There have been numerous multi-cultural Australian football programs developed in Australia over the last few years, seeking to introduce recent immigrants to the indigenous sport, both as fans and players. We've reported on many of those, most of which have been based in Victoria. That's excellent for community involvement and the health of the game in Victoria, but has the same level of attention or funding been present across the rest of the country?
worldfootynews.com suspects there will be a major increase in AFL support for such programs in western Sydney to help pave the way for community support of the likely 18th AFL licence. But it is important that all Australian states embrace this concept, so it's pleasing to be able to report some basic programs also being introduced in South Australia, such as a Multicultural themed round.
The SANFL is South Australia's state league and one of the game's more prolific breeding grounds for future AFL talent, along with the Victorian and Western Australian leagues. The upcoming round of matches (Saturday, August 1st) are being dubbed the SANFL 'be active' Multicultural Round. The following is further information from the SANFL.
During this year's Grand Final week, the AFL will be holding a Multicultural Academy Camp for male students in Year 7 and 8. The camp is one of many initiatives the league is taking to ensure that Australians of all backgrounds are exposed to Australian Football. The camp, which is free, will be held in Melbourne and span five days and four nights. It will include AFL-run training sessions, clinics with AFL players, fitness and skill testing and guest speakers.
To be eligible, students must be male (a female camp will be held in 2010), verified by their school principal as actively attending Year 7 or 8 and be of a multicultural background. This is defined as having at least one parent born overseas. Participants will then be selected on athletic talent, potential, leadership qualities and willingness to develop as a footballer.
See the below flyer for further details.
Update: Note that the program is primarily open to Victorian boys - if there were kids from interstate (possibly overseas) that wanted to apply it's understood they would be considered but costs such as airfares and accommodation would not be covered.
Women's football has been growing strongly in Australia in recent years, and statistics have indicated especially so in Victoria and Queensland. The bi-annual national championships were staged in Perth in early June, with all of Australia's states and mainland territories spread across two divisions, with the exception of Tasmania, and with WA fielding sides in both divisions. Victoria showed once again their dominence of women's footy, going through undefeated and accounting comfortably for the host state in the Division One grand final. The following report is courtesy of Leesa Catto from the VWFL.
Collingwood’s Irish experiment could be expanded with another Irishman trialling with the Magpies this month.
17-year old Paul Cribbin, who plays for the Kildare Minor team (U-18’s) is in Melbourne for several weeks training at the Lexus centre. Collingwood recruiting manager Derek Hine has said the club was pleased to be able to bring Cribbin to Australia and let him experience the game and the club first hand.
Cribbin has long been seen as having great potential in Gaelic football and has been in inspiring form for Kildare in recent matches and his talent has caught the eye of AFL scouts based in Ireland. Earlier this year he played a vital role for his school side who were beaten finalists in the All Ireland senior Colleges Cup.
He has plans on returning to Ireland a week before Kildare’s next championship match, but should he be signed up to a permanent deal, he will join fellow Irishmen Marty Clarke and Rookie Kevin Dyas at Collingwood.
Ed: WFN welcomes John Dunne to our team of correspondents. Based in Ireland, he will be reporting on the Irish league as well as following the fortunes of Irishmen in the AFL.
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."