Aussie Rules, Richmond scouts Samoa

Aussie Rules, Richmond scouts Samoa

 

By Cherelle Jackson

 

It’s a long shot, Australian Football League (AFL) or Aussie Rules as we know it, is not a popular sport in Samoa and the Pacific for that matter, however Craig Cameron is willing to give Samoa a shot.

Cameron is the Strategy and List Manager for Richmond Football Club, one of the four major clubs in Melbourne, Australia.

AFL being the national sport of Australia is more popular than anything else there, in fact the popularity of rugby in the Pacific alone, pales in comparison.

AFL is not just a sport but a way of life for some Australians, it is the single sport that moves the most financial gains in all of Australia.

So the presence of Cameron in Samoa is no push over, he means business.

Speaking to Newsline yesterday Cameron elaborated on his presence in Samoa.

“The reason were here, is AFL has changed rules in terms of International participation, they have produced another list for Football clubs to have, which is International Development List or International Scholarship List,” the Richmond Manager told Newsline.

The List is one which can qualify international players, potentially from Samoa to pursue a future in AFL in Australia, or training from Samoa.

Samoa was recommended to the Richmond Footbal Club by a businessman connected to the team.

Cameron said: “He suggested we come here and have a look, because of the fact that there is already AFL being played on the island.”

The Richmond team had also established contact with Mr. Michael Roberts the AFL Coordinator in Samoa.

For close to ten years AFL has been developed in Samoa starting from the Aus-Kick programme for Primary School students which involves teaching the basic rules of the game.

Last year a High School AFL tournament was held where Leififi Intermediate took home the win.

Cameron was asked about his hopes for Samoan players.

“What I am hoping to find is people who are enthusiastic about AFL and therefore there will be some chance for it to be developed within Samoa and also to find some guys that have the athleticism who could go and play Australian Rules,” he said.

But Cameron is not expecting to find that immediately, “I am just seeing if there is a possibility of developing the game,” he said.

Asked as to the potential of Samoan players Cameron said he could only judge from rugby games he has seen on TV, but that his trip here is a fact finding mission in that respect.

“I think we will find a lot of power athletes here, so, strong guys. AFL and Rugby players have different body shapes, sevens and traditional rugby seem to have different body shapes as well so the guys that play sevens have the shape that is closer to what Australian Rules are, and they may be what we are looking for,” Cameron said.

The Manager expects to find players that have lots of power, are quick and have the ability to jump and have good hand and eye coordination.

So with those skill sets in mind, Cameron and Roberts headed out to see an AFL practise session at Leulumoega amongst existing AFL players in Samoa.

Cameron returns to Australia tomorrow, hopefully with a list of potential candidates for the Richmond Football Club.

 

-Newsline Samoa Newspaper

 




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