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Wednesday, September 18 2019 @ 02:49 am ACST

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A footy holiday to Vanuatu - Part 2 - Kazza field and those pesky crab holes

Oceania

A family holiday in June in Vanuatu - a great escape from winter in Melbourne. Staying at the Iririki Island Resort - we had plans for some simple and lazy resort time. However - we also had a Saturday morning date at Kazza Field and two big bags packed with 40+ pairs of footy boots and a couple of shiny new Sherrin match balls.

First though - our recovery day one in Port Vila from a 2am arrival and getting to bed after 4am

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A footy holiday to Vanuatu - Part 1 - boots and footys

Oceania

It's not uncommon for Australians - especially those south of the Murrumbidgee - to take a winter holiday to sunnier tropical locations and so it was the plan for my family to head to sunny Vanuatu across the first week or so of June. Of course one of my sons would pack a footy. Nothing too strange there. Perhaps what was more strange was a couple of bags containing 40+ pairs of donated footy boots and a couple of plastic wrapped brand new sherrin match footys.

(AFL) Vanuatu here we come! The following is in part tropical paradise travel diary and in part a WFN inspired footy pilgrimage.

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Wellington AFL Game Doubt?

Oceania

Questions are being raised about the future of AFL matches being hosted by Wellington.

Fewer than half of the 13,285 people who attended Wellington's AFL Anzac Day fixture paid face value for a ticket leaving its on-going future in jeopardy. However it would mirror the case for many promotional markets such as Western Sydney that many tickets in the initial seasons are ‘free and complimentaries’ to generate a following- particularly among the children in the region.

The Wellington city council is understood to have contributed $600,000 of ratepayer money to promote the game, but there was little public interest with the crowd down from 22,183 at the inaugural game in 2013.

"It's under review and hard questions are being asked about the return on investment to Wellington," said Deputy Mayor Justin Lester.

"It has the ability to be a centrepiece of next year's Anzac Day centenary celebrations, but a lot of work needs to be done.

"When it was introduced… it seems to have been a fairly clear case of over-promising and under-delivering. We want to change that. We have met with representatives from St Kilda and the AFL to make our concerns known and to review the situation."

"Whilst the crowd was down compared to last year, we're still very positive about the result given the impact of the school and Easter holiday period [which coincided with Anzac Day]," St Kilda representative Ben Davies said.

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Vanuatu's Kilip Andrew settles in for Olinda Ferny Creek

Oceania

In 2013 the Olinda Ferny Creek footy team from the Dandenongs region east of Melbourne travelled to Vanuatu post season for the perfect end of season trip after slogging it out in the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League.

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Solomons duo daring in Darling Downs

Oceania

Francis Ramo and Peter Nuku jetted off earlier this year bound for Queensland (Australia) for a season of footy. As reported in the Solomon Star They were selected for the opportunity on the basis of their commitment and work ethic towards the SIAFL, their talent and their determination to go to Australia. It’s pleasing to see the a couple of months into this adventure that both are doing well playing with the Coolaroo Football Club.

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AFL New Zealand Name Their Annual Heritage Team

Oceania

AFLNZ have made their second annual selection of their Heritage team. To be eligible player must be born in New Zealand or have one parent born there. This is more stringent than the one for the NZ national rugby league team which has a handful of Aussie-born players. Anyone looking at the Rugby League world Cup would also see that eligibility criteria are looser than those applied in the selection of this team.
 

AFL New Zealand Heritage team selector Simon Black noted the broad pool of players to select from. “There is a significant number of players with New Zealand heritage running around the AFL, so we were able to fill a full team.”

AFL New Zealand CEO Robert Vanstam would like to see the team play a test match against Australia one day.  Vanstam believes the growing interest in AFL across the ditch, and from expat New Zealanders in Australia, means a trans-Tasman Test could replace the hybrid International Rules series against Ireland.

“Why would you ever want to play them with a round ball when you can play a real game of footy against another country?’’ he said.
 

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The Saints in New Zealand - was it a success?

Oceania

The bald figures state that over 22,000 attended the first AFL game for premiership points in New Zealand in 2013 and yet just over 13,000 attended this year. Did that make the venture unsuccessful as the AFL seek to expand the game? In a letter from Peter Summers, President of St Kilda, he provides his view which is anything but negative.

Please see: Letter to NZ from St Kilda President

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Footy team cleans up hospital after Solomon Island Floods

Oceania

Courtesy of ABC Radio Australia website.

Australian Rules Football Team cleans up Hospital in floods in Solomon Islands.

Organised by the Solomon Islands Australian Football League, more than 30 players and their Australian friends engaged in a community effort to start rebuilding the White River Health Clinic.
 
The clinic was hit by flash flooding two weeks ago, which destroyed more than half its medical supplies.
 
Michael Nunan, coach of the White River Demons footy team and a pharmaceutical distributor says there was "a foot of mud" to be cleared.
 
He also says it's a priority to get the clinic re-opened as the Solomon Islands deals with outbreaks in dengue, diarrhoea and pink eye disease.
 

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NZ’s Annual Biggest Week of Football

Oceania

Sure, we know that the St Kilda Saints will be playing their annual ANZAC Day game in Wellington, this time against the Brisbane Lions, but it is the opportunity that it affords NZ football to showcase their talent which is truly exciting for those with an interest in football on the east side of the Tasman.

Firstly there will be a two match series for the 2nd time between the NZ Hawks and the South Pacific Nations. Last year the series was won 2-0 by the New Zealand Hawks.

The South Pacific Nations will be looking to take revenge, and have a strong side capable of sparking an upset win. Their team is heavily weighted with NZ’ers such as St Kilda International Scholarship holder Joe Baker-Thomas, alongside some of the key players in New Zealand AFL, including Andrew Howison and Shane Leat. They will be coached by long time NZ representative Andrew Congalton. An exciting crop of young Kiwis in Levi Inglis, Kyle Smith, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas, James Little, Ben Miller will be part of the team who have represented New Zealand at age group level with distinction. A strong contingent of players from the Pacific Islands will be joining them. Ha’ele Finau and Fohe Latu from Tonga, Sam Bua from the Solomon Islands and Chris Cakabou from Fiji are all leading players from their respective islands.

It appears that this year representatives from PNG will not be part of the team.
 

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Footy resumes in Solomons after the Storm while clean up continues

Oceania

The Solomon Islands were recently and tragically battered by the tropical depression storm that formed into cyclone Ita – with widespread damage and numerous fatalities in the capital Honiara. The week before the SIAFL season had kicked off but not surprisingly round 2 was unable to proceed. The resilience of the locals highlighted though by the resumption last weekend with the playing of the previous weeks postponed matches.

Perhaps more importantly - the community of the SIAFL has been recognised in the Solomon Star newspaper for their efforts - here at White River in helping get the White River health clinic cleaned up and back into operation - crucial to help combat the spread of disease in the coming weeks.

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