The film, descriptively entitled Aussie Rules the World, stars former AFL (Australian Rules Football League) star Brett Kirk. Brett travels around the world to explore the many countries where a passion for Aussie Rules exists. He offers his own spark for the game while also embracing the uniqueness of each location. South Africa, India, Ireland and Israel are just a few of the countries "having a kick" these days. Canada is briefly featured in the film and is nicely introduced with a spotlight on Mike Pyke, the first Canadian-born athlete to play in the AFL (Go Swans!). Special attention is paid to a joint Israel-Pakistan team, affectionately named the Peace Team, showing their struggles to cross borders to train as one team.
Brett's travels led up to the 2011 International Cup in Australia where men's and women's teams from around the world competed in a two week tournament to decide who, outside Australia, was the best at footy. The film has an additional theme of saving the game in Australia as it competes against sports frivolously gaining popularity (soccer anyone?).
Having had friends play in the International Cup I was aware of the popularity of Aussie Rules in Ireland, Papua New Guinea, the USA, and of course Canada. I was surprised to see, however, that India, China and Israel, also have strong followings. The Ontario AFL league in Canada, which the film does not comment on in much detail, is often claimed as the biggest league outside of Australia with 11 men's teams and 5 women's teams. The sport is popular amongst both sexes in many of the countries featured in the film but unfortunately there was very limited coverage of women playing Aussie Rules. Perhaps in Part II?
|Sydney Swans star and Canadian - Mike Pyke|
|Aussie Rules the World star Brett Kirk|
To follow the 2014 AFL International Cup: http://www.afl.com.au/global/AFLIC14