Reports in last weekend's Sunday Times newspaper in the Western Australian capital Perth suggest that the grand finalists from this year's WAFL (Western Australian Football League, the state league feeding into the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers) will play an exhibition match in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) the weekend after this year's AFL grand final. Also mentioned in the article is the possibility of Perth hosting the 2008 International Cup, although this is still at the rumour stage.
The Barassi International Youth Tournament board will soon announce major sponsorship for next year's event with strong rumours suggesting the VFL Club (Virtually Forgotten Legends) will be joining the Barassi Tournament Board in presenting the 'VFL Club Barassi Youth Tournament 2006'.
In our 6th poll, we asked the question "Would you consider contributing
financially in any way to international footy?", with the additional
information that "The reasoning behind this poll is to gauge the interest
of supporters of international footy. We all know clubs and leagues
around the world need support (not just financially), and it would be
interesting to know whether people would dip into their own pockets.
Obviously readers who play outside of Australia already do contribute
financially in some way, everytime they pay their fees etc. And many
Australians have made some contribution, from donating old or new boots through
to paying for scholarships or becoming members of overseas leagues."
Although slightly off the topic of international Aussie Rules, the AFL's plans for expanding the game in Australia play a role in their global vision. Overall the AFL has downplayed its international ambitions, making it clear that the states of New South Wales and Queensland are its priorities in the short to medium term. As such it is very much relevant to international footy that Australian Rules continues its successful push into those states, ultimately generating more resources, and freeing up existing ones, for global development.
In potentially big news for the international development of Australian Rules football, the AFL have revealed preliminary plans to allow AFL clubs to take on young international players as apprentices. The initial discussion is being treated as a background issue by mainstream Australian media, with the high profile issue the AFL's plans to have a similar scheme in Sydney.
World Footy News doesn't focus heavily on the Australian Football League because as the premier competition in Aussie Rules, it receives a great deal of coverage already - much more than all the other leagues outside of Australia put together. But we also encourage all our readers to have an interest in the game's top professional league, so here we offer a review of the season at the halfway point.
International footy is still searching for its first home-grown recruit
to make it to the AFL, the undisputed premier Aussie Rules league in
the world. We're also yet to see such a footballer make it to the second
best league in the world. But what is that league? The top three
contenders would clearly be the state competitions of Victoria, South
Australia and Western Australia. For our international readers to
understand better what sits beneath AFL level, we look at the matches which see
the best non-AFL players from each league come together to play
traditional interstate footy, with one match each year, giving a 2 year cycle
of matches. On the line is bragging rights for the winners to claim
theirs to be the best comp outside of the AFL.
The World Footy Census 2004 has, hopefully, answered the common question, of just how many players there are playing Aussie Rules in various countries around the world. It can also stand as an historic record of where the game has progressed to, and can be used as a measuring stick in the years and decades to come. It took 5 months to gather all the results from across 34 Australian Rules playing nations. Here we present all the results summarised and the countries ranked by total player numbers.
The Melbourne Age reports (note this may require an account at some point) the Brisbane Lions as having taken on Gerard Sholly, former Collingwood recruiting manager to assist with taking on a rookie from Gaelic football in Ireland.