AFL London Premiership Divison Grand Finals
Women’s: North London Lions v Wandsworth Demons 1:30pm
Men’s: West London Wildcats v Wandsworth Demons 3:00pm
3/08/2019 Hackney Marshes
Hackney will be home to a thrilling match up in the women’s competition, with the North London Lions and Wandsworth Demons set to compete in the AFL London Women’s Premiership Division Grand Final.
Both the Lions and Demons have had some convincing wins this season with their emphatic style of play, but when against each other are evenly matched across the board. With their past two meetings being decided by under two goals, spectators can expect another extremely close encounter.
In a 2018 Grand Final rematch, this is set to be a tough battle for both sides, who will use their strengths through crunching tackles and ability to burst out of contests.
Beating the Demons in the semi final by a single goal, the Lions will go into this one with some confidence, but are expecting another close game.
Laura Turner-Ramadan will be an important contributor for the Lions in this match. An England Vixens and GB Swans representative, her pace out of contests and ability to win the ball will be exciting to see and set the tone for the way North London want to play.
North London have improved each week and now at peak fitness, combined with great communication skills, seem to be playing their best footy.
Lions Coach Jay Treloar explains some reasons for their success in 2019, “The most impressive thing this season is the commitment shown by the entire group. The effort that people have put into the season both games and training… nothing has been too much for the group so they’re more than deserving of their place in the grand final.”
Unbeaten throughout the regular season, the Demons look to be in their best form and will be confident that the strategies they have used in the past can again get them across the line this weekend.
Using their size and strength in all parts of the ground is a major factor of the Demons game style and their toughness in contests will go a long way towards them winning this weekend.
Demons Coach, Ed Hooper said on the teams strengths, “Our midfield has learned how to move the footy from the contest efficiently and quickly, and we’ve seen big improvement since the season began with our play now flowing nicely. Our defence has also been very strong, taking intercept marks to halt the oppositions momentum.”
A player to look out for on the weekend is the much improved New Zealander, Tracey Hamilton.
“Tracey’s best match was our semifinal loss to the Lions. She read the ball in the air to take a couple of intercepts, chased the ball down under pressure and beat her player to get the ball out, able to create opposition turnovers, and we expect much of the same this weekend,” Coach Hooper said.
The Wandsworth ‘SheDees’ are looking to achieve a rarity in any sport by going for a three-peat, having won the last two Women’s Premierships. On the other hand, North London want to make amends from a painful Grand Final loss last season and prove to the league that this is their year.
With two evenly matched sides in all areas of the ground, this match will be a nail biter and one of the best matches of the AFL London 2019 season.
Photos by Danny Radis Photography
The two most successful AFL London Men’s Clubs in West London and Wandsworth go head to head in the Men’s Premiership Division Grand Final this weekend.
The Demons are aiming for an incredible premiership three-peat, while the Wildcats are looking to grab a twelfth premiership, leading the count since AFL London began.
This classic rivalry seems to bring out the best of both sides, with the crowd at Hackney set to be treated to some big hits and plenty of goals.
In a rematch of the 2018 Grand Final, which was decided by a mere point in favour of the Demons, the same intensity will be on display this weekend to cap off a huge AFL London season.
With an extremely close loss in the Grand Final last year, the Wildcats will have this in the back of their mind and will do all they can to not feel the same pain in 2019. The Cats are looking to become Premiers and Champions this season, and have been very much on track with an undefeated record so far.
Wildcats Coach, Rhett Kerr on what it means to the side, “It’s been a few years since we last lifted the AFL London Premiership Cup and when adding on top of that a stinging one point grand final loss to the Demons last year and a disappointing showing at the Amsterdam Championship League earlier this year, there is a huge desire to get back to our winning way’s this weekend.”
The Wildcats have a strong side across the board, but a real exciting part of their team is one of the sides Captains David Allitt.
West London Coach Rhett Kerr describes Allit’s impact on their game play, “since we pushed him forward he’s been a huge, regular asset for us hitting the scoreboard, but I think even more importantly he’s been a real on-field leader for us.”
Through their pace and disposal efficiency, the Wildcats will be looking for much of the same against their rival. Their ability to head forward with precision and skill will create many chances on goal and make for an exciting high goal scoring affair.
The Demons have fought hard all season are looking to get some revenge on their opponent after losing to the Wildcats earlier in the semi final. This side is now in much better form and playing their best footy of the season, just in time to head into the big dance.
Through their pace off the half back line and agility through the midfield, expect a team that is willing to take risks towards goal and play an exciting brand of footy.
Demons Coach, Sam Milne shares the importance of this grand final appearance for their club. “For many of the boys who have been here for two or more years and particularly our Rest of the World players, this game means everything to them. Being around the club 2-3 times a week and having the opportunity to play with some life-long friends makes this game unique and I know each of the boys would like nothing more than to take home the silverware.”
Although it is a team effort to make it to the Grand Final, Ryan Richardson will be a key factor for the Demons side. Rarely beaten one on one, his spoils and use of body for intercept marks will be vital towards Wandsworth’s efforts to win.
It’s a big weekend for these two AFL London powerhouses, with both clubs looking to take home three flags after Saturday’s finals. The Wildcats feature all three of their men’s sides in the Premiership, Conference, and Social divisions, while the Demons will see their Men’s Premier and Socials, plus their women’s Premiership side coming up against AFL London’s best.
Expect a hard hitting, tough contest between these two sides as nothing will be left out on the field for the 2019 premiership.
Photos by Danny Radis Photography
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