It was the sort of meeting you read about, hear about or see in those emotionally engaging love story-type movies. It is the story of a brief encounter where love blossomed, then just as quickly is cruelly taken away.
America fell in love with Australian Football. It wasn’t a one-night stand. It was at least a weekend. In fact, the two knew each other with a small amount of fans and teams within leagues across the United States. However, last weekend, that simmering romance took off.
The two – AFL and American audiences – spent the weekend wining, dining, marvelling at each other’s attributes. They made plans to spend the rest of their lives together, going out each weekend – just the two of them (problematic, really) enjoying one weekend and looking forward to the next with quivering anticipation and, possibly, desire.
The AFLW season has been cancelled and AFL season has been postponed to May 31st, due to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the world.
And we all knew that the axe that has fell on sport globally was eventually going to fall on the AFLW and AFL.
It's disappointing that the AFLW season has come to an abrupt end, after such an exciting finals series and enthralling home and away season, but this coronavirus is bigger than sport and through these trying times globally we have to accept that there are more important things than sport right now.
The first week of the AFLW finals certainly delivered with four cracking matches and who would have thought they would be the last women's football matches in 2020.
The AFL today announced that it would immediately move to suspend the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season at the conclusion of this weekend's matches and conclude the NAB AFL Women's season as a result of the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Today's match between West Coast Eagles and Melbourne will be the final match before the AFL season goes into a temporary halt with the suspension of all games until May 31, 2020.
The AFL will review the situation by the end of April to determine whether a further suspension period would be required.
Today's AFLW semi-final between Carlton and Brisbane Lions will be the last NAB AFL Women's match to be played with the 2020 season ending today. Given the twin conference structure and that the finals series was not completed, the AFL Commission has determined no premiership will be awarded for this season, following a recommendation from the AFL Executive.
Humanity is a resilient species. We adapt and find ways to move forward. Despite the current doom and gloom surrounding the coronavirus, we will again find a way to meet the challenges we are now facing as the pandemic spreads its reach.
It seems that the same might be said about aspects of Australian football.
Whilst the commentary from the three completed AFL matches to date has surrounded rule changes, some changes may be more profound over time. The shorter quarters have won the approval of fans, players, clubs and the media.
The sixteen-minute quarter is changing how players are managed across a game, leading to less fatigue and greater impact of players across four quarters. Essendon’s Dylan Shiel said as much when he said the shorter quarters suit his high running style of play. Others have chorused similar thoughts.
With yesterday’s announcement by the AFL to push this year’s International Cup forward to the same time in 2021, leagues and national teams across the world have been united in their positive acceptance of the decision.
Whilst there are many factors – seen and unseen – which will be impacted by the decision, the footy world has accepted the decision in a realistic and thoughtful way. The USAFL issued a statement to clubs on their website and Facebook page stating, “we support the decision from the AFL to push the Cup back a year and we know our USAFL Freedom and USA Revolution teams will be ready to go in 2021!”
AFL Asia also released details on their social media platforms, highlighting the new arrangements and adding, “that this decision has not been made lightly and that the AFL’s number one priority in postponing the AFL International Cup is the health and safety of the players, coaches and officials of all teams.”
The 2020 AFL International Cup will be postponed as a result of COVID-19, with the event to be re-scheduled for July / August 2021. THE AFL are working with Tourism Events Queensland and the Sunshine Coast Council to host the event on the Sunshine Coast in 2021 and we will share updates, including location and dates, once finalised.
The extreme global event has forced the AFL's hand on the matter. Their communications to international football bodies expressing their regret that "this decision has not been made lightly and that the AFL’s number one priority in postponing the AFL International Cup is the health and safety of the players, coaches and officials of all teams. "
The DC Aguilas have started their season in style in the third season of the Colombia AFL competition. On the first day of the new season, the Aguilas won both of their games against the Bogota Bullants and the Bogota Bombers. Following is the report from the Bogota Bulldogs on the opening round.
After a solid pre-season build up, with 2 full months of Saturday afternoon sessions under the watchful eye of footy department head Jimbob "Hamez" Karantzoulis, it was time for CAFL match day number one for 2020.
Bulldogs stalwart and former CAFL president Paddy Smallwood came up with an innovative new format of three 9-a-side games in the one afternoon in order to try and kill off all of the fossils still hanging around the club. It almost succeeded with Deano Wiltshire being the only pensioner to take the field on Saturday the 14th of March.
The following statement from the ASFL was released today regarding measures to cancel or postpone football events from grass roots football to the International Cup. This decision is in place to 31st May impacting early stages of preparation for event but not yet a full postponement or cancellation. It is expected a formal announcement from the AFL concerning the IC20 will follow. Note the list below which outlines which programs are impacted.
All AFL and AFL State association managed or operated leagues, along with all NAB AFL Auskick Centres, to be postponed until May 31, 2020
The AFL wishes to advise that following a series of meetings involving the AFL and all State and Territory CEOs, recommendations have been made in relation to community football leagues and programs across the country.
What a strange round of women's footy, round 6 was.
It was a round like no other and something we would likely never experience again in the AFLW, due to the Coronavirus pandemic currently taking over the world.
The round started with Geelong and North Melbourne being the last match to play in front of a crowd with the remaining six matches played with no crowds.
Also, Richmond recorded the lowest ever AFLW score of 0.3 (3), whereas the result from the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle match of 10.6 (66) to 8.3 (51) set the highest aggregate score record between two AFLW teams.
As leagues across Europe and the world respond to the threat of Coronavirus, AFL Ireland has just announced it's own measures. In a statement released today, AFL Ireland states:
"In light of recent events, AFL Ireland and AFL Ireland Women's will be following the Government's guidelines and suspending all activity at club, university and international level until March 29th at the earliest.
We will be taking an all island approach to protect all our members on the island of Ireland.
This includes all games, training sessions and scheduled events.
We will continue to follow the guidelines during this ever changing period and will assess the impact these measures have on our competitions and events.
We encourage all of our members to continue to follow the guidelines laid out by the health authorities."
The first leg of Europe’s newest competition, the Western European Australian Football Women’s League (WEWL) was played last weekend with the French Gallia Cup incorporated into the competition and marking the starting point.
The Gallia Cup in its own right commenced in 2019, bringing together an invitation for women’s teams across Europe to play in the premier women’s competition. Designed initially for French women “to put the spotlight on women’s football in France”, last year’s incarnation would see teams from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and France unite.