The following article from Marc McGowan at www.afl.com.au looks at the potential signing of another Irish jet in Ross McQuillan. McKenna, already enjoying possibly his best season in the red and black has also had a hand in helping lure the Irish young gun to Tullamarine.
AFL.com.au revealed last week that the Bombers and Tigers were both keen to recruit McQuillan, the most promising prospect from last year's AFL Europe Combine.
It is believed Essendon will bring the 20-year-old from Country Armagh to Australia again in the near future and his preference is to play in the red and black, alongside countryman Conor McKenna.
Ireland's McQuillan, Luke Towey, Ronan Devereux and Peadar Mogan spent time with the Bombers, Richmond, North Melbourne, Carlton and Collingwood in April.
It’s late July, which means it’s crunch time for footy teams all across Australia. As for the growing handful of American expats playing local footy in Melbourne and beyond, it’s also a chance to cement a spot in a side heading into the postseason.
As mentioned previously here on WFN, the number of Americans having a go has greatly increased, particularly in the women’s game. The Western Bulldogs recently made history by signing Dani Marshall from the Arizona Lady Hawks, making her the first US player to make it onto an AFLW list. Marshall, a versatile athlete, had a recent audition with the Bulldogs’ VFLW side in between a stint at Aberfeldie in the Essendon District Football League.
Meanwhile, the Darebin Falcons women’s team has gained a new American: Valerie Barber-Axthelm, who arrived in June. Ever since the 2017 International Cup, the former Seattle Grizzly had long hoped to pursue footy opportunities in Australia, and when her husband got approved for a visa to study for his PhD at the University of Melbourne, she decided to have a crack. A hard-working defender, Barber-Axthelm has been able to carve out a niche for the Falcons’ D1 side, which is currently standing at second on the ladder with a 9-2 record.
Like many others last week, I watched the documentary film “The Final Quarter” which looked in detail via media accounts at the treatment of former Sydney Swans’ player Adam Goodes. The response to the documentary – through media and football (and many non-football) public has been described by some as polarising.
In truth, it appears that the overwhelming majority of watchers were upset and dismayed at what occurred during Goodes’ final playing years (demonising, booing, racist remarks and actions), yet a small minority still wish to lay the blame squarely at Goodes’ own feet.
To detail events, and the show itself, would be too large an article. It is best for schools, clubs or workplaces to contact the film makers directly to access a copy (https://thefinalquarterfilm.com.au/ ) or keep an eye out on Foxtel for repeats of the show.
In recent years, write-ups about the run of Manchester premierships has always had a thinly veiled subtext that suggested that they might be reaching the end of their run of success. Well, if that’s true, it hasn’t happened yet. On the weekend, the Manchester Mozzies claimed their sixth successive AFLCNE premiership.
If they weren’t already in rarefied air worldwide after five flags, six in a row takes them to an even higher place.
The Mozzies downed a gallant Wolverhampton Wolverines team – themselves playing in their maiden grand-final. Despite the best that the Wolverines could throw, the Mozzies won comfortably by 52 points. According to the club, however, the game was much closer than the scoreboard suggested.
With Irish footballers making more and more of an impact on our game of Aussie Rules football, it stands to reason that maybe the cross-pollination of skills might go both ways. It is expected that the Irish players learn and develop the necessary skills to play the game. But Essendon's Conor McKenna might well have introduced a new skills to the game, familiar to fellow Irish players, but possibly a skill of the future that others may employ.
The "solo" in this clip, performed by McKenna on Friday night in Adelaide as the Bombers downed the Adelaide Crows, brought the football world to their collective feet.
The Northern Tigers have taken out the St Petersburg Cup in Russian this weekend, outlasting both the Moscow Bears and the Baltic Hawks. The opening two matches featured the Baltic Hawks playing both the Tigers and the Bears before the final match that featured the intercity rivalry – St Petersburg up against Moscow.
