The following extract is from an excellent story by Ellie Honeybone at ABC Great Southern looking in depth at the popularity of Australian Rules football in Europe, driven heavily by the uptake of the game by women across Europe.
A growing number of women and men are signing up to play Australian Rules in Europe and there are hopes a women-only league will be established in Switzerland in the next few years.
Katherine Dellar spent her childhood playing AusKick with the boys, and played Australian Rules for the Australian National University in Canberra.
When the 30-year-old moved to Switzerland 18 months ago she had no idea the sport would once again become part of her life.
"Geneva has a large expat population, a lot of those are Australians, and I heard via word-of-mouth about people who were trying to get an AFL team together," Ms Dellar said.
Weekend results in France have certainly fallen in favour of the ALFA Lions. Locked in a battle for a place in this season’s finals, the Lions needed a couple of things to fall in their favour with just three rounds remaining of the season. First of all, they gained the points after the Stade Toulousain team forfeited their match.
The club are on a mission to recapture their premiership form from two seasons ago and stated, “we [have] got strong ambition this season as the last one [2017/18] was very disappointing for us.”
Certainly the points for the forfeit help, but so do other results from the weekend.
The Paris derby saw the Paris Cockerels further enhance their premiership credentials by downing their siblings the Paris Cockatoos. The Cockatoos are also deep in the hunt for a finals spot, and their defeat to the Cockerels will hurt, putting them back with the pack fighting for finals spots.
“Ducky? I’m not really sure, it’s just a family nickname I was given as a child. You might have to ask my mother! However, one of my earliest memories is of my brother teaching me how to solo on the run in the back garden when I was like three or four years old. He had me running around my mother’s washing basket which was almost the same height as me!”
And so begins the interview with Ailish Considine, recruited by the Adelaide Crows last year after she impressed enough to catch the eye of recruiters at the CrossCoders program. Like so many before her, Ailish has a story of curiosity which became desire, commitment and now success.
Her journey began in Ireland, “playing with West Clare Waves at home was really the first time I was introduced to playing the game. Rosie Currane recruited a few of us to play a tournament in November 2017 because her brother Mike had organized it. Obviously the Irish girls already playing Australian football over in Australia made me more aware of the AFLW.”
The inaugural season of the AFL England National University League came to a close last weekend with the Oxford University team taking the honours in the men’s grand final, whilst the University of Birmingham women’s team won their title.
The grand finals bring to an end a season of fun and enjoyment for the university teams of Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and southern Wales, but more than that it was a showcase of talent within the universities. Players who are not already aligned with clubs for the upcoming season now have a pipeline in place with a successful first season at university level.
The success of the program has already prompted interest from other university-based teams across England and beyond and it will be interesting to see whether the competition expands further next season.
Both the Paris Cockerels and the ALFA Lions have strengthened their chances to play in the CNFA Leo Legrange finals series later this year, coming away from their trips to Toulouse with victories. It was a tough day for both Stade Toulousain teams with defeats that will certainly put pressure on their own finals chances.
In the opening match, the Paris Cockerels were too good for the Stade Toulousain 1 team, winning by 22 points. The victory certainly puts the Cockerels into flag favouritism and a chance to seek back to back titles. Despite a hiccup when they went down narrowly to the Bordeaux Bombers, the Cockerels have looked the goods again this season.
The ALFA Lions have been determined to put their rollercoaster journey behind them. After winning the 2016/17 flag and missing the finals altogether in 2017/18, the Lions have worked hard to get back into finals contention. Their victory against the Stade Toulousain A team by 24 points keeps them inside the top four and a good chance to hold their ground throughout the remainder of the season and play finals.
Janet Boyle has written this inspirational story for The Sunday Post in Scotland which looks at the journey Ashley Palmer has taken from near death to a desire to one day play again. Once again, it is the courage of people like Ashley that put all forms of football back into perspective. Janet’s story at www.sundaypost.com tells of a young man who, despite what he had endured, still loves his West Lothian Eagles club and team mates.
Linlithgow sports fanatic determined to return to action after fighting back from horror car smash
When talented young sportsman Ashley Palmer suffered a serious brain injury in a car crash, his family feared his life was effectively over.
Left in a coma for six weeks, doctors feared he might not pull through.
Even as he regained consciousness, he was unable to speak.
The French footy season recommenced yesterday when the Paris Cockatoos made the journey south to meet the Bayonne Toreadors in the opening match of Round 5 of the CNFA Leo Lagrange competition.
Going into the round, both teams were in the mix for possible finals football, so a win to either team would be hugely valuable. After the Round 4 matches had been completed, all teams were still in the race for finals if they could find consistency over the remaining five rounds. A win in this match would certainly strengthen that team’s claims.
The Toreadors had already proven themselves to be highly competitive, with their maiden win against the ALFA Lions in Round 2 following their impressive debut match when they pushed the Paris Cockerels to a 20-point result.
Irish sporting website The 42 reports that the programme that brought Irish players to AFLW will hold their first overseas camp in Ireland later this year. The article looks at the successes of the programme from last year and the benefits for the future, especially by holding the event close to a pool of Irish players for greater opportunity.
AFTER THE HUGE success of the 2018 programme, CrossCoders have announced that they will host their first-ever overseas AFLW camp in Ireland this May.
Last September, 11 Irish hopefuls went to Melbourne for an intensive week-long trial with Donegal’s Yvonne Bonner, Tipperary’s Aisling McCarthy and Clare native Ailish Considine all signing professional rookie contracts off the back of it.
The three Gaelic football stars have been successful products of the programme thus far, impressing with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide Crows respectively.
Football in Denmark is about to get a massive boost with the expansion plans for the Odense Lions. Club president Morten Merhøj and fellow founder Daniel Petrolo from the Lions took the time to detail the plans and how they will impact on the game for the entire DAFL.
It is an exciting and also inspirational story of a club’s ongoing journey.
“Odense Australian Football have BIG plans for 2020. Working together with the local government and the old Danish sports association Bolbro GIF, we are building what will be, maybe, the best set up for footy in Europe. A brand new field is being made and to be able to fit the big oval in the area, light towers and drains had to be moved. A massive and expensive effort that could not have been accomplished by the club alone.”
“On top of that the clubhouse is being fully renovated with new cafeteria, change rooms, gym, medical room, meeting/tactic room and the indoor arena for the long winters. An incredible renovation of the home of the Lions called Bolbro Parken. To keep costs down most work is being done by volunteers using all their spare time painting, breaking down walls and so on.”