I can just imagine a few disgruntled people, possibly blokes, sitting around waiting for the world to evolve into its current form. “Oh, come on. I want rivers and mountains NOW!” No matter how impatient those souls may be, nature would take its sweet time and evolve.
Descendants of those disgruntled few might be the ones currently trolling happily about the perceived (by them) shortfalls of the women’s game of footy. Highlighted by the AFLW, but seen across all levels of women’s and girl’s footy, some men just don’t get it.
Since the first recorded games of Australian Football from 1858 onwards the game was all about evolution and development. It was not until 1867 that the highest tally of goals in a match would see a winner. By 1897, the start of the VFL, teams were capable of recording 100 point scores. However, only twice did teams kick more than 100 points in that season – Melbourne in Round 5 and Geelong in Round 7.
With just a round left in the NTFL Premier League season, the finalists are already decided. Sadly, the wooden spoon is also decided. Battles rage in next weekend’s final round to see which club –Tiwi Bombers, Southern Districts Crocs or Darwin Buffaloes – will snare the double chance and third place.
Regardless of results, Palmerston Magpies will finish as wooden spooners. They sit two games adrift of second last team, Wanderers. Waratah will finish in sixth place after a disappointing season by their standards.
The fascinating battle is the finishing order within the top five. The Nightcliff Tigers and St Mary’s are locked for first and second place regardless of Round 18 results.
The UCC Bombers and UCC Crusaders have come away from Oxford University with thrilling results at the AFL Europe Fitzpatrick Cup. One winner and a runner-up marked another very good weekend for the Cork-based club.
The event saw the UCC Men’s retain their title, whilst the UCC Crusaders were unluckily defeated by a solitary point. It was a huge day for the Cambridge University women, taking the title. The event also saw teams from four countries compete – Ireland, England, Wales and Denmark – with the Southern Denmark University team making history with their first international team.
In the Men’s Division, the UCC Bombers pinched the game from Birmingham University in the dying moments. The club’s website described the result as follows:
Heading into the penultimate round of the AFL Middle East season, the Abu Dhabi Falcons had to down the Multiplex Bulls for a chance at the minor premiership. The Dubai Dingoes had to upset the Dubai Dragons for a chance to avoid the wooden spoon.
Instead, the Bulls firmed for premiership favouritism by downing the Falcons down in Abu Dhabi by 63 points. Likewise, the Dubai Dragons proved that they are far from removed from premiership calculations by hammering the Dingoes in Dubai by 116 points.
The match in Abu Dhabi saw the Bulls get away to a strong start, leading by more than four goals at the first break and going on to record a 12-goal opening half and lead by almost seven goals. The game wasn’t over, but the Falcons would need to find something otherworldly to bridge the gap, which they couldn’t.
Today’s AFLW 4.0 feature is on Geelong Cats women’s player Rene Caris.
Geelong starts it's 2020 season this afternoon in Perth against the Fremantle Dockers.
She was drafted by the Cats with selection number 35 in the 2018 women’s draft and she became the tallest player at the Cats.
“To say the least, it was probably one of the best days of my life, I feel like I worked really hard to get to that position and had a tiny bit of talk with the clubs and hadn’t really heard much at all,” Caris said.
“And then obviously, you know when I heard Geelong come out now, they are going to select someone and I wasn’t really listening, because Geelong hadn’t really spoken to me.
“Yes, surprisingly they called out my name and I was very shock, but also very excited, as I just heard some of my closest friends had just been drafted to Geelong in the picks before, so it was a really exciting day.”
When the Western Bulldogs named Danielle Marshall for Sunday's Round 1 AFLW clash against St Kilda this afternoon they became the first AFL club to select an American woman for a senior match.
Marshall also is the first American to make it to an Australian football national competition team after learning and playing the game competitively in the USA. While Mason Cox and Jason Holmes were recruited from the USA before making their AFL debuts, they had to learn the game in Australia.
Marshall is a bona fide product of the United States Australian Football League (USAFL). The Arizona Hawks to be more precise. Marshall played with the Hawks in 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2019 she came to Australia to see how far she could make it in the game here. She returned to the US in October to play in the USAFL National Championships in Florida.
The 2020 AFLW season will see the addition of four news teams in Richmond, West Coasst Eagles, St Kilda and the Gold Coast Suns. A season preview on each of the 14 teams is below.
The Crows finished the 2019 AFLW season, as the premiers for the second time in three years. However, premiership glory was bitter sweet with superstar player Erin Phillips rupturing her ACL in the third quarter of the Grand Final. Phillips will once again lead the Crows in the 2020 NAB AFL Women's Competition. Phillips has officially been ruled out for the start of the season and Chelsea Randall did her ACL in practice and will miss the whole season. With these two injuries, Anne Hatchard has probably become the most vital player for the Crows this season. For coach, Matthew Clarke in his second season, he will probably need to make a few positional changes to fill the strong void left by Phillips and Randall who lead them well on and off the field. Rhiannon Metcalf will most likely return from injury and could take over the starting ruck duties from Jess Foley who did well last year. If, Metcalf does takeover, than Foley might move into the forward line as an agile option. The Crows, also drafted promising young gun Montana McKinnon who is nearly six foot with her strength and strong marking ability. Therefore the Crows have marking options who can help Sarah Allen. The Crows forward line looks great as ever and will look to excite once again with the likes of Danielle Ponter and Stevie Lee Thompson running through there with Courtney Gum. Adelaide's defense will lack with Randall missing and the opposition forwards might feel confident as they will not have Randall stopping their every move. Expect Adelaide to be up there again in 2020, but I cannot see them winning the premiership without Randall.
Today’s AFLW 4.0 feature is on St Kilda’s women’s player Tarni White.
White’s dream of playing in the AFLW was put on hold, as about a year and a half ago she ruptured her ACL.
“I was really worried, but at the same time when I was up in Queensland, I was around amazing physios and sports trainers in the Brisbane Lions Academy,” she said.
“And they were just amazing, so they helped me in my rehab, and I was actually playing my first game back in 12 months, which was really big because I was told at the start it was 18 months and when it was pushed forward.”
If the legendary Kevin Sheedy can get his dream, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) might well play a premiership match in California as early as next year. ‘Sheeds’ will draw on the talents of the other two clubs where he became a legend – Essendon or Richmond – to be the Giants’ opponent.
There would be no better innovator in AFL circles to make this happen. It was through Sheedy’s vision and determination that we now have the ANZAC Day match between his beloved Bombers and Collingwood, as well as the round as a whole now. He was also the driving force behind Dreamtine at the G showpiece between Essendon and Richmond and more recently the Country Round between Essendon and Geelong.