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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    And then there were four.  The Preliminary Finals kick off in Melbourne Friday night with Geelong hosting Sydney at the MCG.  In the other match GWS host the travelling Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium in Sydney.

    If you want to know when you can see the footy on TV in your part of the world, check out the full schedule below.

    As always schedules are subject to change at the discretion of the local broadcaster so please check local guides for updates. 

    TERRITORY/NETWORK Geelong vs Sydney GWS vs W Bulldogs HIGHLIGHTS
    AUSTRALIA PLUS      
    Asia 23/9 @ 17:30 HKT (Live) 24/9 @ 15:00 HKT (Live) 28/9 @ 11:00 HKT
    Pacific 23/9 @ 21:30 Fiji (Live) 24/9 @ 19:00 Fiji (Live) 28/9 @ 15:00 Fiji
    India 23/9 @ 15:00 IND (Live) 24/9 @ 12:30 IND (Live) 28/9 @ 08:30 IND
    CCTV5      
    China TBC - -
    CLARO SPORTS      
    Latin America 25/9 @ 16:00 CTU (Delay) 28/9 @ 17:00 CTU (Delay) -
    ESPN – BT SPORT      
    UK & Ireland 23/9 @ 10:30 BST (Live) 24/9 @ 08:00 BST (Live) 27/9 @ 18:30 BST
    ESPN      
    Caribbean 23/9 @ 05:30 ET (Live) 24/9 @ 03:00 ET (Live) 27/9 @ 17:00 ET
    EUROSPORT2      
    Europe TBC - -
    UK & Ireland TBC - -
    Asia TBC - -
    FOX SPORTS 1      
    USA 23/9 @ 05:30 ET (Live) - -
    FOX SPORTS 2      
    USA - 24/9 @ 03:00 ET (Live) -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS      
    USA - - 26/9 @ 24:00 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME      
    Middle East 23/9 @ 13:30 GST (Live) 24/9 @ 11:00 GST (Live) 26/9 @ 18:00 GST
    GEE - Boats & Cruises      
    Worldwide (excl. Aust.) 23/9 @ 09:50 GMT (Live) 24/9 @ 07:15 GMT (Live) -
    SKY SPORTS      
    New Zealand - 26/9 @ 24:00 NZT (Delay) -
    SUPER SPORT      
    Africa - - -
    TSN2      
    Canada 23/9 @ 05:30 ET (Live) 24/9 @ 03:00 ET (Live) -
    TVNZ      
    New Zealand 23/9 @ 21:30 NZT (Live) 24/9 @ 19:00 NZT (Live) 29/9 @ 17:00 NZT
    WATCHAFL.AFL.COM.AU      
    Worldwide (excl. Aust) 23/9 @ 09:50 GMT (Live) 24/9 @ 07:15 GMT (Live) -

    *We also recommend you check out the AFANA website if you are in North America as they tend to have the very latest information on broadcast schedules or changes. ...


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    The following story by Ben Guthrie at the www.afl.com.au website looks at the recognition paid by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull towards Sydney Swans defender, and Sudanese talent, Aliir Aliir. The article highlights Aliir’s almost automatic multicultural value as a community leader, made even more wide ranging given his example being used at a UN General Assembly leader’s summit on refugees. It is an inspirational story. 

     

    PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken of the remarkable story of Sydney Swans defender Aliir Aliir at a United Nations conference in New York. 

     

    Addressing the Leaders Summit on Refugees at a UN General Assembly meeting convened by US president Barack Obama on Thursday, Turnbull pointed to Aliir as a shining example of the success of the Australia's migrant policy.

    Aliir, 22, who will front up against Geelong in Friday night's preliminary final at the MCG, grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya from the age of three after his family fled the bloody civil war in Sudan.

    Aliir was born to Sudanese parents and spent the early years of his life in Kakuma refugee camp before his family moved to Australia when he was seven years old.

    "For Aliir, his family and 150,000 other men, women and children, Kakuma refugee camp was their home," Turnbull said in his address.

    "The camp provided the bare necessities of food and shelter, but sports equipment was unimaginable. Aliir and his friends would use strips of old clothing as a football.

    "He was seven when his family came to Australia. Tall, fast and agile, Aliir was a natural for Australian Rules football and once he took up the game hasn't looked back."

    Aliir became the first player of Sudanese heritage taken in the national draft, when he was selected by the Swans with pick No.44 in 2013.

    "Earlier this year I was delighted when Aliir debuted for the AFL team I support, the Sydney Swans," Turnbull said.

    "Now 22, Aliir is one of the first Sudanese immigrants to play AFL and has become a role model in our multicultural nation, especially for young people in Sydney."

    It is understood the Prime Minister called the Swans defender earlier in the week to learn more about his story.

    Aliir made his debut against the Brisbane Lions in round six and has played 12 games this season.

    He collected a career-high 21 disposals in the Swans' 36-point semi-final win over Adelaide last Saturday.

    The original story can be found at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-09-22/prime-minister-singles-out-sudanese-swan-aliir-aliir

     

      ...


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    The new AFL Middle East 2016/17 season is now only weeks away and the Multiplex Bulls have already thrown down a gauntlet to make this season their own. After entering the competition just two seasons ago they have twice reached the AFL Middle East Grand Final and twice the pre-season tournament. Only last season did they taste victory in any of those grand finals, most recently going down to the Dubai Dragons in last season’s finale.

    But, according to the club, that is all about to change.


    “The Bulls are looking really strong with great support from our sponsors again and the Bulls community continues to move from strength to strength. We have heaps of new recruits, with quite a few “Poms” wanting to have a crack.”

    “Training has been going since August in some pretty horrid conditions with the humidity and heat. We have been getting good numbers down to training.”

    “The Bulls are looking to go back to back for the preseason cup and are pushing harder than ever to go one better for the premiership season.”

    “The Bulls have been rebranded to the Multiplex Bulls for this season to align with our platinum sponsor” with slight changes to logos and strip to reflect that change.

