Fremantle Dockers AFLW best and fairest winner Ebony Antonio is primed and raring to go as the 2019 AFLW season is almost upon us.
Antonio debuted for the Dockers in Round 1, 2017 against the Western Bulldogs and it was a surreal feeling for her. “It’s hard to describe that feeling but yes I guess it was quite overwhelming,” Antonio said.
Image Source: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images AsiaPac
In a rare opportunity to chat with a club president of a club from New Guinea, a fascinating account of growth and regrowth emerges. In the process, West Eagles boss, Alois Melua, gives us a small window into how a club operates in the shadow of other stronger codes in Port Moresby.
Alois started playing Australian Rules football in 2010. He played for several clubs in Port Moresby, starting with the Uni Tigers -the club managed by his late cousin and key figure in local PNG footy, Peter Meli. In 2017, Alois was with the Koboni club and joined the Eagles in 2018.
The club’s past shows a journey with highs and lows. “The West Eagles club started way back in the late 80s and has been one of the prominent clubs in history of AFL in Port Moresby and around the country as well. The club had won several grand ﬁnals in the Port Moresby AFL competition and also produce many talented and skilful players who have represented the country playing for PNG Mosquitos Team.”
Last year, the Hawaiian sports scene was expanded to include a new Australian football club (see:Australian Rules Football Comes To Hawaii). Since then, men and women have been meeting at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki to have a kick, develop skills and enjoy the social side of a footy team.
But now the club has taken the step to officially brand itself. They have now called themselves the Hawai’I Eagles Australian Rules Football Club.
Whilst competition is still a while away, with options for competition being looked at, the club is still moving in the right direction. Club founder, Dallas McCulloch, announced on the club’s Facebook page that the club “are hosting our first inner club match which is also the first United States Australian Football League sanctioned event in Hawai'i. We welcome pros and newcomers who have never played footy too, so come have a kick!.”
They have been nothing if not patient, but the West Lothian Eagles in Scotland’s SARFL competition have only a few months to go before they hit the field as a fully-fledged team in the national competition. Commencing with scratch matches across 2017, progressing to five non-competitive SARFL matches in 2018 and now moving to full competition for 2019, the Eagle’s journey continues.
With the release of the 2019 SARFL fixture, the Eagles can see what their future will throw at them. It begins with an historic opening home match against the Tyne Tees Tigers. Both teams were new to the competition last season, but the Tigers had full competitive status. This time, both will be ready for a match that offers four points to the winner.
The last time the teams met, the Eagles had a day to forget in Newcastle, going down by 139 points. However, 2019 is a different story. This time the Eagles are the hosts and they are also a season wiser and will be two pre-season’s stronger.
The National University League got back into gear last weekend. The following report comes from the www.afl.england.org website, detailing the results and the implications ahead of the final round next month.
Birmingham turned up the heat on home soil as they won all four of their games to jump to the top of both the Men’s and Women’s division.
After a bye in Round 2, the two sides jumped straight back into the fray as the men’s team kept up their unbeaten record.
A total of seven individual goal-kickers saw them see of the Universities of South Wales (UoSW) team, and they followed that up by soundly beating Cambridge. Four goals from James Williams and three for Ciaran Jeanes across the round helping their side secure a spot in the inaugural NUL Men’s Grand Final with a round to spare.
After having enjoyed their winter break, the AFL Middle East teams return to the field on Friday for their Australia Day round. With three rounds remaining, all teams can book a place in finals if they can win all remaining games and it starts Friday at the Dubai Sports City with a double-header. The Multiplex Bulls will meet the Abu Dhabi Falcons whilst the Dubai Dragons play the Dubai Dingoes.
The Bulls sit in second place with two wins. Another win against the Falcons will almost certainly ensure them a grand final berth. But it won’t be easy. The Falcons sit on the bottom of the ladder winless, yet have played far better than that position suggests. Should they upset the Bulls it will give them momentum to win all remaining games. The Bulls start favourites, yet the Falcons will be determined to turn their season around.
After bringing down the reigning premiers, the Tiwi Bombers will be reassessing their goals for the 2019 season. Their victory against the Southern Districts Crocs proved that they have the “A” game capable of reaching finals and causing havoc when they get there. But ahead is a period of developing consistency and belief – mixed with hard work – to finish the season well. Nevertheless, they now sit in fourth place and finals are theirs to lose.
Travelling to the Crocs home ground, and trailing at half time, the Bombers were up against it. But four unanswered third quarter goals saw the Bombers grab the lead and were good enough to increase that in the last quarter to win by 22 points. The loss was costly, though not terminal, for the Crocs as they lost their third game from their past four starts and need to regroup, answer the wake-up call and re-establish their premiership credentials.
Nicola Barr, the inaugural number one draft pick for the AFLW has made a name for herself not only on the footy field but also off field too.
“I have recently graduated from the degree and am now working at Starlight Children’s foundation as well as taking a couple of spin classes each week,” Barr said.
“Balancing these things in addition to AFLW training can be quite a challenge at times! For me the best way to juggle these commitments is to ensure that while I am doing something to be completely focused on it," Barr said.
This weekend in Birmingham, the National University league for men’s and women’s fixtures returns after their break. It will be the second last round in the competition’s inaugural season before a final round to be played in Wales (venue to be advised).
Going into the round, Oxford University has the bye. Their men’s team sits on top of the ladder, whilst their women’s team is second, but this round they can only watch as the other teams chase them. It is a huge opportunity for the host team, University of Birmingham, to seek two wins each in both men’s and women’s matches to chase top spot in both.
In this extraordinary story from Lucy Murray at ABC North West Queensland, the team from Lake Nash in the Northern Territory, their trials to simply get to a footy match are explored. If you like, it ould be called extreme car-pooling to get to a match each week. It is an amazing snapshot into what it takes to play footy in one of the most remote parts of Australia.
The Lake Nash Young Guns footy team struggles for money to travel the 600km to their games, and if they do not get a kangaroo on the way to the game, they most likely play on empty stomachs.
Alpurrurulam, or Lake Nash, as it is commonly known, is an Indigenous community on the Queensland–Northern Territory border.
In the centre of town is a red dirt Australian Rules Football Oval, where the Lake Nash Young Guns can be seen training every evening.
As they run, often barefoot, or in socks, they leave a trail of red dust behind them.
A thunderstorm and cloudburst, and a rampant Crocs outfit, were not enough to stop the Darwin Buffaloes from taking the four points in their match at TIO Stadium on Saturday. It was part of another exciting round that saw The Buffaloes grab a one point win, Palmerston held off Waratah by four points, The Tigers shook of a desperate Saints by 20 points and the Tiwi Bombers romped home by over 100 points against Wanderers.
Perhaps the match of the round, however, was the Buffaloes/Crocs clash. After a solid first half, where Darwin held a three-goal lead over Crocs at the main break, Southern Districts started to fight back in the second half to get to within seven points by the final change. But with a storm close, the final quarter was delayed until the all clear was given to resume. After the enforced break, Crocs kept coming, but Buffaloes held them off by just a solitary point.