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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    As part of their slow burn towards a return to full competition in the AFL Middle East, the Bahrain Suns will host the region’s AFX tournament next month. With their rebranding and rebuilding program last year, the Suns had planned to be back in action for the 2018/19 season. That goal will wait a little longer, but their involvement in the AFL Middle East pre-season competition will certainly boost interest and support.

    In a media release from the AFL Middle East, “on October 12th, AFLME will conduct an AFLX style tournament which will comprise of all teams from of the competition. The tournament has been scheduled to take part in Bahrain to engage other areas of the Middle East to get involved in the league and potentially use this for expansion into the future.”

    “The event is planned to take place on the 12th of October and commence with the first bounce at 1100 local time. There will be 5 games (6 round robin games and 2 finals) in total and the event should be complete no later than 1600 local time the same day.”

    “There is an evening event planned around Oktoberfest which all travelling parties are invited to attend.”

    Whilst the Bahrain Suns will not have a full team in the event, the potential is there for interested local players to link with established clubs – the Dubai Dragons, Entertainer Dubai Dingoes, Multiplex Bulls and Abu Dhabi Falcons – to gain experience and excite the local crowd.

    The new AFL Middle East home and away season commences on Friday 9th October with a double-header match at Sevens Stadium in Dubai. The titleholders, Dubai Dragons, will be in a grand final rematch against the Multiplex Bulls and the Entertainer Dubai Dingoes will meet the Abu Dhabi Falcons (see Middle East Ready To Rumble).

    ...

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    The Finland AFL (FAFL) 2018 season will come to a close this weekend when the Helsinki Heatseekers meet the Waasa Wombats in the Grand Final. After the final round of the FAFL season in Waasa late last month, the Heatseekers finished in first place, two games clear of the Wombats in second. The results qualified both for the Grand Final.

    The match will be played at the Talin Jalkapallohalli Sporting Fields in Purotie, Helsinki, this Saturday 22nd September.

    The home and away season ended in Waasa with the Helsinki Heatseekers winning both of their matches against both the Wombats and Turku Dockers to finish in top spot with five wins for the season. The Wombats secured another win against the Dockers to have three wins for the season and the Dockers were third overall with just the one win.


    The minor premiership for the Heatseekers continues their era of dominance. They have won three consecutive flags since 2015 and are now in the box seat to make that four flags in a row. However, they face last year’s runners-up in the Waasa Wombats. The Wombats will be spurred by the defeat last season.

    The Wombats also know that the Heatseekers can be beaten after they were defeated once this season, but that was to the Turku Dockers in a surprise result that may yet hold the key for a Wombat victory. As stated famously by legendary Brisbane Lions coach, Leigh Matthews, ahead of their 2001 Grand Final against the Essendon Bombers, “if it bleeds you can kill it”.

    The Wombats and Dockers have witnessed Heatseeker blood drawn in 2018. The only question would be whether that bleeding was enough for the Wombats to go in for the kill. All questions will be answered on Saturday afternoon in Helsinki. ...

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  • 09/21/18--04:03: USA..!! USA..!! USA..!!


  • In one of the most remarkable VFL/AFL finals ever witnessed, the crowd at the MCG has erupted into the chant of the title as American footballer Mason Cox cut loose. As this article is being written, Cox dominates the Fantasy points on the www.afl.com.au website as the most impacting player on the field.

    This isn’t a practice match but an AFL Preliminary final involving two of the great AFL clubs – Collingwood and Richmond – and it can truly be argued that Collingwood’s seven goal lead at half time is built heavily on the back on an American.

    So far, Cox has claimed eight possessions (seven kicks), six marks (most contested) and crucially, three huge goals in a row that were the integral part of a Magpie goal-kicking avalanche. Rarely has a player dominated a half as Cox has done – NEVER an American.


    If Mason Cox isn’t already a cult hero, his performance tonight will almost certainly go down in the history books If the Magpies go on and win (and they lead by 44 points at half time), he could become legendary – certainly at Collingwood, possibly wider.

    To have a crowd chanting “USA” at the MCG during a final demonstrates remarkably how this young American has captured the imagination of an Australian Rules football crowd. His Texan parents are sitting in the crowd lapping up an incredible performance.

    There is another half to go, and Cox might not get another touch – Richmond might even fight back and win (though it is becoming increasingly unlikely). But Cox has transformed the Collingwood v Richmond Preliminary Final.

    More to com ...

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    PETER JACKSON VFL - 3.20PM: CASEY DEMONS vs BOX HILL HAWKS Sunday September 23 (Melbourne Time)
     
    BROADCAST: TV – Channel 7. Radio – SEN, 3WBC, Casey Radio, ABC and Macquarie Sports Radio
     
    When Conor Nash and Conor Glass run out on Etihad Stadium on Sunday they will be the first Irish players to play in the VFL’s Grand Final since Zac Tuohy played for the Northern Bullants in 2010. 
     
    Tuohy’s team went down heavily to North Ballarat that day. So if Box Hill defeat the Casey Demons the Conors would become the first Irish players to win the Victorian state league title. 
     
    Although both have played a few games for their AFL club Hawthorn, on Sunday they will be playing with Hawthorn’s VFL affiliate Box Hill – where they have both played most of their Australian football so far. 
    The Casey Demons will go into the match as favourites having a better run in the finals series than the Hawks and riding the confidence inspired by their AFL affiliate Melbourne. But head to head these teams are one win each and under the closed Etihad roof we would expect a close match. 
     
    Kiwi Kurt Heatherley unfortunately will not be playing for the Hawks after suffering a significant hamstring injury late in the season. The Casey Demons will have a Kiwi of their own though.  Mykelti Lefau has a Samoan dad and NZ mum, grew up in NZ and moved across to Australia in high school.  He also represented NZ against the Australian Academy team earlier this year and is part of the NZ IC20 squad named earlier this year. Lefau will be hoping to make an impact when his chance comes, being named on the bench after playing 6 VFL matches this season.
       
