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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    Last weekend saw the inaugural AFL Switzerland tournament. It is the first time that an all-Swiss competition has been held and featured the established Winterthur Lions club as well as the two newly formed additions – the Basel Dragons and Geneva Jets.

    As previously noted in an earlier story (see Swiss Sensations), the tournament was made possible through exciting growth in Switzerland. Basel, located in the north east almost at the border of Switzerland, France and Germany, have put together a team. Additionally, Geneva, in the south-east, have also gathered sufficient numbers to compete.

    And compete they did. Over the three match round robin, each team played two games at Deutweg Stadium in Winterthur.

    The opening match saw the host team, Winterthur, take on the Basel Dragons. The Lions were too good across the match, showing their experience to record a strong 55-point victory. The second game was an upset, especially given the Lions’ dominance in the opener. The Geneva Jets downed the Lions by 10 points to set up a dream final game – if the Jets could down the Dragons, they would take out their maiden tournament.

    In a close game, the Geneva Jets did defeat the Basel Dragons in the final match, but not without a solid performance from the Dragons. The Jets hung on to win by just seven points to become the first Swiss champion team.

    What was most impressive from the outside looking in was the enormous footwork put in by the AFL Switzerland body to reach out across the country and develop three competitive teams so quickly. Geneva may have won the tournament, but Australian football was probably the biggest winner. With three clubs now established, and the potential to tap into other Swiss markets such as Zurich, Lausanne, Bern or Lucerne, the tournament is the perfect proof that the game can be embraced and developed relatively quickly.

    The proximity of the Swiss teams to clubs and leagues across Italy, Germany, Austria and France also holds great potential for future matches or small tournaments a cross borders.

    Final Scores:
    Winterthur Lions 10 10 70 d Basel Dragons 2 3 15
    Geneva Jets 7 8 50 d Winterthur Lions 6 4 40
    Geneva Jets 9 10 64 d Basel Dragons 9 3 57





    Picture: The Winterthur Lions donning their new outfits donated by the Coburg Lions in Victoria (AFL Switzerl ...

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    The rebranding and redeveloping of football in Toulouse has seen the former powerhouse, the Toulouse Hawks, initially sacrifice their results to help create the Blagnac Aviators. Then, as the Aviators passed into French footy history, the new two-team entity Stade Toulousain has grown in their place. The subsequent start of the new season for both Toulouse teams is cause for caution for all other French teams.

    It is only early in the season, yet both Toulouse teams have recorded significant victories, suggesting that there is greater depth than ever before in Toulouse and both Stade Toulousain teams will be in the running for potential finals action next year.


    On the weekend, the Stade Toulousain “A” team downed an undermanned Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. Cergy were helped out by the Paris Cocks and also the Perpignan Tigers to get sufficient numbers. However, the Toulouse team took advantage of that situation to run away to a comprehensive 51 point lead at the main break. The second half provided more of the same as the Toulouse team piled on the scoreboard pressure to run out 153 to 41 winners.

    It was a great start to the season for the “A” team, and it follows in the wake of the Stade Toulousain “1” team having won their first match back in October. Their Round One match saw an impressive 122 to 85 victory against Bordeaux on the road. With both Toulousain teams recording impressive first up wins it sends a message to the rest of the competition – there is no weaker Toulousain team.

    The next matches for each Stade Toulousain team will be in Paris on 8th December. Stade Toulousain “1” will take on a much stronger Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes team, whilst their “A” team will do battle with the Paris Cockatoos. Pending the results of these matches, the competition will have a much better idea of just how strong the two Toulouse teams really are.

    This weekend, the Bordeaux Bombers will be hosting the Paris Cockatoos in their Round Three clash. In the other game, the ALFA Lions will host the Paris Cockerel ...

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  • 11/21/18--03:16: Rebel Shield Goes To Lions


  • The first leg of the Rebel Shield in Cork was played out last Friday between Cork’s big two footy teams – the Leeside Lions and the UCC Bombers. The clash has been going now for a number of years and in the words of the Lions, “has provided some memorable contests over the years and it is sure to deliver once again.”

    Cork, in southern Ireland, has become one of the more successful cities at growing successful teams – the Leeside Lions won back to back AFL Ireland premierships in 2016 and 2017. The UCC Bombers are the current holders of the Fitzpatrick Cup for universities. In fact, the Bombers have won the cup on three occasions in the men’s division (2013, 2017 and 2018) and also the women’s division in all three years of the women’s draw in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    There are serious bragging rights that go along with the event, and both teams give everything. The Leeside Lions stated that, “as promised, the 1st Leg of the Rebel Shield proved to be a close and exciting game.”


    The match review from the Leeside Lions read, “the Leeside Lions experience showed early on as they finished the first quarter in the lead. However, the second quarter was a cagey affair as the UCC Bombers battled back to within a score. The third quarter was a much tighter encounter with the Bombers hot on the Lions heel. It was back and forth footy with the Lions managing to maintain that one score lead. The fourth and final quarter proved to be an intense showdown with the Lions managing to come out on top, narrowly extending the winning margin to 17 points.”

    “With just under 3 goals separating the sides, the second leg of the Rebel Shield is not to be missed.”

    “A big thank you to UCC Australian Rules Football for always bringing the fight and a special thank you to Ian O'Sullivan for giving his time to umpire the game.”

    Final Score:
    UCC Bombers 7 5 (47)
    Leeside Lions 9 10 (6 ...

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    It might only be Round Two, yet tomorrow’s matches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai could well shape the destiny of all four clubs. After two close matches in Round One, all four teams believe they can win – and all four teams need to.

