The South Pacific squad has been finalised after the Oceania Talent Combine held in New Zealand back in April, along with the efforts of the combined PNG/Nauru side during the recent QLD state championships.
As a continuation of the AFL PNG affiliation with AFL Queensland, the Under 16 Binatangs squad has just returned home after competing in the 2012 Queensland State Championships.This years championships were held at the AFL QLD HQ at Leyshon Park, Yeronga, as well as O’Callaghan Park at Zillmere.
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.