Back in 2013 I wrote an article which promoted the value and merit of school footy (see School Footy – the Aussie Rules Nursery). The article considered how important the school footy nursery was to club football. However, it also considered many of the challenges faced by schools and clubs in keeping numbers sustainable. Another factor considered was the devaluation of school footy inasmuch as some sectors did not recognise the value of school football adequately.
Much has changed since 2013, and school football has risen to greater heights – at least in my experience. The increase in women’s and youth girl’s football has contributed to this.
Our own Pyramid Power girls in Cairns have taken the link between school football and club football to an unusual, but potentially game-changing place.
The new CNFA fixture for the 2018/19 Australian Football season has been released. With the Coupe de France kicking off in Bordeaux next month, the first round will commence on 20th October. The new season sees more changes, with a nine-team competition welcoming the Bayonne Toreadors to the CNFA.
Another significant change is the dropping of the Blagnac Aviators brand in favour of two Toulouse-based teams – currently under the monikers of Toulouse 1 and 2. The format will see nine rounds across the period October to May and a grand final in June. Again, there will be a mid-season break from mid-December to early March. The Coupe du Nord (North Cup) and Coupe du Sud (South Cup) will be played in February. The season gets under way a week after the Euro Cup in Cork, Ireland.
The most interesting addition is the Bayonne Toreadors. Bayonne is a small city located in the far south-west of France, in the Basque region. It sits some 30 kilometres from the Spanish border in an area with a long history of bull-fighting, hence the nickname “Toreadors”. The club has been developing in the background of the CNFA’s past seasons and they are ready to step up into the “big league” of French clubs.
In one of the biggest upsets of the season, and in a game described by some as one of the greatest grand finals in SARFL history, the Edinburgh Bloods have won the 2018 AFL Scotland premiership. In a dramatic match, the Bloods have come from behind to grab the title by just five points from the Glasgow Sharks.
Going into the game, many outside of Edinburgh believed that it would be the Sharks’ year. They lost just once for the season and defeated the Bloods earlier in the season. However, as has been proved many times before, grand finals are different beasts and nothing is guaranteed. The best team on the day will always beat the best reputation.
The day began with the women’s curtain-raiser match between the “Bloodenas” and the “Giant SheEagles”. The Bloodenas grabbed the early lead and kept that ball rolling with a 51-point victory. The final scores saw the “Bloodenas” 9 8 62 defeat the “SheEagles” 1 5 11.
Round 22 of the 2018 AFL Season kicks off Friday night Melbourne time with ladder leader Richmond hosting Essendon at the MCG.
The full 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).
You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL promo shot on the left to register and by then paying the subscription fee.
Right now Watch AFL is offering The Finals Series Pass providing instant access and goes through to the 30th November 2018. This includes the Grand Final.. This pass includes all AFL Premiership season matches live and on replay, the Finals Series plus access to FOX FOOTY content.
September 2015 and the Box Hill Hawks went down in the VFL Grand Final at Etihad Stadium. I was reporting that day for WorldFootyNews because of the presence of Kurt Heatherley and Shem Tatupu - 2 NZ products who had made it to the cusp of the big time in footy.
For Heatherley - a sprinkling of (5) AFL games for Hawthorn since then - a lack of opportunities in 2018, in part due to injuries in the first half of the season - is finishing off solidly with the Box Hill Hawks. For Tatupu - after that loss at Etihad - his career took a U-Turn as he quit the Hawks and tried his luck at Melbourne Storm (Rugby League).
As the home and away season in Germany came to a close on the weekend, the top three teams – Hamburg Dockers, Munich Kangaroos and Berlin Crocodiles – used their respective games to prepare for what lies ahead as well as proving to all and sundry that they have the talent required to go all the way in 2018.
The Dockers and Kangaroos, the two best performed teams across the season, finished with big wins in excess of 100 points. The Berlin Croodiles also won, but were given a torrid time by the Dresden Wolves.
The Hamburg Dockers hosted the Rheinland Lions and turned on a superb defensive performance. Whilst they were able to score at will across the afternoon, their efforts in keeping the fourth-placed Lions to just two behinds for the day should be a warning to all other finalists – to beat us you will have to outscore us, and good luck with that. The Dockers took command early and kept their foot on the Lion throats for a 113-point win.
Both the Santiago Saints and Bogota Bulldogs are feverishly preparing for the biggest South American match of the year – the Andes Cup – to be played in Bogota on Saturday 25th August. The Bulldogs are current title-holders and have won the title both years since the inception of the event. However, the Saints have been getting closer and maybe this will be their year.
President of the Bogota Bulldogs, Paddy Smallwood, shared his thoughts ahead of the historic clash – the showpiece of Australian football in South America.
“[Our] season goes into recess now as the Andes Cup vs Chile takes place in two weeks. The Bulldogs squad will be massively different to previous teams, with many great players having left Colombia and many new Colombian players forcing their way into the squad.”
The second AFL Colombia season has already produced surprising results, with inaugural flag winner, the DC Aguilas, already slipping behinds the other teams and at risk of being unable to defend their title from earlier in the year. President of AFL Colombia, Paddy Smallwood, looks at the last two matches.
“The Aguilas, coming off a defeat to the Bullants in Round 1, needed to back up and face the Bombers. Again, with a number of key players missing through injury and vacations, the reigning premiers had their backs against the wall for the second week running, and the lack of confidence showed early.”
“The Bombers jumped out of the blocks and stunned the Aguilas with an impressive seven goal four to the Aguilas scoreless first quarter. Some quarter time adjustments and composure where exactly what the Aguilas needed. Any thought of the contest being over where extinguished with three quick-fire goals to the Aguilas breathing life back into the contest. The Bombers then steadied with two of their own before the the Aguilas responded again to take out the quarter four goals to two.”
It was veteran Channel 7 commentator Anthony Hudson who uttered the famous words “who would have thought the sequel would be just as good as the original” when the West Coast Eagles defeated the Sydney Swans by one point for the AFL flag in 2006. This was in response to the Swans winning by less than a goal in 2005.
Fast forward to London in 2018 and the Wandsworth Demons pulled off a similar miraculous premiership win against the West London Wildcats to be AFL London premiers. The result capped off an amazing finals campaign for the club, winning four of the five premierships on offer.
For variety, the Shepherds Bush Raiders defeated the Clapham Demons in the Men’s Conference division Grand Final.
When the teams met in the semi-final two weeks ago, scores were tied after the regular time played. It took extra time to be played for the Wildcats to sneak ahead and win by just three points. Nothing could top that – or so we all thought. The original was an amazing match and it would have to take something better (a sequel) to be better. It did and it was.
Both the Belfast Redbacks and the Galway Magpies face a huge week ahead of next weekend’s AFL Ireland Grand Final. Having both won through to the biggest day of the premiership season, both will be entertaining thoughts – dreaming – of what might be next Saturday.
For the Redbacks, a third premiership sits on the horizon. After having been the best team of the season, undefeated and seemingly well ahead of the rest, the Belfast crew must be quivering with anticipation and self-belief. However, they still have to produce the goods on the one day of the year that really matters. It is one thing to get excited, expectant, confident – it is another to believe the game is already won.
For the Galway Magpies it is a different feeling. They last trod this hallowed ground in 2014, only to be beaten at the final hurdle. Now they have another chance to win their first title. The feeling of excitement will be palpable, not just within the club, but by others becoming aware of the deeds of the local team across Galway. The have been a bridesmaid before – now they want to be the bride.