Good Week / Bad Week – 13th June 2018

Slightly later than usual, it’s time for this week’s Good Week / Bad Week. As usual, if you think we’ve missed a story this week, then why not get in touch on info@aflengland.org!

Good Week

The Wandsworth Demons have some of the strongest sides in the AFL London leagues, with their sides top in three of the five leagues, and unbeaten in two. One of those sides, the Clapham Demons racked up an impressive 128 points this weekend in their 125-point win over the Swans in the Men’s Conference. This was all part of their ‘Big Freeze at the G’ which raised money for FightMND.

 

One of the ladders that the Demons don’t hold the top spot in is the Men’s Premiership, where it is the North London Lions who came off a bye week to rack up another win. Next weekend the Lions hold their Ladies Day for Breast Cancer Network Australia, and the Men’s Premiership side face off against the Demons for a battle to hold on to top spot.

 

 

Following on from their highly successful Selection Day at the weekend, the England Vixens are the first of the two England teams to name their squad for the 2018 Euro Cup. It features captain of the GB Swans at last year’s International Cup Laura Turner-Ramadan, and a bunch of other players who will all be looking to defend the Vixens’ title that they won last year.

 

Bad Week

The Wimbledon Hawks lost heavily to Lions in the Men’s and Women’s Premiership to leave them bottom and second from bottom in their respective ladders. Their Men’s Premiership side is yet to win a game and has shipped 351 points in their three games so far. The ‘Aubergine Machine’, their Men’s Social side, did record their second win of the season against the Giants.

 

There’s a gap of a fortnight before the South East London Giants play their next game in the Men’s Social division, but boy is it a big one. Having already defeated the Putney Magpies in Round 1, they will be looking for another good performance against the side bottom of the league.

AFL England Recognises LGBT Pride Month

AFL England Recognises Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

AFL London to Walk in Annual London Pride Parade

June 12, 2018 – Each June, LGBT Pride Month attracts millions of participants around the world. AFL England wants to recognise and celebrate the part that LGBT people play in the footy community, both in England and around the world.

This year, AFL London will become the first AFL league to march in a pride parade, as they take part in the Pride in London festival on July 7th, with the weekend also being marked by a special ‘Rainbow Round’ of fixtures in the capital.

AFL London President Cai Davies says that since coming out in 2016, his sexuality has been accepted by members of the footballing community, and he is now committed to raising awareness of homophobia within football.

“As a gay man growing up in a very masculine footy environment back in Victoria, I felt uncomfortable and ashamed for years,” said Davies. “There were a lot of uncomfortable conversations, and the homophobic language you would hear from players and spectators made me feel like less of a human compared to those around me.”

“Since moving over to London, and joining AFL London as an umpire and coach of the umpires, I have been upfront about my sexuality to everyone. The reaction over here, just like when I came out in Australia, was amazing and everyone embraced it.”

Davies also noticed that there was already a group of out and proud footballers here in London, and since becoming AFL London chairman in 2017, he worked with the goal of getting the league to march in London Pride.

He says that one of the major reasons for this is that the diversity and sense of inclusion on display in England are “leaps and bounds ahead” of back home in Australia.

“By us marching in the Pride in London march, the message will be sent back home that it’s ok to be yourself within the world of footy, as people will always embrace, support and accept you for who you are.

“Footy brings people together; we want to share this experience with the world.”

So far this year Davies and a group of volunteers from around the league have jumped on board and helped out with fundraisers including everything from bake sales and drag queen nights, to help with selling special Pride jerseys which players will then wear during the London Pride march.

“We are excited to continue to show our support to the LGBT community,” said AFL England President Jason Hill. “Our community is made up of so many individuals and it is important to celebrate that diversity.

“I personally get so much pleasure seeing our leagues, teams and players get behind these events and I know I speak for our committee in our full, and unwavering, support to be a completely inclusive community for anyone wanting to play, or support, our wonderful game.”

