In a match that was well off the radar with attention across Europe firmly turned towards the Champions League in Amsterdam, the Zagreb Hawks from Croatia extended their hand to the Bulgarian city of Sofia.
After an 800-mile journey from Croatia, through Serbia and into Bulgaria, the Hawks got the chance to play a match against the Sofia Magpies. Rather than fly, the team travelled cross-country in two vans for the historic occasion.
The Sofia Magpies are the lynchpin of the AFL Bulgaria brand. Already the club has a strong connection to the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL, and by extension the Port Adelaide Power, with the Magpies donating a set of the traditional “prison stripes” Port Adelaide jumpers for the Sofia team to play in.
Nik Constantinou has a dream. He wants to be a punter in American football, and is well on the road to that dream.
We see a great deal written about the journey other “cross coders” have made in leaving their homes overseas to try their hand at Australian Rules football after having played a range of sports including Gaelic Football, soccer, basketball and many more. We have also read about the drive to do so and the reasons behind the attraction.
But we rarely, by comparison, read about the motivation of Australians who do the reverse: leave behind a life in Australian Rules football to go to the United States of America to give punting a go in American Football (Gridiron – maybe NFL).
Nik has shared some of his insights into a journey he has commenced to chase a relatively new dream – but a dream just the same.
The AFL Europe Champions League tournament was played this weekend in Amsterdam. The West Clare Waves from Ireland continued their dominance, winning back-to-back titles in the women’s draw.
In the men’s draw it was a changing of the guard as the West London Wildcats were usurped by the host nation’s Amsterdam Devils. The Wildcats have been the only previous winner of the men’s draw, winning all four previous events staged since 2015. Now the Amsterdam Devils are champions and the toast of the Netherlands Aussie Rules community.
The 2019 Champions League featured 23 teams (15 men’s and 8 women’s teams – an increase on the 2018 teams) and was played with seeded groupings.
In the men’s draw, the Amsterdam Devils downed the Belfast Redbacks whilst the West Clare Waves defeated the Wandsworth Demons.
Now that the pre-season action of the Rebel Shield, Leprechaun Cup and this weekend’s AFL Europe Champions League in Amsterdam are done, the eyes of Ireland will turn to the new AFL Ireland domestic seasons.
The draw for the 2019 men’s season was released this week. In a revamp of the competition, each round will return to two venues with two home teams, replacing the more recent format of small round robins hosted by clubs across Ireland.
The release of the women’s 2019 season draw will follow soon.
The new AFL Colombia season has begun and the flagless Bogotá Bombers got away to a perfect start, downing the Bogotá Bullants by 15 points to draw first blood for 2019. The following report comes from the Bogotá Bulldogs/AFL Colombia.
The 2019 CAFL season opened on Saturday with the Bogotá Bombers emerging 15-point victors from a tightly contested clash with reigning premiers, the Bogotá Bullants.
The contest began as a scrappy affair, neither side making the most of their chances, and a tug of war in midfield. CAFL debutante Angela Toro and Fernando León led the way for the Bombers, while last year’s league Best and Fairest winner (check this) Yesid Gonzalez and Dominic Fuentes matched them for touches. The Bombers struggled to a narrow seven-point lead at the first break, having kicked a wasteful 2.4 to 1.3, the Bullants’ lone goal coming from a lovely left-foot snap by Camilo Vinasco.
Round 3 of the 2019 AFL Season kicks off tonight (Melbourne time) at the Adelaide Oval with Adelaide hosting Geelong. US viewers will be able to see Mason Cox, now able to play since his rough conduct charge was downgraded to a fine. His Magpies will play the West Coast Eaqles at the MCG at 04:00am Saturday morning EDT.
The full international broadcast schedule for the round can be seen below.
In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only).
The AFL Tribunal will sit tomorrow night, Tuesday April 2 5pm (Melbourne local time), to hear the charge laid against Collingwood’s Mason Cox.
Mason Cox, was charged with engaging in Rough Conduct against Dylan Grimes, Richmond during the fourth quarter of the Round Two match between Richmond and Collingwood, played at the MCG on Thursday night March 28, 2019.
The ALFA Lions have downed the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes this weekend and in the process have all but secured another finals battle. Disappointed they missed the finals last season, the Lions had set their target to see finals this season. Now they have effectively done so and can prepare for the next phase of the season.
That phase will be a “top of the table” clash with the Paris Cockerels in the final round. There could be no better preparation going into finals that a clash with another potential grand finalist. Their biggest advantage is that the clash will be at their home ground Lyon.
Their victory against the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes by 36 points had two effects. Firstly, it locked in their own finals booking, but it also placed the Coyotes in a dangerous situation.
It can only be a matter of time before a UCC Bombers incarnation becomes a fully-fledged AFL Ireland team. Whilst still a university team, the Bombers showed again they have the talent to compete at a higher level, downing the Leeside Lions for the first time since 2017 in the Rebel Shield’s second leg.
The following is a small article from the Leeside Lions Facebook page, detailing the day.
In a fixture that traditionally marks the start of the AFL season in Cork and the closing of the college season. The Rebel shield again failed to disappoint. With the Lions holding a 17 point advantage over their opponents the UCC Bombers from the first leg a fast start was needed by the Bombers to breathe life into their challenge and fast start is exactly what they got racing into a four goals to one lead in the first quarter.