Henry Cox, President of the Myanmar Fighting Cocks and the Australian Rules Football Club takes a time-out to talk about the Australian Football League with Mimi Wu.
Australian Football League – known as Aussie Rules Football or footy – is a combination of rugby, soccer, and basketball but uses a rugby shaped ball. Every team has 18 players, and each person goes against another person on the field.
AFL is a physical contact sport where you can kick the ball or punch the ball with your fist to another person. You can also tackle or bump an opponent, and you can jump off an opponent’s back to catch the ball. It can be a bit rough, but it’s really fun to play and watch.
To score, players kick the ball between two main goal posts for six points but if you miss, you can still score one point if you kick the ball between the smaller goal posts that flank the main goal posts.
It’s primarily played in Australia but every country in Asia has at least one Australian footy team.
HOW AND WHEN DID THE TEAM GET STARTED?
The team was founded when Julian “Rooster” Clark organized a match against the Thailand Tigers in late 2013 for May 2014. A core group of Australian expats began training in February 2014 for the game, and we quickly recruited other expats, as well as a few Myanmar guys. This formed the basis of our team.
WHEN DO YOU TRAIN?
We train on Thursdays at the Australian Club in Golden Valley and Saturday afternoons at Star City in Thanlyin. Thursday training is all about skills and fitness, whereas Saturday training is more match-like as we often break out into small practice matches.
WHO DO YOU PLAY AGAINST?
We play against other Asian teams like the Thailand Tigers, Laos Elephants, Cambodian Eagles, and the Vietnam Swans by either touring to another country or hosting them in Yangon. We also compete in two major Asian competitions: the Indochina Cup and the Asian Champs. The Asian Champs is the largest tournament attracting teams from Japan to Indonesia. Whoever wins also wins bragging rights for that year.
ANY RECENT VICTORIES?
I am proud to say that we returned from Vientiane as winners of the Vientiane Cup in March. The Laos Elephants fielded an expats team and a Lao nationals team, which made up the small tournament. We won all of our games but were definitely challenged by both sides. It’s our first piece of silverware, and we plan to store it at 50th Street Bar along with some photos from the day.
WHO CAN GET INVOLVED AND HOW?
Anybody! Our footy club is very accepting of anybody who is interested. We aim to be a strong football team and a strong social club, so football skills are not required to get involved. The only requisite is that you have an interest in sports and want to learn about AFL.