The ALFA Lions have had a rocky start to their title defence so far, losing their opening games of the season. The Toulouse Hawks spent last season assisting in the development of their cross-town rivals. Yet both of these teams threw off the various monkeys from their backs yesterday to record big wins and set up their seasons in a positive – and slightly worrying way. Two of the leagues heavy hitters are back in town.
The Toulouse derby between the Hawks and Aviators was always going to be a test for both teams. The Hawks were determined to recapture the title of Toulouse’s best whilst the Aviatiors were equally determined to show how far they have grown in just over a year.
When young Zac Bailey galloped out of a centre clearance for the Allies, in their clash with the Vic Metro team at the Under 18 National Championships earlier this year, he changed the game and ensured an upset Allies win. He may have hoped for, but couldn’t know, that he had also turned on the neon sign that alerted recruiters to his talent and potential. Not only did he gain All-Australian U18 selection, he also lit the pathway lights to draft day.
It was, therefore, little surprise to those who know him that Bailey was selected by the Brisbane Lions at last night’s NAB Rising Stars Draft at pick 15. The journey had reached a new destination, and young Zac now has a dream come true – an AFL career. The junior from Southern Districts Crocs in the NTFL had followed past Territorians to the highest level of the game.
The Dubai Dragons have taken out the latest Dubai derby, downing the Dubai Dingoes by 68 points at Dubai Sports City. The Dragons were relentless, leading and extending their advantage at every break and never looking like allowing the Dingoes back into the match.
Even though the first quarter saw just two goals to one in favour of the Dragons, the real story was in the poor kicking by the Dragons – eleven scoring shots to one showed more clearly where the match might be headed. By the final change the Dragons had put the game to rest with a 47 point lead, going on then to a comfortable victory. Darcy O’Sullivan kicked three goals for the Dragons whilst Jess Mcguirk kicked three for the Dingoes.
Final Scores: Dubai Dragons 13 24 102 d Dubai Dingoes 5 4 34
The 2017 AFL Oceania Cup will be returning to Fiji on December 4th.
A total of four countries will be competing at the event, which is one of the most significant summer footy tournaments in the world. AFL Fiji has experienced rapid growth within the past few years, highlighted by the men’s national team (the Tribe) finishing sixth earlier this year at the International Cup. The Fiji Vonu, the women’s team, finished fifth.
A country with no shortage of raw athletes, Fiji has recently become home to an AFL girls’ developmental academy, as well as a rapidly-growing Under-15s program, known as the Junior Tribe.
As draft time approaches the thoughts turn to which players clubs will pursue. In an increasingly competitive drafting world, teams are less cavalier about taking risks on project players that might just clog up lists. Many clubs have signed international players to their lists – but not all.
North Melbourne is one club - Melbourne is another. There are others. This is not finger waving at all. There are perfectly valid reasons why clubs have not pursued this line of recruiting at this time and have steered in a different direction.
But history tells us that there are gems. Jim Stynes (Melbourne) won a Brownlow Medal. Tadgh Kennelly and Mike Pyke (both Sydney Swans) won premierships. Zac Tuohy (Geelong) and Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast) are fast approaching 150 AFL games. Conor McKenna (Essendon) was touted by talent guru, Kevin Sheehan, as potentially the best Irish player of all.
The 2017 Nathan Blakey Memorial Movember Cup has been won by the University of Birmingham Lions, downing the London-based visitors – the Wandsworth Demons. In a tight final, after a great day of round matches featuring teams from the AFLCNE as well as the University of Birmingham teams and the Demons, it was the Lions that held on by eight points.
According to the Lion’s own social media information, “yesterday was a big day for the club. One big trophy for the cabinet and, importantly, three teams put forward in one of the biggest cup competitions in Aussie Rules in Great Britain.”
“The Mens' 1s got off to a strong start, beating the Mozzies by five goals to three. Big shout out to Toby Webster for doing a fantastic job marking Great Britain Australian Rules Football forward, alumni and club legend Andy Walkden out of the game. In the second game, we went down to a different Mozzies team that, after a close first half, pulled away in the second through their quality and strength all over the park.”
