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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    On this International Women’s Day we salute the women around the world making footy happen.  Whether it is slogging it out on the training track, showing their skills in the heat of battle or doing all the jobs off the field that make the game happen (presidents, coaches, recruiting, media, development etc.), from a footy point of view they are putting the International in International Women’s Day.  From Suva to Dublin, Paris to Zagreb, Port Malmo to Port Moresby, Cambodia to Calgary, Montreal to Islamabad, Auckland to Austin (and everywherer in between) women’s and girl’s footy is happening.

    Increasingly women footballers are making the sacrifices to experience being a women’s footballer in Australia.  In some cases it is to try themselves out against Aussies in Australian competition, in others it is to see if they can make it to the top against the best in the game’s homeland, and for others it is just to experience the game on it’s home turf at an Australian club.  At the end of their journey they will take back a wealth of footy knowledge and experience to share ineir home land.

    This year there are players such as Jess Blecher from Portland, Oregon (USAFL) who has just finished at Nightcliff in the NTFL and will play in Melbourne.  Caroline Leduc has travelled from Montreal (AFL Quebec) to play with the East Fremantle Sharks and Alex Saulter (GB Swans and AFL England) is travelling to Australia to play with Melbourne University.

    We asked Alex’s good friend and team mate Laura Turner to profile Alex Saulter ahead of her 2018 Australian footy odyssey.

     

     Alex Saulter, age 28

    Nottingham, UK

    Alex first played AFL when she was encouraged by her football teammates Laura Turner and Rania Ramadan to play in a scratch match in Newcastle, UK. From that moment on she fell in love with this new and exciting sport. Alex’s quick feet, good spoiling arms and ability to read the game serves her well in her role as half back, she enjoys being a play maker and has worked hard on kicking off both feet. An ankle injury in 2017 forced her to become equally as competent kicking on her weaker left foot. Her previous sporting experience as a hockey goalkeeper has given her the ball handling skills and quick reactions that are required in the sport.

    Alex made her England debut in Croatia 2015 and was an integral part of the victory over Ireland in the final of the 2017 Euro Cup in Bordeaux, France.

    In 2016 Alex was a member of the first Great Britain Swans squad who won the European Championships in London where she had the honour of being voted into the team of the tournament. She went on to play in the International Cup in Melbourne in August 2017 and although she missed out on selection to the World Team of the Tournament Alex was chosen as the coach’s Best and Fairest for her significant contribution that she made to help the Swans finish 3rd in their first outing on the world stage.

    At club level Alex plays for her local team the Nottingham Scorpions, she is an integral member of the club and has been heavily involved in the expansion of the club and the successes the women’s team had in 2017 being unbeaten all season and winning the Haggis Cup. Alex also plays in the London League for North London Lions.

    Alex is well known for her dedication to training and self improvement. She is obsessive in her love of AFL which has prompted her move to Melbourne where she will be playing for Melbourne University. An avid Adelaide Crows fan she will be hoping to watch as much live footy as she possibly can and fully immerse herself in AFL life in Australia.

    As GB Swans women’s co-ordinator she will also be keeping an eye out for any British talent to bolster the GB squad in preparation for IC20.

     Image Source: Twitter @alexsaulter ...


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     Canadian National Football Championships are coming to Toronto aptly on Canada Day in a further attempt to improve the representative performance of Canadian teams. At the recent AFL Canada AGM it was noted that two new positions were added to the AFL Canada board specifically targeting men and women’s national player representation.

    Canadian men’s football international performances can be viewed as either competitive against it’s bigger southern neighbor or as not having leveraged the most out of it’s competitive Toronto league, acknowledged as.the best outside of Australia.

      It is widely accepted that players numbers and level of competition are the two main contributing factors in onfield success. AFL Canada see improving national performanance not only as a matter of pride but also an aid in promotion and recruitment.

    Prior to the 2017 International Cup. AFL Canada instituted inter-provisional games in lieu of the 49th Parallel Cup in an attempt to gain as much representative experience as possible in choosing the best international squad to visit Melbourne . AFL Canada has decided to continue this event by creating a second (and hopefully annual) national championship which will pit province against province on Colonel Samuel Smith Oval in Etobicoke from June 30 to July 1.

    The tournament has included a second men's division to cater for sustained growth in smaller provinces having a smaller pool of players. AFL Canada expects to have British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec on the women's side, and on the men's side those four provinces plus Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Division will remain 18-a-side between the four largest provinces, with Nova Scotia, Manitoba and two more yet-to-be-determined teams rounding out the draw in a 10-a-side division played on a smaller field.

    Toronto was chosen to even out the travel advantage held in 2016 by the western provinces in the first championships in . Burnaby B.C. Also Toronto has a srong established league with permanent ovals and is more accessable to Quebec and the eastern leagues.

     

      ...


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    In hot conditions the Adelaide Crows were able to hold on to win in the heat by 4 points at the TIO Stadium in Darwin over the Fremantle Dockers.

    The match was a tale of two halves, because the Crows dominated the first half with there tackling, scoring and overall play. Then the Dockers owned the second half of the match, as they dominated the possession and overall play.

    In the second half the Dockers were coming hard at the Crows and tried to end the Crows season, but the Crows leaders such as Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Sarah Perkins stood up when needed for their team. As a result, the Crows have a chance of winning back-to-back AFLW premierships.


    It was an evenly matched contest in the opening term. The Dockers could not stop Phillips early influence in the match, as she scored two of the first three goals in the first quarter. Phillips put through the first goal of the opening term after the football was turned over by the Dockers and Ruth Wallace gained possession of the football. Wallace kicked the football inside 50 and the football bounced over the heads of the Dockers defenders to Phillips who was waiting to pounce on the football. Phillips took the football and she slotted through the opening goal of the match just metres from the goal square for an easy goal. The Dockers first goal of the match came after a 50m penalty was given to the Dockers and Lara Filocamo nailed through the goal from 20m out on a right angle.

    Phillips scored her second goal of the match after an inside 50 kick from Perkins to Phillips who was one out with the Dockers defender. The football dribbled past the two players, but Phillips utilized her footy smarts and won the foot race against her opponent and kicked the goal truly. The tackling by the Crows in the first quarter was elite. Late in the first term, there was one stoppage after another from the Crows in their forward half of the ground. As a result, Marijana Rajcic booted through a late goal in the term and it was her first goal for the Crows. The only thing that separated both the teams at quarter time was the Crows had an open forward line and this was how they outscored the Dockers three goals to one. At quarter time the Crows had a 10-point advantage over the Dockers.

