Australian rules football in Samoa

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Australian rules football in Samoa
Country Samoa
Governing body AFL Samoa
National team Samoa
Nickname(s) Bulldogs
First played 1997
Registered players 240 (total)
108 (adult)
132 (junior)
Clubs 6

Australian rules football in Samoa has been played since 1997.

The governing body for the sport was formed under the name Samoa Australian Rules Football Association[1] in 1998, becoming the AFL Samoa in 2007. The national team, which first competed at the Arafura Games was originally known as the Bulldogs, the name being chosen as the AFL's Western Bulldogs wore the Samoan national colours and has sent some professional players to visit the islands on clinics. The team was later renamed the 'Kangaroos', after forging ties with the North Melbourne Football Club.

In early years, the game was typically played under derived rules known as 'Samoa Rules' and on rugby fields.[2]

The Australia Network began televising games in Samoa in 2002.

AFL players to visit Samoa for coaching clinics include Dermott Brereton, Brad Johnson and Steve Kretiuk.

Australian football competition went into recess in 2006 following the 2005 Australian Football International Cup. In 2007 the AFL Samoa's programs were reinvigorated under new development officer in Michael Roberts, mainly focussing on junior and schoolboys' development.

There is a full-time development officer[3] funded by AusAid, a junior development program and a schoolboy's tournament.[4][5]


Samoans line up for the national anthem at the 2008 Australian Football International Cup.

In 2004, Samoa had a total of 246 players including 80 senior players in 4 teams consisting of over 80 players and 166 juniors in six school sides.[6]

According to the 2007 AFL International Census, these figures have not changed.[7]

Over 5000 primary school children have experienced a 6-week plus program in 2007 with programs designed for each sector of primary school children developing skills from fundamental motor skils, body awareness activities and game specific skills.[citation needed]

The programs in primary schools year levels are titled 'Reach for the stars'(K-2), Kicking Goals (3-5), Let them Fly (6-8).

High profile players[edit]

Aaron Edwards is a professional Samoan football player in the Australian Football League.

Fia Tootoo has represented Samoa on numerous occasions in the Australian Football International Cup and plays football semi-professionally in Australia.[8][9]

Rambo Tavana and Mikaele Pesamino began as Samoa Rules juniors, playing for Samoa in the 2002 Australian Football International Cup and now represent Samoa in rugby union.

Former National Rugby League player Karmichael Hunt, who was recruited in 2009 to the Gold Coast Football Club, is of partial Samoan descent,[10] although he has not been involved with Australian rules football in Samoa itself.

Samoa Rules[edit]

Samoa Rules is a game derived from Australian rules football that has also been played in Samoa. The game is played on rugby fields and each team consists of 15 players per side.

Unlike Australian rules football, player movement is restricted to zones (similarly to Rec Footy). There is a line across the centre that backs and forwards can not cross. Onballers are allowed to go anywhere.

The Vailima Six-Shooters' Championship began in Samoa in 1998 under these rules, becoming known as Samoa Rules. A number of Samoa Rules players went on to represent Samoa in the Samoan national Australian rules football team, known originally as the Bulldogs and since 2008 as the "Kangaroos".


  1. ^ AFL Samoa
  2. ^ Team by team guide to the International Cup from The Age. August 11, 2002
  3. ^ Samoa's new Development Officer settles in by Brett Northey for World Footy News. December 21, 2004
  4. ^ Schoolboys tournament kicks off in Samoa by Jake Anson for World Footy News. June 26, 2005
  5. ^ Leulumoega Fou College defends Samoan secondary schools championship by Jake Anson for World Footy News. September 20, 2004
  6. ^ World Footy Census 2004 - Oceania by Brett Northey for
  7. ^ AFL International Census 2007 Archived 2011-05-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ -star profiled online by Jake Anson for World Footy News. July 31, 2005
  9. ^ Samoa schoolboys too strong in Pacific clash by Brett Northey for World Footy News. December 06 2004
  10. ^,25197,25852253-5012431,00.html

External links[edit]