Irish Watch – AFL Round 19 Review

Although Conor McKenna missed his first game of the year as he attended his brothers wedding back home in Ireland, the show rolled on for a number of Irish players at both AFL and state league level.

In a round filled with blockbuster clashes, tight finishes and some incredible individual efforts, the excitement continues to build with an epic finals series just one month away.

After 13 straight losses, it seemed like the Suns were destined for yet another heavy defeat as they faced the in-form Bombers at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

However, Stuart Dew’s young and inexperienced group would band together and play their best footy of the year as they skipped out to an early three-goal lead.

Although the class of the Bombers would eventually shine through, with last-minute heroics by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Cale Hooker and Jake Stringer scraping them over the line, the Gold Coast showed there is great potential with this group.

One of the more experienced players in the squad, Pearce Hanley, enjoyed another stellar game across half-back as he led the Suns defensive unit to absolute perfection.

With injury having a major effect on the Irishman’s season, it was great to see him back to his best against the Bombers with his run and precise skills showing he’s still got plenty more to give at AFL level.

A breakout game of sorts in terms of his 2019 season, Hanley would have 26 disposals, three intercept possessions, five marks and a tackle in what was a well-rounded performance for a half-back flanker.

With four games left, Hanley will hope to build on this form and get the Gold Coast back on the winners list.

Conor Nash enjoyed his best game of the season, as the tall forward began to look comfortable in his position and made his presence known in the Hawks 27 point loss to the roaring Lions.

After showing flashes over the past month, this was by far Nash’s most complete performance as he was able to finally put all the aspects of his game he’s been developing over the season into action.

With the Lions showing themselves to be clearly the better side on the day, Nash was important in continually giving Hawthorn a sniff throughout the day as whenever the ball went inside 50 he looked dangerous.

His pressure around the ball was another highlight, as he made life hard for the Lions defenders when the ball hit the ground and was brilliant in ensuring it stayed down the Hawks end.

Finishing up with 12 disposals, three marks, two tackles and two goals, this is the kind of performance Nash can build on over the past month of the season heading into potentially a finals series.

Two Irish players would come together at the SCG on Sunday afternoon as the ladder leading Cats looked to break their form slump with a win against the Swans.

In what was a tight affair for the majority of the afternoon, the class of Geelong would end up being too much for the youthful Swans, as they maintained their two-win buffer on top of the ladder with a much needed 27 point win.

Enjoying a breakout season, Colin O’Riordan was again outstanding for the Swans across the wing and half-back.

Playing as a running intercept defender, O’Riordan’s reading of the ball was a particular highlight from the weekend as he was sublime above his head and stopped a number of Geelong’s attacking passages of play.

Along with his work defensively, O’Riordan was able to impact the game with the ball in hand, as he managed to find it relatively easily and used at an impressive 83%.

Ending up with 18 disposals, six marks and two tackles, O’Riordan continues to impress at AFL level and is a part of what is an exciting rebuilding phase at the Swans.

Despite his excellent performance, O’Riordan would unfortunately pick up a groin injury late on which will see him miss the Sydney derby next weekend.

On the other side, Mark O’Connor’s stock as a small defender continued to rise after yet another solid performance in the Geelong back six.

Matched up on one of the best small forwards in the competition in Tom Papley, O’Connor was sublime defensively keeping the goal sneak to just four disposals and a goal.

Renowned as being tough to play on, the Cats defender has put together an impressive list of scalps this season with his efforts being under-appreciated by the broader AFL community.

Along with his work on Papley, he managed to get involved with the ball in hand, picking up 15 disposals and was again excellent with his ball use going at 87%.

Having played every game this year, O’Connor has grown tremendously and will without a doubt be critical for the team heading into September.

In the NEAFL, GWS’s Callum Brown continued his development with another excellent performance up forward.  

Highlighted by an epic running goal that would be in AFL goal of the year calculations, the young Irishman used his pace and skill to be dangerous up forward with his tackling and ability to create looking promising.

Zac Standish – AFL Europe.