Carlton has today announced they have signed talented Irish youngster Cillian McDaid as an international rookie. The signing does not come as a big surprise as the story has been doing the rounds in the Irish press in the past couple of weeks.
The 20-year-old Gaelic footballer from Galway in Ireland has been signed on the two-year minimum deal for International rookies..
McDaid was one of four Irishmen to trial in Florida earlier this year with the NAB academy tour of the United States.
Stephen Silvagni said the Blues were “very pleased Cillian has agreed to join Carlton, and we think he is an exciting young prospect for our club,”
“We have followed Cillian’s progress closely throughout the year and he uses the ball incredibly well. He is a determined young man of terrific character and we feel he will be a good cultural fit for our playing group too.
Australia has reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Trophy in dramatic fashion, winning the 2017 International Rules Series in warm, partly cloudy conditions in Perth on Saturday. It was an exciting clash, with tempers flaring periodically and 30,000-plus spectators coming down to Subiaco Oval one last time to catch a contest.
Joel Selwood was reported for high contact, causing a melee shortly right before halftime; the Geelong star was sent off with a black card with Ireland holding to a 13-point lead. The Irish were able to use accurate kicks and quality defensive pressure early on to hold Nat Fyfe and Patrick Dangerfield. Once again, Michael Murphy and Conor McManus were the major stars for the visitors.
This week saw the best men’s footballers from Ireland and Australia’s native football codes take part in the hybrid series of International Rules. The series saw two close matches that was well received by crowds at the game and on TV. So if the best men of the game can represent their country in this format surely the women can take part too?
In fact they did back in 2006. Julia Boyle who played for Australia in the 2006 Women’s International Rules Series against Ireland told me, “it was the biggest highlight of my football career. I had played both Gaelic Football since I was 17 and VWFL since I was 19, I had represented Victoria in both Codes and had also won two World Cups for Australia in Gaelic Football. I had pretty much retired from AFL in 2002 after Parkside folded and was just playing /concentrating Gaelic Football. When word got around that the series was going to happen, I started playing AFL again."
"It was very hard juggling commitments to both codes, often having to play two matches on the one day. I remember the 5 months leading up to the selection trials in the July 2006 I lost nearly 25kg, and I was the fittest I had ever been. The quality of the players that were selected Australia wide were the best in the country at the time, so it was very competitive in selection”.
Last season was one to forget for the Tiwi Bombers. A wooden spoon followed some ordinary performances across the season and led to a commitment from everyone at the club to access all areas and find improvement. Their win on the weekend made in three in seven rounds – already surpassing their total wins for last season. Positive signs are coming from the Tiwi Islands as the club rebuilds.
A home fixture for Waratah didn’t help greatly as the Tiwi Bombers got away to a handy early lead and still held a 20 point lead at the main break, courtesy of an after-the-siren goal to former Melbourne Demon Liam Jurrah, lining up again for the Bombers. A seven goal third quarter for the Bombers put the game safely out of the reach of Waratah, despite a 12 goal shoot-out in the last quarter, with Waratah kicking seven to reduce the gap. The Bombers would be heartened by the performance of first game player Jake Best who kicked seven goals in his Bomber debut.
Recently, World Footy News reported of the decision that would see the Doha Kangaroos in Qatar stand down from fielding a team in the AFL Middle East competition for the current 2017/18 season. Their intention was to rise out the current travel restrictions between some Middle East nations and return to the league when travel became less difficult. (See story: Doha Kangaroos On Hold)
To ensure the teams stay fit and remain together, both the Doha Kangaroos (AFL) and the Qatar GAA (Gaelic Football) teams have come together in a unifying tournament with a view to their respective league returns.
Essendon’s first to fourth year players have returned to the club for pre-season training, and the first order of business has been visiting communities across the “Top End” of the Northern Territory. Natalie MacGregor has reported on the club’s website that star Bomber, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and the rest of the touring squad visited Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land approximately 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Giving back to the community is important to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Visiting the remote indigenous community of Maningrida, West Arnhem Land, as part of the Club’s ‘Right of Passage’ camp with first to fourth year players this week, McDonald-Tipungwuti said the group would benefit greatly from the experience.
“The players will take a lot away from the whole experience,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.