    The opening match in Abu Dhabi will see reigning premiers and first round winners, the Dubai Dragons, out to win a second match in a row and in the process try and secure top spot. Their title defence will be built around winning enough games to guarantee a grand final berth, and the sooner they stack the wins away the better. A loss is something that will be lurking in the back of their minds – a genuine possibility away from home – so they will be ready.

    The Falcons stumbled in their opening match against the Dingoes. In a match many felt the Falcons would win, the team came away disappointed that they dropped a match that they needed very much to win. Victories against the Dragons and Bulls these days are rare, so by blowing their chance to beat the Dingoes they have put themselves under immediate pressure. A win tomorrow would get their season back on track, but it’s a tough ask.

    The second match, in Dubai, will see the Bulls and Dingoes clash. The Bulls just cannot afford another loss. After dropping a close match last round against the Dragons, a second loss could be disastrous. What makes it tougher for the Bulls is how much the Dingoes appeared to have improved since last season. The Bulls have to bring their “A” game and not underestimate their opponents.

    The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes are over the moon at their first round win against the Falcons. One match has already lifted confidence and has already put them in a better position that the past couple of seasons. The Bulls will be tough to beat, yet the Dingoes will have no fear. A loss sees them back in the middle of the pack at worst. Yet a win could see them remain on top of the ladder and set up a big assault on finals action.

    It is sure to be a fascinating pair of matches tomorrow, with high stakes for all four team ...

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    It was just another day at the office for the Dubai Dragons. After four consecutive flags and victories over every team over those years, a trip down to Abu Dhabi did not hold any fear for the Dragons. All they had to do was play their normal way and win.

    By half time, that was exactly the way things were. The Dragons scoring when they needed to and their defence keeping the Falcons goalless. By the main break, the Dragons had strolled to a 28-point lead and another by-the-numbers half would see them comfortably home.

    But for any Marvel Studios Avengers fans, the Abu Dhabi Falcons were Bruce Banner. Something upset them at the break and they came out swinging – though not green – in the third quarter. They won the quarter, not by much, and said to the Dragons that pressure was the name of the game. Unrelenting pressure – the kind that wins matches.


    The final quarter saw the Falcons in full flight. They threw everything at the Dragons and slammed on five goals in a massive comeback. Their game of turning the Dragons’ game around and squeezing them for every possession worked. By the end of the match, Zac Moon had the chance to steal the match on the siren. But the Falcon champ – who had kicked four goals in the second half already – just couldn’t land the killer blow and the Dragons lived. Their two-point win as lucky as they come.

    So, on paper, the Dragons have won two from two – the Falcons lost two from two. But that does not in any way tell the true story. The Falcons have just announced to all teams that unrelenting pressure makes the Dragons vulnerable. As Leigh Matthews (and big Arnie before him) said in 2001: “…if it bleeds we can kill it”. The Dragons can be brought down.

    In the other match yesterday, the Multiplex Bulls bounced back hard after their first round loss to the Dragons by outclassing The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes. This wasn’t a hiding, nor was it a runaway win. It was just a solid four quarter effort where the Bulls increased their lead at every break to run out 49 point winners. The Dingoes will be disappointed, having been keen to gain back-to-back victories. However, the Bulls had a point to prove and needed to stay in touch with the Dragons.

    The ladder now sees the Dragons on top undefeated ahead of the Bulls and Dingoes with the unlucky Falcons winless on the bottom. But things can change quickly.

    The next round on December 7th will see the Dragons and Dingoes in the local Dubai derby. The Falcons have another chance to cause an upset when they host the Bull ...

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    Charlie Hall found a nugget of gold in a creek near the site of a town that now bears his name in the Kimberley region of Western Australia’s far north. Further east, but still in the far north, Cairns became a port that would, in part, service the gold discoveries on the Hodgkinson River goldfields and later across the Tablelands. In both locations, gold discoveries led directly to their settlement and development.

    By the 2010’s, a different kind of AFL gold is being discovered and sought by AFL clubs and this season’s national draft brought that notion clearly into focus as both locations provided clubs with yet more young talent.

    By road, Cairns is around 3000 kilometres from the footballing Mecca of Melbourne. Halls Creek is even further away – about 4300 kilometres by road. Neither is in the backyard of Melbourne, nor any other state capital. Yet by way of recruiters, scouts, word of mouth and social media – word gets around about precociously talented kids. Many leave home for the cities to either further educations or improve their chances to play big time footy. It’s working.

    Last week’s draft saw Essendon steal Irving Mosquito from under the moustaches of Hawthorn. The kid with the “million-dollar smile” was taken at pick #38 by the Bombers and the kid from Hall’s Creek – a life-long Essendon supporter – fulfilled a dream. He had to move south to Gippsland in Eastern Victoria to make the dream happen, but he did and now a potentially huge career (already billed as a future Cyril Rioli) begins.

    But back in trade week, Shane McAdam was snared by Adelaide in a deal that saw Carlton pass him on to the Crows to gain Mitch McGovern. McAdam is also from Hall’s Creek and is now the fourth player from the town in the past three drafts with both Sam Petrevski-Seton (Carlton) and Cedric Cox (Brisbane) being drafted in 2016. Four Halls Creek talents in three years suggests there is still footy gold in them there hills.

    Just 3400 kilometres away to the east, but almost on the same latitude, is Cairns. It is already documented that current players in Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide) and Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast) are Cairns products as well as recent players such as Courtenay Dempsey, Sam Michael, Peter Yagmoor, Rex Liddy and more. But when Caleb Graham was grabbed at pick #71 by the Gold Coast Suns at the national draft, it created a unique piece of northern history.

