The growth of AFL and the increasing number of organisations operating towards its success in Hong Kong is becoming more and more evident. Highlighted in the previous 2 articles in the Kanga News of 2015, the once baron landscape has been filled by the likes of AFL ASIA, SCAFL, Auskick and the Vikings Masters Team, of which all complement and build upon the 25 year legacy of the national team, the Hong Kong Dragons. Over the last decade, as these organisations have began to gain traction, the participation levels of those playing any form of AFL in Hong Kong has expediently increased. This can only be seen as a positive for both the game of AFL and the Australian expatriate community living in Hong Kong.
The prospective AFL player in Hong Kong can begin his or her budding career at the tender age of 4 at any of the 5 Auskick locations and continue to build their skills and knowledge of the game until their graduation from the program at age 16. By this time they will have obtained the attributes befitting of a Hong Kong Dragon and have the opportunity to play in the SCAFL and be selected to tour and represent the national side at tournaments. After 40-50 years of touring this great region ones mind and body is likely to be ready for a less physical version of the game; this is were the Masters level Vikings come into their own with non-contact trainings and regular ‘9 games’.
The unrelenting growth of AFL in this great part of the world represents a unique opportunity for Hong Kong to cement itself as a leader of AFL within Asia and showcase to the world a successful model for AFL outside of Australia. This leadership is something our organisations can not achieve by acting alone. The coming years will require an increase amount of cooperation to ensure the limited resources available here in Hong Kong for AFL are utilised to their fullest extent. It is important that the sport of AFL, being the national sport of Australia, incorporates all 90,000 Australian Expatriates here in Hong Kong not just those playing the sport itself. The close relationship that HK Dragons has had with the Australian Association has long demonstrated this and we look forward to the association being part of this exciting growth.
One of great initiatives about to go live in 2015 is the Fire-breather Newsletter. This will be a quarterly publication distributed online and via email bringing together all facets of AFL here in Hong Kong. The Newsletter will feature insights into the happenings of each organisation as well as highlighting the increasing number of joint playing and social functions. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Q1 edition in your inbox’s!