    The Plus7 app and website will provide video streaming for viewers interstate and overseas.    Watch live on Channel 7 or download the PLUS7 Live app to stream games live or watch a replay at https://7plus.com.au/sevens-vfl
     
    If you are in Melbourne get along for a great day of footy at Etihad Stadium - Grand Final tickets are adults $23, concession/pensioners $16 and kids under 15 free which gets you in to see both matches.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    SWISSE WELLNESS VFL WOMEN’S - 12.30PM: HAWTHORN vs GEELONG CATS
     
    Last year it was another Irish player on centre stage at Etihad on Grand Final day as Laura Duryea representing Diamond Creek was on the team that narrowly lost to the Darebin Falcons. 
     
    This year the VFL Women’s Grand Final will be contested by two teams that are part of an AFL club for the first time. Hawthorn and Collingwood will battle for the title, unfortunately with no internationals on either side. 
     
    Both sides feature a number of AFLW stars and again this should be a close match. Hawthorn will be favoured given they had the better season record and defeated the Cats in their only match this season.
     
    BROADCAST: Video – Video stream on vfl.com.au . Radio – WARF Radio (RSN Carnival), SEN & 3WBC. Click HERE to view on Sunday

    RSN/Women’s Australian Rules Football Radio: Hawthorn vs Geelong Cats

    Listen on digital radio via RSN Carnival, via the RSN App or viawww.rsn.net.au/digital-radio/

     

    ...

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    Grand Final day in Cairns was played out today under beautiful, if windy, conditions at Cazalys’ Stadium. In the first grade premiership showdown, the mighty Port Douglas Crocs proved too good for the Cairns Saints, running out 46-point winners.

    However, in what might be the most significant result of the day, it was the league’s newest senior grades team, Pyramid Power, which won its inaugural premiership as a reserve grade team.

    The first grade clash was tight to half time. Port Douglas held a narrow three-point lead at quarter time. Neither side relented in the second quarter and the half-time margin remained at three points. However, the “premiership quarter” belonged to the Crocs as they kept Saints scoreless whilst hammering on four goals (and eight behinds) with the wind to effectively secure the game.



    The Crocs then showed no mercy as they ran away in the last quarter to win the flag 12 17 89 to Saints 6 7 43.

    In the reserve grade match, Pyramid Power were playing in their first grand final as a senior grade club. Formed as a junior club in Gordonvale – 23 kilometres south of Cairns – in 2005, Power first entered a reserve grade team in the AFL Cairns competition in 2016. They finished fifth that year, then third in 2017. But today they completed their climb to the top with a premiership.

    The club has continued to grow, evolve, improve and, importantly, mature. Today saw the culmination of that growth. The 2018 season saw the club add former NTFL coach Mark Motlop to their coaching staff. His success and experience as a legendary coach and player rubbed off on the Power crew.

    Motlop played over 300 games in the NTFL for Nightcliff, Wanderers and Southern Districts, as well as playing for Glenelg in the SANFL. As a coach he saw Southern Districts to an inaugural premiership and took both Wanderers and the Darwin Buffaloes to finals campaigns. That background, as a thoughtful, knowledgable and motivated coach, has now had a profound impact on Pyramid Power, evidenced by their first senior level flag.

    The game started with Port Douglas kicking three unanswered goals with the wind in the opening term. Power clawed back two late goals against the wind to give renewed belief. By half-time Power had grabbed a handy 21-point lead. The third quarter was tight as the Crocs crept back to within eight points by the final change. But in an emotional last quarter, the Power boys held their nerve, even after a player count to halt momentum, to run home with the wind and record a famous 17-point premiership victory.

    The sight of club president, Jim Floyd, and many other club staff, players and supporters shedding tears after the game highlighted how hard the journey had been to this day, and how emotional it had been for those who have given so much to the club over many years.

    After five junior premierships, the most recent being their Under 14 Youth Girls team a month ago, Pyramid Power have now tasted the ultimate success. But the opportunities for AFL Cairns are great as well as they can now further entertain the thought of an expanded competition overall – a sign of a healthy competition – by negotiating the growth of the club to include a senior team as well in the near future.

    For Port Douglas, a senior premiership was due reward for another magnificent season. Thought by many to be the most professional of all AFL Cairns clubs – on and off the field – the club can revel in the success of their first grade team after a tremendous grand final performance.

    The results bring to an end another great season for AFL Cairns, with the job of preparing the 2019 season starting immediately.
    ...

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    In a weekend of major finals and tournaments across Europe, the following article give a brief look at results from the Coupe De France (French Cup), the Grand Final of the Kenguru Cup in Norway and premierships decide in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

    FRANCE – The ALFA Lions have already started to atone for a disappointing 2017/18 season by taking this season’s Coupe De France. Hosted by the Bordeaux Bombers, the event kicks off the CNFA season. This year, the Lions and Paris Cockerels made their way through the preliminary round robin matches in their respective pools. In the end The ALFA Lions defeated the Paris Cockerels 48 to 26. In the women’s match, it was the Paris Cockerelles defeating hosts the Bordeaux Bombers 54 to 39. The result sees the Lions qualify for the Champions League in Amsterdam next year.


    NORWAY – The Kenguru Cup, played over six rounds across the season between the Oslo Crows and Ås Battlers was completed on the weekend with the Grand Final. The final results saw the Crows victorious over the Battlers at Voldsløkka Idrettspark. The final score saw the Oslo Crows 9 7 61 too good for the Ås Battlers 2 7 19 to be Norwegian champions for 2018.

    SWEDEN – In something of an upset result to many, the Solna Axemen have exorcised the demons of their Grand Final loss in 2017 to defeat the Norrtälje Dockers and win the 2018 SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football Federation) premiership. The Dockers had been favourites to win, but the Axemen found that extra spur on the day. A full article with scores will follow later.

    DENMARK – The Copenhagen Giants have won their second DAFL premiership after downing the Farum Cats in Lyngholmskolen to take the 2018 title. The Cats had a big first quarter, but by half-time the Giants had grabbed the lead and held it to the end to record a nine point win. Final scores saw he Copenhagen Giants 8 6 54 defeat the Farum Cats 6 9 45. A full storyon the match will follo shortly.

    FINLAND – The Helsinki Heatseekers have won their fourth consecutive FAFL premiership. This time they took the honours against a gallant Waasa Wombats team. In the end, the Heatseekers proved far too good, running out convincing 87-point victors. The final scores saw the Helsinki Heatseekers 109 defeat the Waasa Wombats 2 ...

