There is a football revolution growing quietly, yet purposefully, across East African nations. Whilst most clubs and leagues outside of Australia grow from club to region to nation (or something similar), the growth across some African nations has been the opposite. National teams growing and filtering down to more localised growth. It is unique, and just possibly a blueprint for others to follow. To achieve it, the key pillars are a love of sport – any sport – and a liberal sprinkling of desire, determination, dedication, unity and faith.
Tom Purcell is not the only person to have driven this remarkable growth – a growth that sees teams from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda competing already and may soon add South Sudan and Rwanda. He works with a huge group people – ministers, teachers, students and so many others – to bring together an amazing sporting achievement. Tom was happy, however, for an interview to discuss the many aspects involved in one of Australian football’s most remarkable footholds.
In a see-soaring affair the Fremantle Dockers were able to give Melbourne their first defeat of the 2018 AFLW season at Fremantle Oval. This match was a real arm wrestle and this showed at the final siren, as the Dockers were victors by five points in a thrilling game of the AFLW against the Dees who were undefeated heading into today’s match.
Image Source: Twitter @freodockers
The Melbourne Football Club dominated the first term, as they came out with all guns blazing at the start of the match over the Fremantle Dockers. In the first quarter the Dees kept the Dockers scoreless, but the Dees only managed to slot through one major themselves via Tegan Cunningham. The Dees could have had a bigger lead on the scoreboard at quarter time but there kicking in front of goal let themselves down with five behinds
The Greater Western Sydney Giants notched up their first win in season number two of the AFLW at the Olympic Park Oval. This match was a tight tussle before the Giants were able to break the shackles and dominate the final quarter with four goals to one. The Giants owned the match in the second half with the majority of the game play and this helped them get their first four premiership points of the 2018 AFLW season.
Image Source: Twitter @GWSGIANTS
The opening term was tight and scrappy, despite Collingwood who had the bulk of the play in the first term. Rising star Chloe Molloy begun in the forward line for Collingwood, as in the past two weeks she has played down back. There was stoppage after stoppage early on in the first quarter and the work rate was up and there was plenty of intensity around the contest from both teams. Late on in the first term the Pies started to get on top with more of the ball and cleaner disposal.
The French capital city of Paris is fast becoming a hotbed of Australian football. With the powerful Paris Cockerels having given rise to their sister club the Paris Cockatoos, and the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes becoming a power in the north-east of greater Paris, Antony, a suburb south of Paris might yet become a fourth club in the city.
Steve Ryan coached the Paris Cockerels from 2014 to 2016 before joining the Texas-based Houston Lonestars club, contributing as a coach to a club regarded as one of the best organised in the United States. Having returned to live in the south of Paris with his wife, Steve is now a part of the group driving the Antony Blues. As Steve states, “I’ve been shaped by two great clubs in the Paris Cockerels and Houston Lonestars.” Now he is busy using that experience, and that of the other people involved in the project, to build a new team.
The Abu Dhabi Falcons cannot realistically reach the 2017/18 season finals. Unrealistically, however, it is a different story. If they were to toast the Dubai Dragons in the final round in the same manner they did the Dubai Dingoes last round and the Dingoes miraculously defeated the Multiplex Bulls, the Falcons could get there. But the chances are so small as to be immeasurable. However, the win was a huge reward for the Falcons.
After the double-header in Dubai, the Dragons further enhanced their flag favouritism again after downing the Multiplex Bulls and the Falcons put together a comprehensive thrashing of the Dingoes. With one round to go it appears that the Multiplex Bulls are safe in second place (apart from the aforementioned miracles) and will once again challenge the Dragons for the 2017/18 flag.
After two miserable seasons – finishing seventh in 2015/16 and eighth in 2016/17 – the Tiwi Bombers would be dancing and singing for joy after getting into the finals after their win against Waratah in the final round. No matter what, this season has been a success already for the Tiwi crew. But nobody knows better than the Bombers – all they have so far is the key to the kingdom. A true fairy tale would see them use the key to open the premiership cabinet.
The Bombers’ win against Waratah was set up with a blistering seven goals to one opening term and by half time a 51-point lead. Whilst Waratah rallied briefly to take the third term and hint at a fight-back, it was a bridge too far and the Bombers steadied to bring the game home, and bring their fans to a delirium of sorts. It was a high-pressure match with plenty at stake for both teams, and the Tiwi Bombers proved that they have what it takes to absorb finals-like pressure. Three wins in three weeks would see a second Bomber flag, so they can certainly dare to dream.
