It has proved to be a huge day for the Wandsworth Demons after preliminary final day at Hackney Marshes. With one premiership in the bag already, the club’s other teams either were already in the Grand Final of their division, or had to win through. By the end of the day, the Demons had one flag decided and will have four teams aiming for more next weekend as they aim for a record-breaking five flags in a season.
It now remains in the hands of the other AFL London clubs to find way to exorcise these Demons and seek their own premiership glory.
The biggest result of the weekend saw the Wandsworth Demons winning the Women’s Conference division flag when they downed a gallant London Swans. In an amazing result, the Demons held a nine-point lead at the final change in a low scoring match, keeping the Swans scoreless for three quarters. The Swans came home hard in the final quarter, threatening to steal the match and falling short by just one point. The Demons held on, but only by the skin of their teeth.
After a season of dominance where they remained undefeated, the Manchester Mozzies have won an extraordinary fifth consecutive premiership when they defeated the Nottingham Scorpions by 25 points. Their fifth flag in a row already propels the Mozzies to stratospheric heights on a worldwide football stage and they have no immediate plans to end their dominance, now being the proud owners of seven AFLCNE premierships.
For the third straight year, the Nottingham Scorpions bravely stuck with the Manchester behemoth, but in the end could only be in awe of the ability of the Mozzies’ ability to keep finding ways to raise the bar – both on the field and across the history of the league.
Playing the AFLCNE Grand-Final in front of a home crowd in Nottingham, the Scorpions stuck within striking distance of the Mozzies all day but couldn’t bridge the gap enough to catch them. This was despite having their adoring home fans cheering and offering all manner of advice from the sidelines.
The annual USAFL Western Regionals tournament was held this past weekend at the David Legacy Soccer Park outside Sacramento, California. It was a day of intense heat (105 F/41 C), but it was great to see some high quality footy being played in the state capital.
With eight men’s teams and four women’s teams, there was plenty of talent and experience on display. The men’s division one side was made up of the Seattle Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Dragons, the Golden Gate Roos and the San Diego Lions (who combined with several Arizona Hawks players). The day started with the Dragons taking on the Grizzlies, securing a 26-point win in the process; concurrently, Golden Gate defeated San Diego by a nine goal margin. As the temperatures climbed throughout the afternoon, the Dragons took home another scalp, beating the Lions and securing a spot in the grand final.
The second match of the Irish itinerary for the USA Revolution was played this week in Belfast when the touring squad took on the Redbacks. In a closer game than last wekend’s clash against the Irish Warriors, the visitors still found it tough against the current FL Ireland flag favourites. Conor Mallon, Belfast Redbacks Club President, provided the following match report.
The American national team, USA Revolution, travelled to Belfast on the 31st July to take on the AFL Ireland League leaders the Belfast Redbacks as part of their visit to Ireland to play the Irish Warriors.
The Redbacks jumped at the opportunity to take on a national side for the first time in the club’s history when they were asked by the Irish Warriors’ head coach, Brian Currane.
After struggling in recent seasons, the Redbacks have had a great year with some new recruits joining the ranks and helping the club to an undefeated season - finishing top of the league.
The second instalment of the AFL Colombia competition got under way last weekend. Just weeks after the DC Aguilas held aloft the inaugural premiership, teams returned to the playing field in Bogota for the second “season” for the year. Paddy Smallwood from AFL Colombia sent the following report after the Agulias took on the Bullants.
“The rematch of the teams from the last Grand Final proved to be a real livewire for both the Gourmet Burger Bar Bogota D.C. Aguilas and the Bogota Craft Beer Tours.”
“With the Aguilas facing off against what was once their star player Sam Miller but also incorporating the mercenary ex-vice captain of the Bullants Tristan Quigley, there was certainly some tension between the two outfits.”
Sarah Black reports on the www.afl.com.au website that the Western Bulldogs are casting a recruiting net globally in a bid to develop their own list, and by extension women’s football. There are also positive ramifications for women across the world who may find their way onto an AFLW list. Whilst the Bulldogs’ initiative is looking for just one rookie spot, the concept will be looked at by all clubs, and especially those yet to be granted places in the AFLW as they look to grow future lists.