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    Over the years, players from international or multicultural by birth backgrounds have polled well on Brownlow Medal night. Jim Stynes won the Brownlow Medal in 1991 and remains the most successful international player. However, other players to have polled well over the years include Pearce Hanley (Brisbane & Gold Coast) and Tadgh Kennelly (Sydney) among others.

    Tonight at the Brownlow Medal count, Mason Cox (Collingwood), Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs) an Aliir Aliir (Sydney Swans) each polled three votes. If an award were given, Mason Cox would not win as he incurred a suspension during the season. If an award were based on the most three votes (as the Brownlow once was) then Johannisen would win as his votes came from one best on ground performance.

    The big American, Mason Cox, polled his votes as best afield in Collingwood’s Round 12 match against Melbourne. Switching from soccer to Australian Rules football and a native of Texas, Cox turned in an eye-catching display, snaring 16 possessions, eight marks, nine hitouts and kicked five goals in the Magpies 42-point victory.

    Jason Johannisen earned his votes for his best on ground effort for the Western Bulldogs against St Kilda. Playing the ideal rebound role off half-back and through the middle, Johannisen had 24 possessions and six marks as he helped set up a 35-point victory for the Bulldogs. Johanissen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and came to Australia when he was eight years old.

    Aliir Aliir polled his votes in two matches for the Swans. His effort against Essendon in Round 21 to take nine intercept marks earned two votes. He also gained a vote in Sydney’s Round 21 match against Melbourne, taking ten intercept marks. Aliir Aliir came to Australia as a seven-year old and did not play Australian Rules football until he was 14. He was born in Kenya to South Sudanese parents.

    Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell won tonight’s Brownlow Medal with 28 votes ahead of Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom in second place on 24 votes. Melbourne Demons midfielder, Angus Brayshaw, came third on 21 vote ...

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    It was a great day for the Hawks be it under the Box Hill or Hawthorn banner, one of the best AFL/VFL alignments shone through. The Box Hill Hawks winning the men’s final by 10 points over the Casey Demons and the women’s in their first season under the Hawthorn title (Box Hill formerly) winning by 13 points over Geelong.

    VFL Women's Grand Final 

    A tight first quarter of the VFL Women’s Grand Final with the Hawks first on the board through Tamara Luke.  Maddie Boyd evened things up for the Cats later in the quarter with a low flat drop punt through the middle.  Then Hawks had the better of the contest in the quarter but could not convert their forward 50 opportunities with Pearce marking Sarah Perkins closely.  A two point lead to the Hawks at the first break.

     

    The second quarter was even more of an arm wrestle than the first.  The Hawks had the ball at their end more often but couldn’t capitilise, McWilliams, Flanagan and Hutchins could only manage minor scores.  It was the Hawk’s Emma Mackie who kicked the only goal for the quarter when she took and uncontested Mark, played on and slotted the goal to make it 11 points at the main break.

    Geelong pushed hard to get back in the game in the third quarter, but poor kicking saw Burchall, Fogas, Orr and Clifford all register behinds.  Hawthorn were finally able to get the ball clear to Sarah Perkins and she made no mistake in front of goal taking the Hawks to a 13 point lead.

    Geelong were not out of the match by any stretch, and when Darby kicked the first goal of the quarter to bring the margin back to 7 points it looked like they could run over the Hawks.  But with the 7 point buffer, then Hawks were able to play defensively and lock the ball up where they could.  When they found Gilder to kick the final goal of the match they had done enough and take home their first VFL Women’s Premiership cup. 

    Perera was voted best on ground for the match and McWilliams, Hutchins and Beeson weren’t far behind for the Hawks.  Burchell, Morrison, McMahon and Keryk were best for the Cats. 

    Hawthorn            1.3  2.6  3.6 4.6 (30)

    Geelong Cats      1.1  1.1  1.5 2.7 (19)

    HAWTHORN

    Goal Kickers: S. Perkins, T. Luke, E. Mackie, E. Gilder

    Best Players: C. Perera, P. McWilliams, M. Hutchins, R. Beeson, T. Luke, J. Van Dyk

    GEELONG CATS

    Goal Kickers: M. Boyd, K. Darby

    Best Players: H. Burchell, N. Morrison, M. McMahon, M. Keryk, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell

    VFL Grand Final

    The Casey Demons were on fire in the first quarter of today’s VFL Grand Final under the closed roof at Etihad Stadium.  Much of the first quarter was played in the Demon’s half.  The Demon’s were first on the board when Kiwi Mykelti Lefau lost Irish opponent Conor Glass and ran back to mark a high ball deep in the pocket.  Without a hint of nerves he slotted the goal from the tight angle.  Casey kicked the next three goals through Timothy Smith and Kennedy-Harris from set shots, and Machaya who read the ball well and roved the pack and kicked the goal.  Jackson Ross finally kicked Box Hill’s first goal after Jiath ran the ball off the wing, dished to Willsmore who hit Ross on the lead. Kennedy-Harris lead the disposals for the quarter for the Demons and Lefau proved a more than capable back up ruck for Cam Pederson.  At quarter time it was a 21 point lead to Casey.

    Box Hill did not look confident going forward.  But Casey weren’t making the most of their opportunities either.   Dylan Moore had a terrible set shot miss and Maloney kicked across the face before Moore made amends goalling from over the shoulder high free kick from 45m out.  Casey looked to have the answer though and hit back quickly when Bugg roved cleverly and snapped on the left to goal.

    Casey had their own run of missed shots before Moore had a kick after the half time siren from a free kick deep in the pocket.  He went back and kicked a team lifting goal to leave the Hawks 17 points down.

    Casey got the second half off to a great start with a goal to Jay Lockhart.  Box Hill then began to dominate play and gradually will themselves back into the game. Mitchell Lewis got things going for them with a nice goal.  They kept pressing and kicked three behinds before eventually breaking through again when Willsmore and then Hanrahan both kicke majors for the Hawks. Casey stemmed the tide when Angus Scott pulled back a goal, but Tim O’Brien kicked another for the Hawks late to leave the Hawks trailing by 9 points at the final break.

