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Monday, December 09 2019 @ 03:11 pm ACDT

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Debate: Should Irish AFL Players Be Allowed To Play Gaelic Football In Off Season?

General News
With Essendon’s Conor McKenna playing in a game of Gaelic Football when home in Ireland recently, the spotlight has turned to the question of whether or not Irish footballers playing with AFL clubs in Australia be allowed to play for their local clubs/leagues in Gaelic Football matches when they return home, usually in off-seasons.

When reading the media stories and associated fan comments, there is something of a polarisation in opinion. One camp is firmly in the “too big a risk of injury”, and therefore cannot be allowed. The other camp sits largely along the lines of a trip to Ireland is a player’s private time and they are entitled to risk injury.

The clear third option is that the issue isn’t risk of injury, it is the fact that a simple enquiry to their club to advise or discuss the matter may have made a big difference.
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International Rules series set for 2020 return

International Rules
The AFL and GAA have been in talks over the past few months and finally have agreed to resume the International Rules series in November 2020 in Ireland.
 
The announcement from the GAA stated that the return leg in Austalia will be played in 2022, presumably also in November.  The AFL have been pushing for a number of years for a match in the US (likely New York) but it does not appear to have been agreed upon by the Irish.  Australia will instead again have a training camp in New York. 
 
Australia currently hold the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after they won the last series of matches in Adelaide and Perth in 2017.
 
There has been no indication whether there will be an equivalent AFLW vs LGFA, but we hold out hope that this can happen for the first time since an Australian women's team played the Irish LFGA team in 2006.  

 

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Bayonne Toreadors Head Ladder

Europe
After just two completed rounds in the CNFA season, the Bayonne Toreadors are the surprise ladder leaders. Their upset victory against reigning premiers, the Paris Cockerels, has propelled the Toreadors to top spot early in just their second season in the competition.

In the other match, a massive win to the ALFA Lions sees them with a healthy percentage and sitting in second place.

Bayonne hosted the Cockerels in wet conditions. The club has acknowledged that their hard work last year and across the pre-season is paying off, and the evidence is there after downing both the Cockerels and Stade Toulousain. After a tight and tough affair, the Toreadors held on for a well-deserved 15-point win. This sets up a fascinating third round – the last before the winter break – where the Toreadors will host newcomers, the Antony Blues, and could well go to the break undefeated after three rounds and in a huge position to make an assault on finals football in their second season.
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Father-Son Prospect Quits Footy To Pursue NFL Punting Career

Australia

 

Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the latest young footballer to turn his back on a career in the AFL to pursue punting in the NFL. Son of Essendon legend, Mason Fletcher, has decided not to continue in the footsteps of his esteemed father, Dustin Fletcher and grand-father, Ken Fletcher to try his hand – or foot – at the American game.

A BOOMING Fletcher boot could soon be set for the world stage after Dustin's son Mason quit football to pursue NFL punting.

The father-son prospect informed Essendon of his decision to end dreams as an AFL defender in recent weeks and begin chasing a career in the USA. 

Fletcher, 19, opted to sit out of last year's NAB AFL Draft after a season plagued by back injuries, instead eyeing the 2020 drafts as a pathway to the Bombers. 

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Football’s Longest Drive

Australia

 

The following article from Matthew Abbot at The New York Times (www.nytimes.com ) is a wonderful account of how important the game is to players in some of Australia’s most isolated locations. World Footy News has previously explored Lajamanu football (See: Lajamanu Footy – “The lifeblood of the community”) and what the game means to them. This story, from New York – half a world away from Lajamanu and Yuendumu – again tells an amazing tale of determination against all manner of odds.

For Indigenous Australians in isolated towns, “bush footy” is more religion than sport. Neither distance, the police nor even death can keep teams from competing.

LAJAMANU, Australia — Halfway into a 400-mile journey through a dusty stretch of the Australian desert, the team’s minibus ran into trouble.

The players, Warlpiri Australians from one of the country’s most isolated towns, were headed to a carnival, a celebration of sport and culture that brings together far-flung Indigenous communities from across the Central Desert.

 

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OPINION: AFLW ban for 2020 AFL International Cup

The following opinion piece by Peter Holden of Women's Australian Rules Football Radio should not be taken to represent the views of the site or any of our contributors or editors. 

Without knowing the exact dates, we should be just less than nine months away from the 2020 edition of the AFL International Cup.

Most of the focus to date has been on what city/region will host next year’s tournament and the potential that the number of countries participating could be capped to assist in fixturing.

However, there’s one elephant in the room that has yet to – at least publicly – be addressed; will AFLW players be allowed to participate, and if so, how many?

As of this article being published, there were 18 Irishwomen signed to AFLW contracts for the 2020 season, and one American.

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Amélie Rains On French Parade

Europe
The onset of Storm Amélie across Europe, particularly parts of France, Spain and Italy, has affected the weekend’s CNFA matches. The storm saw the Bordeaux region hard hit with most sporting venues closed due to dangerous or waterlogged conditions.

The result of Amélie’s impact was the postponement of the match between the Bordeaux Bombers and Paris Cockatoos as well as the women’s north v south match (Nord v Sud du tournoi féminin) , raising funds for cancer. These matches will be rescheduled for later in the season.

The weather in Paris was significantly better, allowing the Antony Blues to host State Toulousain 2 in their second match as a fully-fledged CNFA team. Once again, the Blues showed a brave face and gave another a solid game. Nevertheless, Stade Toulousain proved far too good in the end, getting away to a 70-point victory.
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USAFL Nationals Reviews – October 2019

North America

Last month the USAFL proudly displayed the best talent across the USA and Canada at the USAFL Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. A total of 44 teams, across men’s and women’s competitions descended on Lakewood Ranch. The following reviews come from the www.usafl.com website, detailing the two days of competition.

DAY 1:

Florida’s heat may not have been at full blast on Saturday at the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch, but the action on the field was definitely on fire.

Following one full day of Australian Football, there are a handful of teams who are spending Saturday night at the 2019 USAFL Nationals with dreams of lifting hardware tomorrow bounding around their heads.  Some are hoping that they’ll have fate on their side.  And some have begun the year end festivities one evening early.

Whatever happens on Nationals Sunday, however, we know it will never disappoint.  Below is a recap of what happened on Day 1, and links to tomorrow for you to have and know:

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Data Hides Bogota Bulldogs Truths

South America
On face value, the Bogota Bulldogs failed to meet one of their three key objectives for 2019. They wanted to win more matches, but lost all three international matches. A harsh look at that result suggests failure. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

According to their newly released annual report, the Bulldogs had two other key objectives that they passed with flying colours. They also wanted to grow the club and grow the game – on both counts the club has set a new standard for the future. That future could be bigger than ever anticipated happened quicker than anyone thought.

The visits from two USAFL clubs – the Austin Crows and Denver Bulldogs – resulted in heavy, though brave, losses, but the experience gained by the club was far more valuable than a scoreboard. Going down to the Austin Crows in April (22 8 140 to 6 7 43) and to the Denver Bulldogs in May (11 6 72 to 5 9 39) gave the Bogota Bulldogs the confidence and drive to commence talks with the USAFL to compete at the USAFL nationals as soon as possible. That option would not have occurred as quickly had it not been for the Bulldogs extending the invitation to the North American clubs.
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Essendon Signs Third Irishman

Europe

 

The Essendon Football club have taken their Irish commitment to its highest level, signing a third player for the 2020 season. On the back of the successful development of dashing half-back, Conor McKenna (fourth in the club’s best & fairest this year) and last month’s signing of Ross McQuillan. 

McBride has the potential to become an important key position player at the Bombers at a time of transition for the club as they reshape their own forward structure. The following article comes from the www.essendonfc.com.au website. 

Essendon has welcomed its third Irishman, with Cian McBride making the trip across the seas to don the sash in 2020.

The deal will see McBride call The Hangar home until at least the end of 2021.  

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Falcons Top AFL Middle East Ladder

Middle East
Winning your opening two matches in a season is no guarantee for success at the pointy end of the journey. However, it is a huge advantage in a six-match season. Two wins from two is a solid foundation for success, and the Abu Dhabi Falcons are in a great position to achieve bigger things this season.

Their victory over the Dubai Dragons at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi has seen them win two from two so far this season. This result is more compelling when their two biggest hurdles to success – the Dragons and Multiplex Bulls – have each lost a match.

The Falcons have a tough run over the next three matches – meeting the Bulls twice, and a return clash with the Dragons in between. It is possible they lose all three. But, one win across that streak, and a final round win over the Dubai Dingoes, might set the Falcons up for their best flag tilt since they took the title in 2011. They would likely need to reach the grand final via the preliminary final, but would do so knowing they have beaten quality opposition along the way.
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When Dreams Come True

North AmericaWorld Footy News has been following the journey of former suburban Australian Football player Nik Constantinou as he left Melbourne footy behind and decided to try his luck playing American college football (See From Australian Rules Footy To American Football). He is far from the only young player to try his hand, but this footage from his most recent game for Texas A & M suggests he might become a very successful convert.

This monstrous 56 metre punt - into the wind - once again proves that the Australian football method of kicking is a tremendous advantage to the American game. Take notice of how his team mates feel about his kick.

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