The Roar
The Roar

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AFL's lack of international competition hurting the game

Roar Rookie
19th November, 2009
256
5065 Reads

The months of October and November are a sobering reminder to the AFL just how much they trail in global stature to sports like rugby union, league and football.

The question has no easy answer, and without a genuine International professional level for our elite level players, perhaps now is the time to get serious on the representative front.

Australia’s four major sports are well supported by fans. Yet one of the four finds themselves with nothing to do from October onwards.

Amazingly, with such free time on their hands, the AFL have not even come close to organising exhibition games in genuine markets such as PNG, New Zealand, South Africa.

This lack of an International cohesion is worrying.

The AFL have introduced new initiatives that help the recruitment of International players, but have so far resisted the urge to give our elite players something to represent.

The success of the Rugby League Four Nations this year will interest a few at AFL HQ, and if similar cracking contests can be played out in Australia and New Zealand in 2010, then footy fans might begin to realise we are missing out on something.

The closest thing the AFL has to elite level International representation is the International Rules Series against Ireland.

Perhaps the worst thing to come from that series is that each and every year we have a series, the rules are tweaked and changed; so much so that it is now just Gaelic football with the addition of mild tackling rules.

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Fairer rules that represent Gaelic and Australian football could be found, but the idea that International Rules is the primary opportunity for international footy is just absurd.

Steps need to be taken to introduce the game into countries of HUGE potential (Papua New Guinea, Pacific, perhaps New Zealand) and it is then and only then that an All Australian team might have a contest against another group of Australian footballers.