    After Tim O’Brien kicked a minor score early it was Box Hill captain Andrew Moore who brought the margin back to just two points in Casey’s favour as the Hawks lifted once again.   Kieran Lovell gave the Hawks a 2 point lead when he roved the pack at the top of the 50 and kicked a long goal on the run.

    Timothy Smith flew high for one of Casey’s highlights of the last quarter and pulled down a classic mark over the pack.  Just as Casey looked like they would will themselves to regain the lead, Brolic pulled off a key spoil in centre of ground as Casey players were streaming forward.  Then Stockdale took Dylan Moore over the shoulder off the contest in the the goal square.  The umpire was in a good position to see it and pay the free kick.  Moore’s goal sealed the match for the Hawks who looked home.  

    Tomas Bugg had a late chance to put Casey in striking distance of the lead but hit the post, but it was all too late and when the siren blew it was the Hawks home by 10 points.

    CASEY DEMONS               4.4      5.9      8.11    8.14 (62)

    BOX HILL HAWKS             1.1      3.4      7.8    10.12 (72)

    CASEY

    Goal Kickers: J. Kennedy-Harris, C. MacHaya, A. Scott, J. Lockhart, T. Bugg, M. Lefau, C. Pedersen, T. Smith

    Best Players: B. Fritsch, C. Wagner, H. Petty, D. Keilty, B. Vince, T. Bugg

    BOX HILL HAWKS

    Goal Kickers: D. Moore 3, K. Lovell, T. O''Brien, O. Hanrahan, A. Moore, J. O''Rourke, J. Ross, C. Jones

    Best Players: D. Mirra, D. Moore, M. Pittonet, O. Hanrahan, J. Cousins, T. O''Brien

     

    Conor Nash was a late withdrawal from the named team, he was not injured and reportedly want to give the regular Box Hill players the opportunity.  Conor Glass did not have a great game off half back.  He did link up well and have some good runs but his longer kicking did let him down a little.  Glass did spend quite a bit of time rotating off the bench which perhaps broke up the continuity in his game. We look forward to his continuing development and hopefully more AFL football in 2019.  Glass does become the first Irish player to become a VFL Premiership player. 

    Mykelti Lefau impressed with his leap and his speed, he also spent time changing off the bench.  The opening goal of the match was impressive and he did well against a much bigger ruckman in Pittonet when he played backup ruckman.  If he plays for NZ at IC20 he could supercharge that already talented team.   ...


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  • 09/26/18--05:07: Land Of The Giants


  • After last weekend’s DAFL Grand Final, the Copenhagen Giants are the toast of Denmark. They are truly the giants of Denmark after downing perennial Danish powerhouse, the Farum Cats to take their second DAFL Premiership.

    On a wet and windy afternoon, the day actually favoured the Cats early. Using whatever climatic advantage available, the Cats kicked three first quarter goals to open up a handy 21-point lead. They kept the Giants goalless for the quarter, and would have felt very pleased with their efforts to set up a premiership.

    However, that was as far as the Cat charge went. By half time, the Giants had trampled all over that lead, lifting their own intensity and capitalising on whatever conditions that would help to slam home five goals for the quarter and lead by five points. Not a premiership-winning lead, but a quarter that defined the determination of the Giants.


    The third quarter was a war of attrition with a single goal kicked for the quarter. Significantly, it was the Giants kicking the goal to blow their lead out to ten points at the final change. It would mean the Cats had to kick two or more goals more that the Giants in a low-scoring match – a huge ask.

    The final quarter was tight, with both teams kicking two goals, but the Cats just couldn’t break down the Giants’ defences to close the gap. In the end, the Giants held on for a well-deserved premiership win by nine points.

    When the Giants won their first flag back in 2015, coming from fourth place to upset the flag favourites the Copenhagen Barracudas in a semi-final and then the Aalborg Kangaroos in the final, there was an element of luck. However, here was nothing lucky about the Giants in 2018, finishing second behind the Cats after the home and away season before grinding through the finals to be Denmark’s champions.

    Scores:
    Quarter-Time – Giants 0 1 1 v Cats 3 4 22
    Half-Time – Giants 5 3 33 v Cats 4 4 28
    Three-Quarter Time – Giants 6 5 41 v Cats 4 7 31
    FINAL SCORE – Copenhagen Giants 8 6 54 d Farum Cats 6 9 45

    Goalkickers:
    Copenhagen Giants: Pàll Finnsson 2, Poul Johnstone 2, Mickey Nielsen 1, Chris Campion 1, Nathan Campion 1, Mathias Biron 1
    Farum Cats: Mikkel Norlander 2, Mikkel Kjøge 1, Gustav Petersen 1, William Andersen 1, Jakob Overgaard ...

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    The Solna Axemen have made amends for last season’s grand final defeat by taking out the 2018 SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football federation) premiership last weekend. In a great day for the club, the Axemen defeated the Norrtälje Dockers by 33 points in a comprehensive victory.

    In a landmark day for the club, the pain of last year’s grand final defeat to the Södermalm Blues was erased. Whatever pledges were made in the darker hours of 2017, were kept by a team with a mission. The final score on the day saw the Solna Axemen 10 7 67 defeat the Norrtälje Dockers 5 4 34.

    It was the seventh SAFF Premiership flag for the Solna Axemen since their inception in 2006, enhancing their status as the most successful SAFF club since competition started in 2004. It was also the first flag for the Solna team since 2014.

    The Norrtälje Dockers finished the home and away season two wins clear of the Axemen on top of the ladder. To add to the aura of favouritism, the Dockers and Axemen met three time throughout the season with the Dockers winning two of those matches. However, as stated by the Axemen, they never saw their premiership winning team as underdogs. To them, the result was no upset, but a reward for another tough season where the spoils of victory go to the team that outlasts all others – which is exactly how the results ultimately panned out.

    With the season now done, the Axemen can revel in the delights of premiership victory. The Dockers, Blues and Swans will use the off-season to rebuild and mount their challenges for the 2019 season. Prior to that, however, some payers from these teams will represent the nation at the Euro Cup in Cork playing for the Swedish Elks national team.

    ...