    With the Dubai Dragons in the midst of a mighty dynastical era, having won four of the past five AFL Middle east premierships, teams are working harder than ever to bring an end to that period of dominance. The Bulls certainly believe they can be the new heir to that throne.

    The AFL Middle East draw for the upcoming season is yet to be finalised, but will be announced shortly. All teams are in full training, despite the heat of summer blowing in from the deserts, and are raring to go for a new season of battl ...

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    Carlton today announced the Kate Shierlaw of the Wimbledon Hawks will be one of their rookie players for the inaugural season of the AFL Women's league in 2017.

    Shierlaw is originally from Adelaide and is a huge Carlton fan, but only began playing Aussie rules this year in London for the first time.  Kate is the first woman to be signed to an AFL club from a club outside Australia. 

    Senior women’s coach Damien Keeping said of Kate "(she) is returning to Australia from the UK which demonstrates her passion and dedication to the game.

     

    “Although she has only recently taken up the sport, Kate is a tremendous athlete with a strong work ethic and deep desire to develop and hone her football skills.”
     

    The signing should be a huge boost to women around the world playing the game that they can be genuinely considered as part of the pathway to the elite AFL Women's competition. 

    The Carlton website describes the Adelaide-born Shierlaw as "a lifelong Carlton supporter, has been living and working in the UK since the start of the year and recently began playing football for the Wimbledon Hawks in the AFL London Women's League. Standing at 186cm tall, she has the ability to play in the ruck and also move forward and take contested marks."

    ...


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    The Dubai Dragons have created an amazing dynasty in recent years. With four flags from the past five seasons there is an argument that maybe it’s time for a rebuild and maybe the new season will belong to fellow Dubai teams the rising Bulls or the rebuilding Dingoes, the Kangaroos from Doha or the Falcons from Abu Dhabi.

    But the club, whilst losing some players, have also rebuilt their list for yet another flag tilt.

    Former club president and now AFL Middle East President, Matt Burn, updated the Dragon’s progress. “The first session for the pre-season was August 16. [The team] have been training twice a week since then with numbers getting better each week.”


    “[We have lost] Mark Browne (moved back to Australia), Huwy Jones (retired.....AGAIN), Clinton Southorn (free transfer to Abu Dhabi Falcons), Brian Harrington (free transfer to Doha Kangaroo's), Coby Reynolds (moved to Hong Kong), John MacFarlane (moved back to Perth), Dalton Tucker (moved back to Adelaide) and Jake Jackson (moved to UK)”

    “[But we have added] Paul Sanhueza aka ‘Chile’ (returning from Australia, original Dragon), Anthony Manton (been in Dubai for 5 years but never played in the league), Ben Leaver (out of retirement), Jono Bannister (missed last season due to injury), Nicolas Posada (missed last season due to injury), Gerard Maher (new to Dubai), Luke Donald (returning from a year off football) and Mushal Nisthar aka Mushy (Sri Lankan/Aussie, enjoying a strong pre-season).


    According to Dragon’s coach Rich Wharton, “Pre-season for the Dragons has been solid over the summer and the boys have been working pretty hard in the desert heat. While we’ve had a few premiership players moving on in the offseason, it’s been great to welcome some new and returning faces to the group.”

    “We know that we’ve got some new challenges this season, and the success we’ve had in previous season counts for nothing now - like all teams we start from zero”

    “We’re looking forward to next week’s pre-season comp, to put our practice into action, try some new things and give everyone a chance to blow out some cobwebs before the real season starts!”

    President Iain Rowe added, “It’s great to have footy back again after a long off-season! Off the field, it’s fantastic to have our key sponsors coming on board again, we’ve got a social calendar that’s bursting with events and we’ve had some new additions to our Committee.”

    “The Dragons family also continues to grow with three new future Dragons born in the last few months and more due to arrive this year - so I suspect there might be a family theme to this season’s social events!”

    Matt Burn also mentioned that the league (AFL Middle East) is still seeking sponsorship in the hope that there may be some interested parties wishing to get behind the league.

    All in all, the Dubai Dragons are preparing to re-establish themselves as a power even in a time of transition. It certainly doesn’t look like their dynasty is going to end any time soon ...

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  • 09/26/16--20:17: Mason Cox Brownlow Glory


  • Whilst he didn’t defeat eventual winner, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield, Mason Cox, Collingwood’s American recruit, created his own history on Brownlow Medal night. With his single vote this year, Cox became the first American player to poll a vote in the prestigious award.

    Cox polled his vote in Collingwood’s Round 8 clash against the Brisbane Lions. His individual performance of 9 possessions, 3 marks, 11 hit-outs, 4 goals and 2 behinds for the day clearly caught the attention of the match umpires as they awarded him one vote for his efforts.

    By statistics and match impact this was Cox’s finest game, though he did also play 6 games where he kicked 2 goals in each. He played 10 games for Collingwood in his debut season, kicking 17 goals as a key forward and back up ruckman.

    He did not win the “International Brownlow” – the highest votes polled by an international player or player who came to the game from a multiculturally diverse background. This again went to Brisbane Lion, Pearce Hanley. The Irish product polled 3 votes – a best on ground performance in Round 4 against the Gold Coast Suns where his 28 disposals was the highest return of the day for either side.

    One player of note to have polled well is Western Bulldog, Jason Johannisen. Born in South Africa in 1992, he did not arrive in Australia until 2000. Just 11 years later, having played school and club footy, Johannisen was rookie drafted to the ‘Dogs and will play in their Grand Final team on Saturday when the Western Bulldogs play in their first Grand Final since 1961 and are seeking their first flag since 1954.

    Johannisen polled 10 votes in just four games, with two best afield performances. He also missed 9 matches mid-season after having torn a hamstring. One wonders what his performance might have been with a full season.

