Movember Cup 2015

The Manchester Mosquitoes were set to host the annual Nathan Blakely Memorial Cup on Sunday 15th November 2015. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas! Storm Barney brought too much rain for the pitches to handle, most teams were advised to save their energy for the 2016 tournament and to not make the trip to Manchester.

Teams already in the area were hosts, theManchester Mosquitos, locals Huddersfield Rams and making the trek up two nights earlier, the Wandsworth Demons decided to tried their luck on the morning of the tournament and found the pitches were in a condition that would be able to handle a couple of games. With only a quarter of the amount of teams originally anticipated, these three clubs faced off in a round robin resulting in the Manchester Mosquitoes and Wandsworth Demons to head back to the knee deep mud and nut it out in the Final for the Movember Cup.

Hosted by the Manchester Mosquitoes since 2011, the Nathan Blakey Memorial Cup has been played in memory of ex-Mosquito Nathan Blakey, who tragically passed away during a complex surgery a week before the first event. He was 28. Holding this dear to their hearts the Mozzies gave it a good crack, unfortunately for them “AFL London’s most successful club of 2015” managed to show the host team what they were made of and came away victorious.

The post-event festivities did see the Mozzies take a clean sweep of the raffle, bagging a few AFL Europe’s donated prizes; ranging from a Sherrin to a full 2015 signed Gold Coast Guernsey, as well as some locally supplied Tim Tams, Rugby memorabilia and sneaky bottles of booze. Deservingly, player of the day went to Adam Jeffrey from the Wandsworth Demons, but with too many to pick from Mo’ of the day remained undecided with uncanny lookalikes ranging from Chopper Read to Mario, the decision couldn’t be made!

AFL Europe is excited to support an even bigger and better even next year (weather permitting!).


Sarah Ongarello

Irish prospect, Darragh Joyce, not giving up on AFL dream

IRISH prospect Darragh Joyce hasn’t given up hope of an AFL career after returning home from the NAB AFL draft combine without a contract.

The star hurler had significant interest from several clubs, but there were concerns over homesickness for the 18-year-old.

The lure of home has proved too strong for two Irishman recruits in the past few years, with Ciaran Kilkenny (Hawthorn) and Daniel Flynn (Port Adelaide) both returning to the Emerald Isle.

“They told me to go to college for a year and it’s kind of like a trial to see how I’ll react to homesickness and being away from family,” Joyce told the Irish Independent.

“A lot can happen in a year and you could pick up an injury but hopefully it will all work out.

“It’s a huge opportunity and something I’d love to do.”

At 193cm and 88 kg, the County Kilkenny product is in the mould of his cousin, Essendon dual premiership defender, Kevin Walsh.

“I’m almost looking at this year as pre-season, trying to get myself as fit as possible and get more acquainted with the skills involved,” he said.

“This year is giving me the best possible chance to progress. The Australians’ first touch is the same as ours in hurling.

“After a week with the ball you just fall in love with it.”

AFL national and international talent manager Kevin Sheehan believes Joyce has a future in the game, inviting him to two talent identification events in the coming months.

“We’ve outlined a plan that will see him attend next month’s international combine in Dublin again and we expect him to be one of the Irishman selected to join us for the IMG academy in Florida in January,” he told

“These are massive decisions to leave one part of the world to switch codes.

“Over the next few months hopefully Darragh and one of the clubs interested can come to an agreement.”

Joyce doesn’t have to look to far for extra motivation to realise his goal of becoming a professional sportsman, with countryman and great mate Colin O’Riordan snapped up by the Sydney Swans after impressing at the combine.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Colin and I know he’s going to make a big success of it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit sickened coming home knowing that I wouldn’t be going back again soon like him,” he admitted.

“It’ll be great to follow his progress and learn from him. I’m sure he can impart wise words and advise me what I need to work on to make it.”


Originally posted by Ryan Davidson on

Irish Duo Impress in Melbourne

Tipperary and Kilkenny could each have a first AFL rookie if all goes well for Colin O’Riordan and Darragh Joyce at this week’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.

Starting on Thursday over 80 draft prospects, from varying sports and countries, will convene at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to “test in front of recruiters and meet clubs in a four-day job interview”(AFL).

Among the key tests the duo will be put through are a 20m sprint, an agility speed test, a jump test (standing vertical jump, running vertical jump), a beep test, a 3km time trial, a handball/clean hands test, a kicking test and a goalkicking test.

Both players are expected to excel in the ball handling tests, much like Kildare’s Paddy Brophy did this time last year in securing himself a contract with West Coast Eagles.

Last year he scored 26 out of 30 to record the joint highest score in ‘the clean hands test’, while he was also joint second in the goalkicking test and among the top scorers in the 20m sprint. His time of 2.93 seconds seen him finish in joint sixth along with Tyrone’s Conor McKenna.

