Tag: Australian Football

Oxford Claim Dual National University League Minor Premiership Honours

After a blistering performance in the final round of the National University League, The University of Oxford have been crowned minor premiers in both the Men’s and Women’s Division. The sides will now face the University of Birmingham in the NUL Grand Finals on March 9th.

In its inaugural season, the National University League welcomed teams from Oxford, Birmingham and Cambridge as well as a combined Universities of South Wales side as they battled it out over four rounds of fixtures.

Heading into the final round, the men’s Grand Final line-up was already assured, but a dominant Oxford win over Birmingham ensured that it was the Dark Blues who clinched the minor premiership.

And it was a case of anything you can do, we can do better as the Oxford women leapfrogged both Cambridge and Birmingham to seal a place in the Grand Final, securing the minor premiership in the process.

“We’re thrilled to not only have participated in the inaugural National University League,” said University of Oxford Australian Rules Football Club president Romy Minko, “But to be finishing at the top of the ladder in both divisions is the icing on the cake!

“Both teams have trained hard this season, and I know for a fact that every player contributed to this end result. We knew that the girls needed to grab a result in the final round, and they did exactly that. Bring on the Grand Final!

“A big thank you to all the other clubs and to AFL England for bringing the season together in the first place!”

Round 4 also saw the culmination of the competition for leading goal kicker. Pauline O’Malley’s Cambridge side had a bye for the final round, and she knew it would be a tough ask for anyone to catch her. Oxford’s Stephanie Filbay had a crack, kicking seven goals over the course of the round to bring her total for the season to nine, just short of O’Malley’s tally of 12.

Final Standings

Pauline O’Malley (Cambridge) – 12 goals
Stephanie Filbay (Oxford) – 9 goals
Meg Davies (Birmingham) – 8 goals
Lila Wielemans & Lottie Colquhoun (Birmingham) – 5 goals

In the Men’s Division, Ben Doherty was six goals clear of the rest of the field heading into Round 4, courtesy of the 13 goals he kicked in Round 2. In the end, Doherty took the title with ease, adding a further 16 today – eight in each match.

“He’s been a real asset to the club,” continued Minko. “As much for his leadership and encouragement as his goal-kicking prowess. It’s well deserved.”

Final Standings

Ben Doherty (Oxford) – 29 goals
Tim Haskett (Oxford) – 15 goals
James Williams (Birmingham) & Josh Davey (Universities of South Wales) – 7 goals

The attention of all teams now turns to the Grand Finals which will be held in Oxford on Saturday, 9 March. There will also be 3rd place playoffs in each Division, bringing all four sides together for the first time.

England Dragonslayers Announce 2019 Euro Cup Squad

England Dragonslayers Head Coach Dean Thomas has named his first squad in preparation for the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup in June.

Last year the Dragonslayers bowed out to eventual champions Denmark in the semi-finals, and George Dibble, Michael Sharp, Cameron Cope, Rob Goliah, Adam Morris and Andy Walkden are the only players returning from the 2018 Euro Cup squad.

All but four of the players in the 16-man squad play their football outside of the capital, showcasing the strength of the Central & Northern England league. The Dragonslayers also welcome Sam Walon as the first player from the National University League to be selected for England. Walon has kicked four goals for the undefeated University of Birmingham so far this season.

 

There are six debutants in the squad, including Jack Coughlan (North London Lions), who sits in second place on the list of Great Britain Bulldogs all-time goal kickers along with Luke Carrigan (West London Wildcats) and Adam Kelly (Manchester Mosquitoes).

“We’ve gone early with selecting this side to give these boys plenty of time to prepare,” said Thomas. “We know not everyone in the English footy landscape agrees with this move, but we do know that everyone here will be supporting these players and backing them to get a good result.”

Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks) is the new captain of the England Dragonslayers, having been elected by the players themselves. Hudson then chose Andy Cochran (Manchester Mosquitoes) as his vice-captain.

Head Coach Thomas says that this is an important step in giving the players ownership over the team and the path they wish to take going forward.

“With some experienced players being unavailable for the Sweden trip, it is a fantastic opportunity for this young group to establish themselves. We will keep our options open with regards to emergencies should any of these players become unavailable for any reason between now and the end of June, but we are very comfortable with the 16 named.”

The 2018 Euro Cup takes place in Norrtälje, Sweden on the 29th June 2019.

NUL All-Stars to Face Irish Universities Side

AFL England is delighted to announce that a team representing the National University League will take on an Irish Universities team this year as university football continues to grow across Great Britain and Ireland.

The International University Test Matches will take place on April 20th in Dublin, and feature both Men’s and Women’s fixtures.

The NUL All-Stars team will be selected from some of the best players in the National University League’s inaugural season. More details about the selection process for the All-Stars will be

“I’ve seen first-hand the passion and enthusiasm on display by each of the member universities in the National University League,” said NUL coordinator Will Shillibier. “I am delighted that this will be recognised and rewarded with the opportunity to represent England and Wales abroad.”

This fixture is the latest in the AFL England ‘All Stages, All Ages’ strategy which is committed to providing footballing opportunities to players, whatever stage they are at.

“After a very successful inaugural NUL, we wanted to test them against the best Ireland has to offer,” said AFL England President Jason Hill. “In the lead-up to the AFL Europe Championships and International Cup 2020 I’m sure both our National Teams will be looking on the games, and wider competitions, to see the up and coming talent that our Universities have to offer.”

Ireland has shown itself to be consistently one of the best European footballing nations, winning the nine-a-side Euro Cup in 2011 and 2012, and the 18-a-side AFL Europe Championship in both 2010 and 2013.

At a university level, the UCC Bombers are three-time Fitzpatrick Cup champions in the men’s tournament while the UCC Crusaders have won every women’s tournament since its inception.

AFL Ireland Women’s Coach Mike Currane said “This is another very exciting development for European & global international football. It’s also massive for Irish Women’s football particularly being announced at the same time as the first ever AFL Ireland Women’s Universities Cup. The games will provide another opportunity and stepping stone towards full International Australian football for students. With university football in its infancy but growing in both regions this represents a very exciting step, providing us as National Coaches another opportunity to test and develop players.”

Meanwhile, Irish Warriors Head Coach Brian Currane added that the fixtures will play a “big part” in the National Team Development Program.

“I am delighted to be involved in this exciting announcement as it comes at a key time for the growth of AFL Ireland. With the Universities having a large pool of up and coming talent, this is a great opportunity for them to experience full 18-a-side football and to represent the Irish Universities team.”

 

Transatlantic Trophy Unveiled Between Great Britain and the United States

Triennial Transatlantic Trophy Unveiled Between Great Britain and the USA
First Installment Takes Place in Great Britain 2021; United States 2024

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.”

Rising Star Liam Dolling Preparing for Great Britain Debut

Was Named as One  of 14 Debutants in the Bulldogs Squad to Face the Netherlands

Dolling Plays His Club Football for the Glasgow Sharks

22nd August 2018 – With the Principal Great Britain Bulldog’s friendly against the Netherlands just days away, here we take look at one of the brightest prospects named in the Great Britain Squad by Head Coach Dean Thomas.

Liam Dolling is one of three Scots and 15 debutants in the squad – joined by West Lothian Eagles player Keir Wotherspoon and Glasgow Shark’s Andrew McManus – and Dolling says that he is excited to play his first game for Great Britain after enjoying a standout season for the Glasgow Sharks.

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