With the addition of the Merseyside Saints to the AFLCNE, 8 teams will contest the AFLCNE 2016 Premiership. But they won’t be the only new thing in the league next season. The AFLCNE will also be introducing a plate competition for the teams that finish 5th – 8th after the home and away season. The top 4 teams will, as in previous seasons, compete for the honour of becoming AFLCNE premiers. The Plate Final will be the warm up game for the league Grand Final.
League President Ian Baxter had this to say about the Plate competition:
“As a league we are mixture of well established sides and newer clubs, the Plate competition means all clubs will have something to aim for towards the end of season and hopefully gives developing clubs some success and recognition for their hard work developing the game that they otherwise may not have got”
Either way it promises to be an exciting season in 2016. The full fixture list can be found here
- Steven King Assistant Coach Western Bulldogs FC
- Justin Longmuir Assistant Coach West Coast Eagles FC
- David Teague Assistant Coach Adelaide Crows FC
- Damian Carroll Assistant Coach Hawthorn FC
- Cameron Bruce Assistant Coach Hawthorn FC
There was a chance to to get an hints and tips from some of the very best coaches the sport has to offer. In the 30 strong audience taking notes was AFLCNE President and England Vixens Head Coach Ian Baxter.
Rather than recount the session blow by blow, here are some of the take home messages from the session.
- Not all AFL Coaches have played at the top level, about 25% haven’t and that number is growing
- Have “Themes” for the season and game plan
- Success is achieved by preparation pre-game day
- Don’t try to copy other coaches styles… coach in a fashion that’s true to your own personality
- Create an enjoyable environment, so that players want to be there
- Allow Senior players to Coach, it will make them better players
- Breaking into smaller groups allows for better quality interaction with players.
- Try to have at least one conversation with each player each session about things in general.
- Create your own drills.
- Play modified games and insert your own conditions to emphasise the learning points you want to work on.
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- When trying to change things on game day you need to have prepared “what if’ actions in advance
- If everything is going wrong “get hold of the footy”
- You don’t need to always answer the players questions, you can use a questioning aspect so that they can create their own solutions…. “what do you think?”
- A simple game plan well understood is better than a complex one poorly understood
Following the session Ian had this to say ” It was a great session to be able to get some nuggets of wisdom from the coaching panel. A big thank you must go to the AFL Coaches Association for taking time out from their busy schedule to speak to everyone and to AFL Europe for organising it all. Events like this whilst only a short time make a big difference to development of the game in our community.”
Sadly tonight Manchester Mosquitoes have had to cancel the Movember Cup due to adverse weather conditions.
After consulting with the venue this evening about the state of the pitches and with the deteriorating weather. There is expected to be a months worth of rainfall over tonight and tomorrow in the North West and the ground is next to the River Mersey with a flood warning for the area released. Below is a map with the areas which may be expected to flood in orange. Trafford MV RFCC is in this area.
Mancheter Mosquitoes President Ben Sweetman has released this statement about the cancellation.
“Unfortunately after talks with our host venue, we have decided to call off
this years movember cup due to the state of the pitches, and the
deteriorating weather. Although there is a chance that they may be in a
good enough state to play on tomorrow, we regret to say we decided that
for the sake of the teams who have long distances to travel tomorrow to
call it off. Unless anyone has a crystal ball and can give us a heads up
then that is that. We will still be heading to the club tomorrow for
anyone who does fancy the trip and a game if we get lucky with conditions.
Apologies for this as we would have loved to have been able to go ahead
with what was shaping to be one hell of a day. Thank you to you all for
committing to the event and hopefully you are all able to make it for next
years event! If you are still interested in coming tomorrow then let me know and I can
fill you in on our plans.”
If you want to get in touch with Ben email him at email@example.com
This years AFLCNE premiers Manchester will be looking to take the Movember crown from last years winners Birmingham University. But with AFL Europe 2015 Champions League winners the West London WildCats and fellow London club the Wandsworth Demons in this years competition taking home the Movember Cup will be anything but easy. With newer clubs the Merseyside Saints and the Greater Glasgow Giants also entering the fray this year the competition will be fierce.
Games start from 11:00 finals at 15:40
For players and spectators wanting to attend please be aware this is not being held at their normal ground but at Trafford MV Rugby Club.
