Australian football in Samoa

Australian football in Samoa

Watch out Samoa rugby....another game is attracting the nation's young athletes....Australian rules football. Once a game just played in Australia, Aussie rules is fast becoming an international sport, offering Pacific players new opportunities.

Clement Paligaru: This is the Australian Rules Football team of Samoa.

Aussie rules is an unusual sight here.....because the country is reknowned for its love of rugby.

Michael Roberts AFL Samoa: I think Aussie Rules here in Samoa is right on the edge of being something really special, something really great.

Clement Paligaru: In rugby mad Samoa that's hugely ambitious.

National player, Joshua Betham: If we don't make it into Rugby, if we don’t make it into other sports, AFL is like’s opening its doors to other nations.

Michael Roberts: The Aussie rules brings out a lot of the flair. A lot of the leaping a lot of jumping. They are still able to make the tackles, things like that. But they’re also able to run, use their vision and catch people from behind a lot of the time and leap in the air. It's quite amazing.

Clement Paligaru: Samoa's secret weapon is Milani Feaunati ... the only senior female AFL coach at international level.

Milani Feaunai: I just found out this is a better sport for them. And it will give them opportunities to travel overseas and perhaps making something out of themselves.

Michael Roberts: We've only recently had a visit from the AFL who are looking at perhaps having Samoa open up as an area where talent can be sourced from.

Clement Paligaru: For many, their first trip overseas will be to Melbourne to compete in the 16 nations AFL International Cup, played only once every three years.

Josh Betham: We really wanna make the finals of ussie Rules and not only that, but develop the sport here in Samoa so that it will grow. There's a lot of opportunity in the sport.

Clement Paligaru: In Melbourne, the Samoa Kangaroos lose no time in making their mark. The first match against India earns the side an early victory.

Josh Betham: It's a massive win but India is new in the game as well. Let’s hope we can continue on the momentum.

Clement Paligaru: But the team's enthusiasm is dampened by losses against Japan, and reigning champion, New Zealand. Despite a late win against Sweden, Samoa continues to slide down the rankings.

Josh Betham: Uhhm, It's freezing…chilly and uuuhm we’re finding it a bit hard to catch the ball. But yeah, w'll try and get used to it. Because it’s a bit cold and our fingers go icy and the ball is bit slippery and really hard.

Clement Paligaru: Samoa's final game is against Britain for 9th place on the AFL international ladder. Samoa has to settle for 10th place - down from 5th, the last time they were in Melbourne. But the defeat leaves them even more determined.

Josh Betham: Yes , we'll do better. We'll do better. For most of us , the new players…hopefully.. I'll look pretty sharp ..on my legs …in the next tournament.

Clement Paligaru: That's in 2011. Milani's confident AFL in Samoa will improve....and she wouldn't be surprised if her best players are recruited to play in Australia.

Milani Feaunai: I am sad to lose them. But hopefully, you know….the whole idea is because there's so many of them here, doing nothing with their lives. But if that’s the case, if it takes them out of the country here and to a better life ...then I am happy for them.
Tania and Clement are presenters from Radio Australia and Australia Network. Here they team up to host Pacific Pulse. Read what they have to say about their experiences.
My Pacific Story
In the Loop
Australia Network
ABC Radio Australia


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