In an interesting article, Wellington's Dominion Post discusses further the drive for AFL to be played in Wellington. In an article that picks up on many aspects already covered in WFN articles it also highlights some of the rules of the game for the uninitiated and looks at the game as a prospective professional career through the eyes of Oceania and Wellington U16 Rep Kade Riddell and through Wellington's AFLNZ Development Manager James Terry.
The AFL have formally backed the bid from NZ to host a Premiership game, subject to finances. With St Kilda keen to play next year in Wellington on Anzac Day two potential opponents have come forward in Sydney and Brisbane. With NZ backers John Morrison and John Dow at this year’s Anzac Game viewing a thrilling one point win from Collingwood over Essendon they couldn’t help but leaving even further impressed.
It would be the first premiership game played outside Australia and, as the proposed fixture starts to generate headlines in Melbourne, talks are continuing towards a long-term, strategic partnership between Wellington, St Kilda and the AFL.
AFL Samoa selected local rising star Joseph Falesa to attend the AFL training camp in New Zealand held in recent days.
Joseph, a 16 year old from Lepa/Lotofaga College, was selected to participate in the training camp because of his 'outstanding performance during the inaugural Aaron Edwards Cup' held in March.
Irrespective of outcome - attending the training camp would provide Joseph and many young footballers from the Pacific region the chance to experience training at an elite level; also an exposure to AFL overseas.
Across late last week and the weekend, many of the best young footy talent in the Pacific region converged on New Zealand. A 4 day camp was conducted to trial the players. The partial squad selected as a result is to be the basis of the full squad that will jet to Sydney for the AFL National Under 16 titles.
For the first time since its inception, four provinces attended the tournament held in Christchurch during March. A fantastic development was Otago fielding its first ever regional team. 2009 winners Auckland, 2010 winners Canterbury and Wellington were the other provinces present. Importantly the province of Northland provided some players to the Auckland team as Otago did during their development phase to Wellington.
2011 winners, New Zealand Under 16's were in attendance but are no longer eligible to compete for the NPC Championship. They instead played two representative matches against a South Island combination (Otago and Canterbury) on Saturday and a North Island combination (Auckland and Wellington ) on the Sunday.
New Zealand Hawks Under 16 players also represented their respective provinces in normal NPC matches. Their involvement was monitored on a restricted basis to ensure adequate rest time for the individuals concerned.
As reported in the local Dominion Post newspaper , Wellington is in the boxseat to host the first AFL competition game outside Australia, perhaps as soon as next year, as St Kilda search for a home away from home.
This has been previously reported on WFN arousing much debate about the merits of playing a game for Premiership points internationally but it seems what was once a pipe dream now seems as Elvis would say "On the edge of reality".
The AFL has announced the 2012 NAB Under 16 Championships draw. This year's tournament will include a WA Northwest team as well as a Flying Boomerangs indigenous team.
The South Pacific and WorldXVIII teams will be back for their third tournament which will be held in western Sydney from July 7 to July 14. The introduction of the new teams this year will see the international teams play each of the new teams once each as well as the other international team.
It’s Australia Week in PNG and there’s a big weekend coming up. The week runs from March 5 to March 11; however the big day for AFL PNG is Saturday with what is probably the biggest annual event on the AFL PNG calendar.
Saturday March 10 sees the action on field at Amini Park.
One of the key areas of the current era of Australian Football internationally is the provision of recognisable talent pathways. The Pacific/Oceania region in particular has access to the South Pacific and Oceania representative squads but also have an advantage of close proximity to Australia. A key benefit is seen with the recent arrival in Queensland of two players from the Solomon Islands (SIAFL) to gain experience playing in Australian competition. Thankfully too, the level of footy in Queensland is of sufficient quality that the lads won’t have to acclimatise to a Melbourne footy season.
The following article is a press release provided by Job Vulita (SI AFL Development Officer)
The prospect of the first AFL home-and-away game played outside Australia could become a reality as early as next season, with St Kilda reportedly pushing to play up to four games a season in New Zealand.
The Saints on their website confirm this possibility “The St Kilda Football Club is in preliminary discussions with the AFL about the expansion of the game in New Zealand and the role the Saints may play. With the recent inclusion of AFL as a sanctioned sport in schools in New Zealand, the Saints would like to develop the game further through engagement with the community. The Saints also see an opportunity to build player talent pathways for local talent to play AFL and potentially play games for Premiership points in Wellington in the future. The Wellington Stadium, affectionately known to Kiwis as “The Cake Tin” is an excellent venue.
Having personally had the opportunity to be involved in all 3 pre-season games played in Wellington, firstly at the iconic Basin Reserve and followed by two matches at the Stadium I can only applaud this initiative and state that in all respects it is a wonderful surface and arena for AFL football. It is well and truly time for a truly meaningful game to be played in New Zealand. The opportunity for the Saints to play the legendary football thinker Kevin Sheedy’s Greater Western Sydney Giants on Anzac Day should excite both footy fanatics and interested observers equally.