About Pride in London
Founded in 1972, Pride in London is an annual LGBT pride festival and parade held each summer in London. This year the festival will be taking place on Saturday 7th July.

For more information head to aflengland.org or email info@aflengland

The AFL Europe Championship 2019 Returns to London!

Europe’s Flagship AFL Competition Returns to England

Great Britain Bulldogs and Swans Looking to Retain Both Titles

June 7, 2018 – AFL Europe have announced that for the second time in a row, the AFL Europe Championship, Europe’s premier Australian rules football event, is to take place in London in October 2019. The event will be hosted by the Wimbledon Hawks Football Club, in conjunction with AFL Europe.

Wednesday 9th October 2019 – Carnival Round
Thursday 10th October 2019 – Semi Final Round
Saturday 12th October 2019 – Finals Round

AFL England president Jason Hill says that he was delighted that London was once again named as host of the Europe Championships in 2019.

“The Europe Championship in 2016 was a great success for our Great Britain Men’s and Women’s sides,” said Hill. “We are looking forward to welcoming our European counterparts to England in preparation for IC2020 down under.

“On the back of a very successful international period for England and Britain we look forward to building on that success by delivering a great tournament for Europe!”

Meanwhile, GB Bulldogs Head Coach Dean Thomas says the event will be a “fantastic advertisement” for the sport in Europe.

“As hosts, we are looking to putting on the most inclusive, entertaining and competitive AFL Europe Championship to date. If every eligible nation makes this competition their primary goal for 2019, it will be a fantastic advertisement for the sport in Europe and a keenly contested event.

“For us, it is a rare opportunity to play for their country in a high-level competition in front of family and friends. We expect to have a big number of players pushing for selection and making selection for this event their goal over the next 12 months.”

GB Swans Head Coach Ian Mitchell echoed Thomas’ sentiments.

“We are delighted to be in a position that we can host Europe’s premier AFL tournament again, and look forward to welcoming the European female footballing community to London again next year.

“The growth of women’s football in recent years has been fantastic to see and as such, we hope to see next year’s Europe Championships showcasing the best talent we have to offer as a continent.”

Past Great Britain AFL Europe Championship Performances

2016 – London, United Kingdom
Men’s Grand Final: Great Britain Bulldogs 7.9.51 def. Irish Warriors 4.5.29
Women’s Grand Final: Great Britain Swans 1.2.8 def. Irish Banshees 0.2.2

2013 – Dublin, Ireland
Men’s Grand Final: Great Britain Bulldogs 6.8.44 def. by Irish Warriors 7.3.45

2010 – Copenhagen, Denmark & Scania, Sweden
Men’s Third Place Play-off: Great Britain Bulldogs 3.11.29 def. by Sweden Elks 5.9.39

About the AFL Europe Championship
The AFL Europe Championship is an Australian rules football competition played between 18-a-side European national teams. It is organised by AFL Europe and held every three years. The inaugural competition was played in Sweden and Denmark in August 2010. Great Britain are the defending champions in both the men’s and women’s competition.

About AFL England
As the governing body for Australian rules football in England, AFL England aims to grow, develop and promote the sport of across the country.

Our Mission:

  • To lead the awareness, growth, development and promotion of the sport in England
  • To create a pathway between the English and Australian game
  • To work in partnership with AFL Europe in reaching mutual goals, maintaining similar values, while working to grow the game on a domestic level

For more information head to aflengland.org or email info@aflengland.com

AFL England Unveils Official Supporter of Women’s Footy in England

Ida Sports Named Official Supporter of Women’s Footy in England

Growth of the women’s game in England “pioneering” says co-founder

June 6, 2018 – Today AFL England unveiled Ida Sports as the Official Supporter of Women’s Footy in England. Founded in June 2017 by Laura Youngson, this announcement comes just days after they launched an Indiegogo campaign aims to create the world’s best football boot for women.

Ida Sports believe that everyone deserves the best sports gear so they can be the best athlete they can be.

