Ireland is significant as one of the first European nations to have adopted the sport of Aussie rules. However, footy has never enjoyed significantly broad popularity in the country due to the dominance of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which overseas the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, handball, and Gaelic football.
Gaelic football — by far the largest Irish spectator sport — has several similarities to Aussie rules, which have been well-documented over the years. The primary differences are the number of players, the size and shape of the ball and pitch, and the fact that Gaelic football is not full-contact.
Irish interest in footy was most likely initially sparked in 1967 during the Australian Football World Tour, which played a couple of test matches in Dublin. The hybrid sport of international rules football (a combination of Aussie rules and Gaelic football) has its roots in the World Tour. In addition, many Gaelic footballers have given Aussie rules a shot since the 1980s, primarily due to the lure of a quality salary; the Gaelic games are only played at an amateur level in Ireland.
The Leeside Lions and the Belfast Redbacks were the big winners at last weekend’s ARFLI carnival, hosted by the Redbacks at their home ground at the Boucher Road playing Fields. Both teams won both of their matches, and in the process the Lions have locked in a home final for the second year in a row after finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder.
That result certainly means that the Lions will firm even further for premiership favouritism.
The results of the weekend matches saw:
Belfast Redbacks 7 6 48 d South Dublin Swans 1 2 8
Belfast Redbacks 6 9 45 d Galway Magpies 1 4 10
Leeside Lions 7 5 47 d South Dublin Swans 1 10 16
Leeside Lions 10 8 68 d Galway Magpies 1 1 7
One of the great thing about competitions with smaller amounts of teams is that every match has the capacity to impact the whole competition. Such is the case with the last round results for the SARFL competition in Scotland. The Glasgow Sharks went into the game without a win for 2017. The Kingdom Kangaroos were sitting second looking to consolidate that position.
The Edinburgh Bloods looked on from afar with keen interest, while the Greater Glasgow Giants watch all those below them fight and jostle. In the end it was the Glasgow Sharks that enjoyed their first win of the season, after a number of unlucky close shaves. But their win at home against the Kingdom Kangaroos – 147 to 74 - has ramifications for the whole competition.
Heading into the Round 9 clashes – the penultimate round of the AFL London home and away season – the league’s two perennial heavyweights were locked in a huge battle for minor premiership honours and subsequent premiership favouritism.
At the end of the round, both sides were locked on seven wins apiece with the Wandsworth Demons ahead of the West London Wildcats by percentage only (236.8 to 222.8). Their respective Round 9 clashes this weekend would certainly tell some stories. The Demons taking on the last-placed Giants, whilst the Wildcats (2nd) would take on the North London Lions (3rd).
A combination of recent premierships and past history – as well as results to date this season – might see the term “premiership favourites” directed towards the incumbent champions the Greater Glasgow Giants, their nearest rival the Edinburgh Bloods or even the historical record of the Glasgow Sharks. The Kingdom Kangaroos are not usually the first name tied to 2017 flag chances.
But after their last start home victory against the Glasgow Sharks, so soon after their maiden win against the Edinburgh Bloods, the Kingdom Kangaroos have sent a clear message to other teams and fans – write us off at your peril.
Their big win against the Glasgow Sharks – 21 16 142 to 12 9 81 – proved comprehensively that the ‘Roos do have the firepower to challenge any of the other teams. Add that to their efforts back in May to ground the Bloods by 45 points and the Kingdom Kangaroos are moving into flag calculations.
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.