Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the latest young footballer to turn his back on a career in the AFL to pursue punting in the NFL. Son of Essendon legend, Mason Fletcher, has decided not to continue in the footsteps of his esteemed father, Dustin Fletcher and grand-father, Ken Fletcher to try his hand – or foot – at the American game.
A BOOMING Fletcher boot could soon be set for the world stage after Dustin's son Mason quit football to pursue NFL punting.
The father-son prospect informed Essendon of his decision to end dreams as an AFL defender in recent weeks and begin chasing a career in the USA.
Fletcher, 19, opted to sit out of last year's NAB AFL Draft after a season plagued by back injuries, instead eyeing the 2020 drafts as a pathway to the Bombers.
The following article from Matthew Abbot at The New York Times (www.nytimes.com ) is a wonderful account of how important the game is to players in some of Australia’s most isolated locations. World Footy News has previously explored Lajamanu football (See: Lajamanu Footy – “The lifeblood of the community”) and what the game means to them. This story, from New York – half a world away from Lajamanu and Yuendumu – again tells an amazing tale of determination against all manner of odds.
For Indigenous Australians in isolated towns, “bush footy” is more religion than sport. Neither distance, the police nor even death can keep teams from competing.
LAJAMANU, Australia — Halfway into a 400-mile journey through a dusty stretch of the Australian desert, the team’s minibus ran into trouble.
The players, Warlpiri Australians from one of the country’s most isolated towns, were headed to a carnival, a celebration of sport and culture that brings together far-flung Indigenous communities from across the Central Desert.
You didn’t need a seismograph to measure the ground shaking on Bathurst Island yesterday. You could feel the earth move in Darwin. The epicentre was at Wurrumiyanga, the main centre on Bathurst Island, Tiwi Islands. The cause – one Cyril Rioli Junior.
Named on the Tiwi Bombers’ team sheet two weeks ago before withdrawing before the match (See Rioli Back For Tiwi Bombers - Possibly) , this time Rioli ran out onto the field for the Tiwi Bombers, already sending the local crowd into a delirious frenzy. Ever since retiring from Hawthorn in 2018, after a decorated AFL career and later signing on as one of the Tiwi Bombers assistant coaches, if was felt that Rioli would undoubtedly don the red and black again on the playing fields – as he did briefly before being drafted to the Hawks in 2007.
Cyril played seven games for the Bombers prior to his Hawthorn era.
The rumoured return of Cyril Rioli for the Tiwi Bombers did not eventuate, but the club still enjoyed a successful and exciting weekend with their first win of the season. Maybe the Bombers won’t need Cyril Rioli after all.
After two losses – as it turns out, to the teams now first and second on the ladder - the Bombers set about changing things and hammered on ten first quarter goals as the St Mary’s team looked on in awe. What should have already been a match-winning lead, however, was evaporated over the next two quarters as the Saints rallied strongly and had grabbed a narrow lead by the final change, having rattled on 14 goals of their own after quarter time.
However, the Bombers rallied when they needed it most and kicked five goals to two in a strong finish to defeat St Mary’s by 8 points. The win restored some order for the Bombers, whilst at the same time bring the Saints back to earth after winning their opening two matches.
Word seeping out of Darwin suggests that a Hawthorn and, AFL and Northern Territory legend might be making a comeback…if not this weekend, maybe soon after.
Seems an inevitability, but Cyril Rioli might once again weave his magic on the football field when he possibly lines up for the Tiwi Bombers tomorrow in their NTFL Premier League match against St Marys. Only months after being announced as an assistant coach for the Bombers, the club’s winless start to the season has given rise to a possible Rioli revival.
Before his stellar career with Hawthorn, Rioli was a Tiwi Bombers junior. It has been a long journey since then, and is now coming full circle. Rioli is expected to don the #44 jumper for the Bombers
The 2019 season is over for the five key Northern and Central Queensland football leagues. Winners might still be partying; others might still be planning, building and devising ways to bring down the Goliaths with a slingshot next season. Here is an overview of those premiership results.
The Port Douglas Crocs have made it five flags in six seasons as their dynasty continues to grow. Already they are looking to challenge the perennially successful Cairns Saints as the league’s most successful club – a few flags to go yet, but they are well on their way. Their 34-point win over South Cairns Cutters was done the hard way. Trailing at three-quarter time, they unleashed a seven goal to one blitz to take the flag. Cutters were able to take out the reserve grade premiership whilst the North Cairns Tigers club, having endured a horrid season, saw light when their women’s team took the flag.
Seniors - Port Douglas Crocs 15 9 99 d South Cairns Cutters 9 11 65
Reserves – South Cairns Cutters 12 11 83 d Manunda Hawks 8 5 53
Women’s – North Cairns Tigers 4 11 35 d Cairns Saints 2 6 18
An audacious question from the Essendon Football Club during the second day of Trade Week could see Collingwood's cult hero, Mason Cox, change his American Pie stripes for a Bomber sash. News today from AFL House revealed that Essendon had asked the question of Collingwood as to whether a deal could be cut involving a future draft pick.
Essendon is on the hunt for tall forward players to replace the likely departure of their own hero, Joe Daniher, who may be on his way to the Sydney Swans. Essendon has a shortage of ruckmen and faces losing their best key forward in Daniher. It seems logical that Cox be asked about as he has played both roles in his 58-game (71 goal) career with the Pies.
The move isn't being wholly embraced by Bomber fans, though that won't be in the minds of Essendon recruiters.
In reality, it is probably too early to claim a resurgence after a single round of football. Nevetheless, after the opening NTFL Round on the weekend, three teams signalled that they are seeking bigger and better things out of the 2019/20 season. Whilst the Nightcliff Tigers started well in their bid to defend its premiership title, St Mary’s, wanderers and the Darwin Buffaloes all took steps to rectify last season.
In the season opener, the Darwin Buffaloes trounced the Tiwi Bombers. After finishing fifth last season with just eight wins (and only twice reaching 100 points in a match) the Darwin Buffaloes limped to the end of the season with successive hidings from Waratah. The Tiwi Bombers reached the Preliminary Final. So, their 113-point caning of the Bombers was as much an upset as a statement.
In just a little over two weeks’ time, the new NTFL season will get under way. The weekend of 5th and 6th October will see the eight Premier League teams back in action along with all other men’s, women’s and junior competitions.
It is arguably the most exciting time of the year for all fans as the beginning of a new season, where all teams start again at ground zero, and fans of all clubs can have their dreams and hopes for the next flag, next finals appearance, next win.
The opening round leaps straight into where last year’s story ended. The Grand Final replay between the Nightcliff Tigers and Southern Districts Crocs helps open the season as part of a TIO Stadium double-header on the Saturday night. The season opens with two of last season’s other finalists clashing with the Darwin Buffaloes up against the Tiwi Bombers.
The Cairns City Lions will play finals in 2019. To anyone outside of Cairns, that phrase could be met with little interest. However, in the Far North Queensland city, with a big local following of Australian Rules football, a return to finals football for the Lions is nothing short of remarkable.
Coach Aaron Davey, himself best known as a star player for the Melbourne Demons over 178 games between 2004 and 2013 for 174 goals and four International Rules games for Australia, has arrived at a club on the brink of extinction and saved it.
Admittedly, he hasn’t done it on his own. He has had the buy-in of the club committee, players, supporters and local community, scattered largely over the Cairns’ Northern Beaches and especially Holloways Beach where the club is based. It has been a genuine club effort to stare defeat in the face and laugh at it.