    For three consecutive years, the Gold Coast Suns have gone to the well of the Cairns Saints club and grabbed Jack Bowes (Pick 10, 2016), Jacob Heron (Rookie Draft, 2017) and now Caleb Graham. It is a tribute to the junior club to have had three such talented kids go on to AFL ranks. Whilst Bowes and Heron are pacey midfield types, Graham is a 194cm key position player who may yet help fill the huge gap left by departed captain Tom Lynch.

    Certainly, as drafting becomes a more exact science, and money is spent to scour the land, players are being found everywhere. But to have an isolated outback town (Hall’s Creek) and a small north Queensland club (Cairns Saints) make such an impact on recent drafts is as wonderful as it is amazing. The two now share a common bond – both are producing talent at an impressive rate in parts of the country not normally associated with big numbers.

    It proves that if you look hard enough, there is still gold to be found in the most remote hills. ...

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    It has to be said that the Bordeaux Bombers have always played to their best when at home. This has always made them a formidable opponent for all visiting teams. Nevertheless, when the reigning premiers go down to the Bombers, it is a significant event, and a significant upset.

    It can always be argued that road trips are always at the mercy of how many of a squad (and who) can make the journey. But that problem occurs for all teams across the season – games still have to be won on the day, and that is what the Bordeaux Bombers did. They played a brand of football which saw their nine players better than their opposition across four quarters.

    Bordeaux got away to a good start and by half time had already moved out to a 25-point lead. Not an unassailable lead – especially for a team stocked with as much talent and the Cockerels – but it did mean that the Paris team had to outscore the Bombers by more than four goals in the second half, and that would prove a tough ask for any team.


    As things turned out, the Cockerels did mount a second half challenge, at times gathering enough momentum to challenge. However, this is where the Bombers showed their true grit and held the attacking Cockerels at bay with their own attacking. The Cockerels had clawed back to within five points at three-quarter time. But, by the end of the match, the Bordeaux Bombers had held on for an important 15-point victory against a quality team. After a shaky start to the season, with little luck, the Bombers have now put themselves back into the mix for finals action next year.

    The Cockerels are good enough to absorb the loss, both statistically and professionally. But they also learned a valuable lesson – on their day, any team can bring their “A” game and cause an upset.

    Final Score: Bordeaux Bombers 12 14 86 d Paris Cockerels 11 5 71 ...

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    After a start to the season they would happily forget, Wanderers pulled off the upset of Round 8 when they defeated the Darwin Buffaloes at TIO Stadium. Going into the match, Wanderers had just one win whilst the Buffaloes sat within the top three. But Wanderers ignored that to record a memorable win. Across the weekend, the Tigers downed the Magpies, the Bombers were too good for Waratah and the Crocs defeated St Mary’s.

    Wanderers got away to the ideal start, gaining a 15-point advantage by the first change and instilling belief into their players and fans. It was the platform for a huge second quarter where they dominated the Buffaloes across the ground to rattle on another six goals and hold a big 41-point half time lead. The Buffaloes were always going to fight back, and they turned on a five goal to two third quarter, but still trailed by 22 points. The game was winnable, but Wanderers smelled blood and held back the tide to hold on by 10 points in a huge game for the club.


    The Tiwi Bombers made it three wins from three starts when they claimed their biggest scalp yet, downing the Waratah crew. In front of an appreciative home crowd, the Bombers proved the past two wins were no fluke and sent a strong message that they can match it with any team on their day. The win catapulted the Bombers into the top five, just a game behind the Warriors. Waratah themselves have now lost three of their past four games and need to work hard to get their early season mojo back.

    Southern Districts were back to their best, downing St Mary’s by 47 points in a low scoring game. A goalless opening term was followed by a three goal term for the Crocs, but Saints were still goalless at the main break. After half time, the Crocs snuffed out any real chance of a comeback to win the third quarter before ramming home five final quarter goals. Crocs sit clear at the top of the ladder, but St Mary’s felt the sting, dropping out of the top five.

    On Friday night, the Nightcliff Tigers were too good for the Palmerston Magpies. After a blazing six goal to nil opening term by the Tigers it could have been a case of how much the Tigers would win by. But Palmerston fought back hard, winning the next two quarters and getting back to within 14 points by the last change. If they maintained momentum, the ‘Pies were still a chance of a huge turnaround win. However, the Tigers rallied in the final term to hold on by 19 points.

    Next weekend, TIO Stadium hosts a triple-header with the rejuvenated Bombers up against the in-form Tigers. Wanderers and Waratah meet in a huge clash for both teams. The Darwin Buffaloes will also take on St Mary’s. Sunday’s clash will see the Southern Districts Crocs host the Magpies.

    Final Scores:
    Wanderers 13 8 86 d Darwin Buffaloes 11 10 76
    Tiwi Bombers 11 15 81 d Waratah 9 8 62
    Southern Districts Crocs 11 10 76 d St Mary’s 4 5 29
    Nightcliff Tigers 14 10 94 d Palmerston Magpies 10 15 ...

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    France is about to become one of the premier women’s football nations in Europe with the announcement of the 2019 Coupe Gallia tournament in Paris next March. With women’s football growing quickly and in large numbers across Europe, the CNFA (the French governing body for Australian football) has taken the initiative to grow the women’s game further.

    The following media advice from the Paris Cocks Footy Facebook page states:

    “The Paris Cockerelles are delighted to announce that they will be hosting the 2019 Coupe Gallia on March 9th. This is the first 100% all female tournament in Europe for Australian Rules football.”

    “Created by the French Australian Rules Football association (CNFA) in 2017, the purpose is to be inclusive, to showcase the skills of female players and to give women more opportunities to play this great game that we love. The tournament takes place the day after International Women’s day. All female clubs are welcome.


