciously in the ruck by Tanaka, the Magpies had no answer to the ball-winning ability of the Goannas midfielders, Wilson and Jones especially prominent.
At Shinshiro Sogo Park, accuracy in front of goal gave the Nagoya Redbacks a tough win over the Tokyo Leopards.
The Leopards came out all guns blazing, dominating the first quarter 6.4 to 2.0 For the rest of the game, however, inaccuracy in front of goal cost Tokyo dearly. At half-time they had 15 scoring shots to 6, but the margin was only 14 points. As the saying goes, poor kicking is poor football, and the Redbacks came to life in the second half, running out 14.7 (91) to 9.14 (68) victors in a hard fought affair.
The Osaka Dingoes - Senshu Powers game will be played in October.
The Asian Championships played in Kuala Lumpur on 5th September, 2009 were immensely successful in terms of participation with 10 Senior teams, 3 Under 18 Teams, Auskick and over 400 players, seniors and juniors participating. After a day of intense competition, last year's winners Dubai (UAE) Heat and Jakarta Bulldogs both managed a repeat triumph in the Senior and Junior competitions.
Dubai Heat last weekend won the Asian Championships in a repeat of 2008, defeating the Singapore Wombats in the Grand Final. The Heat trailed at half-time but superior fitness saw them overwhelm Singapore in the final stanza to score a well-deserved victory.
Third and fourth spots went to the Bali Geckoes and Hong Kong Dragons, who were defeated in the semi-finals by the Heat and Wombats repectively.
The pinnacle of the Asian Football season, the Asian Championships this year were held in Kuala Lumpur at the Selangor Polo Club on 5th September.
In the Juniors grade, the Jakarta Bulldogs also went back to back, asserting their superiority over the St Johns Malaysian Warriors, though the Malaysian boys' effort is to be highly commended as they took on far more experienced rivals and gave them strong competition.