Can AFL make a footprint in NZ?

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TWLS

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On PNG now being affiliated with Asia, I'm wondering how that is better than playing against teams like NZ, Nauru, Fiji and Nth Qld.
Very good question.
It appears that the AFL Asia admin was very pleased that the PNG team were now on board.
They also commented that they would not be in their B Div of the Asian Champs for too long.
Most of the Championships teams up there have expats and a increased sprinkling of locals so would the standard be higher than before for the PNG team.
 

TWLS

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The NZ article below was written during the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne and covers all the different areas of the game over there.
Some might say it is fairly accurate description of the state of the sport.
Others might say it is all wrong and the game is going well.
What is to like is the reasons why this or that happens over there and so on.
Will leave it to the readers to decide.
Any comments welcome.

https://thespinoff.co.nz/sports/18-...ray-failed-so-how-does-the-game-survive-here/
 

RedV3x

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Wellington is a very windy city of 400k people. For the AFL to get 25k there is absolutely astounding.
Wellington should never had been more than a one-off.
If it had been possible it would have been better to move the venue around.
IMO it was a bridging operation until Auckland came online. Unfortunately the money wasn't and still isn't there for a stadium.

Concerning this article it's not even trying to present a balanced view.
It would be prudent, respectful and definitely the right strategy to play Australian Football in the off season in N.Z..
just like it would be prudent, respectful and definitely the right strategy to play soccer in the off season in Australia for example.
Grassroots Australian Football is definitely progressing in N.Z. but talking AFL is a different issue.
 

TWLS

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AFLNZ have released their 2019 Heritage team which features current AFL players.
Shane Savage has some upbeat comments about the future of footy over there and also comments on NZ High Schools starting to produce more Male and Female numbers that are involved with the game.

http://aflnz.co.nz/blog/2019/05/07/2019-afl-new-zealand-heritage-team/
 
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I think that AF can, realistically, have an ambition to become the no.2 sport in NZ- perhaps a 30 year timetable.

Notwithstanding RU's absolute domination & slavish following in NZ, & some bristling at "big brother Australia", AF is simply too good a sport not to succeed in NZ. A common message we hear from foreigners playing AF overseas (& adult Aust. women who are starting to play the game as adults) is that the multidimensional skill set of AF is one of its biggest attractions- ie kicking with both feet, handballing both hands (not just throwing), marking, full body contact, no offside/can run anywhere, & much running, & playing on the world's biggest sporting field.

Professional RU players are becoming much taller & heavier, cf the 1980's World Cup players- not everyone wants/enjoys spending so much time on weights, which is essential to play at the top, professional level. These stronger players are hitting more forcefully.
Having 700+ professional players in the AFL should eventually be an attraction, if one is a kiwi who is very athletic, but not a huge teenager.

We are seeing a significant decline in male GR RU & RL playing nos. in middle class/affluent areas of Sydney & SE Qld.- & strong rise in AF nos. Will this also occur in NZ in the next 30 years?
RU attracts the best athletes, by far, in NZ- but soccer nos. already exceed RU there, & are having good growth. Male RU is in decline.
What are the injury & concussion rates for Euro. kids playing RU in NZ? Can AF benefit, also, long term from this "estrangement" from playing RU at GR level?

It is virtually certain that the next broadcast rights $ for Super Rugby will be much lower at the next deal in 2020- ratings & crowds are falling heavily in Australia, NZ, & SA.
This decline in $ will be accelerated if South African teams leave Super Rugby, to play in the European comp., as some are predicting. European Ratings generate the big $ & large Ratings for Super Rugby, as SA rugby is played in prime Euro. time zones.

NZ CEO S. Tew said in April 2019
"Our long term financial projections still show us spending more money than we are earning...".

https://www.ausleisure.com.au/news/...-profit-downturn-through-2018-financial-year/

SMH Journalist & former Wallaby, P. Fitzsimons, is predicting a crash in RA Super Rugby Broadcast $ Rights, as Foxtel has announced it will demote Super Rugby as a "marquee sport", due to very poor ratings. This will likely lead to a transfer of many Aust. RU players to more lucrative contracts overseas.
Will NZ also suffer, similarly, due to poor Super Rugby ratings in NZ? Will NZ teenagers consider the 700+ well paid AFL positions a possible career option?

