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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community
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  • 11/12/18--15:33: Bombers Away

  • In front of an ecstatic home crown at Tiwi Oval on Bathurst Island, the Tiwi Bombers finally got their first win of the season. They downed St Mary’s by 21 points to not only gain their first four points of the season but also claw their way off the bottom of the ladder. In other results, the Palmerston Magpies resurgence continued with a win over Wanderers, The Darwin Buffaloes downed Waratah and in the top of the table clash, Southern Districts defeated Nightcliff.

    Over in Wurrumiyanga, the Tiwi Bombers were up against an equally desperate St Mary’s. Both teams needed a win to keep finals on the radar, but more so the Tiwi Bombers who really had to win this one. The enthusiastic home crowd played their part as the Bombers gained the lead and stayed there before running out 21-point victors. Mathematics says that Saints are still right in the mix for finals, but form is another matter altogether. Their first six rounds have been shaky, at best, and they need to find the firepower to win consistently.


    The Palmerston Magpies have jumped into the top five with another good win, this time against Wanderers by 19 points. A tight first half saw the Magpies lead by just four points at the main break. A three goal to one third term gave Palmerston the breathing space they needed to go on to their third win of the season. The loss saw Wanderers slump to last place, with plenty of work to do to climb the ladder again.

    The Darwin Buffaloes continued their solid start to the season with a tight 13-point win against Waratah. The game remained tight for most of the day. The third quarter was where Buffaloes wrested a three goa advantage which was enough to see them over the line. It sees them equal second with Nightcliff Tigers – behind them on percentage – and setting up a great opportunity for another flag tilt later in the season. Waratah have now lost two in a row and face top team, Crocs, next weekend. It will be a tough ask to upset the reigning premiers, but they almost need to if they are to restore order.

    The Crocs themselves jumped two games clear on top of the ladder when they downed the Tigers by 17 points. The game was tight for the first three quarters with Crocs just keeping their noses in front. However, their three goal to one final quarter saw Crocs respond when they needed to grab the game when it had to be won. Both teams showed enough to suggest they are the two best teams in the league this season, though Darwin are right up there with them.

    Next weekend will see the Tiwi Bombers take on Darwin Buffaloes at TIO Stadium in the opening game of the triple-header. This will be followed by the clash between Wanderers and the Nightcliff Tigers and the Palmerston Magpies up against St Mary’s. The Sunday match will see Southern Districts host Warata ...

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    AFL England has announced the Transatlantic Trophy on their www.aflengland.org website. Following is their story detailing the clashes which feature both men’s and women’s matches.

    AFL England is delighted to unveil the Transatlantic Trophy in a new reciprocal arrangement with USAFL, the national governing body for Australian rules football in the United States of America. 

    Under the new arrangement, both the USA men’s and women’s national teams – USA Revolution and USA Freedom, respectively – will visit Great Britain in August 2021 for matches against the Bulldogs and Swans.  

    These matches are tentatively scheduled for the 21st August 2021, with the USA expected to play warm-up games in the week prior.

     Great Britain Bulldogs Head Coach Dean Thomas says that its return is a positive step for the development of the sport across the two countries.   

    “For the players in particular,” he told AFL England. “It gives them a fantastic competition to look forward too, against genuinely talented opponents. 

    “This is a competition that the next generation of Bulldogs can aim to make their own. Upcoming talent, as well as future players who will arrive on the scene, can target this competition as perhaps their first foray into international footy.”

    Meanwhile, Great Britain Swans Head Coach Ian Mitchell says that the return of the Transatlantic Cup is a “fantastic opportunity” 

    “The Transatlantic Cup is something I have heard about previously but never been involved in. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to test ourselves against some of the best nations in a different environment outside of the International Cup. 

    “It’s a great opportunity to create and foster positive partnerships in order to develop players, infrastructure and the game as a whole. I feel that arrangements like this could be key to the development of the countries involved but also for the general development of the game outside of Australia.” 

    The Bulldogs have never won against the United States, losing 10.8 (68) to 3.3 (21) in the Atlantic Alliance Cup in 2001, and then losing by 78 points in the inaugural AFL International Cup 5th place playoff in 2002.

    Meanwhile, the Swans have a perfect record after beating the USA as recently as 2017 in the International Cup 3rd place playoff 4.1 (25) to 5.2 (32). 

