Gold Coast Suns’ captain Gary Ablett tonight became the first man in the game’s history to be selected as an All Australian in eight consecutive seasons when the Virgin Australia 2014 AFL All Australian Team was named in Melbourne tonight.
Ablett, who electrified the competition averaging 32 possessions a game before a season-ending shoulder injury in round 16, was named as first rover and has now equalled his father’s record of eight All Australian selections.
Ablett’s former Geelong Cats’ teammate Joel Selwood was named as All Australian captain for the second consecutive year – his fourth selection overall – while St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt was named at centre half-forward and as vice-captain for the team of the year.
The lead up to this season’s AFL Cairns finals series has been dogged by a furore behind the scenes which has sadly shifted the attention away somewhat from this weekend’s AFL Cairns Grand Final between Cairns Saints and Port Douglas.
During the season local club, Manunda Hawks, recruited a former Port Douglas player Sam Boxsell. The player was being investigated and had been charged with a crime which has since been thrown out of court. However, his time at Port Douglas was dogged by this and other issues including a club ban for altercations with team mates.
In short, when Manunda Hawks were due to play Port Douglas in Round 17, people using social media threatened violence should the player in question return to Port Douglas, leading to Manunda Hawks taking the drastic step of forfeiting the match rather than risk the possibility of the threats being carried out. The Manunda Hawks club president, Richard Martin, says the club was enacting “due diligence” in giving the player another chance to play football as well as duty of care to take steps to avoid further issues.
worldfootynews.com is pleased to announce the winner of our IC14 tipping competition: Seth McElvaney (USAFL Umpire's Director, Founder of the North Carolina Tigers).
Remarkably Seth was runner-up in 2011, proving his good form was no fluke.
In 2011 we asked tipsters to predict the result of each round, whereas this time we were pushed for time and launched our competition very late and simply asked for final ladders for the men's and women's competition. Final ladders were compared with the true finishing positions and points calculated for each position away the tipster was. All these "errors" were then summed and divided by the number of teams to give an average miss error.
E.g. if there had been 4 teams only: PNG (1), Ireland (2), NZ (3), SA (4) and they finished in that order, but a tipster had placed them as Ireland (1), NZ (2), PNG (3), SA (4) then they would have had an error in each position of 1, 1, 2, 0 respectively, for a total of 4 and average of 1.0. The lower the error the better.
Our winner Seth had an average error across the 18 men's and 7 women's teams of just 1.44. That was better even than the primary author of our world rankings, Cam Homes (ineligible) on 1.60. The worst entry (we won't name and shame) was 2.56. Seth even listed the top 3 in both the men's and women's exactly right.
Congratulations to Seth, we'll be contacting you shortly to arrange a football related prize up to the value of $100.
As most competitions across Australia reach their finals time and begin to wind down for 2014, the people of the Top End are just waking to the pre-dawn of their new 2014/15 season. Whilst many are unaware of the “off-season” competition based in Darwin, the locals certainly are well aware and don’t see it as the “off-season” at all. To them it is GAME ON.
And far from being a small local competition, the NTFL boasts a very high standard, and can we watched via live streams right throughout their season. When a competition boasts a history of names such as Rioli, Long, Motlop and Davey you can be sure the quality will be electric.
The new season starts in just over three weeks, with a first up rematch of last season’s premiers, St Mary’s and Wanderers, to get the ball rolling in a triple header at Darwin’s TIO Stadium. That match will be followed by Southern Districts against Tiwi Bombers and Palmerston Magpies taking on Waratah. Nightcliff will take on the Buffaloes on the Sunday.
It's unusual to see AFL Europe make the mainstream news in Australia but unfortunately it has done so in controversial circumstances which may have an impact on all international AFL affiliates.
The ABC has reported that the AFL-affiliated body has signed a sponsorship deal with Royal Brunei Airlines, including to fly players from Europe to Australia. Unfortunately the airline is state-owned and Brunei is the subject of a boycott campaign in response to harsh new laws that include the death penalty by stoning for gay sex and adultery.
The AFL has now stated that:
"These laws are counter to everything the AFL stands for in regards to inclusion and diversity".
