The young girl positioned herself behind the goalposts as usual. She did this at every training session to watch her brothers. On the field the coach barked orders and the players continued another set of sprints, sweat pouring from their brows, but knowing this was the last training session before the Christmas break.
Hannah watched the players. She watched them complete their handpassing drills every training night. She watched the kicking drills. She watched the tackling, the marking, everything. Tonight a tear ran down her cheek when she wished that maybe Santa might one day grant her the chance to play her favourite game. Maybe this Christmas?
As she sat watching, her cheeks still red from her gentle weeping, the coach turned around and faced her. Hannah was unsure why or what had happened. Maybe something was going on behind her. But the coach started motioning for her to come out onto the field.
The International Cup should segregate. The women and men should play the next iteration of the International Cup separately. Just two years after the last International Cup was held, I firmly believe that the women’s International Cup should be played in 2016.
It is because 2017 will be year zero for the AFL Women’s National league. Because 2016 will be the time for the best women in footy to audition for the (assumed) historic draft that will fill the first teams of the league. And a women’s international tournament will allow the best women footballers from Oceania, North America and Europe to show their wares in Melbourne before the talent scouts from the new teams.
The 2015 season in Australia, and many other countries, is done – apart from those resilient and fanatical “Top-Enders” in Darwin where matches will be played, rain, hail, shine or monsoon, until March. Competitions in the Middle East and France keep the flame flickering also. Many now will sit back and reflect on the exploits of their favourite players, teams, matches or subjects other than footy. Discussions may turn to club recruiting, drafting, trading, coaching or a range of other “team” related topics.
But behind the scenes at all levels of the game, volunteers and diehards that keep those players on the field get a small window where other things in life – like resting and eating – can return to a more “normal” state. Clubs and players might succeed on the battle fields of football grounds, but they cannot, simply cannot, succeed without the tireless and generous efforts of their crews behind the scenes.
Take the mythical “Bandicoots” team. A fabricated name for the story, but inhabited by a cast of people that are as real as the sweat and talent on field.
With the release today of the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture, the Northern Territory and Tropical North Queensland are again the winners. Once again, matches will be played for premiership points in Alice Springs, Darwin and Cairns. But by far the biggest winner was the North Queensland city of Mackay which will host its first ever official AFL match in the pre-season NAB Cup match.
For the past three seasons the city of Townsville has held the event, hosting matches featuring North Melbourne (2013) Brisbane Lions (2014) and Geelong (2015) each playing the Gold Coast Suns. But Mackay’s successful bid will see the Brisbane Lions return north, this time at the Harrup Park Country Club complex.
Current St Kilda player, David Armitage, is a Mackay boy, having played for the Eastern Swans in his junior days prior to drafting into the AFL, adding a level of local interest to the game.
To watch The Moody Blues live at the Sydney Entertainment Centre was one of my life long wishes. Burned into my memory is watching Justin Hayward ascend an ethereal mountain singing “Nights In White Satin” and hitting every note as I had remembered it. My life seemed complete…almost.
A year earlier I had the same uplifting feeling watching Pink Floyd play the entire Dark Side Of The Moon album, and was transfixed when David Gilmour brought “Comfortably Numb” to life. A couple of years earlier at a Dire Straits concert, Mark Knopfler played the guitar solo from Sultans Of Swing to sheer perfection, and their pulsating rendition of “Private Investigations” was breathtaking . Watching Jimmy Barnes and Chisel burst to life with “Conversations” was brilliant, but nothing tops watching The Boss play “Born To Run” live with ten thousand plus backing vocalists.
I feel so lucky to have experienced so many of the greatest artists in the world live, right there in front of me. Today’s youth might see my choices as dated or irrelevant (poor souls!), and prefer to carry their memories of Beiber, Katy Perry or similar as their own defining entertainment moments. God forbid!
The www.afl.com.au website has recognised the recent international Australian Rules football carnivals across the world with this overview of the AFL Europe Axios Euro Cup in Croatia, the AFL Asia Asian Champs in Thailand and the USAFL Nationals Tournament in Austin, Texas.
The article by Dinny Navaratnam shows a strong endorsement by the AFL of how far the game has come on three continents - Europe, Asia and North America – by having so many clubs and national teams represented. It truly stands as example of our game beginning to take on the initial appearance of – The World Game.
(Picture: Rob Brewer for AFL Asia)
THE HONG Kong Dragons are the champions of Asia, after they beat the Malaysian Warriors last Saturday, 4.11 (35) to 2.3 (15).
For many less enlightened footy followers the Australian Rules footy season “came to an end” last weekend when the mighty Hawthorn defeated West Coast for the 2015 AFL Premiership. Across the world other competitions at senior, junior, men’s and women’s level have completed their 2015 campaigns.
But where one competition ends, there are now plenty of other competitions ready to take over as Australian Rules football continues to grow stronger as an all year round sporting behemoth.
Kicking off this weekend is the Axios Euro Cup in Croatia where the best teams across Europe take to the fields to assert their dominance as the best in Europe. This year’s questions will look at whether Denmark, champions in 2014, can go back to back in Croatia or if the host nation can take out the title. With twelve men’s and six women’s teams on show, the event will be a cracker.
The Grand Final is set. 2014 Premiers Hawthorn taking on the vastly improved West Coast Eagles at the MCG this Saturday afternoon Melbourne time. For the past 10 years, World Footy News has collated an extensive list of Grand Final Parties around the world to help viewers find them. And with the 2015 AFL Grand Final being just over 1 day away we are calling for clubs around the world to send details of your party to us, so that fans of the game in your country/city can watch the big game with you.
You can either post details as a comment below (you must register before you are able to post a comment or login via Facebook) or email firstname.lastname@example.org - all these details will be collated as per previous years.
The third week of the 2015 Finals series kicks off in Perth Friday night with Fremantle hosting Hawthorn. Saturday night also in Perth the West Coast Eagles host North Melbourne. The two winners through to next week's Grand Final.
Once again viewers around the world can access matches live or delayed on a number of TV networks or stream the telecast via subscription to Watchafl.com.au.
The broadcast schedule for this Finals Week 2 can be seen below. .