    Johannisen considers himself Australian, but is proud of his South African heritage and is one of the AFL’s Multicultural Ambassadors. See Johannisen Has Ambassadorial Qualities For South Africa

    Another piece of trivia unearthed on the night is that current Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke was born in Bloomington, Illinois. Pyke, however, does not consider himself American as his parents were in Illinois for his father’s teaching at Illinois State University.

    This leaves Mason Cox as the highest ever Brownlow Medal vote-getter from the United States Of America. He has now raised the bar off the ground for others to jum ...

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    Just four years ago – 2012 – the world was a little different. Barak Obama still sat in the White House, but the British Prime Minister was David Campbell and Julia Gillard was PM in Australia. The film “Argo” won best picture at the Oscars and the music charts were dominated by One Direction, Florence & The Machine, Rihanna, Flo Rida and Carly Rae Jepsen.

    The Sydney Swans won the premiership, their fifth including their South Melbourne days, and Essendon’s Jobe Watson won the Brownlow Medal.

    The Swans will now attempt to chase their sixth flag in a world that hasn’t dramatically changed much since their last glorious day in the sun in 2012.


    But a look at the Western Bulldogs world when they last won a flag is dramatically different – so much so that it represents a time capsule from another era. First of all, they were called Footscray. But that’s just the start.

    Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister and at the same time, the man sitting in the White house was Dwight Eisenhower. Here in Australia, Sir Robert Menzies led the nation. The Melbourne Olympics were still two years away and the famous FJ Holden was THE car to buy. William Holden and Audrey Hepburn won Oscars for acting and the movie “From here To Eternity” took best picture. The music charts that year were dominated by Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Bill Haley & The Comets.

    Lou Richards was still Collingwood captain, Fitzroy were still called the Gorillas. The Essendon great John Coleman kicked 14 goals against the Gorillas then did his knee – never to play again. Sir Kenneth Luke had a vision for a new “home” for VFL football, which would later be VFL Park. Hawthorn had yet to play in a finals match, much less win a premiership.

    The two teams are now almost poles apart when it comes to the world surrounding their most recent premierships. Sydney’s most recent names to hold up the premiership cup are in many cases still there: Kieren Jack, Luke Parker, Jarrad McVeigh, Heath Grundy, Josh Kennedy, Nick Smith, Dan Hannebery. John Longmire is still coach.

    But for the Bulldogs, many of their heroes have left us – luckily some still remain. Names like the great Ted Whitten, Charlie Sutton, Peter Box, Herb Henderson, Wally Donald, Jack Collins all played and are now either club legends, Hall Of Fame members or Brownlow Medal winners. They are all revered names at the Western Oval.

    If the football loving world of the 1950’s was supplemented by Play-Dough, Barbie, Hula Hoops and Frisbees, then the equivalent free time occupations of the 2012 era included Instagram and Twitter, Halo and Mass Effect and mobile phones which do almost anything except make beds and wash dishes. If the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” tried to paint a picture of the era surrounding 2012 as a backdrop to its characters, then “Happy Days” did the same for the mid 1950’s.

    The worlds surrounding the most recent flags for both the Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs transcend footy. This weekend’s Grand Final offers two sets of fans driven to barrack and scream against a backdrop of history.

    It makes the 2016 Grand Final one of the most fascinating clashes in recent memory, and may the best team wi ...

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    The AFL Grand Final is now just a couple of days away. It is the pinnacle of the season and the place of the Holy Grail. But just the other side of that great day comes the real “silly season” as clubs finalise playing lists and adjust their player strategies hoping for the chance to recruit the players that will take them further.

    But to recruit also means to delist and clubs are now gnawing away at their lists, making decisions on who goes and who stays. Players near the end of careers, or restricted by injuries, are usually first to go – but so are project players, and many international selections fall into that category.

    Photos: Padraig Lucey, Geelong (ARFLI website) and Paddy Brophy, West Coast Eagles (West Coast FC website)

    Geelong pounced on Irishman Padraig Lucey after he had impressed for Ireland’s national team at the 2014 International Cup, then put himself forward further by reaching the later stages of the reality TV show “The Recruit”. Whilst Lucey was showing pleasing progress for the Cats in the second half of the season, his career came to an end after 33 games for the Geelong VFL side. After Geelong’s dismal exit from this year’s finals series, Lucey found himself swept out with the new broom Geelong is using to revamp their list for next year and beyond.

    Fremantle recruited Irish youngster Sean Hurley for the 2015 season hoping the 196cm, athletic product from County Kildare would live up to his promise as one of the most exciting Irish prospects around. But injury hit Hurley hard and restricted him to just 19 league and reserve grade games for Peel Thunder, Fremantle’s WAFL feeder club. Only three of those games were in 2016 with hip surgery decimating his season and leading to his delisting at the Dockers.

    Hawthorn had been building an impressive array of international players with Shem-Kalvin Tatupu and Kurt Heatherley coming from New Zealand as well as Conor Glass from Ireland. But during the season, Shem Tatupu fell out of love with the game and left the club, hoping to re-focus on Rugby League or Rugby Union opportunities. He managed to play 22 games at VFL and VFL Developmental League level during his time with the Hawks.

    Generally speaking, Category B rookies are safe from culling when clubs want to revamp lists. They do not impact on the primary and rookie lists (set at 44 players) for clubs. Each club can have up to three category B rookies above and beyond their main list. But if a player has struggled to really nail down his opportunities, clubs will act in the hope that they can again trawl through other international options and find another better or more developed option.

    At Essendon, Conor Mckenna looks set to continue his rapid growth. West Coast have already cut eight players and may stay at that number, suggesting that Irishman Paddy Brophy can add another year to his development. Colin O’Riordin has received many good reviews at the Sydney Swans, indicating that the young Irishman from County Tipperary will get another season.