    Great Britain Swans captain Laura Turner-Ramadan  (pictured above playing against the USA) was captain that day. 

    “It’s great for the development of the British women’s game for us to take part in a tournament like this,” she said. “We need more opportunities for women to play against the world’s most talented female footballers to improve their skills and really make our mark in world footy. 

    “The USA league is thriving and our game against them at the International Cup indicates that they will be a tough foe for us in the coming years.” 

    USA Freedom Head Coach Christina Licata says that she was excited to partner with Great Britain in this endeavour. 

    “We’re excited to expand our competition to Great Britain for the Transatlantic Cup in 2021. As we continue to invest in talented women footballers in the U.S., we’re seeking more opportunities for player development and competitive games as well as the growth of women’s footy in general.” 

    To read the original story, go to their website at: http://www.aflengland.org/transatlantic-trophy-unveiled-between-great-britain-and-the-united-states/ωfbclid=IwAR2HzsmcPGT8WhSXFstyx456WPEYRgj_T8Gbz4-AyjxabudOlUKi6tvURbc

     

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  • 11/13/18--16:34: Coyotes Back In The Game

  • A first round falter from the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes has been redeemed after the team enjoyed victory on the weekend over the Bordeaux Bombers. After losing their opening round match to the Paris Cockatoos, the Coyotes needed a win to stay up and about – and they got it against a determined and committed Bombers team.

    Playing at home, the Coyotes had an advantage. Yet, the Bombers never let the game get right way from them. In the end the Coyotes were too good, winning 100-63.

    The 37-point win sees the Coyotes right back in the mix for finals action. Whilst the finals series is a long way away, there are only five matches left for them before finals – like all teams – and every win is vital. With both Paris teams likely to be finals bound and at least one of the Stade Toulousain teams challenging, the Coyotes may find themselves in a battle royale with both the ALFA Lions and the fast-improving Bayonne Toreadors for a finals spot.


    No team has the luxury of dropping games they should and could win.

    The Bombers have had a torrid start to the season, going down to the Stade Toulousain (1) team and now the Coyotes. It has been two tough matches against possible finalists. However, their draw gets better with two home matches to come which gives them a chance to rebound and challenge for that finals group as well.

    Round Three sees the Bayonne Toreadors have a rest now that the Perpignan Tigers are out of the competition for the season. The Stade Toulousain (2) team will meet the Coyotes in Toulouse this weekend. The round finishes the following weekend with the ALFA Lions hosting the Paris Cockerels in Lyon whilst the Bordeaux Bombers will take on the Paris Cockatoo ...

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    As a kid in the Aussie Rules playing states of Australia, from the first time you pick up a footy and kick it around the yard you are on the path to AFL football. From the youngest ages, Auskick programs, junior clubs, representative football, school football and later academies and combines create a path to the big time. The pathways are clear and ready.

     

    Not so in Ireland. At least not as directly for Australian Football. The equivalent local pathways can take young Irish kids on a journey to club, county and country Gaelic football. But whilst on that journey, many kids – girls and boys – might learn of an opportunity to head to Australia and try AFL. Be the next Jim Stynes or Tadgh Kennelly. At this point. Careers do a complete right angled turn and Irish clubs face the prospect of losing their talent to another code – albeit related.

     As men and women reach the stage of heading down under, the clubs in Ireland simply rebuild by growing the next talent – and then possibly losing them also. In the vast majority of cases these clubs do all they can to help their talented players live a dream. Bu it doesn’t necessarily help the clubs – even though they are given a small level of compensation from the AFL.   

    Irish Hawk, Conor Nash, has raised the issue as the Irish clubs being far better compensated for grooming talent which they lose to Australian clubs. His views can be found in an article on the www.afl.com.au website, and appears here in part to provide the basis of his argument. 

    IRISH Hawthorn forward Conor Nash has backed calls for Gaelic football clubs that have players poached by AFL teams to be fairly compensated.

    North Melbourne's recruitment of Red Óg Murphy late last month brought the number of listed Irish players in the AFL to a record 14.  

    Nash told the We Are Meath podcast in Ireland that Gaelic clubs deserved payment after developing young prospects. 