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Priscilla Lodge

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

Growing up in Melbourne, Priscilla ‘Prip’ Lodge was surrounded by the Australian game, but found her true passion for it in 2014 when she began playing.

Footy was never far from her mind when she initially planned her move to London, and Prip is forever grateful for joining the Wandsworth Demons in AFL London shortly after landing in the UK.

“I loved playing footy at home and didn’t think twice about playing over here for the competitive side of things, but the main factor was the social side and the opportunity to make friends in a city where I virtually knew no one. The Demons are my London family and I can’t imagine my life here without them.”

Now an experienced campaigner in the sport, Prip has been able to improve her game over this six year span and find out her strengths to best help her teammates.

“I mainly play full back which gives me a good view of the whole ground and the opportunity to read the play. This combined with my loud voice enables me to be instructive and encouraging to my teammates on the field throughout the match.”

Now in her second season for the club, Prip has become the Club Vice-President and Captain of the Women’s Premiership side, showing that she’s a vital piece to the success of the Demons both on and off the field.

During her time in Europe, Prip has been involved in numerous AFL Europe events, including representing the Demons at two consecutive Champions League tournaments and volunteering at the 2018 Euro Cup in Cork.

Prip says the pinnacle of her AFL Europe experience came when she was selected as Captain of the Australian Spirit side at the 2018 Anzac Cup, played on Anzac Day in Villers-Bretonneux so close to the WWI battlefields of the Western Front.

“From attending the Dawn Service marking the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux and presenting a footy jumper to Prince Charles and Malcolm Turnbull afterwards, to donning the green and gold in the 10th Anzac Spirt match, and every special moment in between, I have never felt more proud to be an Australian than I did in these few days.”

After leading the Australian Spirit side to a victory over the French national team, Prip went on to have a successful season with the Demons and capped it off with a flag in the AFL London Women’s Premier Division.

“The 2018 AFL London Grand-Final day on Clapham Common was without doubt one of the best days of my life. All five Wandsworth Demons teams qualified for the grand-final. We finished the day premiers in four of the five divisions which was super exciting and celebrated accordingly. To even have my Mum visiting at the time, made it extra special to celebrate with her, too.”

Prip and her teammates will be looking to make it a three peat this weekend when they take on the North London Lionesses at Hackney Marshes in the 2019 AFL London Grand Final. 

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe

 

 

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week AFL Europe will take a look around the continent at the Australian Football highlights and thrilling matches. This Around the Grounds article delves into the standout performances from the weekend’s action and is presented by PSS International Removals.

WATERLAND EAGLES GET FIRST EVER WIN

The Waterland Eagles recorded their first-ever win on Saturday in Round Three of the AFL Netherlands season. With three teams competing; the Amsterdam Devils, Delft Blues and the Eagles, each side played two games each but it was the Eagles and Blues clash that was significant. It was a close battle from the start, with neither team able to gain an upper hand in the opening half. The Delft Blues, fielding a team for the first time this season, managed to get the margin down to trail by just a point at the start of the second half of the game. However, the Eagles’ fitness and class started to show and take control. The Eagles midfielders and forwards started to convert their chances and ended up recording their first-ever win by 50 points. These two sides will play each other again on the 10th of August in the Preliminary Final to decide who will play the Amsterdam Devils in this year’s Grand Final.

Final Scores (AFL Netherlands)

Men’s: Waterland Eagles (11.5. 71) defeated Delft Blues (3.3. 21).

 

LONDON SWANS WIN FIRST EVER PREMIERSHIP

Saturday saw the Women’s Conference Grand Final for AFL London take place at Motspur Park as the London Swans faced the Wandsworth Demons. The London Swans went into the game undefeated, while the Demons reached the final after playing in the preliminary final last weekend. In the two games these teams played against each other during the regular season, the Swans came out on top on both occasions and this game would follow the same course. With rain around London on Saturday morning, the opening two quarters were contested in challenging conditions, but the Swans were able to gain control as their midfield provided plenty of football to the forwards. The Swans took a comfortable lead into half-time, but the Demons tightened up their defence in the third quarter and looked to get on the scoreboard. However, whenever they were challenged, the Swans stepped up, and despite their inaccurate kicking, finished off the match strongly to win by 56 points and win their first-ever premiership in the process.