Address: Trafford MV RFCC is on Finneybank Road in Sale, Cheshire, M33 6LR
The club is a 10 minute walk from Dane Road Metrolink Station and buses run regularly from Manchester City Centre. The best are 263 and 254 which go through Hulme and stops at the top of Glebeland Road or the 41 which goes through Didsbury to Sale Metrolink Station which is a 15 minute walk.
Car: the club is easily located and only 2 minutes from Junction 7A at
the M60 motorway and 15 minutes off the M6.
From the M60:
Take the M60 to Junction 7A. At the bottom of the slip road, follow signs for Sale and Altrincham. At the first set of traffic lights, turn right onto Glebelands Road. After about 2/3 mile, turn right into Finneybank Road and Trafford MV RFCC is at the end of Finneybank Road.
From the M6:
Leave the M6 at Junction 19 (After Knutsford Services) and take the A556 north (signposted Manchester and M56). At the junction for the M56 take the A56 towards Altrincham. Then follow instructions as for M56 below.
From the M56:
Exit the M56 at Junction 7/8. Take the A56 towards Altrincham. At Altrincham, continue on the A56 for 3 miles into Sale. Go past the Volunteer pub and turn left at the next set of traffic lights onto Glebelands Road. After about 2/3 mile, turn right into Finneybank Road and Trafford MV RFCC is at the end of Finneybank Road.
Parking at the ground may be tight initially as there will be a kids session finishing up at 11am. But if the weather is fine, additional parking will be opened up on some grassed areas, otherwise street parking may be necessary.
This Sunday the Manchester Mosquitoes host their annual Movember Cup to raise money for men’s health issues. Here at AFLCNE we’re going to continue to look at the men’s health issues that money is being raised for.
Across our league we have 100s of young men who play one of the toughest contact sports around. So what do you think is the leading cause of death in the UK in this demographic?
Cancer?… Drugs?… Road Traffic Accidents?
What if I told you it was suicide?
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Men aged 20-34 years old. 3 out of 4 successful suicides are men with on average 13 men committing suicide every day in the UK
Let that sink in for a minute.
Our players, your teammates are more likely to die from taking their own life than anything else. This is one of the reasons why mental health matters.
Anyone of any age or disposition can be affected by poor mental health. No matter how well their life seems to be going. Just take professional Aussie Rules player and AFL Star Mitch Clark, who’s battle with depression hit the sporting headlines following a victory over Collingwood in May this year.
If you or someone you know are suffering mental health problems the most important thing to do is talk to someone. To access support click on the following link takes you to Movembers recommended services
As a league we’re proud to help raise awareness and help reduce the stigma of mental health issues with the Tyne Tees Tigers having the mental health charity Mental Health Matters‘s logo on their club jumpers for the past 2 seasons playing games across the region and beyond.
If these young men playing one of the toughest sports going can talk about mental health then so can you.
If you’d like to donate to the Movember fundraising efforts you can donate via this link
On the 15th of November the Manchester Mosquitoes, one of the 8 AFLCNE clubs, host a charity Aussie Rules tournament to raise money for the Movember foundation. Read more about the tournament here. This charity raises money for men’s illnesses and in the lead up we’re looking at what we’re raising money for.
In part one of why Movember matters is Testicular Cancer.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 25-49 with the peak age of when a man is diagnosed 30-34 years old. With over 2,000 men diagnosed each year the rate of diagnosis has doubled in the past 50 years. It won’t have escaped you that most of the men playing in our league and running our clubs fall into these age brackets. The good news is there is no link between sporting injuries, hot baths or tight clothes and developing testicular cancer.
Treatment of testicular cancer can involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As with all cancers the earlier it’s found the sooner treatment can start. So it’s important to know how to check your testicles.
But how do I check myself?
Well another AFLCNE club the Wolverhampton Wolverines have that covered for you. Do you remember the TV series Embarrassing Bodies? They were on it showing you how to check your balls. All you need to know about how to check yourself for lumps are in this 5 minute video and if they can get them out on national television there’s no excuse for not checking yours in the privacy of your own home.
When checking yourself you should look out for the following
- Swelling or a lump in either testicle (usually painless)
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Change in the size and shape of the testicles
- Aches or pain in the lower abdomen or groin
- A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
If you notice something that causes you concern, don’t sit on it hoping it will go away, go and see your doctor.
