The inaugural clash between the Irish Universities and the Great Britain NUL All Stars (National University League) took place in Dublin this weekend. The concept is almost the “lovechild’ of the Fitzpatrick Cup and the NUL, bringing the best of years and years of university football development to an international level.
Many years of hard work has gone into the development of the game at university level across Great Britain and Ireland, with many people involved in the journey – and the success. To see this tournament come to fruition is testament to their hard work and passion. In many ways, the teams that took their field did so as much about recognising that effort as it was about the result.
In the end, the Great Britain team outlasted the Irish by just three points in a thriller.
After playing finals in 2017, the Odense Lions dropped to a wooden spoon in the DAFL last season. Since then, the Lions have done a mountain of work on and off the field to build a better future and it paid off handsomely on the weekend when they downed the reigning premiers.
Odense got off to a huge start in their clash with the Copenhagen Giants, kicking to the scoring end and opening up a four-goal quarter-time break. The Giants came back hard in the second to trail by just five points at the main break. During the third quarter, the Lions kicked ahead and had opened up a 26-point lead at the final change.
The last quarter saw the Giants, shocked out of any complacency, throwing everything at the Lions. In the end, the Lions held on by just three points to start the season as winners and have already equalled their win total of last season. Even though the Giants were missing key players, the Lions will be delighted with the win and excited about the rest of the season.
Australian Rules football in Colombia, South America, is about to take another leap forward with the upcoming visit by the Austin Crows from Texas. The entire footy community across Colombia is excited at the upcoming ‘Fossil Cup’ to be played Saturday week at the Los Pinos Polo Club in western Bogotá.
According to Bogotá Bulldogs president, Paddy Smallwood, the name of the event arises from “the 'Campbell-Wiltshire Fossil Cup' [which] represents the long in the tooth legends of our game and clubs, who forever retire next game, push it a yard too far, yet remain the fabric and glue of any great club.”
The match itself will be the first of three international games this year for the Bogotá Bulldogs. In May the Denver Bulldogs arrive from Colorado for a very canine clash. Later in the year the 2019 Andes Cup will be played against the Santiago Saints from Chile to again decide the best team in South America.
At the completion of Round 8 in France’s CNFA Leo Legrange competition, the Paris Cockerels have joined the ALFA Lions as finals certainties. Victory on the weekend for the Paris Cockatoos certainly has them into the finals again as well.
They most likely need the four points from their next scheduled match again Stade Toulousain ‘A’ to make sure, unlike the Cockerels and Lions who cannot be displaced.
The biggest battleground will be for fourth place. Currently, the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes hold fourth place ahead of the Bordeaux Bombers on percentage. Whichever team performs best in their final match in coming rounds will possibly grab the remaining finals berth.
AFL Europe are pleased to announce that their partnership with National Australia Bank will extend into 2019, making it a two-year consecutive partnership to date.
National Australia Bank is returning as the major partner for the 2019 ANZAC Cup. Held in the small town of Villers-Bretonneux in northern France, the match will showcase the Australian Spirit and the French National sides in both the men and women’s competitions, as each side attempts to claim victory in the 11th instalment of this special event.
The new SARFL league season got underway last weekend with the reigning premiers, the Edinburgh Bloods, sending a clear message to the rest of the competition – to take our title away, you have to beat us. Hard to argue after the Bloods downed the Glasgow Giants by 86 points.
Up against an undermanned Giants team, the Bloods used the conditions to advantage. Leading by just two points at the first break, Edinburgh ran away in the second quarter to open up a handy five-goal lead.
The third quarter saw both teams holding ground, but the Bloods had all the run in the final term, taking control of the centre corridor, to take the game away from the Giants.
It is a profound start to the season for the Bloods – every win is valuable and to start the season with victory already puts them immediately into the finals frame. It was also significant to win away from home in Glasgow. The Giants will be disappointed to lose, but they also know they can come back from this defeat.
Riley Beveridge reports on the www.afl.com.au website the deal that will see the Port Adelaide Power and St Kilda commit to China for another three years. With new teams and leagues continuing to grow across Asia, the news will be welcomed as the centrepiece to future Asian development from grass roots to elite levels.
PORT Adelaide has struck a deal to take on St Kilda in its annual China clash from 2019 and beyond, with the two sides confirming a three-year agreement on Thursday.
Gold Coast had been Port Adelaide's opponents in Shanghai over the past two seasons, with the first home and away game played on Chinese soil back in the 2017 campaign.
However, the Saints will replace the Suns in 'hosting' a match at Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium, which has a capacity of around 11,000 people for AFL matches.
Next year's match will be played on a Sunday in round 11, with the AFL confirming that the two sides will again have the bye the following week as they return to Australia.
The opening round of footy in Germany (AFLG) got underway on the weekend. The Berlin Crocs hosted the round robin that saw them up against the Rheinland Lions and the newly renamed Zuffenhausen Giants (formerly known as the Württemberg Giants).
Zuffenhausen, like Württemberg, is a part of suburban Stuttgart with the base for the club now in the north of the city (Zuffenhausen) rather than the east (Württemberg).
After going down to the Hamburg Dockers in last season’s AFLG Grand Final, the Crocs were determined to get their year off to the best possible start. They succeeded with big wins over both teams. Already the Crocs have made it clear they want to exorcise the demons of 2018’s premiership defeat.
From the earliest days of Australian Rules football in India, one young man has dedicated his time beyond expectations to help grow the game. Sumesh Sawant (also known to some as Sumesh Bond) has been involved as a player, coach, official, teacher and so many other roles and he is only 24 years old.
When I spoke to him a few years ago, Sumesh said he fell in love with the game when introduced to is as a teenager, mainly because of the athleticism and strong body contact involved. He also loved learning the skills, but especially loved the team aspects of the game, and has made many of his friends today from his involvement in the game.
Whilst there are times where the unification of all footy parties in India could be questioned, there is no questioning Sumesh’s commitment to the game. He has been a constant conduit between the kids and players from many sectors of Indian communities and the organisations running the game. His own infectious enthusiasm has been spread to others, helping grow the game in India.
(Picture: Sumesh with then AFL India President Sudip Chakraborty in 2013)
History was made last week in Bogota when the first ever women's footy match was played in South America. In a prelude to the opening AFL Colombia match between the Bogota Bombers and Bogota Bullants, each team fielded a first ever women's team.
For the record, the game was a thriller with the Bombers holding on to defeat the Bullants by two points. The final score saw the Bombers 2 6 18 defeat the Bullants 2 4 16. The following link shows the first women's goal kicked in South America.