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/marque...ig-bucks-will-save-rugby-20190515-p51npx.html

Could we see a NZ team (U23? open age?) in the U18 NAB Cup within 5 years- assuming GR nos. & standards continue to grow in NZ.

GR Fijian AF is growing strongly in standard, as shown by results in the IC. How & why is this occuring, any lessons for NZ development?

To promote the AFL, it is essential to have at least 1 game played in NZ every year.
 
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I think that AF can, realistically, have an ambition to become the no.2 sport in NZ- perhaps a 30 year timetable.
I agree with your sentiments but not quite with the outcomes.
Most people who come across Australian Football enjoy the game and rugby is under stress
but there are many reasons for people not to pursue an interest - inertia, routine, commitments, lack of follow-up etc.
Basically, people are committed to one sport in their teenage years.
One thing I hate is people saying because one sport is dying it'll be replaced by another - every sport determines it own destiny.
Look at soccer - popular at grassroots in Australia and N.Z despite being unpopular at a professional level.
The AFL has the right approach to introduce A.F. at school level and attempt to start school competitions.
It also trying to lift the profile of community football by having a 'national' competition.
The exhibition game in Wellington was an outstanding success for a city of 400k.
Unfortunately Auckland is the glitch. Maybe they should try Christchurch like Sheedy said in the meantime.
The ideal would be to rotate cities. I also believe that AFL clubs could have more interactions within N.Z.
It's definitely a case of AFL doing more and not waiting for the demise of some entity.
 
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Hate to say it, but as someone who grew up in NZ, there was and possibly still is a stigma attached to Aussie Rules because it is perceived as just Australian and not international. Yes ANZACs and all that, but don't underestimate the size of the chip on "Aussie's little brother's" shoulder.

Also happy to compete and win against Aussie clubs in Union, League, soccer and cricket, but not happy to be easybeats in a sport where no matter how good the local team is, it'll be flattened by first-tier suburban sides let alone VFL or AFL. I see it as akin to baseball and American football in NZ - it has its aficionados, and some individuals may rise to greater things overseas, but nobody really rates it other than those directly involved.

Happy to be proven wrong.
 
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Hate to say it, but as someone who grew up in NZ, there was and possibly still is a stigma attached to Aussie Rules because it is perceived as just Australian and not international. Yes ANZACs and all that, but don't underestimate the size of the chip on "Aussie's little brother's" shoulder.

Also happy to compete and win against Aussie clubs in Union, League, soccer and cricket, but not happy to be easybeats in a sport where no matter how good the local team is, it'll be flattened by first-tier suburban sides let alone VFL or AFL. I see it as akin to baseball and American football in NZ - it has its aficionados, and some individuals may rise to greater things overseas, but nobody really rates it other than those directly involved.

Happy to be proven wrong.
I have said in the past that one of the things holding back AFL is the name.
We as sport are never really going to leave Australia with the name AFL, and Australia is a very small market.
 
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I have said in the past that one of the things holding back AFL is the name.
The name "AFL" is not holding back AFL.
The AFL has seemingly educated you to refer to Australian Football as "AFL".

We as sport are never really going to leave Australia with the name AFL.
Australian Football has "left" Australia with Australian Football, Aussie Rules, AFL and even footy.
Australian Football is now played regularly in over 55 countries now so it is truly globally spread.

Australia is a very small market.
Australian Football proportionally is the most well-attended and most financially supported football in the world
and is still expanding within Australia, but yes, it is a really bug ask to support all the demands for Australian Football around the world.

As for N.Z., yes they Kiwis do seem to have a chip on their shoulder, but I would consider the Sydney market
a much much tougher market in that regard.
It is a complete fallacy to suggest that AFL is trying to win the hearts of dye-in-wool rugby followers. That's stupid.
What any developing sport attempts to do is find those people that particular sport that appeals to and build from there.
As I posted above, the AFL is trying o get to kids before they have locked in a preference. It's a long-term process.
Personally I have not seen any resistance to AFL in N.Z. possibly due to the fact that they do call it AFL in NZ.
Probably there is little resistance because AFL is sold as fitness, fun, cross-training a new experience etc etc. not as AFL.

