Former Collingwood, Adelaide and North Melbourne player Jason McCartney is well known to international footy for various roles performed on behalf of the AFL, especially as coach of South Africa at the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. McCartney has now been appointed as High Performance Coach for Australian football at the Australian Institute of Sport, which oversees the country's elite youth. Full details follow.
The AFL today announced Jason McCartney had been appointed as AIS-AFL High Performance Coach, to replace Alan McConnell who recently accepted the role as Western Sydney High Performance Manager.
McCartney, 35, played a total of 182 games across a 13-season career with Collingwood, Adelaide and North Melbourne, and had been the AFL’s Youth and High Performance Co-Ordinator. McCartney commenced with the AFL in 2004, heading up AFL Youth Leadership Seminars that have reached more than 70,000 students across Australia.
The Western Australian Football League has scored its first victory over the South Australian National Football League in around 15 years, winning a thriller by one point at Leederville Oval in Perth. Each year most of the state leagues play one interstate match, with WA, SA and Victoria battling for supremacy on a 3 year cycle, whilst slotting in games against Tasmania and Queensland in the off-years. In recent years the SANFL has held sway, winning 10 out of 11 matches, repeatedly claiming the title as best state league, keeping their noses ahead of the VFL.
WA in the meantime showed themselves to still clearly be third best, but have now stepped up, knocking off the Croweaters in soggy conditions on Saturday afternoon. After SA getting away early, WA bounced back to lead by 2 goals at the main break, SA nudged clear by 7 points at three quarter time then the Sandgropers got away again to lead by 7 points during the last stanza. There was a nail biting finish that saw the sides trade goals, with SA's Brant Chambers booting the final goal 29 minutes in, before the siren blew with SA falling short by a solitary point. To be fair to the South Aussies, it was the narrowest of margins, in foreign territory, and two early injuries were damaging, especially losing their ruckman. WA's leading scorers were Brent Le Cras and Lewis Jetta with 3 goals each, while for SA it was Chambers with 5.
As the first match in a new 3 year cycle, the title of best state league remains winnable by the premier three footy states. With an increased salary cap in 2009, and now an interstate win, it might be that local footy is resurgent in Western Australia. With the AFL National Draft compromised by the new AFL clubs in the coming years, it's likely AFL clubs will look closely at the state leagues for some mature age players - the VFL's best player in last year's loss to the SANFL was Robin Nahas, now one of Richmond's few shining lights in 2009. Jetta might be one who comes under similar consideration, looking a very elusive player in the stereotypical indigenous small forward style.
Two areas we've particularly focused on for this site are international Australian football and the ongoing development of the sport within Australia, be it plans for AFL clubs on the Gold Coast and West Sydney or the lower tiers such as the addition of the NT Thunder in AFL Queensland's league.
Leading the way for the AFL has been their General Manager of National and International Development, David Matthews. It's pleasing to see the AFL website has conducted a series of interviews with Matthews, covering a wide range of development issues, including all of those that we've previously discussed on this website, but without the large audience that Australia's most popular sporting website can reach.
All of the items discussed regarding international footy we've touched on before with Game Development staff, such as the AFL's hopes to bring Oceania into the elite Under 16 competition, a tender process for IC2011, and South Africa filling the junior void from the cancelling of International Rules with Ireland. But this is the first time the plans have been more widely reported, especially all in one interview, and possibly indicate a firming of some of those plans and a desire to build community support for it. The articles are:
It is rare for us to fully reproduce an article from mainstream sites, but as a consolidated summary of how the AFL sees future development it seems worthwhile for the record, so we have done so below.
The jockeying for position across Australia continues, with Australian Football, soccer, Rugby League and Rugby Union continuing to seek opportunities to expand. The AFL has confirmed the Gold Coast for 2011 and maintains 2012 as the preferred date for Western Sydney, though there are some concessions that it could be pushed out depending on circumstances. Tasmania is also being publically discussed more favourably as a future option, although no real timetable or mechanism has been set.
The A League (soccer) has a free kick to establish itself in Tassie if it wishes. Currently the state government is investigating whether to bid for a licence. The league already has 8 clubs across Australia and New Zealand, and has been focussing along the heavily populated stretch from Sydney to Brisbane. The coming season will see Gold Coast and North Queensland teams, and Gold Coast United's billionaire owner Clive Palmer has predicted that the AFL's Gold Coast club will fold within three years. "The biggest loser's going to be GC17 and Australian rules itself. I give them three years they'll be gone (by 2014)".