    The Dockers lifted their intensity and physicality in the second quarter, but could not capitalize with majors on the scoreboard despite having a lot of the football in the quarter. Phillips was the first goal scorer of the second term like she was in the first. This time she marked the football strongly after a kick inside 50. Phillips was about 15m out from goal, but she did the team thing and quickly hand passed the football of to Perkins who kicked her first goal of the AFLW season on the run.

    Hard nut midfielder Ebony Marinoff left the ground under the blood rule after a heavy knock. The Dockers first goal of the second term came via Ashlee Atkins who scored the major. Midway through the second quarter the Dockers challenged the Crows and placed the Crows under immense pressure especially as they dominated the gameplay. Rajcic played well in defense for the Crows in the second quarter. The pressure and intensity lifted in the second quarter. At the main break the Crows held an 8-point lead over the Dockers in trying conditions.




    Image Source: @AdelaideCrows

    It was a tight tussle in the third term. The Dockers started well with the first goal of the term within seconds of the start. Alicia Janz tapped the football to Hayley Miller who bursted out of the centre and kicked the football long into her forward 50. Ebony Antonio gained possession of the football. Antonio snap kicked and scored the goal. Antonio was so happy, because she moved forward after she played in defense for the first half. Marinoff gave away a 50m penalty, as she ran through the mark. As a result, Dana Hooker scored the goal from about 30m out. This was a significant goal for the Dockers.

    The Dockers began the second half with a lot of intent, as they dominated possession and the inside 50 count. Jessica Sedunary nailed through a much-needed goal for the Crows, because she kicked the bouncing football out of mid air to gain back the lead for her team.

    There was a momentum shift to the Crows midway through the third term, as their leaders stood up when the Dockers came at them hard after the Dockers were all over the Crows in the first half of the term. As a result, the Crows hung onto a one-point lead at three quarter time.

    The final stanza continued to be a tight contest from the Crows and Dockers, as both teams were able to score a goal each. Phillips was again everywhere in the fourth quarter like in the previous three quarters and as a result she slotted through the Crows first goal of the term. Phillips looked to have marked the football but the umpire said it was touched, but it did not faze Phillips who still had the poise to score the goal off a snap kick just metres from the goal square. Randall had a huge second half for her side and to top it off she took a great solid mark in defense.

    Atkins helped set up the Dockers opening goal of the last term, as she kicked the football to Kara Donnellan who played on from about 35m out. So Donnellan kicked the football around her body to Hooker on the run who kicked a nice goal on the run. The dying minutes of the match were high-pressured and it was great to see how both the teams did not drop off in any intensity and continued to give it their all from the opening ball up to the final siren.

    Fortunately for the Crows they held on in the heat to beat the Dockers who fought them till the end. The Crows keep their hopes alive of winning back-to-back premierships in the 2018 AFLW season. They now sit second on the AFLW ladder with one round left in the sea ...

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  • 03/09/18--23:25: AFLCNE Season Draw Released

  • It has been a tough off-season for the Australian Football League Central & Northern England (AFLCNE). The first blow was the departure of the Newcastle-based Tyne Tees Tigers as they moved to join the AFL Scotland league SARFL for a variety of logistical reasons – the most obvious being travelling advantages. Soon afterwards, it was announced that Sheffield Thunder would not field a team for the 2018 season due primarily to low player numbers.

    The double-whammy losses will see the AFLCNE feature just five teams for the season. But whilst there are less teams, most of the players involved last year will be out there again for their respective clubs, so the standard of football is likely to be just as high as before – maybe higher.


    The season will kick off with the 2018 Haggis Cup in Scotland on 14th April. The full list of clubs involved will be advised later, but it has traditionally been a tournament that has started the pre-season for many AFLCNE clubs. Similarly, some clubs and players – men and women – will head down to London the following weekend for the AFL London Pre-Season Cup.

    The local action starts for the AFLCNE teams on 28th April with Round 1 to be hosted by the Huddersfield Rams as they take on the Nottingham Scorpions. In the other match, the Wolverhampton Wolverines will clash with Liverpool’s Merseyside Saints. The Manchester Mozzies have the bye and will have to wait until Round 2 to commence their title defence.

    The season will feature the same ten round draw as before, just with less teams each week and only one hosting venue per round required. The semi-finals and grand final will be held on the 28th July and 4th August respectively.

    Whilst it is true that in recent years the competition has seen the loss – either permanently or temporarily – of the Leeds Minotaurs, Birmingham Bears and now the Thunder and Tigers, there have also been signs that 2018 could be the year where the basis of the league is rebuilt for a stronger future. With some Thunder players possibly heading to the Rams until the Sheffield team returns to the playing fields, it may see a stronger Rams team to go up against the well-credentialed Wolverines and Scorpions teams. The Mozzies will again be the benchmark as they seek their fifth consecutive title.

    The Merseyside Saints will find things a little tougher. On face value they will lose the two teams they could most likely have defeated – the Tigers and Thunder. However, that would not be recognising their development since joining in the competition. Winning through to last season’s Plate final would have given belief that the club is growing in the right direction and the new 2018 format might further assist their development.

    Time will tell if the Minotaurs or Bears return to the league, but the performances of the University of Birmingham team in the past few seasons have been a good sign that the platform for a Bears’ return is being built.

    For the time being, it will be the Mozzies, Scorpions, Wolverines, Rams and Saints to fight out the 2018 AFLCNE season in what should be a fascinating yea ...

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    Image Source: @superfooty

    Collingwood pulled of a huge upset over the Brisbane Lions by 14 points at the Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. It was a good old game of wet weather fashion football between Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions. The Pies played exceptional football for the whole match and the Lions were stunned to say the least. However, in the final quarter the Lions had a late fight back, as they scored three of the last five goals of the match. The late goals could be important for Lions who have hopes of finishing top two on the AFL ladder.

    The Pies came out all guns blazing in the first quarter and the Lions could not put a halt to their immense pressure and intensity in and around the contest. They were fast starters in the opening half of the first term. As a result, the Pies scored the first two goals of the match. Christina Bernardi slotted through the first goal for the Pies after she received a handball pass from Caitlyn Edwards. Moana Hope snap kicked towards goal for a great goal of her left foot. Edwards set up another Pies goal, because she kicked to Bernardi who ran into an open goal.

    It was halfway through the opening quarter that the Lions kicked their first goal. This goal came via Sabrina Frederick Traub who took a very strong contested mark and she kicked a much-needed goal directly in front for the Lions, which helped weather the storm. Hope was awarded a 50m penalty and booted through her second goal in the match from the goal square. The Pies made an error in their kick out of defense and Nat Exon capitalised with a major from the goal square after she spoiled the kick out and picked up the goal and scored truly. It began to bucket down just before quarter time and this has made this contest a good old wet weather fashion game of football. At quarter time the Pies led by 14 points over the Lions.

