AFL England

AFL London clubs to commemorate war heroes

On the 28th October 1916, the Queens Club in London played host to the first organised game of Australian Football played overseas by predominantly elite-level players. On Saturday 6th May 2017  the West London Wildcats & Wandsworth Demons will commemorate the Exhibition Game in their round 1 encounter.

Anzac-London-game-620

Photo Credit: Australian War Memorial

The game was the brainchild of Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, who proposed it to the legendary general John Monash, then commander of the Third Division. The two sides competing in the match were littered with football royalty. The game drew over 3000 spectators, including the then Prince of Wales and etched itself in the history books of Australian Rules Football. Sadly, for many of the division the exhibition match was to be their last as all were tragically killed serving in the Great War.

The Australian Units Training Team, who played in light red jumpers with a white kangaroo on them, was captained by Norwood champion, Charles Perry. The side also included, Percy Trotter of Fitzroy and East Fremantle, George Bower of South Melbourne, Clyde Donaldson of Essendon and vice-captained by Fiztroy’s John ‘Jack’ Cooper.

They lined up against the Third Australian Division, who wore navy blue jumpers with a map of Australia in white, who were captained by South Melbourne’s Bruce Sloss. Their vice-captain was Collingwood and Richmond star, Dan Minogue, while they also had Bill Stewart of Essendon, Hughie James of Richmond and Jack Brake of University and Melbourne on the Third Division side.

The game was low-scoring, with the Third Division side claiming a 16-point victory. The final score read 6.16. (52) to 4.12. (36).

In what doubles as a 2016 grand final rematch, the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats will wear replica kit in their AFL London first round encounter on 6th May 2017. The Demons will wear the light red jumpers with white kangaroo of the Australian Units Training Team while the Wildcats will wear the navy blue with white map of Australia of the Third Australian Division.

The May 6th encounter will be played at the Chiswick Rugby Club, Chiswick, London, W4 2SH. Ball-up will be at 3pm, with the match being captured on film by Game On Productions and BarTV Sports.

View some original footage below from the match courtesy of the British Pathe (www.britishpathe.com)