The Ontario AFL, one of the biggest leagues in the world, outside of Australia, is gearing up for the 2005 finals. Toronto Downtown Dingos will be favourites to go all the way having finished top with just one loss. The league has also announced its major awards and all-star team.
The 2nd US Collegiate Invitational is coming up, and the event is being used to promote a new plan for college footy, aimed at taking Aussie Rules a step further. Australian football in the US is growing steadily but many of the recruits are already in their 20s when they take up the game, and with so many new skills to learn, they often don't reach their peak until around 30. An obvious place to attract younger players is the university system, which is also a key part of professional US sports. The USAFL has funded a report, by Belmont University Sports Administration masters student, Adam Bishop, into how to develop the college game, and it will be presented to the ANZACC National Business Conference, being held from September 9 to 11.
The North Delta Junior Australian Football League (NDJAFL) is one of the great stories in the growth if Australian Rules football in Canada. An offshoot of the Vancouver Cougars club, season 2005 saw the number of teams grow from 6 to 8, with the sides competing in two divisions of four. With many of the players turning 15 or 16 next year, organisers have no doubt that some top senior players will emerge in the next few years. Perhaps the likely third International Cup in 2008 will see the first junior come through for Canada.
The prospect of an AFL match being played in the United States has been tantalising Australian Rules footy fans and players in the US for several years. After several disappointments the signs have been promising this year. Although it has yet to be officially confirmed, it now looks like the match is more likely than ever before.
An old favourite and a relative newcomer were the latest US clubs to kick off their 2005 season recently with their nearest rivals. And in other news another team looks to make their debut at this year's National Championships.
As Australian Football has developed in the United States over the past ten years, a number of clubs have begun using 9-a-side 'Metro Footy' to overcome the hurdles posed by a lack of large enough grounds, small initial squad sizes and the distances between cities.
Now, a new initiative is underway to take 9-a-side footy to the next level with the creation of 'Major League Aussie Rules', a plan which may see metro sides from across the USA competing against each other.
We previously reported a planned match between teams representing the MAAFL from the US and OAFL in Canada. The Canadians were planning on using the match to give valuable team practice to much of the Team Canada Northwind squad. Unfortunately the match has been cancelled due to the MAAFL unable to gather sufficient numbers willing to travel.