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    The past two evenings I got to see a great initiative that will hopefully change the way the AFL and their recruiters think about women playing Australian football and other sports overseas when it comes to filling out their lists.  They have decided that this opportunity cannot be ignored and have delivered these athletes from across the world on a plate for AFLW list consideration. 
     
    It is a very professionally run setup both in terms of personnel and facilities and looks to be just the first iteration of what hopefully will be a successful program for years to come.
    When the AFLW came along in 2016, it was disappointing that more attention was not given to international athletes, both those already playing Australian football overseas and those in other sports. Kendra Heil (Canada) and Laura Duryea (Ireland) both were listed, but they were both taken after playing with clubs in Melbourne.
    International combines would have been the way to go.  But it seemed neither the will or the funding were available to make sure the competition had access to all athletes to be the best it could be. At the very least a women’s combine could have been run alongside the AFL’s combines in Ireland and the USA.
     
    Again in 2017 and 2018 this seemed to be an obvious path to go down in search of talent, both in the existing international competitions and with Irish talent that could easily transition to the Australian game. The GWS Giants made the first move and brought Cora Staunton into the game with immediate success in the 2018 season.   And earlier this year Irish LGFA star Sarah Rowe came to Melbourne to choose which AFLW club she would play for, ultimately choosing Collingwood.  
     
    CrossCoders came together with a dream to give more opportunities to women in sport globally. And if the AFL wouldn’t head outside Australia’s shores to find talent, they would bring it to Australia. 
    They partnered with the Western Bulldogs to offer a professional contract with an AFLW side in 2019 to the best candidate. From well over 100 initial online applications, they selected 18 to come to Melbourne, Australia to audition for that spot. 
     
    Key players in the program are Jason Hill (GB Swans coach), Michael Currane (Irish Banshees coach), Lauren Spark (Western Bulldogs AFLW player and GB Swans Assistant coach) and the Western Bulldogs AFLW coach Paul Groves. 
     
    Most of the 18 women auditioning for an AFL spot arrived in Melbourne on the weekend. They attended the VFLW grand final between Hawthorn and Geelong to get a taste of what high level women’s footy looked like up close. For most the first match they had seen live and on a full size ground. 
     
    On Monday morning they were put through a full combine testing session at Victoria University. I ventured out view their evening session of ball skills work in Craigieburn, where they used the top notch Calder Cannons facilities. 
     
    They were put through a solid two hour session, and for women who had never really kicked and handballed the Sherrin before it was a pretty impressive session. CrossCoders had arranged a great group of coaches to run the session in small groups. A number of AFLW club scouts were on hand and also assisted in some sessions, while other watched and took notes on the sidelines. 
     
    For a little more international flavour I noticed Michael Gallus, coach of the Pakistan women’s team at IC17 and Lisa ‘Kiwi’ Roper on hand taking drills and giving instruction to the women on the field.
     
    Tuesday morning was recovery, before an even more impressive evening. CrossCoders had invited down a group of women from various VFL Women’s teams to take part in a one hour joint skills session followed by a match against the international rookies. This all took place at Trevor Barker Oval, home to VFL club Sandringham.
     
    The skills match was four 15-minute quarters and the rookies were impressive with the oval ball but also in the speed and manner in which they played.  By all rights Australian women should have easily outpointed these foreign women most of whom are all learning to use the oval ball, but also learning to play the game (most for the first time ever) and have never played as a team before.
     
    But the final score was something like 6 goals 8 to 4 behinds in favour of the CrossCoders. Sure there were plenty of basic skill errors and mongrel punts, but their attack and movement more than made up for it. And while some errors were made, most of the girls had come a fair way in a couple of days of learning to kick and handball.   I have no doubt a few phone calls were made back to the clubs of recruiters after that match to discuss what room they might have to sign one or more of these women.
     
    Originally the program had the ultimate goal of a player been selected for a rookie list position at the Western Bulldogs. But as I understand it, just before the program officially got underway with the players coming to Australia, the AFL decided the program needed to be open to all the AFL clubs so as not to give an unfair advantage to the Western Bulldogs. 
     
    It does seem likely that more than one of this first CrossCoders group will be offered a rookie position with and AFLW club. This is impressive given that the deadline is tomorrow night to nominate rookie positions as most of the clubs would have almost certainly decided who they would nominate before this week.
     
     
    So tomorrow (Thursday) the CrossCoders women will go into the final part of the program which is interviews with the clubs. Any offers of contracts are expected to be made late tomorrow before the deadline. So keep an eye out for any announcements.  
     
    The 18 players taking part in the series are list below their country of origin.
     
    Canada
    Nicola Kirwan, 30 years old, Etobicoke Kangaroos (Australian Football) and Northern Lights (national Australian Football team)
    Fiji
    Matelita Tuilevuka, 24, AFL Fiji
    France
    Coline Duquet, 25, Darebin Falcons, Paris Cockerelles and European Crusaders
    Ireland:
    Muireann Atkinson, 21, O'Neill Shamrocks Gaelic Football
    Ailish Considine, 26, Clare Gaelic Football and AFL Ireland West Clare Waves
    Mairead Coyne, 29, Ireland's national rugby union and handball teams
    Aisling Curley, 24, Moorefield GAA club and Kildare Gaelic Football Association
    Eimear Gallagher, 18, Red Hughs Gaelic Football
    Amanda Maginn, 26, St Kilda Sharks and the Irish Banshees (national Australian Football team)
    Aisling McCarthy, 22, Tipperary Gaelic Football
    Yvonne McMonagle, 31, Donegal Gaelic Football
    Mary Ryan, 30, Tipperary camogie (hurling)
    Aishling Sheridan, 22, Cavan Gaelic Football
    Fiadhna Tangney, 17, Kerry Gaelic Football
    UK
    Frankie Hocking (England), 29, Newton Breakaways (Sydney) and Great Britain Swans (national Australian Football team)
    Nia Jones (Wales), 25, Welsh national netball and soccer teams
    USA
    Amelia Kahr, 26, Seattle Grizzlies and gridiron
    April Lewis, 28, Seattle Grizzlies and athletics ...

