Chance for a sneak peak at AFL future


by Troy Thompson

If you barrack for Brisbane, Hawthorn, Richmond, GWS or Essendon – or for that matter any club, you may have good reason to head down to Royal Park tomorrow (Wednesday) and Friday to see players your club has scholarship listed or those that may be playing against your club in future.
The Ireland Warriors will have Richmond’s newest signing in John Heslin running around in the semi final match against New Zealand, who will have Hawthorn International Scholarship listed player Rhys Panui Leth. We have also been informed by the Kiwis that Kurt Heatherley (also on the books at Hawthorn) may also be available for the NZ Hawks. Richmond fans should also be on the lookout for Papua New Guinea’s Gideon Simon, listed by the Tigers.  New GWS Giants signings Theo Gavuri (PNG), Jimzan Yoshi-Harris (Nauru), Peni Mahina (Tonga) and Charlton Brown (NZ) should all be on show


After a brief cameo with the Brisbane Lions reserves on Saturday Brendan Beno should return for PNG and is scholarship listed with the club.
Stanis Susuve, John James and Amua Pirika who have all represented Gold Coast prior to their arrival as an official AFL licensed club and will appear for PNG against the United States. The USA have no AFL listed players but Shae McNamara (who was not available to play for his country in the International Cup)  will be showing the US team around Collingwood.
We believe that Ireland may also bring into their side the Irish duo in Aisake o’hAilpin (formerly on Carlton’s list) and Conor Meredith (formerly with North Melbourne).  David Stynes, brother of Melbourne legend and President Jim Stynes will also represent Ireland.
Formerly scholarship listed with the Western Bulldogs, Solomon Loki will be playing with Fiji as Vice captain.
Peter Labi, who is scholarship listed with Carlton, may also be there for PNG and Donald Barry who is scholarship listed with Brisbane and playing reserves there this year is also a chance to appear for PNG if given leave to do so.
There are many more connections with AFL clubs such as Japanese captain Michito Sakaki who completed preseason with Essendon a few years ago (and played in a preseason game for the Bombers). Many players in the Cup have played with Australian clubs this year, or in previous years, or have teammates in their own country who are Aussie expats.
It’s all part of a growing wave of international Aussie Rules, mostly driven by locals at grass roots, loving the game just as generations of Australians have.
With teams spread across two men’s divisions and an inaugural women’s competition, there’s a diversity of skill and style.  Without doubt there will be some great quality footy, some entertaining footy, and perhaps some unusual footy on show. So if you get a chance head down to Royal Park on Wednesday and Friday for a sneak peek at the future.

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  1. If you go, check out No. 17 for USA, Eric Floyd. He’s the best player ever to come out of our area (Louisville, Ky.); he played the 2010 season with Kukerin-Dumbleyung in Western Australia.

  2. I have seen Eric in the Sydney matches played last week. He is travelling well, as are the whole US team – they will play PNG in the semi final tomorrow – with the winner playing at the MCG curtain raiser of Saturday before the Haw v Bulldogs game.

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