Where no American has gone before

AllSports Roar Rookie

By AllSports, AllSports is a Roar Rookie


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    So you have an opportunity to play a code of football at the highest level and yet you have so many questions.

    Well, you can be expected to run a half marathon over the course of the game, play on a field that is twice as long and three times wider than any NFL field has to offer and yet has more in common with basketball than American football.

    You’ll require a nutritionist simply to get you through the game and a heightened level of awareness, as no offside rule exists.

    Scoring is the most frenetic of all of the football codes that any country has to offer. Time outs only occur when players are removed from the field by a stretcher and the crowd only ever dares to leave their seat at the end of each quarter break. The one fact that you have the most trouble with is the size of the playing field. You will take photos and tweet about it. It’s just enormous.

    The vast majority of the 310 million born and bred sporting mad people that populate your country have never heard of this code and not one of them has played at the top level.

    Of the 229,000 people that populate your home city, not one person you know has ever heard of it, with YouTube your only friend.

    And yet it has been around since 1858. To the Americans who have no idea, they will call it rugby. To those who know a little, they will call it Aussie rules. To Australians, it’s simply known as footy.

    While the five years of college have been good to you, things haven’t gone the way you expected.

    But opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

    So when your agent calls with this bizarre opportunity you grab it with both hands. A corporate job and the life as Mr nine to five will be there for life but this small window to create history and become the first American to do so is yours for the taking.

    This is the true story of a 24-year-old American by the name of Eric Wallace. Today it become official, he is now in the hot seat to become the first born and bred American to play in the Australian Football League.

    The North Melbourne football club have provided him with this opportunity. Finally, the Roos have stepped up to take on the role of building an international recruit. If Eric had been drafted by the Sydney Swans his debut would have been a formality.

    If I had to choose one other club that is capable of making this work, I would have said the Kangaroos. I say this for two reasons. First, Eric is already patient, honest, fair and loyal. This is the shinboner spirit and is what the Kangaroos expect of their players.

    This is a fantastic fit and will be an awesome story. Secondly, Brad Scott is a no nonsense coach who wouldn’t take on a player unless he knew it was going to work. Already it has given the Kangaroos a lot of publicity and once Eric plays his first senior game, I have no doubt the jumpers will be flying off the shelf in the USA and it will increase the North Melbourne global fan-base.

    And finally, Eric becoming the first American to do something, there will have to be a movie about it at some stage. I’m not sure who would play Eric, but I’m thinking Tom Cruise with some shoe lifts would be a good fit for Brad Scott.

    To Eric I say good luck mate. If they don’t make a movie about you, you may just open the flood gates for more young basketballers who want a different path.

    Start a kicking program for American High Schoolers, you could make a fortune.

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    The Crowd Says (160)

    • December 21st 2012 @ 5:44am
      Angus said | December 21st 2012 @ 5:44am | ! Report

      ” I have no doubt the jumpers will be flying off the shelf in the USA” still trying to work out if this is a joke or not.

    • December 21st 2012 @ 8:20am
      Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      “To Australians, it’s simply known as footy.”

      Is this really what you believe? Amazing.

      • December 21st 2012 @ 9:29am
        Mals said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Not in NSW, ACT or QLD.

        But to be fair this statement would apply in WA, SA, Vic, Tas & probably NT.

        • December 21st 2012 @ 9:58am
          Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          Exactly, so to use the term ‘Australians’ is completely wrong. Another case of Victorians writing what they want to be true rather what is actually true.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 11:36am
            Japanese Super Highways said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            Having grown up in Queensland, I dont recall locals calling league “footy” that often. We always called it rugby or league, so I think the writer is correct. I’ve never heard a fan of English Football call their game footy.

            • December 21st 2012 @ 11:50am
              Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:50am | ! Report

              Having grown up in Queensland myself, “footy” in reference to Rugby League mainly (sometimes RU but never AFL), was and continues to be very much part of the vernacular. The Footy Show? Friday Night Footy? Footy Training? I don’t know what part of Queensland you grew up in.

            • January 18th 2013 @ 1:12pm
              Bondy said | January 18th 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

              I’ve been involved with the sport for over thirty years and have never genuinely heared it called footy ever,soccer that is.

              The only issue I have is why just one American to play afl,that didnt make a great deal of sense,surely 4-6 of them would’ve been suffice.

