A new way to make Footy an international game

The AFL has always wanted an international profile to compete with Soccer and Rugby Union. As far as I can see it (and its predecessors such as the VFL, SANFL and WAFL) has tried three methods

1. Scheduling two AFL/VFL teams to play in Britain, USA or New Zealand. There has been limited success in NZ but most other games have only been watched by ex-pat Australians.

2. “International Rules” A combination of Australian Rules and Gaelic Football which is vastly inferior to either of them.

3. Small local competitions which play off in an international cup. I support this project but, let’s face it, the best teams (Ireland and Papua New Guinea) would be beaten by most D Grade amateur teams. It is worth persevering with but it’s no threat to the Rugby World Cup, let alone FIFA.

Here is an alternative proposal for International Footy.

The current Western Australian Government is threatening to secede if it does not get a bigger take of the GST. This is the same Government that resented subsidising other States when the mineral boom was in full swing. Now it wants those same States to subsidise them after the downturn in mineral prices. Furthermore the combination of whingeing in Good Times and sticking their hand out in Bad Times has been the policy of most WA State Governments since Federation.

I don’t want to offend Western Australian Almanacers. I think Western Australia has produced many of the greatest footballers of all time. They have also produced brilliant cricketers, great writers and wonderful musicians. Their State politicians are probably no worse than their Victorian and New South Wales counterparts and definitely better than Queensland’s politicians between 1957 and 1989. However the belief that seems to be shared by Western Australian State politicians of both major parties that all other States only exist to be plundered by Western Australia is pretty obnoxious.

However, if the rest of Australia allows WA to secede we can have two sovereign nations both playing Australian Rules. The Eagles and the Dockers would have to leave the AFL but no doubt they can rejig the WAFL. Every year the Commonwealth of Australia can play regular tournaments against the Independent Republic of Western Australia. It would be an international competition. It would be bigger than Rugby League’s State of Origin. We too can claim to play an international game.

I’m not too sure how I’d feel about border checkpoints at Esperance or having to show my passport at Perth Airport but there is a price for all forms of progress.





  1. Luke Reynolds says

    I like it Dave. We’d go back to a 16 team competition, as well as having a new Test cricket team. Bring it on!

  2. I have often thought this a possibility when I have heard about WA’s repeated threats to secede.

    One point on the International Cup is that it was started by the nations outside our shores and not by the AFL (or it’s predecessors). As far as I understand it the AFL were pretty much forced to support it or have the threat of those countries forming a rival claimant to being the world ruling body for the game ala FIFA – as unrealistic as that may sound.

  3. Wayne Ball says

    As unrealistic as it is Crash, oh the deliciousness of the irony.

  4. David Zampatti says

    Nice work, Dave, but ignorant of the nuances of WA’s political and football history, especially the continuing secessionist undertow that’s been around these parts since before there was anything to secede from.

    The cockies and Western Suburb types (who’ve always had an opinion of themselves that would make a Carlton board member blush) have an inbred “we’ll just pack up our serfs and large holes in the ground and go home” attitude to Federation that flowed into the football team they dreamed up in 1987, perfectly expressed in the words of its odd little club song:

    So watch out all you know-alls
    All you wise men from the east
    You’ll get more than just a footy game
    You’ll get a West Coast Eagles feast

    Now this was never the view of the aforementioned serfs, especially the miners on the Goldfields, the wharfies down Fremantle way and working people generally, who were overwhelmingly pro-Federation. (While the Dockers plan to “hit ’em real hard, send ’em down below” in their club song, the threat doesn’t seem aimed at any particular geographic location or political grouping.)

    Indeed, one of the teams in what was to become the WAFL was originally called The Victorians, and, as West Perth, went on to become, along with the two Fremantle outfits, its most storied club.

    So, Dave, I think you’re on the right track, but you haven’t quite nailed it. What should happen is that West Coast should secede (or simply be seceded) from the AFL and replaced by West Perth. It means the Dees would have to change their club song, but, apart from that, the whole process should be accomplished with little inconvenience.

    And we’d all feel better for the change.

  5. I’m feeling a warm glow at the recognition that WA has produced brilliant footballers and cricketers. Thank you so much.

    I was at a Christmas function last year and was introduced to a bloke who was a secessionist. When he learned I was from Kalgoorlie-Boulder he ticked me off for the way the Goldfields voted in the Federation referendum in 1900.