    In the second term the Lions challenged the Pies, but credit to the Pies who were able to withstand their pressure. It was a goalless second quarter with neither team able to score any goals. Amelia Barden was in everything in the first half of the second quarter for the Pies. Chloe Molloy played very well in the second term with a cracking diving smother on Jess Wuetschner’s kick to save a certain Lions goal. Molloy also gave two repeated efforts, as she showed great composure to get the football out of her defensive 50 and forward. Molloy was able to get herself out of pressure twice by handpassing to herself. She especially was able to do this when she was being tackled and it was great poise shown by the 19 year old.

    Kaitlyn Ashmore placed a massive bump on Ruby Schleicher and as Schleicher was slow to get to her feet Ashmore checked to see if she was ok. It was great to see. There was about 5 minutes left in the second quarter and Schleicher went off the ground into the change rooms with what was reported to be a concussion test. Both teams showed desperation in this quarter. It was tough conditions for both teams who found it hard to hit their target's with the wet football. Late in the term, Barden came off the ground with what seemed to be a thumb injury. The Pies looked dangerous each time they went into their forward half of the ground, as they were playing efficient football when they were in attack. At the main break the Lions were down by two goals over the Pies.

    Schleicher failed her concussion test at half time so she took no further part in the remainder of the match, but good news for the Pies as Barden continued to play the rest of the match.

    The Pies continued to play with desperation in the third term and as a result they nailed the first goal of the quarter via Jasmine Garner who slotted it through metres from the goal square for an easy one. They kept the Lions goalless, as the Pies continued their dominance and capitalized in the third quarter on the scoreboard with two goals. The Pies held up well in their defense all game and it has been great to see how they have stood up against the Lions forwards. Meg Hutchins from a set shot kicked through a beauty of a goal from the boundary line on a wet day game of football – “SUPERB!” This goal surely will be up their for goal of the year! The Pies were up by 23 points at three quarter time over the Lions in a dominant display from the Pies.

    In the final stanza the Pies outscored the Lions two goals to one and there defense continued to play well. The Pies scored two goals in the last quarter. Jess Duffin the cricketer took a great mark in defense for the Pies. Brittany Gibson from the Lions placed a strong hard tackle on Barden. Sarah D’arcy kicked the football to Hope who hand passed to Brittany Bonnici. Bonnici hand balled the football over the top to Bernardi who nailed through the open running goal. Hope sealed the win for the Pies with her third goal of the match halfway through the last quarter. Wuetschner booted through a late consolation prize for the Lions. Kate Lutkins from a set shot from the boundary line slotted through another late goal for the Lions but it was too late for them, as time was a factor for them to overcome the Pies. The Lions came at the Pies late in the final quarter, as they kicked three late goals.

    Ashmore slotted through another late goal, which could be crucial for the Lions finishing in the top two on the ladder at the end of the home and away season. Pies were victors over the Lions in a massive upset.

    Image Source: @CollingwoodFC ...


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    Image Source: @aflwomens

    The Greater Western Sydney Giants won by 18 points over the Western Bulldogs in an enthralling AFLW match at the UNSW Canberra Oval. It was a great second half from the Giants who were all over the Dogs in the nations capital. It was a tight contest by both teams in the first half and this was reflected on the scoreboard. As at quarter time the Dogs had a one-goal lead and the Giants had a 10-point lead at half time. The Giants took their game up a notch in the second half and made light work of the Dogs who tried hard to counteract and respond to their pressure. This win by the Giants is a statement win by the Giants to the rest of the AFLW competition.

    The first stanza was a tight contest played by both teams. Kirsten McLeod scored the first goal within the first 10 seconds of the match. The Dogs had a lot of the attacking play in the first quarter but credit to the Giants defense who held up well and stopped them scoring more than two goals.

    Dogs defense held up well and made it hard for the Giants to hold a mark in their forward half of the ground. The Dogs tackling in the opening term was great and they finished the quarter with 23 tackles to the Giants 12.

    Jessica Dal Pos set up a team goal, as she kicked it to Nicola Barr who kicked it to Aimee Schmidt who marked the football strongly in the forward 50. Schmidt slotted through the goal nicely for the Giants first of the match.

    Ellie Blackburn set up a goal as she passed to Deanna Berry who kicked the football forward. The football spilt to the back of the pack and Monique Conti ran toward the dribbling football and soccer kicked the football of the ground for her first goal in the AFLW. It was great to see Conti finally get her first goal in her AFLW career after she has been so lively up forward for the Dogs since round 1. At quarter time the Dogs held a slim lead of 6 points over the Giants in a tight encounter.

    It was the Giants who owned the second term, as they outscored the Dogs three goals to one. McLeod scored her second goal in the opening minute of the second quarter like she did in the first quarter. Jacinda Barclay played a great quarter for the Giants, as she was everywhere. Jodie Hicks responded with a goal soon after McLeod’s goal, as she kicked the goal from about 25m out on a slight angle and she nailed the goal. This goal was her first goal in her AFLW career.

    The Giants were all over the Dogs midway through the second quarter, but they were only able to score one goal for all their attacking play. They placed the Dogs defense under siege. The Irish goal sneak Cora Staunton was on fire in the second quarter as she was a part of two goals in the term. Staunton handballed out of the pack to Jessica Dal Pos on the run who kicked a beauty of a running goal of her left foot from 40m out. Dal Pos returned the favour soon after to Staunton, as she kicked the football to Staunton who marked the football and played on. On the run Staunton slotted through the goal nicely. The Irish woman Staunton was lively again up forward for the Giants and gave the Dogs defenders headaches. Staunton is an absolute star. At the main break the Giants had an 8-point advantage over the Dogs.

    The third quarter was filled with intense pressure and the game lifted another notch. As a result, the Dogs were the only team to kick a goal in the term. Early in the term the captain of the Giants Amanda Farrugia was taken high, but she showed her toughness as she shrugged of the trainers. It was a real arm wrestle for the first half of the quarter, because neither team could score. In the early stages of the third quarter the Dogs had majority of the attacking play and made it difficult for the Giants to get the football past the centre of the ground.

    Giants defense held up well for most of the quarter and it took 11 minutes for the Dogs to score the first goal of the term. Jenna Bruton nailed through an awesome goal, as she bent back the kick after the football fell to the ground and she crumbed the football well. Courtney Gum continued her strong form in the AFLW especially in the third quarter she stood up well in defense for the Giants with her strong intercept marks and put a halt to the Dogs attacking play. Gum is an outright star of the AFLW. The Giants were up by two points over the Dogs at three quarter time.

