The Kingdom Kangaroos moved another step closer to a finals berth on the weekend when they downed the Greater Glasgow Giants by two goals in wet conditions at home in Kirkcaldy. The win puts them in prime position to hold on to third place come finals time and wait for the vagaries of finals football to determine their future.
The defeat for the Giants puts them in an unwanted but nonetheless unique position. They remain winless at the base of the ladder with only a mathematical chance of finals action. Worse, they are perilously close to dropping from premiers to wooden spoon in the space of a single season. They will be desperate for that to not occur, but the reality is there and it isn’t totally in their hands to avert that outcome.
Prologue: It was 2009 and a nine year old girl, Elisha King, was playing for Hambledon State School in their first ever girl’s carnival. Almost three years younger than most of the other girls on the field, Elisha had to be given special consideration to be allowed to play. Thankfully, she was allowed and was by far the best Hambo girl on the field, with three goals on the day, as the team finished runners-up to St Joseph’s school by a solitary point.
It was the start of my own three-year period of coaching Elisha in school teams, but more significantly, it was another step on a journey that has seen Elisha selected by the North Melbourne Kangaroos AFLW team. The girl who promised so much back when women’s and girls’ footy barely existed has made it to the highest level of the game – and that makes a great story.
Jodi King is one proud mum. It is almost certain that without incredible family support, Elisha would most likely not have made it this far. According to Jodi, “Elisha’s journey has been very long. She started at the age of six with Auskick. [Elisha’s early footy saw her] playing alongside [older brother] Hayden and watching [older brother again] Aaron play. At the age of nine, Elisha also got involved in basketball and hockey. It was very hard for Elisha to stay with footy and she was making rep teams in both hockey and footy.”
The inaugural season of the CAFL (Colombia Australian Football League) will come to a satisfying close this weekend when the nation’s first ever Aussie Rules grand final will be played in the capital city of Bogota. It will bring to an end a season were Aussie expats have blended beautifully with local Colombian talent to see the rise of the game in South America that only a couple of years ago was a dream.
The match will feature the Bogota Bullants up against the DC Aguilas. The Bogota Bombers missed out on reaching the big day, yet remained a highly competitive third team, even downing the Bullants along the way.
AFL Colombia president, Paddy Smallwood, previews the match.
“The grand final should be a solid affair. The D.C Aguilas are coming in favourites off three wins on the trot, and the Bullants' last game being the bloodbath [against the Bombers]. The Aguilas team has been a consistent group all year, which has allowed the drastic improvement of their fleet of Colombian guns.”
After five rounds of the AFL London season, the Men’s Premiership Division has a logjam for top two places come finals time. The North London Lions are keeping pace with the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats in the battle for top spot. It is a battle that will intensify over the second half of the season as teams set themselves up for the best chance of a premiership.
Weekend results saw the Lions thump the Hawks by 108 points, whilst the Demons were equally brutal against the Swans with a 100-point demolition. The West London Wildcats watched on, aware that they have two quality opponents to deal with. Next weekend they get their turn to consolidate further when they take on the Wimbledon Hawks.
In the match of the round next weekend, the North London Lions will host the Wandsworth Demons. The winner will take a huge points and psychological advantage into the next phase of the season.
The Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers have taken the honours for the opening round of the CEAFL (Central European Australian Football League) tournament for 2018, held over the weekend in Zagreb. After an enthralling day’s action, the Dockers held off the Velika Gorica Bombers in the final to head the ladder after the first of two tournaments – the other to be played later in the year in Prague in the Czech Republic.
The Dockers topped their pool after the initial two matches per side before winning their semi-final. The Bombers had a rockier road, but still managed to win their way to the final. The Zagreb Hawks downed the Sesvete Double Blues to take third place. The Styrian DownUnderdogs from Austria defeated the Prague Dragons by a solitary point in a thrilling battle for fifth and sixth places on the day.
In footballing terms, there can be no better way to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday than to party on down with her in the game which celebrates her special day – the Queen’s Birthday clash between traditional rivals Collingwood and Melbourne. It is one of the biggest matches on the AFL calendar and a day for the greats to shine – which is exactly what American Mason Cox did today.
In a performance that earned him the trophy for best afield, the Neale Daniher Trophy, Cox joined other past stars such as Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan, Max Gawn, Aaron Davey and Travis Cloke in receiving the honour. There was nothing “average” about Cox today – he proved emphatically that his days as a novelty player are done – replaced by a footballer who seriously can play the game and is getting better each outing.
He will be best remembered for his five-goal effort (and one behind) across the four quarters today. Not only did he take towering pack marks, he also brought smaller players into contests. Seemingly unsatisfied with his two metre plus height, Cox was also content hurling himself a few extra metres into the air, hoping to add a big “hanger” to his expanding repertoire of skills.
Billed as the match of the season to date prior to the ball being bounced, the clash between the Hamburg Dockers and the Berlin Crocs promised plenty. The clash between the reigning premiers and the undefeated Dockers delivered in spades with the Crocs holding on for a one-point victory.
It was a win against the odds in many ways for the Crocs. Travelling to Hamburg to meet the Dockers on their home soil would have been tough enough, but the fact that the Dockers sat undefeated gave them an air of not invincibility, but certainly strength.
The Crocs started well, however, and jumped early to a 33 to 16 quarter time lead. The Dockers came back at them in the second quarter to reduce the margin to just nine points by the main break, the Crocs still leading 46 to 37. The question would be whether the Crocs could capitalise on their narrow first half lead.
ALTHOUGH it may never compete with national sports ice hockey and lacrosse, Australian Football is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada. And a dedicated Australian is helping drive the growth.
With multiple leagues across the country's provinces, thousands of experienced and new players alike – including women – are becoming involved in the game.
The AFL Ontario League has clubs based in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. Founded in 1989, the league started with 10 men's clubs, and in 2010 introduced a women's competition. This year, division one of the men's competition has nine clubs, while the women's competition has expanded to five clubs with the addition of the Ottawa Swans.
Finals time is still some distance away, but both the Glasgow Sharks and Edinburgh Bloods made statements this weekend that they plan to be there come grand final day and that they are a cut above the rest. Big wins for each team this round have also seen them break free of the pack with a big three game win/loss break that will be difficult for other contenders to close.
The Kingdom Kangaroos were desperate for a big performance in front of their home crowd at Beveridge Park. A win would have kept them deep in the battle for a top two place, and with scores almost locked at three-quarter time the Roos were on the way to an upset. However, the Bloods turned on the power in the final quarter to run away with a commanding 41-point win.
Australian Football has again captured the attention of Canadian media in this excellent and enlightening story from Grace Kennedy at the North Delta Reporter in Vancouver. The work of Mike McFarlane and his dedicated team at North Delta has long been known within Australian footy circles, but more and more their work is capturing the imagination of an ever-increasing public.
“The local league is perhaps the largest in North America, and holding strong.”
From a distance, the group of kids kicking a ball back and forth on the Gray Elementary field look like they are practicing soccer.
Walk a little closer, and you notice the ball is definitely not a soccer ball. It could be a rugby ball, with its oval shape and bright colour. Look across the field, and another group of athletes are in a star formation, practicing drills. They could be practicing football, passing the ball back and forth in a criss-cross formation.