As for the rest of the world I have not seen or heard of any resistance to the name of Australian Football.
In fact, in most cases it is a really huge plus. I would council for no name change and marketing as "AFL"
is practical and highly successful. (Even though it grates on me as an Australian Football supporter).
 

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The name "AFL" is not holding back AFL.
The AFL has seemingly educated you to refer to Australian Football as "AFL".



Australian Football has "left" Australia with Australian Football, Aussie Rules, AFL and even footy.
Australian Football is now played regularly in over 55 countries now so it is truly globally spread.



Australian Football proportionally is the most well-attended and most financially supported football in the world
and is still expanding within Australia, but yes, it is a really bug ask to support all the demands for Australian Football around the world.

As for N.Z., yes they Kiwis do seem to have a chip on their shoulder, but I would consider the Sydney market
a much much tougher market in that regard.
It is a complete fallacy to suggest that AFL is trying to win the hearts of dye-in-wool rugby followers. That's stupid.
What any developing sport attempts to do is find those people that particular sport that appeals to and build from there.
As I posted above, the AFL is trying o get to kids before they have locked in a preference. It's a long-term process.
Personally I have not seen any resistance to AFL in N.Z. possibly due to the fact that they do call it AFL in NZ.
Probably there is little resistance because AFL is sold as fitness, fun, cross-training a new experience etc etc. not as AFL.

As for the rest of the world I have not seen or heard of any resistance to the name of Australian Football.
In fact, in most cases it is a really huge plus. I would council for no name change and marketing as "AFL"
is practical and highly successful. (Even though it grates on me as an Australian Football supporter).
IMO the name Australian football is holding the game back
I seriously doubt that AF is played 18 a side on ovals in 55 countries.
I seriously doubt if its played seriously or in a league format in 55 COUNTRIES in any form.
If we was going to make a impact in New Zealand we would have made it before now.Its not going to happen.
Australia has a population of 25 million, which is a very small market.
The NFL is played in a country of some 320 million people and they are still taking games overseas which sell out within days. We play 1 game a year overseas in China where you can more or less count the crowd.
Have a nice day. Sorry to be a realist.
 

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IMO the name Australian football is holding the game back
I seriously doubt that AF is played 18 a side on ovals in 55 countries.
I seriously doubt if its played seriously or in a league format in 55 COUNTRIES in any form.
If we was going to make a impact in New Zealand we would have made it before now.Its not going to happen.
Australia has a population of 25 million, which is a very small market.
The NFL is played in a country of some 320 million people and they are still taking games overseas which sell out within days. We play 1 game a year overseas in China where you can more or less count the crowd.
Have a nice day. Sorry to be a realist.
The name Australian in AFL is only an issue for insecure Australians imop, I doubt most people around the world would give it a second thought.

Put it another way. People know it's Australian, regardless of the name. If the term Australian in the name keeps someone away, then they are never going to play, regardless of what it's called.

If we changed the name to Global football, would this make Kiwis happier about playing it?

An impact in NZ also depends on what you mean by impact. If you mean the dominant, or a dominant sport, no. But if you mean big enough to supply players to the AFL, or have a bit of a presence on TV, then yes, it can make an impact.

NRL did, and NRL is Australian, and RU supporters traditionally hate RL.

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NZ has always had a league presence. Considered lower class, a niche sport played by thugs who couldn't get a gig in union. Union was by far the dominant sport until the late 80s / early 90s when it was noticed back home that Kiwis were having an impact on the league scene in Australia.

It got a massive boost when Graham Lowe started coaching Manly and populated it with marquee Kiwis. It also coincided with the introduction of satellite TV into NZ - instead of three FTA channels we could now get two sports channels on Sky. Bingo, we were getting full coverage of live games from Sydney during the day and the English league overnight. Everyone was on the Manly bandwagon, Mt Smart Stadium was redeveloped, we had a home worthy of a local team and the Warriors club was created.

So mid-late 90s the provinces were still nearly 100% union but in the main cities an awful lot of people followed both codes, for instance I was Wellington / Norths (RIP) / Wigan.

