The Fiji Times has reported the start to the new (2015) Aussie Rules footy season in Fiji. The season got underway across the second last weekend of May and continued on with Round 2 across this last weekend of May just gone.
Week 1 saw the new improved AFL Fiji ‘Bulakick’ program underway – with a great turnout of kids who loved their new Bulakick backpacks and footies. This program runs 9 to 10.30 am on Saturday mornings for kids aged 4 to 11.
All matches are conducted at Maile Park playing grounds, University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Bay Road, Suva (enter through main gate and continue past the USP gym and tennis courts) – for any locals or expats passing through who want to have a look.
A new, revamped, AFL Fiji competition gets under way this weekend in Suva for the 2015 season. The off season has seen much work put into the glittering new look for the competition and the clubs themselves.
As announced by AFL Fiji, “[it’s a] new season, new captains, new teams - it's a fresh start for the AFL Fiji 2015 men's competition. The season starts this Saturday 23 May at USP and continues with two matches every Saturday at 9.00am and 11.00am.”
“Round 1 will start with a bang as last year's grand finalists face off in the first game of the season at 9.00am with the proud old Cats Kaukauwa looking for some revenge against the re-badged reigning premiers Giant Gata.”
“At 11.00am the plucky Swans Rerevaki take on the might of Lion Killa - both teams loaded with new faces and expected to be serious premiership challengers in 2015.”
As part of the AFL extravaganza happening in Wellington around the Anzac day clash between the St Kilda Saints and Carlton Blues the AFL Academy U17’s will tour playing their third annual game against NZ’s finest.
The Level One side (selected after the AFL U 16 Championships last year) include Ben Ainsworth who is a powerful small forward who leaps high, has a powerful burst of speed and can kick a goal from nothing.
Until this week, he has used those traits as a player for local club Morwell, TAC Cup team Gippsland Power and representative side Vic Country. Now he will face the New Zealand Hawks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington as part of the 100-year anniversary of Anzac Day.
Sure, most people who follow AFL know that Carlton Blues are the St Kilda Saints third opponent in the Saints’ annual Anzac Day Fixture at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
But for the first time ever a junior Victorian team will be travelling to Wellington to play against the newly formed AFLNZ Academy Team. The Academy Team have themselves recently returned from a trip to Sydney where they played against a combined Independent Schools’ Allstars team and then the Swans Academy side who were coached by Swans legend Mick O’Loughlin.
The Academy side will be all the better for this experience but they will certainly be coming up against some slick players in the newly formed Peninsula Saints U16 team made up of players from the Frankston and Mornington Football Leagues, a traditional recruiting zone for St Kilda in days of yore.
Thanks to Lisa Roper who stepped up to coach the NZ Kahu team late last year for her thoughts on the series and what might be to come for the future of NZ women's players and teams.
Living in Oz, we are often talking about the depth or growth of the women’s game, and looking at other areas we can grow to continue the momentum from the two women’s draft matches as we prep for a national league in 2020.
Like the netball, super rugby, A-League, NRL, and basketball, a team from NZ only spreads that love, grows the brand and further enhances each of their codes. The potential for a NZ team in our own womens AFL competition is not so farfetched, if not ready for 2017, we have definitely now sown the seeds, and perhaps by 2018 we could look at least as an U18 side coming across and joining into our Youth Girls National Tournaments.
In the pouring rain for the anthems before Game 1.
The AFL today confirmed the present broadcast coverage for the 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season into New Zealand.
As a long standing international partner of the AFL, Sky NZ will again broadcast AFL matches in 2015. Sky NZ coverage will include: One match per week (delayed), Anzac Day matches LIVE from Westpac Stadium and the MCG, one delayed match each week of Finals Weeks 1-3, and the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final LIVE. Sky NZ will also broadcast the AFL Weekly Highlights Program.
AFL General Manager Broadcasting, Scheduling & Major Projects, Simon Lethlean said the AFL and AFL New Zealand continue to investigate supplementary broadcast solutions in the New Zealand market following the closure of the Sommet Sports channel.
The Academy New Zealand Hawks recently completed a tour to Sydney where they played games against a NSW Independent Schools All Star Team and the Sydney Swans Academy. The Sydney Swans Academy were coached by former AFL great Michael O’Loughlin.
The Academy is a new pathway for aspiring AFL footballers in New Zealand. With the demise of the AIS funded team tours to New Zealand, and elsewhere, NZ have taken on the challenge themselves of organizing an alternate pathway for their more talented youth.
Across the weekend Vanuatu was hit by a category 5 cyclone which is as bad as it gets. Early reports of fatalities are patchy and will sadly be understated. The intensity of this storm was comparable to the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan that left more than 6000 dead in the Philippines. With communications impacted - and Vanuatu with around 250,000 people living across about 65 inhabited islands and in a variety of conditions - the true scale may not be known for sometime.
My family and I enjoyed the hospitality of AFL Vanuatu during a family holiday to Port Vila last June. Like many others we look on from afar in shock and despair for those who have endured this. We wish for - but fear for - the safety of those we haven't heard from.
As far as kicking balls around a paddock - that will be the last thing on the minds of anybody. In Vanuatu - with such widespread destruction the coming days and weeks will be crucial for those left homeless and without access to clean water - and for bringing health systems back into operation and not just back to normal operation. It is for this reason that we urge those who can; to donate. Australian aid flights have already begun arriving.
- Via facebook : Give to Vanuatu with drop off points listed around Australia.
- Australian Red Cross : Cyclone Pam Vanuatu 2015 appeal.
- And cash donations from anywhere via Gofundme
Hot on the heels of St Kilda FC signing Barclay Miller, their third international scholarship from New Zealand – the footy news just keeps rolling in with the announcement of the New Zealand Hawks Academy preliminary squad that will travel to Sydney later this month.
Last week saw the 47th anniversary of the independence of Nauru. Formerly known as Pleasant Island, the Republic of Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and by population is the 2nd smallest state in the world after the Vatican City. Nevertheless – and despite a windy and wet day – the national game (along with weightlifting) of Australian Football played a hotly contested North vs South Independence Day match.