    St Kilda seem keen to keep American, Jason Holmes, as a solid ruck backup, whilst Carlton have just offered Irishman Zach Tuohy a new three year contract. But neither the Blues nor Saints have made big list changes to date, meaning no player other than Tuohy is secure. Carlton is sure to have a closer look at Irish rookies Ciaran Byrne and Ciaran Sheehan and American giant Matt Korchek as they review what went wrong in season 2016 with only seven wins for the season.

    Mason Cox at Collingwood is now something of a Brownlow Medal hero and is likely safe for another season at least. Pearce Hanley may or may not remain at Brisbane, but younger brother Cian is on thin ice after injury and limited opportunities.

    But whilst many things in the game are sacred cows, a position on a list isn’t one of them. This time of year will see players recruited, retired, traded, delisted, promoted and bewildered as clubs turn lists upside down. We hope that no more internationals are cut. But if they are, let’s hope a whole new group of players from international origins is waiting to take their place.
    ...

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    That one day in October is almost upon us.  The Western Bulldogs (or Footscray for us older folks) will take on the might of the Sydney Swans (once South Melbourne) at the home of footy, the MCG.

    If you want to know when you can see the footy on TV in your part of the world, check out the full schedule below.

    As always schedules are subject to change at the discretion of the local broadcaster so please check local guides for updates.   At this stage the times for the European coverage are still to be confirmed.

    Also of note is that the game will be broadcast by ECONET in Africa after there has been no televised coverage there this year. 

    We have confirmation through AFANA that the coverage finish is flexible in the US so that in the event of extra time being required hopefully the coverage will continue.  We cannot confirm that is the case for any other networks however.

     

    TERRITORY/NETWORK AFL GAME DAY PREVIEW SHOW PRE-MATCH ENT. 2016 AFL GRAND FINAL HIGHLIGHTS
    AUSTRALIA PLUS          
    Asia - - 1/10 @ 10:30 HKT (Live) 1/10 @ 12:24 HKT (Live) 5/10 @ 11:00 HKT
    Pacific - - 1/10 @ 14:30 Fiji (Live) 1/10 @ 16:24 Fiji (Live) 5/10 @ 15:00 Fiji
    India - - 1/10 @ 08:00 IND (Live) 1/10 @ 09:54 IND (Live) 5/10 @ 08:30 IND
    CCTV5          
    China - - - 1/10 @ 12:24 CST (Live) -
    CLARO SPORTS          
    Latin America - - - 1/10 @ 10:00 CTU (Delay) -
    ESPN – BT SPORT          
    UK & Ireland - - - TBC 4/10 @ 18:30 BST
    ESPN          
    Caribbean - - - 1/10 @ 00:24 ET (Live) 5/10 @ 16:00 ET
    EUROSPORT          
    Europe - - - TBC -
    UK & Ireland - - - TBC -
    Asia - - - TBC -
    FOX SOCCER PLUS          
    USA - - - 1/10 @ 00:24 ET (Live) 3/10 @ 24:00 ET
    ORBIT SHOWTIME NETWORK          
    Middle East 1/10 @ 03:00 GST (Live) 1/10 @ 04:59 GST (Live) 1/10 @ 06:30 GST (Live) 1/10 @ 08:24 GST (Live) 3/10 @ 18:00 GST
    GEE - Boats & Cruises          
    Worldwide (excl. Aust.) - - - 1/10 @ 04:24 GMT (Live) -
    SKY SPORTS          
    New Zealand - - 1/10 @ 15:30 NZT (Live) 1/10 @ 17:24 NZT (Live) -
    ECONET          
    Africa - - - 1/10 @ 06:24 SAST (Live) -
    TSN2          
    Canada - - 30/9 @ 22:30 ET (Live) 1/10 @ 00:24 ET (Live) -
    TVNZ          
    New Zealand - - 1/10 @ 15:30 NZT (Live) 1/10 @ 17:24 NZT (Live) 6/10 @ 17:00 NZT
    WATCHAFL.AFL.COM.AU          
    Worldwide (excl. Aust) - - - 1/10 @ 04:30 GMT (Live) -

    *We also recommend you check out the AFANA website if you are in North America as they tend to have the very latest information on broadcast schedules or changes. ...


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    With the AFL season drawing to an end tomorrow, so too have been many regional and suburban leagues and, also, near by international leagues. The 2016 AFL Fiji mens season wrapped up on Saturday with the Raiwaqa Cooparoos taking on the West Coast Eagles at Albert Park in Suva.

    The Suva based Cooparoos (Roos) won 14.7.91 to 10.11.71. Best on ground was the Roos captain Juita Vateitei, who is also a Fiji national volleyball representative who attributes footy as assisting his development in that game too.

    The victorious Cooparoos.

    Pre game the Fijitimes reported AFL Fiji coach Simon Highfield (also AFL Fiji Development officer) predicting a clash of two very different styles with the more experienced Eagles likely to employ a more physical style compared to the less experienced Cooparoos who were more likely to run and seek the open spaces.

    The FijiSun reported the result and quoted Roos playing coach Maciu Raida who showed his understanding of the pioneering work still being undertaken in Fiji:"This sport is not that big in the country but as you can see a lot of people came out to watch and hopefully they found it exciting enough to want to learn how to play the game."

    Raida was proud of his side:"...the boys handled the ball well and kept cool under pressure and just played the game and that is what brough us the win. Our preparations leading up the finals went really well and we are thankful to the supporters who came out to give the boys an extra boost to help us win."

    Eagles coach Eroni Kakaivalu admitted the Cooparoos were better prepared on the day and thanked God for the good game.

    The grand final provided a 'big stage' to assist AFL Fiji in selecting players likely to represent Fiji in next years AFL International Cup in Melbourne. Highfield has reported that many of the best players have been first year players showing that good talent continues to be attracted to take up the game.

    The Roos had won their way through to the decider via a comprehensive win over the Lion Killas (17.10.112 to 4.7.31) the prior week. The Eagles pathway was much tougher, decided by a post siren goal after a mark on the line with a narrow 13.14.92 to 12.15.87 victory.

