The following article by Russell Jackson at The Guardian explores the journey and AFL career to date of St Kilda’s American import, Jason Holmes. On the back of his best season to date, Holmes is now in pre-season for the Saints’ 2016 campaign.
Up close the modern AFL footballer is a far different physical specimen than his predecessors of the last few decades, far more sinewy and slight. On account of his finely-calibrated diet and training regime and the relentless pursuit of success, he’s closer in shape to a middle distance runner than a wide receiver, as was once the case.
This is a good thing, in many respects. The AFL footballer is now faster, stronger and more physically resourceful than ever and generally more skilled too, concepts not lost on St Kilda ruckman Jason Holmes when he emerged from almost total obscurity in 2015 to become the first born and bred American to play in the AFL. It was a truly remarkable achievement for a college basketballer who’d never properly watched a full game, let alone played in one, before the Saints secured him as an international rookie.
Day 2 of the 2015 USAFL Nationals in Austin is now completed. The Austin Crows 4.4 (28) have defeated the Orange County Bombers 2.4 (16) to win the National Championship for the second time in three years.
Division 2 saw the silverware headed north of the International border with the Quebec Saints 3.9 (27) defeating the Sacramento Suns 0.0 (0) in a 27-0 shutout.
The Women's Division 1 was once again won by the Denver Lady Bulldogs who have earned their 6th straight national title finishing on top of the table with a 4 win 1 loss record.
Division 3 was won by the Portland Steelheads 5.7 (37) to Ohio Valley 1.3 (9).
Division 4 was won by San Diego/OC Bombers combine team 7.5 (47) defeating KC Power 4.3 (27).
The Women's Div 2 was won by the Calgary/Portland/Vancouver combine.
Day 1 of the 2015 USAFL Nationals in Austin is complete. As players regroup and recover for Day 2 some will be eyeing a place in the final tomorrow afternoon, while others will be regretting those few errors that may have cost them a game today. It was a warm one so a few cold beverages under the Texas stars might assist with the hydration.
The Orange County Bombers have set themselves up for a crack at the Division 1 title in Pool B winning both their first round matches. Defending Champions New York got the day off to flier easily accounting for Dallas, but went down to Denver after lunch. They will play the undefeated Orange County tomorrow to decide who will go to the Grand Final. If Orange County win they go straight in but should New York win it could come down to percentage with Denver favourites to defeat Dallas in the other remaining match.
In the Pool A it is home side Austin that is undefeated knocking over both the Calgary Kangaroos and the Golden Gate Roos today. They just need to defeat the winless LA Dragons to progress through to the final for the second time in three years.
USAFL Nationals Day 1 Streaming Schedules are below. All schedules are subject to change and some years the match schedules can stretch out during the day. Click on the icon next to each match to watch via Youtube. All times and days are local Austin, TX times (the first 9am match Saturday is at 1am in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday).
The USAFL Nationals are set to get underway in Austin Texas this weekend. USAFL matches have been underway since early in the year but for most clubs all those games are the warm-up for this tournament. This year 36 men's teams and 9 women's teams from all over the US will battle it out in warm conditions at Onion Creek Soccer complex in Austin.
The Austin Crows will be favourites in their own backyard to take the title as they did here two years ago, their most likely rival in the final is set to be the reigning champions the New York Magpies. Don't be surprised though if Austin's neighbours in the Dallas Magpies can work some magic to make it an all Texas affair in the final. In the Women's Division the Denver Lady Bulldogs are looking to go 6 in a row but will face stiff competition from the other four teams in their division.
Read on for all the details on the schedule of events, the pools, my predictions and the USAFL Weekly Report show schedule for the Nationals.
Eric Wallace was delisted by North Melbourne today after three years with the club as an International Rookie. Wallace did not play an AFL match with the club, spending his first two years playing with North Ballarat and this year with Werribee in the VFL Wallace was popular with team-mates at the club and a successful ruckman at VFL level. A strong ruck brigade at North Melbourne meant that there was never really an opening for him to make that AFL debut.
There is a chance that another club may offer Wallace a life line as able ruckmen of his stature are still in short supply generally around the league. Beyond that the USAFL may be keen to secure Wallace's services for the US Revolution team in the 2017 International Cup if he is interested in continuing in the game.
The Calgary Kangaroos club has now grown to three senior mens teams to form a competition and produce a premier.. Established in 2002, the club has had to travel to Edmonton, Kelowna or Vancouver at times for competition. There is also a women's team and a flourishing junior program. (See Valley Creek School article)
The name “Kangaroos” is now reserved for the representative side to compete in inter-provincial and international tournaments. Locally, the Bears, Cowboys and Wolves compete for the Calgary Men’s Championship which is the old style premiership table. They also have one very enthusiastic mayor as the Roos number ticket holder.
The following is from Lachlan Griffiths about the championship game day.
The Carlton Football Club has signed US basketballer Matt Korcheck as a Category B International Rookie.
Korcheck, who stands at 6”10 (208cm) and weighs 105kg, caught the eye of recruiters at a Florida screening camp in April this year. He was later invited to train with the Blues and spent three weeks at Ikon Park in August.
The 23-year old, who previously played Division 1 College Basketball for the Arizona Wildcats, hasn’t played much ‘Aussie Rules’ but Carlton’s GM List Management Stephen Silvagni says Korcheck has shown great potential.
An editorial from Rob de Santos the Chairman of AFANA on the future of Australian football in North America. This editorial original appeared at www.afana.com on August 30, 2015.
A week ago the first American, born and raised in the United States, make it to the top level of football down under. I hope that these closing weeks of the AFL season will see Jason Holmes (and perhaps Mason Cox, also) do enough to stay there in coming seasons. It's been a long wait. Twenty years for fans. We've also seen the conclusion of a huge new domestic TV contract for the AFL. It's also a milestone year for AFANA. Two decades of promoting the growth of Aussie rules in North America. From scrambling to save one hour of one week delayed highlights on US / Canadian television back in 1996 to having 12 hours per week of live coverage in the USA & 3 hours in per week in Canada plus highlights and repeats now. We have seen six networks come and go in that time. It's been a long journey.
I've been reflecting on that journey and giving serious thought to what it means now and where the sport in North America needs to go in the next two decades. I never expected in 1995-1996 that in 2015, I would be here and I have no plans to be doing this in two more decades. Retirement beckons in the not too distant future but I have some thoughts about the coming years.