    It was a "GIANT" final quarter from the Giants who kicked three goals to stun the premiership favourites the Dogs, as they kept them goalless. Gum the 36 year old was awarded a 50m penalty and from 40m out the superstar put through the goal nicely. Gum’s goal was the first goal of the final term. Alicia Eva kicked the Giants second consecutive goal of the final quarter and she also kicked her first goal for the Giants. It was a timely goal for the Giants. Farrugia the captain kicked her first for the club and the Giants  made light work of the Dogs in this quarter.

    The Giants ran over the top of the Dogs by 18 points in the nations capital. It was a great final half by the Giants who now sit second on the AFLW ladder. Great to see the Giants in the top two after they finished last on the ladder last year.

    Image Source: @aflwomens ...


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    This weekend’s CNFA Léo Lagrange round in France saw the Paris teams – the Cockerels and Cockatoos – hosting the Toulouse-based teams, the Hawks and Aviators. It was a highly successful weekend with both Paris teams winning, and in the process enhancing their finals prospects.

    The Paris Cockerels handed the Toulouse Hawks their first defeat of the season. Both teams were locked on four wins apiece going into the match. The win for the Cockerels sees them outright competition leaders with two rounds remaining. In the other match, the Cockatoos leapt over the ALFA Lions and into fourth place after comfortably defeating the Aviators.

    The Paris Cockerels didn’t get away to the ideal start. The Hawks got off to a solid opening quarter, leading the Cockerels by 14-points. By half time, the Cockerels were back in the match with scores locked at 31-points apiece. After half-time, however, it was one-way traffic as the Cockerels shut down the Hawks attacking options and took control up forward to run away with a big 79-point win. The result is a significant pointer now to the premiership with the Cockerels having established a psychological edge over the Hawks.

    The clash between the Cockatoos and the Aviators wasn’t so close early and stayed that way. The Cockatoos jumped out to a five-goal lead by quarter time and led by eight goals at the main break. The second half played out the same way as the Cockatoos recorded an 85-point win. Not only did they go past the ALFA Lions on points to grab fourth place, their percentage boost will have significantly bridged the gap that the Lions had enjoyed.

    Round 6 begins next weekend with matches in Perpignan and Paris. The Perpignan Tigers host the Paris Cockerels whilst the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes will welcome the visiting Bordeaux Bombers. The round will be completed the following weekend with a double-header in Toulouse. The Aviators will meet the visiting ALFA Lions in a match that is vital for the Lions’ finals chances. The match of the round will see the Toulouse Hawks desperate to get back on the winners list when they host the Cockatoos.

    It is very possible that fourth place will come down to percentage with the Lions just ahead now of the Cockatoos. Both teams will be in Toulouse and by the end of Round 6 will know exactly what they need to achieve in the final round to make the finals. It is sure to be a fascinating finish to the home and away season over the final two round ...

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  • 03/10/18--23:27: Dees thump the Blues at Ikon
  •  

    It was the six goals to zero first quarter from Melbourne that helped set up the 35 points thumping win for them over Carlton at Ikon Park. The Dees scoring in the second and third quarters dried up, because they only scored two goals in the second half of the match. This win now has the Dees sitting second on the AFLW ladder and all they have to do next week is beat the Dogs and they are into the AFLW Grand Final. The Dees came out all guns blazing in the opening quarter of the match and were a class above the Blues, as they kept the Blues scoreless and kicked 6 goals of their own. They were on fire in their forward 50 and midfield, which caused headaches for the Blues who could not get their hands of football.  

    Image Source: @aflwomens

    The Dees first goal of the match came after the Blues turned over the football from a kick out and Elise O’Dea intercepted the kick out and slotted through the goal on the run. They scored another goal this time once they won the football out of the centre and kicked it long into their forward 50 to a one on one to Tegan Cunningham who snap kicked the goal from about 10 metres from the goal square. Eden Zanker kicked nicely to her leading forward target in Tegan Cunningham who marked strongly in a one on one and from directly in front Cunningham booted through the goal.

    Cunningham from the boundary centre kicked to O’Dea who marked it and nailed through the goal. Jasmine Grierson showed poise to swing around on her preferred kicking foot to centre kick to O’Dea who marked in forward 50 and she gets her third goal in the first quarter. Cunningham was on fire in the opening term. Zanker placed a great run down tackle on Bridie Kennedy. Kate Hore from directly in front she slotted through the goal on the siren for the Dees. At quarter time the Dees had a 38-point advantage on the scoreboard over the Blues.

    In the second term, the Blues slowed up the Dees ball movement and made the game tighter after an open free flowing quarter in the opening quarter. New Carlton recruit Tayla Harris kicked a long bomb from inside 50 and nailed through the Blues first goal of the match in the opening minute of the term. Soon after Darcy Vescio scored the Blues second after the football spilt out the back and Vescio won the foot race and put through the goal on the run despite being under pressure. Cunningham caused headaches again up forward for the Blues defense, as the Blues gave away a holding free kick down in the goal square. Cunningham from directly in front slotted through her third goal of the match. The repeated inside 50s from the Dees put the Blues defenders under significant pressure. Late in the second quarter, 18-year-old Georgia Gee placed a goal saving tackle deep in defense. It was a cracking tackle! Cunningham’s continued repeated efforts up forward for the Dees in the second term were great to see. The Blues were down by 34 points at half time despite outscoring the Dees in the second term.

    It was a goalless third quarter from both teams with only four points scored for the entire term. With less than five and half minutes left in the term, it was sad to see Mel Hickey helped off the ground by the trainers and was reported that it could be a serious knee injury. The Blues defense were under siege late in the third quarter, but to the Blues credit their defense stood up well. At three quarter time the Dees held a 6-goal advantage over the Blues.

    In a quiet final term, the Blues had majority of the attacking play in the final stanza, but for all their effort they could only score one goal. Georgia Gee put through her first goal in her AFLW career after the football fell to the back and she crumbed and kicked it on the run. Gee was impressive in a bad loss for the Blues. Late in the last term, Alisha Newman hobbled from the ground. Shelley Scott kicked to Cunningham who marked strongly, but Cunningham did the team thing and kicked it to Kate Hore who booted through the Dees first goal of the second half.

    The Dees won by 35 points over the Blues who came at the Dees late in the final quarter and the Dees now sit second on the ladder with one round to go in the AFLW season. This AFLW season is going to have a cracking end next week with many teams in contention to make the top two and make the 2018 AFLW Grand Final.

    Image Source: @aflwomens ...


