The Pearl River delta region in southern China is famous for two small territories controlled by Europeans until very recently. The larger city of Hong Kong was administered by the British until the closing years of the twentieth century, whilst across the bay the Portuguese maintained their outpost of Macau.
Macau is a small, densely-populated city of about half a million inhabitants, best-known for being the Las Vegas of Asia.
The Hong Kong Dragons have been playing footy since the early 1990s, with a long history of being a power in the Asian footy scene. In Macau however, the presence of Australian rules was restricted to the occasional locally-based player commuting across the water to play in Hong Kong.
This year, this is set to change with the beginnings of Auskick and school footy in Macau.
The pinnacle of the Asian Football season is the Asian Championships, this year to held in Kuala Lumpur at the Selangor Polo Club on 5th September.
The Malaysian Warriors are hosting this prestigious tournament for only the second time in commemoration of their 10th year of existence.
Teams participating include the hosts Malaysian Warriors, current title holder Dubai Heat, powerhouses Singapore, Hong Kong and Bali, as well as regular contenders Jakarta, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and the China Reds.
It is expected that the format will be two groups of five teams each playing each other once with the top two teams in each group playing off in cross-over semi-finals, with the two winners playing off in the Grand Final.
The Asian Championships get bigger each year and this year sees the second edition of a Junior Championship which will feature a significant number of Asian-born players. Teams from Jakarta (last year’s winner), Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are expected to participate.
There will also be an Auskick session for the younger kids, as well as full catering and plenty of entertainment.
As always, it will be a huge day and all Malaysian footy followers are urged to get to the ground. Play starts at 10.00am
Well known Jakarta Bintang, Craig Senger tragically lost his life in the recent bombing of the Hotel Marriott in Jakarta. All football followers in Asia have been greatly saddened by this news, and condolences have flowed to the Bintangs, his wife and family.
To help celebrate Craig's life, the Vietnam Swans will play a memorial match against the Lao Elephants on Saturday 8th August in Hanoi honouring Craig and other victims of the Jakarta Bombings.
To recognise the positive impact Craig had in his life on others, his wife Kate has set up the Craig Senger Indonesia Memorial Fund with the assistance of Westpac Bank.
The Beijing Bombers this year kicked off their first ever Metro League season, culminating on the weekend of July 18th with the DongCheng Demons finishing top of the table and taking the 2009 title.
The Beijing AFL's spring season saw teams - Dongcheng, the AZ Chaoyang Cats and the Santa Fe Saints - playing each other twice over three rounds, each side having one host round where they played both rival teams.
Over forty footballers pulled on the boots over the course of the three rounds, including around a dozen local Chinese players. Following the successful first-up season, an autumn league will be held as well this year, with matches on August 15, September 19 and October 10.
Last year saw the creation of the Lao Elephants, the first-ever Australian football club in the Lao PDR. The Phants, quickly famous worldwide for their distinctive pink and grey jumpers, impressed on the Asian footy circuit in 2008, putting in a strong showing at the Asian Championships and wining the Indochina Cup in Phnom Penh.
The Lao Elephants currently have around thirty players on their list, including around twenty-five expats from Australia, the USA and Great Britain, plus four or five Lao nationals.
However, the squad is spread across a wide geographical area, with about 18 hours worth of bus trip separating the Northerners in Vientiane and Luang Prabang from the Southerners, who are mainly Australians working at the mines in the town of Sepon.
The first half of 2009 has seen a quiet patch for the Elephants as far as international touring is concerned, but in its place on May 23rd this year they held their first-ever domestic clash, with the Northerners traveling down the Mekong to take on the Southerners in the city of Savannakhet.
Australian football in Indonesia has made steady progress in recent years, with adult sides in the Jakata Bintangs, Bali Geckos and more recent arrivals the Borneo Bears. The Bintangs have also had a formal junior program that has continued the process of ensuring a new generation of players - something that has been an ongoing effort by the Bintangs and others such as Robert Baldwin.
Now Jakarta's junior program is taking another big step forward with the launch of AFL Indonesia. To mark the official start they have staged the Allan Taylor Cup, an Australian Football Carnival for Indonesian youth on Saturday, 20 June 2009 at Buperta Park, Cibubur. It was attended by Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer, Oceania AFL Development Manager Andrew Cadzow and former Collingwood player Craig Starcevich.
Andrew Cadzow stated, “We are looking forward to working with the Jakarta Bintangs to set up a fully fledged junior football league for the kids of Jakarta and further promote the game to other parts of Indonesia, starting with Bali and Balikpapan”. The program also aims to provide a senior Indonesian team for the 2011 International Cup.
