As the home and away season in Germany came to a close on the weekend, the top three teams – Hamburg Dockers, Munich Kangaroos and Berlin Crocodiles – used their respective games to prepare for what lies ahead as well as proving to all and sundry that they have the talent required to go all the way in 2018.
The Dockers and Kangaroos, the two best performed teams across the season, finished with big wins in excess of 100 points. The Berlin Croodiles also won, but were given a torrid time by the Dresden Wolves.
The Hamburg Dockers hosted the Rheinland Lions and turned on a superb defensive performance. Whilst they were able to score at will across the afternoon, their efforts in keeping the fourth-placed Lions to just two behinds for the day should be a warning to all other finalists – to beat us you will have to outscore us, and good luck with that. The Dockers took command early and kept their foot on the Lion throats for a 113-point win.
It was veteran Channel 7 commentator Anthony Hudson who uttered the famous words “who would have thought the sequel would be just as good as the original” when the West Coast Eagles defeated the Sydney Swans by one point for the AFL flag in 2006. This was in response to the Swans winning by less than a goal in 2005.
Fast forward to London in 2018 and the Wandsworth Demons pulled off a similar miraculous premiership win against the West London Wildcats to be AFL London premiers. The result capped off an amazing finals campaign for the club, winning four of the five premierships on offer.
For variety, the Shepherds Bush Raiders defeated the Clapham Demons in the Men’s Conference division Grand Final.
When the teams met in the semi-final two weeks ago, scores were tied after the regular time played. It took extra time to be played for the Wildcats to sneak ahead and win by just three points. Nothing could top that – or so we all thought. The original was an amazing match and it would have to take something better (a sequel) to be better. It did and it was.
Both the Belfast Redbacks and the Galway Magpies face a huge week ahead of next weekend’s AFL Ireland Grand Final. Having both won through to the biggest day of the premiership season, both will be entertaining thoughts – dreaming – of what might be next Saturday.
For the Redbacks, a third premiership sits on the horizon. After having been the best team of the season, undefeated and seemingly well ahead of the rest, the Belfast crew must be quivering with anticipation and self-belief. However, they still have to produce the goods on the one day of the year that really matters. It is one thing to get excited, expectant, confident – it is another to believe the game is already won.
For the Galway Magpies it is a different feeling. They last trod this hallowed ground in 2014, only to be beaten at the final hurdle. Now they have another chance to win their first title. The feeling of excitement will be palpable, not just within the club, but by others becoming aware of the deeds of the local team across Galway. The have been a bridesmaid before – now they want to be the bride.
Round 13 of the DAFL saw an upset and a derby as the featured events. The Copenhagen Barracudas triumphed over their capital city rivals, the Giants, whilst the Aalborg Kangaroos upset the top team, the Farum Cats.
An eight-goal opening quarter to the scoring end saw the Barracudas set their match up early. A 43-point quarter-time advantage for the Barracudas was clawed back to just 18 points by the main break as the Giants worked themselves back into the battle. However, the Barracudas kicked another eight goals in the third quarter to effectively decide the match, leading by 55 points by the final change. The Giants could not generate any real advantage in the final quarter and despite taking the quarter by two points, they still fell by 53 points.
The 2018 SARFL Grand Final will see the Glasgow Sharks take on the Edinburgh Bloods after the weekend’s finals battle saw the Bloods down the Kingdom Kangaroos by 43 points. It is a fitting result as both the Sharks and Bloods have dominated the home and away season.
The Bloods led for the match and continued to build as the game went on. An undermanned Kangaroos team fought to the end, winning the final quarter with five goals. However, it was a case of too little too late to stop the Edinburgh team from taking the match and the grand final place.
The Bloods lead by 16 points at the first break and opened that up to 28 points by half time. By the end of the match, the Bloods had put enough distance between the two teams to withstand a Roo fightback.
In a revamped FAFL season which has seen a three round and finals format, as well as the Turku Dockers electing their first ever all-Finnish board, the on-field action has seen a marked difference in competitiveness. After the dominance in recent seasons of the Helsinki Heatseekers, either by pure talent or dwindling opposition, this season is shaping as one where each team could potentially take the title.
Last weekend, the second round of the season was played at Parkin Kenttä in Turku. Across the three-way round robin format, all three teams enjoyed a win after the rain cleared to allow some good footy. The Turku Dockers upset the Helsinki Heatseekers, the Waasa Wombats then downed the Dockers and the Heatseekers regained their composure after the earlier shock loss to defeat the Wombats.
These results, following on from the first round results, see the Heatseekers on top of the ladder, but they are not invincible – as the Dockers proved. Earlier this season the June tournament was played in Helsinki with the home team winning both matches against the Dockers and Wombats. The Wombats downed the Dockers in the other match.
The recent tour of Ireland by the USA Revolution national team in playing two #International Tests against the Irish Warriors has had only limited ramifications as far as the World Footy News World Rankings are concerned. Because Ireland received 3.00 *Home Advantage Rating Points the Rating Gap for both matches (Ireland won both) was +/-10.29^ and therefore No Advantage was gained or lost by either nation.
For international footy fans new to WFN World Rankings see below for the relevant rules.
*To reflect home ground / country advantage the home team has 3 ranking points added to their total for the purposes of the points exchange calculation. This is applied to one off or two team series, it generally is not applied to tournaments with multiple teams, as the home ground advantage is often diminished as teams experience neutral games, often stay for extended periods and the home side often has a heavy burden in organisation.
Hawthorn have named Conor Nash to make his debut for Hawthorn against Geelong at the MCG on Saturday afternoon (Melbourne time). The 197cm Irish rookie from County Meath has played two seasons (25 games) with Box Hill and has had an Aussie rules education in a number of positions in defence, forward and on the wing in that time.
Coach Alistair Clarkson today told the media “We told him in front of the group, but also with his parents on Wednesday. I knew he was in the car with his family so I made the call then and that was pretty special. His mum wanted to do cartwheels”
The visiting team from the USA came up against the Irish Warriors in the final match of their tour on the weekend at Islandbridge, Dublin. The tour has been a huge boost for both national teams and an enormous success. Following is the match report from the AFL Ireland Facebook page, looking both at the game and the recognition of the many people who brought such an event together.
After a rousing 3/4 time huddle, with their backs to the wall, the Warriors came out hard in the last quarter and every player to a man stepped up to claw back the deficit and drive ahead with an outstanding 5 goal quarter.
USA Revolution players are devastated after coming so close having played their best footy of the tour but the weeks exertions ( 3 games in 6 days) definitely seemed to take their toll in the last 10 mins as the Warriors stepped into overdrive. Still, Revolution fought to the very end and were out on their feet at the final siren.
They won’t be playing finals footy in 2018, but the Frankfurt Redbacks have ensured that they secured fifth spot on the premiership ladder with a resounding win against the Württemberg Giants. In the only match for Round 9, the Redbacks gave their home fans the ideal finish to their season.
After crashing out of the starting barriers at breakneck speed with a seven goal to nil opening quarter, the Redbacks simply kept the momentum and pressure going across all four quarters to run out victors by 141 points. With Jay Calder kicking six goal for the Redbacks, and Jonas Petrenz a handy five goals, the Giants were never allowed to build any momentum to get back into the game.
The Redbacks will finish with four wins for the season along with the Rheinland Lions, but with a very poor percentage. The Lions would need to lose their final match by an earth-shattering margin against the rampant Dockers in Hamburg to be overtaken by the Redbacks. Whilst not impossible – the Dockers have been merciless this season – it is unlikely.