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.
In the audio clip below Tony Woods speaks to Radio Australia's Geraldine Coutts about the early stages of the competition and the off field activities. Funding of the tournament is also discussed although no numbers are detailed.
The AFL has released the results from the opening round of the 2011 Youth AFL Oceania Cup played today at Albert Park in Suva, Fiji. Also, the Flying Boomerangs kicked off action today with a match against an Oceania Squad selected after yesterdays Lightening Tournament. Obviously, the Oceania squad had limited preparation time and the result is far less important than the activity itself.
The first day of the AFL Youth Oceania Cup is underway after Tuesday’s Lightening Carnival. Encouragingly for the AFL and their efforts and those of the many volunteers helping to grow the game in the region – there is solid local coverage of the event.
The AFL website is carrying an excellent 3 minute video casting Tony Woods in the role of interviewer. He speaks to a number of players, and Alisha Thiel who has been helping out with the Vanuatu Volcanoes.
Results of matches played at Albert Park, Suva, Fiji – Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011.
Slippery and damp conditions prevailed, good weather for frogs, and as AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods points out, a good chance for players to get over jet lag and get a touch of the footy.
Perennial Grand Finalists in Auckland, the University Blues (who last triumphed in 2009) recently defeated the reigning Premiers Waitakere Magpies in the AAFL Grand Final.
The weather looked for a short while like it was coming right when play first started in the Senior GF. The game started at a fast pace and with no rain and a dry ball, handling and the marking skill were excellent. However, it wasn't to last as 10 minutes into the first quarter the rain started again and the wind picked up and with wet under foot conditions the ball soon became like a bar of soap. At the end of the first quarter Uni, who had first use of the northerly wind, lead narrowly 3.4 (22) to Waitakere’s 3.1 (19).
With the third AFL Youth Oceania Cup about to swing into full action today, it’s great to see good coverage and respectful coverage of a sport that is moving gradually from novelty value to mainstream.At least at junior level.
While the AFL Youth Oceania Cup focusses attention on the field and the talented juniors representing the various nations of the Pacific – there is a subtext of the reward of pride and satisfaction for the hard working pioneers and volunteers who have helped establish and or sustain and grow footy in the region.
On Saturday the first ever Vanuatu Volcanoes squad assembled in Port Vila and were presented with their kits, uniforms and travelling shirts. Flying out on Sunday evening with valued sponsorship partner Air Vanuatu, the hopes of the tiny nation of 225,000 ride with the youngsters.
Left, the Volcanoes looking ready for action in footy gear supplied by Fiona McLarty who works with the AFL in Brisbane.
As much as it may pain Aussies to focus on the potential of New Zealanders, given the success of the Black Caps in Hobart in the 2nd cricket Test, there is though reason to look towards the shaky isles for talented footballers.