With another year gone WFN looks back at some of the big events and
interesting stories for 2005. By no means an exhaustive list, we
nevertheless review where the international game went and ponder emerging
trends. Obviously the key story of the year was the build up towards and
then playing of the second International Cup. It was also a year when
funding to South Africa was significantly increased, several new
countries put their toe in the water of footy, and hopes for others faded.
International interest from AFL clubs was unprecedented and there were
many new signs of promise. As always there were a few setbacks but
overall the game appeared to march forward with increasing speed. With so much happening in 2005 a succinct summary has proved impossible, but if you're feeling fresh then read on for WFN's end of year wrap.
As many may be aware, the Australian Football League has decided to speed up the great game, after analysis has shown stoppage time has increased in recent years. But it isn’t only the sport's major league that it affects. It affects the whole Australian Footballing world, with most leagues in Australia and around the world following the AFL's lead.
World Footy News was recently contacted to review a new publication called Australian Football - Steps to Success. The book is a joint effort between star Adelaide Crows player Andrew McLeod and long time club Training Services Manager Trevor Jaques. It details training methods and how to learn the skills of the game. This may be of particular interest to our many readers outside of Australia who are often new players to the sport and don't always have expert coaching readily available.
Another good story on the international players attending the AFL-AIS Camp appeared on The Age's Realfooty on December 7th. It profiles the players and speaks with AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan.
Following on from our story several days ago International players invited to AFL Camp, we now present the complete list of players attending the AFL camp. The camp is run in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport which gives scholarships for talented juniors. The AIS targets the best players coming out of the AFL Under-16 National Schoolboys' Championship each year. As such the Australian players will generally be younger than the internationals invited this year, although countries such as PNG will be sending boys of similar age. It appears although invitations for 15 players were sent, only 7 are attending the camp.
The AFL website currently features stories advertising a short term development officer position in South Africa through Australian Volunteers International (although the ad indicates New Zealanders are also eligible) and a story describing three Multicultural Development Positions to ensure the game's continued spread amongst Melbourne's diverse community. All positions close shortly.
The annual Australian Football League's AIS Camp sees elite young players from around Australia invited to attend a training camp in which they are put through athletic and skill tests under the watchful eye of AFL scouts. In a tremendous breakthrough for international Australian Football, 15 players from outside Australia have been invited, the first time this has occurred.
Ryan Bartz, an exchange student from New York, was selected in the Green & Gold Australian Women's football team at the Australian University Games late last month. Although selection is honorary as there is no international competition to play in, it is a major achievement for Bartz who had only played two games of Australian Rules football prior to the Australian University Games.
At World Footy News we're keen to see the game of footy grow internationally. A key factor will always be the health of the game "at home". Recreational Football could well prove to be an important factor in that health.
The following article was written and sent to us by Associate Professor Stephen Alomes. Stephen is a historian of football and of Australian nationalism at Deakin University in Victoria, and a supporter of the international growth of Australian Football. He was a keen spectator at the 2005 International Cup. His article also appeared in a recent AFL Record in the Last Line column. As time permits Stephen will continue to contribute to WFN and we welcome him on-board.