The Jakarta Bintangs and their junior team the Bulldogs are trekking to Balikpapan to take on the Borneo Bears in what promises to be a memorable Anzac Day of football and remembrance.
Starting with the solemnity of the Dawn Service and the laying of wreaths, the day will proceed to a 3-team carnival featuring the Bintangs, Bulldogs and Bears.
Borneo, a vast jungle covered island, was the scene of some of Australia’s most successful military operations (Operations Oboe – The battles of Tarakan, Balikpapan, Brunei and North Borneo) in World War Two, and the site of one of our greatest tragedies, The Sandakan Death March of which only 6 Australians survived from an initial group of 2000 Prisoners of War.
Last month the AFL website posted an article titled simply Footy in Siberia, telling the story of Dave Henry, an Australian who recently held Auskick clinics and organised an inter-school footy tournament in a number of schools somewhere in Siberia.
The clinics were part of a cultural exchange with over 1000 children taking part in the English component of the program and over 200 taking part in footy clinics. Henry showed the kids videos of Australian football action, then students participated in a number of clinics before forming school teams, playing on basketball courts due to the climactic conditions of the Siberian winter.
Henry performed the clinics solely on a volunteer basis, although he was given some material assistance by the AFL Queensland. Children each received stickers, hats and other give-aways, while schools received footballs and training equipment.
Reportedly the schools are keen to repeat the tournament, but somewhat oddly the article does not mention exactly in which towns the program took place, nor how to contact anyone involved. WFN will endeavour to find out more and get back to our readers on this!
A Bushfire Fundraiser jointly organized by the Vietnam Swan and Bali Geckoes in Saigon on Friday, 28th March saw USD 3,047.74, that's 4,336.57 Australian dollars, transferred from Saigon to the bushfire-hit areas of Victoria.
The money raised was made possible thanks to the very impressive sponsorship support in Vietnam – specifically, Jetstar, Caravelle Hotel, Sheraton Hotel, Hotel Equatorial, Kim Hai Butchery, RMIT University, JASPAS, Commonwealth Bank, Jim Beam and La Vie Water. Special thanks also must go to the Sydney Swans and Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League for donating signed jumpers for auction.
The Bushfire Fundraiser was naturally followed on the Saturday by a Bushfire Match between the Vietnam Swans Vs Bali Geckos with the Geckoes triumphing 17.6.108 to 13.11.89. A full report can be found on VietnamSwans.com.
So far, the global economic crises have had a minimal effect on the clubs, with most reporting reasonable numbers at training, and also being able to maintain the all-important levels of sponsorship.
The next six months are going to be packed with football action, kicking off with a number of ANZAC Day matches. Further highlights include a number of regional cup tournaments in the Philippines and Thailand, the Crikey Cup between Bali and East Timor to be played in Darwin, the open and masters Bali 9s and the annual Asian Championships, this year to be held in Kuala Lumpur.
There are Australian Rules Football Clubs throughout Asia and the newest of these clubs is the Timor-Leste Crocs. In Darwin on June 13th this year, the Crocs will go up against Asian footy veterans the Bali Geckos for the first time in the inaugural ‘Crikey Cup’, as a curtain-raiser to the AFL Round 12 match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide at TIO Stadium.
The idea for the Crikey Cup came from Steve Irwin’s connection with East Timor and its sacred symbol, the crocodile or ‘grandfather’. In 2000 Steve Irwin led a team from Australia Zoo, with the Australian Defence Force and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, to rescue two injured crocodiles from a cramped and destroyed cage in Dili, the capital.
The Japan AFL Top League will this year kick off with seven sides, with the Nagoya Redbacks joining the current member clubs from Osaka and Tokyo. The season will feature seven home and away rounds, with teams playing all other sides once.
The first round will see Australian-based club the Tokyo Goannas travel to Nagoya on Saturday April 25th. The Redbacks were undefeated at home in their career in the Nippon AFL, as well as in the recent challenge series against the Osaka Dingoes, and will be keen to keep their perfect record intact.
Back in Tokyo, university clubs Komazawa Magpies and the Tokyo Leopards host the visiting Osaka Dingoes and university graduates Eastern Hawks respectively.
Also on the schedule for this season is the annual international Narita Cup, a possible Goannas vs Japan All Stars match in July, and a road trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the Asian Championships in early September.
The season will wrap up in November, with semi-finals to be held on November 8th and the Grand Final on November 22nd.
Many clubs in Asia have close affiliations with football clubs in Victoria and many have been moved by the tragic events of the past few weeks. The Bali Geckos Australian Rules Football Club have responded to the recent horrific bushfires that wreaked havoc on the state of Victoria by donating to an Australian Rules football league in the heart of the affected areas. The Geckos will donate US$500 to the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League, which includes the townships of Kinglake and Marysville, both of which were basically wiped out by the fires.
The Old Dark Navy Blues are visting Penang as part of a promotional tour following their recent sponsorship with Tourism Malaysia. It is not known as to whether Fev will make the trip, or whether the locals have been briefed on what to expect.
The club will take along a TV crew from Channel 10 station and leading football writer Mike Sheahan and a photographer from the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper.
Apart from daily reports in the newspaper, the television station will have live crossovers throughout the three days in its news and sports bulletins.
“This will be fantastic for Malaysia,” Tourism Malaysia’s Melbourne director Putra Hilmy Elias told Bernama.
Tourism Malaysia has signed a sponsorship package with the Carlton Football Club.
The Japan AFL recently celebrated 20 years of Australian football in that country. The origins are often traced back to a VFL exhibition game between Hawthorn and Essendon in Yokohama, and the desire to have a curtain raiser match between Japanese players.
An excellent article appeared in The Australian today, by Peter Wilson, a well known Australian journalist. He discusses his involvement as the reluctant coach of those first players, the lack of official support back in those days, and Wilson's pleasant surprise to find his early role has been remembered with an award.
The former Olympian was second at the race in 1998 and finally took out the prize on Sunday evening, after several attempts during a 20-year athletics career.
The Bay Sheffield is run over 120 metres (with handicaps) and is one of the major events on the Australian professional foot-running calendar, this year being the 122nd consecutive running, reportedly making it the oldest continually run race in Australia. It has seen many outstanding winners, the last notable footballer being Darren Kappler who began his league career with South Adelaide (82 games) before playing 187 games for Fitzroy, Sydney and Hawthorn from 1987 to 1998. To our knowledge, no Asian-based AFL player has ever competed, pace not being a pre-requisite for most players in the region.
At the generous odds of 20-1 in the AUD 20,000 event obviously bookmakers were unaware of his Indonesian form, and it is expected Rob celebrated long and hard after his triumph.