Croatia's Zagreb Hawks will play host to the West London Wildcats on March 31st this year, with the Wildcats venturing to eastern Europe for the first time after recent years saw them take on sides in Denmark, Sweden and Barcelona as pre-season warm-ups. The match will be held in the city of Split, where organisers hope a new team can be created in the near future.
The GAA may have put the International Rules series into deep freeze, but former GAA stars in the AFL are running hot in pre-season training. We have a look at the form of the O'hAilpin brothers (and point you to a great documentary on the family), and draw attention to several recent media reports on the other members of the Irish invasion.
Late last year we reported on a proposed new league by Aussie Rules UK to be run in British population centres away from London. The ARUK league was designed to use smaller player numbers and groupings in smaller regions. This aimed to address some of the complaints levelled at the British Australian Rules Football League, but it appeared it would also be run partially in competition with the BARFL's Regional League. Some of the teams listed by ARUK were indeed BARFL sides so the UK Australian Football scene was clearly in for an interesting off-season as clubs faced a big decision. It has been two months since we last looked at this issue so WFN contacted the existing and proposed new clubs to ask them how their preparations for 2007 have been going and which league they intend playing in. We've also discussed some of the problems faced by regional clubs in the past, how the BARFL has or hasn't dealt with such issues, and how planning for the inaugural ARUK season is progressing.
Eddie McAvinchey reports from the SARFL on last year's season of solid progress and anticipation of further growth in 2007:
Scotland looks ahead to exciting 2007
by Eddie McAvinchey of SARFL
With Collingwood forming a sister relationship with the Glasgow Magpies (formerly Glasgow Redbacks) the Scottish Australian Football League (SARFL) has started the year with a blast and is looking forward to a lively 2007. The 2006 season proved a bit of a watershed for the game in Scotland, with an expanded 5-team league structure, a further successful staging of the pre-season Scottish Cup, and the entrance of a new, second team in Glasgow.
A few concerned readers have contacted us wondering if there are any major concerns behind the current downtime of the Australian Rules Football League Ireland and British Australian Rules Football League websites (you'll be tempted to click on them anyway since they're hyperlinked). WFN has been in contact with the webmasters of both sites and have been assured that these are just the usual website/webhost glitches experienced by many websites and they hope to be back up and running soon.
We may as well take this opportunity to thank Ripefruit for the excellent service they provide us with here at WFN.
One of Australian Football's oldest international leagues, the Danish AFL, has decided to expand its Premier League to six sides for the coming 2007 season. The new club is the Port Malmö Maulers, from the growing Swedish football scene.
More details are emerging of Aussie Rules UK's plans for a national league in 2007, with 5 divisions planned across Britain, featuring 21 teams of 9 per side, possibly including quite a few existing British Australian Rules Football League clubs.
A battle may be looming in Britain as the long standing league the BARFL (website down at time of writing - a bad omen?) appear set to be challenged by the relatively new organisation on the scene, Aussie Rules UK, in regions outside of London. In an interesting twist last month the founder of ARUK successfully ran for a position on the BARFL Committee before resigning the following day to pursue plans for a new league in 2007 with hints of a significant sponsor. Not surprisingly both sides have different opinions on how this has all unfolded and whether the existing Regional League will be affected. Is there to be a battle or something completely different...
The footy scene in France is hoping to soon affiliate with the polysports association Leo Lagrange in an effort to improve the profile of Australian Rules football and give itself a channel to receiving funding through government channels.
The move comes as the French footy clubs debate the best way forward for the sport in France, with Strasbourg pulling out of the AFLG after a tough first year and options for regional leagues in and around France up for discussion.