The second match of the Convicts tour has been played, on 3rd February, in the northern city of Mafikeng. The Australians encountered a tougher side than their first match, so had to lift their tempo, but again ran out comfortable winners.
The touring side, comprising amateur footballers from around Australia, will be playing three matches in South Africa in February. It has been announced that the final match will see "the Convicts" clash with the South African national side in what will hopefully be a great promotional match in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Ethiopian Goaner Tutlan has made his debut for St Marys in the Northern Territory AFL reserves. Playing against Southern Districts, the 196cm tall footy-convert kicked four goals from full forward, in his team's big win. His exceptional leap is said to be one of his greatest assets, but coaching staff are keen for him put on a lot more muscle. World Footy News will give updates on the African during the season.
The Essendon Football Club have been true to their word to stick with Ethiopian hopeful Goaner Tutlan, and have organised for him to spend a season learning Aussie Rules in Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory.
As reported recently on World Footy News, former Ethiopian refugee Tutlan Goaner was trialling with AFL club Essendon, in the hope of securing an international rookie listing. The Bombers passed on the tall but light-weight footy convert, in a move that sparked some criticism that the attention around Goaner was a publicity stunt. It certainly showed that the Australian media has a thirst for stories with an international flavour.
The high level of Australian media coverage has continued for St Kilda's pre-season camp in South Africa. The AFL club has now run several clinics in different regions, and the Australian media has followed them very closely. Coach Grant Thomas has been so impressed with facilities in Potchefstroom and the overall cultural experience, he has suggested the Saints might return there every year. Furthermore, he has enthusiastically endorsed the game's development there, and has urged the AFL to continue supporting footy in South Africa.
After what some might say was neglect, the mainstream Australian media have had a few reports recently about potential players coming into the AFL from overseas, and the growth of the game in South Africa. Perhaps Australian sports journalists are starting to realise that readers have an interest in footy beyond their own club.
AFL club Essendon are trialling Ethiopian tall man Goaner Tutlan. The 22 year old came to Australia as a refugee four years ago, and although his skills are only in the early stages of development, he has a background in soccer and basketball and his athleticism has impressed officials at the Bombers.