"In conjunction with AFL Europe, we are currently reassessing the appropriateness of the sponsorship arrangement and also the broader issue of the AFL's oversight of potential sponsorship deals that are put to affiliate organisations overseas."
Although AFL Europe is an independent body the AFL will presumably have a strong influence on it through their financial support, despite that being relatively modest.
In this final instalment of the International Cup vignette series – one player interviewed per team of the 25 teams at the event – we chat with Hao Zhang, legendary player and team manager of the China Dragons. We look at his Australian Rules football journey and his take on the scene in China.
“I have played footy for seven years. I started to play footy on 2007. One AFL promotion officer went to my school and attracted us to play footy and then I begin to play footy. This is my third time playing at the International Cup.”
“I am organizing the local players join this sport in South China right now. We join the SCAFL which includes Hong Kong , Macau and Guang Dong players. Also we have another local league called GDAFL which include GuangZhou, HuiZhou and DongGuan. There are about 100 players. Our team still have a long way to travel. I hope I can help the China team to be better in the future. I also hope I can help AFL to find some potential players in China.”
On purely a win/loss ratio, the Sweden team at this year’s IC14 came out in front with three wins from five starts. On that basis, the Swedes can be justifiably proud of their standing – going down heavily in two games off set by wins against Finland, Indonesia and China. The performance also highlighted some of the new breed of Swedish players, including Timothy Lindgren.
Timothy is a newcomer to the international Australian Rules scene. A product of the Port Malmö Maulers, the 17 year old represents an investment in the footy future in Sweden. Having said that, Timothy has been playing the game for 6 years, so international selection is reward for that commitment. Timothy discovered the game at such an early age due to his teacher also being the national Australian Rules coach, opening up that pathway early in his school years.
The Fiji Vonu players at this year’s IC14 can all be proud of their place in history as representatives of the first Fijian women’s national team at an International Cup. But if at all possible, Siteri Tadrau might be even more proud, being the first woman to captain that national team. Siteri shares some of her experiences with us in this interview.
“[I found Australian Rules football because] my sister informed me that her classmate who is a training personnel for AFL is looking for interested women to train for footy. Since I am a sporty person who started playing Netball since I was a kid and very much interested in keeping myself fit I decided to check it out, joined AFL training in August 2013, and the first day of learning how to handball, kick and mark I instantly fell in love with the game.”
The Big Meat Pie Nationals vs Barbarians annual footy festival day was the place to be in Honiara across the weekend - below is a report from AFL Solomon Islands.
The stage was set at King George VI for yet another historic clash between the Solomon Islands Nationals against the combined expatriate & local side – Barbarians. A hot and dry day would see plenty of rotations and test players endeavour and willpower to win the footy for their team. With several National players unavailable for selection this year the Barbarians were hoping for an upset victory and to claim the trophy for first time.
With the International Cup for 2014 complete and most teams back home recovering and getting back to normal lives, players can reflect on their journey. The Tonga Thunder finished 6th overall after a narrow finals loss to Canada, and can hold their heads high after an event which saw three wins from five games.
One of those players is Kisione Taulani, a young 17 year old midfielder in his first International Cup event. As well as playing for the Tongan national team, based in Nukalofa, Kisione is also a member of the Lauderdale Bombers Football Club in Tasmania, where he hopes to continue to develop his skills in Australian Rules football, and no doubt look to be a long term part of the Tongan national team at the next International Cup and beyond.
Much has been happening in Croatia during a hectic 2014. Some of the reports, such as the arrival of the Slavonski Brod Tigers, have been accurately reported, whilst some reports have been the subject of whispers and opinions. It was time to contact our man in Zagreb – Josip Kravar, President of the AAFC (Association of Australian Football Croatia) - to give us the good word in a wide ranging set of interviews.
“It is not true that we have deal with University. Unfortunately we have one year to move from that ground as there will be new gym for University games 2016 that will be held in Zagreb. But, we are just building a new oval in Slavonski Brod and are in negotiations with town council for a new ground in Zagreb. I think now it is just question of place of new oval in Zagreb.”
“We are also in negotiations to go with Croatian Rugby Association and be provided with one sport centre. We are hoping that this will be future for our association and we will play 18 per side next season.”