Text & Photos by ADAM BRAY

The Borneo Bears and the Jakarta Bintangs are no strangers to battling out a hard fought contest on the football field. Only two months ago the two teams last met, with a clash at Cibubur resulting in the Bintangs walking away victorious and holding aloft the finely crafted Australia Day Trophy. On Saturday 5th April the two teams would meet again. The arena was the same, but the circumstances vastly different, with the two Clubs joining forces to pursue a common goal, the development of the Indonesian Garudas National Squad.

This most recent instalment of the ANZ Cup took on a different format to the usual competition that sees local sides Kemang, Cileungsi, Setiabudi and Bogor competing against each other. It is from these local sides, and others, that the final Indonesian Garudas Squad will be selected to tour Australia in August this year for the AFL International Cup.

Players from all the local teams combined with the Jakarta Bintangs and the Borneo Bears to form two evenly matched representative sides. Both sides were predominantly Indonesian nationals with a small allocation of expatriate players to each team. The expats were to act as on-field mentors for their Indonesian team mates who are still learning the finer points of the game. These mentor players included current Bintangs weapons – Captain Stewart Lyons and Vice-Captain Timmayy Simpson.

The game was played at high intensity with fantastic spirit shown between the two sides. Mentor players were often seen taking time out during the match to teach the Indonesian players, even if that player was on the opposing team. At half time the two sides met for a joint team meeting to discuss the positives that had occurred during the match and to identify areas for improvement. It was a great interaction between two cultures and wonderful to see the young Indonesians questioning the older expats and asking their advice on how to better play the game.

With only 3 months until the AFL International Cup in Melbourne, the Garudas Squad has a busy road ahead with an ANZAC weekend tour to Balikpapan, an increased training load and multiple ANZ Cup matches to come. All signs are pointing towards a fitter, stronger and better Garudas Squad who are determined to continue to improve at a rapid rate. Exciting times for Indonesian footy!

You can follow the progress of the team
by liking ‘AFL Indonesia’ on Facebook or
by visiting http://www.aflindonesia.org/

You can also make a personal contribution by clicking on the Fundrazr link on
http://www.aflindonesia.org

Leave a Reply