We hope as many players, spectators and supporters can come along to the Movember tournament and be involved to raise money to make it as big a success as possible. If you can’t make it but still want to contribute you can donate at the following link:
If you want to help or be involved with the tournament contact Ben Sweetman email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the 15th of November the Manchester Mosquitoes host a charity Aussie Rules tournament at Trafford MV Rugby Club. The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup is held annually in support of the Movember Foundation raising funds for men’s illnesses, in particular prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. The first tournament was held in 2011 and has been growing year on year raising around £10,000 for charity so far.
The week before the first event, Nathan Blakey, a member of the Manchester Mosquitoes ARFC, passed away during complex surgery at the age of 28. Nathan had been part of the Mozzies since the clubs first season and was part of their 2010 premiership team. He was known for his down to earth, friendly nature and his love of the footy. He played, umpired, helped coach and loved a beer. He was a paramedic so would often be sorting himself out after matches whenever he took a hit. He is greatly missed. With his passing the week before the first Movember Cup it was decided to play the tournament in honour of Nathan. It seemed a fitting gesture to remember him in this way considering his love of football and his commitment to developing the game.
The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup is about to be held for the 5th year and we are looking forward to raising funds in support of men’s health and raising a glass in honour of our mate.
Nathan. 14/02/1983 – 19/11/2011
Always well attended by AFLCNE Clubs, we hope as many players, spectators and supporters can come along and be involved to raise money to make it as big a success as possible. If you can’t make it but still want to contribute you can donate at the following link:
If you want to help or be involved with the tournament contact Ben Sweetman email: email@example.com.
In the build-up to this years Movember cup here at the Central and Northern England Australian Football League we’ll be taking a look at some of the Men’s health issues you’ll be raising money for and how our clubs are helping to raise awareness.
Congratulations again to Mark Ireland and Luke Booth who won the best and fairest and leading goalkicker awards respectively for this season. Here’s how the top of those leaderboards looked.
Best and Fairest votes (Top 5)
|1||Mark Ireland||(Sheffield Thunder)||13|
|2||Declan Adler||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||11|
|=||Craig Degville||(Wolverhampton Wolverines)||11|
|=||Jake Norris||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||11|
|5||Tom Lally||(Tyne Tees Tigers)||10|
Leading Goalkicker (Top 10)
|1||Luke Booth||(Huddersfield Rams)||50|
|2||Matthew Kilheeney||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||46|
|=||Mark Ireland||(Sheffield Thunder)||46|
|4||Tom Lally||(Tyne Tees Tigers)||44|
|5||Garth Nevin||(Sheffield Thunder)||40|
|6||Jake Norris||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||36|
|7||Chris Britton||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||29|
|8||Andy Walkden||(Birmingham Bears)||27|
|=||Ben Jackson||(Birmingham Bears)||27|
|10||James Kenworthy||(Manchester Mosquitoes)||25|
With one round remaining in the home and away season Manchester’s 8 point lead sees them take the minor premiership and play host to this year’s semi finals on 25 July.
Sheffield meanwhile were successful in their bid to host this year’s grand final, taking place on 1 August.
The fixtures for the 2015 AFL Central & Northern England League have been released.
The season begins at the home of last years premiers, Manchester, in a re-run of the Grand Final against Huddersfield. Wolves also face Tyne Tees Tigers in Manchester, whilst Birmingham host Nottingham.
As always, the semi finals will be played at the league leader’s ground with the grand final played on a ground to be confirmed.
Saturday 12th July saw the Wolverines host an U16 development game before they took on Nottingham. The squads for the reduced size game saw lads from Brownhills School and Willenhall Rugby Club join forces to play a scratch match. The Wolverines senior squad coached the youngsters through a short skills session before dividing the group into two teams. Whilst some of the Wolverines remained neutral to umpire, the rest assigned themselves as coaches and cheer squad to one of the teams. The game was frantic and whilst the skills were raw, the enthusiasm, desire and commitment was in abundance. As the game progressed the skills and awareness of the group grew and it culminated in a tight finish which saw one team take the victory by only 3 points. Squad: Liam Jenkins, Zack Hope, Brad Millward, Ashley Pinson, Jake Millward, Nathan Hall, Andy Trembling, Luke Hall, Kieran Venables, Kieron Bradley
Round 7 saw the final home game for the Thunder in 2014, taking on league newcomers Tyne Tees Tigers. Both teams were looking for their second win of the season with Sheffield coming in off a much improved performance but loss to Nottingham and Tyne Tees losing at home to league leaders Manchester.
