The 2017 AFL Oceania Cup will be returning to Fiji on December 4th.
A total of four countries will be competing at the event, which is one of the most significant summer footy tournaments in the world. AFL Fiji has experienced rapid growth within the past few years, highlighted by the men’s national team (the Tribe) finishing sixth earlier this year at the International Cup. The Fiji Vonu, the women’s team, finished third.
A country with no shortage of raw athletes, Fiji has recently become home to an AFL girls’ developmental academy, as well as a rapidly-growing Under-15s program, known as the Junior Tribe.
As draft time approaches the thoughts turn to which players clubs will pursue. In an increasingly competitive drafting world, teams are less cavalier about taking risks on project players that might just clog up lists. Many clubs have signed international players to their lists – but not all.
North Melbourne is one club - Melbourne is another. There are others. This is not finger waving at all. There are perfectly valid reasons why clubs have not pursued this line of recruiting at this time and have steered in a different direction.
But history tells us that there are gems. Jim Stynes (Melbourne) won a Brownlow Medal. Tadgh Kennelly and Mike Pyke (both Sydney Swans) won premierships. Zac Tuohy (Geelong) and Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast) are fast approaching 150 AFL games. Conor McKenna (Essendon) was touted by talent guru, Kevin Sheehan, as potentially the best Irish player of all.
The 2017 Nathan Blakey Memorial Movember Cup has been won by the University of Birmingham Lions, downing the London-based visitors – the Wandsworth Demons. In a tight final, after a great day of round matches featuring teams from the AFLCNE as well as the University of Birmingham teams and the Demons, it was the Lions that held on by eight points.
According to the Lion’s own social media information, “yesterday was a big day for the club. One big trophy for the cabinet and, importantly, three teams put forward in one of the biggest cup competitions in Aussie Rules in Great Britain.”
“The Mens' 1s got off to a strong start, beating the Mozzies by five goals to three. Big shout out to Toby Webster for doing a fantastic job marking Great Britain Australian Rules Football forward, alumni and club legend Andy Walkden out of the game. In the second game, we went down to a different Mozzies team that, after a close first half, pulled away in the second through their quality and strength all over the park.”
Carlton has today announced they have signed talented Irish youngster Cillian McDaid as an international rookie. The signing does not come as a big surprise as the story has been doing the rounds in the Irish press in the past couple of weeks.
The 20-year-old Gaelic footballer from Galway in Ireland has been signed on the two-year minimum deal for International rookies..
McDaid was one of four Irishmen to trial in Florida earlier this year with the NAB academy tour of the United States.
Stephen Silvagni said the Blues were “very pleased Cillian has agreed to join Carlton, and we think he is an exciting young prospect for our club,”
“We have followed Cillian’s progress closely throughout the year and he uses the ball incredibly well. He is a determined young man of terrific character and we feel he will be a good cultural fit for our playing group too.
Australia has reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Trophy in dramatic fashion, winning the 2017 International Rules Series in warm, partly cloudy conditions in Perth on Saturday. It was an exciting clash, with tempers flaring periodically and 30,000-plus spectators coming down to Subiaco Oval one last time to catch a contest.
Joel Selwood was reported for high contact, causing a melee shortly right before halftime; the Geelong star was sent off with a black card with Ireland holding to a 13-point lead. The Irish were able to use accurate kicks and quality defensive pressure early on to hold Nat Fyfe and Patrick Dangerfield. Once again, Michael Murphy and Conor McManus were the major stars for the visitors.
This week saw the best men’s footballers from Ireland and Australia’s native football codes take part in the hybrid series of International Rules. The series saw two close matches that was well received by crowds at the game and on TV. So if the best men of the game can represent their country in this format surely the women can take part too?
In fact they did back in 2006. Julia Boyle who played for Australia in the 2006 Women’s International Rules Series against Ireland told me, “it was the biggest highlight of my football career. I had played both Gaelic Football since I was 17 and VWFL since I was 19, I had represented Victoria in both Codes and had also won two World Cups for Australia in Gaelic Football. I had pretty much retired from AFL in 2002 after Parkside folded and was just playing /concentrating Gaelic Football. When word got around that the series was going to happen, I started playing AFL again."