              Off topic for a sec I notice the National Rifle Association since the massacre of 26 people 20 children murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings ,memberships to the Rifle Assoc have increased 25,000 since the shooter went bezerk ,just charming isnt it.

          • Roar Guru

            December 21st 2012 @ 12:13pm
            Redb said | December 21st 2012 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            Precious much 😉

            Victoria, Sth Aust,,etc are in Australia and are Australians. Get over it.

            • December 21st 2012 @ 12:33pm
              Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

              Red, you and I both know that statement is both misleading and intentionally provocative. Victoria, SA, WA etc. are States of Australia – they do not constitute ‘Australia’, this is not open to interpretation, this is geography.

              • Roar Guru

                December 21st 2012 @ 1:53pm
                The_Wookie said | December 21st 2012 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                Victorians, South Australians, West Australians, Taswegians and Terriotirians are within Australias geographic boundaries, subject to Australian law, and thus are by defninition Australian. His statement wasnt that ALL Australians will know it as footy, simply Australians will know it as footy, and in that he is correct.

                Its certainly less provacative than claiming that the AFL is a Victorian league, and the sport is only played in Victoria – a belief that seems to be written here in Roar commentary all the time.

              • December 21st 2012 @ 3:54pm
                Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                I grew up in NSW and we always called AF footy, but i know some RL boys who also used the term, i have heard some poms use it for soccer here in the West ….. get over it sooks.

                Its a term anyone can use it.

              • December 21st 2012 @ 7:57pm
                TJ said | December 21st 2012 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

                I live in Sydney. I call it Footy. I know many people here who also call it footy. But who really cares and why so precious. When people say Footy in reference to RL, RU, or football / soccer, I don’t stop them and have a cry. Each to their own and let people enjoy whatever Footy they prefer, and in some cases like me, many different types of Footy.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 2:32pm
            db swannie said | December 21st 2012 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            True RC..
            Footy can mean any of the codes depending where you live.

            If the same sentence was used about RL “To Australians, it’s simply known as footy”,then im sure the AFL fan club would be rightly correcting us about what is called FOOTY in the southern states.

            I am an Australian & FOOTY to me is RL.

            • December 22nd 2012 @ 3:45pm
              Brewski said | December 22nd 2012 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

              If it was a story on the RL tab, then quite frankly no-one would be bothered, it’s a non event to reasonable people without chips on their shoulders.

        • December 21st 2012 @ 10:12am
          clipper said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          In NSW it could mean any number of codes – in southern Aussie Rules, in east Sydney Rugby, SW Sydney Football, out west league. Best just to refer to the code and avoid the tag footy altogether, which I find is happening more and more in Sydney.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 3:14pm
            Doghouse said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            Thats why soccer calling themselves football is arrogance personified…

      • December 23rd 2012 @ 11:43am
        polly said | December 23rd 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        It’s called poetic licence mate & the author has merely used it to add flourish to his story, you should get yourself a cold beer & put it on the back of yur neck to cool yourself down !

    • December 21st 2012 @ 9:25am
      Steve said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      The AFL and its fans truly are a remarkable beast, some may even say cult. I’d really like to know where this over inflated opinion of their sports significance comes from. Are they brought up with the myth that this particular sport is the everest of all athletic conquests.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • December 21st 2012 @ 9:36am
        Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        I Disagree, would say that if a cult existed, it would be made up of people like yourself who take the time and trouble to pen critical anonymously posts on a sports site.

        • December 21st 2012 @ 10:34am
          Sailosi said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          I disagree, if a cult existed I suggest that it would consist of people who believed so passionately in their chosen sport that they would make a comment criticising another persons post.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 3:43pm
            Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            Yes critising a criticism is highly critical !!.

            People who Criticise for the sake of being critical should get what they deserve, and that is a criticism.

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 10:56pm
        Steve said | December 22nd 2012 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

        Aw Jeez, just pointing out again that there’s two Steves, and that one isn’t me.
        Every so often he pops up and says something inflammatory.
        ………….It’s like having an evil twin or something.

    • December 21st 2012 @ 9:25am
      Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Good luck to him, i think 24 is way to old, i imagaine he is very athletic in the Nic Nat mould, but Nic Nat played the game as a junior, and still gets lost on the field from time to time, so the odds are against him.

      Publicity won’t hurt North though.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 2:25am
        Jack said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:25am | ! Report

        Most relevant comment so far

    • December 21st 2012 @ 9:33am
      Red Block said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      I wonder if he will be as successful as Israel Folau.

