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.
WEST LONDON WILDCATS WIN LONDON PREMIERSHIP
After 11 weeks of football, the AFL London Men’s Premiership concluded on Saturday as the West London Wildcats played the Wandsworth Demons in the Grand Final at Hackney Marshes. With the rivalry between the two clubs going back to the start of the AFL London competition, this was always going to be a physical, fast contest but after quarter time, the Wildcats started to dominate by playing the football that saw them go through the whole season undefeated. While the battle for the contested footy was reasonably even, the Demons couldn’t match the Wildcat’s clearance work and ability to move the ball quickly through the middle as the lead extended to 36 points at half time. The Demon’s got back on the scoreboard in the third quarter, with a goal and a behind, but the Wildcats kicked further away, scoring a further three goals to lead by 51 points at the final change. As both teams started to tire in the humid conditions, the game opened up in the final quarter but the Demon’s couldn’t close the gap as the Wildcats ran away with the game to win by 70-points and take home the 2019 Men’s Premiership. The Men’s Premiership rounded off an action-packed day of Grand Finals, as the Wandsworth Demons won their fifth social premiership in a row, defeating the Ealing Emu’s by eight points. In the Men’s Conference, the Shepherds Bush Raiders finished off their season in style with yet another Grand Final win as they defeated a gallant Wimbledon Hawks by 26 points.
Final Scores (AFL London)
Men’s Premiership: West London Wildcats (14. 8. 92) defeated Wandsworth Demons (3. 4. 22).
Men’s Conference: Shepherds Bush Raiders (10. 9. 69) defeated Wimbledon Hawks (6. 7. 43).
Men’s Socials: Wandsworth Demons (2. 12. 24) defeated Ealing Emus (1. 10. 16).
THRID TIME’S A CHARM FOR NORTH LONDON LIONS
After finishing as runners-up in both 2016 and 2018, the North London Lions have won their first-ever AFL London Women’s Premiership by defeating the Wandsworth Demons in a nail-biter on Saturday. The Demon’s had gone through the regular season undefeated and were looking to win their third flag win a row, but the Lions had other ideas. After a tight opening quarter, where both teams dominated in defence, the scores were tied and it wasn’t until the second quarter that either side managed to gain a slender lead with the Lions up by a point at half-time. The Lions had more of the play in the third quarter, as they extended their lead to four points at the last break. In the final quarter, the Lions kicked a crucial goal to lead by 10 points late in the game, but a quick reply from the Demon’s meant the margin was back to just four points with a couple of minutes remaining. The Demon’s gave it everything, but the Lions held strong to win their first-ever women’s premiership by four points in a thrilling conclusion to the match. While the Lions won their first women’s premiership this weekend, last weekend saw the London Swans also win their first-ever premiership as a club as they won by 56 points against the Wandsworth Demon’s in the Women’s Conference.
Final Scores (AFL London Women’s)
Women’s Premiership: North London Lions (1. 4. 10) defeated Wandsworth Demons (1. 0. 6).
Women’s Conference: London Swans (6. 20. 56) defeated Wandsworth Demons (0. 0. 0).
SHARKS WIN BATTLE FOR GRAND FINAL SPOT
After last week’s battle between the Glasgow Sharks and Edinburgh Bloods secured top spot for the Sharks, this weeks rematch had a Grand Final place and two weeks off for the winner. Both sides have been evenly matched and hard to separate from the start of the season when Edinburgh won the opening fixture by 11 points. The Sharks turned that around as they won the final game of the home-and-away season by 19 points, and it was the Sharks who continued their form into this week in the qualifying final. This game was played in a typical style for finals, with the intensity, physicality and pace going up more than the regular season, and that intensity showed on the scoreboard as both defences enjoyed more dominance compared to their previous fixtures. It was an even game throughout, but the Sharks managed to get ahead at key stages of the match and hold on to that lead as their endurance helped them maintain a healthy margin as they went on to record a 25 point victory and a spot in the Grand Final on the 24th of August. For the Bloods, this result means they will get another chance to reach the Grand Final, as they will play the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Preliminary Final in two weeks time on the 17th of August.
Final Scores (AFL Scotland)
Men’s: Glasgow Sharks (96) defeated Edinburgh Bloods (71).
TYNE TEES TIGERS TARGET GRAND FINAL PLACE
In the other AFL Scotland finals game, the Tyne Tees Tigers played the Glasgow Giants in the Elimination Final. In comparison, this match was more free-flowing as a total of 33 goals were kicked. However, the majority of those goals were scored by the Tigers as they controlled most of the game as they went on to win their first ever finals match. Earlier in the season, these two sides played out a close thriller as the Giants won by nine points, but this game was a massive reversal of that result as the Giants struggled to deal with the Tigers midfield and attack in their forward-50. The Tigers scored 26 goals for the match, with six players kicking majors, while the Giants struggled to get the ball into their forward line as they kicked seven goals. For the Tigers, Connor Robinson kicked nine goals, while teammate Anthony Roy Brannigan kicked seven and David Hodgson kicked five on the way to a commanding 120 point win for the Tigers, who will now face the Edinburgh Bloods in the Preliminary Final on the 17th of August. For the Giants, that concludes their season as they just couldn’t match their opponents on the day as they will regroup and will look ahead to what next season may bring for the club.
Final Scores (AFL Scotland)
Men’s: Tyne Tees Tigers (26. 17. 173) defeated Glasgow Giants (7. 11. 53).
GIANTS SHOW THAT GOOD KICKING IS GOOD FOOTBALL
As the Australian Football cliché goes, good kicking is good football, and on the weekend the Copenhagen Giants showed just that as the DAFL returned from it’s summer break. Up against the Odense Lions in a key battle for finals places, the Giants were impressive with their accuracy in front of goal, kicking 10 goals from their 16 scoring shots. Meanwhile, the Lions also had 16 scoring shots, but could only manage six goals as they kicked 10 behinds. The game had been tight from the start, with the Giants up at half-time by just two points before scores were tied at three-quarter time. With both teams still battling it out in the fourth quarter in a tough contest, it was the Giants who created more opportunities in their forward half as they then converted those chances as they kicked four late goals to run away with a 20 point win. This result sees the Giants stay in fourth on the ladder, but they draw level with the Lions and Port Malmo. With such a close fight for finals positions, percentage could very well be a key factor for both the Lions and Giants as there are five rounds left before finals.
Final Scores (DAFL)
Men’s: Odense Lions (6. 10. 46) defeated by Copenhagen Giants (10. 6. 66).
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