Contributed by: Jake Anson Tuesday, July 05 2005 @ 04:28 am ACST
The segment, which will be broadcast throughout Oceania, caps off a fortnight of extensive media exposure for both Michael and the code in Papua New Guinea. A substantial article by Melbourne journalist Jake Niall in The Age on July 2nd provided an insight into Michael's popularity in PNG and chronicled his annual trip to the island nation to assist with the sport's development. Niall reports that Michael is amongst the top two or three sporting identities in PNG, and he is regularly mobbed at public appearances and clinics by adoring fans.
In a boost for AFL PNG's exposure in Australia, Niall's article also reports on the phenomenal growth Australian football is experiencing in the nation. With junior participation numbers pushing 30,000 and club & school participation around 11,000 across three regions, Australian football has never been healthier in PNG. However, despite the code's robust health in the tropical outpost, it still faces many challenges. Parallels have been drawn between playing conditions in outback Australia and those in PNG, where many participants play without footballs, shoes or other equipment.
Also published on July 2nd was an article on Mal Michael by Dan Koch in the nationally-circulated The Australian broadsheet. In a more personal style, Koch reports on Michael the man rather than Michael the football missionary, though it does provide interesting insight into Michael's maturing both on the field and off.
The Footy Show's segment and interview with Michael promises to provide even greater coverage for AFL PNG and international football as a whole. Similar segments have regularly aired on the NRL Footy Show in recent years, and the AFL version of the show is to be commended for taking this initiative, hot on the heels of their recent episode in London. It is anticipated that Michael will use the interview as an opportunity to either announce that a major sponsor for the PNG Mosquitoes' participation at the International Cup has been secured or to appeal for potential sponsors to contact AFL PNG. National television exposure of this type should prove very attractive to potential sponsors.
Jake Niall's interesting article can be viewed at the Realfooty website[*1] . More information regarding Australian football in PNG and sponsoring the Mosquitoes can be found at the AFL PNG website[*2] .
The Footy Show airs on Channel 9 in Melbourne @ 9:35pm AEST, Adelaide @ 9:35pm ACST, Perth @ 9:35pm AWT, and in Sydney & Brisbane @ 11:35pm AEST. Readers from other locales should check local guides.