    "I certainly think there is a case there for some sort of compensation. It certainly has to be the club. I wouldn't think it would be the county board or something like that," Nash said.

    "If it was the club, yes, I'd be all for that. If it was the county board as such, probably not. 

    "I'd love to see it go back right to the roots, because everybody knows that clubs could do with a bit of spare cash every now and then." 

    However, Nash pointed out a potential complexity with such a system. 

    "If you look at my situation where I (played Gaelic) football and rugby, do you compensate both of themω Do you compensate one more than the otherω" Nash said. 

    Compensation does exist in small doses – linked in part to a games played formula. But many AFL clubs are getting great talent for a relative pittance. If the AFL clubs can demand massive draft selection benefits for losing players to free agency, then surely clubs that produce the likes of Nash, teammate Conor Glass, Essendon’s Conor McKenna, Suns’ star Pearce Hanley, Cat Zach Tuohy and Sydney Swan Colin O’Riordan deserve a little more respect (and due compensation) for providing such a talent and aiding them in getting to AFL list.  

    To put things in a slightly unfair light, the Western Bulldogs lost Luke Dalhaus and were give draft pick #25 as compensation. Collingwood lost Alex Fasolo and got pick #57. Did the Irish clubs who lost players over the past 12 months or so receive anything remotely comparable for giving up potential starsω No, it certainly isn’t the same thing – but it does involve clubs losing talent. 

    The AFL and its 18 clubs have money. They can afford to do something more to develop the game back in Ireland. It is only a matter of enough people agreeing that they should, then put things in place. In return, the talent pool from Ireland will likely grow further. It has grown substantially over the past ten years and will grow further over the next ten – and AFL clubs are the biggest beneficiaries of that growth. 

    But Conor Nash has raised a pertinent issue, and one that might be cause for a very healthy debate – both in Ireland and here in Australia.

    To read Dinny Navaratnam’s full story on the AFL website, go to: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-11-14/afl-teams-should-compensate-gaelic-clubs-says-irish-hawk ...


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    Sarah Black reports on the www.afl.com.au website about the impact that Greater Western Sydney AFLW player, Cora Staunton, has had on the women’s game in terms of more Irish women chasing an AFLW dream.

    The 2019 AFL Women's season will see five Irish born-and-bred players, including Staunton, on club lists.

    It's a noticeable increase from the two in 2018, one of whom, expat and now-delisted Demon Laura Duryea, played her football in Melbourne before being drafted.

     

    The four new recruits come from a Gaelic football background, with Sarah Rowe (Collingwood rookie), Ailish Considine (Adelaide rookie), Yvonne Bonner (GWS rookie) and Aisling McCarthy (Western Bulldogs' senior list), moving from across the world to play AFLW.

     The influx of Irish AFLW players comes on the back of an increase in Irishmen in the AFL, with a record number of 14 – headed by Geelong's Zach Tuohy (county Laois), Gold Coast's Pearce Hanley (county Mayo) and Essendon's Conor McKenna (county Tyrone) – on lists for the 2019 season.

     

    The AFLW migration from Ireland started in earnest when GWS sprang a draft surprise in October 2017, calling out Staunton's name with what eventuated as its final pick, 45.

    Kicking five goals in seven games, Staunton's exploits weren't far from the news back home, especially when she broke her nose and returned to the field against Collingwood in round three.

    It gave impetus to women's Australian Rules football in Ireland, which is gaining momentum, albeit from a small participation base.

    Numbers have increased from fewer than 20 female players in the whole country to more than 150 in the space of a year, with 10 different teams having competed in various competitions in 2018 (games are often played with nine players on each side).

    The premiership competition now has four teams, the same size as the men's.

    Mike Currane, the coach of the Irish Banshees (the women's Australian Rules team that represents the country in International Cup) and founder of AFL Ireland and AFL Women's Ireland, said Staunton's success last year had been a boon for AFLW in his country.

    "We started with eight clubs, simultaneously, around Ireland and it's just taken off from there," Currane told AFL.com.au.

    "Prior to Cora's debut, we had been aware of Laura Duryea playing season one in the AFLW (for Melbourne) and that generated a bit of publicity at home here as well.

    "The Cora effect when she headed out to [Greater Western] Sydney was definitely a huge factor in growing awareness of the sport, as well as the structure being put in place. But the Crosscoders program has been the main accelerator in getting the number of (Irish) girls playing AFLW to five."

