Australian Rules Football has been played as an organised sport in Asia since the late 1980s with teams based in Australian expatriate communities and around universities, such as in Tokyo, Japan.〔(Japan Australian Football League (JAFL) - Official Website of the Australian Football League )〕 Before this time, only informal matches had been played in some countries, the majority involving Australian servicemen, such as a 1941 game held in Port Dickson, British Malaya.〔https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P00102.033〕 The first international games in Asia started in the early 1990s (the Hong Kong Dragons played their first match the day after the 1990 AFL Grand Final.) 〔http://www.afl-asia.com/about/〕 Since the 1990s footy in the region has boomed with AFL Clubs developing in most Asian countries. Played mainly by expatriate Australians, however in some countries such as Japan, China and Indonesia there is a large portion of locals in the playing base.〔(Samurai offer a glimpse of Footy's future )〕〔(Indonesians aim for IC11 )〕〔(2009 Season one of consolidation in China )〕〔(Red Demons not short on Talls )〕
There existed an informal association for various Asian AFL clubs for some time, but on 27 July 2013 a meeting of Asia’s presidents was held in Bangkok to discuss the future of footy in Asia. In all, 13 countries / clubs attended and submissions were received from a further four clubs. This was the first time representatives of Asian Australian Rules football had ever met with the sole purpose of preparing a road map for Asian footy. This meeting lead to the formation of AFL Asia, the official Association for Australian Football in Asia.〔〔(Asian Football, we have come a long way, but are we ready for the next step? )〕
The following leagues play within AFL Asia.
South East Asia Australian Football League (SEAAFL): Was first played on 26 January 2013, in Phnom Penh, between the Cambodian Eagles and Vietnam Swans as the EAAFL. Member clubs included the Malaysian Warriors, Cambodian Eagles, Lao Elephants, Vietnam Swans, Singapore Wombats, Jakarta Bintangs, China Reds and Thailand Tigers. Malaysia went on to win the first year.
South China Australian Football League (SCAFL): Originating as games between Hong Kong teams, the League was created in 2011 to include teams from the surrounding areas in China. It comprised the Macau Lightning, Guangzhou Scorpions, Hong Kong Reds/Typhoons, Hong Kong Blues/Cobras, Lantau Lizards and the Hong Kong Gaelic team was added in 2013. The Guangdong Seagulls a local Chinese team joined in 2014.
Guangdong Australian Football League (GDAFL): After experiencing Australian Football in the SCAFL local Chinese teams were created and play regular "metro" footy 10-a-side round robin tournaments. Teams include Guanzhou Scorpions, University Seagulls, Dongguan Giants and Huizhou Hawks.
North East Asia Australian Football League (NEAAFL): Introduced in 2014 North East Asia AFL includes Beijing, Shanghai, teams from Japan and hopefully a yet to be established team from Korea.〔
The main tournament and cup competition is the annual Asian Australian Football Championships. Played every year since 2000 this international tournament is the pinnacle of Asian Australian football calendar. It currently comprises teams from over a dozen countries contesting for Asia’s greatest trophy.〔 The most recent Asian Champions are the Singapore Wombats who defeated the Hong Kong Dragons at Clark, Philippines on 11 October 2014.〔(Results from the 2014 Asian Champs )〕 The 2015 competition will be held on Saturday October 24 in Thailand.
Australian rules is broadcast into Asia on satellite television through the Australia Network.
Australian rules football has been played in Brunei since 1998 when a social match was held, followed by a meeting to establish the Brunei Australian Rules Football League. Anthony Rodaughan was duly appointed the League's first president.
The domestic competition soon commenced at the Jerudong International School soccer field, with a three-team competition including players from England, Scotland, New Zealand, Canada and Brunei. Late 1998/99 saw huge changes in the fledgling competition as the country began ending numerous expat contracts. Player numbers were reduced but the league took stock and continued to provide a regular competition for its members. 1999 brought the formation of the Brunei Sharks, a composite side representing the league, playing their first match against the Singapore Wombats. The Sharks' first appearance at the Asian Australian Football Championships was in 2000 in Jakarta.〔(Brunei Australian Rules Football League )〕
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