Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Story & photos by John Menzies

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I saw some extraordinary Australian football here in Halifax in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia, Canada, where my wife and I now live. It was a series of games in a shortened format, played between three teams on a rugby field. The teams were Halifax ‘Dockers’, Sydney ‘Giants’ (from Cape Breton Island) and Maine ‘Cats’ from the USA. (Maine is the closest US state to Nova Scotia for the geographically challenged).

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Due to the shortage of players in these parts, plus the smaller field, the teams consisted of nine on-field with a couple of interchange players. Each game had two 20-minute halves with a 10-minute break. The goal posts were the rugby posts with two point posts added. The horizontal bar was ignored in the event the ball hit it. Some plastic cones were used to provide a curve for the pockets.

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The skills of the players were largely ‘enthusiastic’ but there were a few players who could have held their own in a ‘real’ game. I actually think this type of format is very clever and an innovative use of rectangular fields. The game in this format was fast and can be high scoring and exciting. It would be especially suited to children.

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On this particular day, the weather was a challenge with 40km cross-winds creating havoc with the set shots as the above score indicates, on the cute little scoreboard, that looked like something from IKEA.

The Maine ‘Cats’ were victorious in their donated kit from Geelong. GWS and Fremantle were equally generous in supplying the teams gear for Sydney and Halifax respectively.

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Maggie put her paw up to run the scoreboard but was unimpressed when the Cats won (see previous photo).