    That Crosscoders program, instigated by Western Bulldog (and former Wimbledon Hawk in England) Lauren Spark, AFL England president Jason Hill and Jonathan Jeffries, saw international players from other sports selected for a week-long trial in Melbourne.

    Bonner, Considine (who has played Aussie Rules in Ireland for West Clare Waves along with her Gaelic duties with county Clare) and McCarthy were all graduates of the program.

    "The likes of ourselves here in Ireland and a lot of people in football internationally believed there was potential for girls overseas to get involved," Currane said.

    "Over the course of the week, the interest of AFLW clubs was definitely tweaked, most particularly when the Crosscoders beat a combined VFLW side in a challenge match. The following morning the phone was hopping."

    Being paid to play – something that isn't available in the amateur Gaelic football competitions in Ireland – as well as the ability to play in the GA championship season (which runs from May to September) are appealing factors for players wanting to try out for AFLW sides.

    The extra work put in by club officials like Giants senior AFLW coach Alan McConnell, who recently tied in a trip to visit his UK-based son with home visits to recruits Bonner and Callum Brown (AFL), as well as Staunton, creates a comfortable environment for international players.

    Interest has risen so much in the talent of international players, Crosscoders may hold its 2019 trial around May next year when AFLW clubs will have full rookie availability, rather than only a handful having spots as was the case in September this year.

    "Participation numbers are just going to increase. If you take the Cora factor from last year and multiply it by the fact there's five Irish girls going to play in season three (in the AFLW), I think interest is going to grow," Currane said.

    "Cora is the most well-known (female) Gaelic footballer, without question, over the last number of years.

    "It got huge publicity for the sport and for women playing the sport and came at a really good time for us."

     

    Irish AFLW players:

    Yvonne Bonner – GWS rookie, Gaelic football for county Donegal

    Ailish Considine – Adelaide rookie, Gaelic football for county Clare, camogie (female hurling), AFL Ireland for West Clare Waves

    Aisling McCarthy – Western Bulldogs senior list, Gaelic football for county Tipperary

    Sarah Rowe – Collingwood rookie, Gaelic football for county Mayo, has also represented the Republic of Ireland in soccer

    Cora Staunton – GWS senior list, Gaelic football for county Mayo

     

    To read the original story by Sarah Black, go to the AFL website at the following link: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-11-14/aflw-how-the-cora-effect-has-boosted-irish-numbers

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    The latest initiative of AFL England, the National University League, commenced last weekend. The competition brings together the talent in men’s and women’s football across England and southern Wales and is running also as a prototype for a wider uptake across all of Europe.

    Cambridge University held nominal favouritism going into the event for the men’s draw, as much to do with being the host team as anything else, whilst the women’s draw was a little less predictable given the comparative lack of competition in preceding years. The competition combined players from each university who had played for the team before as well as new faces, providing a great opportunity to further grow the game in universities.

    Clearly, Birmingham had not read the script going into the weekend. They took the opening day honours in the men’s draw, downing both Cambridge and Oxford to start the season with an unblemished record. Oxford defeated Cambridge in the other match.

    In the women’s draw, Oxford were too good for their competition, downing both Cambridge and Birmingham comfortably.

    After round one we see Birmingham lead the men’s competition and Oxford leading the women’s with two wins each.

    The next round of the competition will see the debut of the South Wales Students team. Hosted by Oxford University on December 1st, it will see Birmingham enjoy the bye while Oxford, Cambridge and South Wales do battle. It is also the first "Rainbow Round" tying into the Rainbow Laces campaign in autumn.

    In other news, AFL England announced last week that the men’s best & fairest medal would be named in honour of the games co-founder and called the Tom Wills Medal. The women’s game will also receive a best & fairest medal to be named at a later date.

    Round 1 Results:
    Men's Division
    Oxford 10.11 (71) def. Cambridge 3.3 (21)
    Birmingham 7.4 (46) def. Oxford 4.5 (29)
    Birmingham 6.6 (42) def. Cambridge 3.6 (24)

    Women's Division
    Birmingham 3.3 (21) def. Cambridge 2.6 (18)
    Oxford 5.10 (40) def. Birmingham 4.2 (26)
    Oxford 7.6 (48) def. Cambridge 0.2 ( ...

