Late last year the AFLNT were proud to recognise the record growth of the game of Australian Rules football across a range of areas. That growth has now translated into an exciting season which is now culminating with the 2012-13 finals series. It was a season which expected and got huge growth, and this growth has delivered both on and off the field.
This coming weekend will see last year's premiers, the Tiwi Bombers, take on Wanderers for a place in the NTFL Premier League Grand Final.
Last week it was St Mary’s who booked the first place in the Grand Final by giving out a hiding to the Tiwi Bombers to the tune of 51 points in the Second Semi Final. Wanderers upset Southern Districts by an even 100 points to get to the Preliminary Final.
St Mary’s await the winner of the Tiwi v Wanderers clash, and are the overwhelming favourite to take this year's flag.
“I took three boys into Darwin to play representative footy in November 2012 and we went food shopping together. I asked one of the boys to go and get me a few things from the shopping list and they had never heard of it before."
"When I asked what they eat for breakfast, the reply was ‘left over turtle or dugong’. Unfortunately we were unable to find that in Coles. It is great to see that the traditional food gathering still takes place in these areas such as fishing and hunting. If we can help them [indigenous people from Groote Eylandt] understand our culture then we will be able to achieve so many more goals.”
This recollection from Shawn Ford, the AFL Regional Development Manager for Groote Eylandt, says a great deal about the differences that still exist in many ways of life in remote parts of Australia. Aspects of life that many take for granted can be viewed differently by others.
It is quite likely that the last thing on the mind of John Campbell Miles, as he hopefully kicked rocks along the bed of the Leichhardt River back in 1923 looking for gold or other treasures, was that 90 years later Australian Rules footballers would be kicking goals of their own near that same location. But that is exactly what is now happening, and with some real heavyweight support behind it, Australian Rules football in Mount Isa may be about to unearth its own mother lode of talent.
Such is the eclectic nature of mining towns that men and women bring more to a location than just skills and an ethic of hard work. They bring themselves and their assortment of interests and hobbies.
So it was that three men, notably Alan Metcalfe, John Edwards and John Cargill among others, arrived in Mount Isa and worked hard to establish the Mount Isa Australian Football League. Alan Metcalfe went on to be a key instigator in the further development of the North Australian Football Championships which featured teams from Mt Isa, Darwin, Alice Springs, Townsville, Cairns and Port Moresby.
By 1957 the town boasted three teams (Tigers, Rovers & Healy) which was enough to start competition. Due to mining downturns and the transient nature of the populations of mining towns, footy in Mount Isa has often been a stop/start proposition.
It's been a while since we have had an Aussie rules movie doing the rounds. On March 7 around Australia the film Blinder will be released. No details are available yet on any international release. The trailer for the movie can be seen below.
The following is from the the Blinder movie website. Legendary actor Jack Thompson reprises his role as a football coach three decades after The Club, in new film Blinder which explores our country's love affair with the greatest sport in the world. Shot around Torquay, Victoria, the story follows an ex-footballer who, embracing the life lessons his coach once taught him, reignites an old flame after a long absence away from his home town.
When Tayo Cafarella, the current Regional Development Manager for AFL Northern Territory in the town of Galiwinku, first reported for work he was surprised. The local oval was closed for cultural reasons, which seemed to put a stop to his work before it even started.
Not so, according to the kids in town. Oval or no oval the footy must go on. As Tayo says, “this did not stop the juniors who were at my door every day pleading for footy [so] we played 10 rounds of our U13’s competition in the local park. The boys were running around barefoot, dodging trees, dogs, a sandpit and the odd pig. Not once did they complain of the conditions, they were just stoked to be playing footy!”
So, welcome to the spirit of Elcho Island, and Galiwinku, its largest town. A quick search of the map will show that Elcho Island is located near the north-eastern tip of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. The island is long and narrow, surrounded by the Arafura Sea to the west and Cadell Strait to the east. It is one of the southernmost islands in Wessel Group and Galiwinku sits roughly in the cenre of the island.
I am very lucky that I can travel the stretch of road between Cairns and Townsville many times a year. The drive takes in some of the finest scenery in Australia. Along the way there are the imposing twin mountains, Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker, with their luxuriant rainforest canopies.
There is the beach at Cardwell with its views across to majestic Hinchinbrook Island. Mile upon mile of sugar cane farms surrounding the towns of Gordonvale, Innisfail, Tully and Ingham in the valleys of the Mulgrave, Johnston, Tully and Herbert Rivers.
Then there are the detours to Mission Beach, Wallaman Falls, Paluma and more. It truly is an amazing part of the world.
At either and of the drive are two growing cities. They are rivals in many ways - complementary in others. Some believe that Cairns is the “tourist capital” of the north and others see Townsville as the “administrative capital”. These descriptions are too simplistic, and are an argument for another day. What is becoming clear, however, is that these two northern cities in tropical Australia are about to become locked in a battle to see an AFL team franchise based there by 2030.
The West Perth Football Club was much like other historic football clubs that find themselves at the mercy of changing demographics and now classified as "inner city".
In 1994 West Perth bit the bullet and moved from their traditional Italian community based Leederville to the populous new city of Joondalup. It was a major upheaval, with clashes between the members wishing to remain “West Perth” and the club’s desire to appeal to the new and wider community of Joondalup.
In 2012 the club successfully promoted the idea of a WAFL International Round with the West Perth F.C. donning Union Jack style jumpers and appealing to the large English immigrant community. The club also undertook an energetic campaign of attending all 65 schools in the area and engaging the media. 6044 people attended, the second largest WAFL H&A of the season against poorly supported Subiaco F.C.
This is a media release from the AFL Northern Territory sheds a new light on the importance of the Northern Territory to Australian Rules football nationally in terms of how many kids are making it through the talent pathways to AFL teams.
“AFL International and National Talent Manager Kevin ‘Shifter’ Sheehan has released some statistics which shows the Northern Territory is in the top three of AFL talent producers between 1997-2011.
“The NT has been a steady contributor to the AFL system over a number of years and these statistics put them in the top three behind Vic Metro and South Australia,” advised Sheehan.
The study conducted by Griffith University, has the Northern Territory producing on average 12.08 players per 1000 participants aged between 13 and 18 as compared to Vic Metro 14.13 and South Australia 12.35.
“When you break it down on comparison and based on population the Northern Territory are clearly doing the right things to foster and develop talent and with a little more refinement I think we can get that number higher.”
“If you look at 2012 the NT had three players drafted which is above the 2.5 average they have had between 1997-2011.”
The return of AFL football in 2013 was today heralded by the launch of the 2013 NAB Cup. This year’s NAB Cup was launched at Etihad Stadium today by three players set to make highly anticipated debuts for new clubs in Friday night’s opening round.
As AFL fans prepare to see how their team is shaping up in 2013, the pre-season competition was ushered in by two of the highest profile off-season free agents, Essendon’s Brendon Goddard and Collingwood’s Clinton Young, along with one of the game’s brightest new recruits, Western Bulldogs rookie Jackson Macrae.
Essendon, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs will kick off this year’s NAB Cup with all three teams taking on each other at Etihad Stadium this Friday, February 15 (from 6.45pm).
Whether it's a rookie selected early in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft or those established players who have moved clubs via free agency in the off-season, this year’s NAB Cup once again provides the first chance to ‘see how they shape up’ ahead of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season.