"It was very hard juggling commitments to both codes, often having to play two matches on the one day. I remember the 5 months leading up to the selection trials in the July 2006 I lost nearly 25kg, and I was the fittest I had ever been. The quality of the players that were selected Australia wide were the best in the country at the time, so it was very competitive in selection”.
Last season was one to forget for the Tiwi Bombers. A wooden spoon followed some ordinary performances across the season and led to a commitment from everyone at the club to access all areas and find improvement. Their win on the weekend made in three in seven rounds – already surpassing their total wins for last season. Positive signs are coming from the Tiwi Islands as the club rebuilds.
A home fixture for Waratah didn’t help greatly as the Tiwi Bombers got away to a handy early lead and still held a 20 point lead at the main break, courtesy of an after-the-siren goal to former Melbourne Demon Liam Jurrah, lining up again for the Bombers. A seven goal third quarter for the Bombers put the game safely out of the reach of Waratah, despite a 12 goal shoot-out in the last quarter, with Waratah kicking seven to reduce the gap. The Bombers would be heartened by the performance of first game player Jake Best who kicked seven goals in his Bomber debut.
Recently, World Footy News reported of the decision that would see the Doha Kangaroos in Qatar stand down from fielding a team in the AFL Middle East competition for the current 2017/18 season. Their intention was to rise out the current travel restrictions between some Middle East nations and return to the league when travel became less difficult. (See story: Doha Kangaroos On Hold)
To ensure the teams stay fit and remain together, both the Doha Kangaroos (AFL) and the Qatar GAA (Gaelic Football) teams have come together in a unifying tournament with a view to their respective league returns.
Essendon’s first to fourth year players have returned to the club for pre-season training, and the first order of business has been visiting communities across the “Top End” of the Northern Territory. Natalie MacGregor has reported on the club’s website that star Bomber, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and the rest of the touring squad visited Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land approximately 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Giving back to the community is important to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Visiting the remote indigenous community of Maningrida, West Arnhem Land, as part of the Club’s ‘Right of Passage’ camp with first to fourth year players this week, McDonald-Tipungwuti said the group would benefit greatly from the experience.
“The players will take a lot away from the whole experience,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
The following media release from the AFL details the draw and rules for the new and exciting AFLX competition next year. Played as part of the pre-season build up to the season, AFLX follows in the steps of Rugby, cricket and even tennis with a revised, fast-paced format. The release states:
The AFL wrote to the 18 clubs today outlining the addition of AFLX, an alternative version of the traditional game, to run in the lead up to the 2018 JLT Community Series.
AFLX, a fast and exciting version of Australian Football, is to be played on a rectangular field and aims to showcase the unique and most thrilling aspects of the game to attract new fans.
The public will get their first chance to see AFLX in February 2018 when Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney host individual tournaments featuring all 18 AFL Clubs.
The AFL's release of the news that Nicole Livingstone has been appointed as the Head of Women's football came through early this morning via press release.
I am glad to see that a woman has been appointed to the position. I think that there are perhaps many women with a better understanding of women's football and may have been a better choice, but am prepared to see what Nicole can do. She will bring a high personal profile and national recognition to the position. I respect and have enjoyed what she has done in sport and in the media.
The cynical side of me says that she may be a puppet of the AFL commission in place to head nod to their agenda overall rather than to represent the interests of women's footy. But that's not really my biggest concern.
In the statement, where she was directly quoted it appears that she sees the game only as Australian.
“The growth of women’s AFL has been extraordinary. Every Australian girl can now actively pursue footy as their passion, past time or career. Importantly girls can now follow their dreams and as they do, we will continue to break down any barriers that may exist.
“I’m excited by the challenge of growing the sport from a community grass roots level right through to high performance along with ensuring the league is commercially sustainable.
“There are many passionate AFL people around the country, all wanting to see the AFLW find its place in the hearts and minds of Australians and I look forward to connecting with them,” she said.
The AFL is pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole Livingstone OAM as the new Head of Women’s Football.
A three-time Olympic swimmer, respected sports administrator and commentator, Ms Livingstone will join the AFL on December 4 charged with the responsibility of growing and managing the NAB AFL Women’s Competition and female football participation.
AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan today said the league was delighted to add someone of Ms Livingstone’s calibre to the senior management team.
“Nicole is a champion in every sense – as an athlete, an administrator and an advocate for women in sport,” Mr McLachlan said.