Canterbury AFL, one of the bubbling
pots of Australian Rules energy and enthusiasm in New Zealand, has been devastated by the decision by Hawthorn not to send a few
players along to conduct coaching clinics this week.

The Hawks are already in New Zealand and had said they’d be there, but the AFL declined to help fund
the clinics so the Hawks pulled the pin.
There were two astonishing insights as the
whole thing unfolded:

1. AFL spokesman
Patrick Keane’s comment in The Age: “The development of the game overseas
is not really a priority at this stage.”
So, the London exhibition
games? And development officers in Africa? The whole Irish thing? John Ironmonger eating raw steaks all those
years ago in America? What’s all that about? And meanwhile, our closest neighbouring
sports-mad country, which happened to win the AFL International Cup in
August, is not a priority. That’s weird … or maybe not a good enough junket for

2. The AFL turned down the “five figure sum” which the Hawks
had said they’d need to run the Christchurch
clinics. Let’s do the maths:

  • Maximum of three players for two days
    (part of their Ambassador status: free)
  • Three hotel rooms in Christchurch – best
    hotel deal on Crowne Plaza Christchurch (five stars, looks nice) $NZ
    205 per night x 3 players x 2 nights: $NZ 1230
  • Per diems: $100 per day x 3
    players x 2 days: $600
  • Taxis to and from the ground:
  • Sunscreen: $20
  • Pens for autographs: $3

OK, we’re up to $NZ 1,933 and think we’ve
got it covered. Geez, let’s throw in a few Sherrins ($100 each) and a hire car.
Maybe we’ve hit $2,500.
Yet Hawthorn told the AFL that the whole
thing would cost a minimum of $10k. Channels Nine, Ten and Seven, this could
be WHY the TV rights are so expensive.