Around the Boundary: Solomon Islands AFL Reply

July update by Job Vulita and Rowan Fajerman

Welkam

As the mid way mark of 2014 approached, the AFL senior competition came to a thrilling end while Solkick and junior development also concluded as students go on holidays. For SIAFLF it has been a quieter month, a time for staff, volunteers, players and officials to take rest and recharge for the second half of the year which will hopefully be packed with footy action!

Solkick & Junior Development

Unfortunately, SIAFLF was unable to host a Secondary Schools Cup as many schools were preparing students for exams. SIAFLF staff will aim to host the competition during the early weeks of term 3. The following schools will all be invited to register a male and female team:  Woodford International, St Joseph’s, White River High, Koloale High, Burns Creek, Perch, Lunga School, King George VI, St Nicholas and Mbua Vale.

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New to the sport AFL, Global Harvest students enjoyed participating in AFL based activities during the holidays. Teacher trainer Jenny Dunn organised for AFL staff to conduct sessions at KG. This was the first time the primary school students had experienced kicking and handballing an AFL ball. The Global Harvest principal has expressed her eagerness to have staff run clinics at the school during term 3.

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Senior Footy – White River Demons take out Championship

Solomon Islands AFL hosted the 2014 Grand Final on Thursday 26th of June between the White River Demons and the Central Coast Eagles. The stage was set for an exciting game of football between these two powerhouse clubs. Both teams have dominated the 2014 home and away season and were separated by the smallest of margins in their previous two encounters.

The game got underway and it was an even battle. Both teams struggled to get clean possession in their attacking half.  For the first seven minutes, the ball mostly remained in the centre of the ground with both teams turning it over. The high stakes match added extra pressure and players were making uncharacteristic mistakes. White River broke the drought when Dylan snapped a goal after a boundary throw-in in the Demons forward pocket. Demons continued to put the ball forward while Eagles struggled to impact on the score board. The second goal came when L. Puia stepped an Eagles defender and kicked truly from 40m out. First quarter results, Demons 2. 3. 15 to Eagles 0. 1. 1.

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Second quarter and the game was opening up. Eagles converted their first major and were moving the ball much better. Demons had plenty of the ball forward but wayward kicking opened the door for the Eagles. Central were able to kick two more goals during the second quarter. Spectators watched in awe as Johnny Mafane took a contester for ‘mark of the year’. Poor kicking in front of goals from the Demons meant the Eagles would close the gap. Demons held onto a one goal lead going into half-time. Demons 3. 8. 26 to Eagles 3. 2. 20.

What is also known as the ‘Premiership Quarter’ proved to be the defining one of the match. After the half time break the Demons lost momentum and the Eagles took full advantage. They also received several 25m penalties from un-disciplinary play from the Demons. It was looking like the Eagles would take the lead going into the final quarter as they dominated the play. Eagles had six scoring shots on goal but were only able to convert one major. At the other end of the ground, Demons also put away a goal and two behinds. The Eagles may have kicked themselves out of the game after squandering several opportunities. At three quarter time, Demons still led with 4. 10. 34 to the Eagles 4. 7. 31.

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With the score line close it was still anyone’s game. Eagles were looking tired and the Demons were getting first use of the ball out of the centre. The Demons turned to their senior players in the final term who were able to get their team over the line. L. Puia, R. Mosese and F. Batts all stepped up by converting on the scoreboard and cutting off the Eagles across the midfield. F. Batts nearly brought the house down when he cleared the ball close to the boundary and snapped it through for a goal on the tightest of angles. The Eagles suffered some injuries and ran out of legs, their fitness letting them down and they were unable to score. The Demons kicked goal after goal and finished the quarter with 6. 2. 38 to secure the lead, the match and the Premiership Trophy. Final siren and White River Demons declared the SIAFLF 2014 Premiers.

Final Scores

  • Demons – 10. 12. 72
  • Eagles – 4. 7. 31

Goal Scorers

  • Demons – L. Puia 3, R. Mosese 3, Fa’a, Dylan, F. Batts,
  • Eagles – J.Mafane 2, S. Bua, Cains

Best Players

  • Demons – L. Puia, R. Mosese, Berri
  • Eagles- R. Maelaboa, H. Platoon, J. Akaramo
  • Best on Ground in the Grand Final – L. Puia

SIAFLF also announced their season awards and trophy winners.

  • Leading Goal Scorer – Junior Joel, Real Lions.
  • Most improved Player – Berri, White River Demons.
  • 2014 League Best and Fairest – Sam Bua, Central Coast Eagles

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Coolaroo Update – Footy provides a chance for Solomon Islanders

The following article was published in ‘The Chronicle’ on the 27th June.

TOOWOOMBA has offered more than just a chance to play footy for Coolaroo recruits Peter Nuku and Francis Ramo.

The Solomon Islanders have gained some valuable life skills as they experience the Australian culture.

Nuku and Ramo arrived in the Garden City in March on a three-month scholarship to play football with Coolaroo in the AFL Darling Downs competition.The young men left their poverty-stricken nation with little more than the clothes on their backs but they’ve looked brilliant in their navy blue Coolaroo guernseys. Both players have been among the team’s best, despite coming from a country where Aussie rules isn’t a major sport.

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Coach Shaun Johnson said he was impressed with the way the diminutive Islanders handled the AFLDD competition.

“They’re playing against guys who are much bigger than them,” Johnson said.

“The average Solomon Islander is only about 75kg but they’re coming up against guys who are 90kg every week.

“Just their tenacity and courage is unbelievable. For small fellas, they get up and go.”

Nuku and Ramo have been billeted in Toowoomba by Jubilee Ministries which is run by Dave and Sonya Challenor.

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Johnson said the ministry had played a big part in helping Nuku and Ramo feel at home in Australia.

“Jubilee Ministry has been fantastic. They’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources to help the boys integrate into our way of life,” Johnson said.

“We’ve given them a bit of work experience as well. We taught them how to weld and concrete.

“It’s an opportunity at life, not just football.”

Nuku and Ramo were forced to return home this week when their visas expired but have been cleared to return again in two weeks to play out the rest of the season for Coolaroo.

Johnson said he couldn’t wait to have the boys back on deck for what has been a great experience for all involved. “It’s probably been good for our club just to have people from a different culture,” he said. – Trent Slatter

Upcoming Events

The annual Big Meat Pie is coming up at the end of August. The event brings both local and expatriate football enthusiasts together to display the skills of Solomon Islanders. The event also raises much needed funds for the organisation. Without your support and donations, SIAFLF would not be able to conduct sporting and healthy lifestyle programs for Solomon Islands youth.

Traditionally, the two teams that compete are the Solomons National side and an expatriate team – the Barbarians. The event is a family friendly environment and we encourage everyone to come along on the day. More information regarding to Big Meat Pie will be released in the coming weeks so watch this space!  Anyone interested in playing in the competition or assisting on the day should contact SIAFLF staff.

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We’ll see you… Around the Boundary!

Rowan Fajerman
 AFL Development Officer
, Email: siafldevelopment@gmail.com Ph. +677 7788455

Job Vulita
 AFL Development Officer, 
Email: siafldevelopment@gmail.com Ph. +677 7444878

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