It was two unconnected, though related events on my recent time down in footy’s heartland – Victoria – that underlined a very real truth: without the fans we do not have a game.
My mother stated that players change, club administrations change, nowadays jumpers change and even venues change. But the one constant is that there are always supporters. For the most part those supporters have been around for years and years – outlasting the players that fleet across a club’s landscape (with the possible exception of Dustin Fletcher who appears intent on playing well into his third decade).
A quick drive into the Sorrento footy ground in my old home town illustrated the point. The juniors were out on the field that I once played on as a teenager, despite the wind chill factor making it about five degrees out there. I had the audacity to see myself out there as I looked, but soon realised that my body cannot do the things it once did.
Adam Saad from the Gold Coast Suns is the Round Five NAB AFL Rising Star nominee. Adam received votes in the Marcus Ashcroft Medal following the Suns’ 64-point win over the Brisbane Lions in Saturday night’s Q-Clash.
The running defender collected 26 possessions, took seven marks and had nine bounces in the Suns’ first win of the season. After being over looked in two NAB AFL Drafts, Adam, 20, was selection 25 in the 2015 NAB AFL Rookie Draft and was upgraded to the Suns’ senior list after impressing in all three NAB Challenge matches.
He made is AFL debut in Round One and has played all five games this year. Adam played junior football with the West Coburg Football Club and the Calder Cannons. He represented the World XVIIIat the 2011 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships.
One thing we always hoped that our site would be valued for in time, was as a documented history of modern International Footy. The site started in 2004 and we have had thousands of stories since then. So what was happening 10 years ago this week at World Footy News?
The recent allegation of racial vilification aimed at Richmond footballer Bachar Houli is a worrying sign. Whilst the journalist involved has apologised and does not recall having labelled Houli as a "terrorist", the mere fact that there might be a perceived vilifying link is disturbing on so many levels.
Whilst the ramifications go all the way to the rights of all people to a life without threats, bullying, stereotyping and fear, there is also a lesser argument that football codes, in this case Australian Rules football, will be damaged as a brand by the actions of a small minority.
This incident come just over a week after Western Bulldogs player, Lin Jong, was the target of racial slurs. His lineage is both East Timorese and Taiwanese. Richmond's Chief Executive, Brendon Gale stated to the AFL's website that ""Lin Jong is a fine young player and we should be celebrating the diversity he brings to our game."
Likewise, Bachar Houli's contribution to the game in terms of the development of multicultural markets for our game should be applauded and widely recognised. Racial slurs, whether in jest, without thought or deliberately targeted have absolutely no place in our game, or any sport, and all that can be done needs to be so stamp out racial slurs.
AFL Round 4 kicks off with Richmond hosting Melbourne at the MCG in Melbourne, Friday night. Five matches will be played across ANZAC Day on Saturday including the St Kilda vs Carlton match in Wellington NZ.
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.
Note Fox Soccer Plus will now be broadcasting the Port vs. Hawthorn match instead of the GWS Giants vs. Gold Coast SUNS match.
TSN2 will also now be broadcasting the Essendon vs. Collingwood Anzac Day match LIVE and the Geelong Cats vs. North Melbourne match on delay.
The broadcast schedule for this round can be seen below.
The Under 15 players in cairns competing in the National Diversity Championships certainly present an amazing spread of heritage and culture. Whilst the Kickstart squad is comprised of players with indigenous Australian backgrounds, the All nations squad has the criteria that one or both parents had to be born overseas (or the player themselves) to qualify.
On that criteria, the spread of multicultural talent is quite astonishing, and a pointer to the future uptake of Australian Rules football.
Throughout a series of interviews conducted at the championships, accompanied by information provided in the official record booklet, the list includes (but is not limited to):
Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), South Korea, Cambodia, Vanuatu, Afghanistan, France, Sudan, Congo, Lebanon, South Africa, Burundi, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, England, Egypt.