After a shaky start to their season, the London Swans hit back with a strong 48-point victory against the Wimbledon Hawks in Round Three of the AFL London competition. After an opening round drubbing from the Lions and a bye last round, the Swans needed to turn around their season quickly and did so at the expense of an out of sorts Wimbledon.
The result may prove a catalyst for the Swans to push for a finals berth later in the season as they keep the Hawks at bay for now.
In the second match of the weekend, two of the heavyweights in the West London Wildcats and North London Lions fought out a tough, tight game. In the end it was the Wildcats holdout out for 1 12-point win to keep them close to the Wandsworth Demons. The match showcased both team’s determination and proved that little separates the top three teams. In the Women’s Premiership matches, the Demons and Lions both recorded big victories.
For two seasons, the Manchester Mozzies and Nottingham Scorpions have set the pace in the AFLCNE competition. Whilst, from time to time, other teams have shown signs of a challenge to their dominance, by grand final day both teams had proved they were a touch of class above the rest.
This season had seen the Wolverines off to a blistering start and the Rams playing well. But come last weekend, the Mozzies and Scorpions had risen above the early season cobwebs and announced that, in all likelihood, they will gain dominate the season.
In the weekend action in Manchester, the Nottingham Scorpions dished out an 89-point lesson to the Wolverhampton Wolverines whilst the Manchester Mozzies downed the Huddersfield Rams by 62 points. The victories have seemingly set in place a clear hierarchy – two clear favourites to challenge again, two worthy combatants on the next tier and the Merseyside Saints needing to turn their season around dramatically to challenge.
The next instalment of the St. Petersburg Cup will be played in the Russian city this weekend. Once a battle between the St. Petersburg Cats and the Lazy Koalas from Moscow, the 2018 tournament will also feature the Helsinki Heatseekers club from Finland in a genuine combination of Russian and Finnish talent.
As previously reported, the Helsinki team will travel by sea and road through Tallin, the capital city and major port in Estonia, and would not be averse to dragging along some local AFL Estonia talent for the event. (See AFL Estonia – More Than Just A Name)
After years of gradual development, mainly in Moscow then more recently in St. Petersburg, the game in Russia has now grown to support clubs in both cities as they play across the year for the pride of being Russia’s best. Not only do the Cats and Lazy Koalas provide two national level clubs, but each has sprouted smaller, localised feeder teams to grow local match practice. After years of groundwork, the game is now moving forward in a pleasing way.
The Edinburgh Bloods have come back hard after their last round loss, downing last season’s premiers the Greater Glasgow Giants on the road a week after going down to the Glasgow Sharks in a tight, tough match. The result gives the Bloods two wins from three starts this season and sets them up well for a run to the finals later in the season.
The loss for the Giants could prove disastrous, in terms of defending their title, as they are now winless after their own first three matches. They face an uphill battle now to keep up with the pacesetters and will need a big change of fortune in coming weeks. Given that the new format with five teams (not including the Eagles) means two teams can miss finals altogether, the pressure is mounting for the Giants to at least get some momentum.
AFL Sweden is currently gearing up for their 2018 Swedish Cup, this year to be played at the Limhamnsfältet in Malmö and hosted by the Port Malmö Maulers club. Hopes are high for the event to feature SAFF (Swedish Australian Football Federation) clubs – the Södermalm Blues, Solna Axemen, Årsta Swans and Norrtälje Dockers.
It is also hoped that the Olso Crows club from Norway will make the journey to compete as well as players from other Swedish clubs from the south in the Göteborg Berserkers, Eksjo Bulldogs, Port Malmö Maulers – a Swedish team playing in the DAFL (Danish Australian Football League) - and Helsingborg Saints. Even if these clubs cannot be there in their entirety, combined teams will be put together.
Grand Final day for the AFL London competition wasn’t very long ago and fresh in most people’s minds would be the titanic struggle which saw the Wandsworth Demons hold off a desperate North London Lions by just three points in a low scoring match.
Fast forward to Round Two of the 2018 AFL London Premiership season. Once again these two teams played out a breathlessly tight match. This time, the Demons held off the Lions by just seven points. Optimistic Demon fans could point out that the result was more than twice as big as last time. But most are more realistic and realise that the score-line suggests that nothing much, still, separates these two teams. Should they met in a grand final again, the Lions know they are close, but still have to find something extra.
The opening round of the new 2018 AFL Ireland Premiership season was played over the weekend in Cork, hosted by the reigning premiers the Leeside Lions. The Lions immediately set about staking their claim for another title with two good wins, but it was also a big day for the Belfast Redbacks as they claimed two wins from the day.
The Leeside Lions have been the benchmark team in the competition, having won back to back flags in 2017 and 2018. With a balanced team that knows each other well, the Lions proved too good for the South Dublin Swans in the opening match before backing that result up with a hard fought win in a close match against the Galway Magpies.
The season is still young, and not all scenarios have been played out, but the Huddersfield Rams took another big step towards bigger things with their win over the Merseyside Saints. On face value, they have just one win from two games and their win was against the bottom-placed team. But digging deeper, there is a story in their results.
Their opening round loss to the Nottingham Scorpions was only by 15 points. They pushed the grand finalists from the past two seasons all the way, suggesting they have the steel to stand up to the best opposition. Come finals time, and they will most likely be there, the Rams would not fear the Scorpions. Their 82-point win against the Merseyside Saints on the weekend was just the response they needed to give - and did.
The Glasgow Sharks sent another strong message to the rest of their SARFL opponents on the weekend with a strong win against the Edinburgh Bloods in the battle of fierce rivals – geographically and historically. The win sees the Sharks gliding into top spot on the ladder after Round Three, having now downed the Bloods and the Giants in two impressive performances.
The final score saw the Glasgow Sharks 14 16 100 down the Edinburgh Bloods 10 11 71 to record a 29-point win on the road.
With two wins from two starts, the Sharks are off to a flyer. Their next match, against the Kingdom Kangaroos, could be season defining. Another win on the road will leave the Sharks in a very strong position before facing the Giants (away) and then three of the next four games at home (albeit, one of those is for no points against the Eagles – but the match practice still counts).
All of the preliminaries are now done for Léo Lagrange CNFA Premiership season. Now, in Toulouse on May 26th, the grand-final will go ahead with the Paris Cockerels to clash with the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. Whilst the Cockerels go into the big match as possible slight favourites, the Coyotes are super keen for a maiden title.
The Coyotes already had plenty of incentive to win their first premiership. Twice bundled out of the finals by the Paris teams, and losing their only other grand final appearance to the Cockatoos in 2015/16, the Coyotes want retribution. Now they have even more opportunity for revenge, with the opportunity to bring down the Cockerels in a second grand-final.