Despite largely being a two-horse race, the SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football Federation) competition is heading for what could be a huge finish. Whilst the Solna Axeman would be pleased the 2019 season is now over and the Årsta Swans will be long-priced underdogs in their Qualifying Final, it is the Norrtälje Dockers and Södermalm Blues that will generate the most interest.
The final two rounds of the SAFF season showed both the distance between the top two teams and bottom two. It also showed just how close the top two teams are.
Round 9 saw the Dockers trounce the Axemen by 127 points, whilst the Blues hammered the Swans by 116 points in an afternoon of one-sided results in Norrtälje. Then last weekend, the Blues and Dockers faced off in a Grand Final preview.
In a massive first for Estonia, the city of Tallinn will be the venue for the 2019 Baltic Cup. AFL Estonia, which is still at a stage of developing off field as it grows the game, will receive a huge boost to develop the game in the country with the opportunity to market the game and work to attract some interest for fans, businesses and prospective players.
Coming to Tallinn for the event will be the St Petersburg Cats from Russia, the Helsinki Heatseekers from Finland, the Polish Devils and the Norrtälje Dockers. The invitation exists for more nations to teams to join. Estonia will not have their own team, though should a local want to join in with one of the teams they most likely could.
The event will be held at the Nike Arena in Tallinn, adjacent to the Estonian Football Federation (Soccer) headquarters and fields to the south of the city.
The Cairns City Lions will play finals in 2019. To anyone outside of Cairns, that phrase could be met with little interest. However, in the Far North Queensland city, with a big local following of Australian Rules football, a return to finals football for the Lions is nothing short of remarkable.
Coach Aaron Davey, himself best known as a star player for the Melbourne Demons over 178 games between 2004 and 2013 for 174 goals and four International Rules games for Australia, has arrived at a club on the brink of extinction and saved it.
Admittedly, he hasn’t done it on his own. He has had the buy-in of the club committee, players, supporters and local community, scattered largely over the Cairns’ Northern Beaches and especially Holloways Beach where the club is based. It has been a genuine club effort to stare defeat in the face and laugh at it.
The AFL Finland Grand Final teams are decided after last weekend’s final round of matches in Vaasa. Unfortunately, the host team, the Vaasa Wombats, will not play in the big match. The Helsinki Heatseekers and Turku Dockers have made their way there after the completion of the Finnish home and away season.
Following is the excellent Chairman’s Report after the last round of matches, reproduced on behalf of AFL Finland.
Chairmans Report, FAFL round 3, Vaasa
FINLAND AFL·WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2019
The third round was kicked off in fantastic weather, the sun was shining and the temperature a humane 18°C.
The games at the awesome Kaarlen kenttä venue was a truly exciting round 3 of Aussie rules in Vaasa.
The DAFL season in Denmark is fast approaching finals with just three games left to complete across two remaining rounds. The Port Malmö Maulers feature in two of those matches, which makes the fight to the finals very interesting.
In recent weeks, the Farum Cats have flexed their muscle with important wins over both the Maulers and the Odense Lions. A narrow win over the Maulers in Limhamn followed by a big win over the Lions sees them sitting pretty with a match to go in first place. With a match to go against bottom team, the Aarlborg Kangaroos, the probably cannot be beaten now for the minor premiership – barring some form of miracle.
However, the Maulers have a game in hand and will most likely finish in second place going into the finals.
Last weekend saw the AFLG semi-finals played in Frankfurt, with both the Hamburg Dockers and Berlin Crocodiles going through to the Grand Final. For the Dockers, they get to retain their title won last year. The Crocs will go to their fourth successive premiership decider.
The Dockers have been the best performed team across the season and will go into the match as strong favourites. Recent form back in Round 9 saw the Dockers down the Crocs by 29 points at home.
Earlier in the season, in Round 7, it was again the Dockers too good for the Crocs to the tune of 45 points. Their Round 2 clash also went the Dockers way by 19 points. When combined with last year’s victory for the Dockers over the Crocs, it is hard to see the Crocs finding whatever they need to reverse trend.
