With PNG the AFL Oceania Youth Cup holders AFLPNG are certainly not sitting back and resting on their laurels. With the appointment of the new Director of the AFLPNG Academy Moses Kar, a expanded intake of students awarded scholarships to the De La Salle Football Academy and two of their stars at the Youth Cup spending a week training with AFL Club Richmond football remains very much to the forefront.
The relationship between AFLPNG and De La Salle Secondary School has strengthened with AFLPNG awarding scholarships to 27 students for 2011. Building on 2010 whereby 17 boys attended De La Salle on AFLPNG scholarships, De La Salle has supported the development of the game by allowing AFL to be an integral part of the boys' curriculum.
The Academy scholarship recipients come from throughout PNG and have made incredible improvements within their first year. The Academy has achieved great success in both the Oceania Cup held in Tonga and the Australian U/16 Championships representing South Pacific. They also performed admirably against the indigenous Flying Boomerangs in December last year.
After being previously invited many times to view the talent in NZ, Kevin Sheedy, AFL visionary and coach of Israel Folau and the Greater Western Sydney team, will attend a combined training session involving the New Zealand Under 16s and Auckland Under 20s representative teams on Sunday, January 30th.
The training session will take place at Parrs Park, Oratia in Auckland's Western Suburbs, with the session starting at 10.00am and followed by a barbeque and question time with Kevin Sheedy at 11.45am. Sheedy will be available to address the media at 12.30pm.
Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported on 29.1.11 that Sheedy had expressed an interest in recruiting two members of the NZ AFL Oceania Youth Cup squad which was played in Tonga during December 2010. Athletic key defender Charlton Brown and strong marking flanker Brandon Sucu are known to be on GWS's radar.
Sheedy said that "With more than 10,000 youngsters playing Aussie Rules in NZ, there was some outstanding talent there to be discovered."
Further to the outcomes of the mid December Oceania Cup under 16s tournament was the positive reaction to the AFL ‘Combine’ that was run as part of the tournament schedule. On Friday December 17th, some of the best talent were tested and able to be benchmarked against AFL draftees current and recent including some of the biggest young names in the AFL.
Apart from the 'Combine', the South Pacific lads had impressed in their defeat of the Flying Boomerangs (who had earlier smashed the PNG'less Oceania side). As reported in PNG's 'the National', PNG coach Walter Yangomina was quoted saying ".. that the win that had the most meaning was the combined Pacific Island, including nine from PNG, which defeated the highly tauted Boomerangs, an ensemble Australia’s best junior talent". “That win was massive. We got them by about five goals in the end which was a very healthy margin against an Australian side”.
St Kilda Football Club is excited to this year be taking their pre-season training camp overseas, with the Club travelling to New Zealand for a week. Departing for Queenstown this weekend, the Saints will continue their preparation for the 2011 season with an intense training schedule and range of sporting activities to be undertaken along New Zealand’s stunning south island.
As the first overseas training camp for the Club under the guidance of Ross Lyon, the Senior Coach said it was fantastic for the group to embark on the trip to assist their preparation ahead of the 2011 season.“The players will be taken out of their comfort zone and pushed to the limits in order to give them the best opportunity to continue to play Saints Footy throughout the coming season.”
A quick reminder of the success of the PNG lads in the Oceania U16s tournament in mid December, the following 4 articles tracked their performance in the PNG press via ‘The National’.
Coverage is very important in PNG as being an aspirational sporting nation, looking to make it into the ICC cricketing top 18 and with a Government looking to take over the national rugby league with a view to establishing a PNG side in Australia’s NRL – it can’t be understated the importance of the PNG ‘AFL’ sides generating coverage.
Sketchy details have come to hand that show as expected that PNG have taken out 1st place. However, the other matches have provided an ordering that probably was not to be expected heading into the tournament.
At the time, the two undefeated sides, PNG and Tonga met on Saturday in the last of the pool matches. PNG won and won convincingly, restricting Tonga to just one goal whilst accumulating 7 of their own. Early reports indicated that the First Place final was much closer with Tonga improving their offensive effort, but the final scores we've received since then show that PNG was still a long way ahead of the field.
PNG 8.5 (45) def Tonga 1.1 (7)
In the 3rd place playoff - Fiji maintained the tournament form by nudging out Nauru.
Fiji (35) def Nauru (25)
For Fiji, Jeffrey Pauli was awarded "player of the tournament" by Fiji Power coaching staff.
In the final match, the 5th place play off it appears as though tournament debutant, the Solomon Islands have reversed the earlier result and managed to get up over the more fancied New Zealand. WFN is still awaiting scores for this match.
Matches on Saturday, Day 5 of the AFL Under 16s Oceania Cup began with Fiji Power up against New Zealand at 1pm, followed by Nauru vs Solomon Islands and finally PNG vs Tonga in the top of the table clash, the President's XVIII having the bye.
This report is based exclusively from the AFL Fiji press release for Day 5. Full credit to the professionalism and organisation shown by the folk from AFL Fiji. Again, Dr Robert Wolfgramm (AFL Fiji chairman) is presenting a fine public image AFL Fiji.
A little more of the Pacific region print media coverage of the Oceania Cup Under 16 tournaments nearing its conclusion on Sunday in Tonga. Some further offerings from the Fijian media as well as from PNG.
The professionalism displayed in particular by AFL Fiji, releasing daily press releases has made the job far easier for their ‘home’ press. This has set a standard in the region.
Three players from Vanuatu are competing in the Oceania U16 Championships in Tonga. This video news story is from TBV (Vanuatu's local TV) news and sports show. Footage is of a 'scratch match' in Port Vila on 20th November 2010.