The Australian Football League Central & Northern England has reached half-way through the 2017 season. The following story is from the AFLCNE website and looks at the journey so far this season with hints towards what the season may yet bring.
With the last update being a month ago (blame it on the weather/footy/beers) we at the league thought it was an opportunity to give you all an update on the past few weeks (and a lot has happened).
The final round of May saw the Rams consolidate their position just inside the playoffs by defeating a travelling Tigers side, while the Mozzies narrowly overcame one of this season’s finals contenders the Wolverines in a show of intent to put themselves comfortably in prime position. Meanwhile, the Thunder secured their first points by default, after mechanical issues meant half the travelling Merseyside team were stuck near Manchester (credit goes to those who made it playing in an excellent scratch match with Sheffield and Nottingham players).
The following story originally appeared on Frederick's Blog and the original article can be found here.This is very timely given Germany will make their long awaited International Cup debut in less than two months.
The Aussie rules phenomenon has expanded in continental Europe in recent years, and Germany has been no exception. The sport was originally played there in 1995, with clubs formed by Aussie expats in both Munich (the Redbacks) and Frankfurt (the Kangaroos). The two clubs competed against each other on a largely informal basis until AFL Germany was founded in 1999.
In 2003, the league expanded, with the Berlin Crocodiles and Hamburg Dockers joining and forming a nice nucleus for a nationwide German competition. Soon enough, the Dusseldorf Lions (now the Rheinland Lions) and the Stuttgart Emus were added in the ensuing years.
The second round of the 2017 CEAFL tournament was completed on the weekend in Graz, Austria. Played at the Viktor-Franz-Platz, the competition featured five teams from four European countries with teams from host nation Austria, two from Croatia, and one each from Italy and the Czech Republic.
Austria’s own super-club, the Styrian DownUnderDogs took on the might and determination of the Sesvete Double Blues and Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers from Croatia, the Prague Dragons from the Czech Republic and the North West Footy Eagles representing AFL Italia.
The Croatian teams dominated the round robin matches to the extent that both the Blues and Dockers went through to meet each other in the Grand Final. Whilst the Dockers had a narrow win against the Blues, by four points in the round robin stage, the Blues were far too strong in the return bout to take the title by a commanding 34 points. In the battle for third place, the DownUnderDogs defeated the Eagles comfortably by 21 points.
With five rounds of the AFLG season played, and just three rounds to go before the finals, two teams sit on top of the ladder undefeated. The Berlin Crocodiles and Hamburg Dockers are placed one and two, and remarkably their percentages are enormous yet separated by less than 4% (Crocodiles 634.2, Dockers 630.5) suggesting a total dominance against all opposition all season.
That will change in Round 6 on June 24th when the two German leviathans meet in Berlin to decide which team will assume the mantle of premiership favourite. Clearly the Crocodiles will have home ground advantage, but the Dockers have been impressive all season and will not give the Berlin boys anything less than a huge fight.
The Belfast Redbacks have enjoyed a huge day for the club after the Round 5 and 6 matches last weekend at Bushy Park, Terenure, Dublin – home of the South Dublin Swans. Not only did the Redbacks win both of their matches to jump into second place on the ARFLI ladder, they also discovered the blueprint to bringing down the powerful Leeside Lions, previously undefeated.
The Redbacks started their day with a strong win against the Galway Magpies. It was a perfect start for the Belfast team, recording a 32-point win. The final score saw the Redbacks down the Magpies 57 to 25. It was a great way to build self-belief and it showed in their next match.
The Edinburgh Bloods avenged their recent loss to the Kingdom Kangaroos with a tight 86-71 win. According to the club’s Facebook page, “a strong 1st and 4th quarter saw us over the line along with a marked improvement in our physicality and attack on the footy.” After the Roos recorded their first ever win over the Bloods back in May, the Edinburgh team was determined to reclaim their authority and did so with a 15-point win.
In the previous round, the Glasgow derby saw another nail-biting result with the Greater Glasgow Giants holding on for a narrow 98 to 94 win against the Glasgow Sharks. Whilst the Giants are clear at the top of the ladder, the Sharks must be the unluckiest bottom team in recent memory with all three of their losses being decided by less than a goal.
The Tyne Tees Tigers have enjoyed a highly successful day at this weekend’s AFLCNE Lightning Round played this weekend in Newcastle. The team enjoyed two wins from their two matches, as did the Nottingham Scorpions, to strengthen their season and send a signal to all clubs that they are still improving.
As well as the Tigers and Scorpions, the Merseyside Saints made the trip across England (west to east) as did the Manchester Mozzies. Unfortunately, the Sheffield Thunder team and Huddersfield Rams has to reschedule their Lightning Round dates and could not be in Newcastle.
The results see the Tyne Tees Tigers sitting in fifth place on the AFLCNE ladder, equal on points with the fourth placed Huddersfield Rams – a pleasing position for the Tigers to be in. The results also saw the Nottingham Scorpions move two games clear of the field at the top of the ladder with the depleted Manchester Mosquitoes losing both of their Newcastle matches.
Several of the matches played out at the London Footy Carnival at the weekend qualified as World Ranking International Matches, namely the GB Bulldogs versus Canada North Stars men’s match and Irish Banshees v Canada Midnight Suns, GB Swans v Irish Banshees and GB Swans v Canada Midnight Suns women’s matches.
As the Rating Gap in the Men’s match was greater than +/- 10.00 there was no subsequent change in Rating Points for either GB Bulldogs or North Stars, Great Britain remaining at 7th Place with 48.38 rating Points and the North Stars debuting provisionally with 40.00 Rating points.
Below is the ranking calculation’s for the three women’s games. With each nation winning one and losing one match they each lost and gained rating points, the Midnight Suns benefitted the most by gaining more in their win than was lost in the loss against Ireland. The Midnight Suns also joined the fully ranked nations in 5th Place as the Great Britain game was their eighth qualifying International Match.
In a refreshing change for the AFLCNE competition, last weekend’s round of matches did not have the lopsided cricket score-like results which have been the norm since Round One. Instead, the two matches played saw two competitive hit-outs. Whilst both results were still resounding, there wasn’t the same one-sided nature involved.
A case in point is the clash between the Tyne Tees Tigers and the Sheffield Thunder. Whilst the Tigers would no doubt be delighted with their first win of the season – an 80-point victory – the score-lines show that they didn’t have things completely their own way. The final score of Tyne Tees Tigers 27 19 181 to Sheffield Thunder 13 23 101 was big in margin, but different when viewed by scoring shots. In the end, the Tigers’ accuracy helped them as they recorded 46 scoring shots to Thunder’s 36. The ball would have been fairly whizzing from end to end all day.
In their Round Four match last weekend, the Kingdom Kangaroos won a landmark match for the club when they defeated the Edinburgh Bloods. Since joining the SARFL competition back in 2013 the Kangaroos had managed to jump many hurdles along their journey – but beating the bloods wasn’t one of them.
But after a solid four quarter effort, the Kangaroos prevailed, downing the Bloods by a resounding 45 points – 96 to 51. It marks an historic milestone for the Kingdom Kangaroos as they now know they are capable of beating any other team in the competition. Their win at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, also sets them up well in the race for this year’s SARFL finals.