Saturday, March 16, 2013

Perth Trip Planned


Australia is likely the world's biggest sporting nation if you consider the amount of sport that is followed and played by a relatively sparse population of just 23 million. Cricket, rugby and Aussie Rules Football are the three big games, but field hockey, basketball, and even baseball have their own followings. This weekend also sees the first race in the F1 calendar in Melbourne, which also is home to the Australian Open every January. You get the point; Aussies love their sport. And as you probably know, so do I.

Despite this connection, I've only visited there once in the past 5 years, a trip back in 2009 just after I started this blog. This neglect was mostly due to the fact that Sydney and the other main sporting cities are about ten hours from Japan, a long and expensive trip. Now that I am residing in Singapore however, Australia is quite a bit closer. Those cities on the east coast are now an eight-hour journey, but even more proximate is the province of Western Australia, just five hours straight south. That three-hour difference may not seem like much but it makes weekend trips much easier. With rugby season underway, I thought it a good time to check out some schedules and see if a trip presented itself.

The capital city there is Perth, which has plenty of teams to choose from. In rugby union, there is the Western Force, a team in Super 15 Rugby, which also features clubs from South Africa and New Zealand. There are two squads in the Australian Football League (AFL which is Aussie Rules to those from overseas): Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles. As well, there is a soccer team (Perth Glory), basketball (Perth Wildcats), baseball (Perth Heat) and cricket (West Coast Warriors). The key would be finding a weekend where two or three of those teams were in action and flights were cheap.

Starting with the Force, I narrowed down possible trip dates to a couple of weekends in April and May. The AFL gets underway on March 22nd and either Fremantle or West Coast is home every weekend as the two share the same venue, Patersons Stadium (which used to be known as the Subiaco Oval). The basketball regular season is just finishing up but the playoffs begin in early April and Perth is one of two very strong teams and should be playing until the middle of the month. The A League playoffs will also be going on at that time but the Glory are far down the table and won't have a home game as far as I can tell.

With all that in mind, I decided to go on April 12th for three days. Friday night sees Fremantle hosting Essendon and Saturday evening will have the Force taking on the Crusaders from Canterbury, New Zealand. Sunday is currently empty but I'm hoping for a basketball game to magically appear on the schedule. If not, the city has plenty of attractions to keep me busy before I fly back that night.

As usual, I will be posting updates here, so check back in April for all the highlights.

Best,

Sean

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