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Commemoration Match – West London Wildcats v Wandsworth Demons

Commemoration Game – West London Wildcats v Wandsworth Demons

Chiswick Rugby Club, W4 2SH

3:30pm

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.”

Team Lists

West London Wildcats

Keith Della-Vedova

Jared Risol

Stephen Staunton

Zak Bozanich

Jonny O’Duifinn

James Stevenson

Mack Williams

Ryan Sullivan

Mike Gregson

Jack Wood

Tyson Mihocek

Lewis Brackstone

Paul Hinkley

Adam Rice

Stuie Ward

Cameron Cope

Lewis Gedney

Andrew Ibberson

James Shanahan

Jarrod Bennetts

Sam Taggart

Evan Johnson

Matt Warwick

Andy Challis (Captain)

Wandsworth Demons

Jack Wheeler

Sam Drake

Hugo Phillips

Harry Lahy

Josh ‘Jet’ Beattie

Alex Watson

Andy Smith

Riccardo Leumann

Jack Andrews

Ben Durance

Kevin O’Brien

Eoin O’Murchu

Dom Chao

Matt Decler

Alan Tobin

Mick Pitman

Danny Reid

Will Sutton

Adam Jeffrey

Nick Noblett

Sam Bowler

Ash Walsh

Michael Curcio

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

 

‘The Game of their Lives’ Commemoration Match

*Picture: Australian War Memorial

 On the 28th October 1916, the Queens Club in London played host to the first organised game of Australian Football played overseas by predominantly elite-level players.

Over 100 years ago two teams of Australian soldiers staged an ‘exhibition game’ that drew over 3000 spectators, including the then Prince of Wales and etched itself in the history books of Australian Rules Football.

The game was the brainchild of Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, who proposed it to the legendary general John Monash, then commander of the Third Division.

Lieutenant Frank Beaurepaire, an Olympic swimmer was tasked with organising the one-off match which raised almost £1000 for the British and French Red Cross Societies.

The two sides competing in the match were littered with football royalty. The Australian Units Training Team, who played in light red jumpers with a white kangaroo on them, was captained by Norwood champion, Charles Perry.

The side also included, Percy Trotter of Fitzroy and East Fremantle, George Bower of South Melbourne, Clyde Donaldson of Essendon and vice-captained by Fiztroy’s John ‘Jack’ Cooper.

They lined up against the Third Australian Division, who wore navy blue jumpers with a map of Australia in white, who were captained by South Melbourne’s Bruce Sloss.

Their vice-captain was Collingwood and Richmond star, Dan Minogue, while they also had Bill Stewart of Essendon, Hughie James of Richmond and Jack Brake of University and Melbourne on the Third Division side.

The game was low-scoring, with the Third Division side claiming a 16-point victory. The final score read 6.16. (52) to 4.12. (36).

Tragically for Third Division captain, Bruce Sloss, Jack Cooper, Stan Martin, James Foy, James Pugh and Les Lee, the exhibition was to be their last as all were tragically killed serving in the Great War.

In just over a weeks’ time, two London sides will commemorate the Exhibition Game in their round 1 encounter.

In what doubles as a 2016 grand final rematch, the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats will wear replica kit in the game. The Demons will wear the light red jumpers with white kangaroo of the Australian Units Training Team while the Wildcats will wear the navy blue with white map of Australia of the Third Australian Division.

The May 6th encounter will be played at the Chiswick Rugby Club, Chiswick, London, W4 2SH. Ball-up will be at 3pm, with the match being captured on film by Game On Productions and BarTV Sports.

The match would not be possible without the incredible work of Game On Productions, Lizzie Kirkham, who is thrilled that the game will be remembered just over 100 years since the original took place.

Stay tuned for more information on the match.

View some original footage from the match courtesy of the British Pathe (www.britishpathe.com)