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.
The Philippines Australian Football League proudly hosted the 2014 Asian Championships last weekend where teams met to decide which was the best Australian Rules football nation in Asia. Described as “the pinnacle of the AFL Asia calendar”, it was the Singapore Wombats who revelled in the glory of being 2014 champions.
The event was somewhat sandwiched between the battle for European supremacy (Euro Cup) and North American bragging rights (USAFL Nationals) but drew a strong and enthusiastic following for a great day’s football.
Following are the results from the 2014 Asian Champs that were held in Clark, Philippines on 11 October 2014.
Inor da Silva just loves Australian Rules football. A member of the Timor Leste Crocs International Cup team in 2011, Inor still lives the game as much as he can. His social media pages are littered with photos of the glory days of the Crocs playing against international teams. He is proud to fly the flag and holds the hope that one day Timor Leste footy can come back.
Inor says, “Yeah we keep training in Dili every Sunday. We have got many players at training. But we still look for support for our national team, the Crocs, but we can’t find it. We hope to have good support [in the future] to get to the Asian champions tournament in the Philippines Cup. We hope we can get support soon.”
Back in 2008 World Footy News wrote a story, Timor-Leste Crocs enter Asian Footy, looking at the start of the Timor Leste Crocs and the development of the game in the nation. Back then it was full steam ahead, but after their IC11 involvement the Aussie Rules footy scene has dropped away.
2006 Norm Smith Medallist, Andrew Embley, from the West Coast Eagles has signed on as the inaugural coach of The Indochina All Stars, a combined football team of nationals from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.
The team will play its first match in Thailand on Saturday, 16 August as part of the Indochina Cup, now in its 8th year. It is expected that the team will develop over the next three years and compete in the International Cup in 2017 in Melbourne.
Andrew who had an illustrious 15 year career at the West Coast Eagles is excited about getting involved in Asian Football and developing local players over the longer term. Andrew has Anglo/Burmese ancestry with both his Grandparents and Father being born in Burma (Myanmar) migrating to Perth in 1964.
As a feature of Multicultural Round, Indian AFL fans in Australia will be able to watch Essendon Football Club’s Sunday afternoon game on FOX Footy with Hindi and Punjabi commentary by PRESSING RED. PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA will broadcast the game inthe two biggest Indian dialects LIVE from 4.35pm.
To view the PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA trailer featuring captain Jobe Watson, click here.Essendon has established itself as the AFL club of choice for Melbourne’s Indian community and PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA is another example of the club’s ongoing commitment to grow its relationship with the Indian community.
PRESS RED: EMBRACING INDIA will feature the experienced call team of broadcaster and presenter Manpreet Singh, radio broadcaster Gurtej Singh and special commentary from Essendon captain and AFL Multicultural Round ambassador Jobe Watson as well as a Tom Bellchambers and Alex Browne.
An opportunity exists to assist the development of Australian Rules football in Japan with the newly formed Hiroshima Football Club seeking individual donations and corporate sponsors to raise the necessary start-up funds to get the club on the field.
Below is the link for those interested in assisting the Hiroshima club find the initial $1000 to be on the field, as well a a brief description of their aims. This opportunity may also be of value to clubs looking at developing links with Japanese clubs.
The following article appeared on the AustraliaPlus.com website earlier this week.
Australian football is played widely overseas with international participation estimated at more than 100,000 participants. There are clubs and links with the game all over the world. In Hong Kong, the local team the Hong Kong Dragons was established 24 years ago. It currently has a membership base of 50-60 players participating in the South China Australian Football League and the AFL junior AusKick program. AusKick, the AFL's development program is popular with both boy and girls both in Australia and abroad.
The half-time AusKicker game, where AusKick associations are invited to play on AFL grounds during senior matches is a traditional part of the spectacle and an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Footy returned to its birthplace in India on the 15th of June as Kolkata hosted the first ever ‘ARFAI Bengal State Championship’ in Salt Lake, West Bengal. Six teams with players hailing from Bongaon, Kharda, Hooghly, Howrah and Kolkata fought it out on the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan school ground on a Sunday which witnessed scorching heat, thunderstorm, torrential rain and some cracking Footy action.
The ground in fact hosted the first ever exhibition match of Footy in India back in 2008 with the efforts of present Secretary General of the Australian Rules Football Association of India, Sudip Chakraborty.
The teams were divided into 2 groups of 3 each and played out a round robin format to decide which 2 teams would go on to contest the final. The first group featured the Tigers, Giants and Bombers while the second group matched up the Eagles, Saints and Wolverines against each other. The Eagles team was lucky to play in official West Coast Eagles merchandize provided by the club themselves and facilitated by ARFAI ambassador Helen Mell from Perth.
The tournament also saw the first appearance of a non-Australian brother club in the form of Wolverines who take their name from Wolverhampton Wolverines club in AFL England. After fiercely fought matches in the group stages, the Bombers and the Saints advanced to get a shot at the coveted trophy.
The city of Hiroshima, located in western Japan on the main island of Honshu, will forever be etched in history as the first city to be bombed by a nuclear weapon. On August 6th, 1945 the USAAF B-29 bomber the Enola Gay dropped the device which caused such massive death and destruction.
But since that tragedy the city has become an international symbol of growth and rebuilding, winning the enduring respect of the world to return from such total destruction and become one of Japan’s most beautiful cities.
The oleander is the official flower of the city as a symbol of growth, as it was the first flower to bloom after the disaster. Maybe there could be the spirit of the oleander in the Hiroshima football club as it begins to grow and bloom in this Japanese city of over a million people.
Australian football is back in the beautiful city of Hiroshima. Several years after the inaugural friendly between an Osaka team and an eclectic assortment of eager participants from Hiroshima City, Australian Football has returned. As a city with a very vibrant international community and very strong links with Australia, it is hoped that the team will grow rapidly.
AFL Japan kicked off the 2014 season last on Sunday 20th April in a match where 2013 Top League Premiers, Tokyo Bay Suns defeated the Eastern Hawks by a whopping 110 points. Final score: 21.26 (152) to 5.1 (42).
Anzac weekend saw two matches, Senshu Powers taking on R246 Lions on Saturday 26th while the Tokyo Goannas battled it out with Komazawa Magpies on Sunday.
AFL Japan has undergone some structural changes during the off season, splitting the Top League into two regional leagues. The West League comprises the Osaka Dingoes and the Nagoya Redbacks, whilst the East League is made up of Tokyo Bay Suns, Komazawa Magpies, Senshu Powers, Eastern Hawks, Tokyo Goannas, R246 Lions and for the third year in a row accepted a brand new team, the Poseidons.
Nine teams/clubs is the greatest number of clubs in AFL Japan history and augers well for the growth and development of footy in Japan.