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.
With the recent success of a new wave of Irish recruits into the AFL system, what major Gaelic football prospects are on the horizon for a code switch to Aussie rules? This year would seem to be a ripe time for such recruits, with the continuing success of AFL players from Gaelic backgrounds, such as Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, Hawthorn’s Conor Glass, and Essendon’s Conor McKenna.
Additionally, the International Rules Series will be held in Australia once again this year, and the Ireland Warriors recently placed third at the 2017 International Cup. Jim Stynes (RIP) and Tadhg Kennelly might not be winning AFL premierships anymore, but it’s safe to say that the Irish experiment is alive and well in footy.
The Kingdom Kangaroos have made it into their first ever grand final by downing the Edinburgh Bloods by 15 points in their preliminary final. It is a great occasion for the club, having joined the SARFL competition back in 2013. Whilst other clubs have started in recent years, the Kangaroos have managed to survive their infant stage and now reach the biggest match in the club’s history.
It sets up a huge grand final match when the Roos will take on the Greater Glasgow Giants tomorrow at the Linlithgow Rugby Club.
Whilst the Giants will go into the match as favourites, the game will not be a one-way street. The Kingdom Kangaroos defeated the Giants only a few weeks ago and have to be rated a chance of an upset by doing so again.
All is set for grand final day in London with all matches set to be played this Saturday at Clapham Common. Whilst it is a great day for all clubs in all grades, most interest will centre on the Premiership Division decider between the Wandsworth Demons and the North London Lions.
The Demons were the first team into the Grand Final when they downed the West London Wildcats two weeks ago, but the Lions found their way into the decider when they downed the Wildcats in a low scoring Preliminary Final, running out 36 point winners: the Lions 6 15 51 defeating the Wildcats 2 3 15. It was a surprise straight sets exit for the Wildcats, a team which had for most of the season been neck and neck with flag favourites, the Demons.
The home and away season in the Scottish SARFL competition is now done with the Greater Glasgow Giants, Kingdom Kangaroos and Edinburgh Bloods to take part. An unlucky Glasgow Sharks will look on wondering what might have been.
The final match of the round matches took place last weekend with the Glasgow Sharks hammering the Edinburgh Bloods. The final score saw the Sharks 134 defeat the Bloods 63 to at least have a positive end to an otherwise frustrating season. In the end, the Sharks finished with two big wins for the season (they also hammered another finals aspirant – the Kingdom Kangaroos – by 73 points earlier in the season).
Of their four losses, three were by less than a goal. They lost both local Glasgow derbies against the Giants by less than a goal (98 to 94 and 66 to 63). They also lost their other encounter with the Bloods by just two points (75 to 73). It begs the question – what if the Sharks had had just an ounce more luck? They would almost certainly have played in the finals, and if all three results had gone their way they would have topped the ladder and likely been flag favourites. Sometimes footy can be cruel, and the Sharks can certainly attest to that.
As the Manchester Mozzies shake themselves back to reality after having won their fourth flag in a row, other events have been or will be occurring across the AFLCNE. Whilst the premiership season is done, the Tyne Tees Tigers have another ace up their sleeve with the Tyne Tees Cup in September. Also, in the lead-up to Grand Final day, the inaugural AFLCNE team was announced.
The Tyne Tees Tigers’ annual Tyne Tees Cup will be held again this year at the Gosforth Sports Association fields in Newcastle. The event has become increasingly popular since its inception and now has a healthy interest not just from teams within the AFLCNE but also from Scotland. Confirmed teams will be announced closer to the date, but it is hoped that there will be a healthy representation in both men’s and women’s divisions.
The blueprint for success at any team sporting level is deceptively simple. Well drilled, disciplined, well trained, great communication, ability to execute team plans and essential skills, group goals, positive team ethos, a liberal dose of talent, a great support network off the field and a hunger that is never satisfied.
There are more, but those qualities listed are common to any team that has enjoyed long-term success – and the Manchester Mozzies are proof of that after winning their fourth consecutive AFLCNE premiership in England. To their list of skills, however, can be added two others that come with empires in football – experience in big occasions and belief.
All of that came to the fore this weekend when the Manchester Mozzies downed the Nottingham Scorpions in the AFLCNE Grand Final at Sheffield. In one of the hardest fought slogs of the year - and possibly many years in a finals sense - neither team was prepared to yield for the first three quarters.