We are reproducing Matt Zurbo’s training manual for those that are challenged by small numbers out on the footy track. This series first appeared in The Footy Almanac.
While this can happen anywhere in Australia, it is especially relevant to footy clubs around the world that may be starting up or may have small groups that train together remotely from the rest of the team in a nearby city. Sure everyone can go for a run, or knock off and head to the pub and talk about the training session that might have been.
But Matt will offer action, structure, variety and something for your small training group to achieve. As many clubs around the world are just starting their pre-season we hope this is a useful resource even if it is just for those nights when the numbers are a little low.
As the push for a national women’s AFL competition continues to go from strength to strength, an argument about the possibility of women’s matches being played as curtain-raisers to AFL matches has grown. As the women’s game continues to grow both across Australia and abroad, any type of positive publicity generated by the women’s game will only aid that growth.
The following arguments are from an article on the www.afl.com.au website, written by Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards, looking at the various for and against debates on the issue. Some of the points would also resonate with other women’s competitions in terms of strategies for the future growth of the women’s game across the world.
Yes - the perfect curtain-raiser
AS THE AFL pushes towards a fully-fledged women's competition in 2017, the only way for it to work is to become the standard curtain-raiser to men's games every weekend.
But what about the rest of the world? If the Rest of the World were to play against any of the teams above, what is the best team they could muster? Using the International Cup eligibility rules we have named the 2015 World Team (so this does not include foreign born but Australian raised players). As with the International Cup the coach can be Australian but should have a strong link with international football. We intend this team to be an annual announcement going forward.
In addition to those currently on AFL lists there are two players that have played in premierships in the O&MFL the past two seasons after having previously played with AFL clubs and three players named on the interchange bench that have all played in the International Cup for their country and also played senior footy in strong Victorian leagues in 2015.
2016 will see clubs gearing up for the new season and contemplating their strategies. Two years ago WFN orchestrated a survey of techniques used by leagues around the world for growing the game and to gauge their effectiveness. We repeat those suggestions with the addition of some new ones (from feedback) in a quick reference format and with a quick summation.
The young girl positioned herself behind the goalposts as usual. She did this at every training session to watch her brothers. On the field the coach barked orders and the players continued another set of sprints, sweat pouring from their brows, but knowing this was the last training session before the Christmas break.
Hannah watched the players. She watched them complete their handpassing drills every training night. She watched the kicking drills. She watched the tackling, the marking, everything. Tonight a tear ran down her cheek when she wished that maybe Santa might one day grant her the chance to play her favourite game. Maybe this Christmas?
As she sat watching, her cheeks still red from her gentle weeping, the coach turned around and faced her. Hannah was unsure why or what had happened. Maybe something was going on behind her. But the coach started motioning for her to come out onto the field.
The International Cup should segregate. The women and men should play the next iteration of the International Cup separately. Just two years after the last International Cup was held, I firmly believe that the women’s International Cup should be played in 2016.
It is because 2017 will be year zero for the AFL Women’s National league. Because 2016 will be the time for the best women in footy to audition for the (assumed) historic draft that will fill the first teams of the league. And a women’s international tournament will allow the best women footballers from Oceania, North America and Europe to show their wares in Melbourne before the talent scouts from the new teams.
The 2015 season in Australia, and many other countries, is done – apart from those resilient and fanatical “Top-Enders” in Darwin where matches will be played, rain, hail, shine or monsoon, until March. Competitions in the Middle East and France keep the flame flickering also. Many now will sit back and reflect on the exploits of their favourite players, teams, matches or subjects other than footy. Discussions may turn to club recruiting, drafting, trading, coaching or a range of other “team” related topics.
But behind the scenes at all levels of the game, volunteers and diehards that keep those players on the field get a small window where other things in life – like resting and eating – can return to a more “normal” state. Clubs and players might succeed on the battle fields of football grounds, but they cannot, simply cannot, succeed without the tireless and generous efforts of their crews behind the scenes.
Take the mythical “Bandicoots” team. A fabricated name for the story, but inhabited by a cast of people that are as real as the sweat and talent on field.
With the release today of the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture, the Northern Territory and Tropical North Queensland are again the winners. Once again, matches will be played for premiership points in Alice Springs, Darwin and Cairns. But by far the biggest winner was the North Queensland city of Mackay which will host its first ever official AFL match in the pre-season NAB Cup match.
For the past three seasons the city of Townsville has held the event, hosting matches featuring North Melbourne (2013) Brisbane Lions (2014) and Geelong (2015) each playing the Gold Coast Suns. But Mackay’s successful bid will see the Brisbane Lions return north, this time at the Harrup Park Country Club complex.
Current St Kilda player, David Armitage, is a Mackay boy, having played for the Eastern Swans in his junior days prior to drafting into the AFL, adding a level of local interest to the game.
To watch The Moody Blues live at the Sydney Entertainment Centre was one of my life long wishes. Burned into my memory is watching Justin Hayward ascend an ethereal mountain singing “Nights In White Satin” and hitting every note as I had remembered it. My life seemed complete…almost.
A year earlier I had the same uplifting feeling watching Pink Floyd play the entire Dark Side Of The Moon album, and was transfixed when David Gilmour brought “Comfortably Numb” to life. A couple of years earlier at a Dire Straits concert, Mark Knopfler played the guitar solo from Sultans Of Swing to sheer perfection, and their pulsating rendition of “Private Investigations” was breathtaking . Watching Jimmy Barnes and Chisel burst to life with “Conversations” was brilliant, but nothing tops watching The Boss play “Born To Run” live with ten thousand plus backing vocalists.
I feel so lucky to have experienced so many of the greatest artists in the world live, right there in front of me. Today’s youth might see my choices as dated or irrelevant (poor souls!), and prefer to carry their memories of Beiber, Katy Perry or similar as their own defining entertainment moments. God forbid!
The www.afl.com.au website has recognised the recent international Australian Rules football carnivals across the world with this overview of the AFL Europe Axios Euro Cup in Croatia, the AFL Asia Asian Champs in Thailand and the USAFL Nationals Tournament in Austin, Texas.
The article by Dinny Navaratnam shows a strong endorsement by the AFL of how far the game has come on three continents - Europe, Asia and North America – by having so many clubs and national teams represented. It truly stands as example of our game beginning to take on the initial appearance of – The World Game.
(Picture: Rob Brewer for AFL Asia)
THE HONG Kong Dragons are the champions of Asia, after they beat the Malaysian Warriors last Saturday, 4.11 (35) to 2.3 (15).