The Tyne Tees Tigers, formerly a part of the AFLCNE competition, based across northern and central England, have made a monumental decision to leave that league and travel north to be a part of the AFL Scotland league, SARFL. Whilst on face value the question might be raised as to why a club in England would join a league in Scotland – geography justifies the decision. Based in Newcastle, in the north of England, the Tigers are closer to the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow than most of their former AFLCNE opposition.
According to Tyne Tees Tigers club president, Phil Martin, “we took the decision to change leagues based on travel involved. With the exception of the Huddersfield Rams, all the AFLCNE clubs are a greater distance from us than the SARFL clubs. Historically, due to this, we have always had a solid link to the Scottish clubs with strong representation at Tyne Cup over the years, with the pre-season Bawbag Cup between the Kingdom Kangaroos and ourselves (and last year included the Eagles as well) and also with pre-season friendlies. The time felt right to take the step [to join SARFL].”
The football scene in the SARFL (Scottish Australian Rules Football league) may be about to change if a bid by the West Lothian Eagles to join the league as a full member team is successful. Club founder, Mikey Allen, has fired off a submission for the club to be the fifth team in the SARFL for the 2018 season.
The club was founded in 2016 when Mikey identified the potential for another Australian Rules football team. Since that time the Falkirk Silverbacks club has ceased, further opening up the prospects for a new team – located between Edinburgh and Glasgow. If successful, the team would join the Greater Glasgow Giants, Glasgow Sharks, Edinburgh Bloods and Kingdom Kangaroos as part of the national league.
With the start of the new AFLW season getting closer – the Round One clash between arch rivals, Collingwood and Carlton, on February 2nd – Adam Curley from the www.afl.com.au website reports that the GWS Giants have a new weapon up their sleeve ahead of the new season – Irish legend, Cora Staunton.
ONE OF Ireland's most decorated athletes, Cora Staunton, is looking forward to being just another Greater Western Sydney player when the NAB AFL Women's season starts in February.
Staunton is a Gaelic football legend in her country, a dominant forward who just last month was named an All-Star – the equivalent of the AFL's All Australian honour – for a record 11th time.
The 36-year-old is a household name in Ireland, having first represented her county Mayo in 1995, aged just 13, and is one of the game's biggest stars, so she told AFL.com.au just days after arriving in Sydney that she's happy to leave the spotlight behind to concentrate on learning her new code.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed Lauren Spark from the Western Bulldogs AFLW team. Spark plays ruck and key defender for the Western Bulldogs and she used to play for the Wimbledon Hawks in the AFL London competition and for Melbourne University in the VFL Women’s competition.
What made you choose women’s football over women’s beach volleyball? I loved beach volleyball and still do, but it’s a tough sport to progress further in, with limited coaches and players available. I had always wanted to play football and wasn’t until age of 27 I met a friend who was playing and went down to join her at Melbourne University Women’s Football club.
Did you play any other sports growing up, other than beach volleyball and football?
Yes played all sorts, mainly tennis as a junior and then netball as a teen.
The West London Wildcats will be hosting the 2018 AFL London Pre-Season Cup. To be played at the Duke’s Meadows Playing Fields, the event will be jointly hosted by AFL London and the AFL London Umpires Association. The event will be played on Saturday April 21st from 9am to 4pm.
Details of the draw will be released at a later date when details are clearer about which teams will be at the event for both the men’s and women’s draws. The matches feature 18 per side on the field and mark the build up to the start of the AFL London premiership season which will commence soon afterwards.
The West London Wildcats are the current title-holders in the men’s draw, having downed the North London Lions last year in the same event. In the women’s draw it was the GB Swans taking the title after defeating the Wandsworth Demons.
Unlike some places in the world where sport is played in winter in alarming conditions (see photo of fans in the grandstands at an American Football match – no idea what happened to the players), those involved in Australian Rules football across Europe have hunkered down in front of heaters or fires waiting for next season. With the latest round of the CNFA season done, we now wait for the thaw for the next sirens to sound.
However, AFL Europe have already got a smorgasbord of competitions lined up for next year, on top of all of the national and regional leagues that will gradually come to life.
First cab off the rank is the 2018 Fitzpatrick Cup in Ireland. To be played on 3rd February at the University College Cork, the UCC Bombers will be keen to go back-to-back, having taken titles last year and also the inaugural title in 2013. The University of Birmingham won the event in 2015 and 2016 and will be a strong chance again, but 2018 might also unearth a new champion.
Whilst the ALFA Lions look back in despair at the vagaries of football – premiers last season and possibly missing finals altogether this season – the Toulouse Hawks and Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes have all but guaranteed their finals placings after the weekend’s matches in France. With all teams now set to enjoy the winter hiatus, much planning and soul-searching will take place between now and early March when matches resume.
The Toulouse Hawks did not take long to flex their muscle over the Perpignan Tigers. Leading 51 to 13 at the first break, the Hawks powered to a 10 goal half time lead (80-20). By three-quarter time the lead had blown out to 96 points. The Tigers fought back in the final quarter to keep the damage to a 106-point defeat. Final scores saw Toulouse Hawks 153 to Perpignan Tigers 47.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed AFLW player Kate Shierlaw who played one season in AFL London for the Wimbledon Hawks and now plays for Carlton in the AFLW after being rookie selected in the inaugural 2017 AFLW season.
What made you choose Women’s footy over Women’s basketball?
I have always been obsessed with footy but never saw a pathway for women. The footy opportunity was a very lucky one for me and just being in the right place at the right time over in London. Basketball has provided me with a very good grounding for footy and it wasn’t about choosing one over the other, more about the opportunity that was presented to be able to play a sport I love at the highest level.
Ryan Davidson has reported from Dublin for the www.afl.com.au website on the impressive performances of the talented players on show at the Euro Combine held in the Irish capital. Considered a catchment for potential future AFL players, recruiters from Geelong and Essendon were present.
AFL Recruiters have been impressed by several tall prospects on show at the European Combine in Dublin.
Twenty-three of Ireland's best underage Gaelic footballers converged on University College to be put through their paces by former Collingwood defender and AFL Europe specialist coach Marty Clarke and AFL international talent manager Kevin Sheehan.
The Bordeaux Bombers played host to the Paris Cockatoos yesterday in their Round 4 encounter, and between them they played a game for the ages. In one of the tightest CNFA games seen for a long time, the Cockatoos held on after an incredibly tight game by just one point – to whoops of delight from exhausted Cockatoos and broken hearts (but not spirits) from the Bombers.
At the first change, just a goal separated the teams (Bombers 15, Cockatoos 21) whilst the second quarter saw the Bombers claw ahead to take the same advantage to the half time break (Bombers 29, Cockatoos 23). The Cockatoos came out in the third quarter and in a dour struggle managed to gain enough advantage to lead by just five points at the final change (Bombers 42, Cockatoos 47).