The Glasgow Sharks are the proud inhabitants of a brand new permanent footy ground in the city, one of the few in Europe. To celebrate, the ground's inaugral gameday saw the second annual Scottish Cup on March 25th, a three way tournament between the Sharks, fellow Scots the Edinburgh Bloods and the Dublin Demons - the Irish visitors proving the strongest outfit on the day.
WFN recently spoke with the founders of a new footy club in Manchester, joining the BARFL for 2006. Since then, a draft BARFL Regional league draw has been circulated, featuring no less than 9 clubs - these being the four teams who competed last year, three new clubs from regional England, and Glasgow and Edinburgh from Scotland. WFN takes a sneak preview of the regional league, and talks to players from another of the new clubs - the Thanet Bombardiers.
The AFL created some international good will last Tuesday just before the opening of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The AFL has jumped on the bandwagon of the Cypriot team. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is of Greek-Cypriot background with his father migrating from the village of Kili to Melbourne in 1951. It was here that he met his wife who had migrated separately from Cyprus. Demetriou played 103 games for North Melbourne and 3 games for Hawthorn in the VFL.
In the promotional match held last weekend between a French selection and British club the Reading Roos, the French side (mostly rugby players very new to Aussie Rules) came very close to pulling off an upset against the seasoned Brits, the margin during the last quarter at one stage only three points before Reading kicked the sealer to win 75-66. The game was played in cold conditions in front of between 500 and 700 spectators, including a sizeable media presence.
Perpignan will this weekend host a promotional 12-a-side Aussie Rules match between a side drawn from clubs across France and a squad from England, composed mainly of Reading Roos players. The match is expected to capitalise on a strong media push, with television, radio and print media promotion over the last few weeks and more than 300 tickets sold as of a few days ago.
Danish Footy took a bit of a hit when Denmark surprisingly pulled out of the 2005 IC, but the latest developments indicate that DAFL is getting its act together - with a rejuvenated leadership corps, a juniors tour to Australia in April and more internationals including Denmark and Sweden in the works.
Irishman Colm Begley has made the fastest AFL debut ever after lining up for the Brisbane Lions in their NAB Cup quarter-final in just his third game of Australian football. This comes hot on the heels of impressive form last week from Setanta O'hAilpin.
Over the last 15 years, a few clubs have existed in the area Londoners call 'up north' - the Liverpool Blues in the early 90s, then the St Helens (aka Northwestern) Miners and Doncaster Saints more recently. 2006 will be fourth time lucky for the region, with a crew training in Manchester. They may not be the only debutants in the BARFL this year - with an insider tip that there are groups close to startup in a few other British cities.
New French side the St Esteve Saints played their first match last weekend, travelling to Valls, Spain, to take on the Belfry Valls of the Catalan footy community south of the Spanish border. The Saints are based in the vicinity of Perpignan, in the Catalan-French region of Rousillon - and the debutante French side impressed on debut, handing their southern counterparts a 112-28 drubbing.
Note: we have been advised that the team competing against St Esteve were the club from the city of Valls (2005 Catalan premiers), rather than the Catalan overall selection. Article has been updated to reflect this, apologies to the Catalan camp!!
The Strasbourg Black Devils have officially signed onto the AFL Germany for 2006, with the young French side to be the first from their nation to experience regular league play. Having recently changed their nickname from the 'Kangaroos' to avoid clashing with the Munich side, the Strasbourgeois will play most of their season at home, though their first match is a tough road trip to Berlin on the 1st of April. Also on the schedule are friendly matches against the North London Lions and Brussels Saints.