Scotland is still in the grip of winter. Animals hibernate or hide in burrows. Footballers do the same in pubs. But the teams from the West Lothian Eagles and the Kingdom Kangaroos made a mockery of the weather and turned on a wonderful opening practice match for the upcoming 2017 season.
Eagles coach, player and frost-bitten founder, Mikey Allen, filed this report, shortly after he could move his hands again.
“Saturday, 28th January 2017, saw the West Lothian Eagles take on the Kingdom Kangaroos. This time the venue was the Roos’ home at Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy. The weather was 1(one) degrees with rain and hail and eventually starting snowing in the 2nd quarter.”
It is now less than two weeks until the next instalment of the Fitzpatrick Cup, this year to be played in Cork and hosted by the UCC Bombers. The www.afleurope.org website has the following comprehensive write up of the event.
The 2017 AFL Europe calendar kicks off with a bang on Saturday 4th of February with the 4th edition of the Fitzpatrick Cup being hosted by University College Cork (UCC).
The ‘Fitz’ is a relatively new addition to the AFL Europe schedule with it first being run in 2013 to tie in with the International Rules Series held in Dublin between Australia and Ireland.
(Picture: UCC Bombers ready to host 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup - AFL Europe)
Naomi Ackerman has reported on the Evening Standard website the “clamour to join London teams as hard-hitting game soars in popularity”. With the inaugural AFL Women’s league competition about to kick off in Australia on February 3rd when Carlton and Collingwood play the historic opening match, women’s footy is set to explode further across Australia and the world, and this article reflects that growth with a look at the growth in the game being experienced across London.
It is not a sport for the faint-hearted — but that appears to be the attraction as London women sign up in their droves to play Aussie rules football.
The game, which involves full-body tackles and running for about nine miles in a match, has been played by men in Regent’s Park for more than 25 years but now it has soared in popularity among women who “enjoy a bit of rough and tumble”.
It took until their second match in the CNFA competition, but the league’s newest team, the Blagnac Aviators have tasted their first victory in the national league downing their Toulouse neighbours, the Toulouse Hawks, in the inaugural Toulouse Derby.
Whilst it is fair to say that the former CNFA powerhouse, Toulouse, have done much to ensure that their fellow city team succeeded quickly, nothing can take away the fact that Blagnac have already proved themselves capable of big things quickly in their own right. In their first game this season against the improved Bordeaux Bombers, the Aviators were competitive going down by 40 points.
With this victory, the Aviators now know that they belong at this level of competition and can build for this season and into the future with confidence. Their victory was also brave given a high injury toll, suggesting depth on their playing list.
Final Score: Blagnac Aviators 93 d Toulouse Hawks 68
Michael Whiting from the www.afl.com.au website reports that Ireland’s most successful current AFL player, Pearce Hanley, has adjusted well to his new life with the Gold Coast Suns after being traded from the Brisbane Lions at the end of the 2016 season. The following report sheds light on Hanley’s decline at the Lions and his new lease of life down on the Gold Coast.
'Rejuvenated' Hanley confident of finding best form at Suns
EVEN before he's played a game, it's clear to see Pearce Hanley is a new man since moving to Gold Coast.
In his final season at the Brisbane Lions, Hanley was frustrated on-field and up-tight off it.
He'd been with the Lions for nine seasons after being recruited from Ireland – something he's eternally grateful for – but the club and player had fallen out of love.
The Paris Cocks have taken out the 2016 Coupe de France title, downing the ever-improving Bordeaux Bombers in the Grand Final. The event was hosted by the ASP Perpignan Tigers at the Stade Daniel Ambert in Pia, a suburb in metropolitan Perpignan.
Of the Paris teams, the Paris Cockatoos combined with the Cockerels were present. Both Toulouse based teams, the Hawks and Aviators, were combined to represent the city. Bordeaux was there as well as the ALFA Lions representing Lyon, and the fifth team was the hosting Perpignan Tigers.
The victory for Paris Cocks sees them take the title from last year’s winners, the Toulouse Hawks. In the end they won comfortably against the Bordeaux Bombers, winning 40-16.
The annual Nathan Blakey Movember Cup was played last weekend, hosted by the Manchester Mozzies at their Burnage Rugby Club. This year was the fifth running of the event, commencing in 2011.
The Manchester Mozzies website states that, “we would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about the Movember charity. Movember is “the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale.” (uk.movember.com). The charity focuses mainly on prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
“Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 35…Every hour 35 men lose their lives due to prostate cancer…Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under 40.”
Maybe it is a bit premature, but the ALFA Lions may have just set themselves on a path to the grand final this year by downing last year’s premiers, the Paris Cockatoos, in Paris this weekend. It makes three wins from three starts for the undefeated Lions and places them back on top of the CNFA ladder.
Whilst some could argue that consecutive home games for the Lions helped them along, the fact is the opposition was Toulouse Hawks and Paris Cockerels, both perennially successful, which rather cuts out the home ground argument – it took good football to win those matches. The Lions’ acid test was to win away from home, and to do so against the reigning champions says quite clearly that the Lions are a good team and are here to stay for the finals mix.
Geelong's delisted International rookie Padraig Lucey looks like staying in Australia into next year whatever happens. He could be taken by another AFL club or even relisted by the Cats. But even if that doesn't happen, Geelong's VFL coach Shane O'Bree expects he will stay.
In the Geelong Advertiser O'Bree said “As far as I know he’s loved his time in Australia, and especially Geelong, and he’s pretty keen to continue his AFL career...and if it’s not at AFL level it will be at the highest possible level, which is VFL.”