One old adage often used in football is “build it and they will come” – a reference to starting clubs and watching the interest and involvement grow. Doesn’t always work, but there are many cases of exactly that situation occurring. An equally valid saying is “don’t wait for the people to come to you, go to the people”. And that is exactly what the Sheffield Thunder team in the AFLCNE is doing as they take their product on the road.
After contesting the grand final just two seasons ago, the Thunder had a tougher run in 2016. A range of hiccups, not the least player numbers, conspired to derail their season. To address this for 2017, the club’s think-tank came up with the idea of travelling the region to spark interest in the game, promote the club and with luck unearth some new talent to re-establish the Thunder near the upper echelons of the competition ladder.
Weekend victories to the ALFA Lions from Lyon and the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes has seen the two top placed teams clear further away from the field as the CNFA finals get closer. Only three more rounds remain for teams to sort themselves into a final order but it looks likely now that both the Lions and Coyotes have booked their finals tickets and the remaining questions will revolve around which teams take third and fourth place.
The ALFA Lions, a club which has improved dramatically this season and impressed many footy followers, travelled to Toulouse to meet the Blagnac Aviators. In the end, a 40 point win appeared comfortable, but the Aviators once again pushed hard in their first season and would not allow a big defeat. Their efforts this season have been competitive from the outset, and the Lions know that they had to earn their victory. Final scores saw the Lions defeat the Aviators 86 to 46.
It has been a tough couple of seasons for the Doha Kangaroos, inhabiting the lower rungs of the AFL Middle East ladder and finding wins difficult to find, despite some closely fought battles. So their last start win over the visiting Abu Dhabi Falcons would have brought huge smiles to the Qatar-based crew and warmed their hearts as well.
In a hard fought and tight clash, the Kangaroos held on by two even goals, taking the match 13 8 86 to the Falcons 11 8 74. In a significant by-product of the win, the Kangaroos have jumped over the Falcons on the ladder – temporarily getting away from the wooden spoon position and handing that dubious honour to the Falcons. A small percentage differential exists, favouring the Kangaroos. Whilst the Falcons have now finished their season and cannot change their percentage, the Kangaroos will be hoping for a win, or at least a very tight result in their next clash to stay off the bottom.
There has been an adjustment to the eligibility rules for the 2017 AFL International Cup. There has been extensive consultation with competing nations following IC14 and lengthy consideration given to whether eligibility rules should be changed.
At IC14 some nations felt that other countries had a large advantage in having many players that were located in Australia and playing in the lead up to the tournament (some for multiple years),
The new rules do not actually impose any new restrictions on individuals but rather ensure that no country’s squad is completely dominated by Australian based players.
Expatriate Australians of course are ineligible to play in the International Cup as in previous years.
A player qualifies for their country by being a citizen and by having lived predominantly in that country between the ages of 10 and 16. The rules allow the AFL to grant exceptions to the eligibility criteria on a case-by-case basis if it is satisfied that the player is a bona fide resident of the country concerned, and that "his/her participation would be in the best interests of the competition".
The following article from the AFL Europe website (www.afleurope.org ) details the recent Fitzpatrick Cup tournament held in Cork, Ireland. It was a great day for the host club, the UCC Bombers, taking out both the men’s and women’s titles on the day. It was another great event for Australian Rules football in Ireland, showcasing the talent coming from universities that is not necessarily connected to the existing ARFLI national competition.
A last-minute pitch change and some early rain didn’t deter participants at the weekends annual Fitzpatrick Cup hosted by the University College Cork (UCC).
With 8 men’s and 3 women’s teams in action it was always going to be a great day of Aussie Rules action.
We did find the new Watch AFL app last week in our desperation to help viewers around the world find a way to watch AFLW matches. There was no release to the public and the Watchafl.com.au site was still down as they tried to get everything ready to go before Friday's AFLW debut. We believe we were the first to download it after some detective work and shared it on our social media channels on Thursday.
The app looks like it will be a much improved service for most viewers outside Australia that will use it through the free AFLW and JLT pre-season series and into the paid regular AFL season. The cost of subscription has been reported to have increased significantly in some markets. We have also been told that a number of AFL clubs offer international memberships that include subscription to the service that may cost less for the whole membership than directly subscribing to the Watch AFL service.
As well as live streaming the app will give access to full replays and a number of programs from Fox Footy to viewers outside Australia/NZ.
