The new season of French footy (CNFA) gets underway in a little over a month. It seems like yesterday that the Paris Cockatoos stunned the footy world by taking out the 2015/16 premiership in their debut season, and since then six other teams have been plotting how to pluck the Cockatoos.
But one team that will just be happy to enter the fields of battle is the brand new Blagnac Aviators club from Toulouse. Having been on the rise in the shadows of last season, the leagues newest entity is ready to roll and will hit their home field first round when they tackle the Bordeaux Bombers on October 15th. It will be an historic day for Blagnac, for the city of Toulouse and for the CNFA and French footy in general.
One of the last club based tournaments for 2016 will be held this coming weekend, Saturday 17th September, in Newcastle at the club’s new home in Gosforth. It is a chance for some clubs to have a last hitout before the start of the off-season and international representative competitions.
According to Tyne Tees Tigers president, Phil Martin, “The Tyne Cup is a pretty recent one day tournament held up here in the North East. Competing this year are the hosts, Tyne Tees Tigers who currently hold the trophy. The Glasgow Sharks who are the current AFL Scotland champions and the Kingdom Kangaroos who we have a long relationship with which has been cemented by competing for the annual pre-season ‘Bawbag Cup’”.
Alexey Andryushin from the St Petersburg Cats is a keen student of history, and is very aware of how important this weekend’s clash between the Lazy Koalas and the Cats was. “The weather was perfect: no rain and no hot sun either, and the day of this game matched the Moscow City day - today was the 869th anniversary of Moscow (est. 1147).”
The culmination of the first full season of competition between the two cities is certainly an historical event in European footy – maybe not on the same level of the history of the nation’s iconic capital city, but certainly of historical importance in the growth of the Australian national game across Europe.
Finals time has well and truly arrived across all Scandinavian countries. Finland and Norway have seen their finals decided whilst major leagues in both Sweden and Denmark have finished their home and away seasons and now prepare for the biggest matches of the season. Following is a brief overview of each competition to date.
Norway: After a dominant season, the Oslo East team has taken out the 2016 Kenguru Cup, downing cross town rivals, Oslo West. The “Beast From The East” had dominated the season and few held out hope the West could produce a monumental upset, but in the end the script was followed to the letter as East played to their potential and took the 2016 crown. Final score was East 77 to West 6. The Ås Battlers finished the season in third place.
It was a huge day of footy in Frankfurt as the AFLG Premiership (16 per side) and the AFLG Championship (9 per side) were decided. The biggest winners on the day were the Munich Kangaroos downing the Berlin Crocodiles in the premiership decider. The Hamburg Dockers downed the host team, the Frankfurt Redbacks, in the championship decider.
Munich leapt out to a handy 37 point lead by half time in the premiership decider – leading 62 to 25. Whilst they were the dominant side, the Crocs were still a mathematical chance of turning things around in the second half. But an even better second half from the Kangaroos – 77 to 2 – saw them power away to take the 2016 AFLG Premiership.
A new footy force is rumbling to life between Edinburgh and Glasgow. The new West Lothian Eagles are gathering the necessary interest and support to build a new Scottish powerhouse, and if enthusiasm counts for anything, Mikey Allan will make it happen.
In a recent chat with Mikey he revealed, “I had moved to West Lothian last October and decided to try and start a training group. I was asked if there was a team and I said there wasn't which resulted in only 1 guy showing up to training. [But] the team is currently seven weeks old and we are attracting more every week - nine at our last session.”
The battle for Russian footy supremacy will be played out this weekend in Moscow when the local team, the Lazy Koalas, take on their now permanent nemesis, the St Petersburg Cats. The first challenge of the year saw the Koalas down the Cats, but the return bout in St Petersburg saw an historic first ever win for the Cats.
Now the game returns to Moscow, giving the Koalas the home ground advantage, but they know full well that the Cats learned a great deal about winning last start and will be ravenous for another taste of victory, no matter where the venue.
The Prague Dragons from the Czech Republic will host this weekend’s final round of the Central European Australian Football league competition featuring teams from Croatia, Austria and of course the Dragons as the Czech representative.
The initiative sees six Croatian teams lock horns with the Dragons and also the Styrian Downunderdogs from Austria. The Zaprude Giants, Zagreb Hawks, Ploce Eagles, Velika Gorika Bombers, Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers and Sesvete Blues are the Croatian teams involved.
The 2016 AFL Norway season is close to wrapping up with the Oslo East team leading the pack as premiership favourites. East last won the title in 2014, with the Ås Battlers taking the honours in 2015. It marks a big turnaround for East after missing the final altogether in 2015, with Oslo West reaching their first ever Kenguru Cup Grand Final.
Throughout the 2016 season, East have been the dominant side, both on the field with an impressive array of victories, and off the field with strong numbers which have been responsible for turning the club’s fortunes around.
The Finland Australian Football League (FAFL) Grand Final will be played this weekend when last year's champions, the Helsinki Heatseekers, take on the Turku Dockers for the 2016 title. The match, to be played at Talin-Urheilupuisto in Helsinki, will see the two best performed Finnish teams battle it out in what could be a surprise result.
The Heatseekers go into the match as short-priced favourites, largely on the back of their last meeting back in June when they downed the Dockers by 95 points in Paimio - final scores seeing the Heatseekers 134 to the Dockers 39. The game started evenly, but the Heatseekers kicked six unanswered goals in the second term and never looked back. It was a powerful performance, but doesn't tell the whole story.