Final Scores (AFL London Women’s)

Women’s Conference: London Swans (6.20. 56) defeated Wandsworth Demons (0.0. 0)

 

HEATSEEKERS AND WOMBATS BATTLE IN HOT CONDITIONS

Round Two of the AFL Finland season took place on the weekend in Paimio. With the temperature reaching as high as 31 degrees in the sun, the three sides competing had their fitness tested throughout the day. The Helsinki Heatseekers, Waasa Wombats and Turku Dockers all played each other once in the 9-a-side format, with the matches being played over two halves of 10 minutes. The standout match for the day was the second game, between the Waasa Wombats and the Helsinki Heatseekers, as the Wombats were looking to recover from their loss in the opening match. Unfortunately for the Wombats, they suffered two significant injuries and the Heatseekers started the stronger of the two teams. In the second half, the Wombats fought back as they kicked three goals in the second half, but the fast start from the Heatseekers was enough to see them win by 16 points. There is still plenty to play for in AFL Finland, with the final cup day taking place on the 24th of August in Vaasa before the Grand Final in September.

Final Scores (AFL Finland)

Men’s: Helsinki Heatseekers (35) defeated Waasa Wombats (19).
Turku Dockers (53) defeated Waasa Wombats (8).
Turku Dockers (35) defeated Helsinki Heatseekers (8).

 

SWANS SUCCESSFUL IN FINAL MATCH OF SEASON

In their final match of the season, the South Dublin Swans recorded a hard-fought win against the finals-bound Leeside Lions. According to the Swans, this win was a good reward for the teams’ effort throughout what was described as a difficult season. With a finals place already secured, the Lions could focus on testing out some new tactics and positional changes that surprise their opposition during the ARFLI finals. The Swans were the stronger team throughout the match, taking their chances when presented in front of goals, with their accuracy being one of the key highlights on the day as they kicked 18 goals from 23 scoring shots on their way to a 45-point victory. For the Lions, they kicked 14 behinds but will be confident in turning that around with finals coming up so soon to decide the 2019 premiers.

Final Scores (ARFLI)

Men’s: South Dublin Swans (18.5. 113) defeated Leeside Lions (9.14. 68).

 

FINAL ROUND WIN SECURES TOP PLACE FOR SHARKS

The battle for the top spot and the minor premiership in the SARFL all came down to the final match of the home and away season between the Glasgow Sharks and the Edinburgh Bloods. In a high-scoring match, both teams battled hard in this hotly-contested game that was just as entertaining for the crowd as it was the players. In wet conditions, neither team was able to gain complete control of the wet football but it was the Sharks who created more opportunities and even though they were inaccurate, kicking 18 behinds, the Sharks also kicked 17 goals on their way to a 19-point victory. These two will play each other again in the Preliminary Final for an automatic spot in the Grand Final, and despite this result, the Bloods will feel confident in turning the result around. The Bloods were also inaccurate in the damp conditions, kicking 17 behinds for the day but also created enough scoring chances for them to be confident of taking it right up to the Sharks when they play next weekend.

Final Scores (AFL Scotland)

Men’s: Glasgow Sharks (17.18. 120) defeated Edinburgh Bloods (14.17. 101).

 

 

PSS International Removals have helped people move from the UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 37 years. They offer friendly advice, no matter whether you’re sending a few boxes or a whole house removal including car. For more information call 020 8686 7733 or visit the PSS Removals website.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Match of the Round

AFL Netherlands Round 3

Amsterdam Devils, Delft Blues, Waterland Eagles

27/07/2019  Delft  12:00pm

Round three of the AFL Netherlands season kicks off this weekend, with all three AFLNL teams the Amsterdam Devils, Delft Blues and Waterland Eagles going head to head in an action packed day.

All teams will be looking for some wins and be eager to put on a show for the local crowd.

