Saturday, March 22, 2014

"I watch AFL often where I am": Chisaki Hiradaira

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"I watch AFL often where I am": Chisaki Hiradaira

By Inari Fushimi
The Daily Magi
August 31, 2066

Chisaki Hiradaira is the provost at Mitsakihara University's Leafa College, located in the heart of Canberra, Australia. While she resides in history rugby league territory, it's Australia Rules Football that she follows. The athletic department recently acquired the Manuka Oval and owns the facility, which houses the university's amateur Aussie Rules team, the Leafa College Football Club, nicknamed the Spirit.

This year's Grand Final in Melbourne, Victoria will feature two teams that she has followed for a while: the Gold Coast Suns and the Greater Western Sydney Giants, her primary team that she follows. Hiradaira is a lifetime member of GWS. The Australian Football League, in recent decades, has now been dominated by teams outside of Victoria, such as Brisbane, Gold Coast, the Giants, Fremantle, West Coast (based in Perth), Adelaide and Port Adelaide (based in the Adelaide suburb of Alberton). The last time a team from Victoria won a premiership was back in 2030, when Richmond took the flag.

"I watch AFL often where I am when I don't have work to do at the office or chat with professors about all things academics and exams," Hiradaira said from her office at Leafa Hall. "I like the game of Aussie Rules because it showcases athleticism, risk-taking, emotion, skills, durability, resiliency...it's a complete sport that combines a lot of elements from other sports for a one-of-a-kind discipline.

"Our footy club, the Leafa Spirit, have won a few AFL Canberra flags. Last year, we put the hammer on Ainslie by the score of 18.9.117 to 9.5.59. A number of those players ended up playing for GWS, like ruckman Shawn "Hutters" Hatanaka, half-back flank Dave "Big Dog" Easton, wing Marco "Pappas" Papadakis, back pocket Roger "Red Baron" Hannebery and our first centre to go on to win GWS's first-ever Brownlow Medal last year, Bruce 'Chunners' Chun-Lee. Bruce is the first Asian-Australian to win a Brownlow and he's making a play to advocate growth the sport in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"Of course, we also have players that are skilled with the rugby and our gridiron team is the gold standard across the country. Shaun Kirigaya just retired as head coach and one of the former players for the Spirit, a quarterback by the name of Dayne Redden from nearby Tuggeranong and a dentist by trade, is now the coach of the team. Same old story, from what I hear.

"I want the Giants to win what should be their sixth flag in their history. They've definitely come a long way since their formative year and now they play like they've been in the competition for well over a century, maybe more. This place is full of Giants fans. I think they'll get it done."

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