After another flawless season, the Belfast Redbacks have achieved their goal of winning back to bag Irish premierships by downing the Leeside Lions last weekend. In a close and tough encounter, it took until the final term for the heavily fancied Redbacks to shake off the persistent Lions to run out 29-point winners.
The margin seems significant, but probably does little to really show how gallant the Leeside Lions were in defeat, and how hard the Redbacks had to work to defend their title and complete a second successive undefeated season.
The Lions certainly came to play and by half time actually trailed by just seven points. The fact that they also dominated the scoring shots for the half – 11 to 8 – was cause for concern in the Redbacks camp. The Redbacks held sway largely through a better conversion rate on the scoreboard – in general play things were far more even.
The last few rounds of the AFL season ushered in many new talents across many clubs as they blooded players that either needed another look, or needed the senior AFL experience to prosper into the future. Hawthorn and Essendon were two clubs that tired this, but in their cases they were giving the football world a glimpse into the next phase of African nation footballers.
Round 21 saw Hawthorn debut their exciting youngster, Changkuoth Jiath. His first game, played in Canberra complete with snowfall, saw the highly athletic Jiath galloping all over the field and picking up a handy 11 possessions, five of which were contested. It was a confident start to a career in the big league.
Reigning SARFL premiers, the Edinburgh Bloods, had a tough road to negotiate, but they came up trumps last weekend when they downed the Glasgow Sharks in the Scottish Grand Final.
After going down to the Sharks in their semi-final, the Bloods had to negotiate the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Preliminary Final to gain another shot. They did, and after their 44-point win on Saturday, they have retained their title as the best team in Scotland.
In a game “played in great spirits”, the Bloods got away early but only held a four goal lead just after half time. The Sharks could have closed the gap. However, the Bloods sensed danger and by three-quarter time had pulled away to a 42-point lead, effectively ending any chance of a Sharks' revival.
His mission is simple. Go to Pakistan, meet with the people who can grow the game in the nation and work with coaches, players, administrators and potential supporters of the game to further develop AFL Pakistan’s great work to date. Michael Gallus is the man on the mission, and is the right man for the job.
Michael Gallus is already widely known as the founder and administrator of the Footys4All Foundation, a charity that has already distributed sporting equipment all over Australia and the world. More recently, however, Michael took the coaching reins of the Pakistan Shaheens women’s team at the IC17 event in Melbourne.
He has maintained contact since then, both with players and those off-field, placing him in a position of both knowledge and connections to drive the rapid development of the game taking place across Pakistan.
The kids came from everywhere, seemingly. From Gladstone to the south of Rockhampton, north to the Torres Strait and scattered inland towns and cities, school teams descended on the Barrier Reef Arena at Harrup Park in Mackay, North Queensland. It was a showcase of school talent – the North Queensland championships of the Queensland Schools Cup.
Queensland footy continues to grow – at grass roots and the highest level. The Brisbane Lions’ win over Geelong this weekend saw them go to the top of the AFL ladder with a round to go before finals. The Gold Coast Suns have had a horrid season, yet they boast four Cairns players in Jack Bowes, Jarrod Harbrow, Jacob Heron and Caleb Graham.
Next season, the AFLW will feature Cairns’ women Elisha King (North Melbourne) and Kitara Farrar-Whap (Gold Coast).
However, the championships played last week in Mackay featured the future beyond those players already mentioned. Amongst the teams of primary and secondary aged students who took the fields last Tuesday were the next breed – the next Jack Bowes or the next Elisha King.
A recently released film clip of a 1947 fund-raising women's football match has been released by the AFL and Samsung. The clip brings to vivid life a match which, in many ways, acts as a vanguard for women's football. Whilst the game has been played by women since the origins of the game, this brilliantly restored clip shows women playing the game at an advanced level long before many believed was so.
The Edinburgh Bloods have the chance to defend their AFL Scotland/SARFL premiership title when they go on to meet the Glasgow Sharks next weekend in the 2019 Scottish Grand Final. Their solid victory against the Tyne Tees Tigers this weekend confirmed their booking and gives the Bloods a chance to go back to back.
In a tight match, scores were locked to three-quarter time. According to the Edinburgh Bloods Facebook page, “the Bloods are in the Granny! Very hard fought win in horrible windy conditions today. The game was all square until the fourth quarter where we managed to pull away with several unanswered goals. Thanks to the Tigers for a great game and all the best for next season.”
The Bloods and Sharks live on to fight another day for the 2019 premiership, but in many ways the story of the weekend could be the Tyne Tees Tigers. Whilst they would be disappointed to have lost a chance to reach their first ever Grand Final, they should also revel in the success of their best season to date.
The Leeside Lions have pulled off an upset result by defeating the Galway Magpies in the AFL Ireland Preliminary Final to book a place in the 2019 Grand Final. After a solid season from the Magpies, and an at times indifferent season from the Lions, the game proved that history matters little and the best team on any given day will win.
According to the Leeside Lions’ Facebook page, “last Saturday saw the Lions take on the Galway Magpies in the Preliminary Final with the Winner advancing to take on the reigning premiers the Belfast Redbacks in the Grand Final.”
“The Lions hoped to put their disappointing end to the regular season behind them and with the head to head standing at 1 each this season against the Pies the third instalment was always going to be a tight affair.”
The men’s and women’s squads to represent Great Britain (the men’s GB Bulldogs and the women’s GB Swans) have been announced today ahead of the AFL Europe 2019 European Championship to be held in London in October. This is the premier 18 per side international tournament in Europe and the following lists of players have received the honour of representing Great Britain.
The DAFL season in Denmark resumed last weekend after a summer hiatus. Only one game was played to kick things off and it was an important one in the context of finals challengers. The Copenhagen Giants clashed with the Odense Lions, ostensibly in the battle for third place and jostling for best position entering the finals with five rounds left to play.
Going into the match, the Lions were well placed having beaten the Giants last time they played in Round 1. The Lions were also playing at their new home at Bolbro and held third position. However, after an indifferent start to their season, the Giants were on a roll with two wins from their past three matches leading into the break.
The first week of the AFL Scotland SARFL finals was played out yesterday. The Glasgow Sharks continued their impressive season with a solid 25-point win against last season’s premiers the Edinburgh Bloods. In the other semi final, the Tyne Tees Tigers celebrated their first ever finals match across two leagues with an emphatic hammering of the Glasgow Giants by 120 points.
The results see the Sharks book a berth in the 2019 Grand Final and also strengthen their premiership favouritism. The historic win for the Tigers was their first victory in a final in their very first finals match. They now have a second final, at least, taking on the Edinburgh Bloods in the Preliminary Final for the right to challenge the Sharks for the 2019 flag.