“The growth of women’s AFL in England is fantastic to see,” said Ida Sports co-founder Ben Sandhu. “It’s pioneering, and the sheer passion with which the girls play the game is what sport is all about. We hope at Ida sports we can provide the best footwear for women’s footy, so they can focus on their game, not their feet.”

AFL England president Jason Hill welcomed the partnership, saying that he looked forward to seeing what the future holds.

“We’ve seen some really encouraging signs from the women’s game in England recently. Our England and GB sides continue to go from strength to strength, and the enthusiasm from our club sides to establish new women’s teams is really encouraging.

“Going forward I want to see the women’s game continue to expand, both at a national and international level, and I’m excited to see what this partnership brings.”

For more information about Ida Sports, head to their Instagram page www.instagram.com/idasports or click the link to check out their Indiegogo campaign www.indiegogo.com/projects/ida-the-ultimate-female-football-boot-shoes-sports/

For more information head to aflengland.org or email info@aflengland

Good Week/Bad Week – 4th June 2018

After a brief hiatus, ‘Good Week/Bad Week’ is back and ready to take a look at the latest round of fixtures across England. The leagues are really starting to hot up, so let’s see who’s in contention as we approach the halfway stage of the season.

Good Week

The Manchester Mosquitoes once again look like the team to beat in the Central & Northern England league. After racking up 130+ points against the Huddersfield Rams and the Nottingham Scorpions, the Mozzies were restricted to just over half that against the Wolverhampton Wolverines this weekend. However, they still extended their record to 3-0 as they won 11.18.84 to 6.10.46 in tricky conditions.

 

With the Ealing Emus having a bye this round, the Reading Kangaroos knew that a win would take them top of the Men’s Social league owing to their vastly superior percentage. After opening up their campaign this season with two crushing wins over the Giants and Hawks, the Roos defeated the Putney Magpies 8.6.54 to 4.6.30. The 2016 Grand Final runners-up don’t face the Emus until the 14th July in Reading’s designated ‘Family and Friends’ Fixture.

 

The Great Britain Swans held a training camp this weekend in Cardiff, with players all over the country convening in the Welsh capital. A group of players from teams including the Nottingham Scorpions, Cardiff Panthers and the University of Birmingham took part. Swans Head Coach Ian Mitchell took to Twitter to praise the “superb development from everyone in the squad.”

 

Bad Week

The West London Wildcats swept the London Swans in Round 4, dishing out defeats for all three Swans sides. They included a 174-point mauling in the Men’s Premiership and the Raiders winning by 160 points in the Men’s Conference.

One small crumb of comfort is that the Swans’ Women’s Conference side remain top of the table, despite losing 8.9.57 to 1.4.10.

 

Sometimes it happens, and for whatever reason you’re unable to field a team. That was the case for the Nottingham Scorpions who were due to take the field against the Merseyside Saints. However, for the Saints were awarded a walkover when it was clear the Scorpions weren’t going to be making the trip to Merseyside.

The result means the Scorpions sit four points behind the Manchester Mosquitoes, with the Mozzies having a game in hand. The Scorpions’ next game? Against the Mosquitoes.

 

After an opening round against sides from the Welsh Australian Rules Football League, the South of England AFL got their first chance to take on one another in Portsmouth this weekend.

When the dust had settled, the Sussex Swans found themselves bottom of the ladder after 42 and 23 point losses to the Portsmouth Pirates and the Southampton Titans respectively. There record moves to 1-4 and will have to refocus for the next round robin weekend in a fortnight.

Have a great story? Think we missed something? Email info@aflengland.org!

AFL Europe Announce 2019 Euro Cup Host

AFL Europe Announce Norrtålje, Sweden as Euro Cup 2019 Host

England Sides Prepare for AFL Euro Cup 2018 in Cork

June 4, 2018 – With the 2018 Euro Cup just over four months away, the England Dragonslayers and Vixens are working hard to ensure that both teams retain their title in Cork in October.