    If you or your club is interested in participating, please email the pariscockerels@gmail.com

    More details to come early 2019!

    Women’s football has grown across France in recent years, not only on the international stage with the French Gauloises at the Euro Cup since the inception of the women’s tournament from 2014, but also at club level with most CNFA clubs now sporting women’s teams at either competitive or social level.

    This tournament gives the opportunity for those clubs to accelerate their development and is the stepping stone towards a women’s home and away competition across France sooner rather than later as well as greater links to women’s teams and competitions across Europ ...

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  • 11/30/18--00:05: On The Crest Of A Wave

  • Ireland’s West Clare Waves have completed a remarkable year to ensconce themselves as possibly the best women’s football team in Europe – and possibly the best outside of Australia – by winning the 2018 Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership. In a relatively short time, the Waves have grown from a group of women interested in playing the game to a powerhouse setting new benchmarks for other women to follow.

    This report from the West Clare Waves’ Facebook page looks at their triumph and also recaps a short but decorated journey since last year.

    Premiership Champions -

    “What a day in Islandbridge, Dublin yesterday as West Clare Waves won the first ever Grand Final of the Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women's Premiership in association with the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce and The Australian Embassy.”

    “Waves defeated the Cork Vikings in the Grand Final with the final scoreline not reflecting the entertaining game that it was. Commiserations to Cork Vikings who had overcome the Dublin Angels earlier in the day in Semi Final, a cracking game that went down to the wire.”

    “The Australian Embassador Richard Andrews presented the Waves Captain Rosie Currane with the Harvey Norman Premiership Cup and the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Perpetual Shield.”

    “Well done to all involved in what was a great day and to all 4 teams. Thanks to all the players that lined out for the Waves over the 4 days of the Premiership including Ellie O'Gorman, Ailish Considine, Mairéad Seoighe, Noelle Connolly, Sarah Bohannon, Rosie Currane, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Sharon Ryan, Dervla Higgins, Maeve Clancy, Ann Currane, Fiona Kelly, Eimear Greene, Laura Egan, Adrienne Moore, Clodagh Murphy, Siubhan Nielson & Mairead Coyne (injured).”

    “It been a great 12 months with 4 Cups to show for, with the first cup being won on our first day out today 12 months ago also in Islandbridge (Draft Cup 26/11/17). Since then over 35 players have worn the Waves distinctive jersey and we hope to have many more do so in the next 12 months.”

    With the remarkable growth of the women’s game across Europe and the world, the game now has a tremendous team to model the future on. Any established team, or one just commencing their football journey, can now look to the West Clare Waves as a best practice operation and a blueprint for future success, such has been their exemplary and successful development.


    Photo Credit: Bob Given Photography


    ...

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    In one of the widest nets for players across Great Britain, with the inclusion of players from the Australian Rules Football National University League, the GB Bulldogs initial training squad has been released. Featuring 53 players from 17 clubs and 6 leagues (including one player from the London GAA), the squad will come together over coming months to train with a final squad to be announced next year for the AFL Europe Championship and beyond. 

    The squad features players from the SARFL (Scotland), WARFL (Wales), AFL London, AFLCNE (Australian Football League Central & Northern England), National University League and London CAA. Below are the players selected:

     

     

     

    National University League:

    Ciaran James (Birmingham University)

    Sam Walon (Birmingham University)

    Toby Webster (Birmingham University)

    James Williams (Birmingham University)

     

    London GAA:

    Ciaran Houlihan (Harlesden Harps)

     

    AFL London:

    Lester Bell (Wandsworth Demons)

    Dom Chao (Wandsworth Demons)

    David Jordan (Wandsworth Demons)

    Joe Lloyd (Wandsworth Demons)

    Hugo Phillips (Wandsworth Demons)

    Luke Carrigan (West London Wildcats)

    Tom Francis (West London Wildcats)

    Jack Coughlan (North London Lions)

    Ross Denton (North London Lions)

    Sam Killoway (North London Lions)

    Michael Sharp (North London Lions)

    Liam Fox (Wimbledon Hawks)

    David Hastie (Wimbledon Hawks)

    Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks)

    Jordan Wynne (Wimbledon Hawks)

    Stephen Gray (London Swans)

    Kenneth Loakstone (London Swans)

    Ryan Spivey (SE London Giants)

    James French (SE London Giants)

     

    SARFL:

    Liam Dolling (Glasgow Sharks)

    Andrew McManus (Glasgow Sharks)

    Roy Brannigan (Tyne Tees Tigers)

    Keir Wotherspoon (West Lothian Eagles)

     

    WARFL:

    Calumn Newman (Cardiff Panthers)

    Oli Nicholas Rees (Cardiff Panthers)

    Owain Ryland (Cardiff Panthers)

    David Saunders (Cardiff Panthers)

     

    AFLCNE:

    Cameron Cope (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Craig Degville (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    George Dibble (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Rhys Lincoln (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Adam Morris (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Adam Reed (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Chris Thomas (Wolverhampton Wolverines)

    Chris Bates (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Andy Cochran (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Tim Gower (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Adam Kelly (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Andy Walkden (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Paddy Lawson (Manchester Mosquitoes)

    Rob Goliah (Nottingham Scorpions)

    Ash Holland (Nottingham Scorpions)

    Mark Ireland (Nottingham Scorpions)

    Paul Watson (Nottingham Scorpions)

    James Clayton (Huddersfield Rams)

    Alex Overton (Huddersfield Rams)

    Lewis Ozanne (Huddersfield Rams)

    Jordan King (Merseyside Saints)

     

    For a full detailed review of the selections, visit the AFL England website and read the following article: http://www.aflengland.org/gb-bulldogs-2019-training-squad-named/

     

      ...


