Marc McGowan reports on the www.afl.com.au website about the reaction in the United States to the extraordinary success of Texan, Mason Cox, ahead of his AFL Grand Final appearance tomorrow. Cox has already captured the imagination of Australians, but as the AFL’s biggest game of the year draws closer, Americans are realising the magnitude of his achievements.
AMERICAN Mason Cox's extraordinary Australian football journey to Saturday's AFL Grand Final is finally gaining traction in the Collingwood giant's home country.
The United States media's relative lack of interest until now pales in comparison to the fanfare the 211cm forward has long received in Australia.
In one of the most remarkable VFL/AFL finals ever witnessed, the crowd at the MCG has erupted into the chant of the title as American footballer Mason Cox cut loose. As this article is being written, Cox dominates the Fantasy points on the http://www.afl.com.au website as the most impacting player on the field.
This isn’t a practice match but an AFL Preliminary final involving two of the great AFL clubs – Collingwood and Richmond – and it can truly be argued that Collingwood’s seven goal lead at half time is built heavily on the back on an American.
So far, Cox has claimed eight possessions (seven kicks), six marks (most contested) and crucially, three huge goals in a row that were the integral part of a Magpie goal-kicking avalanche. Rarely has a player dominated a half as Cox has done – NEVER an American.
Tyler Ames was a standout player with the Denver Bulldogs of the USAFL. He then became part of an exchange program with the USAFL and is in his second season with the Montrose Demons. Recently we had the chance to catch up with Tyler.
Image Source: ntnews.com.au
Tell us about your first season (2017) at Montrose. Was it everything you hoped it’d be? Did you feel like you got better each week?
My first season was an amazing experience. It took me a fair amount of time to settle into the standard of the league and really learn where I needed to be positioned on the field. For most of the initial games, I really struggled getting around the ball and even started many games from the bench. I’m sure I was much like watching little kids play chasing the ball around the ground without getting much of the ball. Fortunately as the season progressed I really started to find my form a bit. I was able to get around the ball and impact plays with my size and physicality and was even able to snag around 6 goals for the year most of which came in the back half.
The annual USAFL Western Regionals tournament was held this past weekend at the David Legacy Soccer Park outside Sacramento, California. It was a day of intense heat (105 F/41 C), but it was great to see some high quality footy being played in the state capital.
With eight men’s teams and four women’s teams, there was plenty of talent and experience on display. The men’s division one side was made up of the Seattle Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Dragons, the Golden Gate Roos and the San Diego Lions (who combined with several Arizona Hawks players). The day started with the Dragons taking on the Grizzlies, securing a 26-point win in the process; concurrently, Golden Gate defeated San Diego by a nine goal margin. As the temperatures climbed throughout the afternoon, the Dragons took home another scalp, beating the Lions and securing a spot in the grand final.
AFL Canada has been looking to increase it's international competitiveness by increasing the number of representative fixtures and the Canadian Nationals are the latest step up from the inter-provincial games held prior to the 2017 International Cup. AFL Canada has also taken development teams to England as earlier preparation.
This hasn't gone unnoticed south of the border where the USAFL is taking a team to Ireland this year and has been holding annual national tournaments. The following report on the Canadian Nationals is from Zachery Brandstater, Président of AFL Québec. WFN thanks Zachery for his effort in producing this report.
Pic: Rob Colburn.
The Canadian Nationals tournament is an opportunity for the various entities within AFL Canada to get together and play some high quality football. AFL Canada restricts eligibility for this tournament to only those who would be eligible for the Canadian national team. As it stands British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec all support leagues in their own right so there is plenty of football across the country (over 5000 participants in 2017, including youth football programs). This network of grass roots football is contributing to a strong football identity in Canada, and it is continuing to gain momentum.
Sam Murphy’s journey from American football walk-on to state league Aussie footballer has been a fun and eventful odyssey. The ruckman from the Los Angeles Dragons made his debut two weeks ago for the West Perth Falcons in the WAFL, becoming the latest American to thrive in local footy.
Originally from Fairfield, Connecticut, Murphy spent most of his youth competing in American football and was a letterwinner at Fairfield High School. When his family relocated to Los Angeles, Murphy spent a year at the highly-touted Oaks Christian football program, which is known for sending players to national powerhouses like USC and UCLA.
In footballing terms, there can be no better way to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday than to party on down with her in the game which celebrates her special day – the Queen’s Birthday clash between traditional rivals Collingwood and Melbourne. It is one of the biggest matches on the AFL calendar and a day for the greats to shine – which is exactly what American Mason Cox did today.
In a performance that earned him the trophy for best afield, the Neale Daniher Trophy, Cox joined other past stars such as Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Max Gawn, Aaron Davey and Travis Cloke in receiving the honour. There was nothing “average” about Cox today – he proved emphatically that his days as a novelty player are done – replaced by a footballer who seriously can play the game and is getting better each outing.
He will be best remembered for his five-goal effort (and one behind) across the four quarters today. Not only did he take towering pack marks, he also brought smaller players into contests. Seemingly unsatisfied with his two metre plus height, Cox was also content hurling himself a few extra metres into the air, hoping to add a big “hanger” to his expanding repertoire of skills.
ALTHOUGH it may never compete with national sports ice hockey and lacrosse, Australian Football is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada. And a dedicated Australian is helping drive the growth.
With multiple leagues across the country's provinces, thousands of experienced and new players alike – including women – are becoming involved in the game.
The AFL Ontario League has clubs based in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. Founded in 1989, the league started with 10 men's clubs, and in 2010 introduced a women's competition. This year, division one of the men's competition has nine clubs, while the women's competition has expanded to five clubs with the addition of the Ottawa Swans.
Australian Football has again captured the attention of Canadian media in this excellent and enlightening story from Grace Kennedy at the North Delta Reporter in Vancouver. The work of Mike McFarlane and his dedicated team at North Delta has long been known within Australian footy circles, but more and more their work is capturing the imagination of an ever-increasing public.
“The local league is perhaps the largest in North America, and holding strong.”
From a distance, the group of kids kicking a ball back and forth on the Gray Elementary field look like they are practicing soccer.
Walk a little closer, and you notice the ball is definitely not a soccer ball. It could be a rugby ball, with its oval shape and bright colour. Look across the field, and another group of athletes are in a star formation, practicing drills. They could be practicing football, passing the ball back and forth in a criss-cross formation.