As Honiara schools will be wrapping up with Graduations, exams and holidays, SIAFL is taking the opportunity to broaden their reaches and expose as many kids to AFL as possible. Throughout Term 4, SIAFL is hoping to complete several Provincial Tours and determine whether those communities have the capacity to continue growing the sport in 2015.
Late October, staff visited Malaita for a one week tour with plans to return late December. A Central Province Tour has also been confirmed for early September while Western Province is still in deliberation.
This month also saw the Secondary Schools Cup take place. After planning to host the competition mid-year but not being able to due to unforseen disruptions, SIAFL was finally able to hold the competition, much to students delight.
Secondary Schools Cup
The AFL Secondary Schools Cup took place over the course of several days mid to late October. Of the original 8 schools invited to participate, six confirmed their participation: Woodford International School, Perch Christian School, St Nicholas, White River High, King George School and St Joseph’s Tenaru. Unfortunately, Koloale High School and Mbu Vale Community School were unable to confirm their participation and and did not take part in the competition. Hopefully in 2015, the schools will be able to organise both a male and female team to represent their school and give their students the opportunity to compete.
This was the first year that some schools entered all female teams. Woodford, Perch and King George will all have female representative squads.
For many of the boys and girls who participated, this was the first time they have played in a competitive match of AFL. As the majority of competitors were beginners, SIAFL modified the rules to create a safer playing environment. Players were not permitted to bump or hip and shoulder opponents or tackle players to the ground. Players were also not permitted to soccer the ball off the ground in order to protect players and encourage them to pick the ball up.
The focus of the competition was to promote healthy and active lifestyles and to provide youths with another opportunity to engage in a team based sport. SIAFL will also continue to gage student interest to determine whether a U/16s competition is viable for 2015 to coincide with the existing senior competition.
Several International opportunities are available for young players provided the proper talent pathways are put in place, such as a junior competition. SIAFL hopes to further expand the competitions available and increase the player base by working from grassroots through to elite seniors.
As it happened…..
Day 2 – Another massive day for SIAFL & the Secondary Schools Cup.
Today, Woodford, Perch and KG VI battled it out for a spot in the finals. Conditions were extremely difficult in the first match with a torrential down pour of rain. The rain however was unable to wash the smiles of students and onlookers faces as both boys and girls competed in some spectacular footy!
Perch boys finished on top for the day with KG VI registering 2nd place and Woodford 3rd. Perch will take on St Josephs in the semi and KG VI will play White River High.
In the women’s, KG VI and Woodford have progressed through to the Grand Final on Friday with Perch unable to register a win. A great competition so far and plenty more excitement to come over the next two days.
Day 3 – Semi Finals – An undersized Perch side fought gallantly all day against their bigger opponents St Joseph’s but were eventually over run. Perch kicked the opening goal but St Joey’s were relentless in their attack.
Game two was unfortunately cancelled with White River unable to fill a side. Their forfeit automatically see’s KG through to the Grand Final against game one victors – St Josephs. KG girls will take on Woodford girls in the opening Grand Final Match tomorrow. Good luck to all teams competing.
During the final week of October, SIAFL staff travelled to Malaita Province to conduct AFL clinics at schools and communities based in and around Auki. The tour lasted a little over a week with just under 1000 students participating in AFL clinics and games. Students from grade 2 to form 2 from several schools took part in the weeks’ activities. Schools included:
- Auki Primary School, Aimela,
- Ambu & Aligegio, Alota’a,
- Saturday morning open session at APS Laulana, and Arabela.
Several schools showed plenty of interest and passion for the sport and are keen to continue developing their skills and knowledge of the game in 2015. SIAFL staff will work closely with Malaita based AFL volunteers and ambassadors over the coming months to develop a school based program to be implemented in Malaita.
As well as junior interest, there is also support for the sport amongst a small group of senior players. With adequate sponsorship, Malaita good very well send a competitive team to compete in the Honiara based league. Until then, SIAFL staff will provide these players and coaches with support and guidance to develop their own 3 team competition based in Auki.
During December, SIAFL will return to Malaita for the much anticipated – Honiara vs Auki match. Honiara based players returning home for Christmas will tour villages with SIAFL staff and conduct clinics and games for children and youths. The week will conclude with either a Honiara vs Auki match or Round Robin between several Malaitan teams and a Honiara side.
Thanks to the AVID Teacher Trainers based in Auki: Jess, Carmel & Jemma for their assistance in organising the tour and Freddie Una and David Tema for their support.
In recent months, SIAFL has been experimenting with the modified AFL game: AFL 9’s. A social, mixed version of AFL played on a smaller field with 9 a side. No tackling, only touch rules apply.
Remember, you don’t need a 180m x 135m field to play AFL. You can play on a rugby field, soccer field, futsal court or basketball court. You can use a rugby ball, soccer ball or even a water bottle! You can develop your skills in any setting, with whatever equipment and space is available. Get out and enjoy your footy!
SIAFL Scholarship to the Land Down Under
After SIAFL’s October committee meeting, the board has nominated 5 prospective players to apply for the SIAFL Australian Scholarship. Selected players will live and play football in Australia as our 2014 candidates: Peter Nuku and Francis Ramo did earlier this year.
The SIAFL Scholarship provides a unique opportunity for local players and Australian sporting clubs. The aim is for Solomon players to return to SI with the ability to grow and expanded the game locally through their recent experience and knowledge gained in Australia. Also, players are exposed to work experience and skill training which makes them more employable upon return for those who are not currently or have not been working.
SIAFL will begin discussions again with Coolaroo FC to determine whether the club and host family are happy and willing to accommodate two more players in 2015. Former SIAFL secretary: Marcus Pelto will also be working with Sunshine based clubs to determine whether there are opportunities there.
2015 Selectee’s are:
- Javvy Serere, Central Coast Eagles. Goal savvy. Javvy is a highly skilled footballer and good athlete. He reads the play extremely well and has excellent execution by foot. Light on his feet and nimble, Javvy can play the deep or high forward role or outside midfielder. Competed in Fiji in the U/16s 2012 Oceania Cup Carnival.
- Junior Joel, Real Lions. Possibly the most talented AFL player in Solomon’s, Junior has all the attributes and makings of an AFL player. Athletic, skilful, understands the game and determined. Usually plays deep forward for the Lions but can adapt to any position. Well known for his aerial skills. Leading goal kicker in 2014 and represented SI in Fiji in 2012.
- Sam Bua, Central Coast Eagles. Sam is a hard, pacey winger and damaging on both feet. After he represented South Pacific against New Zealand inWellington earlier this year, Sam has gone from strength to strength. Can move into an inside midfielder role if given the opportunity. League Best and Fairest in 2014.
- Larvensta Puia, White River Demons. Could be considered the perfect AFL specimen. Puia is extremely athletic and skilful (in Union and AFL). Fast, agile, strong and a good overhead mark. He too has continued to grow in 2014 and will only improve if given future opportunities. A genuine utility – generally plays off the half backline and pushes forward to score goals. Also plays through the middle. Best On Ground in the 2014 Grand Final.
- Germain Akaramo, Central Coast Eagles. A late nomination after his excellent on-field performance in this years’ Big Meat Pie where he was awarded Best on Ground. Ruckman or key position player. Good aerial skills and rucking ability.
Contact: Job Vulita, Development Officer, 7444 878, email@example.com