Gideon Simon has become the first player who has learnt and played Australian rules football in another country to make it through the development pathway onto an AFL rookie list. Richmond yesterday announced that young PNG star who has been on an International Scholarship with the club will be officially listed with the Tigers in the Rookie draft this year as an International Rookie. The announcement came at the end of the AFL Draft combine in Melbourne where Simon tested well.
Others such as Mike Pyke, Shae McNamara and the now long list of Irish code crossers all came from other countries but did not play Aussie rules in their home country.
This is a huge vindication of the development pathway that has been developed in PNG, and hopefully will give hope to those elsewhere around the world to develop the game in their own corners of the globe. It is also a giant pat on the back to all that have been involved for many years in footy in PNG to bring the game there back from the brink.
Simon has been at the club for the latter part of this season, playing with Richmond's affilliate club Coburg (this affilliaton will not continue in 2012) in the Development League of the VFL.
In a story World Footy News has been following for some time, the St Kilda Football Club today announced their partnership with Wellington City Council in New Zealand, which will see the Saints become the first AFL club to play for AFL Premiership points outside of Australia.
In a history making agreement between St Kilda FC, the AFL and Wellington City Council, the Saints will play the Sydney Swans at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand on ANZAC Day in 2013.
Years of specualtion as to when and where this would happen on the World Footy News website are now over as the deal has been finally made.
The 2012 Solomon Islands AFL season has concluded with a hard fought ‘classic’ grand final at King George school oval in Honiara. The Rove Magpies ran out winners of the inaugural SIAFL club competition.
This much hyped progression for AFL and the game in NZ appears very close to being confirmed.
Sydney has emerged at the top of Wellington City Council's wish-list to play St Kilda next season in what would be the AFL's first match for premiership points outside Australia.
AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan yesterday said a deal to stage the Anzac Day clash at Westpac Stadium had yet to be clinched, but Wellington City Council sports and events portfolio leader John Morrison told The Saturday Age he expected the fine print, such as advertising and beer rights, to be settled within three weeks.
Morrison also revealed his preference was for the Swans to take on the Saints. ''It's up to the AFL, of course, but we certainly believe the Sydney Swans are the hot favourites,'' Morrison said. ''From our point of view, we would certainly like it because Sydney has good access to Wellington. From our bigger picture point of view, we hope we can get as many Australians as possible from St Kilda and the Sydney Swans and the AFL, and there are also many Australians that are in New Zealand, not just Wellington. We are aiming for a full house.''
This year’s tournament in Auckland will see Auckland, Christchurch, Waikato and wellington joined by Otago. This is the first time five of NZ’s provinces have been involved in the Championships and is a welcome progression for the sport.
Otago sent along representatives who played in the other Provinces’ sides last year and has a strong schoolboys program with many of their underage players selected already in NZ sides. Ben Miller is from Otago and is listed by Hawthorn as one of their International Rookies.
This tournament will confirm not only this year’s champion team but also provide players with the opportunity to be selected for the New Zealand Senior team to play against the Australian Institute of Sport, held in Wellington New Zealand on 26th January 2013
Northland, the picturesque region particularly known for the Bay of Islands, above the Auckland area in NZ is slowly opening up to the charms of AFL.
Now with a Regional Co-ordinator, Paul Hope, in the area there is hope for the game to get a foothold. Paul says hundreds of Northlanders have learned the game over the past two years through school programmes, after school programmes and secondary school introductions, with the sport offering part-time employment for up to 10 Northlanders. The fact that many people don't know the rules is part of the appeal, he says. "It doesn't matter, it's just all about having fun," he says. "It complements other winter sports and builds on their fitness and ball skills."
Rove Magpies and Central Coast Eagles in SIAFL Grand Finale
Central Coast Eagles have found themselves in a SIAFL Grand Final showdown against the Rove Magpies; after edging out a very young but determined White River Demons side in the preliminary final clash last Thursday. The Eagles 12.7.79 to the Demons 9.6.60 for a 19 point win at King George field.