The Bordeaux Bombers have had a delayed start to the season – partly due to postponements, partly weather – and have had to wait until Round 3 to take the field and begin their 2019/20 campaign.
However, the wait was certainly worth it as the Bombers held on for a narrow two-point win against the in-form ALFA Lions in Lyon. In a game described by the Lions as “a game of huge intensity”, which remained “intense to the end”, the Bombers have made it one win from one game and a positive start to the season.
It was a surprise loss for the Lions – a home match and coming on the heels of a record victory the previous match. Certainly, it raises the question of consistency for the Lions and this will need to be addressed when teams return to the fields of battle after the winter break. The Lions have a huge percentage, but now sit with just one win from three matches and will need to come back hard after the break.
The inaugural AFL Ireland Leeside League competition was completed last week with the Leeside Lions pipping the CIT Saints on for and against to finish on top of the ladder. Results were not based on a finals series as such, but based on where each team finished after their six matches.
The Leeside Lions and CIT Saints (Cork Institute of Technology) finished the season with four wins apiece after the final round of matches. The Lions had the superior percentage.
The Leeside League Facebook page reported:
“And that's a wrap on The Leeside League 2019. Phew, some going! The Leeside Lions powered home to claim the cup as inaugural winners, hearty congratulations lads. Hard luck to CIT Saints who were pipped at the end by score difference only, great showing boys.”
After a season start which saw Wanderers, Waratah, St Mary’s and Darwin showing big improvements since last season, recent weeks have seen a return to order. Nightcliff and Southern Districts are back in the top two places on the ladder and beginning to show their dominance as the competition heads towards the midway point.
Whilst Round 7 was full of upsets – the Tiwi Bombers upsetting Southern Districts and St Mary’s downing the Tigers – this weekend’s results saw more predictable results.
Nightcliff responded to their shock loss last week with a 73-point drubbing of Wanderers, whilst Southern Districts were just as effective in bouncing back with a 59-point win over Palmerston.
It sees the Tigers sitting on top of the ladder with a game and a half break from the Crocs. The Darwin Buffaloes, St Mary’s and Tiwi Bombers make up the top five.
The opening round of the National University League was played last weekend, hosted by Oxford University. The day was won by Cambridge University in the men’s division, winning both of their games against Oxford University and South Wales Universities, as did the women in their matches.
The conditions were not ideal for footy, but that didn’t stop all teams from hurling themselves at the ball all day. In the first two men’s matches, the Cambridge crew won their matches against both Oxford and South Wales by comfortable margins before Oxford won the last men’s match by 72 points against South Wales.
Last weekend, two French teams not competing in the national league this year – the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes and Lille Eagles - took the field against each other to keep their teams active, motivated and keen for next season. Next weekend a third French team – the Perpignan Tigers – will do the same when they venture to Manchester, England, for this year’s Movember Cup.
The club has been having a rebuild during their two-season long hiatus from the premier French footy competition. However, armed with seven new players for the club, the Tigers are keen to give this new-look team a decent run against quality opposition to build for a possible re-entry to the big time next season.
This will be the first time the Perpignan Tigers will compete in the Movember Cup, but it is a great experience for the club and an exciting move for French footy and the wider European scene. They will only have a men’s team enter, but that ill open the door for women’s teams from Perpignan next year.
The Dubai Dingoes have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent years, surprising almost everyone in the AFL Middle East world. Their victory over competition behemoth, the Dubai Dragons, on Friday was as unexpected as it was exhilarating – especially for the Dingoes.
The club has had a tough time over the past few seasons, being a perennial prey for other teams, secure in the knowledge that at least they’ll get a win against them. How that has now changed. The Dingoes 34-point victory over the Dubai Dragons has made the club believe that they can be a finals candidate again. Other clubs can now wipe away the smug smiles when they play the Dingoes with victory no longer a given.
With Essendon’s Conor McKenna playing in a game of Gaelic Football when home in Ireland recently, the spotlight has turned to the question of whether or not Irish footballers playing with AFL clubs in Australia be allowed to play for their local clubs/leagues in Gaelic Football matches when they return home, usually in off-seasons.
When reading the media stories and associated fan comments, there is something of a polarisation in opinion. One camp is firmly in the “too big a risk of injury”, and therefore cannot be allowed. The other camp sits largely along the lines of a trip to Ireland is a player’s private time and they are entitled to risk injury.
The clear third option is that the issue isn’t risk of injury, it is the fact that a simple enquiry to their club to advise or discuss the matter may have made a big difference.
The AFL and GAA have been in talks over the past few months and finally have agreed to resume the International Rules series in November 2020 in Ireland.
The announcement from the GAA stated that the return leg in Austalia will be played in 2022, presumably also in November. The AFL have been pushing for a number of years for a match in the US (likely New York) but it does not appear to have been agreed upon by the Irish. Australia will instead again have a training camp in New York.
Australia currently hold the Cormac McAnallen Trophy after they won the last series of matches in Adelaide and Perth in 2017.
There has been no indication whether there will be an equivalent AFLW vs LGFA, but we hold out hope that this can happen for the first time since an Australian women's team played the Irish LFGA team in 2006.
After just two completed rounds in the CNFA season, the Bayonne Toreadors are the surprise ladder leaders. Their upset victory against reigning premiers, the Paris Cockerels, has propelled the Toreadors to top spot early in just their second season in the competition.
In the other match, a massive win to the ALFA Lions sees them with a healthy percentage and sitting in second place.
Bayonne hosted the Cockerels in wet conditions. The club has acknowledged that their hard work last year and across the pre-season is paying off, and the evidence is there after downing both the Cockerels and Stade Toulousain. After a tight and tough affair, the Toreadors held on for a well-deserved 15-point win. This sets up a fascinating third round – the last before the winter break – where the Toreadors will host newcomers, the Antony Blues, and could well go to the break undefeated after three rounds and in a huge position to make an assault on finals football in their second season.
Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the latest young footballer to turn his back on a career in the AFL to pursue punting in the NFL. Son of Essendon legend, Mason Fletcher, has decided not to continue in the footsteps of his esteemed father, Dustin Fletcher and grand-father, Ken Fletcher to try his hand – or foot – at the American game.
A BOOMING Fletcher boot could soon be set for the world stage after Dustin's son Mason quit football to pursue NFL punting.
The father-son prospect informed Essendon of his decision to end dreams as an AFL defender in recent weeks and begin chasing a career in the USA.
Fletcher, 19, opted to sit out of last year's NAB AFL Draft after a season plagued by back injuries, instead eyeing the 2020 drafts as a pathway to the Bombers.
The following article from Matthew Abbot at The New York Times (www.nytimes.com ) is a wonderful account of how important the game is to players in some of Australia’s most isolated locations. World Footy News has previously explored Lajamanu football (See: Lajamanu Footy – “The lifeblood of the community”) and what the game means to them. This story, from New York – half a world away from Lajamanu and Yuendumu – again tells an amazing tale of determination against all manner of odds.
For Indigenous Australians in isolated towns, “bush footy” is more religion than sport. Neither distance, the police nor even death can keep teams from competing.
LAJAMANU, Australia — Halfway into a 400-mile journey through a dusty stretch of the Australian desert, the team’s minibus ran into trouble.
The players, Warlpiri Australians from one of the country’s most isolated towns, were headed to a carnival, a celebration of sport and culture that brings together far-flung Indigenous communities from across the Central Desert.