It was only a few months ago – May to be exact – that the ALFA Lions became the toast of their home city of Lyon and French footy in general. Their success after just four years in the national competition was the stuff of legends and as the new season approaches they are ready once again to chase the ultimate prize.
The Coupe de France tournament commences in Paris this weekend and the Lions will be there. But a quick chat with the Lions’ crew puts this tournament into perspective for this club and their aims this year. “The Coupe de France takes place in Paris this weekend. This is good to start the season with this event as we can meet everyone and create a nice atmosphere for all the year.”
“There are six teams this year. Two teams from Paris, Cergy Pontoise, Toulouse, Bordeaux and us. It will be a really open [competition] as it often is at the start of the season. We know that teams like Bordeaux and Toulouse are becoming stronger this year.”
With the off-season done and dusted it is time for the teams of the CNFA national Australian Rules football competition to dust of the cobwebs completely and play some tough, hard footy. That commences this weekend with the Coupe de France getting under way. Six teams will hit the playing fields in Paris with the two local clubs – the Paris Cockerels and Paris Cockatoos – joined by near neighbour the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes.
Also journeying to the competition are the Toulouse Hawks, the Bordeaux Bombers and the reigning CNFA premiers, the ALFA Lions.
Like all pre-season competitions, the Coupe de France provides the opportunity for clubs to put new skills and tactics into place as well as gaining experience for players new to the game – as well as those who will just benefit from being under match conditions again.
The VFLW is arguably the best competition for women in Australia outside the newly formed AFLW. This weekend their Grand Final will be played from midday at Etihad Stadium. The match will be shown live in Melbourne Channel 7 from 11.30am and covered on RSN Digital radio by the Girls Play Footy team from 11am.
Just over a month since the International Cup Grand Final Ireland’s Laura Corrigan-Duryea will represent Diamond Creek in the match, who on form should be overwhelming favourites in the match. Corrigan-Duryea and Irish Banshees team mate Clara Fitzpatrick both were on the winning side two week’s ago when they convincingly defeated the Darebin Falcons in the Qualifying Final at Piranha Park, Coburg.
According to Marc McGowan at the www.afl.com.au website, the next Irish jet might be one David Clifford – a player who is turning heads in both Gaelic and AFL circles. But whether or not he considers trying Australian Football as a career option is up in the air.
IRELAND'S potential next great AFL export will perform in front of 80,000-plus fans on one of Gaelic football's biggest stages on Sunday.
Kerry's David Clifford, considered the Irish game's brightest talent in many years, will lead his county into battle against Derry as it chases an historic fourth-straight All-Ireland minor football championship.
The 18-year-old was at the heart of a war of words in May between former Gaelic star-turned-Sydney premiership defender Tadgh Kennelly and Kerry legend Tomàs Ó Sé.
Russian and Finnish football have added a new competition to their respective football calendars with the development of the Baltic Cup – this year played in St. Petersburg. The tournament featured teams from the Russian city playing against the Helsinki Heatseekers club representing Finland.
In a four-team draw, the St. Petersburg club fielded their Russian champions, the Cats, as well as a second team – the Northern Tigers which are a local club playing as part of the local St. Petersburg competition. They also added some played to the Leaders Rugby Club for a fourth team as did the Heatseekers. The tournament was played as a nine per side competition.
The Helsinki Heatseekers, fresh from having defeated the Vaasa Wombats to take the Finnish (FAFL) premiership two weeks ago, made the journey to the Russian city for the event. The St. Petersburg Cats also won the Russian Championship for 2017 with the Lazy Koalas unable to make the journey from Moscow to compete, therefore forfeiting the final leg of the Russian Championship to the Cats.
The Greater Glasgow Giants have etched their names in the AFL Scotland/SARFL history books by downing the Kingdom Kangaroos last month in the 2017 grand-final. The final scores saw the Giants win the match 18 9 117 to 11 13 79 by 38 points to win their first SARFL flag after three attempts.
The result either way would have made history, with the Kingdom Kangaroos also chasing their maiden premiership playing in their first SARFL grand-final. But the day belonged to the Giants, as they added their club name to the premiership honour roll.
The match started with anything but a Giants win on the cards. The Kangaroos stormed away to an early 40 to 9. By half-time, however, the Giants had clawed their way back to be on level terms at the main break, both teams locked on 49 points.
The footy champions from Cork, the Leeside Lions, have claimed the 2017 ARFLI premiership and in so doing gone back to back after winning the title in 2016 also. In a match described as “a keenly contested game with some quality footy from both sides”, the Lions held of a determined South Dublin Swans by 44 points to write a new chapter in their own history, as well as the history of Australian Rules football in Ireland.
The final score saw the Leeside Lions 13 7 85 down the South Dublin Swans 6 5 41 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at Mardyke Arena in Cork.
The result tops off another great season from the Lions – the team following on from last year’s success by being the dominant side of 2017. But it wasn’t all one-way traffic on grand final day with the Swans rolling up their sleeves and making the Lions work hard.
The Berlin Crocodiles are the toast of German footy after having won their maiden first division AFLG premiership against the Munich Kangaroos. Having gone through the season undefeated, the Crocs were expected to win but they were up against last year’s title-holders and the Munich Kangaroos know how to win on the biggest of days.
It has been a long journey for the Crocs, formed back in 2001. They did taste success in 2009 when they took out the Division B premiership against the Rheinland Lions, and reached their first national grand final two years later, going down to the Lions in 2011.
Last season they reached the grand final again, only to go down to the Munich Kangaroos – in the end it was a blow out of 112 points. That result must have rankled the Crocs and been a huge motivating factor in their flawless performance in 2017. Nothing was going to hold back these Crocs and the final margin of 88 points was just as emphatic in victory this season as last year’s defeat.
The third round of the Australian Rules Football Russian Championship for 2017 took place on 2nd September at the Moscow State University stadium. This round, called the Concrete & Steel Cup, was played in fine conditions in front of a modest but committed crowd. The Cats won the day and have now set up their chance to take the AFL Russia title for 2017.
The final scores saw the Cats lead at every change against the home team before holding on to a five-goal victory – 81 to 51. Our Cat reporter in St.Petersburg, Alexey Andryushin, sent his report about the day and its ramifications.