Richard Pratt has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 74. In a media release from the AFL, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou last night said the AFL commission and Staff wished to pass on their sincere condolences to the family of the late Richard Pratt.
Mr. Demetriou said Mr. Pratt had made an enormous contribution to Australian life and his work within football was often not realised by the wider community. “Mr. Pratt played a pivotal role in forming and bringing out the Peace Team last year (pictured) to play in the AFL International Cup. This team brought together Palestinians and Israelis on the sporting field for the first time -- a monumental achievement."
Anzac Day is linked most significantly with Aussie Rules football in the modern day by the Collingwood v Essendon clash as the MCG, which in recent years has seen big crowds attend. This is largely due to the families and diggers who move across to the footy after the ANZAC Day parade and commemoration at the Shrine. Those two AFL clubs usually have the day to themselves but this year with the day falling on a Saturday the AFL has scheduled Hawthorn v West Coast at Aurora Stadium, North Melbourne v Richmond at Docklands and Fremantle v Sydney Swans at Subiaco, all later in the day. Significant tributes to those that have served their country in the armed forces are always part of the day.
Locally the Anzac Day Act would prevent any footy played before 1pm but the Victorian State Government and the RSL announced this week that suburban footy matches could start at any time on Saturday, if they included a minute's silence and recognition of the day. But footy has become linked not just in Melbourne, or in Australia – but around the world with clubs getting together for matches, tournaments or just to get together to watch the MCG clash as part of their own Anzac Day commemorations.
We have put together a list below of some of these events.
At the 2008 International Cup dinner those attending were treated to a great video package put together mostly during the event but also containing footage from the Peace Team's preparation in their homeland. The man behind the moving tribute to the players of the tournament, Rob Dickson along with his young son Byron died after a car accident on the road between Sun City and Pretoria in South Africa. His wife Dusty and son Gabriel were also injured in the accident and are currently being treated in hospital. Our thoughts are with his family and the family of his wife Dusty who along with Gabriel are still in a South African hospital.
Dickson also produced the recently released "The Essence of the Game" documentary which profiled the game's 150th year and featured the International Cup and in particular the Peace Team. Dickson's football background was highlighted by his time with Hawthorn (17 games) and the Brisbane Bears (2 games). Many Australians will best remember him for winning the Channel Nine television reality show Australian Survivor.
Going back into the WFN archives Dickson was also involved in a Vietnam footy tour CARE AFL All Stars meet Hanoi Swans for HIV/AIDS awareness. Dickson was due to meet up with the AIS AFL Academy tour next week and it seemed he would continue to tell the story of the emergence of international football talent on film for some time to come. Dickson was clearly a man with a broad vision for all aspects of the game, and the game will be poorer for his loss.
A quick update for fans following the fortunes of international players in the Australian Football League. They will have been hoping to see Irishman Setanta O'hAilpin get a recall to Carlton this week, and countryman Colm Begley play his first game for his second club, St Kilda. Similarly Canadian Mike Pyke who is close to making his AFL debut for Sydney.
Unfortuntately for all three players they will miss out this week (unless there are late changes), with them all named as emergencies for their clubs (meaning they can be called in if for example there is an injury before the match). Essendon's Michael Quinn has retained his spot in their side after his promising debut last week.
PNG's Stanis Susuve has been named as rover (on the ball) for the Gold Coast in their Round 2 TAC Cup match this weekend against Western Jets down in Victoria - the Coast's first away game. Starting on the ball indicates Susuve has clearly impressed in his short time with the new club.
With an ever increasing array of international talent in the AFL, or players with strong/recent international links/heritage, it's timely to review how some of them are going now that the 2009 season is underway. Beyond the breakthrough of getting an AFL contract, it remains an uphill battle. In fact for the current crop it seems the biggest challenge at the moment is just getting past injuries to make it onto the field.
Google Australia today got into the April Fool's Day theme with the unveilling of the "gBall". While the use of GPS technology has clearly come into play in the coverage and analysis of AFL matches, its introduction into the actual gameball is yet to become a reality.
The Gball product is described as follows "This weekend around the country, the gBall(BETA) will change Australian rules football as we know it. Building on our core strength in search, Google was approached by a number of Australian rules football leagues to apply our technology in their search for new talent. In response, Google, in partnership with the official supplier of matchballs to the AFL, Sherrin, has developed the gBall. Incorporating specially developed Google technology, it will be used in all school and amateur competitions - and will go on sale to the public - this weekend."