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    Here’s a new argument to get your collective and individual teeth in to.

    Since 1987 when the West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears entered the then VFL, interstate teams have reached the grand final many times. All but one of those games has been played at the MCG. Currently, fuelled further by Caroline Wilson’s recent comments on 3AW’s Sportsday program about the subject, Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke and outgoing Sydney Swans Chief Executive Andrew Ireland are two strong voices pushing the idea.

    It seems that the rationale is about fairness and removing “home” advantage for Victorian clubs, and by playing three grand finals for a best of three result this will be reduced. But the idea is fraught with inconsistencies. Not only that, but sheer statistics make a case against the idea. The clubs, AFL, sponsors and businesses would undoubtedly welcome three major events each year. Think of the money raised.



    But that might be all it is – a money grab – and not an equaliser as suggested by advocates of the change. A look at the data over the past 31 years shows the following:

    1. Since 1987 there have been 32 grand finals contested (including the drawn final in 2010)
    2. Interstate (non-Victorian) teams have been involved in 20 of those grand-finals
    3. Of those 20 grand final appearances, the non-Victorian team has won 12 times
    4. Of those 20 grand final appearances, the non-Victorian team has lost 11 times
    5. On three of those occasions the grand final has involved two non-Victorian teams

    That raw data already suggests that the chances of an interstate team winning a grand final at the MCG is just slightly better than 50/50. If a grand final is genuinely supposed to be a 50/50 contest (two teams, like heads and tails) then the VFL/AFL grand finals in the era of interstate teams is right on track for that.

    This quells the argument somewhat that there is a Victorian advantage. Even if you completely remove the three contested grand finals which featured two interstate teams, you still have a nine to eleven result favouring Victorian teams – not exactly a domination.

    As Wilson noted in her discussion on 3AW, the noise surrounding perceived Victorian advantage dissipated somewhat after the West Coast Eagles won the 2018 flag against Collingwood.

    Don Pyke questioned the fairness of the existing (and long-standing) tradition to play grand finals at the MCG – now locked in until 2057 – and has lobbied for change. Some believe it was his sour grapes response to losing the 2017 grand final. But others believe that the 2017 result – where Adelaide had a better record across the season than Richmond – proved that the current system is flawed and unfair.

    However, history has shown that more than once in the AFL/VFL era a team that has performed best across the season stumbles at the final hurdle. History tells us that is what happens when the best team ON THE DAY wins. It also makes a mockery of a finals series at all in that any unfairness could potentially be removed by awarding the premiership to the team that wins the minor premiership. Finals were brought in to take the top four, five, six or eight teams after the home and away season and allow them to gladiatorially fight things out for a last team standing result.

    It is an interesting argument on both sides, and one that will no doubt be resolved in due course. But a best of three tournament (like Rugby League’s State of Origin) to decide the premier is only needed if there is unfairness.

    And the statistics above do not support that argument ...

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  • 11/17/18--23:55: Swiss Sensations
  •  

    As reported on the www.afleurope.org website, Switzerland is set for its first official national tournament when the Winterthur Lions take on the newly created Swiss teams, the Basel Dragons and the Geneva Jets. In a relatively short time, Swiss footy has grown from one club to three, which is impressive growth of the game within a single European country by any standards. 

    After months of preparation and planning, this Sunday will see the first Swiss tournament take place between hosts the Winterthur Lions, and newly established clubs the Basel Dragons and Geneva Jets. 

    As a first for football in the nation, the 9-a-side tournament will act as the inaugural Australian Football competition in Switzerland, as the teams prepare for the first season of the Swiss League set to take place in 2019.

    Captain of the Winterthur Lions Stefan Burgener told afleurope.org that it was an amazing feeling to have now established three clubs in the country. 

    “I feel proud of what we’ve been able to grow in this short period of time”, Stefan said. 

    “In August we were thrilled to have a single 7-v-7 match in Switzerland and now we have about 38 players across 3 teams who will be playing on Sunday.” 

    Prior to the announcement of the weekend’s competition, AFL in Switzerland had consisted of just one club which was the Winterthur Lions. 

    As a result, the Swiss national team could only pick players from just the one franchise for international fixtures. 

