It was the sort of meeting you read about, hear about or see in those emotionally engaging love story-type movies. It is the story of a brief encounter where love blossomed, then just as quickly is cruelly taken away.
America fell in love with Australian Football. It wasn’t a one-night stand. It was at least a weekend. In fact, the two knew each other with a small amount of fans and teams within leagues across the United States. However, last weekend, that simmering romance took off.
The two – AFL and American audiences – spent the weekend wining, dining, marvelling at each other’s attributes. They made plans to spend the rest of their lives together, going out each weekend – just the two of them (problematic, really) enjoying one weekend and looking forward to the next with quivering anticipation and, possibly, desire.
In a statement today from the Essendon Football Club’s Chief Executive, Xavier Campbell, the strongest sign yet was given that the club and the Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS) would head to the USA.
According to a member release, “we are exploring, in partnership with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the opportunity to showcase the game of AFL for premiership points in the United States, more specifically in the San Francisco or Los Angeles areas at some point over the next 24 months.”
“Plans and discussions are very much in their infancy, but talks have revolved around the relocation of a GWS home game, with the opportunity to position the match as one of the early marquee games of the premiership season.”
Few, perhaps nobody, would have thought a few years ago that Hawai’i might be the host of an Australian Football international match. Yet, last week, under the watchful eyes of Diamond Head at end of Waikiki Beach in picturesque Kapi’olani Park, that’s exactly what happened.
The Calgary Kangaroos from Alberta, Canada, travelled over to Honolulu, accepting a standing invitation from the Hawai’i Eagles club to come and play.
Earlier this year, World Footy News reported that the Eagles were “open for business” for teams from across the world to visit for a match (see Fancy A Holiday In Hawaii?). The Calgary Kangaroos apparently like to visit Hawai’i in February and so the match became a reality.
The AFL's preseason warm up matches start today. If you are outside Australia and want to watch on TV, we have the broadcast schedule for you below.
Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Sports 2 in the USA will be broadcasting matches this week so please check local guides for any last minute changes. At this stage no other countries are taking the international feed.
As always we recommend the AFANA website for all the most current and detailed information for the broadcast of AFL/AFLW in North America
Fans can also subscribe to Watch AFL to stream matches outside Australia.
When the Western Bulldogs named Danielle Marshall for Sunday's Round 1 AFLW clash against St Kilda this afternoon they became the first AFL club to select an American woman for a senior match.
Marshall also is the first American to make it to an Australian football national competition team after learning and playing the game competitively in the USA. While Mason Cox and Jason Holmes were recruited from the USA before making their AFL debuts, they had to learn the game in Australia.
Marshall is a bona fide product of the United States Australian Football League (USAFL). The Arizona Hawks to be more precise. Marshall played with the Hawks in 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2019 she came to Australia to see how far she could make it in the game here. She returned to the US in October to play in the USAFL National Championships in Florida.
If the legendary Kevin Sheedy can get his dream, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) might well play a premiership match in California as early as next year. ‘Sheeds’ will draw on the talents of the other two clubs where he became a legend – Essendon or Richmond – to be the Giants’ opponent.
There would be no better innovator in AFL circles to make this happen. It was through Sheedy’s vision and determination that we now have the ANZAC Day match between his beloved Bombers and Collingwood, as well as the round as a whole now. He was also the driving force behind Dreamtine at the G showpiece between Essendon and Richmond and more recently the Country Round between Essendon and Geelong.
Peter Holden of Women's Australian Rules Football Radio tells us why he thinks the AFLW should take the elitel level game to the USA.
Back on June 24th last year, Jake Niall of The Age broke a story that the GWS Giants, with the support of financial backers, had floated the idea to Tourism Australia about an AFL (men’s) match for premiership points being played in the United States of America.
The Giants saw the opportunity to plant a flag in the USA, much the same way Port Adelaide had done in China with its games against the Gold Coast and St Kilda respectively.
In the article, GWS Giants Chief Executive said of the proposal “There's significant enough interest from investors and supporters, locally and in the US, to explore the possibility.”
Maybe there is a club out there somewhere that is considering an exotic location for a pre-season match. Similarly, clubs may look at options for end of season trips. Either way, the Hawaii Eagles Australian Rules Football Club has an offer.
Whilst they cannot pay a club to visit them, they have booked their local footy grounds and base for dates across 2020, and extend an invitation for clubs to consider visiting Hawaii to play against them.
Following on from the recent announcement that the USAFL Nationals will be held in Ontario, California in 2020, the USAFL has now announced the dates and venues for the various lead-up tournaments across the nation. (See: USAFL Nationals To California)
According to the USAFL, “The Regionals, International Cup, and Nationals are set for 2020. And, we have so much in store, including the Revos tour of Croatia, the Rob Dollar Cup, 80/35, Stumptown Throwdown, not to mention the regular season schedule throughout the year. We'll have more info after the new year.”
The big-ticket items will be the International Cup in Maroochydore, Queensland, from July 25th to August 8th, with national teams from the United States (USA Revolution men’s tea m and USA Freedom women’s team) and Canada headed down under. This will be followed by the USAFL Nationals on October 10th & 11th.
As the year 2019 comes to a close, there is a chance to look back at some of the highlights of the Australian Football stories. One of these was the series of 'Don't Believe I n Never" video clips telling inspirational stories of people from grass roots to the highest level and their journeys. The following is part of that series tracing the journey of Collingwood big man, Mason Cox, and his journey fro Texas to the AFL.