    Special note must be made of the increasing coverage on Fiji One TV News bulletins with reporting, footage and interviews helping to raise the profile of the matches, the game in general and upcoming events including next years International Cup.

    Images below were taken by Samuela Ulacake and shared via AFL Fiji where many more can be viewed:

    ...


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  • 09/30/16--16:41: The Premiership Cycle

  • In an era of national drafts, free agents, ground rationalisation, Total Player Payments and salary caps, the question is often asked as to whether some clubs are better off than others – if the league is now operating with a cycle of sorts where all teams will get their chance.

    Often the measurement of that question is premierships. It is the ultimate prize and a fair starting point. But on that great day it is debatable whether any of those mechanisms mentioned actually make the difference. Or is it fairer to measure grand final appearances – the two teams that fight all the way through to the final 100 minutes of a season.

    One question here is what would be a fair length of a cycle?


    For the sake of this argument, I am going with 20 years (some might say 18 teams, 18 seasons – but I like round figures).

    So, 20 seasons ago we saw the Adelaide Crows go back to back when they downed the Saints. But a closer look at those 20 years sees 10 clubs win flags. In order of victories there is Hawthorn (2015), Sydney (2012), Geelong (2011), Collingwood (2010), West Coast (2006), Port Adelaide (2004), Brisbane (2003), Essendon (2000), North Melbourne (1999), Adelaide (1998). That is 10 out of 18 clubs with flags – and a slightly unfair percentage given that the Giants and Suns are relatively new.

    But another way to look at this is how long it is since a club’s last Grand Final appearance. Over the same period of time, 15 clubs have played in the big dance since 1998. Counting today’s contestants, and classifying them as having a 0 year wait, the table looks like this:

    Sydney (0), Western Bulldogs (0), Hawthorn (1), West Coast (1), Fremantle (3), Geelong (5), Collingwood (5), St Kilda (6), Port Adelaide (9), Brisbane (12), Essendon (15), Melbourne (16), North Melbourne (17), Carlton (17), Adelaide (18).

    It could certainly be argued that the above lists indicate a competition which, largely through a range of control measures, is more even than some may think. Those who see that the mini-dynasties of Hawthorn, Geelong and Brisbane suggest a competition dominated by a few might see it slightly differently now that 15 clubs have had a chance to win a flag in 20 seasons – 10 have. Any perceived dominance might be put down to an incredibly talented playing list, great coaching or wonderful club structures off field rather than pure AFL orchestration.

    The GWS Giants went within a whisker of getting there this year. That leaves the Gold Coast Suns and Richmond and based on the above their days may not be that far away.

    The existing situation has also been a drought-breaker. The Western Bulldogs last played in a Grand Final in 1961 (55 year drought broken) and have a chance to win their first flag since 1954 (breaking a 62 year drought. Back in 2005, the Sydney Swans under Paul Roos won their first flag since 1933, breaking their own 72 year drought. Geelong’s premiership in 2007 broke their own 44 year drought and when the Brisbane Lions (the phoenix of Fitzroy to some) won their first of three successive flags in 2001 it broke a 57 year drought that went back to 1944.

    Fans of St Kilda (last flag 1966) and Melbourne (last flag 1964) must be believing that a flag is in their reach sooner rather than later. Both showed great improvement during 2016 – they are both a chance if their recent development continues.

    The appearance of two of the league’s former drought victims in the same Grand Final this year certainly shows that the measures put in place by the AFL to achieve equity is working.

    It would be a romantic finish if the Western Bulldogs did win today on an emotional level. But on a purely analytical level, a Dogs’ win today would be further evidence of how cyclic the AFL competition now is.

    Giants, Suns and Tigers, take note!


    (Photo Credit: ...

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    Footy history in Sweden added a new chapter to its history last weekend when the Norrtälje Dockers club went on to win the club’s first SAFF (Stockholm Australian Football Federation) premiership in just their fifth season. It caps an amazing year for the club which had already broken new ground reaching their first finals series, culminating in the greatest prize of all.

    The club was formed in 2012 and according to the club’s own vision “many hours have been put in by many people to build a club that had a vision of becoming Stockholm’s strongest on and off the field.”

    The downed the reigning premiers, the Södermalm Blues with a final score 12 12 84 to 7 4 46.


    Södermalm got away to the better start in the first quarter to lead at Quarter Time, but the Dockers rattled on five goals in the second quarter to go to the main break with a solid 21 point lead.

    The third quarter saw the Dockers effectively lock away the flag with a four goal to one quarter in what is historically referred to as the “premiership quarter”. The last quarter was even, with the Blues trying hard to fight back and defend their title, but the Dockers found all the answers to eventually run out 38 point winners.

    It was a magnificent day for the Norrtälje Dockers. Premierships are a team effort, but recognition must go to Steven Howard who won the Ryan Kingsley Medal for being voted best afield, whilst Matthew Schulte kicked six goals.

    Quarter Time : Dockers 0 4 4 v Blues 2 1 13
    Half Time: Dockers 5 5 35 v Blues 2 2 14
    Three Quarter Time: Dockers 9 7 61 v Blues 3 4 22
    FINAL SCORE: Norrtälje Dockers 12 12 84 d Södermalm Blues 7 4 ...

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  • 10/01/16--22:16: Portugal Ready For Euro Cup


  • In less than a week, the teams of Europe will hit the fields in Lisbon, Portugal for the 2016 Euro Cup. Already players would be jumping out of their skins waiting for that siren to blow and waiting for that first touch of the leather to calm the nerves.

    One team that has more excitement than most is the Portuguese l national team. Drawn in Pool C to play matches against Germany, Norway and Scotland as well as positional matches for final event placings, the Portugal team has also released its playing strip for the event.

    David Valente, president of Futebol Australiano em Portugal, and one of the three directors of the Lisbon team that have put the event together, knows that they are ready to go for match day, one that will be huge for the development of the game in Portugal.

    But equally important for the players is the desire to pull on the playing kit next Saturday and represent their country.