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    The Southern Districts Crocs have reached the 2017/18 NTFL Grand-Final by defeating the Nightcliff Tigers in last night’s Preliminary Final at Darwin’s TIO Stadium. The result sets up a dream decider with two teams that have endured premiership droughts that go back twelve years for the Darwin Buffaloes (2005/06) and eleven years for Southern Districts (2006/07). Regardless of next weekend’s result, one team will break a drought; the other will have to start all over again for another crack next season.

    The Nightcliff Tigers used their better accuracy to advantage early against the Crocs, holding a narrow quarter-time lead of three points after kicking five straight goals for the quarter. Two goals to Cameron Ilett helped give Nightcliff a good start, but the Crocs hit back hard in the second quarter to kick five goals to two and open up a 17-point lead at the main break.

    The third quarter was tight, but Crocs were always looking more dangerous as they headed forward. Eventually, the Crocs were able to extend their half-time lead enough to very nearly have the game secured with a five-goal break over the Tigers.

    The final quarter was tight as the Tigers fought to get back into the game and the Crocs worked to stave off any Tiger fightback. Any chance of a resurgence by the Tigers probably slipped out the window with a couple of shots at goal going out of the full at a crucial stage as well as some other missed opportunities within the forward 50. The Crocs were able to rebound on each occasion and keep enough distance between themselves and the Tigers on the scoreboard to run out 34-point winners.

    For the Tigers, the off-season arrives with the chance to plan and build ready for the 2018/19 season. But the Crocs can now live a dream and look to overcome the Darwin Buffaloes to win their third flag.

    For the Darwin Buffaloes, flag number 24 awaits if they can hold their nerve and outplay the Crocs as they did in their earlier finals outing. Their two meetings with the Crocs during the home and away rounds saw two comprehensive defeats by 113 and 82 points. But their three goal win against Crocs in their semi-final match will give them enormous belief that Crocs are certainly beatable and that the Buffaloes’ best can win. They only have to ensure that they can counter the Crocs’ best. This is what will make the premiership decider another worthy match in the pantheon of NTFL history.

    Weekend results across men’s and women’s competitions:

    Premier League: Southern Districts Crocs 14 17 101 d Nightcliff Tigers 10 7 67

    Women’s Premier League Grand Final: Waratah 9 5 59 d Darwin Buffettes 4 0 24
    Under 18 (Girls) Grand Final: Darwin Buffettes 7 13 55 d Southern Districts Crocs 3 3 21

    Division 1 (Men’s) Preliminary Final: Waratah 8 10 58 d Southern Districts Crocs 5 2 32
    Grand Final Next Week: Waratah v Banks

    Division 2 (Men’s) Preliminary Final: Jabiru Bombers 10 4 64 d Waratah 5 8 38
    Grand Final Next Week: Jabiru Bombers v Nightcliff Spartans

    Under 18 (Boys): Southern Districts Crocs 13 8 86 d Nightcliff Tigers 5 6 36
    Grand Final Next Week: Wanderers v Southern Districts Crocs

    For a comprehensive list of all senior and junior NTFL results, go to their website at: http://websites.sportstg.com/comp_inf...mp;a=ROUND ...

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    After just two games of the CAFL season in Bogotá, Colombia, the Bogotá Bullants have already announced themselves as the team to beat. Whilst the pre-season drafting has certainly made the three -team competition competitive, it is already clear that the talent pool at the Bullants runs deep and it will take a big turnaround from the Bogotá Bombers and DC Aguilas to take down the Bullants.

    For three quarters the Bullants and Bombers were evenly matched. Scores were level at quarter-time and the Bullants led by just three points at the main beak. The Bombers won the final quarter. However, it was the third quarter where the inner Bullant was unleashed as they piled on seven goals to break the game open and set up victory by 30 points.

    Paddy Smallwood from the CAFL reported that, “it was a reasonably tight game except the third quarter where the Bullants stepped up and set up the win with a powerful performance. The Bombers fought back in the last, but ultimately couldn't match the fire power of the Bullants forward line who are now two from two. The next game will see the DC Aguilas play the Bombers in two weeks’ time, with both teams searching for their first win of the season.”

    “Matt Szaraz kicked seven goals for the Bullants to take his tally to 19 goals in two games. Best players for the Bullants were Matt Szaraz, Spuda Quinn and Yessid Gonzalez. Best for the Bombers were Trav Crockett, Chris Payne and Wham Penolosa.”

    Final Scores:
    Quarter Time: Bullants 5 8 38 to Bombers 5 8 38
    Half Time: Bullants 8 8 56 to Bombers 7 12 54
    Three Quarter Time: Bullants 15 10 100 to Bombers 8 13 61
    Full Time: Bullants 19 11 125 to Bombers 13 17 ...

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    The AFL’s 2018 campaign “Don’t Believe I Never” has been released. The key motivator in the campaign is a series of three videos focusing on the inspirational journeys of three people. Featured are Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and his journey with the club to premiership success, Sydney Swans footballer Aliir Aliir and his incredible journey from war-torn Sudan to the AFL and a teenage school-girl in western Sydney and her journey to the Bankstown Bull Sharks. Below is the story of Aliir Aliir.



    The AFL today released its 2018 campaign, Don't Believe in Never, showcasing three remarkable stories centring on passion, dedication, overcoming adversity and ultimately triumph within the game.

    The three stories will be highlighted through short films, featuring Damien Hardwick's leadership of the Richmond Tigers to the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership, Sydney Swan Aliir Aliir's journey from a Kenyan refugee camp to playing in the AFL and Dema a member of the Bankstown Bull Sharks, a multicultural team of teenage schoolgirls in Western Sydney.

    AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the campaign was inspirational for all levels of Australian Football, from the grassroots through to both the elite men’s and women’s competitions.

    "The common thread of these three stories is that at one point in their lives the subjects made a conscious decision that never was not an option and Australian Football has provided a vehicle for their personal successes," Mr McLachlan said.

    "Whether it's on a Saturday at a suburban footy ground, or at the MCG on Grand Final Day, these films show that this game can win over every heart and create opportunities no matter the level of play.

    To read the rest of this story from the http://www.afl.com.au website, go to this link: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-03-12...e-in-never
    ...

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    The second part of the AFL’s new promotional campaign features a young Muslim woman from the western suburbs of Sydney and her dream and journey to play Australian Rules football. According to the www.afl.com.au website, the synopsis for this video is:




    “Dema is a young girl of Muslim background from Bankstown, NSW who had no interest in AFL. That all changed when a teacher from her school introduced AFL to their PE classes and her love of the game began to grow. Needing to convince her conservative parents - who originally said never - to play AFL, she eventually joined the Bankstown Bull Sharks in the heart of Western Sydney. Initially hesitant, Dema's father Stephen is now the team’s number one supporter, encouraging her along the way and ultimately to participate in the 2017 Female National Diversity Championships ...