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    Riley Beveridge from the www.afl.com.au website filed the following story looking at the success of Carlton’s Irish import, Ciaran Byrne. Usually stories about Irish footballers trace their journey from Ireland to the AFL. However, Byrne has reversed the trend, returning to Ireland to play in a local match.

    CARLTON defender Ciaran Byrne has returned to Ireland and become a hero in his local county, starring in a surprise appearance for his boyhood Gaelic side over the weekend.

    Byrne suited up alongside his older brother Declan for his home club St Mochta, helping it defeat Mattock Rangers to reach the Louth Village team's Intermediate Championship final.

    The 23-year-old came on as a second-half substitute, making his first Gaelic appearance since joining Carlton as a Category B rookie from County Louth at the end of 2013.

     Byrne's return might have raised eyebrows in Ireland, but not at Ikon Park.

    It's believed Byrne asked Carlton about the prospect of playing in the match prior to heading home for his off-season break, with the Blues comfortable with the young defender taking part in his side's semi-final and subsequently giving him their tick of approval.

    Byrne remains a highly rated prospect at Carlton, though his career has been limited to just 22 games in five years due to a series of setbacks relating to knee and hamstring injuries.

    He played seven games in 2018, finishing the year strongly with five consecutive matches.

    The Intermediate Championship is effectively a local level competition in Louth, the county where Byrne hails from, with his St Mochta set to now play St Fenchins in the final.

    The original story can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-09-26/blue-byrne-becomes-local-hero-in-irish-gaelic-game

     

    Picture Credit: Carlton Football Club

     

     

      ...


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    The first Oceania graduate to crack it for a senior AFL match and senior listing - Kiwi Kurt Heatherley - has not been offered a contract for 2019 by the Hawthorn Football Club. Kurt came through the AFL Oceania and South Pacific pathway before relocating from New Zealand to Melbourne and completing his schooling at Caulfield Grammar.

    Five years ago as an 18 year old he accepted an International scholarship offer from Hawthorn and as reported at the time by Emma Quayle (the Age) he was set to become one of the most (internationally) travelled AFL players.

    Prior to the 2016 season Kurt was upgraded to the Hawks senior list, and in round 20 of 2016 made his senior debut against Melbourne at the famous MCG in front of a tick under 39,000 fans. In 2017 a further 4 games followed - twice versus Collingwood (over 50K each time) and a trip to Tasmania for a draw against the Giants at York Park in Launceston; before a last senior hit out against Geelong in a 3 pt loss in Round 17 of 2017 in front of 70K at the MCG.

    Injuries hampered his progress, this year with a only 2 VFL games prior to June and unfortunately after a solid stretch through winter he succumbed to a hamstring injury in August that ruled him out of the successful Box Hawks finals campaign.

    Highlights included his debut against Melbourne and first win Round 15 2017.

    After beginning his time at the Hawks during their golden era of the 2013-15 three-peat; in more recent times other players have moved ahead of him in the Hawthorn backline. Hopefully though he might find another home in the AFL and wouldn't be a bad fit at a number of clubs. ...


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    Kuala Lumpar is preparing for the upcoming AFL Iflix Asian Championships on Saturday 13th October. With the release of the draw this week, large scale of the event becomes clearer. Teams from across the length and breadth of Asia will be there, and training for the travelling squads is in full flight.

    According to the event hosts, “the Malaysian Warriors Australian Rules Football Club warmly welcome competing teams, family, friends and spectators to the 19th AFL Asian Championships, Kuala Lumpur! This year’s event is set to be the largest Asian Championships in the history of the tournament with a record 22 teams registered to participate including the inaugural AFLW Championships.”

    “As Australian Rules football continues to grow across the region we’re excited to be hosting this year’s Championships and look forward to a huge weekend of Aussie Rules at its Asian finest.”

    The draw (below) features two divisions for men’s competition as well as the inaugural women’s division.

    The featured teams in Division 1 are the host team, the Malaysian Warriors, Indonesia Garudas, Hong Kong Dragons, Singapore Wombats and Philippines Eagles. Sharing Oval 1 will be the women’s teams in their own round robin fixture. The women’s teams are the Malaysian Warriors, Vietnam Swans, Cambodian Eagles and Hong Kong Dragons.

    The Division 2 teams are divided across four pools. Pool A includes Hong Kong Dragons (B team), Thailand Tigers and Laos Elephants. Pool B is Macau Lightning, Vietnam Swans and Malaysian Warriors (B). Pool C is home to the Myanmar Fighting Cocks, Indonesia Garudas (B) and a team from Papua New Guinea. Pool D will feature Cambodian Tigers, China Reds and Singapore Wombats (B).

    It promises to be a wonderful event that is capitalising on the continued growth of the game across Asia – in both men and women’s competition. AFL Asia will be providing updates on the event in the lead-up to the tournament.

    The picture below shows the full draw for all divisions.

    ...

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    In a pleasing development from yesterday's CrossCoders storyAdelaide has secured its first international women’s player with Irish recruit Ailish Considine signing on as a rookie for the 2019 season.

    Considine is a talented Gaelic football player with Clare and Kilmihil, in the country’s mid-west region, and is also part of AFL Ireland Women’s West Clare Waves team.

    The 26-year-old is also skilled at Camogie, the female version of the Irish sport of hurling.

    She is one of 18 athletes from Ireland, France, the United States, Great Britain, Fiji and Canada who this week travelled to Australia with the CrossCoders program to take part in a national camp to test their skills in front of club officials, in the hopes of being picked to play in the League’s third season.

    Crows General Manager Football Administration Phil Harper said the Club was thrilled to welcome its first international AFLW player.

    “Ailish is a talented athlete who has a tremendous kick on both sides of her body,” Harper said.

    “She brings a wealth of experience and positive attributes and we feel that she’s a great fit for our squad.

    “Having watched her play this week it is clear she already has a good understanding of the basics of the game and we’re confident she’ll successfully transition to AFLW.”

    Considine said it was an unbelievable opportunity.

    “I actually can’t even put it into words how I’m feeling,” she said.

    “The week with CrossCoders has been brilliant. I was not expecting this at all. I thought I was coming out here to Melbourne to have a kick around and see Australia a little bit.

    “I did not expect to be going home with a contract.