    For more information on draws and other associated information about the Euro Cup, go to the AFL Europe website at: http://www.afleurope.org

    The Men’s draw can be found at: http://www.afleurope.org/eurocup-mens...announced/

    The Women’s draw can be found at: http://www.afleurope.org/womens-draw-...announced/


    ...

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    The Farum Cats have withstood a mighty fight from the Copenhagen Barracudas to take out the 2016 DAFL Grand Final last weekend. In the end the margin was a solid 28 points, but it was a match of changing fortunes.

    But for some inaccurate kicking, the ‘Cudas might well have led at quarter time. They had eleven scoring shots to six, but the Cats made the most of their chances to keep scores level at the first break.
    Cats 5 1 31 v Barracudas 4 7 31

    The Cats opened the game up in the second quarter with a five goal to one performance. After their wasteful first quarter, the ‘Cudas found it hard to regroup enough to hold the Cats, kicking just one goal and four behinds for the quarter while the Cats rattled on five more goals.


    Cats 10 3 63 v Barracudas 5 11 41

    Any chance of a “premiership quarter” comeback by the Barracudas was wiped out when the Cats, now full of running and confidence, hammered home another six goals for the quarter. Whilst the “Cudas improved their accuracy and kicked three goals of their own, they were now in trouble. The Cats held an almost unassailable 41 point lead and it would take a miracle from here for the “Cudas.

    Cats 16 5 101 v Barracudas 8 12 60

    It was a heroic quarter from the Copenhagen Barracudas to fight out the Grand Final, keeping the cats goalless. If it weren’t for the kicking yips biting again the result may have been closer, but in the end the ‘Cudas, despite having more scoring shots for the match, went down to the Farum Cats by 28 points.

    FINAL SCORE: Farum Cats 16 10 106 defeated Copenhagen Barracudas 10 18 78

    The Barracudas finished the home and away season in first place, a game ahead of the Farum Cats. Both were impressive in their Preliminary Final matches with the Barracudas outclassing the first time finalists, Odense Lions, by 137 points and the Cats handing a similar mauling to the Port Malmö Maulers by 146 points. They were clearly the two best teams of 2016 and both deserved their Grand Final places. But congratulations go to the Farum Cats, DAFL premiers for 2016. ...

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  • 10/03/16--04:06: Doha Kangaroos Ready To Rise

  • Back in the 2013/14 season, the Doha Kangaroos were a team on the rise, and rose so far they toppled the Dubai Dragons to take their inaugural AFL Middle East premiership. In fact, the Kangaroos are the only team to have interrupted what might otherwise have been five straight Dragon flags. That in itself shows the magnitude of the Doha Kangaroos performance.

    Since then, the Qatar-based Kangaroos have found life a little tougher. A series of injuries, player departures and access to training facilities have conspired to make things harder. But, according to the Kangaroos coach, Pitre Bourdon, things are set to change. “Things are looking up this year and we are hoping to be a more competitive unit this season”.



    “Training commenced on September 18 after the Eid break. The club is experiencing difficulties in securing training and match venues as access to grass pitches in Doha is becoming more and more expensive and restrictive of their usage.” But the Kangaroos are embracing the challenges and finding a way.

    The club has also seen players leave. “Key ruckman and multiple AFLME B&F winner, and club captain, Joe Barnes has moved from Doha to Bangkok with work. Also, 2014 premiership defender Hugh Robertson has moved back to Australia. Both will be big losses.”

    “But we have had player arrivals. Brian Harrington, 2016 premiership player with the Dubai Dragons, has moved with work to Doha and will be a valuable recruit, potentially helping to offset the loss of Joe Barnes. Marcus Hull is a tall forward from country South Australia and has also recently arrived in Doha – he is showing promising signs on the training track. Also, 2014 premiership full back Simon Davies will be making a welcome return after missing last season with a knee injury.”

    Whilst the Kangaroos went winless for last season on paper, the reality is they lost to the Dingoes by a single point, Dragons by 11 points and Falcons by 13 points, remaining competitive, and a touch unlucky, in most games. This suggests that with a few tweaks and some luck, the Kangaroos could be the surprise packet of the new season.

    Time will tell, but the Kangaroos have belief.


    ...

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    According to Dubai Dingoes boss, Myles Lynch, the Dubai Dingoes are set to enter the new season tomorrow with a new mindset and a desire to rewrite the history books for AFL Middle East’s oldest club. The Pre-Season Cup tournament in Dubai tomorrow is as good a place to start as any.

    Myles stated that “off the back of an extremely inconsistent year last year we are once again desperate to secure the silverware for the oldest club in the AFLME and the focus and mission for the year is to bring everyone together as a tight-knit club - as a champion team will beat a team of individual champions every time.”

    The club has taken steps to provide the necessary stability to secure success. Often that success on field begins with a solid platform off field. “We have recently been renamed ‘The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes’ after securing ‘The Entertainer GCC’ as our major sponsor for 2016/2017. This has been a huge win for the club and has really been a great reward for all the off-field work that the committee has put in to aid in securing training grounds and boosting the profile for the club.”

    The Dingoes have remained consistent each year, with some peaks and troughs, but never enough to grab a flag. The goal tomorrow is to grad the pre-season silverware and lock it away in the trophy cabinet before taking on the season proper with a goal for finals, and then, all going well, the big one.

    "On the track we have put together one of the most consistent preseason campaigns in a number of years. Rather than acquiring a huge group of new players we have been able to retain the majority of the list and being able to get another year into the international boys should really be of benefit. Standout preseasons from Jess “The Kid” McGuirk and two-time league MVP Ben “The Bustler” Dawson have them poised to make a real impact on this year’s competition kicking off at the preseason cup on Thursday."

    "We will be looking to play a few guys in multiple positions in the preseason cup to finalise the balance of the team and we are really looking forward to the hit out to let the competition know we are in it to win it."

