Almanac Football – Most Improved and Most Dedicated for the Osaka Dingoes

Nearly a year has passed since I joined the Osaka Dingoes Australian Football Club. My first training was in February this year.

2018 is the memorable year in my footy career.

At the club’s bonenkai (the end of the year party) on Saturday night, I was handed two awards – the most improved player and the most dedicated player. I am so happy to be awarded at the mighty Dingoes.



Two awarded medals at the party

Passions on footy had already established before I started involving in the club. I have been enjoying watching footy and writing footy stories here, as you know.

Such attitudes and one of my articles got Matt’s (the club president and player coach) attention. Then we met on Boxing Day last year when we agreed me joining the club.

As having not played similar sports before, everything was new and kicking, bouncing or marking was not good. Later Matt told me that he thought I wouldn’t be able to kick a goal this year.

I am allowed to have footy since the first training to get used to the new and my beloved sport. I started kicking footy and bouncing nearby baseball park soon on my own when I am free (now I practise footy at another bigger park).

Sadly I had a flu just after my first training and was told to rest, so I had to be absent the second training in the 2018 season.

Then an injury hit me in the end of February. Trying to take a mark at a team drill, the footy hit the index finger on the left hand. The finger was jarred and the pain didn’t go away for a while. Seeing a doctor nearly two weeks later and the fractured bone was found. But it didn’t stop me training or practising or playing at all.

Not only practising footy on own, but also turning up the training early have been implemented, like how Lenny Hayes has done during his playing career at St Kilda. Our footy training starts at 3 pm all the time, but I get to the footy field any time between 1.45 pm and 2.30 pm.


Dingoes uniform front



Yoshi’s Dingoes Gurnesey and Shorts

But my hardworking has not blossomed at the IMPACT Anzac Day Cup held on Saturday, April 21. I struggled to find how to get footy and did not touch the ball at all.

My emotion at the match was down and shocking. Matt just told me that it was too early to advise anything at the stage. My American teammate Jarrett said that he had a similar experience at his first AFL game in the US.

What Jarrett said relieved me, but I just didn’t want to leave such outcome alone.

Since then I have been practising to run fast to be able to get footy, how to pressure the opponents and to respond quickly when I fumble footy and get under the pressure. Kicking and handballing when an opponent player is behind me.

I spend an hour almost everyday before going to work while up to two hours after my shifts. Got up at 4.45 am often in the late spring to September when I start working at 10 am.

I really needed to practise hard to be able to play better footy. I want to be a great small forward like Stephen Milne.

On Saturday July 7, we hosted the IMPACT Invitational Cup. It was the first ever tournament the Dingoes invited international sides. Three former AFL players played footy for the Indonesia Volcanoes – Rick Olarenshaw, Chad Fletcher and Brian Lake.

In the wet condition, I slid under the footy trying to collect. It was my first possession in my playing career. I was so happy about the action.

I ran hard and pushed hard on opponent players. Even I played hard on Lake. Brian is 195 centimetres tall while I am only 162 centimetres.

At the last game for us on the day against Indonesia Volcanoes, I was awarded a free kick. My teammates from Tokyo clubs who formed the merged side with us told me to kick back while the opponents suggested me to kick forward.

Then Greg Hinchiliffe, the president of the Bali Gekkos, crossed kicking. I was awarded a 25-metre penalty and kicked the first goal in my playing career.

I was very excited and happy having scored a goal. I didn’t understand the reason being awarded a free kick. Later Matt told me that Brian held the ball when I laid a tackle on him.

Previous team trainings and my own drills brought me good on field performances. Also contested marking drills in the few trainings previously would help me improving footy skills.

Being chaired off at the end of the game is very memorable and made my eyes wet on the bench.



Chaired off by two Volcanoes

It was a big goal but not the final destination. I keep training and practising hard.

In October, I found pumping lung during the intense drills – run, mark, kick, run, mark, kick and run. I realised I needed to run hard with intense.

Then I started more intense my own drills. Previously goal kicking was the main drill on my own practice. I had walked after kicking. Instead I run chasing footy after kicking no matter if it’s a goal kicking or not. Also running fast with bouncing is on my drills.

Unfortunately a few plans to play footy since the Invitational Cup didn’t go ahead due to the ground availability. No game after the big tournament was played by the Dingoes.

Hardworking on field including only one training absence brought me both medals, as well as my off field tasks as a board member, especially translating, was honoured as the most dedicated player.



Medals coming home

However we are playing footy again on Sunday, January 27 in Kobe.

The team is on the winter break, but I still practise footy and get ready to the next match. Drills are important to improve my footy skills.

I appreciate Matt and teammates for the great supports and the club to have wonderful tournaments. Also my big thanks to participating clubs and three footy legends in both tournaments.

And fellow Almanackers and readers are honoured because of their great supports on my playing footy.

I look forward to the 2019 season.


About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Great to see your hard work rewarded, Yoshi! Best wishes for 2019 and another year of growth at the mighty Dingoes, mate!

  2. Cheers Jarrod for your warm and positive words! I can’t wait another opportunity to play footy as I have not played for five months! All the best mate and I hope we catch up sometime next year.

  3. Well done Yoshi. That’s a huge improvement in your first year! When the great Malcolm Blight coached I’m told he always carried on him a piece of paper. On this it said, “Never forget how hard it is to play this game.”

    I look forward to reading of your second season.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    That’s great news Yoshi. Well done for this season and good vibes for the next.

  5. Well played, Yoshi. Great stuff indeed.

    Good luck for 2019.

  6. Malby Dangles says

    That’s fantastic, Yoshi. Well done!!

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great work Yoshi ! I’m predicting a B&F for you in 2019. Go well, mate.

  8. Thanks gentlemen for your comments!

    Mickey – So Malcolm Blight always saw his note to remind how hard playing footy was on the field? It is true, but hardworking would help improving skills and making us being good players. To be honest I would bring a small notebook to drills to write down advice what Matt and teammates advise me. You made a good point.

    Swish – Cheers and I just keep doing.

    Smokie – Cheers mate and thanks for your warm wishes. Congratulations on your award on great writing for the VAFA.

    Mal – Cheers mate!

    Phil – Cheers my good friend. We don’t have a B&F award, but do have a MVP (Most Valuable Player). I hope to be awarded as MVP, but I need a lot of hardworking to perform the best on field.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Congratulations Yoshi!
    Keep putting in the hard yards, look forward to following you next season.

  10. Mark Duffett says

    This is brilliant, I’m certain the awards were richly deserved. Amazing you’ve already reached the heights (all 192 cm of them) of playing on Brian Lake – and kicked a goal on him! Inspirational stuff.

  11. Cheers Luke! I just train and practise hard as always. Hope you enjoy reading my footy stories.

    Thanks Mark. My hardworking is reflected on my passion and willingness to improve skills. Being awarded just follows, and I just want to keep improving.

    All the best.

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