      See the big problem the AFL now faces but refuses to discuss, is that the modern game is only suited to one body type. A tall, lanky fella who can run like a greyhound. The days of a full forward like Plugger are gone. Sadly, players with this body type are left to plod around the forward line while their whippet like opponent runs up the ground and gets touches.

      So immediately, the door of opportunity is closed to most. In fact, most decent AFL players are discarded for athletes at the Draft Camp. So we see the modern game, physiologically aligned athletes competing for the ball instead of instictive footballers creating space.

      Of course, I could have down the line, of the game only being popular in a few states of one of the least densely populated countries on earth but its Christmas.

      • December 21st 2012 @ 9:53am
        Mango Jack said | December 21st 2012 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        You make a valid point about the body type, although there is still a place for the small agile rover. Most of the top midfielders are not tall – Swan, Mitchell, etc.

        Also, I think the convergence of body type is not just an AFL trend. Rugby used to boast about having a position for all body shapes and sizes. Whilst this may still be true at the amateur level, there are no small wingers anymore, and both centres are now 100kg+. With the exception of halfback, the whole backline in professional rugby teams are now made up of tall, athletic blokes.

        • December 21st 2012 @ 10:32am
          Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:32am | ! Report

          Completely wrong. Rugby will always be the game for all shapes in sizes, I agree wingers have got bigger but there are plenty of small centres, halves and fullbacks both Faingaa and Barnes are sub 90 (when was the last time the Wallabies had a centre at 100kg), Matt Giteau is tiny and is still killing it for Toulon. Gio Aplon is 78kg, the Highlanders just signed Fumiaki Tanaka, who is 1.66m and 74kg. Not just backs either, look at Michael Hooper at openside, he has been one of the Wallaby’s best this year, he is in no way a ‘big man’.

          Short and fat (Robinson, TPN), tall timber (Simmons, Dennis), big man (Palu, Sharpe), tall and athletic (Cummins, AAC), short and powerful (Genia, Tapuai), small and agile (Faingaa, Hooper). Each of these body types are equally valued in Rugby.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 11:42am
            Japanese Super Highways said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            What the???? Many white Australians can’t match it with the massive Pacific Islanders these days. That’s why the Jack son’s (Jacksons?) now play ‘footy’.

            • December 21st 2012 @ 11:54am
              Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              Your post makes no sense.

              • December 21st 2012 @ 4:29pm
                Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

                Gary Jack …. his sons Keiran and Brandon, both these boys now play Australian football, Keiran in the AFL and Brandon probably in the NEAFL.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 12:41pm
            Mango Jack said | December 21st 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

            It’s at least a trend, RC. There’s no way Paul Carozza would be selected in the wallabies these days. Ditto Mrty Roebuck at fullback

            • December 21st 2012 @ 1:47pm
              Rough Conduct said | December 21st 2012 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

              None of the blokes who played with Carozza or Roebuck would be selected these days – they were amateurs. The level of physical conditioning is completely different in the professional era, all players are bigger and stronger, the point is the diversity of body types still exists – this is fundamental to the Rugby ethos. James O’Connor was told that he was too small for Rugby League, but look what he has achieved in Rugby.

          • January 10th 2013 @ 2:26am
            Jack said | January 10th 2013 @ 2:26am | ! Report

            Who cares? It’s an AFL post

      • Roar Guru

        December 21st 2012 @ 11:35am
        Redb said | December 21st 2012 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        That’s wrong. There are massive height differences amongst AFL players.

        The level of stamina has increased across the players which has meant fat blokes like Micky Nolan don’t have a place anymore.

    • Roar Guru

      December 21st 2012 @ 10:02am
      Redb said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      Worth a shot.

      The best part about this article is it annoys the above posters. 🙂

      • December 21st 2012 @ 10:07am
        Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Hey Redb, they are crawling out from under every rock this morning 🙂

        • December 21st 2012 @ 10:38am
          Sailosi said | December 21st 2012 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          I wholeheartedly apologise to the AFL elite on behalf of those of us who care to comment but can only afford to live under a rock.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 3:47pm
            Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

            Critical comments are welcome, everyone has a POV, but when a criticism is just thrown out there, for no other reason than just to be critical then i will criticise that.

          • December 21st 2012 @ 8:20pm
            Brewski said | December 21st 2012 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

            Further to that Sailosi, maybe you did not read the 10 or so posts that the moderators deleted, which was the bulk of what my comment was posted at.