Since the end of last year, footy in Finland has seen the Finland Lions make two trips to Prague, play a three-game series against the Stockholm Dynamite and hold a match Finland vs The World, with an all-Finnish team taking on Irish and Aussies from the Finnish footy scene and only going down by twenty points.
Now the crew are putting together plans for a local league featuring teams from Helsinki, Espoo, Turku and possibly Vantaa (all fairly close together on Finland's southern coast), with the goal of having enough Finns playing regularly in the league to push for a Finnish team (tentatively nicknamed the "Ice Breakers") at the 2008 International Cup.
In the curtain-raiser to the AFL's London exhibition match between Geelong and Port Adelaide, the British Bulldogs took the field for their only international match this year against Ireland, the traditional powerhouses of European Aussie Rules. The match saw the Irish get away to a very quick start, holding the British goalless until half-time. The Bulldogs dominated the second half however, getting back within 16 points midway through the last quarter. The match was stopped shortly thereafter when Britain's Jonny Dickson was stretchered off the ground, final margin a 22-point win to Ireland.
The inaugural Tri-Nations series held between Denmark, Sweden and Germany in 2006 had mixed results. The best that can be said is that all three matches did go ahead and no Australians played. The results, however, left quite a bit to be desired.
The British Bulldogs have named their squad to take on Ireland as the warmup to this weekend's AFL exhibition match between Geelong and Port Adelaide at The Oval in London. The squad will again be captained by IC veteran John Boyle and features ten players from the Bulldogs team which toured Melbourne last year.
The Sydney Swans may have fallen one step short in the AFL this year, but their Irish cousins have completed the great achievement of winning a flag in essentially their first season as a club. It wasn't all good news from the Emerald Isle, as some clubs struggled to get onto the park. The following wrap of the Irish 2006 Aussie Rules season is courtesy of Ireland international John Enright.
The British Bulldogs and the Fianna na hEireann (Irish Warriors) will again do battle as a curtain-raiser to the AFL exhibition match between Geelong and Port Adelaide. The AFL match will be played Saturday, October 21st at The Oval and is a big event on the social calendar for the large Australian community in London.
Kicking off at 11.40am, the match between Great Britain and Ireland will be 18-a-side with full International Cup selection rules - the British team for the first time ever likely include players from both Scotland and England.
The Central European AFL Championships were held in Prague last month, with the Finland Lions defeating the Croatian Giants in the final. The tournament was played under handicap rules where teams with more locals received score bonuses and featured squads of mixed Australians and Europeans. The five squads competing were from the newer up-and-coming European footy nations, all except for France still at the one-club stage but aiming to be able to compete against the more established leagues in future.
In the second of the Denmark-Sweden-Germany internationals for 2006, the Danes have thoroughly defeated the Swedes 13.14 (92) to 1.5 (11). Having similarly disposed of Germany the Vikings will take the series, with the Sweden and Germany left to battle for runners-up honours. The result is no surprise given the extra years Denmark have in the game, including strong junior development, but the win will still delight the DAFL.
It's been an up and down month for resurgent Denmark on the international front recently. A thumping win for the senior team against Germany has been followed by a major surprise in their junior loss to England's Dragonslayers last weekend.
In the BARFL Premiership Grand Final played on Saturday, September 2nd, the West London Wildcats slaughtered the Wimbledon Hawks 18.11.119 to 2.6.18. In the London Conference Grand Final the Shepherds Bush Raiders defeated the Clapham Demons in a low-scoring affair, 5.11.41 to 4.3.27.
Results and photos to come, for more details see barfl.co.uk.