The Wandsworth Demons remain the only undefeated team in the AFL London competition after just two rounds of the 2017 season. After a tight tussle with the North London Lions, the demons held on for a 15-point win. Final scores saw the Wandsworth Demons 10 10 70 defeat the North London Lions 7 13 55.
The West London Wildcats have hit back hard after their first round loss to trounce the Wimbledon Hawks. Their 138-point thrashing of first Round winners, the Hawks, sent a nerve-jangling message to the rest of the competition that the Wildcats are very much the power they always are. Final siren saw the West London Wildcats 25 21 171 defeat the Wimbledon Hawks 5 3 33.
The GB Bulldogs have handed out a big defeat to the AFL Canada men’s team – the North Stars – in the opening men’s match of the London Footy Carnival. The GB Bulldogs 15 19 109 kept the North Stars scoreless. In the opening women’s match between the Canadian Midnight Suns team won their opening match of the tournament kicking 7 7 49 to defeat the London All Stars team 3 3 21.
The event in 2017 boasts four nations being represented – England, Ireland, Wales and Canada – as well as the GB Bulldogs and GB Swans. Clashes between Great Britain and Canada can be traced back to the first match in Toronto in 1993 when Canada won 19 7 121 to 7 7 49. Since that match, the nations have clashed on five other occasions with the results being three wins apiece.
The French city of Bordeaux has been granted the hosting rights for the 2017 Euro Cup. The city last hosted the event in 2013 when Saint-Médard-en-Jalles stadium became the centre of the European Australian Rules football universe. On that occasion, England took the men’s title with a resounding 77 point victory over the French hosts whilst the European Crusaders women’s team downed France by 19 points. This year, the French will be keen to turn one of those defeats into a maiden title.
AFL Europe will be quietly confident that last year’s record amount of teams at a Euro Cup will be broken. Across the men’s and women’s competitions in Umag, Croatia, 22 teams competed. With the continued growth of women’s football, and a useful geographic location within Europe, Bordeaux might yet host the biggest event in the cup’s history in terms of teams.
The Nottingham Scorpions have held a determined Sheffield Thunder at bay over the weekend, keeping them at arm’s length to record a 19-point victory. The Thunder crew are pragmatic enough to realise that on paper it was another loss, but can see the improvement in their side after a tough, hard contest. Nottingham remain in second place on the ladder, whilst Thunder have consecutive matches against the Tigers and Saints to possibly build a winning streak.
In other matches, big margins were the order of the day. The Manchester Mozzies gave the Huddersfield Rams a football lesson, recording a 190-point victory – their third huge margin in three games so far. For the Rams, the result will be a kick into action. They have started the season well enough – going down to the Scorpions by less than five goals before downing the Thunder – but now they have a chance to recalibrate again before their next clash. The Mozzies sit comfortably atop the ladder.
The Blagnac Aviators are the newest Australian Rules football club in France, playing their first CNFA season across 2016/17. They performed creditably, winning two matches and avoiding the wooden spoon in their maiden season. But now they have gone a step further, taking out the 2017 Coupe Du Sud (Cup of the South) in a tri-series against both the Toulouse Hawks and Bordeaux Bombers.
On top of that effort, the Aviators managed to go through the tournament at the Stade Sordelo in Toulouse undefeated across their matches to be thoroughly deserving victors. Playing in the final against their Toulouse siblings – the Hawks – Blagnac were comprehensive, downing their rivals by 26 points (Aviators 35 d Hawks 9).
April 12th is a national day in Russia. It is called Cosmonautics Day and celebrates the anniversary of Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man into space, circling the Earth for almost two hours on April 12th 1961.
As a major day of Russian celebration, AFL Russia has for many years played either a match or tournament, under the banner of the Gagarin Cup, as a major Australian Rules football event in Moscow.
In recent years the event has become a part of the overall Russian football season where the two major national teams – the Lazy Koalas from Moscow and the St Petersburg – play each other for the honour of the Gagarin Cup.
After just six games of Australian football, Irishman Mark O'Connor will make his AFL debut for Geelong at the MCG on Saturday.
After being a very promising GAA football talent in Ireland and playing for County Kerry, O'Connor was invited to the AFL Europe combine in Dublin. Impressive in the testing there he was invited to Melbourne where he was hot property at the AFL Combine in Melbourne last October.
Being an international rookie prospect he was in the position of fielding a number of offers before he finally chose Geelong. He joined fellow Irish recruit Zac Tuohy who had just been traded from Carlton. An impressive pre-season and good early from in the VFL have seen the Geelong selectors back the raw Irish talent for his accelerated AFL debut.
On Saturday there is some chance he will run out on the MCG and be matched against another Irishman in Conor McKenna who had a similar journey via the AFL Europe combine before ending up at Essendon.
AFL Scotland clubs, the Edinburgh Bloods and Glasgow Giants, fought out a brilliant match last weekend at the Leith Academy fields in Edinburgh. In a match described by both clubs as one of the closest in recent memory, the Bloods pinched the game with just seconds to spare to outlast the Sharks.
Edinburgh Bloods 75
Glasgow Sharks 73
The two clubs have a long history, being the oldest in the competition as it now stands, and their rivalry goes back to the early days of the code in Scotland. But it is also built on mutual respect and both clubs applauded the efforts of the other after a thrilling match. The result sees Edinburgh join the Greater Glasgow Giants with a win apiece after two matches (rounds) of the AFL Scotland competition.
The new 2017 ARFLI Premiership season got underway recently with players just itching to get back amongst the action after an all too long off season. Of those teams impatiently waiting, reigning champions, the Leeside Lions, were keen to get off on the right foot as they seek to go back to back.
Hosted by the Lions at their home turf at The Farm, UCC playing fields in Curraheen, Cork, teams were under immediate pressure playing the current premiers on their own home. Results somewhat reflected that as the Lions won both of their matches and sprinted from the blocks in fine style.
The South Dublin Swans and Galway Magpies both nabbed victories along the way to register solid starts to the season while the Belfast Redbacks lost both of their outings.
Footy got back into top gear last weekend in London with Round One of the AFL London competition. In the Premiership Division a changing of the guard took place in the off season. The Putney Magpies moved themselves back to the Conference Division. Their place was taken by the South East London Giants.
In their inaugural game at the highest level, the Giants took on the Wimbledon Hawks and took it up to their more experienced opposition. The final margin of 44 points was commanding without being a hiding – a good sign first up for the Giants. It also marked a positive start to the season for the Hawks and something to build on for an assault on the finals.