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.
The Paris Cocks (the union of the Paris Cocks Footy club comprising players from both the Cockerels and Cockatoos) has taken out the 2017 Coupe Du Nord in Lyon this weekend. After a premiership season which saw both teams ultimately fall to the mighty ALFA Lions, the Paris crew took solace in adding this piece of silverware to their rather large display cabinet.
The Cocks went through the tournament undefeated, whilst the ALFA Lions and Cergy Pontoise Coyotes nabbed a win each against each other across the three-team round robin draw. The scores from the matches were:
The Wandsworth Demons remain the only undefeated team in the AFL London competition after just two rounds of the 2017 season. After a tight tussle with the North London Lions, the demons held on for a 15-point win. Final scores saw the Wandsworth Demons 10 10 70 defeat the North London Lions 7 13 55.
The West London Wildcats have hit back hard after their first round loss to trounce the Wimbledon Hawks. Their 138-point thrashing of first Round winners, the Hawks, sent a nerve-jangling message to the rest of the competition that the Wildcats are very much the power they always are. Final siren saw the West London Wildcats 25 21 171 defeat the Wimbledon Hawks 5 3 33.
The GB Bulldogs have handed out a big defeat to the AFL Canada men’s team – the North Stars – in the opening men’s match of the London Footy Carnival. The GB Bulldogs 15 19 109 kept the North Stars scoreless. In the opening women’s match between the Canadian Midnight Suns team won their opening match of the tournament kicking 7 7 49 to defeat the London All Stars team 3 3 21.
The event in 2017 boasts four nations being represented – England, Ireland, Wales and Canada – as well as the GB Bulldogs and GB Swans. Clashes between Great Britain and Canada can be traced back to the first match in Toronto in 1993 when Canada won 19 7 121 to 7 7 49. Since that match, the nations have clashed on five other occasions with the results being three wins apiece.
The French city of Bordeaux has been granted the hosting rights for the 2017 Euro Cup. The city last hosted the event in 2013 when Saint-Médard-en-Jalles stadium became the centre of the European Australian Rules football universe. On that occasion, England took the men’s title with a resounding 77 point victory over the French hosts whilst the European Crusaders women’s team downed France by 19 points. This year, the French will be keen to turn one of those defeats into a maiden title.
AFL Europe will be quietly confident that last year’s record amount of teams at a Euro Cup will be broken. Across the men’s and women’s competitions in Umag, Croatia, 22 teams competed. With the continued growth of women’s football, and a useful geographic location within Europe, Bordeaux might yet host the biggest event in the cup’s history in terms of teams.
The Nottingham Scorpions have held a determined Sheffield Thunder at bay over the weekend, keeping them at arm’s length to record a 19-point victory. The Thunder crew are pragmatic enough to realise that on paper it was another loss, but can see the improvement in their side after a tough, hard contest. Nottingham remain in second place on the ladder, whilst Thunder have consecutive matches against the Tigers and Saints to possibly build a winning streak.
In other matches, big margins were the order of the day. The Manchester Mozzies gave the Huddersfield Rams a football lesson, recording a 190-point victory – their third huge margin in three games so far. For the Rams, the result will be a kick into action. They have started the season well enough – going down to the Scorpions by less than five goals before downing the Thunder – but now they have a chance to recalibrate again before their next clash. The Mozzies sit comfortably atop the ladder.
The Blagnac Aviators are the newest Australian Rules football club in France, playing their first CNFA season across 2016/17. They performed creditably, winning two matches and avoiding the wooden spoon in their maiden season. But now they have gone a step further, taking out the 2017 Coupe Du Sud (Cup of the South) in a tri-series against both the Toulouse Hawks and Bordeaux Bombers.
On top of that effort, the Aviators managed to go through the tournament at the Stade Sordelo in Toulouse undefeated across their matches to be thoroughly deserving victors. Playing in the final against their Toulouse siblings – the Hawks – Blagnac were comprehensive, downing their rivals by 26 points (Aviators 35 d Hawks 9).
April 12th is a national day in Russia. It is called Cosmonautics Day and celebrates the anniversary of Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man into space, circling the Earth for almost two hours on April 12th 1961.
As a major day of Russian celebration, AFL Russia has for many years played either a match or tournament, under the banner of the Gagarin Cup, as a major Australian Rules football event in Moscow.
In recent years the event has become a part of the overall Russian football season where the two major national teams – the Lazy Koalas from Moscow and the St Petersburg – play each other for the honour of the Gagarin Cup.
After just six games of Australian football, Irishman Mark O'Connor will make his AFL debut for Geelong at the MCG on Saturday.
After being a very promising GAA football talent in Ireland and playing for County Kerry, O'Connor was invited to the AFL Europe combine in Dublin. Impressive in the testing there he was invited to Melbourne where he was hot property at the AFL Combine in Melbourne last October.
Being an international rookie prospect he was in the position of fielding a number of offers before he finally chose Geelong. He joined fellow Irish recruit Zac Tuohy who had just been traded from Carlton. An impressive pre-season and good early from in the VFL have seen the Geelong selectors back the raw Irish talent for his accelerated AFL debut.
On Saturday there is some chance he will run out on the MCG and be matched against another Irishman in Conor McKenna who had a similar journey via the AFL Europe combine before ending up at Essendon.