The Japanese city of Hiroshima is all set to host a very special ANZAC Day Australian Rules football event. In a year which sees the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and associated commemorations, the Hiroshima tournament will add yet another international dimension to a worldwide recognition of those who gave their lives in battle.
In their initial information advice, The Hiroshima Cranes stated that “on April 25th, the first Australian football tournament in history will be held in Hiroshima. Australian football or 'Aussie Rules', is Australia's most popular code of football, and is rapidly growing in popularity in Japan. Teams will travel from Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya to participate.”
“April 25th (ANZAC Day) is Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand troops during World War 1. 2015 is the 100 year anniversary of this event. Respectful ceremony will be a key part of the day.”
The Vietnam Swans are proud to announce a new initiative being led by the Swans in conjunction with the Viet Celts and Saigon Gaels Gaelic, Hanoi Dragons and Saigon Gecko’s Rugby and Hanoi Oi’s and Saigon Shooters Netball Clubs – the Central Vietnam Games, to be held in Danang on 7 March.
Through the perseverance and determination of Swannies Hall of Fame inductee and Hoi An native, Michael “MJ” Johnston and new Danang recruit Jason Carter, a fantastic old ground with ample grass to accommodate an expansive game of Aussie Rules has been booked. An expected group of around 100 finely tuned athletes are expected to descend upon Danang for what is shaping up as a great weekend of sport.
Thailand Tigers AFL club hold Auskick Football Clinic at Boy’s Home.
A group of Thailand Tigers and Auskick families recently (December 2014) gave up their Saturday afternoon to run a football clinic at a boy’s home for children who are less fortunate than most of us. The chance to do this was made possible by way of iCare Foundation and the organisational skills of two Tiger members, (Coxy* and Phil*) and they deserve recognition for their work.
Over 50 boys from the home turned out, with a range of ages similar to Auskick. They were split into groups and introduced to kicking, handballing, goal kicking, marking and tackling by rotating through stations run by groups of Tigers, Dads and Auskickers. The level of enthusiasm from the children was great and the boys picked up the basics very quickly; you had to remind yourself that the majority of them had never seen a footy before.
India appears to be one of Australian football's hot spots at the moment, with a growing organisational structure, interest from AFL clubs and grass roots support coming from Australia. One such example is a recent trip organised by the Bendigo Netball and Football League. Bendigo is a regional city in Victoria with a strong Aussie Rules culture. Thanks to Mikey Dynon (a Bendigo local who was involved with India at IC14) for bringing the trip to our attention and to the original author of the report, Bruce Claridge.
Indian Trip Report.
After many months of planning, promotion and anticipation the first BFNL India Trip departed from Tullamarine Airport at 11:30 am on Wednesday November 5th, 2014.
The team's main goal was to prepare the way for future annual trips by connecting with key people in Kolkata who would open doors of opportunity for teams to follow.
The initial team of Bruce and Jan Claridge, Paul Byrne, Connor Byrne, Justin Abrams and Ben and Toni West formed a unified group with a clear mission and the initial expectations of the group were far exceeded as the week together unfolded.
The following article is from the website of AFL Asia, detailing the efforts of the Jakarta Bintangs to win the SEAFL Championship for 2014.
For the second year of the SEAFL (South East Asia Football League) Championship, the Jakarta Bintangs have claimed the title for the second time.
Going into November’s Asian Championships, the Bintangs were undefeated.
The Bintangs were cleaning up everything in their path whether at home or abroad. Scalps included the Singapore Wombats in Singapore and the Vietnam Swans in Vung Tau, Vietnam, at the Annual ANZAC Friendship Match. Unfortunately for the Bintangs, the Champs were less successful than they might have expected – but those games were outside the scope of the SEAFL.
The Hiroshima Cranes, Japan's newest Australian Rules football team, has recently played in their first hitout against estbalished opposition. Jonathan Cooper, formerly from the Osaka Dingoes and now a key part of the new Cranes outfit, sent this story about the event.
Australian Football in Japan has a very long history, but since 2004, Japanese Australian Football has been governed by the Japan Australian Football League. Teams from Osaka to Tokyo have participated in a national competition which has involved some very strenuous road trips. Despite being a small country in area, Japan is very long archipelago. Distances are vast, and domestic travel is very expensive. In 2014 with 7 teams in Tokyo, and very strong, established teams in Nagoya and Osaka, the JAFL made the decision to separate the league into an Eastern and a Western division.
Despite some initial hurdles and early challenges, the Western division of the Japanese Australian Football League has recently been going from strength to strength. With the support of the league and the international football community, a new team has been established in Hiroshima, and there are now three teams out west – The Hiroshima Cranes, Osaka Dingoes and Nagoya Redbacks. Several other teams are also a very real possibility in 2015.
The Port Adelaide FC has connected with a new club in Guangzhou, China with the Zhujiang (Pearl River) Power running out onto the field for the first time recently.
The Zhujiang Power join four other sides in their local competition in Guangdong Province of Southern China - the Huizhou Hawks, Dongguan Giants, Guangzhou Scorpions and Guangzhou Sports University Seagulls.
Port Adelaide hosted the Chinese national side at the IC14, with the Chinese marching before the match between Port and the Sydney Swans in round 20. They have also recently formalised an official partnership with the Hong Kong Australia Business Association.
The full story from the PAFC website is reproduced below.
LEFT: A player from the Zhujiang Power keeps ahead of his Guangzhou Sports Uni opponent.
The Footy players from Bengal had not yet gotten over the festive spirit when they were served up another delightful treat. They got some true Aussie Footy flavour as 4 of the finest Footy players from Essendon Football Club of the AFL came down to have a joint training session with the players at Bongaon, West Bengal. The training was a part of the club’s ‘Embracing India’ initiative and true to its name, Joe Daniher, Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis embraced the occasion in style.
Around 200 enthusiastic players from Bongaon, Kolkata, Howrah and Khardah turned up for the chance of a lifetime. Some had made a 10hr long round-trip to attend the training and their efforts did not go in vain. A few players had even made the trip from Ranchi, Jharkhand to grab this opportunity. The players were put through their paces Aussie style, and their skills with the Footy impressed even the professionals. “I was really surprised how many young boys and girls turned out for the AFL India super clinic," Daniher said."They had some pretty impressive skills. Zacka and I took them through a few drills and they didn't miss a beat, we might have even met the next Dyson Heppell or Jobe Watson today."
The following article by Thomas Kean appeared in the Myanmar Times in September during the lead up to the Asian Championships in 2014. The work of Julian Clark has become legendary throughout Asia, and elsewhere, and this story examines his background and influence on the game, as well as his latest achievement – bringing the game to the nation of Myanmar.
“This is my advertisement, mate,” says Julian Clark. He tugs at his Cambodia Eagles polo shirt with one hand, a mug of cold beer recently poured from the tap at Savoy Hotel’s Captain’s Bar in the other. “My job is to use this to recruit people.”
Julian “Big Rooster” Clark, a veteran of 20 Australian Rules football seasons as an expat, has made something of a career out of nurturing new teams wherever his work as an engineer has taken him.