If the surf is no good, on any Thursday afternoon in Seminyak, you’ll find a bunch of expats honing their skills of their beloved Australian Rules Football. While the beers are being chilled at the Office, one of the Geckos’ preferred watering holes, astonished locals watch, wonder and laugh as the sweating expats kick, handball and swear at each other.
The Geckos, as they are affectionately known, were formed in 1997 when a challenge was thrown out by a traveling Jakarta Bintang Footballer to an expatriate Australian living in Bali.
Since then, the Geckos have taken on teams from over the region and have enjoyed a huge amount of success both on and off the field.
With many AFL teams using Bali as the destination for end of season trips, the Geckos have often had AFL stars at training and entertained them socially.
In October 2003, The Geckos received much media attention after the very successful Bali 9s, where ex-AFL star, Jason McCartney, pulled on the Gecko jumper. Australian Prime Minister John Howard also tried out the Gecko colours, but, to his disappointment, did not get a run on the field during the final.
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The Geckos have a core of about 20 players, with the majority being Australian expatriates residing in Bali. Added to this are the many tourists who join the Geckos periodically whilst holidaying in Bali. This includes former and current AFL or state level past and present players. Apart from players, the Geckos have many supporters, both in Bali and Australia.