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    The Western Bulldogs won by two points, after goal sneak Brooke Lochland booted through the sealer to put an end to the Melbourne Demons season in an absolute classic game of AFLW at the Whitten Oval.

    Image Source: @aflwomens

    It was a high-pressure intensity filled game of finals type football with neither side giving each other an inch. This was reflected on the scoreboard, as the Dees were the only team who scored a goal in the opening term. Rochelle Cranston was the first goal scorer midway through the first quarter, because she was awarded a free kick. Sarah Lampard in her first match of the season unfortunately came off the ground in the hands of trainers, after she landed awkwardly on her leg. It was all the Dees in the opening quarter, as they kept the Dogs scoreless. Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea all began the match well for the Dees. At quarter time the Dees led by 7 points over the Dogs.

    The tight contest continued in the second term, which was filled with immense physicality, tackles and repeated efforts from both sides. Emma Kearney won a free kick and Kearney used the breeze to her advantage well and nailed through the Dogs first goal of the match. Lampard’s night was over as she was on the bench with crutches with what was reported to be a knee injury. Anna Teague held onto Katie Brennan for too long and Brennan was given the free kick. Brennan kicked the goal truly.

    Deanna Berry provided some individual brilliance because she gathered the football and ran into an open goal, as she broke away clear. The Dogs had all of the running and attacking play in the second quarter. Karen Paxman marked strongly as she made her way from the back of the pack to the front and she kicked the goal nicely between the big sticks against the breeze. Paxman was huge for the Dees in the second quarter. Emma Kearney was a ball magnet and everywhere in the first half of the match, as she racked up 15 disposals with 13 of them contested and 5 clearances. Kearney is a gem of an AFLW player. At half time the Dogs were up by 7 points over the Dees.

    It was a tense third stanza, as the Dogs were kept scoreless and the Dees scored the only goal of the quarter. The opening goal of the third quarter came from a stoppage in the Dees goal square and Katherine Smith slotted through the goal from the stoppage. This goal was Smith’s first goal in her AFLW career. Hannah Scott put a great rundown chase on Alisha Newman who went for a superb run and was going to kick one of the great running goals in the season. Even though she could not catch Newman it placed enough pressure on Newman who missed the running goal. It was one of the points of the season. The Dees had repeated inside 50s, but credit to the Dogs who held up well in their defensive 50. At three quarter time the Dees led narrowly by 5 points.

    The final term was a tight tussle again from both sides who played a finals intensity brand of football and made it hard their opposition to score a major. Cranston placed a good hard hip and shoulder on Kearney and Kearney was slow to get back to her feet. A free kick was awarded to the Dogs after Monique Conti was tackled high and from the goal square she nailed through the goal from 15m out. Brennan gave away a free kick as she slung Harriet Cordner to the ground.

    Cranston was influential in the final quarter for the Dees. Kate Hore put through the much-needed goal for the Dees into the breeze from a set shot. It was an intense last final five minutes in the final quarter and the Dogs had one inside 50 after another, but the Dees defenders held up strongly. Brooke Lochland snap kicked the goal and put the Dogs in front with minute and a half left in the match. Scott delivered as she took the saving mark, as the Dees pressed forward.

    Lauren Spark put on a fine display in defense, as she kept Tegan Cunningham quiet up forward for the Dees. The Dogs were two point winners in one of the best matches of AFLW and they are now into their first AFLW Grand Final. It was heart wrenching for the Dees who gave it their all but just could not get the win.

    Image Source: @FoxFootyLive ...


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    With the passage of Tropical Cyclone Marcus striking Darwin today, the AFLNT has postponed the grand finals further. Having already made the decision to postpone from tonight to Sunday, the damage from the Category 2 cyclone has forced further postponement.

    The NTFL has released a statement regarding the decision.

    AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) wishes to advise that it has postponed the 2017/18 TIO NTFL Men’s Grand Final Day after receiving strong advice from Power and Water Corporation and NT Police that was not conducive to going ahead.

     

     

    No decision on rescheduling the eight finals has been made yet and AFLNT Executive, football and operation staff, will meet with stakeholders tomorrow morning to plan the completion of the season.

     Late on Saturday evening, AFLNT received advice that the power stations that feed TIO Stadium and surrounds were down and were unlikely to be back up and running or operating reliably by Sunday evening. 

    This not only means the light towers will not work but electricity and sewerage to the public toilets, change rooms, scoreboards, disabled access, various food and bar outlets, offices and corporate facilities will not function. 

    Further to this, we have been advised that the water is unsafe to drink and car parks and surrounds have limited access due to damage that may not be cleared in time. 

    AFLNT Chief Operating Officer Stuart Totham said the safety of Territorians was paramount and despite Grand Final Day being the biggest day on the Darwin footy calendar AFLNT has a duty of care to act responsibly. 

    “We came into the weekend planning to play our finals on Sunday, and the team worked tirelessly to refit everything, but unfortunately we received strong indications that we would experience power and water issues tomorrow and the loud and clear advice from NT Police was not to proceed. 

    “Police advise there have been 26,000 homes affected by Tropical Cyclone Marcus and that the water we rely on to operate is unsafe and poses a health risk to patrons and participants. 

    “This makes it impossible to open TIO Stadium to fans tomorrow and while we’re sure footy fans are disappointed the nature of cyclones is their unpredictability and seriousness.

    “We will now work diligently with all the stakeholders, especially clubs to finish our season the way it deserves.” 

    Further details will be reported as soon as they become available after the meeting tomorrow.  ...


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    As the new 2018 season gets closer for most Australian Rules football playing nations in Europe, the game’s controlling body, AFL Europe, continues to provide snapshots of different counties. Focusing in part on the past, present and the future, the series provides updates for those already familiar with the leagues featured as well as an excellent education for those new to the game.

    In the last World Footy News story which featured the AFL Europe articles, the focus was squarely on the game in Switzerland, Scotland and Denmark (see AFL Europe’s Country Reviews). In this instalment we give you the links snapshots on both Wales and Croatia. To read the full stories, just click on the links provided.