    Now with more players to choose from and more potential for growth and development than ever before, Stefan is looking forward to seeing more awareness around the sport in 2019. 

    “I think this will grow awareness even further and help gather interest in the new Swiss League which will be played from May – September next year,” Stefan said. 

    “They both (Basel and Geneva) particularly since August this year, have been working tirelessly to grow a base of players and committee members for their respective clubs.” 

    “Now that the league has been established, we aim to establish more clubs in Switzerland and to improve our Men’s national team.” 

    Having played exhibition fixtures prior to Sunday’s official tournament, the Winterthur Lions will now play regular matches in 2019. 

    With the league now set to take place next summer, Stefan also mentioned to afleurope.org that the nation is trying to build up the women’s game in preparation for next year’s Euro Cup to be held in Norrtälje, Sweden. 

    “We also aim to hold as many women’s matches as possible and start a new women’s national team to compete alongside the men’s team at the Euro Cup in Sweden next June”, Stefan said. 

    “I’m excited for what the future holds.”

    The Swiss Tournament kicks off at 1:30pm local time on Sunday. 

    For more information, please visit the official event page here. 

    Swiss Tournament Fixtures:

    13:30: Winterthur vs. Basel

    14:30: Winterthur vs. Geneva

    15:30: Geneva vs. Basel 

    To read the original AFL Europe article on their website, go to the following link: https://afleurope.org/swiss-tournament/ωfbclid=IwAR3QihjM-2R7c2j-KDqwM2XK5r8RMdXlfSO_6CWRjZPQseTEjPcqL47_arM 

     

    Picture Credit - AFL Europe (www.afleurope.org) ...


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  • 11/19/18--04:03: Waratah Bring Down Crocs

  • The NTFL deck was shuffled on the weekend with some upset results shaking up the competition. At least, the winners and losers were shuffled yet the ladder remains largely the same. Waratah brought down the previously undefeated Southern Districts Crocs, the Tiwi Bombers downed the Darwin Buffaloes, St Mary’s burst the Palmerston bubble and Nightcliff were too good for Wanderers.

    Saturday’s triple-header at TIO Stadium kicked off with a revitalised Tiwi Bombers outclassing the Darwin Buffaloes. But it didn’t start that way as the Buffaloes burst out of the blocks with a seven goal to one opening quarter. Leading by 26 points at half-time, Darwin had little idea what was about the happen. The Tiwi Bombers called on the grit and explosiveness that saw them defeat St Mary’s last weekend to launch a nine goal third term. Another six goals in the last quarter saw the Bombers race away to an impressive 44-point win.


    Nightcliff outclassed Wanderers in the next game, pressuring them to increase their lead at every break before running out 66-point victors. Again, Wanderers found scoring a challenge with a one goal opening half. Apart from a sixteen goal opening round, Wanderers have failed to kick more than seven goals in a match since. Without firepower and better avenues to goal, Wanderers might face a long, hard season.

    St Mary’s kept their erratic season on track, bringing down the in-form Palmerston Magpies. Going into the match, Palmerston were on a roll with two successive wins. Saints had lost two of their past three matches. But a five goal to nil opening term by St Mary’s set up a lead that proved too difficult for Palmerston to peg back. In the end, Saints downed the Magpies by 48 points.

    In what proved to be the biggest upset of the round, Waratah were far too good for Southern Districts. The final margin was 22 points in favour of Waratah and they deserved the win, being the better team on the day. However, Crocs can really only blame themselves after they virtually kicked themselves out of the contest. Southern Districts finished with three more scoring shots than Waratah, but missed too many gettable shots.

    After seven rounds, and one third of the way through the season, Southern Districts still hold top spot, a game ahead of Nightcliff. Waratah have jumped to third place, ahead of Darwin on percentage. St Mary’s have nudged Palmerston out of the top five, though both are equal on points. The Tiwi Bombers are still in seventh position ahead of Wanderers.

    Next weekend will see the Palmerston Magpies up against the Nightcliff Tigers on Friday night. Saturday will see the Tiwi Bombers hosting Waratah at Tiwi Oval. Saturday night will see a TIO Stadium double-header with St Mary’s clashing with Southern Districts before the Darwin Buffaloes go head-to-head with Wanderer ...

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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 ...