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Monday, July 24 2017 @ 10:16 PM ACST

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New Banff Football Club

North America

Tuesday night at 6pm saw the first hit out in 2016 for the fledgling football team in Banff. Looking for motor vehicles I thought something was amiss but soon realised that players were arriving by bicycle. The field was in good condition if a little spongy and there was no question this recreation ground has one of best back-drops you'll ever see.

Nick Mamerow led the session with five others with an icy wind encouraging much activity. What's the synopsis for the future of this team?

It was a small turn-out on a cold windy Tuesday night. A fine week-end day should bring out a lot more of those numerous Banff Facebook members. The team is youthful, athletic and skilled because it is mostly Australian. This means they will be competitive in the Calgary league but it does present a problem for the long-term. Since most players are Australians a lot are associated with the service industry on two year visas. The Banff team are aware of this and are trying hard to attract locals but even locals tend to be newcomers here.

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Calgary Kangaroos Snapshot.

North America

Recently there has been a turnover of staff at national level in Canada and I talked to AFL Canada's new president and continuing Calgary Kangaroos president Lachlan Griffiths.  
 

It may seem an obvious statement but football needs people. Not just players, coaches, staff and helpers but people who bring their particular expertise into the football environment. The person who can ring around and find an available sporting facility at a reasonable price is a valuable asset.

Lachlan is an accountant and has endeavoured to set the league and the clubs on a sound financial footing. He has studied various institutions, not just football entities to extract inspiration for the right financial model.

 

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Alberta women's snapshot.

North America

Canada is getting serious about investing in it's representive teams. Both men and women players across Canada have been invited to participate in provincial teams to compete for national places.

 

Today I talked to Tristan Waldock's successor in Jason Arnold and his wife Danah in Calgary at the spacous grounds of the Sir Winston Churchill Centre.


Jason and his colleagues were running the first outing of an Alberta women's provincial team consisting of players coming from the Edmonton Emus and Calgary Kookaburras. Later a team will be selected to play against other provincial teams to provide players for two national sides.

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Edmonton Emus Snapshot.

North America

Edmonton has "city of champions" as their tag line because of the number of athletes emanating from their city, the most notable being ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky. In some ways it's a lot like another sports mad city in Melbourne, with it's inhabitants supporting it's high profile sporting teams with fervor and just like Melbourne it has a fierce rivalry with a neighbouring city in Calgary.


It's just not men who are responsible for this reputation as there are many female athletes historically and presently in the mix. The founder of the first Australian Football club in Edmonton, Tristan Waldock for the Edmonton Emus is proud to point out that it's the women who first established the presence of Australian Football in Edmonton and it's the men who then followed. That may be an unique occurrence in Australian football history. That strong female sporting presence in Alberta probably goes a long way to explain the high representation from Western Canada in the the Canadian women's team.

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Suns sign Kaufman to International Scholarship

North America
The Gold Coast Suns tonight confirmed they have signed an American to an International Scholarship position.  Brandon Kaufman, a wide receiver who was previously signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL in 2013 will initially play with Labrador on the Gold Coast while learning the game.
 
Kaufman and a second potential recruit John Peters (who is on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad) were trained for three weeks by the Kick Builders US talent program in Denver in 2015 with the aim of getting them onto an AFL list.  Kick Builders have been working with the Gold Coast Suns to improve kicking since early 2014.
 
Kaufman can be seen in action at the 2013 NFL Draft combine at the link here.
 
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Schedule released for USAFL 2016 Regional Tournaments

North America

The USAFL Regional Tournament Series is back for the 2016 season with the venues finalised today.  The three tournaments allow clubs to compete against a number of clubs from their region at one location.  The results are used as part of the ranking of teams for the National Championships in October to be held in Sarasota, Florida.

Each (East, West and South) region will host both men's and women's matches with a Sunday morning training camp at each weekend for the women's national team to help determine the USA Freedom and Liberty squads for the 2017 International Cup.

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Denver Broncos to link up with North Melbourne?

North America

An article in the Herald Sun this morning has linked AFL club North Melbourne with NFL club the Denver Broncos. The Colorado city of Denver, the home of the most successful USAFL club the Denver Bulldogs could be set to rapidly expand their footy interests. 

In the article Denver’s vice-president of public relations, April Thewell, confirmed the team’s interest in the AFL.

 

“There is a lot of intrigue about Aussie Rules over here and we see the North Melbourne Kangaroos as a perfect fit,” she said.

“Our VP of football operations John Elway and other members of our management team are heading out to Australia in the coming days to accelerate the negotiations.

“Could the next Peyton Manning come from Arden St? We’d like to think so.”

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AFL's US Combine returns to LA for 2016

North America

The AFL’s US Combine is back in 2016 and back in LA. After the 2015 Combine was held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton Florida, the venue for previous Combines in Los Angeles will again host athletes from around the US. The Combine will be held in just under a month from April 24-27.

This year's video promoting the Combine to US athletes can be seen below and has been updated with clips of Combine graduates Jason Holmes (2015 AFL debut) at St Kilda and Mason Cox (2016 NAB Cup footage) at Collingwood.

The AFL will be hoping to unearth some more crossover talent and a number of clubs will be present to identify suitable recruits. We know the Gold Coast Suns are on the lookout for a big American so would expect them to be keen participants.

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AFANA's US Footy viewing "State of the Nation" address

North America
AFANA’s Rob de Santos gives his US Footy viewing “State of the nation” address in the following article. A great read on how the US telecast situation has evolved and an evaluation of the options going forward. As always for any  up to date information relating to the North American TV coverage of AFL footy you should visit the AFANA website.
 
(This is the first in a series of long form editorials on the state of footy on TV in 2016 and the future outlook.) A long time ago in TV world far, far away, a small group of passionate AFL fans managed to get the AFL and ESPN together and save the weekly highlights coverage on US and Canadian television. It was an early and largely unnoticed accomplishment of the internet age as e-mail and newsgroups were the media used to launch coordinated action. Looking back, it was an amazing achievement in 1995-1996. It also was the catalyst for the formation of AFANA.
 
Over the past 20 years we’ve evolved from lobbying by fans to more sophisticated ways of attempting to drive the AFL’s TV strategy (with varying degrees of success). We’ve successfully helped steer them to new TV homes for the sport when old ones blew up on us. We’ve succeeded in keeping it on the air for 21 seasons without fail. Now, we have to decide what we do in 2016 and beyond. The answers for 1996 and 2006 no longer are the right ones. The TV market has changed. The fan base has changed.
 
The AFL is far more media savvy than before and nominally, has an “international” strategy (although fans and marketing seem not to be a big part of that). We must change our tactics and strategy to deal with the AFL, TV networks, and fan development to match the world as it is in 2016.

 

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Myk Aussie's Season Preview on FNTSY Sports Network

North AmericaWhile Myk Aussie's countrymen back in South Australia are sleeping, the Canadian based expat is out doing his bit to promote the Aussie football code across North America. Appearing on the Fantasy Sports cable TV Network with host Gabriel Morency this week, Myk previews the 2016 AFL season, does the best bets and picks for Round 1.

If you are in North America look out for Myk on your TV or on UStream with Gabriel on Friday nights. For now you can watch him on the clip below.



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