Australian football aims to play in London

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, FREE PRESS SPORTS COLUMNIST

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Take the physical play of football and remove the equipment.

Take the conditioning and courage of rugby.

Add the kicking ability of soccer players and football punters.

Toss in the speed of some of the quickest halfbacks or wingers in soccer.

Stir in the catching ability of football receivers.

Sprinkle a little junkyard dog meanness and that pretty much gives you the game of Australian Rules Football.

If you aren't familiar with it, you may be soon enough.

London Bill Frampton hopes to bring the game to a field near you.

Frampton is president of the London Stallions Australian Football Club.

If you haven't heard about it, don't feel badly. The Stallions are in their infancy.

But the sport of Australian Rules Football, or footie, is well known Down Under.

It's played in front of hundreds of thousands on pitches that are oval-shaped. Teams that compete carry names such as the Adelaide Crows, Collingwood Magpies, Brisbane Lions and Essendon Bombers.

If Frampton has his way, the Stallions will join the Ontario Australian Football League, which already has nine teams -- six in Toronto and others in Guelph, Mississauga and Hamilton. Team names include the Toronto Downtown Dingos, Guelph Gargoyles, Mississauga Demons and Etobicoke Kangaroos.

This league is the largest Aussie rules league in North America.

"It's a different sport, but it's a great conditioner and a lot of fun to play," said Frampton. "It's fast paced and action-packed.

"People are surprised to know there's a league in Canada, but there's also a national team. It's a young sport in this part of the world and we are hoping to provide someplace where people can take it up at the grassroots level."

Frampton was one of the founders of the Ontario league 18 years ago. He played "not very long," but is still an umpire and a vice-president of AFL Canada.

Frampton is trying to get the word of the London team out to potential players. He hopes to have it ready to go when the season begins in May.

"We've put up posters and told people and it's building slowly," said Frampton. "There's a few guys in the area who played in Australia and a few other Canadian guys who played with other clubs in Ontario who are around here. It's starting to generate some momentum."

There are five people on the Stallions executive. They are generating memberships, fundraising and fulfilling obligations needed for membership in the league, including having an executive committee, team colours, team name and logo.

MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about the Stallions or Australian Rules Football, call Bill Frampton at 519-432-6010 or e-mail londonstallions@yahoo.ca.


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