Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham Named as Inaugural Participants
League Runs November 2018 – March 2019
AFL England are committed to growing the game of Australian rules football up and down the country; from grass-roots and junior projects, to major regional London, CNE and Southern leagues.
That is why we’re delighted to announce the launch of the National University League (NUL) featuring teams from Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham University, with a view to expanding to include sides from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan and the University of South Wales.
The new CNFA fixture for the 2018/19 Australian Football season has been released. With the Coupe de France kicking off in Bordeaux next month, the first round will commence on 20th October. The new season sees more changes, with a nine-team competition welcoming the Bayonne Toreadors to the CNFA.
Another significant change is the dropping of the Blagnac Aviators brand in favour of two Toulouse-based teams – currently under the monikers of Toulouse 1 and 2. The format will see nine rounds across the period October to May and a grand final in June. Again, there will be a mid-season break from mid-December to early March. The Coupe du Nord (North Cup) and Coupe du Sud (South Cup) will be played in February. The season gets under way a week after the Euro Cup in Cork, Ireland.
The most interesting addition is the Bayonne Toreadors. Bayonne is a small city located in the far south-west of France, in the Basque region. It sits some 30 kilometres from the Spanish border in an area with a long history of bull-fighting, hence the nickname “Toreadors”. The club has been developing in the background of the CNFA’s past seasons and they are ready to step up into the “big league” of French clubs.
In one of the biggest upsets of the season, and in a game described by some as one of the greatest grand finals in SARFL history, the Edinburgh Bloods have won the 2018 AFL Scotland premiership. In a dramatic match, the Bloods have come from behind to grab the title by just five points from the Glasgow Sharks.
Going into the game, many outside of Edinburgh believed that it would be the Sharks’ year. They lost just once for the season and defeated the Bloods earlier in the season. However, as has been proved many times before, grand finals are different beasts and nothing is guaranteed. The best team on the day will always beat the best reputation.
The day began with the women’s curtain-raiser match between the “Bloodenas” and the “Giant SheEagles”. The Bloodenas grabbed the early lead and kept that ball rolling with a 51-point victory. The final scores saw the “Bloodenas” 9 8 62 defeat the “SheEagles” 1 5 11.
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.