Colombia’s Bogota Bulldogs have used Christmas Day wisely to announce another huge initiative in South American footy. Their gift is the announcement of the inaugural battle of the Bulldogs when the USAFL’s Denver Bulldogs from Colorado will travel to Bogota next year.
The scheduled match on May 18th will see the Bogota Bulldogs host the Denver Bulldogs in a genuine battle of the Americas. The Bogota team, and the greater Colombia AFL, have grown quickly over the past couple of years from a “kick in the park” entity to a three team national Colombian competition that is now attracting international teams.
The match will feature a full size competition – 18 per team – in an event that is quoted as a game that “will raise the quality of South American footy forever”.
The Bogota Bullants have downed the Bogota Bombers in yesterday’s AFL Colombia Grand Final to win the second competition premiership. The Bullants were too good for the Bombers and ran out comprehensive winners by 49 points with the final score seeing the Bullants 132 defeating the Bombers 83.
Earlier this year, the DC Aguilas won the inaugural AFL Colombia premiership. The Bullants have now claimed the second Colombian flag, making their own impact on Colombian footy.
The Bogota Bombers have reached their first AFL Colombia Grand Final, downing the DC Aguilas to meet the Bogota Bullants in the big dance. The Aguilas won the inaugural AFL Colombia premiership earlier this year. Their format sees two mini seasons per year, giving the Bombers and Bullants their chance to join the honour roll. From the mighty pen of AFL Colombia, here is the match report.
What a cracker of a game we had last Saturday.
Coming up to the start of the match, you could feel the tension, as both teams weren't ready to be knocked out of the competition.
The Gourmet Burger Bar Bogota D.C. Aguilas looked confident, arriving with a full team that included a full strength Captain Paddy Smallwood, Denny transplant Will Keech, Colombian breakout and new Bogota Bulldogs Torres Sergio and the return of the DC Rockett from his travels abroad.
Teams in Bogota are back in training ready for the conclusion of the second AFL Colombia season. The local clubs have enjoyed a small hiatus as attention moved to the recent Andes Cup, won by the Bogota Bulldogs over the Santiago Saints from Chile. After a couple of weeks rest to freshen up and attend to various bruises and other trophies from the game, the players are ready to go again.
Three matches remain over coming weeks to decide the new champion. The inaugural season which was played earlier in the year was on by the DC Aguilas. However, so far, the Bogota Bullants and the Bogota Bombers have defeated the Aguilas, sting up the prospect of a new champion to see out the 2018 season.
The 2018 Andes Cup has been won again by the Bogota Bulldogs from Colombia. It makes it three wins from three tournaments against the Santiago Saints representing Chile. The two nations are leading the way in growing Australian Football on the South American continent – more than a few nearby nations will be watching the result.
Their battle on the weekend saw one club (Saints) on the back of a long history playing the game in Santiago without regular competition up against the club (Bulldogs) that has seen the creation of the AFL Colombia competition this year. Their players had come off an entire local season and a couple of games from a new one. On face value, the Bulldogs probably had an advantage in sheer match play and conditioning.
Both the Santiago Saints and Bogota Bulldogs are feverishly preparing for the biggest South American match of the year – the Andes Cup – to be played in Bogota on Saturday 25th August. The Bulldogs are current title-holders and have won the title both years since the inception of the event. However, the Saints have been getting closer and maybe this will be their year.
President of the Bogota Bulldogs, Paddy Smallwood, shared his thoughts ahead of the historic clash – the showpiece of Australian football in South America.
“[Our] season goes into recess now as the Andes Cup vs Chile takes place in two weeks. The Bulldogs squad will be massively different to previous teams, with many great players having left Colombia and many new Colombian players forcing their way into the squad.”
The second AFL Colombia season has already produced surprising results, with inaugural flag winner, the DC Aguilas, already slipping behinds the other teams and at risk of being unable to defend their title from earlier in the year. President of AFL Colombia, Paddy Smallwood, looks at the last two matches.
“The Aguilas, coming off a defeat to the Bullants in Round 1, needed to back up and face the Bombers. Again, with a number of key players missing through injury and vacations, the reigning premiers had their backs against the wall for the second week running, and the lack of confidence showed early.”
“The Bombers jumped out of the blocks and stunned the Aguilas with an impressive seven goal four to the Aguilas scoreless first quarter. Some quarter time adjustments and composure where exactly what the Aguilas needed. Any thought of the contest being over where extinguished with three quick-fire goals to the Aguilas breathing life back into the contest. The Bombers then steadied with two of their own before the the Aguilas responded again to take out the quarter four goals to two.”
The second instalment of the AFL Colombia competition got under way last weekend. Just weeks after the DC Aguilas held aloft the inaugural premiership, teams returned to the playing field in Bogota for the second “season” for the year. Paddy Smallwood from AFL Colombia sent the following report after the Agulias took on the Bullants.
“The rematch of the teams from the last Grand Final proved to be a real livewire for both the Gourmet Burger Bar Bogota D.C. Aguilas and the Bogota Craft Beer Tours.”
“With the Aguilas facing off against what was once their star player Sam Miller but also incorporating the mercenary ex-vice captain of the Bullants Tristan Quigley, there was certainly some tension between the two outfits.”
Much has been made in 2018 of the rapid rise of the Bogota Bulldogs and the new AFL Colombia competition. But the longest serving Australian Football team in South America, the Santiago Saints, have been preparing quietly, away from the limelight down in Chile. The Saints have been the mainstay of the game, so many miles from the MCG, and would see the rise of the Bulldogs as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they now have the Bulldogs for genuine international footy to be played. But also, the Bulldogs have entered the Saints' turf and must be thwarted.
Here is a small clip from the Santiago Saints showing a small glimpse of the team getting ready for battle next month against the Bulldogs.
It seems like just a few weeks ago when the DC Aguilas defeated the Bogota Bullants to win the inaugural AFL Colombia premiership. In fact, it was. However, the format for the first season of competition in Colombia sees two mini seasons within the one calendar year, and part two is about to get under way.
The competitions in Colombia are very heavily built around the growth of the national team – the Bogota Bulldogs. The first season (completed just a month ago) saw the drafting of local and ex-pat talent to the three local clubs (Aguilas, Bullants and Bombers) to form a national competition where players could develop and the best would be selected to represent the nation in the Bogota Bulldogs team.
The Bulldogs will fight to retain The Andes Cup against the Santiago Saints from Chile mid-way through this next season. There is also the chance to play in an 18 per side match at season’s end and possibly play in another yet to be defined international match, so performances across this second AFL Colombia season will be important.