On the back of an undefeated home and away season, the Belfast Redbacks are now raging hot favourites to win the 2018 AFL Ireland Premiership. After winning both of their games on the weekend in Dublin, the Redbacks now go straight to the grand final and will watch and wait to see which team they will met.
It was a big day also for the Galway Magpies. Their day saw a win and a loss but it was enough to ensure that they claimed second spot on the ladder. On semi-final day they will play the winner of the Leeside Lions versus South Dublin Swans clash to fight for their right to meet the Redbacks on grand-final day.
After months of lovely footy weather, the weekend’s games were played in torrential rain. It added a new element to the contests as teams had to reacquaint themselves with slippery surfaces and a ball that was suddenly like a bar of soap. Certainly, a handy set of skills to have in the event that the finals are playing in wet conditions.
The last time the Hamburg Dockers hosted the Berlin Crocs it saw a huge upset, with the Crocs pinching a one-point win. Since then, the Dockers have been in a terrible mood, relentlessly charging to the finals and racking up some big wins. However, in the back of their minds was the prospect of the return bout against the Crocs.
On the weekend, the Dockers gained their revenge, hammering the Berlin Crocs by 107 points to enhance their premiership prospects whilst at the same time putting an enormous dent in the hopes of the Crocs. The Crocs will still play finals, but they now know the pecking order and would have to do something incredible to reverse this latest result in finals.
The Munich Kangaroos kept their own premiership hopes alive with a strong win against the visiting Frankfurt Redbacks. Whilst the Hamburg Dockers now have flag favouritism, the Kangaroos have done little wrong all season and are still a huge chance of taking the AFLG title.
In all fairness, nobody could have really seen this coming. The Tyne Tees Tigers, with a solitary win next to their name in their first season as an AFL Scotland team, up against the undefeated flag favourites, the Glasgow Sharks. In one of the most important wins in the club’s history, the Tigers have pulled off a massive upset, beating the Sharks by 40 points.
Whilst there were possibly some personnel changes for the Sharks that may have left them a little undermanned, it was still up to the Tigers to produce their best against a quality team – and they certainly did.
Whilst the result had no impact on ladder positions – the Sharks still finishing on top of the home and away ladder to go through to the grand-final and the Tigers finishing fourth – it is an important result for the Tigers. Not only did they enjoy their highest ladder position since their inception in the AFLCNE, they will also have gained enormous belief to take into next season. They have also shown that the trip down to Newcastle will be a challenge for all visiting teams.
Coline Duquet is a Frenchwoman who has played women’s footy for six years. Duquet’s footy journey so far has been a decorated one.
“If I had to describe my footy journey in few words I’d say that it’s like a love story: full of passion, emotions, and magical moments of pure happiness that I shared with beautiful human beings. But it also meant some difficult challenges and, sometimes, tricky situations (like when I had to choose a club in Melbourne)”, Duquet said.
She has trained with VFLW teams Darebin and also Carlton and for two weeks. Duquet has trained with star AFLW players in Darcy Vescio, Brianna Davey, Melissa Hickey, Lauren Arnell and Aasta O’Connor.
Credit: AFL Europe
Duquet played for the European Crusaders at the AFL International Cup in 2017 (IC17) and in the same year she was selected in the World Team. "Of course, being named in the World Team made me very proud", she said.
With the AFL London home and away season done for 2018, finals is the next journey for those clubs that qualified. But this season there is a decidedly demonic look about a finals landscape which features the mighty Wandsworth Demons as minor premiers across all grades. Over coming weeks, all clubs have to face these Demons if they want to hold up a premiership cup of their own.
Minor premierships don’t guarantee premierships. Far from it. Sporting history is littered with the debris of clubs that peaked for the end of the preliminary rounds, only to falter come finals time. Nevertheless, finishing on top does create an air of superiority, which does induce confidence.
In the Men’s Premiership division, a huge win to the Wandsworth Demons over the London Swans saw them finish on top of the ladder, equal on points with the West London Wildcats but with a better percentage. The Clapham Demons finished undefeated in the Men’s Conference division, three games clear of the second placed Shepherds Bush Raiders. In the Men’s Social division, the South London Demons finished on top of the ladder, equal on points with the Reading Kangaroos but with a superior percentage.
The penultimate round of the SARFL competition in Scotland played out on the weekend, with most eyes on the top of the table clash between the Glasgow Sharks and the Edinburgh Bloods. In what was widely regarded as the grand-final dress rehearsal, the Sharks won solidly to reaffirm their favouritism for the 2018 flag.
In their final home game of the season, the Sharks proved too strong for the Bloods, running out winders by 36 points. However, the Bloods know that on a neutral ground they may be able to narrow the gap should they met again on grand final day, as they should.
The Sharks’ win catapults them immediately into the grand final despite a round to be played.
With the AFLCNE home and away season wrapped up focus now turns towards the finals series commencing next weekend in Manchester. With the final two rounds coming to a tame close, the Manchester Mozzies have again taken the minor premiership, followed by the Nottingham Scorpions, Wolverhampton Wolverines and Huddersfield Rams.
It presents a menu for semi-finals next weekend which will see the Mozzies (1st) taking on the Rams (4th) and the Scorpions (2nd) up against the Wolverines (3rd). Whilst finals are a different level of competition again to the home and away season, it is difficult to see the Rams causing an upset and usurping the Mozzies. The other semi, however, is less of a predictable match-up with the Wolverines certainly capable of beating the Scorpions if they bring their “A” game. A big ‘if”.
With finals just a couple of weeks away for the AFL London season, their two biggest guns – the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats – flexed their muscle in a big way in their Round 9 matches. The two teams had already locked away first and second place, but the size of the wins on the weekend has again changed the order.
The Demons were far too good for the Wimbledon Hawks, trouncing them by 172 points and gaining yet another big percentage boost. The Wildcats won their match by a compelling 123 points, yet conceded top spot in an unusual quirk of the game. It is not a remarkable thing for a small percentage to separate first from second place. It is very unusual, however, for the top side (Demons) to have a percentage of 329.4% and be narrowly ahead of second place (Wildcats) on 325.8%.
However, such has been their dominance this season, with just one round to play, they are even on points and only a couple of goals different on for and against. It is difficulty now to pick which of the two teams is flag favourite with just on round left to play before finals.
It has taken three years on the Sydney Swans list and a journey from the other side of the globe, but 22-year old Irishman, Colin O’Riordan, made his AFL debut in a drama charged clash against the North Melbourne Kangaroos. Holding his own in the cauldron-like atmosphere of Etihad Stadium, the product of Tipperary, Ireland, signalled another Irish success story in the AFL.
In a game about which he “had no clue” about as a kid back in Killea, O’Riordin roamed the defensive zone or the Swans gathering 17 disposals at an efficiency rate of 81%, took seven marks (one contested) and laid five tackles. His five rebounds from defensive 50 set up scoring opportunities for the Swans and his four one-percenters showed a deep understanding of a team-based game. On pure statistics, O’Riordan was one of the Swans most efficient players in a very tight and at times frenzied contest.
Both the England Dragonslayers and Vixens have named their squads for October’s 2018 Euro Cup in Cork. Following an intensive selection, both sides will be looking to retain the titles they won last year in Bordeaux, and have named squads bursting with talent ahead of the tournament later this year.
England Dragonslayers captain Matt Whiteley says that there are “match winners in every position” in the squad. “After coming through two selection events the squad is made up of a good blend of experience and newcomers,” he continued. “Every player has a massive part to play in the retention of the Euro Cup.”