In a major announcement for footy viewers in the US today, independent public broadcaster MHz NETWORKS has announced it will broadcast the Australian Football League (AFL) "Match of the Week," and an hour-long highlights show, on its new national program service MHz WORLDVIEW for the full AFL season. Matches will air on Saturday nights at 8PM EST with replay Sundays at noon EST.
Western Australian Football League club the West Perth Falcons have sought out the Milwaukee Bombers to form a partnership that will allow them to promote themselves at an international level in the US. Importantly, the deal will see scholarship positions created allowing two Milwaukee players to undertake pre-season training with the club (who play in the professional state league feeding into the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers) and then stay on to play local football for the season.
The Chicago Australian Football Association are this Saturday March 18th to be filmed in action by Australian television’s Channel 7, with the Illinois club chosen to show their wares for upcoming segments to be shown on the network in Australia on three separate occasions. As well as footage of the players in action, club players and officials are expected to feature in a number of interviews.
The USAFL today announced that the 2006 All Star Game will be held in Sarasota, Florida on July 1st. The Florida Redbacks Australian Rules Football Club will be hosting the event, in what is hoped to be a boost to the promising football scene in Florida. Last year’s tournament was held in Dallas Texas, and in previous years it has been held in Atlanta Georgia and Long Beach California.
A big weekend of footy in Arizona on February 25th and 26th with six teams, Chandler Outlaws, ASU Sun Devils, LA/Orange County combine, Inland Empire, Nashville and San Diego taking part in the 9 a side tournament. Seven games were played on day one at the Tempe Sports Complex, with the top four teams advancing to the semi finals and final being played on Sunday. The Chandler Outlaws team taking out the 2006 tournament.
Players and officials in Australian Football leagues around the world are sometimes surprised to find that many Aussies don't realise their top national football code is played overseas. This has surely been changing in recent years with a reasonable amount of coverage given to the 2005 International Cup, the South African experiment, and quite a few media stories on the two Japanese players doing a pre-season with AFL club Essendon. Such an aim was indeed been part of worldfootynews.com's raison d'être. On a smaller scale than some of the national media reports was a recent article in the Loxton News, in South Australia's Riverland. One of their local players had a run in the Golden Gate AFL in San Fransisco and was enthusiastic about the experience.
The Golden Gate AFL was one of the groundbreaking leagues in the US, amongst a handful to seriously commit to development of a local city league ahead of interstate travel. This lead is now being followed in other regions of the United States. Now the league has seen another leading spin-off with the development of possibly the first high school club in the US.
Canadian club, the Guelph Gargoyles will this August host the first Wellington Boot Invitational tournament, featuring three days of football with live bands and other entertainment between games. Organisers are hopeful of clubs from Japan, Ireland, Britain and the United States in addition to the Canadians in attendance.
Erin Phillips is an up-and-coming point guard in Australia's premier women's basketball league, the WNBL. A top player with Adelaide's national league side the Adelaide Fellas (a curious title based on their major sponsor - the club was formerly known as the Adelaide Lightning), Phillips is also known in South Australia for her football prowess and heritage. Her father is Greg Phillips, a legend at Port Adelaide in the SANFL in the era before the ever strengthening VFL expanded to become the AFL. Greg was a strong player for Port, and also played several seasons with Collingwood in the VFL. In all he played over 400 games of senior footy. His daughter was also a good footballer, competing with boys through her junior years, and playing in celebrity matches. Now she is set to join the world's best women's basketball league, the WNBA. In recent years we've seen former AFL players like Darren Bennett and Ben Graham helping promote Aussie Rules in the US, so maybe Erin will be another candidate, particularly in accelerating the game in the fledgling female market. Joel Shepherd sent us this report.
On a very chilly Australia Day, the New York Magpies were hosted by the Chelsea Pier Golf driving range (in Manhattan) in an event that signified the small but steadily growing steps of influence that Aussie Rules has on the United States - the Magpies bringing the game of Aussie Rules to their city and Ben Graham bringing his Aussie Rules big kicking leg to the NFL’s New York Jets. In addition to Graham's participation in the longest kick competition, he also showed willingness to take some training sessions for the Pies and attend games where possible, in a potential publicity coup for the Pies.