As if Meghan Markle, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, hadn't already won over crowds across Australia on her Royal Tour to the country, her prowess with an Australian Rules football has won her a new legion of fans.
Travelling to Melbourne today, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex attended a function at Government House. Whilst there, the Duchess was given the opportunity to show her style with the oval ball. Without any time to rehearse, Meghan Markle showed a great ability to handpass.
Pictures from The Australian newspaper show a solid command of technique. Not only has she impressed those in attendance, but Australian Football followers across the world have embraced the Duchess. Being an American and marrying into the British royal family, the Duchess of Sussex might yet be a wonderful, if unsuspecting, ambassador for the game.
Last weekend’s NTFL matches tossed up four big wins for Round 2, with the Darwin Buffaloes, Southern Districts Crocs, Waratah and Nightcliff on the winners list and each building early percentage buffers. At the other end of the scale, both St Mary’s and the Tiwi Bombers lost their second matches of the season and have already put themselves under pressure.
The Darwin Buffaloes kicked seven final quarter goals to one against Wanderers to run away with their match at TIO Stadium. Trailing by the first change, the Buffaloes fought back to lead by two goals at the main break. That momentum carried into the second half as the Buffaloes charged away to a strong 52-point victory. Star recruit – former North Melbourne and Port Adelaide player, Lindsay Thomas - kicked three goals for the Buffaloes.
The Austin Crows and San Francisco Iron Maidens sit atop the USAFL footy tree at the end of 2018 taking out the the Division 1 Men's and Women's Divisions respectively.
Both teams know the feeling of holding the cup well, with this being the 3rd year out of four that Austin have taken out the competition and the third (or back to back to back) title for the San Francisco Iron Maidens.
The Crows easily accounted for the New York Magpies in the Semi Final to line up their shot against the 2017 Champions the Golden Gate Roos. Golden Gate narrowly saw off the LA Dragons in their semi final but could not overcome the Crows who ran out five point winnners. Austin Crwos 4.6 30 defeated Golden Gate Roos 4.1 25.
It was a chilly, breezy, but sunny day in Racine Wisonsin. Five divisions of men's footy and two divisions of women's footy was played in good conditions.
In the Men's Division 1 Pool A was dominated by last year's champions Golden Gate and Pool B was dominated by 2015 and 2016 Champions the Austin Crows. Golden Gate will take on last year's runners up in their semi final tomorrow, while Austin will face the New York Magpies.
Australian Football Sri Lanka continues to build on their dream to establish the game of Australian Football in Sri Lanka. Following on from their previous visits to Sri Lanka where they ran clinics and formed a representative squad ahead of the 2017 International Cup, and again visiting later in 2017, the Fonseka brothers are back in Sri Lanka.
Accompanying them on the AFSL Annual Tour 2018 is the Essendon Football Cub captain Dyson Heppell and his brother, Essendon's 2018 VFL Best and Fairest winner Aaron Heppell. The tour is sponsored by AFSL.
The crew spent the past few days finding their feet on the ground in Sri Lanka where they will spend 2 weeks networking with strategic individuals and organisations, promoting Australian Football and running clinics to help introduce the game to the locals.
Below we hear the thoughts of the Heppells on the tour so far.
After an exciting day out in Cork, Ireland, the Euro Cup is done and dusted with the Denmark Vikings once again taking out the Men’s Division whilst the Irish Banshees won the women’s title. Both teams have now claimed their third titles with Denmark winning their first title since their back-to back tournaments in 2014/5. The Irish Banshees also won the women’s title in 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal and in London in 2014.
The Denmark Vikings won their way through the round matches and finals to meet the Irish Warriors in the final. They defeated last year’s winners, the England Dragonslayers, in the semi-final before defeating the Warriors by 14 points in the final.
The Irish Banshees and England Vixens had little trouble advancing to the women’s final with big semi-final wins, but the Banshees were far too good for 2017 winners, the England Vixens, taking the final by a commanding 25 points.
The Indonesia Volcanoes have claimed the Division 1 AFL Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpar by 16 points over the Philippine Eagles. In the inaugural women’s competition at the Asian Champs, the Vietnam Swans have downed the Hong Kong Dragons in a thrilling final to win the title by just two points.
The Division 2 title was won comprehensively by the ODG PNG Muruks, downing the Thailand Tigers in the final by 70 points 12 5 77 to 1 1 7.
Despite the presence of rain at various stages, the tournament was a huge success – the largest in terms of teams and player numbers to date. According to AFL Asia, "Weather as it does in Asia during this time of the year didn’t have much of a bearing on the overall scheme of things. However, it must be stated when the heavens opened in the Division 2 Final the PNG Muruks we’re playing with a dry ball, whilst the Thailand Tigers were playing with a wet footy. The PNG Muruks put on an absolute show in their grand final."
Sam Nichols reports on the Vice Media website about the growth of the game in North America – specifically the New York Magpies as a microcosm of the challenges facing the growth of the game as a whole. As the USAFL Nationals kick off in Racine, Wisconsin this weekend, this excellent story marks a good time to reflect on the journey of one club as an example of the journeys of others.
With just under 2000 registered players and 42 clubs, Australian Rules has taken a foothold in America without fans or money.
At a public park in Brooklyn, parallel to the East River, the New York Magpies—the city’s only Aussie Rules team—gear up to train, just like they do every Monday evening.
“There’s usually more people at training,” Shane Lowry, a longtime player and recently appointed coach, tells me. “We had a big weekend of footy in Philly, so I reckon a lot of people are tired.”
Having been on the receiving end of consecutive premiership defeats now for too many years, the Multiplex Bulls needed some success to believe that they can turn their fortunes around. In Bahrain yesterday, the Bulls achieved just that by taking out the AFL Middle East Pre-Season Cup. It isn’t the same thing as a premiership, but it is a result that sparks belief and confidence and sets a strong platform for what will follow.
On a hot day in Bahrain, the Bulls played in a three-way round robin tournament against their nemesis, the Dubai Dragons, and a combined Dubai Dingoes/Bahrain Suns team. The drinks tables, air conditioners and shady spaces got a heavy workout as the teams slugged it out.
You know you are finally cracking the veneer of the American sporting market when you have the attention of the New York Times. On the eve of the USAFL Nationals in Racine, Wisconsin, that is just what is happening with journalist S B Tang getting Collingwood’s American Pie onto the sports pages of one of the biggest and widely read newspapers in the United States.
Listen up, Australia! The AFL Grand Final has passed. The Eagles are premiers. Most followers of the game are currently watching Facebook feeds or websites to see which player is being traded to which club. Most of the Australian population waits for next September for the next biggest day of the year.
The more enlightened footy follower, however, knows that this weekend is arguably the biggest weekend for footy seen for many years. Just like the planets aligned earlier this year and Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus were visible in the same sky on the same night, this weekend sees that rarest alignment – the biggest carnivals for AFL Europe, AFL Asia and the USAFL have aligned this weekend.