The Brisbane Lions pulled off another gutsy win on the road in front of 6,200 football fans against Carlton at Ikon Park by 22 points. At the start this match was a real hard defensive struggle and this explained the very low scoring in the first half of the match, but the game opened up a bit more in the second half with the Lions able to get on the scoreboard with five goals to the Blues two goals. The Blues first goal of the match came with less than four minutes left in the third term.
Image Source: Twitter @lionsaflw
The opening term between Carlton and the Brisbane Lions was a tough, hard and defensive struggle for both teams. In the first quarter there were heaps of one on one contests everywhere on the ground. Neither of the teams were able to score a goal, despite the Lions who had 12 inside 50s to the Blues 5 inside 50s. The Blues were under immense pressure all over the ground, but their defense held up well as the football came inside their defensive 50. The Lions were only able to score a solitary behind in the first quarter.
The Adelaide Crows were able to get over the line against the Western Bulldogs by 7 points in an absolute heart stopper of a match at Norwood Oval in front of 4,900 die hard football fans. Erin Phillips made her highly awaited return from a quad injury this afternoon in perfect conditions and what a wait it was as Phillips single handedly was able to get her Crows over the line with 4 goals in a ripper of a performance.
This match was a physical contest with heaps of pressure and very high intensity. Also it was a great match by two superstars of the AFLW Katie Brennan and Phillips.
Hot on the heels of the AFL’s latest pre-season showpiece – the AFLX – Denmark has already taken a lead and will have their own DAFLX competition. Founder of the Odense Lions, and more recently the drive to bring the Aarhus Bombers back to glory, Morten Merhøj, has been one of the forces behind a new dimension to footy in Denmark.
According to Morten, “to make sure the many members in Odense keep interested in the sport despite not being able to play in DAFL Premier League because we are too many (but not talented enough to have two competitive teams), I came up with FAFLX [the “F” being for Funen, the island Odense is located upon).”
“But then I started looking into other clubs to join and found people in Aarhus interested in actually getting their club [the Aarhus Bombers] back on track. Then I wrote to all the players I could find on the Footy Record site who had played for teams in the area and all of the sudden we had a board and a playing group of 7-10 players.”
When the team was first forming for the 2017 International Cup Anslam Diaz as proud Sri Lankan expat in Australia was excited to the he might be able to play for Sri Lanka. But eventually as the rules were understood as to eligibility it became clear Anslam would not qualify as he lived majority of his life in Australia.
He was obviously disappointed he couldn't play, but that did not stop him taking part. He was at almost every training session of the Australian based players in the lead up to IC17. He found the team sponsorship, he ran water and he was the runner for all of Sri Lanka's IC17 matches.
Most people enjoy a feel good footy story where a football team that has fallen off the radar for whatever reasons rises again like a phoenix and returns. The story is even better when that club goes on to enjoy great success. For the Aarhus Bombers in Denmark, that s exactly what has been happening in the background – the phoenix is rising and time will tell if that success follows.
But according to Morten Merhøj, founder of the Odense Lions and currently driving the Bombers to rise again, his version of the Aarhus Bombers will be bigger and better that previous models.
“[The] Aarhus Australian Football was started back in 1996. Before then you had to travel to Aalborg or Copenhagen to play. After a meeting at the local Australian bar, the Billabong Bar, the club was founded. Many people were at the meeting, but three men was the driving forces: Grant, Jason and Dean.”
The finalists for the 2017/18 NTFL season will be decided by one particular final-round match next weekend, and the equation is simple – the winner of the clash at Tracy Oval between the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will play finals. The loser will commence planning for next season. After weeks of jostling, a final round epic will decide fifth place.
Both teams lost over the weekend, to make things even more interesting, but the Tahs lost by less and hold the psychological edge over the Bombers after stealing fifth place from them. With all other finalists now guaranteed, the script is now perfectly written for a thrilling finish.
Waratah answered the eternal question on the weekend as to whether there is such a thing as a “valuable” loss. The answer was a resounding “Yes” with their narrow three-point loss to ladder leaders, Southern Districts, being enough to leap-frog the Bombers. Waratah were after a win, and played that way. They hurled everything at the Crocs. After a first half where the teams needed to be prised apart with a crowbar, Waratah then kept the Crocs goalless in the third term to snare a 22-point lead. However, Crocs fought back with a big final quarter to steal the match with a goal on the final siren to break Waratah hearts, but not their spirit.