    “I don’t know a whole lot about Australia or Adelaide, to be honest! But I’m sure I’ll get to know an awful lot about it in the next few months. I cannot wait to get started with the Crows.”

    Under AFLW competition rules, clubs must sign two rookies who have not played Australian Rules football competitively in the last three years or been involved in a high performance AFLW program.

    The AFLW rookie signing period closes on Friday, September 28.

    AFLW clubs can sign a total of 30 players for the 2019 season, with lists to be finalised following the draft on October 23.

    The Crows have signed 23 players and currently have picks 8, 30, 37, 41, 48 and 53 in the draft.

    Crows 2019 AFLW list (23):

    • Sarah Allan
    • Ailish Considine
    • Dayna Cox
    • Courtney Cramey
    • Angela Foley
    • Renee Forth
    • Anne Hatchard
    • Jasmyn Hewett
    • Eloise Jones
    • Sophie Li
    • Rheanne Lugg
    • Ebony Marinoff
    • Jenna McCormick
    • Rhiannon Metcalfe
    • Justine Mules
    • Sarah Perkins
    • Erin Phillips
    • Marijana Rajcic
    • Chelsea Randall
    • Sally Riley
    • Jess Sedunary
    • Stevie-Lee Thompson
    • Deni Varnhagen

      ...


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    Gaelic Football star Yvonne Bonner is the second CrossCoders athlete signed up today.  She has joined the GIANTS as a rookie signing for the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
     
    Bonner, from Donegal in Northwest Ireland, is set to follow in the footsteps of Cora Staunton by becoming the second Irishwoman to sign for the GIANTS AFLW team.
     
    The 31-year-old, who has been nominated for her second All-Star award, is hoping to have the same impact as Staunton, who lit up the competition with her attacking flair and unique kicking style in 2018.

     

     

    “For this to actually come true, it’s like a dream, I suppose, to know that I’m the next Irish girl to come out after Cora,” she said.

     

    “I play full forward back home for Donegal, so I’ll play quite similar. It’ll just take a while to get used to the different ways of marking and stuff like that.”

     

    GIANTS AFLW Head Coach Alan McConnell identified Bonner at the recent CrossCoders trial in Melbourne, which saw Bonner and 17 other athletes from six countries take part in a camp to test their abilities in a bid to be drafted or rookie-listed.

     

    “It’s fun, it’s great for our footy club and exciting for our playing list to add more talent like this,” McConnell said.

     

    “In the Gaelic game she plays a similar role to that of a forward, a goal-kicking forward.

     

    “Because of her endurance she plays a bit higher, (so) she’s probably more of a traditional centre half-forward in that sense.” ...


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    As part of the lead-up to the AFL Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpar next month, World Footy News will be presenting information and backgrounds on some of the teams headed to the event. This article features player profiles courtesy of veteran Chinese national footballer, Zhang Hao.

    The following profiles are or the eight Chinese nationals who will be playing for the Reds next month as the Chinese team prepares to take on the best in Asia and flex some muscle. The game is expanding at an exciting rate through the clubs based in Beijing (Bombers), Shanghai (Tigers) and the teams of the SCAFL (South China Australian Football League) centred around Guangzhou (Guangdong Province), Hong Kong and Macau.


    The game has all of the elements needed to grow exponentially bigger in coming years, (relative to the populations of those cities and hopefully more), but strong showings at tournaments such as the Asian Championships will fast-track that development. The eight players profiled play an important role in that future.

    Profiles:

    Zhanghao is the first generation of footy player in China. He began to play football on 2007 and joined the International cup from 2008-2017 represent Team China. He is managing the Guangzhou Scorpions footy club having the southern China AFL. This year is his fourth time to play Asian Champs. Footy has become part of his life. He hopes more and more Chinese can enjoy and experience footy.

    Huang Jian Long, nicknamed “Tank” joined the Chinese Reds for IC17. He is the most improved player in the Asian footy area. He got the AFL Asia Rising Star award in 2018. After two years training and games, he has become a very excellent player. We hope he can show himself during Asian Champs this year. He also joined the Asian Champs in Manila last year. He doesn't only have the strong body [he also has] a smart mind. He loves football because he can use his body to protect the ball and teammate. He likes the feeling to tackle the opponent on the field.

    Liu Rong is the best player of Guangzhou Scorpions during SCAFL 2018 Season. He just joined the Scorpions last year. His skill improved so fast and his speed and jump giving us much surprise. We think the Asian Champs will be a bigger stage for him. Also, he enjoys the feeling when he is playing with the teammates and running on the field.

    Guo Ling is also a very young local player. He began to play football last year and was selected by the coach to play for Scorpions. He had a very good performance and kicked the first goal during the Team China v Asian Lions game in Shanghai this year. AFL is a very good team sport, he likes the feeling when teammates celebrate together when teams kick a goal and when team mates encourage [each other] when the team is down.

    Wu Gui Lin is the player from Guangzhou Seagulls. He is the hardest player on the field. Through GDAFL games and the SCAFL he has already accumulated his experience for Asian Champs. He said this is his sport when he saw AFL game high mark on the screen.

    Huang Xin Quan is from Huizhou Hawks. He has already played football for two years and now he is operating Hawks training and games. We hope Hawks can play better and better under his management. He is also a strong player and plays back field [defence]. We hope he can help China Reds in this year’s Asian Champs.

    Wang Rong Feng is the captain of Guangzhou Seagulls. He likes AFL because footy is a sport combining with foot and hand. He planned to join last year’s Asian Champs but [for] personal reasons he didn't make it happen. But he is very keen to join this year Asian Champs. This year is his third year playing football. We hope he can give China Reds some help to win more games.

    Cai Zeng Shuo is also a player from Guangzhou Seagulls. He almost joined all the training of the season. He is a passionate player and he is from the Chao Shan area that is also Chen Shao Liang's hometown. We hope he will have a good performance like Chen Shao Lian ...

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    Marc McGowan reports on the www.afl.com.au website about the reaction in the United States to the extraordinary success of Texan, Mason Cox, ahead of his AFL Grand Final appearance tomorrow. Cox has already captured the imagination of Australians, but as the AFL’s biggest game of the year draws closer, Americans are realising the magnitude of his achievements.