The latest round of the AFL Colombia season was played last weekend in Bogota with the DC Aguilas up against the Bogota Bullants. The victorious Aguilas are now well placed to win their second title. The following report from the Bogota Bulldogs details the match.
The CAFL was in full flight again on Saturday with the Aguilas taking on the Bullants.
The Bullants. desperate to notch their first win of the year, jumped out of the box and dominated the first five minutes of the first quarter. However, they couldn’t take advantage and failed to convert into a stiff breeze.
The Aguilas found their feet and rebounded with the wind to score two quick majors. The quarter continued to be rebound footy with both sides sharing two more goals apiece with Oscar and Alonso kicking truly for the Ants. Sloany and Sergio gained confidence, space and finishing ability in the absence of Rimma Quigley and finished the quarter with two goals each for the Aguilas. An after the siren goal from Smallwood brought the margin back to two goals at quarter time.
The 2020 AFL International Cup (or IC20) tournament location is expected to be released in early September. The AFL is considering bids from inside and outside Victoria and is believed to have narrowed this to a final two.
With considerations of fixturing the IC20 finals at the best possible venue (IC17 Men’s final was played at the MCG and the Women’s at Etihad Stadium) as an AFL curtain raiser the tournament dates cannot be finalised until the venue is decided and the 2020 AFL Fixture is released in late October.
With all AFL Middle East clubs coming to life after their off-season, the excitement and anticipation for the new season is already starting to grow. The release of the 2019/20 season draw last week added to the excitement as teams learned whom they will play, where and when.
Kicking off the challenges of the new season is the Pre-Season Cup, just over six weeks away. Scheduled for Friday 11th October, the day is the perfect chance for teams to dust off the cobwebs with match play and the first silverware of the new season. The venue will be announced shortly.
The opening round is full of excitement, featuring a double-header in Abu Dhabi. The Grand Final rematch between the Multiplex Bulls and the Dubai Dragons. The Bulls will be keen to get their title defence off to s flying start against their archrivals. The Dragons will be hoping to claim a victory and right the ship after losing last year’s final match.
After another flawless season, the Belfast Redbacks have achieved their goal of winning back to bag Irish premierships by downing the Leeside Lions last weekend. In a close and tough encounter, it took until the final term for the heavily fancied Redbacks to shake off the persistent Lions to run out 29-point winners.
The margin seems significant, but probably does little to really show how gallant the Leeside Lions were in defeat, and how hard the Redbacks had to work to defend their title and complete a second successive undefeated season.
The Lions certainly came to play and by half time actually trailed by just seven points. The fact that they also dominated the scoring shots for the half – 11 to 8 – was cause for concern in the Redbacks camp. The Redbacks held sway largely through a better conversion rate on the scoreboard – in general play things were far more even.
The last few rounds of the AFL season ushered in many new talents across many clubs as they blooded players that either needed another look, or needed the senior AFL experience to prosper into the future. Hawthorn and Essendon were two clubs that tired this, but in their cases they were giving the football world a glimpse into the next phase of African nation footballers.
Round 21 saw Hawthorn debut their exciting youngster, Changkuoth Jiath. His first game, played in Canberra complete with snowfall, saw the highly athletic Jiath galloping all over the field and picking up a handy 11 possessions, five of which were contested. It was a confident start to a career in the big league.
Reigning SARFL premiers, the Edinburgh Bloods, had a tough road to negotiate, but they came up trumps last weekend when they downed the Glasgow Sharks in the Scottish Grand Final.
After going down to the Sharks in their semi-final, the Bloods had to negotiate the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Preliminary Final to gain another shot. They did, and after their 44-point win on Saturday, they have retained their title as the best team in Scotland.
In a game “played in great spirits”, the Bloods got away early but only held a four goal lead just after half time. The Sharks could have closed the gap. However, the Bloods sensed danger and by three-quarter time had pulled away to a 42-point lead, effectively ending any chance of a Sharks' revival.