Collingwood tonight steamed home to win their first game against the Eagles in Perth since 1992 after scores were locked at 10.12 (72) each at the end of the fourth quarter. For only the second time since the system was brought in to decide drawn finals, extra time was needed - two additional mini-halves of five minutes each. Young international recruit Martin Clarke was involved in a crucial play in the closing minutes of the dramatic match.
Two Samoan footballers, Fia Tootoo and Chris Teniselli will face off against each other this weekend in the Ellinbank & District Football League Grand Final, a country league about an hour's drive east of Melbourne. Teniselli represented Samoa at the 2005 International Cup whilst Tootoo was alongside him in 2005 and part of the inaugural team in 2002. He was also named in both All-star teams.
Both players are former team-mates at the Moorabbin Kangaroos, although come Saturday, Teniselli will pull on a Catani jumper whilst Tootoo lines up for Nyora. According to Michael Roberts, AFL Samoa’s Game Development Manager, "both lads can play. Chris is one of my favourite players and should make the best team in 2008. Fia should be our captain next year". The game will be held at Cora Lynn.
Regular readers of WFN will be well aware that South Africa is most certainly the hot spot for international Australian Football development, with good news and funding stories appearing regularly. On a footy chatboard recently someone asked the question that could be summed up as "why is South Africa so heavily favoured?" This article looks at what those reasons might be and whether lessons can be learned by other nations.
International footy fans often feel deprived of seeing quality football footage. One website worth keeping your eye on is the BigpondTV site. It has wrap ups of games each week, but in particular as an Adelaide fan my attention was drawn by a highlights package dedicated to the Crows' retiring skipper Mark Ricciuto. The decorated captain played in over 300 games, was All-Australian an amazing eight times, played in one premiership (in 1998, having missed the 1997 flag through injury), won three Malcolm Blight medals as Adelaide's club champion and shared the 2003 Brownlow Medal with Nathan Buckley and Adam Goodes. Missing most of this year through injury, Roo has decided that 2007 will be his last season, ending his career at age 32. Other champions expected to finish this year are Essendon's James Hird, Collingwood's Nathan Buckley and North Melbourne's Glen Archer, though the latter two are yet to confirm a decision either way. Carlton's Greek (and Italian) Adonis, Anthony Koutoufides, has already played his last game, succumbing to a hip injury which has cut his last season short.
Ricciuto's greatest asset was perhaps his leadership and ability to maintain a very high standard over so many years - something which has made the last two seasons of injuries all the more frustrating. Of particular interest in the video is the degree to which it unintentionally demonstrates how much the game has changed in recent years. A lot of the spectacular big hits and strong body marks that were often a feature of his game just a few years ago are now outlawed. It seems we won't ever see the likes of him again.
The 1970s - when the Victorian Football League was at best semi-pro, goal umpires donned their long white coats, players wore tight shorts, sported moustaches, and science and footy certainly didn't mix. Warriors without Weapons is a video from 1979 following the pre-season and opening game of the North Melbourne Football Club (before they were pushing the Kangaroos brand and looking headed for Queensland). It can be freely viewed on the ABC website and features some words of wisdom from Aussie Rules legend Ron Barassi - interesting to hear him talk about society becoming softer, something people continue to lament 30 years later. His speech to the players during the match sounds a little dated now - AFL coaches tend to be a little more eloquent in addressing their team, but of course the video has to be viewed in the context of the era in which it was filmed.
The Northern Territory has long had a strong Australian Football culture, although Rugby League has also had solid support there too. Many great stars of Aussie Rules have hailed from Australia's north, in particular many of the top indigenous players. They've often made their way into the state leagues of South Australia (SANFL) and Western Australia (WAFL), before being drafted into the AFL. Prior to the AFL, some did become stars in the VFL, but many didn't make that journey, content to stay in the SANFL or WAFL, which partly explains why indigenous player numbers have increased so dramatically as a percentage of the AFL when compared with the old VFL days. Since Territorians make such a strong contribution to the game there are often calls for an NT team in the AFL one day. This seems a distant dream given economic and population realities, but the logical first step would be to show that a representative club playing in either the SANFL or WAFL is viable. Plans for that have been in the works for several years but the big leap appears to be drawing nearer. There is also talk of Queensland, Tasmanian and NSW moves.
G'day. Just thought I would make my first post / story. I know I am not overseas, so this is from Australia. I'd like to chat about my local Auskick clinic in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne.
The AFL has effectively launched the count down to the start of the celebration of 150 years of Australian Football. Although a range of versions of football had existed for a long time prior, the match between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College, 149 years ago this week, is widely regarded as the first recorded game of the sport. The 150 will therefore come up in 2008 and AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has revealed a sample of the celebratory events that will unfold across the year. He has also announced Kevin Sheedy as the AFL's official ambassador for the concept, regardless of whether he takes up a coaching position next year. But were a couple of things missing?
The Paul Kelly Cup is a football tournament open to Primary Schools in New South Wales and the ACT. It is recognised as one of the landmark school sports competitions in Australia, therefore it is no surprise that many AFL players drafted from Sydney, such as the Swans’ Kieran Jack, can trace their interest in the game back to the Cup. For those unfamiliar with Jack, he is the son of Rugby League legend Garry, who represented New South Wales in 17 State of Origin matches and two years ago was named amongst the best 25 players to ever pull on a Blues guernsey.
The 2007 Cup was recently completed with the very multicultural Belmore North Primary School beating Holbrook and St. Patrick's Primary Schools in the final. By being declared champions, the small school (around 300 students) had effectively outperformed 880 other schools. Belmore North is based in Sydney’s southwest and formerly played Rugby League. They took up football “because the concept of the Paul Kelly Cup was so good”. Their team was made up of children who can trace their roots to countries like Lebanon, Samoa, America and Sierra Leone (there were actually no Anglo-Australians in the team), all were relatively new to the sport, and everyone had played their first football match in the past eighteen months. The team even included a student who is recovering from cancer. Such a competition can only be a positive for footy's push into NSW.
Very early on Monday we suggested Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy was unlikely to be reappointed beyond this season, and that Carlton coach Denis Pagan was a probable casualty at the Blues. Little did we know that within three days both men would have had the termination of their services confirmed. As discussed in Coaching casualties - writing on the wall for international footy friend, both have supported the internationalisation of footy, Pagan through the Irish experiment and Sheedy on a variety of fronts. We certainly hope this change for Sheedy won't see that commitment reduce, but rather increase. As we've alluded to before, an involvement in promoting the game via a position on the AFL staff is a possibility, and AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has offered a tantalising suggestion of that.