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    In one of the tensest matches of the CNFA season to date, the Paris Cockatoos have outlasted a gallant ALFA Lions after a thrilling match in Lyon. In a game that could have gone to either team, it was the Cockatoos that came from behind to steal the match.

    The Lions got the better of a tight opening quarter, holding on to a three point quarter-time lead. They were able to extend that lead to a handy 15 points at the main break and would have to just hold back the tide.

    However, the Cockatoos were not done with and produced a strong third quarter to grab the lead – only just – and put the pressure squarely back on the Lions. Whilst the Cockatoos lead was only five points, it was the momentum shift that spoke the loudest with effectively a five goal to one quarter being the drive for a big last quarter.

    In the end, the Cockatoos won the last quarter also to run out victors by 17 points. In recent times, the two teams have locked horns in some big clashes – this year’s Coupe de France and the 2016/17 grand final two prime examples – and have formed a healthy rivalry. This latest clash just adds to that competitiveness between the two teams.

    Nevertheless, the cold hard facts are that the win for the Cockatoos puts them right in the finals mix headed towards the winter break, whilst the Lions will be desperate to turn their season around next weekend in Bordeaux to stay with the frontrunners.

    Final Scores:
    Lions 2 5 17 v Cockatoos 2 2 14 (Quarter Time)
    Lions 6 9 45 v Cockatoos 4 6 30 (Half Time)
    Lions 7 14 56 v Cockatoos 9 7 61 (Three-Quarter Time)

    Lions 10 17 77 lost to Cockatoos 14 10 94 (Full Tim ...

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    The second round of the National University League was played out yesterday at Oxford University, and the locals made every post a winner to head the league’s ladder after two completed rounds. The round featured the Universities Of South Wales teams for the first time, whilst the Birmingham University had the bye.

    Arch rivals, Cambridge University, had a grand day out to win both men’s and women’s matches and go to the top of the women’s division ladder.

    The following results and story are from the National University League Facebook page:

    Round 2 Recap:
    Oxford made it two wins from two on home soil to move to the top of the Men's Division. Cambridge got their first win of the NUL season as the Universities of South Wales made their debut in the competition.

    Results:
    Cambridge University 9.13 (67) def. Universities of South Wales 2.4 (16)
    Oxford University 7.4 (46) def. Cambridge University 3.8 (26)
    Oxford University 19.8 (122) def. Universities of South Wales 1.6 (12)

    Meanwhile, Cambridge bounced back from losing both games last round, to win both today and move ahead of Oxford on percentage at the top of the Women's Division ladder. There was also a win for the Universities of South Wales in their first ever match!

    Results:
    Universities of South Wales 5.5 (35) def. Oxford University 1.3 (9)
    Cambridge University 12.8 (80) def. Universities of South Wales 4.3 (27)
    Cambridge University 6.7 (43) def. Oxford University 1.1 (7)

    The next round is in Birmingham on January 19th. This week also saw four players from Birmingham University selected in the GB Bulldogs training squad. Congratulations go to Ciaran James, Sam Walon, Toby Webster and James Williams.

    See story: GB Bulldogs 2019 Initial Squad Announced
    ...

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  • 12/02/18--04:46: Crocs Batter Cold Pies

  • A few weeks ago, the Palmerston Magpies were riding a wave of optimism. On the back of consecutive wins, the Magpies sat with three wins and three losses and a place in the top five. Since then, however, their fortunes have dipped markedly, and their 111-point hiding today to the Southern Districts Crocs has been the worst of three consecutive losses which have derailed their season.

    The Crocs were awesome and relentless. A fifteen goal first half decided the game, putting the Magpies out of winning contention and setting up a dangerous second half for the ‘Pies. The second half wasn’t as damaging, and could have been better for Palmerston had they kicked straight. But one goal and twelve behinds for the second half killed off any reasonable hope of a fightback.


    On Saturday, the Nightcliff Tigers held off an alarming charge from the Tiwi Bombers to win by just seven points. The Bombers came into the game riding a wave of three wins in a row. The Tigers lifted and kept the Bombers at arm’s length for the first three quarters, leading by 22 points at the final change. But the rejuvenated Bombers came back hard in the final term, and but for a couple of unlucky posters late might have caught the Tigers.

    Wanderers, buoyed by last weekend’s win, took the game right up to Waratah on Saturday. Less than a goal separated the teams at both quarter time and the main break. It took a five goal third quarter for Waratah to break the shackles before going on to defeat Wanderers by 27 points. In the process, Waratah helped break a trend that had seen them win just one of their previous four games.

    The Darwin Buffaloes stayed in touch with the top two teams when they defeated St Mary’s by 11 points. In a game that was tight from the outset, the final quarter was a treat. When young Maurice Rioli kicked a miraculous goal early in the last quarter, Saints got back to within two points and continued to threaten. The Buffaloes rallied with vital goals and withstood a final St Mary’s charge. The win sees the Buffaloes in fourth place, equal with Waratah on points but with a lesser percentage. Saints are now sitting with just three wins after nine rounds and will need to rally.

    Next weekend will see the Tiwi Bombers host the Southern Districts Crocs at Tiwi Oval in a must win match for the Bombers. St Mary’s will clash with Wanderers whilst the Darwin Buffaloes tackle Palmerston. On Sunday, the Nightcliff Tigers will meet Waratah in perhaps the match of the round as second takes on third. ...