With ideal weather for footy predicted this weekend, the Delft Blues will play host to what’s sure to be a high scoring affair between the three Dutch clubs.

The Waterland Eagles are exceeding expectations in their debut season, and with great numbers at training believe they will continue to grow and improve.

The Eagles work in conjunction with the Waterland Rugby Club and although rugby is an entirely different code, the training and experience that this Eagles side are gaining from a rugby background, is seen as a real weapon of theirs.

Waterland Eagles player Neil Cooke elaborates, “Being associated with a rugby club means that tackling is a focus of our team. Tackling opportunities come around a little less in Australian Football compared to Rugby, so when there’s a chance to land a tackle, we aim to make the tackle stick and see it as a real strength of ours.”

With the 2019 Champions League trophy now under their belt, the Amsterdam Devils look to be the side to beat this season and head into this weekend sitting at the top of the AFLNL ladder.

With this experience and the ability to develop their Dutch born players, the Devils will be an exciting team to watch on the weekend.

In 2019 the Devils have been known for their great kicking efficiency and off ball running which has helped them be as successful as they are.

Although the spotlight is on them, the close games and competitive nature of all the players in the league, make for a great spectacle and show how evenly matched this competition is.

In their second season of AFL as a club, the Delft Blues are a team that are consistently competitive and have beaten both of their Netherlands opponents in the past.

With their great use of size and strength in contests, the Blues are definitely a team to look out for and could be the surprise package heading into this finals series.

AFL Netherlands are great ambassadors for the game in Europe and put in a lot of effort to play matches all over the country, allowing for more people to find out about AFL and join in on the sport.

Amsterdam Devils President Dustin Fergus shows a clear example saying, “We collectively as a group are looking to grow the game in the Netherlands and get more people involved, that includes playing games in Den Hague or at Pumerand, so it’s important that the club leaders show up and get involved as much as possible.”

With this being the last round of the regular season, all teams will be looking to finish the season on a positive note. A win to finish the season will build the confidence of these teams heading into finals and with some high quality players on display, it will make for an exciting weekend.

Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!

 

Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Community Spotlight – Josip Kravar & Dinko Irsag

Both Josip Kravar and Dinko Irsag have played a big part in the growth of Australian Football in Europe and their home country of Croatia.

Josip has undertaken a number of roles, from playing, coaching, and being the president of the Zagreb Hawks, to being a commissioner with AFL Europe.

Just like Josip, Dinko has also played, coached and held a number of roles within Australian Rules Football in Croatia, including President and General Secretary of the league.

Now Josip has decided to step down as an AFL Europe Commissioner, fellow countryman and friend Dinko Irsag is set to take his place on the commission.

They’ve both been around the game for a long time now, and they both had a similar introduction to the game. For Josip, he had a family member from Adelaide who introduced him to the game back in 2006 and he has loved it ever since.

Dinko’s introduction and desire to be involved in the sport also comes from family. “I came back from Australia, where my parents wouldn’t let me play footy, and made a deal with my mum, if I found an Aussie Rules team in Croatia, I could play the sport. She regretted that deal,” Irsag said.

Having both played the sport, they know the physical demands it requires at a competitive level. From Dinko’s perspective, he particularly loves the athleticism, speed and communication needed in the sport, while the standout aspect for Josip is the physicality, teamwork and commitment both on and off the field.

Looking forward to the future of AFL in Europe, Josip can see that sport is going in a positive direction.

“We are moving forward with better organisation, better development and a better connection between the countries involved. Lots of good work has been done, and lots more needs to continue being done in the coming years,” Kravar said.

Dinko shares a similar sentiment but also spoke about how the game is growing through the women’s game.

“I think AFL is leaning more and more towards female footy. AFLW did a lot to spur that and women are playing the sport with a passion that helps grow the sport. Other than that, a junior program is probably in the near future. Playing the sport in Australia begins at a young age, the only logical thing is to do the same in Europe,” Irsag said.

Now that Dinko is on the AFL Europe commission, he will continue to look forward with growing the sport in Europe, and it sounds like he already has a number of plans in mind to further that.

