The new Irish Aussie Rules season starts soon and amongst the six teams competing for glory will be the South Dublin Swans. Alas this isn't quite a boost in the number of clubs in Ireland, as South Dublin is really a fresh start for the Dublin Eagles, a solid team but which carried some baggage from seasons past. Thanks to some help from the Sydney Swans the new club is kitted out and ready to go for round 1.
British power club the West London Wildcats last weekend visited Barcelona for a match against Catalan 2005 champions Belfry Valls. The match was held at La Taixoneras Rubgy Field, with the Wildcats running out 76-point winners, 16.9.105 to Valls 3.11.29. A good time was had by all, as is the tradition on the increaingly regular BARFL preseason tour matches and the Catalan players came out of the match feeling they'd learnt a great deal through playing against the experienced Australians of the Wildcats squad.
The Farum Cats are well known for their junior development of Aussie Rules. A significant part of that junior development are their tours to Australia which take place every three years. Their 2006 tour has just begun ...
The Strasbourg Black Devils played their first two matches in their new colours, hosting the North London Lions then making the long road trip to Berlin to meet the Crocs in their first-ever AFLG appearance. While the Black Devils went down in both matches, they were far from disgraced - the all-Australian Lions team beating them 124-55 and the Crocs actually trailing at quarter time before their experience allowed them to pull away.
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.