The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup will enter its seventh season in Manchester on Sunday. The event honours former high-flying Mozzie, Nathan Blakey, who passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer. The event is designed to raise funds for and awareness of men’s health, specifically cancers. The event is run in conjunction with the Movember Foundation and will feature plenty of men with moustaches. Women are under no such obligation, but will also be playing for the cause.
This year’s event will feature two round robin divisions with finals decided by pool winners. Pool A will feature the Manchester Mozzies, Wolverhampton Wolverines, Glasgow Giants from Scotland and one of two University of Birmingham teams. Pool B will include the Nottingham Scorpions, Huddersfield Rams, Wandsworth demons from London and the second University Of Birmingham team. There will also be two combined women’s teams playing across the day.
It was just a fraction over two years ago that the Strasbourg Kangourous won their last CNFA match – a 123-point walloping of the Perpignan Tigers. They didn’t win another match that season and their final outing saw them walloped themselves by the Paris Cockatoos by a nasty 118 points. The club did not field a team in the 2016/17 season and it was anyone’s guess when or if they might return.
Well, the Kangourous are back, and their victory on the weekend against a combination of German teams – the Freiburg Taipans, Stuttgart Emus and Dresden Wolves (a team that, amazingly, travelled 600 kilometres to play) – suggests the team is well on the path back to CNFA status.
Played in Strasbourg, a French city 400 kilometres east of Paris and almost on the Rhine River where it marks the French German border, the city is relatively close to both Stuttgart and Freiburg. It makes geographical sense for the Kangourous to have a closer football connection with these two nearby teams – Stuttgart around 150 kilometres away and Friedburg just 90 kilometres away.
The Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes have come from the clouds to defeat the Paris Cockatoos in their home clash in Pontoise. The match was a double header hosted by the Coyotes, with the Paris Cockerels downing the Bordeaux Bombers in the other match.
Early in the match, the Cockatoos jumped the Coyotes and led by 20 points at the first break. From then the Coyotes kept creeping back into the game, but still trailed by two points at the final change. But a powerful final quarter, and a defensively brilliant effort to keep the Cockatoos to a solitary behind, saw the Coyotes run out 19 point winners.
The win keeps the Coyotes well in finals contention, though the Cockatoos now have won one of their two games to date and need to find some consistency headed deeper into the season.
The Paris Cockatoos and Toulouse Hawks have enjoyed a big weekend with important victories over their opponents. The Cockerels travelled to Lyon to down the reigning premiers, the ALFA Lions, whilst the Toulouse Hawks were too good for the Bordeaux Bombers at home.
The ALFA Lions have learned quickly what it means to go from the hunter to the hunted. After winning last season’s flag and displaying good form in the pre-season, the Lions have lost both of their opening premiership matches. Losses to both the Cockatoos and the revitalised Toulouse Hawks I the opening round have made the season much harder for the Lions – from here it has to be as close to five wins from five starts as possible to challenge again for back to back honours. A tough task.
Results in the French (CNFA) Australian Rules football competition this weekend have seen the Toulouse based Aviators (formerly Blagnac Aviators) and Paris Cockerels record victories. They are important results for each team, setting the clubs up with a jump on other teams early in the season. The Aviators defeated the Tigers whilst the Cockerels downed the Coyotes.
The Perpignan Tigers hosted the Aviators and both teams fought hard throughout the match. The Aviators, in just their second season, played the brand of football that won them two matches in their maiden season. The Tigers were unlucky in some games last year and one could argue the same on the weekend. They fought the Aviators to the final siren but unluckily went down by three goals.
Round One of the French CNFA season is done. The round was a huge win for both the Bordeaux Bombers last weekend and the Toulouse Hawks yesterday. Both came away with important and resounding wins – but the Toulouse victory against the reigning premiers ALFA Lions signals the return of the Hawks.
Toulouse hosted the ALFA Lions and made no secret of their desire to capitalise on home ground advantage to outplay the Lions. By quarter time the Hawks had jumped to a 19-point lead and had extended that to a five goal break by half time.
Any chance of a second half revival by the Lions was snuffed out by another big third quarter by the Hawks, going into the final quarter with a 49-point lead. The final quarter saw the Lions fight for redemtion – the Hawks for total dominance, which is how the result panned out as they ran out convincing 66-point winners. Final score saw Toulouse Hawks 116 d ALFA Lions 50.
The following article from the Irish Independent looks at the drafting of superstar women’s Gaelic footballer Cora Staunton by AFLW club the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Cora was taken with pick 45 in yesterday’s AFLW NAB AFL Women’s Draft. Not only is Cora’s selection a great personal success, it also opens wider the prospects of more Irish and other international players seeking to be drafted in coming years.
Mayo star Cora Staunton will feature in the AFLW in 2018.
She will be the first international athlete to be drafted to play in the league which gets underway in January after she joined the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
Drive across Russia. Go on, I dare you! Its size is almost incomprehensible. Suggest you pack a sandwich. It is the largest country in the world and according to Wikipedia it covers one eighth of the habitable land mass of the earth. It cover over 17 million square kilometres. If this doesn’t yet have your attention as to its staggering size, try this. To travel from, say, St Petersburg in the west to Vladivostok in the east is not much short of 10 000 kilometres. Recommend you leave early.
The nation is almost too enormous to describe. Yet, if we change the context to Australian Rules football, they are but a mere minnow in the footy pond. Many footy nations are still described as being in their infancy. Russian footy is still in the crib.
That is what makes last weekend’s first Euro Cup win since 2011 for the Russian Czars so wonderful. A team representing a microscopic level of interest within a nation has just planted the seed for something bigger to grow. One win might not be seen as a big deal, but to those who have been developing the game in Russia that win was the equivalent of crossing the Himalayas.
The tables have finally turned in European Australian Football with both the men's and women's England teams not only claiming but dominating the Euro Cup 2017.
The most pleasing thing about both squads is that there were a number of debutants, players who have never pulled on the England guernsey before. Ruckwoman Allanah Blount's involvement in IC17 had a huge impact on her development despite the 23 year old only picking up the Sherrin in March this year.
English fans will have partied well into the night in Bordeaux after the nation took out the prestigious Euro Cup titles for both the men’s and women’s competitions. It will be remembered as a landmark day for English Australian Rules football as the years of hard work behind the scenes and on the training tracks resulted in a memorable result for the nation.
A moment should be set aside for Irish teams, both the men’s Warriors and women’s Banshees going down in the finals to the England teams. They Irish were brave, but the results in each final showed the English a long way ahead on the scoreboards, suggesting luck had little to do with results.
Whilst the victors quite rightfully will enjoy their tournament and take away fond memories, some of the lesser lights also stood out in a tournament, which continued to bring great opportunity to participating nations.