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."
The Gold Coast Football Club has been awarded the 17th licence to compete in the AFL competition. AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, in a message to the GC17 board said:
"This is an historic decision of the AFL Commission and it is only the sixth time since the AFL Commission was established that a licence has been awarded to a new club.
"It is not a decision that the Commission has made lightly and it has been made after a long period of investment in Queensland and a rigorous process over the past two years in which the Gold Coast football, business and wider communities have made clear their support for and ability to sustain an AFL team.
"It is also a decision that we have made after a rigorous process to validate the business model for a Gold Coast Football Club. We are confident that we grant the licence knowing that you have put in place the foundations to build a strong and sustainable club which will serve well the Gold Coast community".
However, the licence remains subject to finalisation of the agreement between the Queensland State Government and the Gold Coast City Council on the terms by which the land for the stadium will be transferred, and a decision by the Federal Government on further funding for the stadium. Both of these issues are expected to be resolved soon.
The Queensland club debut in the primarily Victorian TAC Cup Under 18s this weekend, and are on track to enter the VFL in 2010 and the AFL in 2011. If a west Sydney side is to be formed for a 2012 AFL debut then major developments are likely to be announced by the end of this year.
As reported in Gold Coast look the goods, only one major hurdle appeared to remain in the path of the Gold Coast Football Club being awarded the 17th AFL licence. That obstacle was that although the state Labor Government of Queensland had committed $60 million towards a rebuild of the Carrara stadium, the Liberal-National Party opposition would not commit.
Happily for the GC17 team, despite the LNP grabbing a small lead in opinion polls coming into the election, yesterday's vote appears to have delivered Labor a comfortable victory, albeit with a reduced margin. This should see the AFL quickly formally award the licence and the Gold Coast FC commence the next wave of off-field recruitment. The club begins in the primarily Victorian Under 18 competition this year, progressing to the VFL in 2010 and now look certain to debut in the AFL in 2011.
The AFL has also re-stated its intention to aim for a 2012 AFL debut for a western Sydney team. See Expansion plans on course.
In other news on the health of the AFL clubs, Port Adelaide recently put their hand out for assistance like that enjoyed by several Melbourne-based clubs. The AFL made it clear such help would not be forthcoming, saying they should negotiate a better stadium deal. However unlike the MCG and Docklands Stadium, Adelaide's AAMI Stadium is owned and operated by football. So unfortunately for football in South Australia, already struggling with crowds down at the Power, an aging main stadium, soccer on the rise and several SANFL clubs living on the edge, it appears the choice is between Port Adelaide and the local state league clubs. If the Power can't turn around their finances and the AFL don't come to the table, expect the SANFL clubs to be the ones that suffer. When the Crows formed, the league contracted from 10 to 9 clubs - perhaps we'll see that shrink again. So the great irony may be that SANFL fans will be barracking for arch enemy Port Adelaide in the hope they return to profit thus saving the need to strip cash from the local sides.
The AFL Commission today approved the immediate introduction of two Laws of the Game for the upcoming 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, after a trial period through the 2009 NAB Cup and NAB Challenge matches. AFL Football Operations Manager Adrian Anderson, Chairman of the Laws of the Game Committee, said the Commission had approved the introduction of two rules trialled through this year's pre-season matches at its monthly meeting in Melbourne today:
a) A free kick can now be awarded for deliberate rushed behinds -- the benefit of the doubt will be given to the defender;
b) Umpires to award a 50 metre penalty against players who tackle, hold or make high contact against an opponent after the opponent has disposed of the football, for the purpose of preventing them from taking part in the next contest;
The trial rule regarding a no-go zone behind umpires at centre bounces will not be introduced in the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership season but Mr Anderson said the current laws regarding contact with an umpire, where a player can be free-kicked or reported for making contact, would be strictly enforced to protect the safety of umpires. Mr Anderson said the AFL Laws Committee and the Football Operations Department had consulted extensively with the 16 AFL Clubs and the coaching and player groups since early September, and had again sought their feedback through this month after the rules had been trialled through the pre-season.
This week the Australian Football League launches its 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season campaign. The campaign will depict the modern game where the players become the stars of the show, playing our game on the world’s biggest stages. Aptly titled In a League of its Own, the campaign positions Australian football as the ‘Strongest, Hardest, Highest, Fastest Game on Earth’. The line ‘In A League Of its Own’ was devised from the simple observation that what makes Australian football so exciting to watch is the unique combination of skills that can be found in the best sports from around the world. To view the campaign and gallery of images at the official site go to http://www.afl.com.au/inaleagueofitsown . No doubt the video will also be available on Youtube within minutes as well.
The campaign features players from all 16 AFL clubs - Nathan Bock (Adelaide), Jonathan Brown (Brisbane Lions), Daniel Merrett (Brisbane Lions), Chris Judd (Carlton), Leon Davis (Collingwood), David Hille (Essendon), Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle), Gary Ablett (Geelong), Lance Franklin (Hawthorn), Aaron Davey (Melbourne), James McDonald (Melbourne), Daniel Wells (North Melbourne), Chad Cornes (Port Adelaide), Brett Deledio (Richmond), Justin Koschitzke (St Kilda), Adam Goodes (Sydney Swans), Kieran Jack (Sydney Swans), Dean Cox (West Coast) and Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs).