AFL Women's premiers the Western Bulldogs are casting their net around the world in the hunt for a rookie to add to their list for the 2019 season.
The Bulldogs have partnered with international AFL bodies such as AFL England, AFL Ireland Women's, AFL Europe and AFL Canada to promote its international rookie program 'CrossCoders'.
The definition of an AFLW rookie has changed from season to season, but for 2019, an AFLW rookie would not have played Australian football in the past three years or been involved in an AFLW high-performance program.
A remarkable semi-final between the West London Wildcats and the Wandsworth Demons required extra time as the two teams were locked at the final siren. The ensuing extra time saw the Wildcats find enough ways to score to hold the Demons at bay in an absolute thriller. The win sees the Wildcats book a grand-final berth, leaving the Demons to face the North London Lions in a Preliminary Final after the Lions convincingly downed the London Swans on Sunday.
The Women’s Premiership division saw the first big upset of the finals with the North London Lions convincingly defeating the Wandsworth Demons. The Demons went into the match as firm favourites after an undefeated home and away season and finishing three games clear of the Lions. Bu finals pressure is different and the Lions were relentless, ignoring recent history and chasing their own.
The Portsmouth Pirates came agonisingly close to finishing the SEAFL season on top of the ladder. Their match against the Sussex Swans saw them claim enough points to draw level with the Southampton Titans on wins but with a lesser percentage. When combined with the SEWARFL results in Bristol earlier in the season, the Titans had a draw to keep them ahead of the Pirates.
That leaves the Titans on top with 22 points, followed closely by the Pirates on 21 points. The following report from the SEAFL details the weekend matches.
“Due to a forfeit from Southampton Titans on Saturday (who must have done the math on the ladder!), that left the Sussex Swans to face the Portsmouth Pirates in an extended game of footy in the Brighton sunshine - final result was 8 10 58 to 5 7 37 to the Pirates.”
After another hard fought season by all concerned, the Bristol Dockers have taken out the WARFL (AFL Wales) premiership downing the Cardiff Panthers by 51 points. It was a fitting end to a season where the Dockers were always a step ahead of their rivals. It sees the Dockers defending their title from 2017, going back to back.
The result was comprehensive, and a far bigger margin that their last meeting, which saw the Dockers down the Panthers by just a couple of kicks. This time around, the Dockers broke the shackles early and killed of any chance of a Panthers’ fightback with a five goals to nil third quarter. The Panthers certainly had their share of the ball with 22 scoring shots to 29, but inaccurate kicking meant the Dockers were able to keep them at arm’s length.
The following is a small press release from the Dockers giving a brief overview of the match.
In a big international match held in Dublin on the weekend, the Irish Warriors hosted the visiting USA Revolution team. The national team from the USA is in Ireland for some match practice against one of the world’s best teams outside of Australia and play in friendlies against both the Irish Warriors and on Tuesday the Belfast Redbacks. The tour sees a strong USA contingent of 40 players and support staff.
The tour is historic on many fronts, but it is the first time that Ireland has played the USA on home soil. It is also the first time the two nation have played each other in the northern hemisphere.
In the opening match, the Warriors were far too experienced for the Revolution. The Warriors jumped early and could not be caught, running away to win by 76 points. The final score in the match saw the Irish Warriors 14 13 97 defeat the USA Revolution 2 9 21.
The Manchester Mozzies and Nottingham Scorpions have found their ways again into the AFLNE grand-final after the weekend’s semi-finals. It will be the third consecutive year that the two will have faced off in a grand-final, and the fourth time the two teams have met in the decider since 2012.
The Nottingham Scorpions had to hold off a desperate and ferocious challenge from the Wolverhampton Wolverines. The final margin was just two goals, and the clash was just as intense as their Round 7 meeting when the Scorpions managed to win by a modest four points. In a relatively low scoring match, the Scorpions held on for an 81 to 69 victory.
The Wolverines can be rightfully despairing at the result, having proved across the season to have been the near equal of the Scorpions and with a little more luck possibly found their way into the grand-final. However, it wasn’t to be. The Wolverines, however, can look to 2019 with confidence that they are ready for the next step.