Contributed by: Wesley Hull
With the demise of the Aberdeen Eagles from the Scottish Australian Rules Football League landscape a couple of seasons back there may well have been concerns for the growth of the game in Scotland. But the 2015 season has proved that those concerns have been replaced by an optimism and growth that looks set to take the game further, bigger and better into the future.
A comment from the SARFL stated that “The best thing about this season has been the growth of the sport. No forfeited games. The league was two established sides [since the withdrawal of Aberdeen and the re-branding of the Kingdom Kangaroos] with three newer teams. By Friday night all three of the new ones [teams] had registered over 30 players over the season including a combined 10 in the 16-19 age bracket and at least two clubs have a schools program. Well done to everyone at each of the clubs who keep these things happening - whether you book the pitches or recruit a player it all helps the sport.”
Certainly the on field results this year show some highly encouraging patterns as the league bounces vibrantly into the 2015 finals series.
This weekend sees the Preliminary Final between the Greater Glasgow Giants and the Kingdom Kangaroos. One or the other would reach the Grand Final, and whichever it is will be well proud of their club’s development to get this far this quickly. Whilst the Roos have been around in their current form for a few seasons now, they have still performed admirably to grow into a finals threat. But the Giants have travelled that distance in even less time – just a couple of seasons – and are already a viable challenger.
The yardstick again this year is the Edinburgh Bloods. Undefeated after the home and away rounds, a common question is “who can stop them from winning this year’s flag?” But in June the Roos pushed the Bloods to go down by 21 points and in July the Bloods got home by 26 points against the Giants. Both comfortable margins, though neither suggests invincibility. Edinburgh deserve their red-hot premiership favouritism, but the Kingdom and Greater Glasgow teams can still dream, hinging their hopes on those performances.
On paper throughout the season the Giants have the better record or four wins to the Roos’ three. But in their only other meeting this year it was the Kingdom Kangaroos that triumphed over the Greater Glasgow Giants by a solid 37 points. So much for paper! This weekend’s Preliminary Final will simply come down to the best prepared team putting that into practice when the siren goes. Good luck to both teams.
Waiting at the other end of this weekend’s match will be the behemoth, Edinburgh Bloods. Their closest match results this season were the two already mentioned against the Roos and Giants. No other team got close. No matter which team wins through this weekend, it faces a monumental task to take the flag from the icy, relentless grasp of the Bloods.
But that’s what footy is about – challenges and striving for the best.
And that’s what the SARFL has achieved itself this season to their enormous credit.
World Footy News