Firstly, it was fantastic to see the commitment of the AFL Asia Committee throughout the year whereby a great deal of challenges and accomplishments were achieved setting the bar to another level for AFL Asia 2016 which has been fantastic to be a part of from the initial inception.
In regards to the Borneo Bears, and as you may or may not know, Indonesia has gone through a huge change over the past 3 to 4 years in regards to the energy sector which has led to a great number of expats leaving Indonesia and particularly from Balikpapan, the center of energy in Indonesia which basically left our young club on the verge of shutting down . However, The Borneo Bears through a number of methods with great support and perseverance from the Bears Committee, has survived the exodus of expats who in the earlier years previous to the down turn, formed 90% of the club players list and membership. Back from the earlier days when the expat players would invite their Indonesian national drivers and office staff down to training and consequently fund them to local tournament tours, and when the expats started leaving in droves, a great deal of dedication and commitment supported by the Bears President Tommy Commerford and Bears Coach Shane Kruger and with the Bears National players stepping up to the plate by inviting their family, friends and co-workers down to training and along to games and join learning and playing this fantastic but still foreign game of AFL, the Bears have turned their player list around which now constitutes approximately 90% Indonesian National players and continues to grow.
One of our major highlights for 2015 which was organized and championed by Tommy and Shane, was the cross country AFL development agreement between the Borneo Bears and the Darwin Waratah’s whereby the Darwin Waratah’s have invited 4 of the Borneo Bears National players to Darwin to join the Waratah’s to train and play in the 2015-2016 NTFL season.
With this, the Borneo Bears wish to further support and be a part of and continue to grow with AFL Asia and will continue to develop this great game of AFL throughout our local community. One of our missions for 2016 and of course will depend on our internal fundraising, is to tour a 100% Indonesian Borneo Bears team to the Asia Champs 2016.
Once again, thank you to the AFL Asia Committee for your commitment and dedication during 2015 and bring on 2016.
With best regards