This Saturday, Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magherafelt, plays host to the Mid Ulster Men’s and Women’s 9 per side AFL tournament. The initiative continues to grow and is as much about a tactical tool to grow the game as it is about fun.
AFL Ireland President, Kevin McSorley detailed the tournament and its place within the framework of Australian Rules football in Ireland.
“The tournament will have four ladies teams – the West Lothian Eagles from Scotland, the Mid Ulster Suns Ladies, the Dublin Angels and a Donegal team, with any ad hoc players wishing to come as an exiles team or make up numbers for the others. The men’s draw will have three - the Galway Magpies, the Belfast Redbacks and Mid Ulster Suns.”
One of the fastest growing leagues across Europe, the AFL Switzerland competition, is closing in on the end of its 2019 season. However, rather than it being a time for slowing down, the league has announced that another club will debut for the 2020 season with the Zurich Giants officially joining.
After its recent Annual General Meeting, the club league's newest club voted to get underway as early as the 2020 season after having already put in the groundwork and hard yards to build numbers and stability on and off field.
According to the news on the club’s first official newsletter as part of AFL Switzerland:
“The Giants Are Here! Since today, Zurich has its own official club. The Zurich Giants will be playing Australian Rules Football within the Swiss league from 2020 onwards. We are very proud about this and can’t wait to host games around the beautiful city of Zurich.”
The new season of footy in France is getting closer and the draw has been released for the 2019/20 season. As well as key matches to watch out for, the biggest changes see a former grand finalist having a rest for a season and their place being taken by a new kid on the block.
It was only early last year that World Footy News reported on the formation of a new club in the southern suburbs of Paris – the Antony Blues. (See story Antony Blues Set To Grow In Paris). In a short space of time, the Blues have already performed well enough on and of the field to convince the CNFA that they are ready.
Their historic first match will be against the Cockerels in Paris. Their first home match will be in the second round when they host the Stade Toulousain 2 team. It marks a great reward for the many people who have worked so hard to get the fledgling team up and running and continues the changing face of the league clubs over recent years.
Despite largely being a two-horse race, the SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football Federation) competition is heading for what could be a huge finish. Whilst the Solna Axeman would be pleased the 2019 season is now over and the Årsta Swans will be long-priced underdogs in their Qualifying Final, it is the Norrtälje Dockers and Södermalm Blues that will generate the most interest.
The final two rounds of the SAFF season showed both the distance between the top two teams and bottom two. It also showed just how close the top two teams are.
Round 9 saw the Dockers trounce the Axemen by 127 points, whilst the Blues hammered the Swans by 116 points in an afternoon of one-sided results in Norrtälje. Then last weekend, the Blues and Dockers faced off in a Grand Final preview.
In a massive first for Estonia, the city of Tallinn will be the venue for the 2019 Baltic Cup. AFL Estonia, which is still at a stage of developing off field as it grows the game, will receive a huge boost to develop the game in the country with the opportunity to market the game and work to attract some interest for fans, businesses and prospective players.
Coming to Tallinn for the event will be the St Petersburg Cats from Russia, the Helsinki Heatseekers from Finland, the Polish Devils and the Norrtälje Dockers. The invitation exists for more nations to teams to join. Estonia will not have their own team, though should a local want to join in with one of the teams they most likely could.
The event will be held at the Nike Arena in Tallinn, adjacent to the Estonian Football Federation (Soccer) headquarters and fields to the south of the city.
The AFL Finland Grand Final teams are decided after last weekend’s final round of matches in Vaasa. Unfortunately, the host team, the Vaasa Wombats, will not play in the big match. The Helsinki Heatseekers and Turku Dockers have made their way there after the completion of the Finnish home and away season.
Following is the excellent Chairman’s Report after the last round of matches, reproduced on behalf of AFL Finland.
Chairmans Report, FAFL round 3, Vaasa
FINLAND AFL·WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2019
The third round was kicked off in fantastic weather, the sun was shining and the temperature a humane 18°C.
The games at the awesome Kaarlen kenttä venue was a truly exciting round 3 of Aussie rules in Vaasa.
The DAFL season in Denmark is fast approaching finals with just three games left to complete across two remaining rounds. The Port Malmö Maulers feature in two of those matches, which makes the fight to the finals very interesting.
In recent weeks, the Farum Cats have flexed their muscle with important wins over both the Maulers and the Odense Lions. A narrow win over the Maulers in Limhamn followed by a big win over the Lions sees them sitting pretty with a match to go in first place. With a match to go against bottom team, the Aarlborg Kangaroos, the probably cannot be beaten now for the minor premiership – barring some form of miracle.
However, the Maulers have a game in hand and will most likely finish in second place going into the finals.
Last weekend saw the AFLG semi-finals played in Frankfurt, with both the Hamburg Dockers and Berlin Crocodiles going through to the Grand Final. For the Dockers, they get to retain their title won last year. The Crocs will go to their fourth successive premiership decider.
The Dockers have been the best performed team across the season and will go into the match as strong favourites. Recent form back in Round 9 saw the Dockers down the Crocs by 29 points at home.
Earlier in the season, in Round 7, it was again the Dockers too good for the Crocs to the tune of 45 points. Their Round 2 clash also went the Dockers way by 19 points. When combined with last year’s victory for the Dockers over the Crocs, it is hard to see the Crocs finding whatever they need to reverse trend.
After another flawless season, the Belfast Redbacks have achieved their goal of winning back to bag Irish premierships by downing the Leeside Lions last weekend. In a close and tough encounter, it took until the final term for the heavily fancied Redbacks to shake off the persistent Lions to run out 29-point winners.
The margin seems significant, but probably does little to really show how gallant the Leeside Lions were in defeat, and how hard the Redbacks had to work to defend their title and complete a second successive undefeated season.
The Lions certainly came to play and by half time actually trailed by just seven points. The fact that they also dominated the scoring shots for the half – 11 to 8 – was cause for concern in the Redbacks camp. The Redbacks held sway largely through a better conversion rate on the scoreboard – in general play things were far more even.
Reigning SARFL premiers, the Edinburgh Bloods, had a tough road to negotiate, but they came up trumps last weekend when they downed the Glasgow Sharks in the Scottish Grand Final.
After going down to the Sharks in their semi-final, the Bloods had to negotiate the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Preliminary Final to gain another shot. They did, and after their 44-point win on Saturday, they have retained their title as the best team in Scotland.
In a game “played in great spirits”, the Bloods got away early but only held a four goal lead just after half time. The Sharks could have closed the gap. However, the Bloods sensed danger and by three-quarter time had pulled away to a 42-point lead, effectively ending any chance of a Sharks' revival.