AFL ASIA MEDIA RELEASE. FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

The 2015 AFL Asia Championships, to be held in Bangkok on 17 October, received a boost today with the confirmation that former West Coast Eagle Premiership player and 2006 Norm Smith Medalist Andrew Embley has confirmed his participation in this year’s event.

With over 30 indigenous Asian players already confirmed, Embley will be running a training session for local players on Friday 16 October, before coaching the all-local South East Asia vs East Asia match, a new initiative to be held prior to the Asian Champs Grand Final.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Andrew with us in Bangkok once again” AFL Asia President Darren Whitfield said. “Embers did a fantastic job with the IndoChina boys last year and with local development a big focus of AFL Asia, he is the perfect person to help us ramp up our efforts in this space.”

Embley has a strong connection to Asia, being of Anglo/Burmese ancestry with both his Grandparents and Father being born in Burma (Myanmar) before migrating to Perth in 1964. This will be his second AFL Asia engagement, having coached the inaugural match of the IndoChina Bulldogs team at the 2014 IndoChina Cup.

“I had a great time with the boys last year and I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing how much they have developed over the past year.” Embley said. Its great to see so many local players now playing footy in Asia and I’m happy to do what I can to help their development”

The SE Asia team will be captained by the biggest Western Bulldogs fan in Asia, Thailand’s Rut Ngarmariyaki. Known around AFL Asia circles as “Rutkermanis”, the Thai Bulldogs tragic suffered a broken collar bone and concussion after a massive hit at the IndoChina Cup in August. Despite a disapproving “boss” (his mother) Rut has been inspirational in doing everything he can to get back in time for Champs and will be lining up for the Tigers in a warm up game against the Vietnam Swans in Saigon this weekend. Rut will be joined by local players from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The East Asia Team will be Captained by China Reds stalwart and 3-time AFL International Cup representative Zhang Hao. Working closely with the Port Adelaide Power, Zhang has been instrumental in the growth of the game in Guangzhou, establishing a 5-team local league, made up of 95% Chinese players. He will be bringing 10 other Chinese players with him, with many impressing in the recent South China AFL season, with Philippine Eagles local players complementing the East Asian team.

About AFL Asia

AFL Asia was formed in July 2013 with the aim of growing Australian Rules Football in Asia and to represent the more than two dozen teams currently active in the region. For more information see www.afl-asia.co

About the AFL Asia Championships

The Asian Champs, now in its 16th year, is the most prestigious Australian Football tournament in Asia. For the first time in the history of the event there will be two divisions of teams competing in Bangkok, with 7 first division and 6 second division Clubs confirmed making it one of the biggest Champs to date. It will be hosted by the Thailand Tigers on 17 October at Harrow International School, Bangkok. More information see www.thailand-tigers.com

Embley at the 2014 IndoChina Cup. Photos courtesy of Rob Brewer ardmawrphotography.zenfolio.com

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