The NTFL Premier League kicked back into action last weekend after the Christmas/New Year break. By the end of the round, the most compelling detail is that, barring some sort of minor miracle, the top five teams may already be decided.
At the end of Round 12, three and a half games and a significant percentage separate the Tiwi Bombers in fifth place from Wanderers in sixth with just six rounds remaining. It isn’t impossible for one of the bottom three teams to finish the season undefeated, or the Bombers lose all games from here, but it is highly unlikely.
The weekend’s matches saw St Mary’s down Wanderers by 63 points to secure second place, whilst the Nightcliff Tigers hammered Waratah by 138 points and the Tiwi Bombers took down the Palmerston Magpies by 61 points.
Maybe there is a club out there somewhere that is considering an exotic location for a pre-season match. Similarly, clubs may look at options for end of season trips. Either way, the Hawaii Eagles Australian Rules Football Club has an offer.
Whilst they cannot pay a club to visit them, they have booked their local footy grounds and base for dates across 2020, and extend an invitation for clubs to consider visiting Hawaii to play against them.
Michael Gallus has mobilised the Footys4all Foundation to try and raise funds, aimed primarily at kids across East Gippsland who have lost everything – including sporting equipment – during the dreadful bushfire disaster across Australia.
Footys4all has been working for many years to gain sponsorship and donations to send footballs and other equipment to kids across Australia and the world. Wherever kids face hardships through socio-economic, geographic, political or health reasons, Footys4all has stepped in to try and bring just a little joy to a child with a donated footy, or similar.
Michael Gallus has seen the devastation of the current fires across most Australian states and realised that kids will have lost everything and a ball might just help bring a smile to a face.
Following on from the recent announcement that the USAFL Nationals will be held in Ontario, California in 2020, the USAFL has now announced the dates and venues for the various lead-up tournaments across the nation. (See: USAFL Nationals To California)
According to the USAFL, “The Regionals, International Cup, and Nationals are set for 2020. And, we have so much in store, including the Revos tour of Croatia, the Rob Dollar Cup, 80/35, Stumptown Throwdown, not to mention the regular season schedule throughout the year. We'll have more info after the new year.”
The big-ticket items will be the International Cup in Maroochydore, Queensland, from July 25th to August 8th, with national teams from the United States (USA Revolution men’s tea m and USA Freedom women’s team) and Canada headed down under. This will be followed by the USAFL Nationals on October 10th & 11th.
As the year 2019 comes to a close, there is a chance to look back at some of the highlights of the Australian Football stories. One of these was the series of 'Don't Believe I n Never" video clips telling inspirational stories of people from grass roots to the highest level and their journeys. The following is part of that series tracing the journey of Collingwood big man, Mason Cox, and his journey fro Texas to the AFL.
Time will almost certainly prove that the selection of the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the 2020 International Cup will be an inspired choice. Take it from me, a coach who steered his teams to two spectacular losses at the venue in 2017.
This venue has the capacity to not only host the IC20 but also take the tournament into a future of even greater growth.
Since 2002, the six editions of the International Cup have been hosted by Melbourne – not unreasonably, as the city is the spiritual home of Australian Football and a magnet for followers of the game. Royal Park and a number of suburban and country venues showcased the international teams over the years, as did iconic venues such as the MCG. Games have been played in Sydney also.
At the mid-way point of the second National University League season, the University of Birmingham teams have placed themselves well for a tilt at the title. After a bye in the opening round, the Birmingham men’s team recorded two wins in their home fixture whilst the women’s team won one of their games and were unlucky to lose narrowly.
University of Cambridge still hold top spot in the men’s draw, a game ahead of Birmingham. The women’s draw has seen a huge performance from the South Wales Universities team, winning three of their four matches to date. With Cardiff the venue for the third round matches, the South Wales women’s team is in a great position to get more wins and set up a genuine crack at the title.
No matter how you look at it, the Nightcliff Tigers have enjoyed a brilliant 2019 and as teams enjoy their festive season summer break, the Tigers boast not only a premiership but top spot to see out the calendar year.
Back in March, the Tigers held off a determined Southern Districts to claim the 2018/19 NTFL Premier League title. After their Round 11 clash, the Tigers go to the break two games clear at the top of the ladder. Their only loss was to the currently second-placed St Mary’s. It has been an impressive year from the Tigers.
In fact, the Tigers only lost two matches for the calendar year, the other being a one-point loss to the Tiwi Bombers in January.
When matches resume early next year, clubs will have been planning their journey to the finals, and uppermost in their planning will be Nightcliff.
Since the CNFA competition commenced in 2008, Paris teams have played in every grand final. The Paris Cockerels have been to the big dance nine times for five flags and four runners-up. The Cockatoos have a neat 50/50 split with two grand finals for one flag.
As the CNFA season has reached its winter break, the chances of yet another grand final appearance for Paris Cocks teams is extremely high. After three rounds, with four more from February when the competition recommences, the Paris Cockatoos hold top spot from their stablemates, the Cockerels.
In their last match prior to the winter break, the Cockatoos were far too good for the Cockerels, downing their rivals 115 to 59. It will set up a second half of the season with the Cockatoos the team to catch and beat for the 2019/2020 season.
The 2020 USAFL Nationals tournament will head west, moving to Ontario, California – located between Los Angeles and San Bernadino. It marks a move across the country after this year’s event was played in Bradenton-Sarasota. Florida.
It will be the second time since 2009 that the event has been played in California after the 2017 tournament was held in San Diego.
The following statement from the www.usafl.com website details the announcement.
“The USAFL Executive Board is excited to announce that the 2020 USAFL National Championships will be held on the doorsteps of Los Angeles in Ontario, California the weekend of October 10 and 11.”
“Today many men in my area consider me a leader which is very rare for people in my area. Many of the men who were against me once are now proud of me.”
And, in that passage alone, the inspiring story of Karishma Ali can be seen coming to life. This young woman graced Australian footy fields back in 2017 as part of the inaugural Pakistan Shaheens women’s team at the IC17 tournament in Melbourne. Since then, Karishma has not only been a driving force for the game back home in Pakistan – both for women and the game as a whole – and significantly become a world role model for women of all ages.
Since those days, Karishma has had her clothing paraded on the catwalks of Milan, met with British royalty and been a youth and women’s advocate within Pakistan envoys to China and the United States. This is heady stuff, and rather amazing for a young woman who was also named as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 success stories.
(Karishma in action for the Pakistan Shaheens at IC17)