    WALES – “The Welsh league formed as the brain-child of an Australian from Adelaide, who came to live in Wales, following his Welsh heritage. As time went on, it become quite clear that the love of the game, and not being around it, left a void that other popular sports in the UK just could not satisfy and so Australian Rules Football began!” To view the complete article, go to: http://www.afleurope.org/wales-country-report/

    CROATIA – “Footy in Croatia started back in 2005 when Kolja Koračak started the first club with a couple of experts. After the Zagreb Hawks were the first club, we found new clubs mainly around capital city (Zagreb). In the first years we recruited students and that was a good move as they lifted this sport. During 2006 and 2007 the Croatian National Team was founded and they played in the CEAFL and 3 Nations Cup. The first appearance of the Knights on the big stage was at the 2008 Euro Cup in Prague where we ended second behind England. It was a good effort for a first try.” To view the complete article, go to: http://www.afleurope.org/croatia-country-report/

    AFL Europe will continue this fascinating series of articles as the year continues. For any further information on the articles or AFL Europe, go to their website and use the contact options available, or you can visit them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AFL.Europe.Ltd/ ...

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  • 03/17/18--16:04: The History Of The ANZAC Cup
  • With the ANZAC Cup 2018 to be played on ANZAC Day, 25th April, AFL Europe has released an excellent article that gives that background to this solemn yet celebratory event, played each year in honour of those who fought to save Villers-Bretonneaux. To read the full article, follow the link at the end of this story. 

    To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, the men’s and women’s Australian Spirit sides will go head-to-head with the French national teams to contest the 10th annual ANZAC Cup, honouring those who fought to reclaim the town on the night of April 24th, 1918. 

    Villers-Bretonneux had been a key post for the Allies prior to the Germans successfully breaking through defensive lines and taking the town on the 24th as part of their Spring Offensive. This was a considerable victory given the towns vantage point over the city of Amiens which was of significant tactical importance to both sides.

    As such, the Australian lead counter-attack was an imperative move to be made and was quickly ordered to commence on the night of the 24th, with the 13th, 14th & 15th brigades waiting for the cover of darkness before launching their response at 10pm local time. Their efforts were successful and the town was handed back to the villagers on April 25th – exactly three years after the landing at Gallipoli – but tragically not before 2,473 Australian lives were lost. 

    The match is now a focal point in the ‘Australia Week’ celebrations organised by local authorities that recognise this sacrifice made by the Australians who retook Villers-Bretonneux. 

    Played since 2009, the 32 Australian men and women selected to represent their country in the ANZAC Cup are done so based on their own personal or family connection to the armed forces rather than their specific footballing experience or ability, placing extra importance on the already momentous honour of pulling on the green and gold. 

    Players are hosted by adoring local families and spend time in the lead up to the game engaging with their opposition by running community footy clinics, sharing a dinner and guernsey presentation, taking part in a street parade and holding a combined training session, before attending the dawn service at the Australian National Memorial where the names of 10,733 Australian’s who lost their lives on the Western Front are list 

    To read the complete AFL Europe article, click on the following link: http://www.afleurope.org/history-of-the-anzac-cup/ ...


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  • 03/17/18--22:53: Pies win breaks Crows hearts
  • Collingwood put an end to the Adelaide Crows season, as they broke away in the second half of the match to run out 21-point victors at the Olympic Park. It was a great second half by the Pies who ended the Crows 2018 AFLW season and broke the Crows hearts. The Pies finished their season on a high and the big dance is decided the Dogs will meet the Lions in the 2018 AFLW Grand Final.

    Image Source: @aflwomens

    It was a tight tussle in the early stages of the first quarter, as both teams were working their way into the contest. In the first five minutes the Pies controlled the game play and Crows were on top midway till the end of the first term. The Crows kicking in front of goal was what let them down. Rising star favourite Chloe Molloy was strong in defense with her repeated efforts such as she evaded three Crows players to get the football out of defense for her Pies. Jasmine Garner slotted through the first goal in the opening term with a checkside kick.

    Erin Phillips was awarded a 50m penalty and she from just on 50m kicked for goal but the football fell short into the lap of Ruth Wallace who marked the football. Wallace put through the goal from the goal square. It was a superb snap kick at goal from Anne Hatchard who roved the football off the pack after the Crows constant forward pressure. The Pies found it hard to clear the football out of their defense in the last five minutes of quarter, as the Crows had repeated inside 50’s. At quarter time the Crows led by 10 points over the Pies.

    The tight contest continued in the second term, because both teams scored two goals each and responded to their oppositions pressure in and around the contest. Jenna McCormick scored the first goal in the quarter, after the football fell out the back of the pack and McCormick put her soccer skills on show as she soccer kicked the football of the ground. The Pies responded with a quick goal of their own after Christiana Bernardi handballed the football to Moana Hope who nailed through the goal of a long snap kick.

    Chelsea Randall played strong and exceptionally well in defense and it was like a one-woman show down in the Crows defense.The Crows turned over the football deep in their defensive 50 and then Hope handballed to Garner booted through her second goal in the match. Deni Varnhagen came to the bench with a reported leg/footy injury late in the second term. Sarah Perkins was clever in the forward 50 for the Crows, because she kicked the football off the side of her boot to Stevie-Lee Thompson who slotted through the goal from the goal square. Crows had an 11-point advantage over the Pies at half time.

    Great that Varnhagen was back on the bench at the start of the third quarter with her ankle re-strapped. Chelsea Randall after she played a great first two quarters was out of the game with concussion after she knocked her head. The Pies played an impressive second half of football and made it hard for the Crows to score, as they kept the Crows goalless and scored two goals of their own. They had a lot more of the ball in third quarter and their defense held up well. The Pies first goal of the third quarter came via Mel Kuys who snap kicked of her left foot and the football dribbled through.

    Hope was everywhere in the forward line in the second half for the Pies. She had one goal assist after another. Hope took the advantage after she received a free kick and kicked towards forward 50 and the Pies won the football and Bernardi snap kicked at goal. Molloy took an absolute great mark on Sarah Perkins last line in defense just before the siren could sound for three quarter time. The future is bright at the Pies with players such as Molloy playing for them. At three quarter time the Pies led by a solitary point over the Crows.

    In the final stanza the Pies were all over the Crows, as the Pies scored three goals and kept the Crows scoreless. At the start of the quarter, Phillips tried to lift her Crows with her tackling pressure and intensity. Bernardi marked the football and put through the goal after another Hope goal assist. The Pies had all the run in their legs in the fourth quarter and the Crows looked slow. In the final quarter, the Pies tackling were strong and the Crows were under immense pressure. A free kick was awarded to the Pies against Courtney Cramer for not nominating in the ruck and Lauren Tesoriero booted through the major as a result. Soon after, Garner nailed through the goal from the goal line and scored her third goal.

    The Pies were victors by 21 points over the Crows after a strong impressive second half and they spoiled the Crows chances of making their second straight AFLW Grand Final.