The Peres Peace Team will feature in a documentary about Australian Football that will screen on Channel 7 in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth at 8.30pm tomorrow and in Sydney and Brisbane on Sunday at 11am. The show, titled "The Essence of the Game", is hosted and narrated by Nathan Buckley. Rob Dickson, the man behind the documentary, actually spent time in Israel with the Peace Team in their preparation for the International Cup and followed their journey during their time in Melbourne in August last year.
According to the Yahoo!7 website, the program is an amazing all-access look into our unique Australian Game. For the first time cameras have been allowed into the dressing rooms during the entire season as we take a behind the scenes look at what makes football clubs tick including Hawthorn and Geelong on Grand Final day. We also celebrate the breadth of the game as we look at everything from kids to international teams and what footy means to them.
The chance of the Gold Coast Football Club being awarded a licence to compete in the AFL from 2011 took a big step forward during the week, with Queensland's Premier, Anna Bligh, committing her government to contribute $60million to an upgrade of Gold Coast Stadium (Carrara).
The global financial crisis has been seen as a major threat to the 17th licence bid, and reported plans for a $300million stadium were shelved. But the announcement from Queensland's Labor government is thought to have all but guaranteed the state will secure its second AFL club. It's believed the AFL will also contribute significantly to the stadium, and hopes to gain Federal government funding as well.
The only concern in that area is that a state election is imminent, and the National-Liberal opposition has not yet matched Bligh's promise - this has reportedly upset local candidates given that the business community is looking forward to the significant money an AFL club would bring to the area. A Queensland study on the economic impact of a Gold Coast-based AFL side found that when the club was up and running at full capacity it would generate more than 400 local jobs and economic activity of $34 million a year – 92 per cent of which would flow to non-AFL businesses.
The tip is that the licence will be awarded to the Gold Coast at the AFL Commission meeting later this month. That would be good news for PNG's Amua Pirika, who is playing with the club as they head into the TAC Cup Under 18 competition.
After a series of articles the final worldfootynews.com unofficial World Rankings for 2008 have been compiled. The list is a result of voting from six of our writers and taking into account discussion in the articles leading up to the vote. We're well aware that no system can be perfect, especially given arguments on issues such as whether to consider professional players (Australian, Irish), where to rank entities not necessarily widely acknowledged as countries (Catalonia versus Spain, the Peace Team), and whether to consider the best side a nation might put forward or just who was available, not to mention the lack of international matches and vagaries of the IC08 pool system. Nevertheless, it would seem to be a worthwhile outcome to be able to look back on the most recently completely year and to be able to point fans, players and people new to international footy at a table that is a reasonable attempt to rank the world's Australian football playing nations. Here is that list:
The AFL Commission had their first 2009 meeting yesterday and on the agenda was expansion, in particular the proposed licences for the Gold Coast (17th, nominally 2011) and Western Sydney (18th, nominally 2012) and a strong push from Tasmania, led by their state government, for inclusion in the AFL.
With dire economic times there are various reports that the AFL are increasingly cautious about expansion, however CEO Andrew Demetriou remained publically upbeat, saying "We are very confident in what we have seen, and 2011 and 2012 (for western Sydney), for us, are still on track for our expansion".
Saturday week ago, several parts of Victoria recorded their hottest temperature on record, including 46.4 degrees Celsius in Melbourne, the highest temperature recorded in an Australian capital city. Several bushfires broke out in the state with major blazes in the Churchill, Kinglake and Marysville areas. So bad were conditions (not just the heat but strong, unpredictable winds) that as of today 200 people are dead, hundreds of properties have been destroyed, thousands of residents displaced and hundreds of thousands of acres of land scorched. And sadly those figures are set to rise. In terms of lives lost, it is Australia's worst bushfires, surpassing major fires on Ash Wednesday (1983) and Black Friday (1939). Several of Saturday's fires (although now controlled) still continue some ten days on.
Numerous fundraising efforts have been launched to assist those who have lost everything. Companies have chipped in up to two million dollars each, everyday Australians touched by the stories of loss are giving generously out of their own pockets and several sporting bodies have held matches to raise money for the Bushfire vicitms. The AFL shifted the preseason match between Essendon and Western Bulldogs (two Victorian teams) from Darwin to Melbourne in one such example, with all money donated to the Victorian Government’s Bushfire Appeal Fund.
More than 35,000 fans turned up for the event which managed to raise more than 1.2 million dollars. The two teams had promised an exciting contest and didn't disappoint, with Essendon winning by the slimmest of margins.
Essendon 1.8.13 (70) Western Bulldogs 1.8.12 (69) Preseason competition includes the nine-point "supergoal" for goals scored outside the fifty-metre arc, on top of goals and behinds.
Click here to donate to the Red Cross' Bush Fire Appeal.