The annual Kelowna Cup gets a little better each year.
We start with a report from Dan of the Calgary Kangaroos on this year’s event.
“On the men's side of the draw, the combined Edmonton/Vernon team took out the club competition, overcoming Calgary in the decider (5.6.36 v 3.8.26). The British Columbians won the Canadians only game over Alberta (9.4.58 v 3.6.24).
On the women's side of the draw, the combined Calgary/Edmonton team won the team competition against the combined Vancouver Vixens/Wildcats team (12.5.76 V 1.0.6). Alberta won the provincial game over BC (no score recorded).
The metro season for the Southern California Australian Football League (SCAFL) comes to a close on Saturday, June 17th, at South Lake Middle School in Irvine, California. The day starts with a 9 AM inter-club match for the Los Angeles Dragons women’s side, followed by the LA Sharks vs. the San Diego Lions (10:30 AM), and the LA Outlaws vs. the Orange County Bombers (12 PM).
It’s shaping up to be an entertaining afternoon of footy and a suitable conclusion to what has been a valuable tune-up for all teams heading into the upcoming Western Regionals tournament in July. Let’s see how the top four SCAFL teams have fared heading into the final round:
Brianna Davey, one of Carlton’s marquee players in the AFLW, has agreed to become the International Ambassador for the North Delta Junior AFL in southern Vancouver, within British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province.
The 22-year old Carlton star was vice captain for the 2017 season and took out the club’s inaugural best & fairest award. Additionally, Brianna received All Australian honours as well as a number of media awards
President of the NDJAFL, Mike McFarlane, stated that “we are pleased to have Brianna join our league as the International Ambassador. It brings another level to our league and gives our kids more exposure to quality football people as Brianna is one of the top women's players in Australia.”
Decorated athlete Erin Phillips has re-committed to the Crows for the 2018 AFL Women’s Competition (more below).
Today's announcement comes days after Phillips attended the USAFL match between the Austin Crows and the Houston Lonestars in Allen, Texas. It appears that a Twitter invitation to Phillips from the USAFL national champions the Austin Crows ( @austincrows ) lured the Dallas based star out to the game.
For the record the Austin Crows 4.1 (25) defeated the Houston Lonestars 2.8 (20).
It’s been a time of transition and turnover for the Atlanta Kookaburras.
Season 2016 ended with the squad combining with Baton Rouge (Louisiana) at USAFL Nationals and finishing just out of the finals series. Their one loss was by 10 points in their opener to a skilled Des Moines (Iowa) side while learning to play together. They followed that with a win by 11 over perennial power Denver. Their third and final game was a resounding victory over Tulsa (Oklahoma), made more remarkable because they played the match after learning a clerical error would keep them from advancing.
A high point of 2016 was the club’s 100th win, coming on the road vs. the Nashville Kangaroos.
Kevin Sheehan along with other AFL staff and club recruiters have again assembled in Los Angeles for their annual combine to identify American talent to bring to AFL clubs.
Recent success stories from previous years are Mason Cox (Collingwood), Jason Holmes (St Kilda) and Matt Korchek (Carlton). But the 2016 combine did not result in any athletes being taken by an AFL club.
Athletes will be put through extensive athletic and skills testing along with interviews by AFL clubs and educated about the Australian game.
Aussie rules has developed rapidly in the country of Canada in the past decade or so, buoyed by a wave of Aussie ex-pats who live and work in the large cities of Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, among others. There are several leagues currently operating, most notably in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia.
The AFL brought the game to Canada officially in the late 1980s, when exhibition matches were held in both Vancouver and Toronto. In fact, the 1987 Vancouver-based match between Sydney Swans and the Melbourne Demons drew a record crowd of over 32,000 – which, to this day, is the largest crowd ever to see a footy match outside of Australia.
Collingwood big man Mason Cox is healthy and ready to be a difference maker in 2017. Now on the senior list, he’s in line to play a larger role in part due to a couple of departures-- Premiership player Travis Cloke to the Western Bulldogs, and second ruckman Jarrod Witts, who is now a Gold Coast Sun.
At 211 cm Cox is able to play some in the ruck, but his soccer and basketball skills make him versatile enough to win his fair share of marking contests on the Collingwood forward line. Certainly his teammates love having a big target up front.
By now you’ve certainly heard the story of the big man (and fellow Texan). He played on the scout team for the Oklahoma State University women’s basketball side, worked his way onto the men’s team, graduated with an engineering degree, and was about to start a new job when he showed up at the AFL combine in 2014.
The growth of Aussie rules football in the US has been a slow, steady, but satisfying journey. The United States Australian Football League (USAFL) was originally established in 1996 and is currently based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Americans and Australian ex-patriates alike have been able to get the word out about the historic game, and the excitement of footy is finally coming to American shores on a large scale.
In the 1960s, the Victorian Football League (VFL) tried to expand its international audience by promoting what they called the Australian Football World Tour in 1967 and 1968. It was initially conceived as a way to develop international rules football – a hybrid sport featuring representatives from both Aussie rules football and Gaelic football – but also became a way for international audiences to see various elements of footy up close and personal. Games were played in Dublin, London, and New York City, but the tour was discontinued after 1968.
Jason Holmes’ time as a Saint will continue in 2017 after signing a one-year deal at the end of last season. He also earned permanent status on the team’s senior squad since AFL rules state that players must be elevated or delisted after three years on a rookie list.
His status, however, appears to be up in the air. The ruckman from Chicago, Illinois, USA was not in the lineup for any of St. Kilda’s preseason matches with Port Adelaide, Carlton, or Sydney.
One reason for the uncertainty could be that the Saints already have three pure ruckmen signed beyond 2016—Tom Hickey, Billy Longer, and Lewis Pierce. Longer and Pierce are under contract until the end of 2018, while Hickey gained attention after a solid campaign last year.