Two Samoan youngsters chase AFL dream

Two Samoan youngsters chase AFL dream

Written by Aigaletaulele’a F. Tauafiafi   

Monday, 28 June 2010 13:23

With millions of Australian dollars on offer in the ‘Aussie Rules’ game, a steady trickle of Samoan youngsters look set to flood the AFL over the next five years.  Mitty Edwards, mother of North Melbourne Kangaroos forward Aaron Edwards is the driving force in Samoa. Last week, two teenagers Herman Tanuvasa  from Moataa and Aviata Siuta of Fasitoo are in Melbourne playing in the AFL World Selection youth side against Australian selections. The two are prodigies from AFL Samoa’s domestic scene. The world side was selected from Under-19 youngsters that participated in the Oceania tournament in Fiji last year that included Nauru, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.

Herman Tanuvasa and Aviata Siuta flanking coach Simati before jetting off to Melbourne to join up with the AFL World Junior side. Photo Mitty Edwards.

The final selection was conducted over a number of months the final players handpicked by AFL’s Asia Pacific Manager Andrew Cadzow visiting each Pacific country. From Samoa’s original 22-squad, five were selected from Fiji and was narrowed to two now with the opportunity to play and showcase their talent for the pot of gold at the end of the AFL rainbow.

Back in Samoa, AFL Samoa Team Manager Mitty Edwards told Samoa Observer it’s a personal triumph to see seeds planted

last year budding opportunities for young and talented Samoan youths. “Scouts and management from AFL’s major clubs will be in attendance at the Melbourne event. With many Pacific heritage players making their mark in the AFL, the Pacific is fast becoming an untapped and potentially a rich source of players for the game.
“If we play our cards right, we have a really good chance that our young people will be noticed and maybe gain opportunities to earn some very good money.”

The AFL Samoa story is one of perseverance and passion with a strong community focus especially in Mitty’s village of Moataa. With son Aaron carving out a lucrative career with the North Melbourne Kangaroos he’s trailblazing for Samoa in the AFL mainstream. “Aaron was born here at Motootua and grew up under the Moataa Mango tree. He’s very proud of his Samoan heritage and would love nothing better than to have more of his countrymen make it in Australia.

“Right now I’m really proud of Herman and Aviata but also for all the 22-boys that went to the Oceania in Fiji last year. Their performances over there could yield more opportunities for the up and coming talent abounding in this country.”

Mitty will be traveling to Australia shortly to fundraise for the Under17s Oceania to be held in New Zealand in October and in November is hopeful to sending a team to the Under23 tournament in Tonga.
“It’s all about getting the boys visible to scouts so participating in these tournaments is crucial to getting them recognized. Our AFL Association has received no assistance from government or sponsors so that’s why I’m going to fundraise in Australia with the help of my son Aaron.”



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