Both the Edinburgh Bloods and Glasgow Sharks got away to perfect starts to their respective home and away seasons with important wins on the weekend. Whilst much of the pre-season hype centred around t new teams in the league – the Tigers and Eagles – come match day, the real season began and the two most experienced teams in the league got down to business.
In Edinburgh, the Bloods wasted no time in giving a hearty Scottish welcome to the new kids in town, the Tyne Tees Tigers. A big six goal opening term from the Bloods set the scene for a big first half and from there the Tigers were always behind the eight ball. By game’s end the Bloods had increased that lead to a 107-point victory, establishing their own credentials for the season ahead and letting the Tigers know where they stand – at least initially. But it was a tougher battle that the score line suggests.
Harley Vague on tour in Europe gives us his observations and opinions on footy in France.
Yesterday Toulouse hosted an Australian Football double-header. The Blagnac Aviators from Toulouse played a catchup game against Les Coyotes de Cergy-Pontoise followed by the top of table clash in the Toulouse Hawks Vs The Paris Cocks.
It was a good time to reflect on Australian Football as played in France. I had driven 2.5 hours to Toulouse but that paled against the long journey of the players from the two Paris football teams who had rolled the dice with the striking SNCF railways and arrived.
The eastern province of Leinster has taken out the first Province Of Origin tournament to be played in Ireland since 2012. In an exciting re-addition to the Irish footy scene, the tournament – hosted by the Galway Magpies from the Connacht province and sponsored by Life Pharmacy – has the new 2018 ARFLI season off to a great start in Ireland.
A previously reported (see Province Of Origin Clash To Return To Ireland) it has been a long time between drinks for the provincial battle where players born in any of the four provinces (Leinster, Ulster, Munster or Connacht) can represent that province with pride in a similar way to “state of origin” style pride and rivalry.
With the home and away season completed, the CNFA competition will now move into finals mode. After the weekend’s matches, eyes will now turn to the next two weekends as the semi-final battles will commence in Paris and Toulouse.
First up will be the Paris Cocks derby where the Cockerels, undefeated across the home and away season, take on their little brother the Cockatoos. The Cockatoos won two years ago, taking the 2015/16 title. The Cockerels last flag was the year before in 2014/15. It will be a huge game, on neutral turf for both teams – but one of the Paris teams will win on the weekend and again play in the grand final.
The following weekend, May 12th, attention will turn to the city of Toulouse when the Hawks take on the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. Once again, the Coyotes will play finals and will be desperate to have a crack at that elusive premiership. Having played finals every season since their rise from the Development League in 2012/13, the Coyotes have just once reached the big day – going down to the Cockatoos in 2015/16. The Coyotes will want to change that.
(Picture: Kenny Darcy surrounded by his new Hamburg Dockers team mates)
The great dream. Travel around the world. Maybe settle in a location for a period of time, visa permitting, and become a “local” for a while. Become part of the fabric of community, and perhaps join a local sports club whilst there – provided the body and mind can still cope. Ensure that your registration is within the league’s rules and a new horizon may open up in front of you.
Enter Kenny Darcy. Once a gangling redhead (actually, he still is) with precious talent as a key position player, Kenny cut his teeth with local Cairns club, Pyramid Power. After going through the motions of junior footy, changing clubs, injuring knees, adapting to life after school and general getting a handle on adult life, Kenny eventually set off on the great adventure with his partner – Europe.
In a wonderful display of trans-Atlantic football, Sweden’s Port Malmö Football Club hosted both men’s and women’s teams made from players in the USA and Canada in the Arctic Cup. The match caped off a very international fortnight with players from four nations gathering in the southern Sweden city in the name of footy. The following report from the Maulers’ Facebook page gives a brief overview of the event.
“Last Saturday, in the glorious sunshine, the Port Malmö Football Club proudly hosted the second Arctic Cup at our home field in Limhamnsfältet. In a great fun, high quality 12-a-side game the Maulers got up over a joint USA/Canada team with the final score of 21.15.141 – 4.8.32.”
“It was a great all-round team effort from the Maulers led by captain, Chris Mårtensson, carrying a shoulder injury spending the game ‘resting’ at full forward where he bagged a 10-goal haul. While Will Symmons was outstanding in the midfield for his first appearance in the Black and Blue.”