This week it was announced that the 2019 Euro Cup will take place in Norrtålje, Sweden on Saturday, June 29th 2019. There will also be a General Assembly Meeting held on Sunday 30th June as part of the tournament.

Norrtålje features five pitches and England Team Manager Charlotte-Ellen Eales says that the venue will provide some of the best facilities ever seen for the annual nine-a-side tournament.

“I think it bodes well for a fantastic weekend,” said Eales. “The growth and development of Australian rules football in Sweden over the past few years, particularly in the women’s game, has been really noticeable and we look forward to playing a strong Swedish side.

“The Euro Cup is the most prestigious event in the England calendar and we couldn’t be more pleased that it’s being held in Sweden next year!”

With the 2018 Euro Cup rapidly approaching, Eales says that the focus for both the Dragonslayers and Vixens is currently on preparing for this year’s tournament. With a new coach on board for the Vixens and host of very experienced players in the mix for selection next weekend, both teams will be looking to retain the titles they won last year in Bordeaux.

Historic Euro Cup Performance

2017 – Bordeaux, France
Men’s Grand Final: England Dragonslayers 58 def. Irish Warriors 9
Women’s Grand Final: England Vixens 38 def. Irish Banshees 14

2016 – Lisbon, Portugal
England Dragonslayers – 3rd
Women’s Grand Final: England Vixens 7 def. By Irish Banshees 16

2015 – Umag, Croatia
Men’s Grand Final: England Dragonslayers 26 def. By Denmark Vikings 47
Women’s Grand Final: England Vixens 54 def. Denmark Valkyries 6

2014 – London, United Kingdom
Women’s Grand Final: England Vixens 4.2.26 def. By Irish Banshees 5.1.3
England Dragonslayers – 6th

bold denotes Grand Final winners

For more information email us on info@aflengland.org

Wandsworth Demons to Host ‘Big Freeze on the C’ for FightMND

‘Big Freeze on the C’ Takes Place 9th June

Event features three AFL London fixtures, and Clapham Cubs Junior Session

June 1, 2018 – On the 9th June, the Wandsworth Demons are hosting their third annual ‘Big Freeze on the C’ to raise money for Australian charity FightMND. The event will feature three matches, with the Demons taking on the London Swans in the AFL London Women’s Conference, Men’s Conference and Men’s Premiership.

“The Big Freeze on the C is quite a personal cause for many of our members,” said Wandsworth Demon President Xavier Holland, “With a number of them having personal experience with friends and relatives who have suffered from MND.

“It was set up by one of our former members Gaby Duncan, but in just a couple of years it has grown into us raising over A$12,000 last year. To have the club come together to support and raise funds for FightMND is something we are very proud of!”

During half-time in the final game, there will also be the opportunity for children and juniors to enjoy a session with the Clapham Cubs, London’s first Junior Australian Football Club.

There will also be plenty of FightMND merchandise on sale, along with a bar, bake sale, ice dunking and a raffle with prizes including a signed Melbourne Demons jersey and a Sherrin football.

For those looking to join in the fun, the games kick off at 12pm and continue on until 6pm. Organisers are hoping for a great day of footy, and all for a good cause.

About FightMND

FightMND is a registered not-for-profit Australian health promotion charity. They are Australia’s leading independent Motor Neurone Disease (MND) foundation focused on funding large-scale, collaborative research, clinical trials, and improved care for all Australians living with MND.

Find out more at www.fightmnd.org.au

Isy Currenti: From AFL London to the VFLW

Less than two years ago, Isy Currenti was part of the Wimbledon Hawks who took down the AFL London Women’s Premiership title.

Fast forward to last weekend, and Currenti was part of the Geelong Cats VFLW side who extended their unbeaten start to the season with a 8.9.57 to 0.4.4 win over the Williamstown Seagulls.

Currenti kicked a goal in that game, and we recently caught up with her find out more about her journey from the AFL London to the 2018 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s competition.

