The AFL’s Flying Boomerangs are set to tour China from 12-26 September 2014 and will catch up with the Beijing Bombers and Shanghai Tigers.
The Flying Boomerangs team is one of the AFL’s elite international programs and gives Indigenous players opportunities to display their unique skills.
Shanghai Tiger and former North Melbourne player Shannon Watt reports below:
The program has been running for about four years and is fully AFL backed and funded. The team is composed of the best and brightest U16 indigenous players from around Australia. The trips have been scattered about the world. I believe the last two were held in South Africa and New Zealand. It has been decided that China will be the yearly destination from now on which is a great thing for China and AFL Asia. Last year’s Number 1 AFL pick, Jack Martin, was a product of this program.
The purpose of the tour is to provide the young indigenous footballers with experiences to help with the transition into the AFL system. These experiences are not all football development hence the international trip. From the info I have been given, the AFL wants to open the players’ eyes in terms of Chinese culture, history, hardships and facilities. Shanghai has been asked to provide a visit to an orphanage, some charity work, a look into life in Shanghai’s ‘old town’ and any other experiences that will be beneficial to the players development.
The Shanghai Tigers will also be holding a joint training session with the team as well as a match (which we will have to recruit mighty well for!).
The attached briefing document states that “The tour will focus on four regions Beijing, Shanghai, Guang Zhou and Hong Kong. In each of those regions we have an AFL presence through resources and networks.
“Beijing is supported by Mic Mittasch who manages the Beijing Bombers AFL team and has a number of networks in the Chinese community and Australian Foreign Affairs. Mic also assisted the AFL game played in China with the Melbourne Football Club. Shannon Watt, a former AFL player with the Kangaroos Football Club, is based in Shanghai and manages the Shanghai Tigers as well as being heavily connected in the disadvantaged not for profit sector in Shanghai. The AFL China Academy is based in Guang Zhou and a dedicated AFL resource is employed in the province to lead the program. Through Darren Flanagan and the Port Adelaide Football Club a number of opportunities and resources exist in Hong Kong. The Port Adelaide Football Club has a formal agreement with the HK Football Club (Est. 1886) and ties with the HK Auskick and South China AFL League.
For further information, please download the attached document, AFL Boomerangs 2014 China Tour.
Yesterday, it was reported in the Victor Harbor Times that “youngster, Nathan Kreuger, has been selected in the final squad of 25 for the AFL Flying Boomerangs Leadership program”. Click here for the full story.