Commemoration Game – West London Wildcats v Wandsworth Demons
Chiswick Rugby Club, W4 2SH
On the 28th October 1916, two teams of Australian soldiers took to the field in London to play a match of Aussie Rules, raising much needed funds for the Red Cross.
Over 100 years on, two AFL London clubs will commemorate the 1916 Exhibition Match by opening the 2017 Season in replica kit.
In what is also a 2016 grand final rematch, the West London Wildcats host the Wandsworth Demons at the Chiswick Rugby Club.
Last year’s premiers, the Wildcats, will be hoping to continue with their 2016 and 2017 pre-season form in tomorrow’s encounter. They were convincing winners in last year’s grand final controlling large portions of the match, and eventually ran out as 51-point winners.
Having added a third consecutive AFL Europe Champions League to their trophy cabinet, and claiming the AFL London Pre-Season Cup, they’ll go into this clash as deserved favorites.
With the nature of the AFL London player turnover year-to-year, round 1 always offers up a few surprises. Both clubs have experienced large player exodus’ so the two team’s new recruits will be on show.
The Demons were left reeling after a disappointing end to their 2016 campaign. Saving their worst performance for the year until last should’ve provided extra motivation for their squad this off-season.
They’ll come out firing in tomorrow’s clash knowing they’ve got a lot to prove against the competition’s benchmark.
The extra significance this match will hold is something all players, coaches, spectators and clubs will remember for a long time.
Both clubs have been incredible in their preparations for this commemoration match and should be congratulated for all their efforts.
Check out the AFL article on the match HERE
Coach’s thoughts – West London Wildcats – Keith Della-Vedova
“We have been building towards Round 1 since January and everyone is pumped for it to have finally arrived after doing it tough during the cold months. We have a good mixture of experience and fresh faces across all grades with the extra excitement of having our inaugural women’s team debuting tomorrow as well.
Being involved in the recreation of the Pioneer Exhibition Game from over 100 years ago is a fantastic experience to be a part of, having Lizzie Kirkham come down to share her knowledge and passion for the project of Aussie footballers involved in WW1 has been a really humbling experience. Hopefully across all 4 grades we can deliver the same spirit and commitment the Third Division did during the war 100 years ago and celebrate their memories of those who gave us the chance to be here today.”
Coach’s thoughts – Wandsworth Demons – Francis Caldow
“It’s great to have footy back for another season and there’s no better way to kick it off than with a grand final rematch. This year will be extra special with the 100-year commemoration celebrations in what should be a fantastic day down at Chiswick.
Our senior team has been lucky to keep a strong core group of players and this should hold us in good stead for this week and the season ahead.
Wildcats are a super team to compete against and continue to be the benchmark of the league. It is awesome to be involved with such high-level football on this side of the equator.”
West London Wildcats
Andy Challis (Captain)
Josh ‘Jet’ Beattie
Geoffrey Rouse (Captain)
Good luck to all the clubs kicking off their season on Saturday. Check out the full AFL London round 1 fixtures HERE