As Josip is stepping down, he understands the commitment required to be on the AFL Europe commission but believes Dinko will be a great fit for the role.

“I believe he has the skills to cope with the challenges… This role is very demanding but after all it’s very rewarding,” Kravar said.

“Josip is one of the few players left that remembers the original founders. He has helped footy in Croatia grow from a couple of guys kicking a footy to having a competitive league with multiple clubs in multiple towns. Setting up the CEAFL tournament he expanded footy in our region to help countries with only one experience playing tournament footy and growing their skill level. His work has been instrumental in pushing footy past it’s infancy and into a sport with more than 100 players and over 300 members,” Irsag said.

Both have been crucial for football in Croatia and Europe, and with Dinko stepping up into a commission role, that work is bound to continue at both a local level with the Sesvete Double Blues and Redlegs as well at a national level. Josip has contributed a lot towards the game and will be missed in his AFL Europe role, but will continue to be significant in Croatia and for his beloved Zagreb Hawks.

With these two still involved with footy, it’s in good hands and if the next generation can learn from them, the game has a positive future in Croatia, Central/Eastern Europe and Europe in general.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Buster Sund

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

With his massive smile and energy, Buster Sund is the epitome of AFL Europe.

Born and raised in Sweden, Buster grew up with no knowledge of AFL, but since joining the great Australian game he has found a real passion and believes it cannot be compared to anything else.

“You can’t compare AFL to any other sport, I just loved AFL from the start. It is such a fun sport to play, especially with the tackles and big hits. Even the team-spirit that you have in  AFL is unbelievable, I’ve never seen such a good vibe in any other sports or teams!” Sund said.

Buster started playing Australian Football in 2012 for the Norrtälje Dockers at the age of just 16, and continues to play in Sweden where he is an AFL Sweden ambassador and will do anything to help the growth of the game.

After playing in Sweden for five years, Buster moved to Australia for his University studies, where he was able to play for a local team on the Gold Coast.

Being around Australians who love the sport as much as he did was an amazing feeling for him and when moving back to Sweden, the experience helped his enthusiasm to grow, and his desire for AFL Sweden to go to another level.

Since 2012 Buster has built upon his game, and with his great leaping ability and strong hands in aerial contests, he has been a part of many of the major AFL Europe tournaments for his local Dockers side and even the national side of the Swedish Elks.

One of his greatest achievements, was being able to represent Sweden at the 2014 International Cup that was held in Melbourne.

Since then Buster has been a part of all the major AFL Europe tournaments, including the Champions League playing for the Norrtälje Dockers, where he was selected in the 2019 Team of the Tournament and the Euro Cup playing for his national side, the Swedish Elks where he is also the Captain.

Buster is known for wanting to grow the game in Europe and in particular his home country. On top of helping to organise the teams he plays in, he’s been pivotal in setting up venues, and even making the goal posts used for matches or tournaments.

In an act then went viral on the official AFL page, Buster, in the most recent Euro Cup helped by heading to the woods, chopping down some trees and making his very own homemade goalposts which were perfect for the event. This type of effort is driven by his love for the game and his aim to give as many people as possible a way of accessing the sport.

With this passion Buster is genuinely excited in the direction that AFL in Europe is heading and with the recent Euro Cup being held in Sweden, is keen to see the growth of the game in his home country in the near future.

“It’s just getting better and better for every year! The sport is continually going to get even bigger and we are definitely going to put AFL Sweden on the map in the next few years,” Sund said.
With his match skills building, and Buster’s effort to help the sport in any way possible, be it on or off field, he will continue to have a successful 2019 and is a vital reason to why the game is growing in Europe.
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe

 

AFL Europe Wine Club – Stonier

Last month saw the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup take place in Norrtälje, Sweden where the England Dragonslayers and Irish Banshees were crowned as champions. The day saw 24 national teams from across Europe come together on a sunny Saturday to compete in AFL Europe’s premier 9-a-side competition, with the two finals being played in front of a big crowd full of players, staff, friends and family.

A proud supporter of AFL Europe, Fine Wine Partners, were present to toss the coin for the women’s grand final, before congratulating the teams and players after the grand final. As they did at AFL Europe’s Champions League, the “Players of the Tournament” in both the men’s and women’s divisions were presented with a congratulatory bottle of the award-winning Tasmanian sparkling wine House of Arras, Grand Vintage.

The Euro Cup theme continues this month with the wine featuring at the tournament now available for purchase at a discounted rate through the AFL Europe Wine Club. The two wines on offer this month are from the famous Stonier winery in the Mornington Peninsula region in Victoria, with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay each available as a case of six.

Stonier is one of Australia’s leading producers of premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay crafted from a selection of the Mornington Peninsula’s oldest vines. Each wine showcases the region’s cool maritime climate and the winery’s unique southerly position on the edge of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The foundation of Stonier’s success is built upon the cultivation of these two cool-climate varieties and their dedication to the practice of viticulture and winemaking.

Winemakers Mike Symons and Will Byron each bring extensive experience to the team and have dedicated their passion and understanding of winemaking and viticulture to Stonier since joining in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Having both worked many vintages across Burgundy, Bordeaux and beyond, their focus remains on wines that distinctly reflect the vineyards from which they come, expressing true varietal characteristics and the Mornington Peninsula terroir. 

This month the AFL Europe Wine Club presents two of the Mornington Peninsula’s world-renowned wines, Stonier’s spectacular Chardonnay and their Pinot Noir that took home gold at the Sydney International Wine Competition.

Offers of the Month

Stonier Pinot Noir: 

“Renowned for producing consistently outstanding Pinot Noirs. The attractive plum and cherry aromas are enhanced by gamey undertones and a smoky oak influence. Juicy and sweet on the palate with a long and vibrant finish. Stonier Pinot Noir was awarded the gold medal in 2015 at the Sydney International Wine Competition.”

Case of six:
RRP £138.00
AFL Europe price £104.00

 

Stonier Chardonnay: 

“Rich on the palate and expressing an array of citrus fruits, ripe peach and honeydew melon. There is a nice creamy texture, which will become richer with time in the bottle, together with a lively freshness, driven by an attractive puckering lemon-like acidity. The finish is long and persistent, Stonier consistently over deliver with their classic Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay release.”

Case of six:
RRP £132.00
AFL Europe price £99.00

To place your Stonier order, or to learn more about wines available through the AFL Europe Wine Club, please contact the team at Fine Wine Partners. 

Next day delivery from £9.99

Email: info@finewinepartners.co.uk

Call: +44 7810856290

Offer ends August 31st.

Irish Watch – AFL Round 18 Review

The AFL’s Irish contingent would put on a show over the weekend, with their skills, pace and general ability to excite certainly turning heads in what was an enthralling round of football.

For the third consecutive week we would see the same six players feature at AFL level, whilst others pushed their case with some dazzling performances in the state leagues.

23 year old excitement machine Conor McKenna continued to garner attention after another exceptional performance on Friday night against the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

Proving himself to be one of the Bombers most important players, young McKenna set both the Adelaide Oval and social media alight with some simply astounding passages of play. 

The incorporation of Gaelic football into his game was particularly amusing for all supporters of the game, as the Irishman got around Lachie Murphy using a traditional kick to himself, making the young Crow look a fool in the process.

 His bounce of halfback was critical to the Bombers incredible second half resurgence, with his run and carry simply proving too much for the sluggish Crows forwards and midfielders.  

With the Bombers producing their best win of the season and all but securing a finals spot, McKenna was outstanding with 24 disposals and two tackles.

 He also used the ball at an impressive 79% and was apart of the run and dash that saw Essendon power over the top of the Crows.

In a weekend full of big moments and thrilling finishes, youngster Colin O’Riordan would be thrown right in the middle of a nail-biter as the inexperienced Swans travelled West to take on the out of form Dockers.  

In what was a scrappy, low scoring affair, O’Riordan would thrive with his ruthless attack on the ball and ability to read the play effectively.

 Playing a responsible role across the half back line, his ball use and composure was vital all night for the Swans, as they constantly stayed in the game and challenged the more experienced Fremantle side.

Finishing up with 18 disposals at 89%, five marks and two tackles, it was one of O’Riordan’s best performances of the year as he continues to stamp himself into the Swan’s best 22.

The Cats poor form would continue on Sunday afternoon as they fell victim to the systematic brilliance of Alastair Clarkson and the Hawks. 

Zach Tuohy continued his good recent run of form with another excellent game across half back.  

In a defence that was constantly under pressure from the young Hawthorn midfield, the veteran stood up well, providing excellent run and producing some outstanding defensive plays.  

His ball use was also relatively solid on a tough day, using at a reasonable 65% and taking on the risky options to help Geelong.

 He was also effective in rebounding the ball out of the Cats inside 50, and was important in leading an inexperienced Cats defence.

Finishing up with 20 disposals and three marks, Tuohy was one of few who could hold his head high after a tough day for the Cats.

Mark O’Connor was also solid in defeat for Geelong, as he yet again impressed in his breakout season at AFL level.

 Talked up during the week by his coaches for his courage and total commitment to the team, all of his tough defensive traits were there for all to see at the MCG on Sunday afternoon.

His toughness at the contest was also impressive, as he laid five tackles and collected five contested possessions.

He is also developing his offensive game, as he again was able to get involved with Geelong’s ball movement and pick up a valuable 14 disposals. 

Skills wise he again impressed, using at 93% further showing his potential to be a long time contributor for the Cats in the years to come.

On the other side, Conor Nash got his revenge against the Cats from round five, as he contributed up forward in the Hawks upset win.

Although the stat sheet doesn’t show much, only gathering five disposals and a tackle, his work competing and applying perceived pressure was invaluable to the overall chemistry of Hawthorn’s forward line.

With the Hawks flying over the past month, his influence up forward has been vital as he continues to improve and become a regular contributor at AFL level.

The Irish influence on the league in general continues to grow with talks of Ross McQuillan coming over next year exciting a number of different teams, who are looking to find themselves a Conor McKenna like contributor.

It was also fantastic to see promising young St Kilda defender Darrag Joyce earn a contract extension, tying him to the club until 2021.

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week AFL Europe will take a look around the continent at the Australian Football highlights and thrilling matches. This Around the Grounds article delves into the standout performances from the weekend’s action and is presented by PSS International Removals.

MANCHESTER MOSQUITOES DOMINATE IN AFLCNE GRAND FINAL

After an action-packed home and away season, it all came down to the AFLCNE Grand Final on Saturday as the Manchester Mosquitoes played the Wolverhampton Wolverines at Lockwood Park in Huddersfield. To start the day, the Huddersfield Rams took on the Nottingham Scorpions in a third-place playoff match, with the host team winning a high-scoring thriller by just three points. While that was a close encounter, the Grand Final wasn’t as tight, with the experience of the Mosquitoes shining through as they continued their superb form from the regular season all the way through the finals. After a fast opening two quarters, the Mosquitoes held a comfortable lead at half-time. The Wolverines tried to take the game on in the second half and contested hard for the football, but Manchester was just too strong across the ground, running out 52-point winners to be crowned as Premiers and Champions of the 2019 AFLCNE season.

Final Scores (AFLCNE Finals Day)

Men’s: Third-Place playoff – Huddersfield Rams (101) defeated Nottingham Scorpions (98).
Grand Final – Manchester Mosquitoes (95) defeated Wolverhampton Wolverines (43).

 

AFL MASTERS CONCLUDE EUROPE TOUR IN IRELAND

Saturday saw the AFL Masters take on the Ireland Gaelic Masters in the AFL Masters’ final match of their 2019 European Tour. Having played in France and England, a big couple of weeks finished with an International Rules game, with both the AFL and Gaelic balls being used for half the game. A physical opening quarter, played with the oval ball, saw both teams play the majority of the game through the middle of the ground, with not much goal action as Ireland took an eight-point lead into the first break. In the second quarter, this time with the round ball, the Ireland Masters started to gain some ascendancy in the game but Australia’s defence helped keep them in the game, as the margin at half-time was 28-points. Back to the oval ball, and the Australian’s bounced back with more run and hitting the scoreboard in the third quarter as the margin was reduced to 15-points in favour of Ireland. With a smaller bench due to injuries, the Australian’s couldn’t keep up with Ireland in the last quarter as the home side ran away with the game as they ended up winning by 58-points. A great game from both teams showcasing their skills and despite the result, a positive way to finish the AFL Master tour of Europe.

Final Scores (2019 AFL Masters European Tour)

Men’s: Ireland (87) defeated Australia (29).

 

NORTH LONDON LIONS SECURE GRAND FINAL SPOT IN THRILLER

The opening week of AFL London Finals saw qualifying finals take place on Saturday and elimination finals on the Sunday. With four games each day, there was no lack of action across the league. On Saturday, the Wandsworth Demons played the North London Lions at Peckham Rye for a place in the Grand Final in two weeks’ time. In a tight game, there was a clear scoring end with the wind assisting whichever team was kicking toward the Peckham end. Both teams exchanged blows as neither side were able to gain control in a physical contest with the result still in the balance heading into the final quarter. Kicking with the wind, the Demons put on plenty of forward pressure but one passage of play from the Lions changed the game. As the Lions got the ball out of defence, they linked together a passage of play that ended up in the hands of their full-forward all by herself about 15 metres out, who turned around and kicked what ended up being the winning goal. Despite a frantic last couple of minutes, the Lions held strong to win by a single goal and book a place in the big dance while the Demons get another chance next week against the West London Wildcats.

Final Scores (AFL London)

Women’s Premiership: North London Lions (29) defeated Wandsworth Demons (23).

 

 

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Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Match of the Round

AFLCNE Grand Final

Wolverhampton Wolverines v Manchester Mosquitoes

20/07/19  Huddersfield  12:00pm

All the hard work, close games and tactics have lead to this moment, as this weekend will showcase the 2019 AFLCNE Men’s Grand Final.

With the Wolverhampton Wolverines facing the Manchester Mosquitoes, this match will feature some of the best players in Europe and is set to be a thrilling affair.

The Mosquitoes go into this final match undefeated and look to continue on their winning ways.

For the Wolverines this is a club first, marking a momentous occasion to be in their first Grand Final and something their club will cherish forever.

“Being in our first Grand Final means everything to the club. There’s such an amazing buzz around the team at the moment and it means even more to the guys who have been playing for the Wolverines for more than eight years,” said Wolverhampton Fitness Coach Adam Morris.

A lot of hard work and effort has gone into the Wolverines success and unlike most English based sides, they only have one Australian playing on their list.

The Wolverines, coming up against the reigning premiers, know that it will be a tough match up but believe that their depth and experienced national side players can get them over the line.

“Our strengths most probably lie in the depth of talent in our squad which is something we’ve really been lacking in the past few years. Add that onto our strong Great Britain representative contingent means this is probably the best side we’ve had in years,” said Adam Morris.

In contrast to this, the Mosquitoes are looking to continue their success, with multiple premierships in recent times they are known as the AFLCNE’s most decorated club.

Having the right mindset towards a goal is always important and a major reason behind Manchester’s success is their effort to always strive for more and continuously improve.

Mosquitoes Coach, Matthew Kilheeney elaborates, “This is a massive game for the club. Year on year we want to improve, and demonstrate the progression of the club and growth of our local players. With our combination of home grown talent and experienced Aussies, we think this can help us get the job done.”

In a close encounter last time these two teams met, Manchester got over the line by a mere two goals, although both sides were able to gain countless forward entries from clearances and this made for an exciting high-scoring affair.

With the Manchester side having plenty of finals experience under their belt, contrasted with the Wolverines hunger to make club history, we can expect another tight finish.

Plenty of the AFLCNE community will get down to Huddersfield in support of some of Europe’s best sides and will make for an amazing atmosphere on what could be an iconic grand final weekend.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!

 

Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.