The ASP Perpignan Tigers have let an opportunity to secure a finals berth slip last weekend when they went down to the visiting Paris Cockatoos. The result was a big thumping – Cockatoos 170 d Tigers 45 – which saw the Tigers drop out of the top four. Their percentage has also taken a big hit, meaning they will have to win both of their remaining games.
What hurt more was that the clash was a home game in front of a home crowd – a game they should have looked at winning. Their remaining matches are another home game against the hugely improved ALFA Lions before a clash with the Blagnac Aviators. To play finals, the Tigers must win both and hope that other teams above them falter in the run home.
Casey Fields at Cranbourne was the venue for 2 time AFL International Cup team of the tournament member Irish lady Laura (Corrigan) Duryea to make her professional footy debut. Representing Melbourne, she played the day at full back matching up on the very dangerous English born Sabrina Frederick-Traub.
Frederick-Traub is one of the Lions two marquee players - recruited from Perth - and at age 20 is a rising star of womens footy. Laura has settled in Australia now - making a career as a primary school teacher - that's where my family first came across her in our twin boys prep year. Laura then was relatively new to Australia and familiarising herself with our domestic code of football - now at age 33 she is a footy veteran - although the kicking style still gives a nod back to the Gaelic origins. Each an example of a less common pathway to a new and unexpected destination - playing on each other in the AFLW.
After the fanfare and excitement of the lock out at Princes Park on Friday night followed by strong attendances in Adelaide and out at Whitten Oval at Footscray - the roughly 6,500 attendees at Casey Fields raised the overall attendance for the weekend to 50,000. Granted there was free entry however that doesn't undersell the commitment of time and effort for people to attend and display their support for the AFLW. Alas the weather gods weren't so kind on Sunday afternoon as firstly the wind was blowing to the southern end and as the 1st quarter progressed the heavens opened. Before half time the lightning had driven the players and umpires from the ground - and many of the exposed fans beat a hasty retreat - thus thinning out the crowd for when play resumed.
It took way, way too long for women’s football to finally happen at the highest national level. But happen it did, and a lock-out crowd of spectators descended on Ikon Park (formerly Princes Park – iconic home of the Carlton Blues)to usher in a new era of Australian Rules football in style.
Such was the magnitude of the crowd, that caught organisers off guard, that AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan actually went outside the ground to apologise to members of the estimated 2000 people that could not get into the game. Inside the stadium a crowd estimated at over 25,000 watched an historic but also highly entertaining match of women’s football.
The game had everything – snapped goals, pack marks, brutal tackles, dashing runs. Carlton’s Darcy Vescio scintillated the crown with four outstanding goals. Brianna Davey’s dash out of defence was as telling as her finishing skills, managing a goal along the way. Her 26 disposals set up Carlton’s attacking and left Collingwood players in her wake.
In the season which has already seen NTFL clubs, Wanderers and waratah, celebrate their respective 100th years, the Darwin Buffaloes will celebrate this weekend – the club having come into existence in 1917. The following press release from the AFLNT details the remarkable Darwin Buffaloes achievement.
This week, in Round 16 of the 2016/17 TIO NTFL season the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club celebrates its 100 year anniversary when it takes on another founding club in the Wanderers, at TIO Stadium at 2.00pm on Saturday.
Festivities for the weekend include a special pre-game ceremony and centenary ball and subsequent naming of the Darwin Buffaloes team of the century on Saturday night.
The eight AFLW clubs last night announced their teams for the first round of their historic competition that will kick off tonight. Melbourne Football Club named Irish woman Laura Duryea (nee Corrigan) on the Interchange bench.
As Laura Corrigan she was the named full back in the World Team at the 2011 International Cup where she was dominant for the tournament champions Ireland and named joint best player of the 2014 International Cup tournament (along with Canada’s Aimee Legault).
That isn’t my line. I heard someone say it recently, and they possibly nabbed it from somewhere else. But the advent of women’s football – Australian Rules football – is very well summed up by that line. It isn’t really an exaggeration either.
Numbers on backs, centre squares, interchange players, countless umpires on the field: all have played a part in refining the game along the way. But women’s football has seen the game grow in a way that is extraordinary, and we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. The game has moved along at an impressive rate since the 1850’s when it was first hatched as an alternative for cricket training. But in more than 150 since nothing has shown the next 150 years like the women’s game.