    Last year saw the Dingoes enjoy wins over both the Falcons and the Kangaroos, but fell to both grand finalists, the Dragons and Bulls. With just an ounce of both luck and renewed endeavour, the Dingoes could conceivably push for that savoured grand final.

    That is the goal for Myles and the rest of the Dingo pack, and the charge begins tomorrow in Duba ...

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    The USAFL tonight announced that the 2017 National Championships will be held in San Diego, California.  This will be the first time since Las Vegas hosted the tournament in 2006 that the Championships will be held on the western side of the nation and the first time in California since 2000. 

    As this is written there are some concerns for the venue of this year's tournament, Sarasota, Florida (October 14-16 at the Premier Sports Campus).  Hurricane Matthew is making it's way across the Caribbean Sea towards Florida and could possibly do some serious damage across the state and up the east coast if it lands there.  Fortunately the tournament is not this weekend, but there could be on-going issues into next week that may affect travel and the host facilities. 

    In the meantime we hope that all our friends on the US East coast stay safe and dry.

    The USAFL last weekend streamed the seedings of all the teams in the four men's divisions for the tournament.   

    They are as follows

    DIVISION 1
    2 pools of 4 teams each.  Winner of each pool advances to Grand Final.

    Seed Pool A Pool B
    1 Austin Crows New York Magpies
    2 Los Angeles Dragons Golden Gate Roos
    3 Denver Bulldogs Orange County Bombers
    4 Quebec Saints Dallas Magpies

    DIVISION 2
    2 pools of 4 teams each.  Winner of each pool advances to Grand Final.

    Seed Pool A Pool B
    1 Sacramento Suns Calgary Kangaroos
    2 Houston Lonestars Boston Demons
    3 Columbus Jackaroos Chicago Swans
    4 Baltimore-Washington Eagles Minnesota Freeze

    DIVISION 3
    2 pools of 4 teams each.  Winner of each pool advances to Grand Final.

    Seed Pool A Pool B
    1 Portland Steelheads North Carolina Tigers
    2 Philadelphia/Balt-Wash* Seattle Grizzlies
    3 Ft. Lauderdale Fighting Squids San Diego Lions
    4 Austin Crows* New York*/Boston*

    *Denotes reserves squad

    DIVISION 4
    3 pools of 3 teams each.  Pool winners and best runner up advances to semifinal on Sunday.

    Seed Pool A Pool B Pool C
    1 Tulsa Buffaloes Denver Bulldogs* Houston Lonestars*
    2 Nashville/Indianapolis/Cleveland Des Moines/Milwaukee/KC/LA* Ohio Valley River Rats
    3 Tampa Bay ARFC Atlanta/Baton Rouge Golden Gate*/Columbus*

    *Denotes reserves squad

    The women's divisions are yet to be confirmed but likely to be broken into two divisions. ...


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  • 10/06/16--23:20: Footy, Footy Everywhere
  • The end of the Australian AFL season sometimes brings despair. For thee seasoned footy fan their run from February to October is finished as their beloved team is done for now. Same goes for local level. Some survive by tuning into the great race at Mount Panorama, the Bathurst 1000 car race. Others struggle through with Spring Racing Carnival, highlighted by the Melbourne Cup, then the cricket season kicks in.

    But for some that just isn’t enough.

    They want footy. They adore footy. They live and breathe footy. And the solutions are right there if they know where to look. In some cases the new seasons are about to start, competitions which will run through until the next “footy season”. In others, major overseas Aussie Rules tournaments are about to get under way.

     

    EUROPE: In Europe this weekend, all eyes will be turned to Lisbon, Portugal. The Euro Cup will be played in the city for the first time, with national teams descending on the city from all over Europe.  In all, 22 teams from 16 countries will be in town to seek the title. Denmark went back to back last year in the men’s draw. With no Denmark this year, all teams will be out to become the new title holder. In the women’s draw, England has the chance to defend its title against fierce competition from Ireland, Scotland, France, Croatia, Denmark and Sweden. See Denmark Goes Back To Back At Euro Cup

    ASIA: The following weekend will see the AFL Asia Champs, this year at the RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  In all, 15 nations will be sending teams from all across Asia to contest this event, held on October 14 & 15. The Division 1 teams are Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Jakarta and Malaysia. The Division 2 is divided into two pools featuring teams from Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia (Bali & Garudas), Cambodia, Macau, Japan and China, with Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam adding second teams to these pools. Last year the Hong Kong Dragons downed the Malaysian Warriors in the final but this year is a new championship. See Hong Kong Dragons Win 6th Asian Champs Title

    USA: Whilst there is still a threat of nasty weather with Hurricane Matthew pounding the Florida coast, the weekend of 15 to 16 October will see the 2016 USAFL Nationals held at Sarasota-Bradenton, to the south of Tampa and St Petersburg, Florida. Four mens divisions have already been scheduled, with women’s draws to be announced.  The best teams from across the United States will gather to see which teams, if any, can topple the Austin Crows in the men’s divisions or the Denver Lady Bulldogs in the women’s divisions. See USAFL on hurricane watch as San Diego announced for 2017 and 2015 USAFL Nationals Day 2 - Austin Crows are 2015 USAFL Champions

    MIDDLE EAST: Last night in Dubai, the AFL Middle East season got under way with the Pre-Season Cup (story to follow). This year the reigning champions, Dubai Dragons, will be keen to ward off challenges from the Multiplex Bulls, Dubai Dingoes, Abu Dhabi Falcons and Doha Kangaroos.

    FRANCE: Next weekend sees the start of the new CNFA competition in France. The new season sees the infant Paris Cockatoos as title holders after winning the flag in their first season. That is sure to fire up the other clubs, including the new team the Blagnac Aviators, joining the league for their inaugural season.

    AUSTRALIA: Closer to home, and the new NTFL season kicks of tomorrow night in Darwin. Current title holders, St Mary’s, will be challenged again by last year’s runner up, Wanderers, Southern District, Nightcliff, Palmerston, Tiwi Bombers, Darwin Buffaloes and Waratahs, all determined to bring the Saints down. The new season will run through the summer culminating in their Grand Final in March.

