Thursday, 20 August 2015

Player Profile: Karl Haigh

Karl Haigh decided to bring AFL to the North of England after his own playing experience out abroad.

He would travel back and forth to Australia and play on his travels. His passion for the sport led him to become the founding member of the Huddersfield Rams.

“When I returned to Huddersfield I wanted to carry on playing,” he added. “I heard about the national league on radio and decided to set something up locally and just took it from there. The nearest teams were Manchester and Nottingham.”

At first Karl struggled, however he soon received a call from Neil Morrison, who was a former coach out in Australia and since then, the club has just kept on expanding.

The Rams now work very closely with local schools, especially Rastrick High and Whitcliffe Mount with AFL now one of the curriculum activities.

"I went to local schools and showed them what AFL had to offer and it became a instance hit.” He explained. “We aim to expand throughout Kirklees, get more schools involved but most importantly looking for someone who can take that responsibility, as many of us have work commitments.”

The sport has become a national hit due to Karl’s effort and others with schools in London and Midlands now interested in making Aussie Rules a permanent sport at their institute.

The former England captain efforts have not gone unnoticed though.“A young lad from the schools was nominated by Sky Sports for an award, and in his speech he mentions that if it wasn't for Aussie rules football, he would be robbing banks! I guess that surprised me but definitely another proud moment to show the work we have put in here at the Rams.” He explained.

Karl has a wonderful playing career too, leading the National side in 2009, who won the European Cup. “It was one of the most proudest moments of my life.” He added.

“In Croatia coming to a twilight sort of night, lining up singing the national anthem against Holland, red smoke flares going across the pitch with thousands of people watching, its every lads dream no matter what sport they play. I never dreamed of it, especially after just starting up a new club."

Since 2009, the Rams have always had a few players from the team representing the national side and every year the numbers continue to grow.

Karl explains how it was a great privilege playing with the England squad. “You’re playing with the cream of the crop, the best players from the whole country, so it is a massive recognition. 

For instance you have players from London, now Aussie Rules has been going on for 25 years in London, so its just an example of how far this club has come in such little time.” He said.

Karl was also chosen as one of the AIS/AFL international Coaches in 2010 in recognition of his work alongside former professional AFL player Glenn Lovett.

Karl continues his hard work both on and off the pitch but now is focused on taking the club and game to another level.

“If I do retire, I will just stick to the running of the club and the junior side, maybe go in to some coaching and work with the national side on the youth setup. I also want to promote the women’s game, which is on the rise in this country. There are plenty of women who are involved and love the game.” He explained.

By Shummell Uddin

No comments:

Post a Comment