By her own admission, Currenti hadn’t even kicked a footy before she saw a bunch of people playing on Clapham Common during her early days in London.

“I was pretty nervous!” she said, “I’m glad I did it. I haven’t looked back since.”

The Wimbledon Hawks, winners of the 2017 Champions League

Since that first kickabout, Currenti has compiled an incredible European footballing CV including winning the Champions League and representing Australia in the ANZAC Cup in France.

While at the Hawks, she says that a certain legend of the sport spotted that she had a natural talent for the game.

“While I was there we had Anthony Koutoufides come down to one of our training sessions. I had no idea who he was, but he pulled me aside during a drill and told me he saw potential in me – that was pretty cool.”

Recently, after moving back to Australia, she joined Lauren Spark and Katie Shierlaw for a training session at Melbourne Uni, and subsequently played half a season there.

Currenti celebrating with former Hawk teammates Katie Shierlaw and Lauren Spark

From there she was picked up by the Cats and says that from day one she felt like she belonged at the club

“I couldn’t ask for a better club to be a part of,” she said. “To think that I started off playing socially in London, and am now part of a VFLW squad is pretty cool. I still pinch myself! I mean it feels too good to be true.”

To think that I started off playing socially in London, and am now part of a VFLW squad is pretty cool. I still pinch myself!

“Pulling on that jumper, and running out on to GMHBA stadium on a beautiful, sunny day… I couldn’t have asked for much more. We’ve all worked so hard during pre-season, I think we all deserved to be out there soaking it up.

Currenti says it’s the family atmosphere at the Cats that has helped her develop as a footballer.

“You spend a lot of time with your teammates, so you form some really great relationships. Other than the footy side of things, it’s the people you meet and the bonds you develop that really help you.

With a couple of games under her belt, Currenti seems to have set her sights on a larger goal.

“I am wearing number 23 for the Cats – the Big Buddy’s number – so I’m really trying to focus on kicking goals on my left from outside 50…except I kick on my right and there’s no chance I could kick from outside 50 (…yet!).

“At the moment, I’m really trying to focus on developing my game. Playing at a higher level means I’ve had to step up and meet the level of the more experienced players. For me, it’s about getting that experience and becoming more comfortable and confident playing the game. All the coaches at the club have been amazing, and I can’t wait to keep learning.”

And how do her former teammates and friends here in England feel about her journey to the VFLW?

“They’re just glad I’ve invested in a pair of footy boots! I played my first season in runners and didn’t hear the end of it. Aside from that, they’re pretty happy for me. The ones living back in Melbourne came along last weekend [for the first game of the season]. It was really nice to have the support.”

Currenti says she has some pretty simple advice for anyone wanting to get into Aussie Rules – don’t be scared!

“I was pretty scared at first about the whole tackling situation, but it really isn’t that bad. Just think of it like tackling your brother.

“I think it’s great that Aussie Rules is being played all over the world. People don’t believe me when I tell them I started footy in London out of all places. It’s great to see the sport growing globally.”

We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Currenti, and indeed all the other former AFL London players  now plying their trade in the AFLW and VFLW.

To find out how to get involved with an AFL club near you, head to www.aflengland.org

Photo Credits: Geelong Cats VFLW & Isy Currenti

Good Week / Bad Week – 30th April 2018

In the first of a new series here on the AFL England website, ‘Good Week / Bad Week’  will aim to highlight some of the great footy performances of the weekend or round. So without further ado, here’s our thoughts on Round One in both the London and CNE leagues!

Good Week

The North London Lions opened their AFL London Men’s Premiership account with a 140-7 thrashing of the London Swans. The Lions finished as runner-ups in the 2017 Grand Final, losing out to the Wandsworth Demons 4.14.38 to 5.5.35. This strong performance on the opening weekend, coupled with a strong Demons performance against the Wildcats, shows that we may be in for a rematch come August.