The game started off in quick fashion and it was the visitors who took the early advantage as a slow start from the Thunder midfield allowed some easy clearances from the ball-ups and a quick two goal lead before Sheffield even put a point on the board. The home team eventually kicked into gear and slotted a couple of goals of their own to bring the game back under control as key players James Cossins and Ryan Bower created opportunities through the midfield. Despite the best efforts of the Thunder, Tyne Tees we’re keen not to let Sheffield take too much control with some good movement leading to some nice leads meant that the first quarter came to an end with Sheffield leading by just two goals.
As the second quarter got underway the Thunder were determined to try and put a stamp on the game which they started a little slow. They didn’t disappoint with some good links down the field and key crumbing off well contested marking competitions all leading to them kicking eight goals in total for the quarter Sheffield and seeming to be on top. Tyne Tees however weren’t to be counted out as the efforts of the Tigers kept them ticking over with two goals and the pressure they put on meant the Thunder had to work for all their goals with the half coming to a close with the Thunder leading 13.7 (85) to 5.5 (35).
Heading into the Premiership Quarter both sides we’re determined to up the tempo, the Tigers keen to pull back some of the lead built up by Sheffield who in turn were keen to take advantage of their more experienced squad and kick on to put the game out of reach. Much like the first quarter though the Tigers started a little more eager, kicking the first goal. From there though the home side took control with further goals from forwards Simon Vardy and Marc Barr alongside James Lee meaning a five goal quarter and a strong performance in the back line from Callum Merrick and Tom Pullinger keeping the away team to just the single goal. This gave Sheffield a firm grasp on the game heading into the final term.
The final term kicked off with a flurry of quick goals for the Thunder as they controlled the ball out of the middle with Simon Vardy stepping back into the ruck and linking well with Ryan Bower, Marc Barr and Mick Kay around the key area. Despite the early bombardment from Sheffield, Tyne Tees were not about to let their heads drop and with good numbers on the bench meaning some fresh legs on rotation, the game came to a close with the Tigers creating three great chances and slotting the last few goals of the game.
Although the final score came out as Sheffield Thunder 21.12 (180) defeating Tyne Tees Tigers 9.6 (60) it didn’t reflect the competitive nature of the game as the Tigers fought to the final whistle.
The Grand Final will be held on 26th July at the home ground of Sheffield Thunder ARFC
Sheffield Tigers RUFC
Congratulations to Sheffield and be sure to join us on what promises to be a great day
The Sheffield Thunder made a return to their new home at the Sheffield Tigers as they played host to the Wolverhampton Wolverines for AFL CNE Round 4.
The Wolverines and the Thunder came into the game with quite contrasting results in the previous rounds. Against what has been a solid Manchester outfit, who had beaten the Thunder earlier in the season, the Wolverines pulled off a minor upset by drawing after a very strong performance by the young Wolverhampton side. In comparison Sheffield had travelled to play Nottingham and were beaten quite convincingly after the loss of captain and ruckman Simon Vardy to injury and with other key players missing for the day left an inexperienced side to face a Scorpions side who had a plethora of experienced players taking to the field.
With the Wolverines coming in hot off a draw in the previous round and the Thunder (who have never lost to the Wolverines) desperately looking for their first win of the season left a tantalising game on the cards. The first quarter certainly didn’t disappoint. As the first quarter started the Thunder jumped on top of the Wolverhampton squad with a series of quick early goals with Aussie Kieran Prentice opening the scoring and Thunder rookie Marc Barr making an impact in his first game with an early goal. Throughout the first quarter great linking work from the home team proved to make for too fast a start for Wolverhampton as the Thunder backline including Stuart Connolly and Callum Merrick fed the ball well to stand outs Ryan Bower and James Cossins who in turn linked up well through the middle to get the ball up to the forward line. Wolverhampton did manage to pull together some good linking play of their own to have a few shots on goal but the first period finished with the Sheffield Thunder convincingly in charge 7.5 (47) to Wolverhampton’s 1.3 (9).
The second quarter got underway with just as much vigour from Sheffield as the first with the Thunder seemingly kicking goals at will. Good work from Nick Snowball and Tom Merton rotating in the ruck, in the absence of usual ruckman and captain Simon Vardy due to injury, gave good opportunities for the midfield to work together and create good opportunities for the forwards. Mick Kay standing out as usual was always an option and created many opportunities for the Thunder as they kicked on to a hefty half time lead after a further nine goals left the score heading into the break at Sheffield 16.11 (107) to Wolverhampton 2.3 (15).
As the teams came out for the second half the Thunder were very conscious of their previous third quarter performances with these proving to be the main factor in loses early in the season to Huddersfield and Manchester. With the challenge issued to start strong in the third it almost looked like the usual trend was going to continue with the Wolverines kicking the first goal. However the home side took charge again and put off any thoughts of a rally from the away team. Goals from Garth Nevin and Mick Kay kept the score board ticking over whilst Ryan Bower and Marc Barr continued their accurate form along with Nick Snowball adding his name to the list. Although the Thunder were dominant on the score board Wolverhampton were able to get a little more movement down the field. Led by Ian Mitchells experience the Wolverines were able to create a few more chances, just accuracy let them down as five out of their six scoring chances ended up as behinds as the third quarter came to a close with Sheffield leading 23.17 (155) to Wolverhampton’s 3.8 (26).
Heading into the final quarter it was clear the result was going to go the Sheffield teams way and the key was to finish on a good note with plenty of guys picking up experience. Wolverhampton stalwarts like Cameron Cope and Ian Mitchell weren’t about to go down without a fight though as the away side fought back with their best quarter of the game, kicking three good goals as the Thunder took their foot off the pedal a little. Sheffield still kept pushing forward, adding another six goals to their tally with the game closing out Sheffield Thunder 29.20 (194) defeating Wolverhampton Wovlerines 6.11 (47).
A hot and sunny day in Manchester greeted the travelling Nottingham Scorpions for Round 4. Other than a draw for the Mosquitoes the week previously, both teams entered this contest on maximum points. Everyone knew this match between the two traditional rivals of Northern footy was set to be a belter.
In the first quarter, the Mozzies opened strongly, slotting 5 goals with some nice work up the midfield of the pitch. The Scorpions employed their well known brand of big kick-outs to a strong-marking full forward, which kept the scores close at the first break with only one goal in it.
The second quarter allowed Nottingham to start playing their game a little more. With only a 9-man squad of mixed experience levels, they were able to pick their key men and convert a good ratio of scoring shots. The wind was not a factor like it had been in recent rounds, but with a good physical match-up from the “Scorps”, the Mozzies were restricted to putting most of their shots through as behinds in the second quarter. Half time score- 8.10.58 to 8.4.52 in Manchester’s favour.
The third quarter is well known for swinging a tight match, and that’s exactly what this one did. The Mozzies needed no reminder that they had all 7 men on the bench as they went all out in short, sharp bursts. They all knew that Nottingham didn’t benefit from the same numbers on the day, and the boys worked hard at demoralising the opposition early in the third term by kicking several goals.
The momentum of the third term was carried right in to the final quarter with the Nottingham side tiring in the warm conditions and the Mozzies running strong with some great support from the Burnage home crowd. Finishing in style, they kicked 9.4 vs 1.1 for the final 20’ and showed the league why they remain year-on-year a powerhouse of the league.
Final quarter-by-quarter scores:
Manchester 5.2.32 8.10.58 14.12.96 23.16.154
Nottingham 4.1.25 8.4.52 10.5.65 11.6.72
The Wolverines met last season’s beaten grand finalists Manchester on the back of improving performances but were however yet to record a point on the ladder. By contrast, Manchester had won both their previous games and were already eyeing up another tilt at the Premiership.
The Mozzies began brightly, kicking with the wind at their backs and playing with the confidence and verve of an unbeaten side. They kicked five goals in this first quarter, with another seven shots scoring single points. In contrast, the Wolverines managed only two behinds kicking into the wind. Time would tell how many goals this strong breeze was actually worth as the home defence worked tirelessly to keep the scores to a minimum; Andrew Evans-Elson and Nick Foxall in particular.
The wind failed to die down heading into the second and the Wolverines began to trouble the scorers as Oli Hobin slotted through, as did Craig Degville and Jack Tift. Cameron Cope and Adam Morris began to take the game by the scruff of the neck in midfield with Jack Tift for the Wolverines and Chris Britton for the Mozzies electric and battling around every contest. The Wolverines forward line of Gedney, Jones and Bartle made the Mozzies defence work equally hard to minimise the score. In return for their resolute defence, the Mozzies registered a major to keep the Wolverines at arms length. The Mozzies led at half time by 16 points; 3.9.27 to 6.7.43.
