The AFL Norway Kenguru Cup comes to its conclusion this weekend in Voldsløkka Idrettspark (Oslo) when the As Battlers take on the Oslo Crows in the hope of reclaiming the title. Having won the minor premiership after the four rounds of the Kenguru Cup, the Battlers go into the Grand Final as favourites, but nothing is certain.
Across the four rounds this season, the Battlers won the opening two matches comfortably, setting up a feeling that Oslo would have to improve dramatically. But, they did. Round three saw the Crows get out to a 15-point lead over the Battlers before being run down. Then in Round 4, the Crows held on for a 3-point win in a very tight battle.
It suggests that whilst the Battlers still deserve slight favouritism this weekend, without doubt the Oslo Crows are coming for them. Form is a great thing and as it stands, the Crows are in arguably their best form for the season.
It has been a massive year for the Norrtälje Dockers in the Stockholm Australian Football Federation (SAFF), culminating in a second premiership for the club. Downing the Södermalm Blues in the Grand Final was the icing on a pretty impressive cake in 2019.
The city hosted the 2019 Euro Cup back in June, and impressed the entire European footy community with a well-run tournament – a massive undertaking for any city. However, all that energy expended on the event made no difference to the Dockers’ charge to a Grand Final berth, nor did the team run out of breath on the big day, proving too strong for the Blues by 42 points.
The following excerpt from the www.afleurope.org website sets the scene across the season for both teams in the lead-up to the big match:
The first full season of the new AFL Switzerland competition has finished in emphatic fashion after the Geneva Jets put their opponents to the sword by a whopping 180 points in the inaugural Grand Final. The match, played at the Centre sportif de Vessy in Geneva, capped off a grand season for AFL Switzerland.
The match itself saw the Jets assume control of the match early and never relinquish that advantage. The score line suggests a very lopsided match, and in some way, it was. However, the score doesn’t reflect the efforts of the Basel Dragons – the losing grand finalists – as they tried all they could to stem the flow of scoring from the Jets.
Basel has defeated Geneva earlier in the season, proving they would be a worthy challenger. However, the longer the season went, the better the Jets got, and come Grand Final day the Jets had peaked. In the end, the scoreline saw the Geneva Jets 32 19 211 defeat the Basel Dragons 4 7 31.
One of Essendon’s first off-season moves since being put out of the 2019 AFL Premiership race has been to secure another talented Irish footballer. The move to secure Ross McQuillan has been in motion for some time, but as the following story from the Essendon Football Club states, McQuillan has now been locked in.
Essendon will have a second Irishman donning the sash in 2020, following its signing of Ross McQuillan as an international rookie.
The new deal will see McQuillan join the red and black until at least the end of 2021, linking up with fellow countryman Conor McKenna.
Growing up playing Gaelic football for St Patrick’s in Northern Ireland, the 20-year-old will relocate to Australia to pursue his AFL career.
McQuillan’s impressive efforts in Gaelic football won him recognition as a forward in the 2018 EirGrid GAA Football U20 All Ireland team. The talented athlete also represented Northern Ireland in basketball.
In Finland, there is a new power back in town. The 2019 FAFL premiers, the Turku Dockers, have broken the four premiership streak of the Helsinki Heatseekers to be crowned Finnish premiers. It is the fifth flag for the Dockers, equalling the tally of the Heatseekers. The Waasa Wombats have a title, winning back in 2011.
The victory is even more joyous as the club has had some tough times in recent years, so to come back from those setbacks and take a premiership speaks volumes for the players, club, supporters and backers who had stayed the course and rebuilt the club.
Heading into their Grand Final, The Turku Dockers had met the Helsinki Heatseekers on three occasions across the season. Helsinki won their Round 1 clash by 18 points, and later in Round 3 by a narrow three points. But in between, the Dockers won their Round 2 encounter in Turku by 27 points, which in retrospect might have been a pointer to their premiership win.
For a club that was born in 2013, the Odense Lions have done remarkably well. Whilst they received the requisite hidings in their early days, the club was in raptures back in 2016 when they reached the DAFL finals for the first time. Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, they returned to finals action in 2017 as well.
In both campaigns, the club was unceremoniously dumped in their only finals outing. Their 2016 final against the Copenhagen Barracudas saw a 137-point whacking, and their exit at the hands of the Farum Cats in 2017 saw a 93-point deficit.
Sad ends to promising seasons, but it is no real surprise, in retrospect, that 2018 became a year of recalibration for the Lions. The club took the wooden spoon yet the stirrings of 2019’s efforts were there.
The Hamburg Dockers Australian Football Club is the toast of the AFLG and German footy overall after both their men and women won their respective Grand Finals to claim two premierships on a great day for the club. Sadly, the Berlin Crocs were on the receiving end of both defeats and will lick their wounds over the off-season whilst the Dockers celebrate.
The men’s match, the Dockers set the tone of the match early, getting away to a two goal lead at the first break. By half-time, they had kicked away to a 21-point lead, keeping the Crocs goalless for the quarter.
By three quarter time, the Dockers had almost grabbed the premiership, despite a fightback from the Crocs. The lead at the final change was just 14 points, and if the Crocs could build on their third quarter momentum they could bridge the gap.
This Saturday, Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt, plays host to the Mid Ulster Men’s and Women’s 9 per side AFL tournament. The initiative continues to grow and is as much about a tactical tool to grow the game as it is about fun.
AFL Ireland President, Kevin McSorley detailed the tournament and its place within the framework of Australian Rules football in Ireland.
“The tournament will have four ladies teams – the West Lothian Eagles from Scotland, the Mid Ulster Suns Ladies, the Dublin Angels and a Donegal team, with any ad hoc players wishing to come as an exiles team or make up numbers for the others. The men’s draw will have three - the Galway Magpies, the Belfast Redbacks and Mid Ulster Suns.”
One of the fastest growing leagues across Europe, the AFL Switzerland competition, is closing in on the end of its 2019 season. However, rather than it being a time for slowing down, the league has announced that another club will debut for the 2020 season with the Zurich Giants officially joining.
After its recent Annual General Meeting, the club league's newest club voted to get underway as early as the 2020 season after having already put in the groundwork and hard yards to build numbers and stability on and off field.
According to the news on the club’s first official newsletter as part of AFL Switzerland:
“The Giants Are Here! Since today, Zurich has its own official club. The Zurich Giants will be playing Australian Rules Football within the Swiss league from 2020 onwards. We are very proud about this and can’t wait to host games around the beautiful city of Zurich.”
The new season of footy in France is getting closer and the draw has been released for the 2019/20 season. As well as key matches to watch out for, the biggest changes see a former grand finalist having a rest for a season and their place being taken by a new kid on the block.
It was only early last year that World Footy News reported on the formation of a new club in the southern suburbs of Paris – the Antony Blues. (See story Antony Blues Set To Grow In Paris). In a short space of time, the Blues have already performed well enough on and of the field to convince the CNFA that they are ready.
Their historic first match will be against the Cockerels in Paris. Their first home match will be in the second round when they host the Stade Toulousain 2 team. It marks a great reward for the many people who have worked so hard to get the fledgling team up and running and continues the changing face of the league clubs over recent years.