Aussie game's giants sought for HK event
AUSTRALIAN Rules Football is set to make an impact in Hong Kong in January with four leading AFL teams earmarked to take part in an exhibition series in the territory, according to a report in yesterday's Melbourne Herald-Sun.
This year's grand finalists, Essendon and Carlton, along with Geelong and North Melbourne, are the clubs being lined up for the exhibition.
Plans are still at a very early stage, but it is hoped four teams will participate in a round-robin series over Australia Day weekend, with Stanley Fort as the likely venue.
Organisers would have preferred to use Hong Kong Stadium, but that venue's big redevelopment will not be complete before April when it is due to open for the Rugby Sevens.
The plan to bring AFL teams to Hong Kong is the brainchild of John Curtin, a former North Melbourne team manager, and former Australian Test cricketer and Melbourne footballer Graeme Watson.
The proposed series could feature 15-a-side teams instead of 18-a-side as operated in the AFL, and may opt for two halves of 15 minutes instead of the normal four quarters of 25 minutes.
But Watson said it was too premature to release firm details.
Curtin has just returned to Australia after a 10-day visit to Hong Kong.
AFL communications manager Tony Peek said the League had not been approached about the event.
''If there was corporate support and clubs were interested in playing, then we'd consider it, but without that support it can't get off the ground,'' he said.
''The thing hasn't been discussed by the commission and won't be until such time as a detailed proposal is out.''