Donnie Hess is already well known to American audiences for AFL social media outlets. His YouTube clips, podcasts, tweets and myriad other promotions of our game have helped enormously to propel the game of Australian football further and wider across the USA.
In the second of a series of interviews with Australian football lovers across the USA, I threw some questions to Donnie about his own journey to the game, where the game sits now in his country and some ideas about the future. We haven’t spoken heavily about his beloved Sydney Swans, but rest assured, he will talk about them until he is blue in the face if you get him started.
Over the past twelve months, as the world has come to grips with the ravages of COVID-19 and its fallout, Australian Rules Football has had its own journey. Whilst on the home front, footy continued at the highest level (though not really at more grassroots levels), a different story played out elsewhere.
In the United States, local sport ground to a halt. Most people rode the situation patiently waiting for their beloved sports to return to playing fields or cable TV. But many stumbled across Aussie Rules with Foxtel matches live and through replays capturing a whole new breed of fan.
Among those is Rosanna. From a life where our game did not have a place in her life, she now has her own podcasts and social media platforms under the banner of AFL Obsessed where she discusses the game with anyone wanting a chat, and also supports her beloved Essendon Bombers to anyone who will listen - I do! But how is is that a young woman in New York City can become so fixated with our game in a relatively short period of time?
Here is my interview with Rosanna explaining just that.
They broke the Adelaide Crows hearts, the same way the Crows did to them way back in 2017.
Brisbane Lions have secured their maiden AFLW premiership, after they went down in their previous two grand final appearances to Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs, defeating the Crows by 18-points at Adelaide Oval.
Image Source: Mark Brake
For most of the match, the Crows were the team with greater possession of the ball, but the Lions stood tough and strong down back each time the Crows sent the ball forward in attack.
It was all the Lions after the scores were tied at quarter time, as they kicked five of the last seven goals to win 6.2 (38) to Crows 3.2 (20).
In the second week of the AFLW finals series, the week off given to the two top sides, the Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions proved invaluable.
Also, the experience of the two sides in AFLW finals shone through in the preliminary finals.
The Lions and the Crows showed that their experience in preliminary finals counts.
Image Source: Albert Perez
The Crows were determined to defeat the Dees and not have a repeat of round seven when the Dees thumped them by 28 points at Casey Fields.
Collingwood were the best team going undefeated until round seven and were trying to make their maiden AFLW grand final, but the Lions were able to hold on by four points to progress through to their third AFLW Grand Final.
Round nine was a great round of footy to bring an end to the 2021 home and away season.
It was a round filled with finals intensity matches from start to finish.
In the top of the table clash to determine which team finished top, the Adelaide Crows flexed their muscles and showed Collingwood why they have been the premier team in the AFLW competition since the AFLW started in 2017.
The Crows are the minor premiers in 2021.
Image Source: @aflwomens
In the 2021 AFLW finals series, the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Collingwood, Melbourne, Fremantle and North Melbourne will all feature.
The Crows and Lions will both have a week off, as they advance straight through to the preliminary finals week.
What a home and away season, the 2021 AFLW season was.
Footy in South Africa, like most parts of the world shut down when Covid-19 hit early in 2020. Despite the efforts of citizens and authorities there are still around 110 deaths a day (7 day average) occurring in the nation attributed to the virus. This has come down from almost 600 deaths per day at the last peak..
Across the nation a number of other sports have resumed and in the North West province some former AFL South Africa employees want Aussie Rules to start again. During 2020 the development officers who were previously employed had to be stood down as footy was unable to be played throughout the nation.
West Coast Eagles proved too strong for Geelong, after some second quarter brilliance from Indigenous woman Imahra Cameron steered her side to a massive 39-point victory at Mineral Resources Park on Monday twilight.
Cameron nailed through three goals in six minutes and this quick succession of goals helped to establish the 8.5 (53) to 2.2 (14) win at Perth.
It was a happy monday for the Eagles, but a sad one for the Cats as they are still without a win after seven matches and the Eagles have recorded two wins this season.
Image Source: @eaglesaflw
It was Cameron's best match of the season, as she everything she touched was quality.
She only had six disposals for the match to go along with her three goals.
On the Irish front for the Eagles, sisters Grace Kelly and Niamh Kelly were lively with two goals each.
Round six was a round where all the top teams flexed their muscles with massive wins.
Collingwood showed once again why they are the premier team in the competition this season keeping their perfect record intact, after they were able to take their game to the next level and win convincingly when challenged by the Western Bulldogs.
Adelaide Crows kicked their highest ever score of 13.7 (85) and almost scored the highest ever score in the competition, but were one point shy of the Western Bulldogs all-time score.
Collingwood's Chloe Molloy showed why she is a star of our game with her forward pressure and two goals when her Pies had all the momentum in the third term.
After six rounds, Molloy leads the AFLW goalkicking along with Erin Phillips and Gemma Houghton with 11 goals.