McKenna has already made his debut for the Essendon club after also finishing third in the agility test and seventh in the repeat sprint results 12 months ago.

Both this year’s possible recruits are particularly interesting picks – with both hailing from hurling counties – much like Cork hurler Setanta Ó hAilpín who joined Carlton in 2005.

Joyce is a younger brother of Kilkenny senior centre back Kieran, and has impressed with and captained the Kilkenny minors to All-Ireland glory in 2014. Like a number of current Kilkenny senior panellists such as Walter Walsh or Ger Aylward before him, he plays his football with his school Good Counsel in Wexford.

Joyce has already caught the eye of Hawthorn and the Sydney Swans scouts with his skills and game awareness impressing recruiters during a European draft in DCU last December.

O’Riordan is a more active dual star, while he was a key player for the Tipperary Under-21 hurlers this year he really caught the eye for the county’s footballers who reached the All-Ireland Under-21 decider but ultimately lost to Tyrone.

His performances were rewarded as he was named Under-21 footballer of the year, and he has already cemented his place on the county’s senior football team – but he has made it clear that his intention is to pursue a professional deal down under.

He told reporters last month that “of course you’re going to miss home but you only get this opportunity once. You’d have to go out there with the attitude that you’re setting up for life over there and this is where your future lies.”

Originally posted by Eamon Donoghue at :

UPDATE: Colin O’Riordan has now been listed as an International Rookie with the Sydney Swans FC whilst Darragh Joyce has been optioned with St Kilda FC.

VAFA V London Allstars

The Big V representative side wrapped up their 2015 Ireland/England tour with a comprehensive 74-point victory against the London All Stars at Battersea Park this morning.

After a stellar 2-2 performance from their four tour matches in the Emerald Isle, the Big V attained their goal of finishing on a high, with Spirit of the Big V recipient, Jeremy Mugavin, and six-goal star, Matt Handley, leading the way.

Tom Sullivan, Marshall Rippon and Josh Cowan lit London alight in the first term as they collected disposals at will, with Sam Barnett controlling the ruck and giving his midfielders first use of the ball.



After a two-week stint with the round ball, the entire playing squad looked far more comfortable with the oval-shaped sherrin in hand and used their sublime skill set to open up a comfortable buffer at the first break.

Sam Williams, Tom O’Donnell and Mugavin continued to drive from half back in the second and allowed power forwards, Jamie Mugavin and Handley, to do the damage on the scoreboard and open up a 47-point margin at the half.

The second half played out similarly to the first, with Michael Barnes, Ash Viney and Stu Grigg causing multiple skill errors from their opponents through consistent pressure and tackling.

Jack Hunt repelled numerous London forward thrusts, while Tom and Simon Caven stood tall in defence in the same vein as they have done all tour.

While the 20 goal target set by coach Roberts was not quite met, the Big V can be proud of the four quarter effort they produced in their final match as they ran out out 74-point winners, 100-26.

The win in London gives the Big V a respectable 3-2 winning record from their 2015 tour.

The VAFA would like to thank AFL Europe and AFL London for their hospitality and look forward to going Round 2 in 2017.


Originally posted on:

Movember Cup 2015

On the 15th of November the Manchester Mosquitoes host a charity Aussie Rules tournament at Trafford MV Rugby Club. The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup is held annually in support of the Movember Foundation raising funds for men’s illnesses, in particular  prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. The first tournament was held in 2011 and has been growing year on year raising around £10,000  for charity so far.


The week before the first event, Nathan Blakey, a member of the Manchester Mosquitoes ARFC, passed away during complex surgery at the age of 28. Nathan had been part of the Mozzies since the clubs first season and was part of their 2010 premiership team. He was known for his down to earth, friendly nature and his love of the footy. He played, umpired, helped coach and loved a beer. He was a paramedic so would often be sorting himself out after matches whenever he took a hit. He is greatly missed. With his passing the week before the first Movember Cup it was decided to play the tournament in honour of Nathan. It seemed a fitting gesture to remember him in this way considering his love of football and his commitment to developing the game.

The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup is about to be held for the 5th year and we are looking forward to raising funds in support of men’s health and raising a glass in honour of our mate.


Nathan. 14/02/1983 – 19/11/2011

Always well attended by AFLCNE Clubs, we hope as many players, spectators and supporters can come along and be involved to raise money to make it as big a success as possible. If you can’t make it but still want to contribute you can donate at the following link:

Mozzies Movember Page

If you want to help or be involved with the tournament contact Ben Sweetman

In the build-up to this years Movember cup here at the Central and Northern England Australian Football League we’ll be taking a look at some of the Men’s health issues you’ll be raising money for and how our clubs are helping to raise awareness.


Originally posted by the Manchester Mosquitoes at: