Speech by Matthew Hegerty
Welcome ladies and Gentlemen to the 2005 Goannas Ball. You will see the champagne in front of you toast to the success of Aussie Rules in Japan
Now, for many of you, this is your first attendance at anything related to Aussie Rules. I know you are here for more than the alcohol, food and desire to see all the lovely ladies in smashing frocks, you want to learn all about the Great Australian Game. What Aussie rules is – was on the screen before; fit young, muscled men in tight shorts chasing a red piece of pigskin around an oval tying to kick it between the big posts. That’s about it.
But what is a Goanna?
A Goanna has a flattened body, a tail ready to strike at enemies, stout limbs, long digits and sharp claws. A Goanna has a snake-like tongue that flicks in and out. The Goanna breeds in the wet season and eggs are buried into a long deep nest-burrow, which is plugged and concealed by the female.
I can see a lot of similarities with the men in this room tonight!!
The Tokyo Goannas were formed in November 1991 when after a few too many beers a committee was formed to organise a club of Australian ex-pats to play this GREAT game in Japan. The initial aims of the Club were to publicise and promote Australian Football in Japan, arrange games on a regular and more organised basis, provide social events and a network of support for independent ex-pats in Japan. This has not changed.
We play Japanese teams as part of the JAFL competition, the annual Narita Cup and Osaka as well as touring to Manila later this year to compete in Asian Championships
Since 1991, the Club has continued to grow and we have over 300 supporters on our email list; signed up and paid members that number 35 in 2005, 8 corporate sponsors including well-known Australian beverage companyHardys Wine of who have naming rights; and we also hosting several events each year. With a determined Committee and support from you all here tonight, it is my wish that in coming years, the Goannas Ball may be able to rival other social events in Tokyo and attract much bigger corporate and community support.
We are in a unique position in Japan as players and supporters of Australian Rules. While several countries around the region such as Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia have similar teams to the Goannas – Japan is the only country in Asia that has an indigenous team representing their company, competing in events such as the Arafura Games in Darwin (recently won a silver medal) and the upcoming International Cup. It is a great opportunity for all of us in this room, as players, supporters and perhaps even potential sponsors to further promote Aussie Rules in Japan, as well as gain exposure across Japan and the Region.
I thank you all for your attendance this evening and hope you have an enjoyable night. I strongly urge you all to at some stage in the coming weeks to pop on down to The Clubhouse for a beer or some Hardys wine, perhaps after dinner at 148 Hiroo. Of course, when flying home or on holiday, always choose to ease your travel concerns byovernighting it at the Radisson Narita, perhaps supp on some Berri juice in the morning, and nibble on some freshly packed vegetables from Webster Fresh. If you are looking for a new job or wish to use recruitment services, give me a call at CDS, or you want to try online payments systems; well IYP is your place. Of course not forgetting the web hosting services of Tsukaeru.net . There is always room for more.