Across the weekend Vanuatu was hit by a category 5 cyclone which is as bad as it gets. Early reports of fatalities are patchy and will sadly be understated. The intensity of this storm was comparable to the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan that left more than 6000 dead in the Philippines. With communications impacted - and Vanuatu with around 250,000 people living across about 65 inhabited islands and in a variety of conditions - the true scale may not be known for sometime.
My family and I enjoyed the hospitality of AFL Vanuatu during a family holiday to Port Vila last June. Like many others we look on from afar in shock and despair for those who have endured this. We wish for - but fear for - the safety of those we haven't heard from.
As far as kicking balls around a paddock - that will be the last thing on the minds of anybody. In Vanuatu - with such widespread destruction the coming days and weeks will be crucial for those left homeless and without access to clean water - and for bringing health systems back into operation and not just back to normal operation. It is for this reason that we urge those who can; to donate. Australian aid flights have already begun arriving.
- Via facebook : Give to Vanuatu with drop off points listed around Australia.
- Australian Red Cross : Cyclone Pam Vanuatu 2015 appeal.
- And cash donations from anywhere via Gofundme
Hot on the heels of St Kilda FC signing Barclay Miller, their third international scholarship from New Zealand – the footy news just keeps rolling in with the announcement of the New Zealand Hawks Academy preliminary squad that will travel to Sydney later this month.
Last week saw the 47th anniversary of the independence of Nauru. Formerly known as Pleasant Island, the Republic of Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and by population is the 2nd smallest state in the world after the Vatican City. Nevertheless – and despite a windy and wet day – the national game (along with weightlifting) of Australian Football played a hotly contested North vs South Independence Day match.
NZ Aussie Rules fans have benefited enormously over recent seasons with Sommet Sports screening the majority of weekly games live and free to air.
Sadly, on Friday 12 December due to lack of funding initially promised from financiers, the channel ceased to exist for the time being.
Sommet amazingly managed to deliver quality Sports television for 18 months on 1/3 of the funding initially assured to them.
Since their closure they have received many messages of support and dismay from viewers throughout the country who have loved watching the many sports events that have been delivered FREE to all New Zealanders 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Sommet are currently investigating a range of proposals including Crowd funding. This is where the public fund a project or idea.
For the benefit of Aussie Rules in NZ for existing and future fans of the game, WFN wish them every success.
Parrs Park in the West of Auckland is the setting for the return match of women’s U18 Football, the Australian Woomeras versus the New Zealand Kahus. It’s the last football game on the N.Z. football calendar. Fortunately Parrs Park is well drained as the area had received torrential rain for much of the Sunday morning leading up to the game which was played in light rain and a blustery East wind.
The Kahus were looking to improve on their first outing with the Woomeras where they were comprehensively beaten. Parrs park is quite a picturesque ground with good a surface, good markings, facilities and solid goal posts. It’s also the home ground of the Magpies, one of six teams in the Auckland league.
The Kahus won the toss and decided to kick with the aid of a slight cross wind which unfortunately swung around almost straight after bounce down. The Woomeras were immediately into attack and the Kahus were constantly defending but after a period they able to break out of defence and mount attacking moves. It was a good quarter with the slightly inaccurate Woomeras scoring only one goal four behinds.
The 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Cup Carnival in Suva, Fiji has wrapped up on Friday with the finals well contested.
AFL Pacific development officer Ben Drew summaries the day :
We certainly witnessed some terrific, disciplined football today from all 4 finals side’s.
Tonga held off a determined Vanuatu team who pushed all the way to the last second! Both teams have been fantastic all week. Tonga held on for a narrow victory to finish 3rd.
The Grand Final was certainly the best game we have had at the Oceania Cup! It was hard, tough and low scoring. The game was on the edge with both teams having their opportunities throughout. A couple of the Fiji players lost their discipline at times and were severely penalised. Time in possession was very even throughout the game.
After a rest day on Wednesday, and some warnings about bad water, the 2014 AFL U/15 Cup carnival in Suva, Fiji, continued on Thursday with largely one sided – on the scoreboard at least – matches.
AFL Pacific Development Officer Ben Drew sums up the day :
It was another action packed day at the AFL Oceania Cup here in Fiji.
Vanuatu pushed Nauru all the way to the end and then Nauru turned the tables later in the day against Fiji to remain undefeated through the pool stage!
Tonga were strong once again and the Pacific All Stars gave everything in their last round!
Tomorrow we will see Vanuatu Volcano’s take on the Tonga Thunder for the 3rd and 4th playoff and Fiji Tribe take on the Nauru Stars in the 1 v 2 Grand Final day!
Albert Park will be packed to capacity!
It has been a fantastic week, and today also marked the arrival the Australian Wanderers U/14 side who are playing a 4 match test series against the Fiji Jnr Tribe U/14’s! Very busy week with lots of Football action! What more could you want?!
Jump on the AFL South Pacific Nations Facebook Page to see all the action from today.
Day 2 of the 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Cup Carnival in Suva, Fiji, witnessed the first matches of the main Oceania Cup tournament after Mondays lightning carnival.
The AFL's Ben Drew described the culmination of another terrific day of footy "And to finish the day with one of the best games of football between Nauru and Tonga to be played at the Oceania Cup in the 6 years we have been coming together was a fitting end to a great day."
The day also included the match up of Nakasi Cats taking on Suva Swans in Round 7 of the 2014 Vonu Challenge - played as an exhibition match for the Oceania Cup 2014 championship. Vanuatu Development officer, Nancy, (GO NANCY!!) joined along with a number of new local players. The Cats better in front of goals with 6.5(41) to Swans 2.9(21). Woman of the Match was Lini Drotini (Cats).
The 2014 AFL U/15 Oceania Youth Carnival got started on Monday with a Lightening Cup tournament held at Albert Park in Suva, Fiji. With national teams from host Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru as well as a composite Pacific All Stars side – the tournament was well contested and a good warm up for the main tournament matches to follow.
AFL Pacific Development officer Ben Drew described the opening day as a terrific day of footy. Each side bringing something of their own to the games - "Tonga were tough, Vanuatu were slick, Fiji were silky, Nauru were skillful and the Pacific All Stars fought hard all day"
The Saints have returned with their Community Camp Camp to their 2nd home, and have met with supporters, local AFL players and schools.
Players and club staff visited Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with a busy schedule in each location of coaching clinics and public appearances
In Wellington, a highlight was the homecoming of Porirua teenager Joe Baker-Thomas, now an International Scholarship holder with the St Kilda Saints.
Joe Baker-Thomas brought some of his teammates to his former school Porirua College, where they trained and played with students at the school.
Other school visits covered the breadth of the Wellington region.
On Tuesday the players visited Amesbury School, Johnsonville School, Fraser Crescent School and Hutt Central School. On Wednesday they saw kids at Paremata School and Rangikura School, along with the Porirua College visit.