"NRL did, and NRL is Australian, and RU supporters traditionally hate RL. "

Absolutely. But league in NZ had the perfect storm: Locals making a name for themselves overseas; a successful side being coached by a Kiwi; and new technology enabling not just two union games per weekend on fuzzy FTA TV, but multiple games live on crystal clear channels; and the time difference allowing you to watch a local provincial game or Ranfurly Shield challenge then switch over to see the match of the round in Sydney.

AFL isn't going to have all those ducks lined up in a row. League was just in the right place at the right time.
 

TWLS

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NZ has always had a league presence. Considered lower class, a niche sport played by thugs who couldn't get a gig in union. Union was by far the dominant sport until the late 80s / early 90s when it was noticed back home that Kiwis were having an impact on the league scene in Australia.

It got a massive boost when Graham Lowe started coaching Manly and populated it with marquee Kiwis. It also coincided with the introduction of satellite TV into NZ - instead of three FTA channels we could now get two sports channels on Sky. Bingo, we were getting full coverage of live games from Sydney during the day and the English league overnight. Everyone was on the Manly bandwagon, Mt Smart Stadium was redeveloped, we had a home worthy of a local team and the Warriors club was created.

So mid-late 90s the provinces were still nearly 100% union but in the main cities an awful lot of people followed both codes, for instance I was Wellington / Norths (RIP) / Wigan.

"NRL did, and NRL is Australian, and RU supporters traditionally hate RL. "

Absolutely. But league in NZ had the perfect storm: Locals making a name for themselves overseas; a successful side being coached by a Kiwi; and new technology enabling not just two union games per weekend on fuzzy FTA TV, but multiple games live on crystal clear channels; and the time difference allowing you to watch a local provincial game or Ranfurly Shield challenge then switch over to see the match of the round in Sydney.

AFL isn't going to have all those ducks lined up in a row. League was just in the right place at the right time.
Have to join in here on the topic of Rugby League in New Zealand.
Rugby League commenced in Sydney in 1908 and became popular in its first season.
They started looking at NZ almost straight away and officials travelled there to check thing out.
However the NZRU put plans in place to fend off this approach but could not stop RL Clubs being formed with defections from RU including the All Blacks in those beginning years.
Over time the RL code did grow but has never really challenged RU who have very effectively protected their code.
Very interestingly when our game over there finally folded (1903-1913) several players switched to RL so they still could play a sport.
To sum up sport wise the Kiwis love being the big fish in the Worldwide Rugby Union pond.
 
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Have to join in here on the topic of Rugby League in New Zealand.
Rugby League commenced in Sydney in 1908 and became popular in its first season.
They started looking at NZ almost straight away and officials travelled there to check thing out.
However the NZRU put plans in place to fend off this approach but could not stop RL Clubs being formed with defections from RU including the All Blacks in those beginning years.
Over time the RL code did grow but has never really challenged RU who have very effectively protected their code.
Very interestingly when our game over there finally folded (1903-1913) several players switched to RL so they still could play a sport.
To sum up sport wise the Kiwis love being the big fish in the Worldwide Rugby Union pond.
Rugby League started in Huddersfield England in 1895.
It was the New Zealand all Golds who introduced Rugby League to Australia on there way to England
 

TWLS

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Rugby League started in Huddersfield England in 1895.
It was the New Zealand all Golds who introduced Rugby League to Australia on there way to England
Yes you are right about the NZ All Golds in 1907 with their Tour.
With the 1908 bit I was referencing the local situation in Sydney as it related to NZ.
I am not a Rugby Code supporter as such and was intrigued with the ruthless measures the New Zealand Union Authoritories took trying to keep the League Code out in those early times. It was not pretty as well you probably know.
In my NZ Aussie Rules research in that period I bumped up against many articles on the Union/League rivalry.
 

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The treatment of Rugby league in NZ was horrendous. My father and grand father used to tell me stories of the old days. It wasn't pretty.

This is a good reason why Union continued to attack the game for many years.


oldleague.png


Australian Football in NZ has lots to overcome, but it's already made a good start. I don't find Australian a worry at all because most Aussies are good people. At the end of the day you have to sell the game and that will remain the biggest challenge.
 
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