The first match saw the Hawks take on the Bears. The Baltic team held a narrow three point lead at half time. Things were still tight in the second half but the Hawks held on to win by seven points. Martin Sorokhan kicked two goals for the Hawks, whilst Daniel Demain and Brad Lougheed kicked two apiece for the Bears.
The SARFL match of the round this weekend featuring the Tyne Tees Tigers and Kingdom Kangaroos has resulted in a draw at the Tigers’ home ground in Newcastle.
It was a tight match all day in Newcastle, with little separating the teams at each break. The Tigers got away to a four point break by the first change, but by half time the Kangaroos had bounced back to hold a five point lead. It would all come down to whichever team could take advantage of the second half.
A three goal third quarter from the Tigers saw them go into the final break with an eight point buffer, but the Kangaroos were made of stern stuff and would fight back.
In recent years footy has continued to gather momentum in Russia. Due in no small part to the growth in St Petersburg, Moscow is also growing. Not only are there now three teams to compete in the next St Petersburg Cup next weekend, the national team had a terrific Euro Cup – their best yet.
Despite losing all of their pool games, the Russian Bears caught fire in the finals. They downed both Israel and Czech Republic in the finals matches before going down in a tough game to Scotland to finish in overall 10th places – a wonderful achievement.
That performance may not have happened if not for the improvement in competitions, recruitment and overall development of the game across the two Russian cities.
After the completion of Round 7 in the AFLG competition, the Hamburg Dockers sit comfortably in the penthouse. It would take some sort of minor miracle for them to NOT win the minor premiership with just two matches to play and they are two games and percentage clear in first place.
The view from there is awesome. In the not too blurry distance is the chance at back-to-back premierships. On the lower floors, the other teams jostle for their final finishing places. The top four is decided, if not the order. Fifth place (Dresden Wolves) is a lock. They will finish fifth almost regardless of what happens from here. The only real change is if the Zuffenhausen Giants can win a game and leapfrog the Rheinland Lions to get off the bottom of the ladder, or, if you like, the basement.
It is wrong to say that the influx of players from African countries is an “experiment” in the same way that the influx of Irish is sometimes referred to as the “Irish Experiment”. It certainly isn’t. The increase in players of African descent is a result of Australian Rules football embracing the changing nature of our population and more players with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds will continue to grow.
That said, it is very interesting to see what is occurring with players in the AFL/VFL environment who come from Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and other African nations. For the purpose of this story, players who were born in Australia but parents were born in their African country of origin are included – but not an exhaustive list.
There is s small but growing thread of evidence to say that players from African nations could become the archetypal ruckman of the future. Here is some proof.
With just six rounds left of the AFL season, then finals, the time for trade, drafts and all other recruiting is fast approaching. Marc McGowan from the www.afl.com.au website reports on another battle looming as Essendon and Richmond lead the charge to access some exciting Irish talent.
Essendon and Richmond are in a two-way race for the pick of this year's Irish crop.
Ross McQuillan has emerged as the most coveted Irishman from the 2018 AFL Europe Combine, and joined countrymen Ronan Devereux, Peadar Mogan and Luke Towey in trialling with clubs in April.
The 20-year-old is a good athlete, clocked a blistering 2.77sec in winning the 20m sprint at the combine, thrives on physicality and is already showing promise with his kicking on both sides.
In 2017, AFL Scotland’s newest team – the West Lothian Eagles – played a full season of development games against all other league teams. Not for points, but to develop their skills and plans against their future rivals. Last year was their first season as a fully integrated team and they enjoyed a winless but competitive season.
This season they have waited, developed and learned further and finally broken through for their first win as a fully-fledged AFL Scotland team – downing the Kingdom Kangaroos by 30 points. The excitement was palpable, even on the club’s Facebook page.
“What a day for the club. Our first ever league victory.”
“It's been a tough year so far being on the wrong side of a few thumpings from teams at the level we aspire to be. A couple of narrow defeats as well which sometimes can hurt more.”