    AMERICAN Mason Cox's extraordinary Australian football journey to Saturday's AFL Grand Final is finally gaining traction in the Collingwood giant's home country.   

    The United States media's relative lack of interest until now pales in comparison to the fanfare the 211cm forward has long received in Australia.

     

    Cox, 27, is a source of fascination in AFL circles as one of few Americans to play the game at the highest level, particularly since making his debut in front of 85,082 fans on Anzac Day, 2016.  

    The remaining doubters on his football worth were surely convinced as he clutched 11 marks (eight contested) and kicked three goals in last week's preliminary final win over Richmond. 

    US media outlets have picked up on the Dallas-raised Cox's feats and detailed in various ways the Texan trailblazer's unlikely foray into professional sport.

    Deadspin, a widely read blog that offers left-field sports takes, resorted to a cringeworthy description of Cox's involvement in the Australian game. 

    "Cox runs, times leaps that leave him breathing thinner air than anyone else on the field, then escorts the ball down to earth while normally jacked and competent athletes paw helplessly at him from all sides," Giri Nathan wrote. 

    "It's like watching Chewbacca play a game of 500 (cards) with a clique of Ewoks who have not yet learned to cooperate. Even coming into the sport with fresh eyes, it's an absurd spectacle." 

    The New York Times ran a Reuters article that reads: "While virtually unheard of outside the country, Australian Rules football is hugely popular in the nation's southern states, and top flight matches regularly draw massive crowds to watch the fast-paced and often bruising game." 

    The Washington Post and Tampa Bay Times both ran a news wire story written by AP journalist Dennis Passa, who compiled a piece after last week's preliminary final, too.  

    Concessions were made for the readership. 

    The Magpies are playing for a "title" rather than a premiership, it was a semi-final and not a preliminary final and the Grand Final was referred to as "the championship match"

    Australian journalist Richard Hinds also wrote a story on the former soccer player and collegiate basketballer for Sports Illustrated's US website, where he understandably defines what marking and handballing are. 

    The closest Australian equivalent to what Cox is achieving is one-time NRL hopeful Jordan Mailata.

    Mailata, 21, joined Philadelphia via the NFL Draft in April this year before making the Eagles' 53-man roster in a stunning rags-to-riches rise. 

    The ex-South Sydney under-20s rugby league player writes a News Corp column and every step of his NFL career, and leading up to it, is reported on in excruciating detail.

    Much like Cox, Mailata had never watched his adopted sport and knew little of it until a series of events conspired to draw him to gridiron. 

    Marc McGowan’s original story can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-09-28/star-in-stripes-us-reacts-to-big-pies-performance

     

     

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    FOX SPORTS Australia Pty Ltd

     2018 AFL Grand Final day is here.  The Grand Final kicks off today at 2.30pm Melbourne time with the West Coast Ealges taking on Collingwood at the MCG. 

    The full broadcast schedule for the day including Match Day, the Pre-match entertainment and post match Highlights show can be seen below.  Note what is shown in each region varies.

    In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only).

    You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL promo shot on the left to register and by then paying the subscription fee.

    Right now Watch AFL is offering The Finals Series Pass providing instant access and goes through to the 30th November 2018. This includes the Grand Final..

    This pass includes all AFL Premiership season matches live and on replay, the Finals Series plus access to FOX FOOTY content.

     

     

      

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     All times subject to change - please check with your local guides

    FOX SPORTS Australia Pty Ltd ...


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    Marc McGowan from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the decision by the AFLNT to explore the potential of being host to an AFL team. Whilst Tasmania is the logical and emotional next step for a club to be developed or relocated, the Northern Territory is a passionate home to the NTFL, the Northern Thunder in the NEAFL and a continual pipeline of amazing talent. 

    THE NORTHERN Territory is preparing to explore whether it could realistically be home to an AFL club. 

    AFLNT chief executive Stuart Totham and NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner met with AFL chief executive Gill McLachlan in Melbourne this week to discuss the plan. 

    The Territory has produced a number of great AFL footballers, including Norm Smith medallists Andrew McLeod, Michael Long, Maurice Rioli and Cyril 'Junior Boy' Rioli, and Nathan Buckley.

    Tasmania, which has long coveted its own AFL team, the NT and the ACT are the only states or territories not represented in the AFL. 

    The NT Government is taking the idea seriously enough to allocate $100,000 towards a 'scoping study' to investigate whether the Territory should aim for an AFL franchise if one becomes available. 

    The study would look at various things, such as the challenges an AFL team would face in the NT, sponsorship opportunities, local talent pathways and facility upgrades.

    Totham's belief is people in and around Territory football should be "as aspirational as we can be. 

    "If you look at how far footy's come in the Territory in the past 10 or so years; Tiwi Bombers are in (the local competition), there's an NT Thunder women's team, the Michael Long Centre," Totham told AFL.com.au. 

    "A lot of these things are fantastic achievements, so why shouldn't we keep pushing forwardω 

    "Why can't we have our own teamω No-one's actually said we can't, and people will put a lot of theories out there as to why it can't work – well, let's have a look at it."

    The Territory already has a joint arrangement in place with Adelaide's AFLW team, which benefits from the NT's talent base and government funding. 

    NT Thunder competes in the NEAFL and the VFL women's competition and is set to be part of a revamped national under-18 league. 

    Any potential Northern Territory AFL team would be based out of Darwin and play home games at TIO Stadium, but also at Traeger Park in Alice Springs. 

    "The AFL would benefit (from an NT club) because it would bring a genuine point of difference and diversity to the competition and show a commitment to developing indigenous talent," Totham said. 

    "It would bring a really nice flavour to the competition … and that indigenous link to our game is certainly one that would be driving a lot of the outcomes." 

    Totham conceded the NT's population of less than 250,000 could be problematic, but pointed out that the Territory was "a football state and people genuinely love the game". 

    He said AFLNT programs reached about 43,000 Territorians and would only heighten with an AFL team in their backyard. 

    The AFL is also set to announce in the coming weeks that Melbourne will continue to host matches in Darwin and Alice Springs.

    Marc’s original article can be viewed at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-10-06/territory-explores-potential-bid-for-afl-team ...


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