    Image Source: @FoxFootyLive

      ...


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    With finals looming in France, the Paris Cockerels and Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes have secured their places with wins on the weekend. The Cockerels travelled south to meet the Perpignan Tigers whilst the Coyotes hosted the Bordeaux Bombers. Despite both teams getting the wins, the round also saw two very committed performances by the defeated teams.

    In Perpignan, the Tigers played what might be their best game for the season. It has been a tough draw for the Tigers and a clash with the top team could have been a tough day out. However, the Tigers took the game right up to the Paris Cockerels, in the end going down by just 42 points. The Cockerels have finals to look forward, but the Tigers will have seen signs that they have a decent base to build on for next season. The club would be very heartened by their effort to push the premiership favourites to just seven goals.


    Final Scores: Paris Cockerels 98 d Perpignan Tigers 56

    The Bordeaux Bombers have pushed most teams this season. Their journey to Paris to play the Coyotes would have been daunting, yet they also played in a way that suggests that better luck is just around the corner. In the end, they went down to the Coyotes by just 13 points in a fearless display, not worried at all by the Coyotes ladder position or home ground advantage.

    Final Scores: Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes 68 d Bordeaux Bombers 55

    Next round matches have seen a change. The Aviators will host the ALFA Lions in Toulouse as planned this coming weekend; however, the scheduled match between the Toulouse Hawks and Paris Cockatoos has been changed. With the Paris Cocks travelling to Belfast to play in this year’s Leprechaun Cup on March 25th, the clash between the Cockatoos and Hawks will be played midweek on Wednesday 28th March in Toulous ...

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    AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) wishes to advise it has come up with two plans to try and see through the remaining eight grand finals for the 2017/18 TIO NTFL season.

    Based on the most recent advice received from Power and Water Corporation we are hopeful of having power restored to TIO Stadium and surrounds, plus safe drinking water and debris cleared by early this week.

    After meeting with Darwin Buffaloes Football Club, Southern Districts Football Club and other stakeholders on Sunday morning, it was apparent all parties want a result, so the plan has been formulated with that in mind.

    However, added complexities of new weather events do not make anything certain and a second plan has also been created.




    Should TIO Stadium be operational and safe by Tuesday evening then the Men’s Premier League Grand Final and Men’s Division 1 Final will take place on Wednesday 21st March.

    The remaining six finals across Men’s Division 2, Under 18 Boys, Under 16 Boys and Under 14 Boys have been scheduled for Saturday 24 March.

    Should TIO Stadium not be operational and safe by Tuesday afternoon or another weather event impede on Plan 1, then the second plan is to play all eight games on Saturday 24 March.

    Should similar circumstances occur or TIO Stadium not be deemed fit to play, and the finals are not completed by Saturday 24 March then all eight divisions will have dual premiers and clubs will share honours.

    Acting AFLNT CEO Stuart Totham said the two plans were developed in conjunction with the Buffs and Crocs to provide clarity to their players, support staff and all fans.

    “What has happened over the past 48 hours is far from ideal, but the safety and welfare of the broader community remain paramount.

    “On an assessment of TIO Stadium and surrounds this morning there is very little structural damage, but with no power, plumbing and unsafe drinking water there’s no way we could’ve proceeded with today.

    “The advice I have received gives me hope that Wednesday will go ahead and I think both the Premier League clubs for their ongoing cooperation and support.

    “Some ideas and options were thrown about, but we believe we have landed on the best outcome considering the unusual circumstances,” Totham said.

    David Sanderson, President of Southern Districts Football Club, supports the decision and stated, “this arrangement is both supported and acknowledged as the most appropriate alternative given the work to be done. Stuart and his team are to be commended for their leadership in an attempt to satisfy all football followers in the Top End.”

    John Paterson, President of Darwin Buffaloes Football Club, said; “the right decision has been made by Stuart Totham and his management team to postpone until TIO Stadium is fully operational. We are confident our fans will still turn up in droves and will us on to victory.”

    Both coaches said, “We hope to see everyone when the game goes ahead but understand their families, homes and safety is most important.”

    Story issued by the AFLNT. To view full details regarding the draws and contingencies for the NTFL grand finals, see this article for updated fixturing information: https://www.aflnt.com.au/news/2018/tw...the-season ...

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    The skillset required to play Gaelic football translates well to Australian ovals. Bouncing a similarly-shaped ball, hand passing and kicking are but a few of the talents required to be successful in either game. So in the early 1980s clubs from the old VFL started scouting players in Ireland.

    Sean Wight was the first Irish recruit, playing 150 games along the back line for Melbourne from 1984-95. Jim Stynes followed soon after, winning a Brownlow Medal in 1991 as part of his 264-game career with the Demons. Stynes was All-Australian in ‘91 and ‘93.

    The Irish Experiment was a little more hit or miss through the 90s before Tadhg Kennedy broke through with Sydney from 2001-11, winning a Premiership in 2005 as part of a 197-game career with the Swans.

    Kennelly’s success on grounds brought the same level of interest in Irish players in the AFL in the mid-2000s but interest soon ebbed once again as the hit-or-miss nature of foreign recruitment seems to have soured some clubs. Sometimes it was just a case of homesickness as players realized they were three continents and 17,000 km (10,600 miles) away from home.

     This season there are five Irish players on AFL senior lists, led by Zach Tuohy’s 145 games with Carlton and Geelong, and the 142 games of Pearce Hanley, who is in his second season with Gold Coast after nine years with Brisbane. In 2008 fellow Irishman Colm Begley served as Hanley’s mentor at the Lions, undoubtedly smoothing the transition to AFL footy. Begley played 30 games with Brisbane and St. Kilda before returning home to play Gaelic football.

     
    Conor McKenna has 10 goals in 33 games with Essendon, and Mark O’Connor has played in two games for Geelong, with a debut in round 8, 2017. Ciaran Byrne of Carlton has 15 games under his belt but spent 2017 in rehab after tearing an ACL.
     
    Six Irish players on rookie lists. Hawthorn features Conor Nash and Conor Glass, who played six games last year. For St. Kilda it’s Darragh Joyce and Ray Connellan. Carlton shows Cillian McDavid and Colin O’Riordan wears a Sydney guernsey. 
     
    While the situation certainly varies as to the recruitment and success of Gaelic players in the AFL, there are two different variables this time around. The International Rules series tournament brings Irish players Down Under for a chance to be scouted and to play against the world’s finest amateur sides. Additionally, the interest level may be higher with the new AFL women’s league which includes Melbourne’s Laura Corrigan Duryea via Diamond Creek. 
     
    You can read more from Joe at his site Play On Australian Rules Blogspot ...

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