 

Wandsworth Demons again look like being the team to beat after wins for all but one of their sides in Round One. The pick of the results has to be the reigning Women’s Premiership Premiers making a winning start to their 2018 campaign by seeing off the West London Wildcats 7.5.47 to 0.1.1. There were also wins for their Men’s Premiership, Men’s Conference, and Women’s Conference sides.

 

Putney Magpies were one of only two teams to put 100 points on the board this week as they defeated the South East London Giants 15.13.103 to 6.5.41. This result means they top the Men’s Conference table as they look to make their first Conference Grand Final since 2004 where they lost to the Shepherds Bush Raiders 18.19.127 to 9.4.58.

Bad Week

The Ealing Emus’ win over reigning Men’s Social Premiers the Wandsworth Demons was the only crumb of comfort for the West London Wildcats in a weekend where only one of their five teams managed to get a win. Reigning Men’s Conference winners Shepherds Bush Raiders ran out 41-point losers against a Clapham Demons side they defeated by a margin of 21 points in the Grand Final, while the reigning Women’s Conference Wildcats side failed to make an impression on the scoreboard, losing 30-0 to the Demons side they’d beaten by 31 points in their Grand Final last season.

The Merseyside Saints were the victims in a one-sided mauling at the hands of Central & Northern England rivals the Wolverhampton Wolverines. The Wolverines emerged winners 235 to 31, with Craig Jones kicked 12 goals and Lewis Gedney nine. The Saints will have to pick themselves up ahead of their next match against the Huddersfield Rams, who lost out to the Nottingham Scorpions in Round One.

 

Have a great story? Think we missed something? Email info@aflengland.org!

 

 

2018 Season Gets Underway This Weekend

AFL England Ready for Start of 2018 Season

London and Central & Northern England Leagues Kick Off This Weekend

April 26, 2018 – AFL England are looking forward to the start of the 2018 season ahead of the opening weekend of fixtures. Both the AFL London and Central & Northern England leagues have their first round of fixtures this weekend, ahead of an exciting ten rounds of competition.

Here are the defending premiers in each division, and their 2017 Grand Final results:

AFL London

  • Men’s Premiership – Wandsworth Demons 4.14.38 def. North London Lions 5.5.35

  • Men’s Conference – Shepherds Bush Raiders 7.8.50 def. Clapham Demons 4.5.29

  • Men’s Social – Wandsworth Demons 6.5.41 def. North London Lions 1.3.9

  • Women’s Premiership – Wandsworth Demons 6.2.38 def. South East London Giants 0.1.1

  • Women’s Conference – West London Wildcats 4.8.32 def. Wandsworth Demons 0.1.1

Central & Northern England

  • Men’s Premiership – Manchester Mosquitoes 16.13.109 def. Nottingham Scorpions 9.12.66

Southern England

  • Men’s Premiership – Southampton Titans def. Sussex Swans

In the opening weekend of fixtures, the defending Men’s Premiership winners the Wandsworth Demons take on the West London Wildcats, with the Wildcats fresh from their fourth consecutive Champions League title earlier this month.

Other notable Round One fixtures include a rematch of the 2017 Men’s Conference Grand Final, where the Raiders face the Demons, and a rematch of the inaugural Women’s Conference Grand Final where the Wildcats face the Demons.

Moving slightly north and the defending Premiers the Manchester Mosquitoes have a bye in Round One, meaning that the other four teams will battle it out. Last year’s losing Grand Finalists the Nottingham Scorpions face up to the Huddersfield Rams.

The Southern England league kicks off on the 19th May. This year the Southern England league and the Welsh league will be linking up with an inter-connected league structure. This will involve the leagues running separately for league games, and combining for tournaments. Points from both the league games and tournaments will decide the placings in each league, with these deciding who will play against each other in the SEWARFL Grand Final.

Grand Final Dates

AFL London (Women’s Conference) & Central & Northern England – 4th August

AFL London (all other divisions) – 11th August

SEWARFL – 11th August

For more information and for full fixtures, head to aflengland.org or email info@aflengland.org