  6. Dear Messrs Nadel and Zampatti,
    Your ignorance is matched only by your arrogance. On the issue of Federal – State finances I defer to my Eagles colleague and financial font of knowledge Mr Brad Carr – but in a nutshell this is how I understand it.
    The problem is not the principle of the Grants Commission allocation, but one of volativlity and measurement lags in the modern interconnected economy. The largesse that WA has been sharing with the rustbucket states for the last 40 years has been dependent on mineral revenue, and iron ore in particular. The price WA (and by extension the related mendicants) have been getting has gone from $120 a tonne a year ago to $50 now. That cuts a large and immediate hole in WA State revenues – NOW. The Grants Commission formulas all work on data that are a couple of years old when all the annual revenue figures are in. So the distribution will move in WA’s favour in time – but at a glacial speed.
    Imagine if businesses burned down or farmers had droughts and we said – let’s wait until the end of the audited financial year and we’ll check all your income figures to ensure you’ve been earning nothing from blackened buildings and parched fields. Then we’ll think about giving you a payout to help you through the transition.
    The Grants Commission methodology works for smooth gradual changes in economic circumstances but is horse and buggy for the volatile modern world of floating currencies and prices.
    Also – a couple of lefties should consider the social policies affecting WA’s revenue share. We are the only state without the scourge of pokies in our pubs and clubs (a bipartisan position long held thankfully in this conservative state). Pokies are 8% of all State government taxes nationally, and WA only gets a much smaller amount from the Packer Palace at Burswood (the only pokies venue in the State). Social misery minimised but the compensating minerals $’s that fund social enlightenment are fast disappearing. This is compounded by the Grants Commission giving all States an assumed revenue raising capacity as if we all levy the same taxes (including pokies). This penalises West Australians twice for thumbing their noses at Bruce Mathieson and the other Pokies Barons who cause so much misery to families.
    Finally, as a couple of old lefties, do you agree with the things that Hockey et al are using to blackmail WA (and generate some profits for their corporate donors)? Privatise power utilities. I thought the NSW ALP just fought an election against that. Fully deregulate shopping hours so that Coles and Woolies have a total duopoly and can manipulate prices and products to their hearts content (have you checked out the dominace of generic shit quality home brands in their liquor and grocery stores?)
    Dave and Dave – I know you had your tongues in cheek to a fair extent – but I just want to ensure that Eagles bashing (you’ll get yours on Sunday DZ) and Sandgroper sniping doesn’t get accepted as genuine public policy information.
    Cheers from Mr Avenging Eagle

  7. Dave Brown says

    Seeing as PB brought some facts to the table (and there were not enough Daves in this discussion), Greg Jericho’s piece on the ABC site is worth a look, exposing the secession threat for the blowharding that it is. The rest of the country (read: NSW & Vic) supported WA through the first 85 or so years of Federation. WA has only been carrying its weight (& then some) in the last 30 years.

    The cost of secession would far outweigh any ‘lost’ revenue from the current GST model and the rest of us would potentially see a benefit in a minerals based economy being removed from more diverse economies. As a Crows supporter, Jericho naturally hates everyone else, so has no vested interest in the debate.

  8. Very good PeterB.

    Except now the Federal Government will know Western Australians have more money in our pockets because we don’t waste it on the pokies. Your cobber Colin will not thank you for this.

  9. Dennis Gedling says

    Pfft we never wanted to be part of Australia at Federation anyway.

    To make it interesting we should let the Hutt River Province have its own sporting teams. Being so close to Northampton they could maybe nab a josh Kennedy or Harry Taylor in to its ranks on a dodgy passport.

  10. Outstanding rant PB.

  11. Too much sense in some of this thread. All I know is that WA would’ve been a no show if all those Ballarat miners hadn’t moved over and started Kalgoorlie off. And all the real $$$ was in the north of the state (until the Chinese decided that they could rip off some unsuspecting Sth American or African nation easier). So if WA split from the Federation and the North of WA split from the south, the South would be broke and be spongeing off the east AGAIN. Twiggy and the rest would invoke their Northern heritage faster than Gina moves at a cupcake party. WCE would move to Newman or Karatha or Derby. God help Freo

  12. Two small points PBS before I attend to Mr Nadal’s most excellent green fielding.

    1. The drop then plummet in the price of iron ore was not a surprise. It was predicted at least 5 years ago so the State of Excitement has had plenty of time to manage its finances through times of changing fortunes.
    2. Social services, sadly, and as I suspect you know all too well, we’re not high up in the State’s agenda during the boom. In fact there was a fair cry from advocates that the boom was reinforcing a two class system with increases in people requiring welfare support during the boom years. The state bears the brunt of that responsibility.

    Now, on to more important matters. Great thinking Dave but it should go further. Tassie could become its own country. Qld is one political ideologue away from succession. Right, now we have 4 countries playing International Aussie Rules. Throw in NZ, East Timor and Ireland (they’ll bend to our sun don’t worry about that) and this footy federation is a’growin! One last thought. WA will be renamed Rinehartia after it’s first president and founder.


  13. Traitor Kane.

    Banking on continuous growth always made sense.

    All that will be our game plan in the Test matches.

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