30 Aug, 2017
MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY - PRO FOOTY 9's - NEW SEASON OPENS NOVEMBER 18, 2017
18 Aug, 2017
18 Aug, 2017
FOOTY 9s: FAST, FORWARD FOOTY
Think the Quarterback style forward pass will never work in ‘footy’? Well, it’s not an entirely new idea.
In fact, Footy 9s is a refined evolution of the World War II era sport ‘Austus’…and an idea whose time has come.
There were certainly grand plans afoot after a successful run of Austus matches in Victoria during the War, when Ern Cowley of the Melbourne Sporting Globe and his friend Bill Jost devised a new sport of compromise rules that would see American athletes stationed in the South Pacific take on Aussie Rules clubs on a more even playing field.
How to do that? The forward pass.
By incorporating the forward pass into what otherwise was fully Australian football, the American competitors immediately became competitive in an otherwise completely new sport.
In fact, the prodigious passing of the Yanks proved more than competitive – the American sides actually took the ‘Best of Five’ series of matches, 3 games to 2, and sparked talked of an international ‘World Championship of Football’ in the US after the War.
Sadly, the conclusion of the American’s service Down Under instead saw the end of the Austus Era, as players returned to their respective football codes.
It’s been a 75-year wait, but Footy 9s stands as the evolution of this remarkable and ‘Invented in Australia’ fusion of the best of both codes.
With refined rules and game-play best suited for American skills and sporting tastes, Footy 9s has taken a great old-school solution to the ‘Bringing Footy to America’ quandary that has seen the traditional 18-a-side on a cricket oval find slow going in the States.
NEW SIDES, OLD RIVALRIES HIGHLIGHT MLF SECOND SLATE
Brand new Footy sides and intense rivalries carried over from the 2016-’17 campaign highlight the upcoming Major League Footy season.
The Florida-based circuit of 9-a-side Australian football opens its second season of action, Saturday, November 18, when Orlando and St. Petersburg clash at 7 pm at Four ‘N Twenty Field in St. Pete.
That match is one of five night games on the historic gridiron field in the shadows of Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays.
With a Premiership Season running November – March and playing exclusively under Footy 9s rules, Major League Footy is an exciting addition to the footy landscape.
Other highlights of the the season include the introduction of the First Division – comprised of last season’s foundational clubs – and the debut of the Elite Series, featuring development and visiting sides.
Three new Florida sides will be joined by two touring and development teams in making their league debut in 2017-’18.
The stage will be set for MLF’s 2017-’18 season, just as the rest of the footy world goes on an extended break, beginning with the 2017 World Footy 9s Challenge, pitting Team Australia vs Team Ireland, September 30th at 1pm.
Two rounds of pre-season matches punctuate October, with the 2017-’18 league year beginning November 10 with the 2nd Annual Major League Footy Player Draft.
EYES ON FLORIDA AS INAUGURAL WORLD CHALLENGE LOOMS
Team Ireland – comprised of players from Tampa Bay GAA, many of whom have experience in the 2016 and 2017 International Rules Tests vs. St. Petersburg – will strap on the boots for Eire in a full-on match of Footy 9s.
Meanwhile, Team Australia will feature Australian-born players of Major League Footy’s flagship club, the St. Petersburg Swans.
The 2017 Florida World Footy Challenge will bounce at 1 PM, September 30th, on the Rollbotto Oval at Crescent Lake Common in St. Petersburg.
In accordance with Footy 9s play, the field will be configured in a 100-yard rectangle, and not its usual 140m oval.
Admission is free, and free parking is available in the neighborhoods to the immediate east and west of the Oval.
The Oval is located on the north side of Crescent Lake, the historical home of New York Yankees and New York Mets spring training baseball.
The 2017 Florida World Footy Challenge will be broadcast live via Radio St Pete, the official broadcast partner of the St. Petersburg Swans.
FOOTY 9s: AUSSIE RULES FOR THE GRIDIRON
With Major League Footy set to begin its second season on 18 November when St. Peterbsurg hosts arch rivals Orlando, the league rolls out new sides and new opportunities as the grass-roots effort to grow Australian Rules football in the States marches on.
One key change players and supporters will notice for the 18-week 2017-’18 Major League Footy Premiership Season is the league’s adoption of Footy 9s game play.
As developed by Melbourne-based Australian Rules International, Footy9s is a fast-paced, action-packed version of Aussie Rules, intended for play on a gridiron (American) football field.
While Major League Footy clubs now have over 40 matches in the books in various game play configurations, the founding club’s home ground has always presented its own series of quirks making other forms of footy a challenging proposition.
Built in 1949, the St. Petersburg Swans‘ home ground – Four ‘N Twenty Field at Campbell Park – features a seating capacity of 440 in grandstands located tight to the field of play.
Also, perimeters on the east and west end zones are also close-in, making big, booming kicks from midfield an almost-certain delay in play, good kick or not.
Those quirks – while helping the ground’s mystique as the Swans’ ‘friendly confines’ – also necessitated an adoption of game play rules suited to the stadium itself.
The Footy 9s format meets those needs, while still preserving the excitement and fun of the best of footy.
The game is fast and high-scoring, but with safeguards to be sure it’s not ‘out of hand’ scoring, or interminable stoppages in game play.
All of the highlight-reel action you’d expect to see in a traditional Aussie Rules contest remain as the soul of Major League Footy and Footy 9s – now tailor-made for American tastes. And facilities.
Check out this video for a quick look at the birth of Footy 9s in Melbourne: