The ALFA Lions from Lyon in France have secured the minor premiership (short of a miraculous thrashing in their final round match) for the 2017/17 CNFA season. Their convincing win over the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes last weekend saw them leapfrog the Coyotes on percentage and now have one game left against the Bordeaux Bombers to put icing on the cake.
In the match which many saw as the grand final preview, the Coyotes travelled to Lyon to meet in a match which would help decide top spot. Both teams were undefeated going into the match. In the end it was the hugely improved Lions that took the points, eventually running away to a convincing 51 point victory. The final score saw the ALFA Lions 104 defeat the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes 53.
The growth of Aussie rules football in the US has been a slow, steady, but satisfying journey. The United States Australian Football League (USAFL) was originally established in 1996 and is currently based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Americans and Australian ex-patriates alike have been able to get the word out about the historic game, and the excitement of footy is finally coming to American shores on a large scale.
In the 1960s, the Victorian Football League (VFL) tried to expand its international audience by promoting what they called the Australian Football World Tour in 1967 and 1968. It was initially conceived as a way to develop international rules football – a hybrid sport featuring representatives from both Aussie rules football and Gaelic football – but also became a way for international audiences to see various elements of footy up close and personal. Games were played in Dublin, London, and New York City, but the tour was discontinued after 1968.
For the first time in the history of the International Cup, the AFLG are this year sending the German men's national team Down Under to compete for glory.
Footy has had a toehold in Germany since the Frankfurt Redbacks and Munich Kangaroos formed in the 1990s, and the domestic scene has grown over the past 20 years to also involve clubs in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Freiberg and Dresden, with some clubs also running local metro leagues.
However, until now the Germans only competed at European-based tournaments.
This is set to change in August, with the Eagles naming their initial 23-man squad, with another 5-7 players to be added in the coming weeks.
The AFL has tapped Chris Hemsworth to star in the new “I’d like To See That” television commercial, which premiered at the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Launch event in Melbourne last night.
In the commercial, Hemsworth talks about the romance of the underdog, the physicality of the game, the characters – including Marcus “the Bont” Bontempelli – and the passion that is Australian Football.
The campaign has been revived to appeal to both new and traditional fans of AFL.
For the fourth consecutive year the St Mary’s Saints and Wanderers Eagles will contest the NTFL Grand Final. It will be the fifth time the two have played off in the big dance since the introduction of the Premier League for the 2010/11 season, and the sixth time in the past ten seasons, meeting also in the 2008/09 decider. They have been, without doubt, the best performed teams of the past decade.
But for all that longer term data, the gulf between the two on paper for the 2016/17 season is enormous. Rarely can a favourite be so clear cut based purely on results to date. St Mary’s have enjoyed a phenomenal season, whilst Wanderers have won critical matches to earn their place without ever looking capable of downing the Saints.
Jason Holmes’ time as a Saint will continue in 2017 after signing a one-year deal at the end of last season. He also earned permanent status on the team’s senior squad since AFL rules state that players must be elevated or delisted after three years on a rookie list.
His status, however, appears to be up in the air. The ruckman from Chicago, Illinois, USA was not in the lineup for any of St. Kilda’s preseason matches with Port Adelaide, Carlton, or Sydney.
One reason for the uncertainty could be that the Saints already have three pure ruckmen signed beyond 2016—Tom Hickey, Billy Longer, and Lewis Pierce. Longer and Pierce are under contract until the end of 2018, while Hickey gained attention after a solid campaign last year.
There are just four matches left to be played in the CNFA 2016/17 season, with battles taking place in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Bordeaux. In an amazing finish to the season, three teams could finish equal on points after the final round in the battle for fourth place, percentage only separating those teams. The Paris Cockerels, barring an unforeseen miracle, will finish in the top four. Each remaining game will either be a key to the pursuit of this season’s “Holy Grail” or a poisoned chalice, depending on results.
The biggest match on paper is next weekend’s blockbuster between the second placed ALFA Lions and first placed Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. Both teams are undefeated this season – a remarkable effort. A win to the Coyotes will see them in a position to win the minor premiership. But if the Lions can win at home, they will take that honour as they already have a superior percentage to the Coyotes as well as a game in hand against the Bordeaux Bombers. It will be an amazing battle for premiership favouritism for two of the leagues most improved teams over recent seasons.
The AFL and Australia Post are pleased to announce the 2017 Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors which will include 19 AFL and AFLW players.
Female footballers Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Brisbane Lions), Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Helen Roden (Collingwood) and Akec Makur Chuot (Fremantle) will be joined in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds in Australia’s game by Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), Dyson Heppell (Essendon), David Zaharakis (Essendon), and Jake Kolodjashnij (Geelong), Adam Saad (Gold Coast SUNS), Tom Nicholls (Gold Coast SUNS), Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), Christian Salem (Melbourne), Majak Daw (North Melbourne), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Aliir Aliir (Sydney Swans), Nic Naitanui (West Coast), Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs) and Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs).
When you think of sports in New Zealand, your mind generally goes to rugby union. The All-Blacks, the country’s national team, are the winningest team in any sport anywhere in the world. But Australia’s Oceanic neighbor is home to a small-but-growing community of Aussie rules footballers.
Footy was introduced to New Zealand in 1868, but the majority of the original clubs were eventually pressured or convinced into switching to soccer or rugby rules. Aussie rules was not seen as a sport that had staying power among Kiwis, and the game didn’t catch on for many decades.
On March 4th the annual West Midlands Charity Shield tournament took place, hosted by Wolverhampton Wolverines. Men’s and women’s teams battled it out to claim the first silverware of the season, all to aid the ‘Balls to Cancer’ charity – designed to raise money to battle Testicular Cancer in men.
According to the AFLCNE website, “as well as last year’s champions the Wolverines, [the day] will see the University of Birmingham (men’s and women’s), Huddersfield Rams, West London Wildcats and last year’s AFLCNE grand finalists Nottingham Scorpions (men’s and women’s) eager to make an early mark and give us a taste of what to expect this season.”
After having finished their 2016/17 season with the Palmerston Magpies, former Essendon players, Courtenay Dempsey and Alwyn Davey, have answered the call to assist the Cairns City Lions in the AFL Cairns competition. Both will line up for the Lions this weekend in the Lions’ round one fixture.
For Dempsey, the chance to play again in the AFL Cairns competition is a homecoming. A Cairns boy, born in Mt Isa and growing up in Cairns’ southern suburbs, Courtenay played junior football with the Cairns Hawks. Dempsey’s precocious talents were identified early on and his pathway took him via the Kenmore Bears club in Brisbane before being drafted by Essendon in 2005 where he went on to play 133 AFL games as a Bomber.