Former North Melbourne star Wayne Schwass says in the Herald Sun that New Zealand can develop into a strong AFL breeding ground and wants to see a match played across the Tasman for premiership points.
AFL New Zealand continues to push the league for a home-and-away match to be played in the country as early as next year, with Anzac Day suggested as a potential date.
Schwass who was born in New Zealand backed taking a game across the Tasman. "We are into Tasmania, the AFL are exploring China, and I understand that from a commercial point of view, but New Zealand is three hours across the ditch."
New Zealand-born Hawk Shane Savage will host eight players from AFLNZ after the Club’s open training session tomorrow at the Ricoh Centre, formerly Waverley Park.
Savage will have a light kick on the oval with his compatriots, who have been living in Melbourne to improve their football skills, before they return home to play in the New Zealand Hawks team pitted against an AIS-AFL Academy squad.
Along with Samoa, the other main absentee from the 2011 AFL Oceania Youth Cup tournament was the Solomon Sharks, who had debuted in 2010 to the delight of many.As it turned out this year, the will was there to attend, but, the finances is another issue entirely.The Solomons were able though to leverage off neighbours PNG and sent 2 players plus a team manager along with the main PNG squad.
Ed Burton is the AFL development officer in the Solomons, and he recently prepared a 2011 year in review, noting that it was written/published on the AFL Solomons facebook page during the recent Youth Cup.
One of the clear disappointments in the vibrant Pacific region for Australian Football was the non-appearance of Samoa at both the 2011 International Cup and the recent Youth Tournament in Fiji.
Here is an update on AFL Samoa. AFL Samoa has a newly re-formed and restructured board and committee. Across three days in late November they were pleased to host a visit from AFL Asia Pacific Manager of Football Operations, Andrew Cadzow. Andrew was in Samoa to among other things to convene the first ever AFL Samoa Coaching and Umpiring AFL Level 1 Accreditation workshop. Outside of that, Andrew also took time to run some skills clinics.
The AFL Youth Oceania Cup tournament wrapped up last weekend.Like 2010 in Tonga, an important element of the week was the AFL Combine testing conducted.This time around, on the Saturday of the tournament, 40 selected players were tested.
Like a number of other fledgling AFL national programs, the AFL Vanuatu program runs a facebook page. And today a pretty special review was posted of the efforts and experience of the Volcanoes in becoming the first national AFL team from Vanuatu.
With the pre-tournament favourite and reigning title holder PNG prevented from defending their title after what was a shock loss to Tonga in the downpour of Thursday afternoon; the New Zealand Hawks more accurate finishing provided them a solid 21 pt win over Nauru in the Grand Final of the AFL Youth Oceania Cup.
Wellington had a tough Aussie rules season this year, resulting in a season of struggle after struggle. The North City Demons were unable to field a team this season, leaving a three team competition. Round robins were supposed to be played each weekend over 6 weeks before culminating in a December final. Unfortunately the Wellington City Saints Saints defaulted multiple games throughout the season with the Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs also struggling on a couple of weekends.
Throughout the season clubs catered for Demons players wanting a game, as were any available players whose team defaulted. This continued even on Grand Final day, with six players from the Saints and Demons playing in the final.
There are two schools of thought with this from my experience, allow them to play and keep them passionate so that they don’t walk away from the sport and come back to rebuild their Clubs next year, or cut them off from playing and ensure that the teams who do the right thing and turn up with a team aren’t compromised in who takes the field in their jumper. A tricky quandary but I believe Wellington took the right approach here.
During the year there were a number of administrative changes across the league, including new Club Presidents for both the Saints and the Bulldogs. The addition of these new and enthusiastic participants to the League administration hopefully sets a solid foundation for the league moving forward.