The so-called ‘premiership quarter’ began in much the same fashion as the others so far; the side kicking with the wind taking their chances to register scores at every opportunity. Crucially however, the Wolverines managed to register a few goals of their own against the wind. Hobin, Degville and Mitchell all registered to counter the Mozzies scores led by the experienced Wielgosz. Maddox gave the Wolverines midfield good run and pressure as they dug deep to try to stem the Mozzies attacks. Rushed behinds and smothered shots were a common sight.
As the fourth and final quarter began there were approximately four goals between the teams. The home side began to up the intensity again, the Mozzies fought back at every opportunity. As the pressure grew, what seemed to be simple chances for both sides went begging. Set shots in front of the posts and snapped chances from tight angles added to the pressure score-by-score. As the final siren sounded neither team knew who had come out on top. As handshakes were exchanged between players and officials the goal umpires met to decide each teams’ fate; the tension mounted and players waited in near silence. The goal umpires had differing final scores; one with a small victory for the Mozzies and other a tie! The result went to the league to decide and it was deemed a draw. This is the second draw in this competition following Sheffield’s nail-biter with Birmingham last season.
Final scores tied at 9.15.69 each.
The Rams started the game strong determined from the onset, reinvigorated by the returning former England international Battye, who rekindled the midfield link with current England player Matt Whiteley, after two seasons out.
There were also strong impressive debuts from 16 year olds Lewis Ozanne and Regan Hargreaves, both grabbing two goals during the comfortable win.
The team yet again built from their foundations of bravery with Alex Overton and James Clayton in and around the contest, which in turn allowed more creativity from the midfield.
It was the constant forward momentum of the team, getting the ball to forward and club founder Karl Haigh, who gracefully obliged, catching everything up top with some strong running and intelligent play, helping himself to five goals.
Powerhouse Ross Shirtliffe again blossomed in the freedom afforded to him by the experience and nous of those seasoned players around him, grabbing his first goals of the season. Defensive compatriot Steve Hall was again a rock at the back, shoring up the defence, and rarely being under serious threats.
It was the immediate force that the Rams hit the Tiger’s with from the start which pushed them on to the front foot, rarely letting up throughout. The lads were organised and disciplined for the 80 minutes, aided by the experienced players in midfield who marshaled and killed the game.
They were only able to do this on the back of other midfielders doing the hard work and getting stuck into the contests on the ground.
One of the most positive improvements in recent weeks was on full show as kicking at goal was very accurate, which bolstered the Rams dominant performance. None of this would have been possible without the support play and shepherding in great abundance, illustrating the continued development from the front to the back of the team.
The best on ground award went to Matt Whiteley, who just pipped the games top scorer Jason Battye, despite his superb return to competitive football.
The Rams face Leeds Minotaurs in round four and look to continue there unbeaten form.
Round 2 saw the Sheffield Thunder take on the Manchester Mozzies in their first home game of the season at the new Thunderland HQ, the Sheffield Tigers ground in Dore. At training that week the Thunder were met with thunder and lightning and the Sheffield team hoped to bring some of that to the field on Bank Holiday Monday.
The first quarter started off as a tight affair with neither team allowing much free play to create chances. Eventually the quarter opened up a little as the away team took a lead with a couple of goals and behinds before the home team slotted two goals of their own. The Mozzies kept the flow going a little more as they stretched the lead to four goals to Sheffield’s two before the quarter came to an end.
With a switch of ends the Thunder took over and tried to take advantage of the strong wind kicking down the ground. Overall the second quarter proved another tight stretch with the two teams nearly matched, Sheffield kicking 3.4 to Manchester’s 2.2 meant the half finished with only 8 points int it at 36 to 44 in favour of the visiting Mozzies.
As with the Round 1 efforts of Sheffield, the third quarter proved to be the downfall as the Mozzies jumped on and took advantage of the wind and a depleted home team. As injuries started to reduce the already small match day squad of the Thunder the visitors seemed to be free flowing through the middle and always had the extra man. In comparison Sheffield couldn’t maintain any possession of the ball only managing to slot a solitary behind in comparison to the run-away seven goals and eight behinds to Manchester.