Australian football legend and AFL ambassador Kevin Sheedy is appearing at the Australian Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday night from 7 to 9pm. Guests are welcome but bookings are essential. Details from the Beijing Bombers via Facebook follow...
Kevin Sheedy, AFL Legend, is coming to Beijing for one night only. With Stephen McDonnell, ABC Correspondent, lined up to ask the hard hitting questions of Sheedy, join us for this chance to hear tales straight from the footy field, the locker room and the management office.
Kevin Sheedy is one of the AFL's most enduring figures. A player and coach over 5 decades, he has an unsurpassed record of involvement in 1,000 games and eight premierships. Kevin is currently working with the AFL, who have brought him to China as AFL Ambassador.
Contact events at austcham.org now to secure your ticket for this one off event at the Australian Embassy. Bookings essential. Tickets RMB200 inc Canapes and free flow of DXCEL Australian Beer and Wine Republic Wine.
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Australian Embassy, Beijing
21 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Beijing, China More details
While the Essendon Bombers came from behind for a famous victory over the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, Australian rules football resumed in Japan with the commencement of the JAFL 2009 season.
The Nagoya Redbacks hosted the reigning premiers, the Tokyo Goannas, on Australia’s most revered occasion on the national calendar, ANZAC Day 25th April. The Goannas showed their class in wet and difficult conditions with a dominant 10 goals to 2 first half before running out 13.9 (87) to 5.6 (36) victors. The Redbacks, playing their first game as part of the JAFL, valiantly fought out the game, matching the Goannas for goals in the second half. They were brave in defeat, facing a more experienced and hardened outfit that also had a significant number advantage on the bench.
Two games were played on Sunday 26th April. The 2008 runners-up, the Eastern Hawks, had winners all over the ground as they thumped the Tokyo Leopards 25.18 (168) to 3.7 (26). The first quarter was marred only by inaccuracy in front of goals for the Hawks, although this improved over the course of the game. The Hawks showed a ruthless edge in kicking 9 goals in the final quarter to ensure a healthy percentage. The young Leopards battled hard throughout but lacked the skills and experience to match their opponents.
The final match of the round saw the Osaka Dingoes travel to Tokyo to play the Komazawa Magpies. After an even first half that saw the straight kicking of the Magpies take a 9 point lead into the long break, the more experienced Dingoes lifted their work rate, scoring 10 goals to 1 in the second half to run out 49 point winners, 14.15 (99) to 7.8 (50). First-gamer Sato was superb up forward for the Magpies with 3 first half goals, while the load was evenly spread by the Dingoes with 5 players kicking two goals apiece.
The Senshu University Powers had the bye this round.
Ed: WFN welcomes Roy Obal to our team of correspondents. An Aussie living in Japan as an English teacher, Roy will be reporting on the goings-on in the Japan AFL.
The boys and girls from the Malaysian Warrior Auskick program recently won the Gaelic football competition of the South East Asian Gaelic games, despite not having played the game before.
The games were run by the Orang Eire Gaelic team and held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 9th. The Malaysian Warriors Auskick team beat the Malaysian Gaelic team in their first game, then drew with Singapore to make the final. In the final, the whole squad, aged from 6 to 11 and including boys and girls, played well as a team to win.
Due to relatively low numbers of children for both Auskick and Gaelic, the clubs have worked together to create more opportunities for games and in the process showing the benefit of team sports. The Warriors Auskick program aims to give Australian children the chance to continue Australian rules whilst abroad and encourages locals to play. Gaelic football involves similar skills to Aussie Rules and as shown by the results, the children can play both games, allowing them to enjoy team sports.
Beijing is about to get its own three-round 9-a-side football league. The initiative is a direct result of increased player numbers on the Beiing Bombers' roster and enthusiasm for more matches. For the tournament, the Beijing Bombers will split into the Santa Fe Saints, AZ China ChaoYang Cats and DongCheng Demons. These teams aren't a replacement of the Bombers, who will continue to play their own matches throughout the year.
The Saints are sponsored by Santa Fe Relocation Services, and the core player recruitment area is the SanLitun & Embassy district of Beijing. The AZ China ChaoYang Cats are sponsored by consultancy firm, AZ China and represent the east side of Beijing, ChaoYang district. Most players living east of the second ring road were automatically zoned to the Cats. DongCheng represent the more central and western Beijing districts.
If it proves successful, a follow up tournament will be held later in the year.