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  • 12/03/18--03:34: Mozzies Triumph In Movember

  • Over the past five years, the Manchester Mozzies have dominated the AFLCNE competition with five consecutive premierships. Yet, in that time they had not won the silverware for their end of season tournament – the Movember Cup. However, that all changed on November 25th when the Mozzies outlasted the Wandsworth Demons from London by a goal. In the women’s draw, the Nottingham Scorpions downed the Birmingham University united team.

    The Movember Cup has been played since 2011 in honour of former Manchester Mozzies premiership player Nathan Blakely. Blakely played in the Mozzies maiden premiership in 2010, but passed away the following year. The Nathan Blakely Memorial Cup (Movember Cup) has been played in all but one year since with the aim of raising money for cancer. This year, more than 1000 pounds was raised on the day through donations and other fund-raising.


    The day featured ten teams – six men’s and four women’s – including teams from AFL London (Wandsworth Demons, London Swans), SARFL (Tyne Tees Tigers), National University League (Birmingham University) and the AFLCNE (Manchester Mozzies, Nottingham Scorpions).

    Scores in the preliminary rounds were:
    Men’s Division –
    London Swans 15 6 96 d Birmingham Uni (2) 1 0 6
    Manchester Mozzies 4 5 29 d Birmingham Uni (1) 2 3 15
    Wandsworth Demons 6 5 41 d Birmingham Uni (1) 4 5 29
    Manchester Mozzies 12 5 77 d Newcastle Tyne Tigers 1 5 11
    Wandsworth Demons 3 6 24 d London Swans 2 1 13
    London Swans 4 2 26 d Birmingham Uni (1) 3 3 21
    Newcastle Tyne Tigers 14 4 88 d Birmingham Uni (2) 4 5 29
    Wandsworth Demons 10 8 68 d Newcastle Tyne Tigers 7 1 43
    Manchester Mozzies d Birmingham Uni (2)

    Women’s Division –
    Nottingham Scorpions 5 8 38 d Birmingham Uni (2) 0 3 3
    Birmingham Uni (1) 2 7 19 d London Swans 2 3 15
    Nottingham Scorpions 13 9 87 d London Swans 1 0 6
    Nottingham Scorpions 5 10 40 d Birmingham Uni (1) 4 2 26
    London Swans 4 3 7 d Birmingham Uni (2) 2 5 17
    Birmingham Uni (1) 6 8 44 d Birmingham Uni (2) 1 1 7

    Finals:
    Manchester Mozzies 45 d Wandsworth Demons 39 (Men’s)
    Nottingham Scorpions d Birmingham Uni (Women’s)

    ...

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    There are many doubters and naysayers about Australian Football outside of Australia. That's a given. Most people I speak to have little idea of what is going on in New Zealand and glibly suggest all AFL ventures there to be a waste of time. However, 2 months back, Mitch Powell and Louis Herman-Watt in their edition number 28 of their 'Stoked Podcast' via the NZHerald had the task of reviewing the sporting week.

    Mitch Powell watched and reviewed the AFL Grand Final and had the following very interesting revelations to make:

    "I loved it though – I bloody love it – it was really cool to watch, it’s a sport I could get behind." And from 6 minutes 20 into the podcast:"I have literally just watched my first ever match – have watched a heap of rugby and rugby league in my life and I absolutely I loved it – and I reckon any who watches, any kiwi,rugby loving kiwi - get out and watch a game of AFL – it’s well worth it and you’ll probably wish we played more of it in New Zealand by the end of it."

    It should be noted that this week in review included the NRL Grand Final, and the All Blacks playing the Pumas in Beunos Aires and the golfing Ryder Cup. Listen to the full podcast here.

    With opinions like this being expressed - there's plenty to be excited about as footy continues to grow on the ground in New Zealand. Because - after all - it is actually a pretty good game to play and watch. ...


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    The thing with four team competitions – and only a small amount of rounds – is that seasons can be defined quite early. The AFL Middle East competition goes into that mode with Round 3 today, marking the halfway point of the 2018/19 season. If the favourites for each match wins, it will be difficult to see major changes prior to finals.

    However, conversely, the beauty of such competitions is that favourites don’t always win. In both Dubai and Abu Dhabi tomorrow, underdogs have the chance to turn the completion on its head.

    Last round, the Abu Dhabi Falcons were desperately unlucky to lose to top team, the Dubai Dragons. Outplayed early, the Falcons rattled home to lose to the reigning champions by just two points, raising the issue of what might have been with four quarters of footy. At home again this round, the Falcons have the chance to show what could be when they take on the Multiplex Bulls. The Bulls will start favourites after their last start win against the Dingoes, but the Falcons will be primed to play four quarters and steam a win.

    In the other game, the Dragons look to be too powerful for the Dingoes on the surface. However, dig deeper and there is evidence that this really is a two-horse race. The Dingoes defeated the Falcons in Round 1 in a confidence-building opening to the season. Last weekend they faced a nastier Bulls outfit and lost. However, they have winning form this season. The Dragons sit undefeated, yet that if not a true reflection of dominance. Their wins have both been by less than a kick. A win is a win, but behind the win is an ounce of luck and if the Dingoes can exploit that, an upset is in the brewing.

    Wins to the two favourites could see the competition whittled down to three finalist chances by tomorrow. However, wins against the odds by the lesser fancied teams can ensure this season goes to the wire.

    ...

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    Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the progress of Geelong’s latest Irish recruit, Stefan Okunbor. To read the original story, go to the following link: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-12-06/homework-pays-off-for-geelongs-new-irishman 

    As an Irish Gaelic prodigy arriving at GMHBA Stadium from the other side of the world, the 20-year-old wasn't meant to know the ins and outs of Geelong's entire playing list.