    So there is plenty of Australian Rules football coming in the months ahead, all across the world. For more information, keep an eye out on the World Footy News website for updates as we try to bring news from all competitions and tournaments to readers everywhere.

     

     

      ...


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  • 10/07/16--01:02: Dingoes Barking Across Dubai

  • The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes have kept part one of their 2016/17 season promise by taking out the Pre-Season Cup last night, downing reigning premiers, the Dubai Dragons, and claiming new silverware for the trophy cabinet.

    In an interview last week (see Dingoes Hoping To Revamp History) Myles Lynch stated that “off the back of an extremely inconsistent year last year we are once again desperate to secure the silverware for the oldest club in the AFLME and the focus and mission for the year is to bring everyone together as a tight-knit club - as a champion team will beat a team of individual champions every time.”

    With that first task done, the Dingoes now have the momentum and belief to push further into the season proper and seek to win the AFL Middle East premiership for the first time.



    The Dingoes started with a strong win over the Multiplex Bulls - 6 7 43 to 5 0 30. They lost their next match to the Dubai Dragons, going down in a tight contest 3 5 23 to 4 1 25.

    Needing to defeat the Abu Dhabi Falcons to have a shot at the Grand Final, the Dingoes did so comfortably.

    The big one saw the Dingoes once again up against the Dragons. The statement "bad kicking is bad football" could almost be applied here as the Dragons had nine scoring shots to four in the final, but did not kick a goal, with the Dingoes running out narrow, and deserved, five point winners.

    Final Score: Entertainer Dubai Dingoes 2 2 14 d Dubai Dragons 0 9 9

    According to Myles, "It was a really humid affair and our first game against the Bulls was a fast paced heated affair. We really jumped out of the blocks well and were able to put scoreboard pressure on that allowed us to hold the Bulls off who came back strong in the second half."

    "A few sloppy mistakes cost us in the first game against the Dragons and they were able to take advantage of all their chances which was a wake up call for us and set us up for a strong performance against the Falcons."

    "The Falcons showed a lot of heart but with a depleted bench I think we ran over the top of them and as for the entire night we were able to make a number of changes and utilise the entire list to keep running in our legs."

    "The final was intense and much to the reverse of the first match up against the Dragons we were able to take advantage of our chances and a goal in each half was enough to get the job done. Inaccurate kicking proved to be their downfall but every player for the Dingoes was tenacious and ran hard until the final siren."

    "With 'The Bustler' going down in the first game and playing very limited game time the big loss was more than covered by every single player. Luke 'Parto' Partridge was deemed the best player across all the Dingoes games closely followed by Mitch 'Zoolander' Hyde who's modelling career was ended early by a stray boot in the first game."

    "We are super excited to start the season off in such fantastic fashion and will be looking to take the momentum in to the season proper."


    ...

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    The Darwin-based NTFL competition got under way today in Northern Territory capital. Amid the actual football, the year 2016 is now recognised as the year that a game was played in the Northern Territory. The first match for premiership points was between Wanderers and Waratah in 2017, and they will play their centenary match in Round 15 next year. But both teams made a centenary statement today.

    To kick off the new season, Round One presented four hard fought matches. It was a round of upsets, close shaves and huge excitement – great qualities to continue the celebration of 100 years of footy in the Northern Territory.

    The Palmerston Magpies hosted the Tiwi Bombers at Asbuild Oval. The Magpies had an indifferent season last year but started in comprehensive fashion against the Bombers. The Magpies held a four goal lead at the main break, and six goals to each team kept that margin by three-quarter time. The Bombers finished the game full of running but couldn’t bridge the gap, going down by just 8 points in a tight finish.

    Final Score: Palmerston Magpies 16 13 109 d Tiwi Bombers 15 11 101

    In the second game at Asbuild Oval, two teams celebrating their centenary years, Wanderers and the Darwin Buffaloes, locked horns. The match was tight for three quarters with Wanderers always seeming to hold the Buffaloes at arm’s length, until the Buffaloes snuck out to a 10 point lead at the final change. But a powerful six goal to nil final quarter saw the Wanderers run away to a 34 point victory to start their special season in style.

    Final Score: Wanderers Eagles 12 11 83 d Darwin Buffaloes 8 11 59

    Already the bells are ringing and the choirs singing for Waratah. Winless in the 2015/16 season, and with an off-season promise to rebuild the club from the ground up, including former Western Bulldogs and Brisbane player Michael McLean as their new coach, the ‘Tahs have already recorded more wins that last season. Their eight point win against last season’s minor premiers, Southern Districts, may not have been huge, or pretty, but it was momentous and a sure sign the club is on the way back up. Even when the Crocs grabbed back the lead for three-quarter time, Waratah found the extra self-belief to fight back and win.

    Final Score: Waratah Warriors 12 9 81 d Southern Districts Crocs 10 13 73

    Premiership hangovers are often mentioned, but rarely seem to apply to the St Mary’s juggernaut. But in their season opener they found a rampant Nightcliff Tigers outfit that was determined to build on the great promise they showed last year. It is too early to call the Saint’s loss a hangover, but it isn’t too early to see that the Tigers are already the real deal this season. St Mary’s held a narrow four point lead at the main break after two very tight quarters, but the Tigers were electric after the main break with a seven goal to one third quarter, and finished 29 points ahead by the final siren.

    Final Score: Nightcliff Tigers 14 13 97 d St Mary’s Saints 10 8 68

    Round Two of the NTFL season gets under way with a double-header at TIO Stadium. The Buffaloes will take on St Mary’s followed by a history charged clash between Wanderers and Waratah. The Tiwi Bombers will host Nightcliff at the Real Estate Central Oval at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island whilst the Southern Districts Crocs will host the Palmerston Magpies at Norbuilt Ova ...

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