Opening rounds of football often throw up historical change or new incarnations of wat was once familiar, and the SARFL competition in Scotland is doing just that. Round One commences this weekend and it will see the first outing of England-based team – the Tyne Tees Tigers – as they debut in AL Scotland’s national league.
Formerly a part of the AFLCNE, the Newcastle-based Tigers will take the field in their first outing against the Edinburgh Bloods. Playing away for their opening match, the Tigers will be under immediate pressure to perform against one of the stalwart teams in Scotland. So far, the Tigers have been competitive against their fellow Scottish teams through matches in the Bawbag Cup and Haggis Cup. The real deal starts this weekend, but the Tigers will be ready.
As the 2018 season arrives for the AFLCNE (Australian Football League Central and Northern England), a new dawn rises on a reshaped league. The competition will see just five teams do battle with Sheffield Thunder and the Tyne Tees Tigers missing from the roster. It leaves just five teams to battle out the new season – but those five will make it a battle royale.
This weekend sees the start of the 2018 home and away season. The Huddersfield Rams are hosting the first two matches. The Rams take on the Nottingham Scorpions in the opening match, followed by the Wolverhampton Wolverines up against the Merseyside Saints. Last year’s premiers – the Manchester Mozzies – have the opening round bye.
The season shapes as a fascinating battle, in part because of mathematics. Five teams don’t fit into a final four come finals time which will make for a huge contest – a little like musical chairs – where one team misses out. This will mean that every game is valuable, percentage paramount and a run to the finish that will see teams going all out.
Footy has arrived for 2018 across England and Wales, commencing this weekend. AFL England has released the following press release to fire up the footy-loving public ahead of the first matches for the season proper.
London and Central & Northern England Leagues Kick Off This Weekend
April 26, 2018 – AFL England are looking forward to the start of the 2018 season ahead of the
opening weekend of fixtures. Both the AFL London and Central & Northern England leagues have
their first round of fixtures this weekend, ahead of an exciting ten rounds of competition.
Here are the defending premiers in each division, and their 2017 Grand Final results:
The 2018 AFL National Diversity Championships wrapped up last week in Blacktown, Sydney, with Western Australia and Victoria taking home the silverware. The U15 Kickstart indigenous team from Western Australia won their eighth consecutive title to remain the only state team to have ever won the competition since its inception. Victoria held on in a dramatic All-Nations final for multicultural teams.
The Kickstart Championships came into being back in 2011 as an elite pathway for under 15 indigenous players from across Australia. With exposure to elite coaching, support and facilities, the competition augmented the national Under 16 championships. Western Australia has been the dominant force since the inception of the carnival in 2011, and last week’s result continued a proud tradition.
The All-Nations competition is an opportunity for players from diverse multicultural backgrounds to bring their talents to a state level and after humble beginnings as a modified game for players, it is now a fully-fledged competition in its own right.
Australian teams took the victory honours in both the men’s and women’s matches on ANZAC Day at Villers-Bretonneux in the 10th incarnation of ANZAC Cup matches. AFL Europe’s Facebook page contains many pictures from the day s well as the following brief overview.
“Things started bright and early this morning for our Australian Spirit and French National sides with players attending the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service along with thousands of others to pay their respects on the 100th anniversary of the 2nd Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.”
“Following the service the teams completed the traditional march through the town before arriving back at Stadium Timmerman to begin the 10th Annual Anzac Cup matches.”
“Both the men's and women's matches were hard fought from the first bounce but eventually saw the Australian Spirit sides pull away to take home both trophies. Thanks again to O'Neills Sportswear for providing the incredible matching team kits for the Australian and French sides.”
Whilst there are still some games and last minute fiddling to go, the four finalists for the 2017/18 CNFA season are locked in. Recent victories for both Paris Cocks teams (the Cockerels and Cockatoos) have not only given them sufficient breathing space to guarantee finals, the have also ensured that reigning title holders – the ALFA Lions – will not get a chance to defend their title.
The Parisian duo will be joined by the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes and Toulouse Hawks in the battle for this season’s premiership honours.
The result is a glowing endorsement for the decisions in recent years to split the Cocks into two teams, with the Cockatoos already enjoying premiership success, as well as the Toulouse Hawks. After taking a back seat last season to help get the Toulouse-based Aviators under way, the Hawks have returned to their dominant best this season. Now there are three Paris teams (counting the Coyotes) and two in Toulouse – all but one of them will contest this season’s finals.