The Thailand Tigers Australian Football Club recently conducted a workshop for the Thailand Institute of Physical Education (IPE Bangkok campus) about the game of Aussie Rules. Attended by around 70 students, the workshop was a great introduction to the game, and included the history, the skills and rules, and the people involved in the Australian Football League.
An important highlight was the current growth of the game in Asia, particularly in Thailand, and the potential for expansion into the Thai sporting community beyond the traditional playing base of expat Australians.
This report courtesy of the Tigers' president Ryan Collett.
The Beijing Bombers were formed a few years ago by Aussies living in the Chinese capital, but until recently have not been as successful on- or off-field as their counterparts in the Shanghai Tigers. This is set to change however, with the Beijing Bombers defeating the Shanghai club earlier this month - the first home game for the Bombers and their first win against outside opposition - thumping the Tigers to the tune of 39 points.
The Bombers will return to Shanghai on October 27th for the second leg of the China Cup, but in the meantime there's plenty to do with development among Chinese nationals in Tianjin and Beijing. The following report courtesy of the Beijing ARFC's captain-coach Darryl Hoffman.
Timor-Leste (East Timor) is a country in Southeast Asia made up of the eastern part of the island Timor, the Oecussi-Ambeno region in Northwest Timor and the smaller islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco. It has a population of a little over one million. It made headlines in 1999 when incited anti-independence violence followed a successful referendum by Timor-Leste to be recognised as their own state.
An Australian-led peacekeeping force was deployed to the region to support the new state, and they remain in the country (along with peacekeepers and police from 20 other countries) following more recent violence. Under the banner of “Operation Astute”, the Australian Defence Force are aiming to bring “stability, security and confidence to the Timorese to allow them to resolve their differences democratically and peacefully.” Sport has been identified as one avenue to achieve these goals, and consequently Australian football has been in the limelight.
Apologies for this flippant post, but "lost in translation" doesn't quite do this one justice. The Japan AFL website has a story on it leading up to the 2007 AFL Grand Final. Not being a reader of Japanese I clicked on the English translation link at the top right, which uses the Excite engine. The headline was now so much more clear to me - "AFL grand final. Let's rise with the orgy". We can only conclude one of two things - the translator isn't quite on top of the modern English vernacular, or Japan is getting into footy with even more passion than most Australians!
Following from their match against Melbourne-Vietnam the previous weekend, the All-Japan Samurai continued their 2007 Australian tour this weekend with a match against top Melbourne amateur side St Bernard's Old Collegians. The Samurai stayed close to the Bernards all day, thrilling the local crowd with their intensity before going down 14.8.92 to 11.10.76.
Melbourne-Vietnam tonight defeated Japan in what is becoming an annual match between the two sides. Around 50 people braved very cold conditions in Melbourne to see the home side run out 13-7-85 to 6-9-45 victors, at Elgar Park in Box Hill.
The Vietnamese squad, comprised mostly of Elgar Park Dragons players performed strongly, but were frequently tested by a Samurais outfit keen to avenge last year’s 103 point drubbing. Recognition should be given to the Japanese players, their coaching and support staff and Troy Beard on the side’s continually improving performances.
A full report on the Samurais tour will follow in the next few weeks.
About five months ago Mick Hassett and Marty Staples got together for a kick of the footy in Vientiane, capital of Laos. Since then, the "Lao Elephants" have grown to around 10-15 regular participants at weekly training sessions, with players from Laos, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Norway and the UK.
Armed with plans for a pink jumper featuring a grey elephant logo (an idea which some say may rival Sweden's Landskrona Bulldozers strip for original design), the Elephants are planning their debut international match against neighbours the Vietnam Swans later this year. The Swans played host to a few of the Elephants earlier this year, with seven Laos players joining the Vietnam team for last month's Asian Championships.
The Malaysian Warriors will kick off an Auskick program for kids aged 5-12 in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, with a clinic organised for every Saturday from now until the end of October. The clinics will be held at different locations, including the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM), Warriors' home ground Alice Smith School Equine Park and Warriors' training ground Kelab Alam.
The clinics on August 25th and September 8th will be held before Malaysian Warriors matches, giving kids an opportunity to see some real-life senior footy action. The program, which is receiving materials through the AFL's Auskick department, has 20 kids registered as interested so far, with the cost for the program at 50 Ringgit for the season.
Footy in China has received plenty of attention in recent times, with Tom Mattessi and Andrew Sawitsch both working hard to kick-start local participation. Along the way they've had the assistance of a sister-city arrangement between Melbourne and Tianjin, as well as active Australian expat-based footy clubs in Shanghai and Beijing.
Currently footy is established in two main regions of China (three including Hong Kong). In the north, the Beijing Bombers are a mainly Australian footy club in the national capital, with some fairly new mainly Chinese university teams about two hours away in Tianjin. On the coast further south the Shanghai Tigers are also about two hours' away from the city of Suzhou, where a burgeoning juniors program is taking root in local schools.
The people working on the ground in China believe the potential to be massive, although there's talk the next step could require a funding injection from the Australian end to really create a solid, self-sustaining footy scene. Certainly many consider a Chinese team at the 2008 IC to be a strong possibility - and possibly a huge surprise packet on the field. Could China become the "new South Africa" with regards to development funding?
The countdown to the 2007 Narita Cup has officially begun with the Japan AFL this week beginning its promotion of the event. To be held in early October, it will coincide with the 20th anniversary of football in the country. Japan’s first taste of Australian football was a curtain-raiser to a Hawthorn and Essendon AFL match at Yokohama Stadium in 1987, and involved the renowned Waseda and Keio Universities. Since that initial game, the Japan AFL has been diligent in expanding football's profile throughout the country, with both a senior and university competition underway and representation (through the All-Japan Samurais) at the 2002 and 2005 International Cups. The Samurais have been one of the more active national sides, making an annual trip to Australia which will continue this year.