    However, it's that level of enthusiasm that has Cats officials quietly confident they may have unearthed another gem to follow in the footsteps of countrymen Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor.

     

    "I was given the player profiles, so I had no excuse to not know their names," Okunbor said after his first month in Australia.

     "I think a few of the guys were a bit weirded out that I was saying their names before they introduced themselves.

    I got the player profiles, I've been in the loop for two years, so I've had no excuse. 

    It's been a rollercoaster two years for the athletic Kerryman. 

    After edging out more than 20 fellow Irish hopefuls at the AFL Europe Talent Combine in November 2016, Okunbor joined the NAB AFL Academy trip in early 2017 in the US. 

    Mixing with Academy stars such as Jaidyn Stephenson, Jack Higgins, Paddy Dow and Cameron Rayner only fueled his dream to play AFL. 

    Continuing his engineering studies while starring at minor level, he joined countryman Cillian McDaid in Melbourne late last year, trying to impress AFL talent scouts.

    However, while McDaid landed a deal at Carlton (he has since quit AFL to return to Ireland), Okunbor was forced to go home with a level of interest from clubs, but no signature on paper. 

    "It was a blessing in disguise not being picked up last year," Okunbor said. 

    "It was a bit disappointing (at the time) but I got a year to mature. For me, going home, working on my craft and my game back home stood out to me." 

    Constant dialogue with Geelong recruiter Troy Selwood throughout 2018 ensured he remained in the Cats' thoughts, before getting the call to pack his bags after a year in which he was named Munster U-20 Player of the Year. 

    And while he didn't spend much time on his kicking to "avoid picking up bad habits," Okunbor will get first-hand experience with Tuohy, one of the competition's best by foot. 

    "He's really concentrating on my kicking technique," Okunbor said. 

    "He's injured at the moment and he'd love to do more but once he's back we'll do a bit more movement. 

    "We're going to be going through some footage inside to see my body positioning and all of that." 

    Much like fellow first-year recruits, Okunbor is yet to progress to full training, continuing to build his running capacity while honing his skills with assistant and VFL coach Shane O'Bree.   ...


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    The Fiji Tribe successfully defended their Oceania Cup this year, taking home the goods after a thrilling weekend of U15 footy in the nation’s capital of Suva. Playing against highly competitive sides such as the Nauru Stars, the Vanuatu Volcanoes and the South Pacific All-Stars, the Tribe finished the tournament with a flourish and will look to build upon their performance in the new year.

    The first day, December 3rd, featured lightning cup-style matches between the Tribe and the Pacific All-Stars, which were made up of players from Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The Tribe’s defense held strong in the contest. The hard-working Tribe were a bit inaccurate on goal, but they ensured that every possession was hard-fought in the midfield. Simione Kaivei led the way with two goals, while emerging Inia Rabuka was influential around the contest and earned best on ground honors for his efforts. In the end, the Tribe won by a score of 5.7.37 to 2.0.12.

    Image Source Facebook @SouthPacificNations 

     

    Up next were the All-Stars vs the Vanuatu Volcanoes. Known for their speed and aggression at ground level, the Volcanoes got off to a fast start in what ended up being a low-scoring affair at Albert Park. The All-Stars attempted to mount a comeback, but it wasn’t meant to be, with Vanuatu’s side prevailing 3.3.21 to 1.3.9 to start their cup off with a win. Eddie Tom was named best on ground, while the Lop brothers - Eddie and Sandy - both hit the scoreboard for goals.

    The final match of the day was the hotly-anticipated contest between the Tribe and the Volcanoes. While the Volcanoes had some nice possessions early on, they weren’t able to get enough inside-50s to have a crack at goal. The Tribe went in at the halftime break up by only two goals, however, leaving the door open for a Vanuatu comeback. However, the Fijians used a three-goal flurry in the opening minutes of the second half to put the game out of reach, winning 5.7.35 to 0.3.3 and taking home the lightning cup trophy. Naibuka Ladiniwasi was named BOG for the victors.

    The real fun started the following morning, when the Oceania Cup officially got under way. Having warmed up with the lightning matches, all four sides were itching for the real deal. Game one was a rematch of the Volcanoes and Tribe, and featured some great intensity around the contest. Despite the Tribe holding a distinct height advantage, the Volcanoes showed their endeavor and pace all around the ground. However, Fiji managed to tip the scale in their favor on the inside-50s, resulting in several goals and building a nice lead. Rabuka starred with three goals, while forward Meli Vula had three of his own, and Ladiniwasi earned his second BOG honor of the weekend. Fiji defeated the Volcanoes 6.8.48 to 2.3.15.

    After sitting out the lightning tourney, the Nauru Stars were excited to get the show on the road against the All-Stars. Despite battling some humid temperatures, the Stars managed to show off their outstanding skills and ball pressure, cruising out to a big lead which they would not relinquish. Nauru took home their first win of the cup by a score of 14.6.90 to 1.0.6. Tsunami Kepea led the way with four majors.

    Game three was the All-Stars vs the Tribe, and the All-Stars had their best performance yet, going blow for blow with the hosts and keeping it very competitive through the first three quarters. Unfortunately, the more experienced Tribe booted two key goals in the final quarter and escaped with a 5.7.37 to 3.2.20 win.

    The main attraction on December 5th was the first contest between Nauru and Vanuatu. The Volcanoes came out hot, using their midfield pressure to force the Stars into some bad decisions, but it wasn’t long before they shook off the cobwebs and started clicking. The second half was all in the Stars’ favor as they finished with a four-goal flurry that put the match out of reach, 7.9.51 to 1.3.9. Key playmakers for the Stars were the Hubert brothers, Smartt and Samson, the latter of whom was named BOG. The day also included a successful presentation by the Fiji Ministry of Health focused on encouraging good diet habits among young athletes.

