The title of this story is actually very close to the real title of a book "Long Bombs To Snake", which was a collection of sport stories from The Footy Almanac. Funny how the title very nearly came to life in Adelaide yesterday when a venomous Brown Snake entered the field during a pre-season trial match between North Adelaide and South Adelaide.
The irony here is that last season North Adelaide was involved in a high profile "19th" player on field incident during the SANFL finals. There is NO suggestion that the snake involved was aligned to either club.
When you take a look at the cold, hard data, the Dubai Dragons will today win through to The AFL Middle East grand final next week against the Multiplex Bulls. Everything points to that result playing out, including logic. Better form, home ground, history, talent – it all adds up to a win for the Dragons.
But that is what makes footy so much fun – the unexpected. The two teams have met twice this year, both times seeing a Dragons win. But dig a little deeper under the surface and there are nuggets of information that suggest that the Abu Dhabi Falcons are not out of this race yet.
Round 2 at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi saw the Falcons desperately unlucky to lose to the Dragons by just two points. The Dragons held the lead all day until the Falcons produced a stunning last quarter fightback to nearly take the game. A reproduction of that form today could certainly change a result.
“Ducky? I’m not really sure, it’s just a family nickname I was given as a child. You might have to ask my mother! However, one of my earliest memories is of my brother teaching me how to solo on the run in the back garden when I was like three or four years old. He had me running around my mother’s washing basket which was almost the same height as me!”
And so begins the interview with Ailish Considine, recruited by the Adelaide Crows last year after she impressed enough to catch the eye of recruiters at the CrossCoders program. Like so many before her, Ailish has a story of curiosity which became desire, commitment and now success.
Her journey began in Ireland, “playing with West Clare Waves at home was really the first time I was introduced to playing the game. Rosie Currane recruited a few of us to play a tournament in November 2017 because her brother Mike had organized it. Obviously the Irish girls already playing Australian football over in Australia made me more aware of the AFLW.”
Last year, AFL Cairns lost its annual AFL Premiership match to fierce rival, Townsville. After a proud history of hosting pre-season cup AFL matches, the city received a VFL match in 2010 between the Gold Coast Suns and the Bendigo Bombers (affiliated then with Essendon).
From 2011 to 2018, Cazalys Stadium then hosted AFL Premiership matches featuring the Gold Coast Suns – a regular, linked heavily to the club’s talent academy in Cairns. Their opponents, Richmond, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, put on a show which captivated Cairns’ audiences on and off the field – but now that match is gone and questions remain as to the impact that will have on the local game, especially at grassroots level.
But four past and present VFL/AFL players use their knowledge of their time involved in Cairns footy, and on the bigger stage, to consider the state of Cairns footy – past, present and future.
The inaugural season of the AFL England National University League came to a close last weekend with the Oxford University team taking the honours in the men’s grand final, whilst the University of Birmingham women’s team won their title.
The grand finals bring to an end a season of fun and enjoyment for the university teams of Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and southern Wales, but more than that it was a showcase of talent within the universities. Players who are not already aligned with clubs for the upcoming season now have a pipeline in place with a successful first season at university level.
The success of the program has already prompted interest from other university-based teams across England and beyond and it will be interesting to see whether the competition expands further next season.