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Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide to play in China in AFL first

Lauren Wood and Jay Clark, May 11, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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AFL teams Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide are in China to play a historic match of the Aussie game this weekend but conditions could be challenging for players.

What would have been a home game for the Suns will now take place at Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai on Sunday, May 14, in a bid to encourage greater interest in the sport in China.

It will be the first AFL match to be played outside of Australia or New Zealand for premiership points.

This week the AFL was adamant that the game would go ahead despite poor air quality and reports a sandstorm would sweep through Shanghai before Sunday.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) rated Melbourne’s air quality — which ranks among the world’s best — as a “very good” 23, while forecasts indicate that the air quality index in Shanghai could be as poor as 174 on Saturday and 158 on Sunday, which is in the unhealthy range.

People are urged to “limit prolonged outdoor exertion*” when air quality becomes “unhealthy”.

The journey to Asia for the large AFL players wasn’t easy either.

Port Adelaide Tom Jonas and Chinese-born academy recruit Chen Shaoliang at the Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai. Picture: supplied media_cameraPort Adelaide Tom Jonas and Chinese-born academy recruit Chen Shaoliang at the Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai. Picture: supplied

Most of the Gold Coast Suns players were squeezed into economy class for the 23-hour trek to Shanghai.

Only a handful of the tallest players were seated in rows with extra leg room.

The AFL Players’ Association had lobbied* the AFL to ensure all players travelled in premium economy as minimum standard, but the request wasn’t met.

“We believe that players should be provided with flight upgrades to minimise the impact on preparation and performance of long-distance travel,” AFL Players Association general manager of player relations Brett Murphy said.

“Unfortunately, this could not be facilitated* for the Shanghai trip this year. We’re confident this will be addressed in the next collective bargaining agreement*.”

Murphy said the association has discussed player safety with the AFL, including “security, logistics, air quality and playing surface”.

Suns coach Rodney Eade was concerned about his team’s long journey from the Gold Coast to Shanghai and said any players that had experienced respiratory* issues stayed home.

Suns chairman Tony Cochrane said there would be teething issues with the first game in China, but backed his team to “have a crack”.

Gold Coast Suns’ Rodney Eade and Port Adelaide Power coach Ken Hinkle in Shanghai. Picture: AAP media_cameraGold Coast Suns’ Rodney Eade and Port Adelaide Power coach Ken Hinkle in Shanghai. Picture: AAP

“China is an incredibly important market to Australia and so, look, sometimes you’ve got to do the hard yards to get the game. We’re happy to be doing our small part,” Cochrane said on Triple M radio.

“I’m sure when both sides get out on that ground after having three or four days up there to acclimatise*, both sides will put on a great performance and it’ll be on for one and all.”

Gold Coast has worked with Singapore Airlines regarding in-flight food and with the AFL regarding food the players would eat in the nation’s capital.


exertion: physical activity
lobbied: rallied
facilitated: made happen
agreement: mutual decision
respiratory: breathing
acclimatise: get used to the climate and conditions



Activity 1. Advantages and disadvantages

What do you think will be the advantages, or benefits, of AFL going to China?

What are the disadvantages, or problems?

List as many reasons as you can think of.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking


Write a letter or email to the players going to China. Your letter or email should encourage and motivate them to play their best, no matter what. Don’t forget to write about why the game is important.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2.

In the story you have read that one of the problems will be poor air quality.

– Write a sentence that describes what you think ‘air quality’ means.

– List some of the things that affect air quality.

– How can air quality affect our health?

– Write sentences explaining why a very big city like Shanghai could have worse air quality than Melbourne.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: Health and Physical Education, Science and Geography.


Find out more about the problems that poor air quality can cause.

Use the information you have found to create a script or storyboard for a short video that will help other students to understand why air quality is important.

Time: allow 60 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: Geography and Media Arts


(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Asking questions is a key to generating ideas and developing a deeper level of thinking relating to topics you might be learning in the classroom. Your challenge is to ask some questions related to this story about the match between Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast. Try to be creative with your questioning. Start each question with these openers:

– Can

– Are

– Do

– Who

– What

– When

– Why

– How

Extension: Find a partner and actually ask them these questions and challenge them to answer it.

Time: Approx. 15 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP







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