The new AFL Middle East season gets underway on Friday morning (Dubai Time) with a double header at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium. The season starts with the Dubai Dingoes clashing with the Abu Dhabi Falcons ahead of the grand final replay between the Dubai Dragons and Multiplex Bulls.
Whilst the off-season didn’t produce another team for the 2018/19 season – the Bahrain Suns, Doha Kangaroos and Muscat Magpies still a distance away from re-entering the competition – the four teams that take the field on Friday will be determined to create an exciting contest for this season’s flag.
Each team has seen the usual comings and goings which will change the look of team lists, but a look at last season also gives a clue.
The following article from Fox Footy at their www.foxsports.com.au website looks at the naming of Essendon and AFL legend, Michael Long as the 2018 Northern Territorian of the year. As well as being an icon of the game for his achievements on and off the field, Long remains an inspiration to generations of people inside and outside of sport.
ESSENDON champion Michael Long has been named Northern Territorian of the Year in recognition of his work as an indigenous community leader.
Darwin-born Long has been described as a football icon who made a stand against racism during his career, and an advocate for reconciliation.
The Michael Long Learning and Leadership centre in Darwin provides accommodation, education, football and other sporting and corporate facilities.
The centre aims to give young indigenous Territorians the same opportunities as their non-indigenous peers.
The clouds drifted in from Hinchinbrook Island. The players drifted in from Cairns, Townsville and the Whitsundays. The clouds made far less noise about it. A variety of bodies in various states of disrepair had descended like arthritic locusts on beautiful Cardwell – midway between Cairns and Townsville. The purpose – to compete for the AFL Masters Cardwell Cup for the naming rights as the best Masters’ team in North Queensland.
Whilst the breeze brought with it the clouds and occasional shower, the players brought mainly beer and some ill-fitting footy shorts from bygone eras (their playing days). The converted rugby league ground was as hard as the rocks in the nearby Cardwell Range. The grass playing surface was a cross between vegetation and piano wire.
Round 5 of the NTFL 2018/19 season continued to throw up interesting and sometimes unexpected results which keep alive finals hopes for most teams and further confuse followers of the game. St Mary’s and Palmerston both enjoyed valuable wins whilst early finals hopefuls, Waratah and Darwin Buffaloes, stumbled.
With no Premier League matches played at TIO Stadium this weekend, the opening match saw Waratah host the desperate St Marys. On form, and home ground advantage, Waratah should have won. But life doesn’t work that way. In a tight match up until the final change – less than two goals separating the teams until then – St Mary’s pumped the gas in the final term to kick four goals to one and hand Waratah a stinging defeat.
Denmark’s Odense Lions have grown admirably since their introduction to the DAFL in 2014. Whilst yet to taste to joy of a premiership, the club has taken huge strides. Their men’s team recently tasted victory in the Lions Cup and the growth of their women’s team has been a huge success story.
Now, the club is scouring the world looking for potential players who can take the club closer to their ultimate goals of success on the field. The following invitation from the club hopes to get some experienced talent to the club – and they are prepared to go to great lengths to get players to Odense – targeting Australian’s looking for a new challenge, but certainly open to anyone from anywhere who can take the club forward.
According to club founder, Morten Mose, “We have been growing and building our club since 2013. A lot have happened since we had our first session with ten people on a small grass field outside of Odense. We have moved to a central location, 50+ members, busses to games, biggest club in Scandinavia and have both a men and women’s team.”
I am sure this is not what Bizet had in mind when he wrote Carmen, but it was the first thing that floated through my mind when receiving the result of the Bayonne Toreadors first home match when they downed the ALFA Lions on the weekend for their first win in the CNFA premiership. After pushing last season’s finalists – the Paris Cockatoos – to 20 points in the debut match in round one, this time the Toreadors went one better.
Already, the Toreadors have sent a shiver up the spine of the competition. Entering their maiden season, the Toreadors had been quietly bubbling away preparing for a good while. To those in the know, their instant success isn’t a surprise. However, many have been caught by surprise by the skill and intent of the league’s newest team.
AFL England is investing in the future of the game by looking at the greater development of junior football across England. Reporting on their www.aflengland.org website, AFL England is looking at schools and existing or potential clubs to grow interest and develop talent.
AFL England is launching a consultation on a national junior program which is set to be launched in the Spring of 2019. Under the new program, the number of junior clubs in England could grow to 12, including clubs in London, Liverpool, Reading and Bristol. The consultation aims to discover where there is the most interest in junior Australian rules football.
The consultation form is available here [see direct link below] and we would invite people to share it with friends, families, schools and anyone who you think might be interested in getting involved in the Junior program.
With the release of the AFL’s 2019 premiership season draw due tomorrow, some important pieces of the puzzle have already been announced. High amongst those is the decision to grant Townsville, in North Queensland, their first AFL match for premiership points. The city will see the Gold Coast Suns meet St Kilda at Riverway Stadium in their Round 13 clash.
It makes a bitter sweet situation for North Queensland. Whilst Townsville has earned the right to host a match after years of doing their “apprenticeship” with NAB Challenge and JLT pre-season matches, it does replace Cairns which has hosted matches at Cazalys Stadium since 2011. The sweetener for the north is that Mackay will again hold a JLT series match at Great Barrier Reef Arena on March 3rd when the Gold Coast Suns meet the Western Bulldogs.
Townsville crowds have already proved to be enthusiastic fans of matches played in the city – right down to pre-match activities and community support. The chance to host a premiership match of such high stakes should see Townsville support this event vocally and at the turnstiles.
The young Sligo player trialled with the club in August and impressed according to North’s GM of Football Cameron Joyce.
“Red was invited to Arden Street and we were really happy with his ability and character,” Joyce said.
Image: Instagram @red_og_murphy
“Our recruiters, and in particular our Pro Scout Nick Byrne, have stayed in touch with him and his family over the past few months and we are really happy to have signed him as a Category-B rookie on our list.”
Niall Seewang from ESPN reports on the impact that Collingwood’s Mason Cox and other USA products are having on decisions regarding future U.S Combines. The following is an extract from the original article. To read the full article, go to the link at the end of this extract.
Mason Cox's emergence as a legitimate attacking weapon could spur the reintroduction of the AFL's U.S. Combine.
The AFL had travelled to U.S. every year since 2012 to hold trials for American athletes -- often college basketballers, footballers and soccer players who miss out on professional contracts in their chosen sports -- but held no such event in 2018.
However, it could be brought back in 2019, with the AFL set to make a decision on its future before the end of the year.
Ryan Finnerty reports on Hawaii Public Radio about the development of an Australian Rules football club in Hawaii. In the wake of the recent USAFL Nationals in Racine, and the current Mason Cox mania, a Hawaiian football club is further proof of the increasing uptake of the game across the United States. Follow the link below for an audio interview detailing the club and its journey.
What do you get when you combine American football, rugby, soccer, and a few other sports into oneω A little game called Australian Rules Football. It’s one of the most popular, and rough, sports from the Land Down Under.
The Irishman is an emerging player in his homeland and has been on the AFL scouting radar for a few years. In 2017 Okunbor was invited to attend the AFL Academy Camp in Florida and the AFL National Combine in Melbourne.