New Zealand Rugby League has selected Melbourne Storm winger Matt Duffie into their national team, the Kiwis. The 20-year-old scored two tries on debut for the Storm last year against the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL. He is hoping to make a similar impact in the Test arena as he makes his Test debut against the Kangaroos on the Gold Coast on Friday night.
The St Kentigern's, Auckland old boy, who was once selected for the New Zealand Aussie Rules team, has been in great form this season, scoring five tries in the five matches and has proven to be a master under the high-ball.
Duffie admits his AFL background has helped him in the rival code. "I just got into AFL just for a kick-around and something to do on a Sunday, but the skills that I learned there have helped me a lot in my career so far and hopefully they'll continue to help me."
Duffie was selected in the original squad for the 2008 International Cup but withdrew when signed to the NRL’s Storm. The withdrawal of the high flying 18 year old at that stage was a tremendous loss to the squad.
Given the changes that have occurred since then with International recruitment, and particularly with Hawthorn’s efforts in NZ, it could have been that Duffie laid the groundwork as an AFL player for others such as Kurt Heatherley to follow.
The final day play off matches included the match up of the undefeated Gold Coast Stingrays and the Coca-Cola PNG Binatangs, in the clash for 1st place. The Gold Coast ran out 40-point winners, but the Binatangs were far from disgraced in their 11.7 (73) to 4.9 (33) loss.
The Coca Cola PNG Binatangs Under 16 representative team has won their second round clash in the Queensland Under 16 State Championships, defeating the Suncoast Power by 14 points, and remaining undefeated so far. They are now headed for the ‘Grand Final’ of the tournament, taking on the similar unbeaten Gold Coast Stingrays for First place.
Read on for full scores from the tournament so far.
On Wednesday morning, the PNG U16 Binatangs flew out of Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, bound for Brisbane. The task ahead, taking on the challenge of the Under 16 QLD state championships. The first round has been played and the Papua New Guinean boys have already had a win.
The Oceania Under 16 squad has spent the last 4 days leading up to Easter at St Ignatius College at Riverview in Sydney, playing against the best under age talent in NSW. The week began with great promise with a win on day 1, thereafter, the task proved more challenging.
As the week wore on, the results became more one sided. In the first three games, Oceania had managed a total of 15.20 (110) (granted 210 against). However, the last 3 games produced just a further 1.4 (10).
In Vanuatu this Easter weekend, Erakor Village (home of the first AFL footy club in Vanuatu) travelled to Mele for a good Friday footy match. Taking on the newly formed Mele AFL Club in a demonstration game. Fans were advised to get to the Mele ground around 1pm so as to not miss any of the action.
The AFL NSW Under 16 state championships are underway. And, whilst the presence of both sides from the Sydney Swans Academy and the GWS Giants might be newsworthy enough to generate interest outside of NSW; there’s also the small matter of the Oceania Squad making their debut in the tournament. That the Oceania lads have kicked off Day 1 with a solid 16 point win over the NSW Northern Coast side.
Oceania 7.16 (58) defeated Northern Coast 6.6 (42) Goals : Lucas Sili (Sol Is.) 2, Villiami Langi (Tonga) 2, Aleki Palaiti (Tonga) 2 and Thomas (Junior) Joel (Sol Is.) 1.
23 scoring shots to 12 is pretty conclusive. This should be noted as an Oceania side, and NOT a South Pacific side. While there ARE players from New Zealand for example, there are no players from PNG (who are instead eligible for Queensland). This is the important distinction between Oceania and South Pacific rep teams.
Papua New Guinea is the reigning International Cup champions and also the reigning Oceania Under 16s champions. And as reported recently, senior footy in Port Moresby has been undergoing a restructure in readiness to cope with the large numbers of juniors playing footy in PNG. There’s a lot going on in PNG.
In early March a Mosquitos camp was held in Lae and a week later as part of the Australia Week celebrations, a game was held in POM (Port Moresby) between the PNG Mosquitoes and the Australian Bolters (which included some Australian Scholarship players). The Mosquitos won 10.5.(65) to 9.5.(59) with a late goal to AFL PNG manager Walter Yangomina. This match effectively launched the 2011 AFL PNG season. It was also the return to Amini Park in Port Moresby after almost 2 years without AFL action. This Bolters also included some special guests, with former AFL Saint Aussie Jones playing well and former NRL star Mat Rogers playing his first game of 'AFL'.
There was also an curtain raiser match in which the old guys stretched their legs in a Legends vs Champions clash. Participants included the Australian High Commissioner in PNG, Sir Ian Kemmish.
Out of these events the PNG extended squad for the 2011 AFL International Cup title defence was announced. Selection committee comprised of AFL Asia / Pacific Manager Andrew Cadzow, PNG Coach David Lake and AFLPNG Manager Walter Yangomina.
In 2009, the AFL announced the Sydney Swans, GWS GIANTS, Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast will set up high performance Academies to provide a pathway for young local athletes to an AFL career.
Each club has exclusive access to athletes aged as young as nine from its own zones within NSW, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. On Monday, the Swans Academy will play the GIANTS Academy for the very first time. NSW, Queensland and the ACT account for 54 per cent of Australia's population but they provide just 12 per cent of AFL players.
The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) began in July 2003, with a charter to restore peace and economic stability after five years of conflict. Graeme Wilson has held the position of special coordinator since January 2009 and has recently completed his assignment in the Solomons.
In February this year, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced that Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Nicholas Coppel would become RAMSI's new special coordinator in March.
A couple of weeks back the Adelaide Sunday Mail ran a story looking at the Solomons and RAMSI. As per usual, Graeme Wilson was quoted, along with his CV that includes VFL footy with South Melbourne in the early 70s.
Mr Wilson is using sport as a nation-building tool, encouraging an Auskick and AFL program where reservists like UniSA student Lance Corporal Luke Png help out with coaching. Mr Wilson also coaches the Solomons Sharks in a regional AFL competition which is extremely popular among local men and boys. It is one small way of putting the population's focus on the Solomons as a united nation rather than a collection of islands.