    Up next were the Tribe and the Stars in a matchup of the most experienced sides in the tourney. The Tribe were hot right out of the gates and kept it up until halftime, by which point they still had a one goal lead. The boys from Fiji were able to keep up the hard work as the game progressed and ended up with a very solid win, 6.5.41 to 3.5.25.

    The Volcanoes were eager to redeem themselves against the All-Stars after falling earlier in the day to Nauru, and they certainly made a statement, winning 10.4.63 to 0.5.5. The Volcanoes used the footy intelligently all game (despite a goalless third quarter) and were led by the exciting Kieron Meake (four goals).

    The final day of the Oceania Cup started off with the #3 vs #4 seed consolation game between the Volcanoes and the All-Stars, who were both hungry to head home with a win. Both teams fought hard, but in the end, Vanuatu finished strong, winning by four goals and finishing in third place at the tourney.

    Finally, the Grand Final between the Fiji Tribe and the Nauru Stars, which could rival any GF in terms of excitement and passion. Defense was the star of the show in the first half, with both teams only managing a goal apiece. However, the second half began with a bang, and the Tribe took advantage, securing a three-goal lead by three-quarter time, and the Stars couldn’t manage a comeback. Ultimately, the Tribe successfully defended their Oceania Cup title and also may have booked a few trips to Queensland in March for the AFL South Pacific Talent Competition, which will have several spots open for deserving international players.

    In addition to AFL Fiji, AFL Nauru, and AFL Vanuatu, the Oceania Cup wouldn’t be possible without the huge support of the Fiji National Sports Commission, who were heavily involved in promoting the tournament. The future of Aussie rules in the South Pacific continues to look very bright indeed.

     

      ...


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    You certainly don’t need to be telling me how difficult it is to put competitive teams on the field. Cairns, in northern Australia, is not an Australian Rules football stronghold. Whilst we have been able to procure AFL matches and a healthy local competition at senior and junior level, the fact remains that we are in a part of Australia that is Rugby League territory.

    When we get a team on the field it comes from an enormous amount of recruiting work to convince kids especially to try the game. My own work since 2001 in getting school kids into the game has paid dividends, yet cancelled games still litter our code at junior levels. Too many, sadly.

    So, I have some empathy with AFL England when they put out social media announcements to try and get past teams such as the Sheffield Thunder, Leeds Minotaurs and Birmingham Bears from the AFLCNE, or the Bournemouth Demons and Surrey Stags from the Southern England AFL to rebuild.


    It isn’t for a lack of desire on the part of those still involved in the game. Football is full of heroes that keep the flag flying when clubs have otherwise shut down. The problem comes with recruiting and retaining players.

    Teams in England (or elsewhere for that matter) don’t really need to hear from an Australian in Australia – by comparison, we have players and potential markets growing on trees. Our situation is different, though with its own sets of challenges.

    But I can help in a small way by sharing some things that may just help. Most have already been done before, but it never hurts to go back to some things and try again.

    I chatted with AFL coaching legend, Kevin Sheedy once for an interview, and he had some advice for those growing the game in difficult markets. In a nutshell, his advice was to adapt the game and keep adapting to suit the market. He pointed at three key areas.

    Initially, he pointed out that clubs and leagues need to be prepared to change to suit the environment. His argument was that if a league needed nine, eight or seven players per team to remain viable, do it. He implied that enforcing rules that create such a rigidity that a club’s viability is at risk is not working towards the longer term gain.

    He cited the team number example, but also pointed out that modified rules, venues and skills can be incorporated to open up opportunities.

    His next main theme was grass roots. This is an area of the game expanding across Europe and particularly England with recent junior locations announced. Many clubs have already had people in schools and will continue to do so. I know that a few good friends of mine in England and Ireland have introduced very successful Australian Football curriculums into their own schools.

    My own club here in Cairns, Pyramid Power, has forged very strong links with local schools to try and tap the potential on offer. By visiting schools, running clinics, sponsoring school events donating equipment we have got the schools onside and they, in turn, actively try to help us. The same could be done in other locations – schools foster links with local schools.

    Hybrid games was another area that Sheedy highlighted. Rather than ram Australian Football down the throats who don’t wish to be fed that way, he has offered the idea of hybrid rules. Many are already done as training skills with European clubs – handpassing matches, goals only matches using soccer or rugby posts, bringing Australian Football skills into other games (I once created volleyball games at my school where the serve was a kick and the subsequent passing had to be a handpass).

    In short, Sheedy’s view was to think outside the square to find whatever ways possible to grow the game. The under arching question here might be whether some clubs that once existed still would be here had some situations been different.

    I do hope that each of the bygone clubs mentioned above can recruit and get back into the game. But it might also be time to take a Sheedy-esque approach to the game and look laterally at what might be done to change the landscapes.

    In no way is this article suggesting that not enough is being done by clubs or leagues – far from it. It is remarkable how far clubs and leagues have come so far. But status quos don’t always stay the same.

    I case in point would be the AFLCNE. It wasn’t long ago that the league boasted seven plus teams and a growth rate that was exciting. However, gradually losing the Minotaurs, Thunder and Bears as well as the Tigers relocating to the SARFL has left a void. It is possible that the AFLCNE be looked at through another lens – lateral thinking, something different.

    Maybe then some phoenixes might arise.

    My original interview story with Kevin Sheedy can be read here: Kevin Sheedy – A (brief) World View ...

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