Despite the blow dealt to the Thunder in the third, as the final quarter started they weren’t prepared to roll over and just give in. With no subs and tired legs out on the field the home debut of the Thunder at Dore finished with them going toe to toe right through to the final whistle, finishing with the quarter drawn three goals to four behinds to both teams.
As the final whistle blew the third quarter proved to be the deciding factor as the Thunder were downed by a convincingly clinical performance from Manchester. The final score came in as Sheffield 8.11 (59) to Manchester 16.20 (116).
Round 1 of the new AFLCNE season kicked off on Saturday 26th of April at North Shields RFC. The Tigers in their first season hosted reigning AFLCNE league champions the Leeds Minotaurs. The Tigers had completed their pre-season with good form against quality opposition. So enthusiasm was high, building up to the match, with the Club able to field a strong side and a full bench of rotations.
Friday night had seen heavy lashing rain on Tyneside and though this had lifted by kick-off, conditions remained slippery. The opening quarter saw the Tigers get their claws stuck into the undermanned Minotaurs and scoring 6 goals into a slight wind to the visitors 3. The Tigers were on top out the middle and making the most of forward entries with good forward play by debutant Marc Anthony Coombes and Karl Bulmer.
In the 2nd quarter the Tigers continued their good drive from the centre, particularly captain Liam Robinson and Smoggy Colbeck. Constant rotations around the ground kept the Tigers players fresh. But unlike the first quarter, the tigers squandered their shots and only kicking 3 goals 7 behinds.
At half time in the warmth of the change rooms Tigers coach Ian Baxter reminded the team that Leeds, although missing key players from last year premiership, still had quality players and to expect them to hit back. As the second half began coach Baxter’s warning became reality and Leeds dug deep to win a lot of ball and drive off their back line. Leeds adopted an open forward line and with a handy forward made life difficult for the Tiger defenders. This coincided with Tigers ill discipline toward the umpire resulting in two goals from 25m penalties. The Tigers only managed 1 goal in this quarter, while Leeds piled on 5 to go in to the final quarter only trailing by a single goal.
The final team talk all the players huddled in and Coach Baxter and Captain Robinson demanded that the group became accountable and aive everything they had for the final 20 minutes. Leading from the front the opening minute of the final quarter, saw a quick clearance and a goal from the Tigers Captain. The Tigers were roaring again and using their extra numbers from the bench to tire an already weary opposition, further goals came to Liam Robinson, Cameron Lloyd and Ian Baxter. Seeing the Tigers finish off the game with 5 goals to Leeds 1 in the 4th quarter.
Credit should go to Leeds who played the game in good spirit and battled to the final minute despite being under strength. It was an historic day for the club and a great victory. Now to the next challenge, three away trips in a row to strong experience league outfits.
The Huddersfield Rams first game of the 2014 season was a gripping game against local rivals the Sheffield Thunder at Burnage Rugby ground, home of the Manchester Mosquitos. Both Huddersfield and Sheffield fielded a strong squad, with the pre-season recruitment paying dividends for the Rams who were also able to field a development squad on the day. This was the culmination of a number of year’s hard work of the development of the game in local schools through a number of the Rams players who are PE teachers.
The game started with a minutes silence to honour Anzac Day. The action then began at a brisk pace with a lot of play through the middle of the pitch with both teams struggling to find their front men. The Rams in particular failing to deliver the final ball through to full forwards Dave Durrance and Karl Haigh. The Rams scored a couple of behinds, but it was Sheffield’s Garth Nevin who grabbed the first goal of the game with a good solo effort. The Rams quickly responded with a well taken goal for James Clayton. The first quarter continued to be played in the middle of pitch with Rams Captain Matt Whitley seeming to be everywhere. The scoreboard continued to tick over with the first quarter ending 16-14 in Sheffield’s favour.
The second quarter started at the same brisk pace, with Ross Shirtliffe at the back for the Rams playing some excellent football and spoiling a lot of Sheffield’s attacking play with some good interceptions and some strong tackling. Huddersfield continued to play well and were pressuring Sheffield’s goals with a couple of behinds before Matt Whitely continued his excellent game with Huddersfield’s first goal of the quarter. The game was then halted for 20 mins after an unfortunate injury to a Sheffield player. When the game continued Sheffield took advantage of some poor man marking from the Rams to pressure Huddersfield’s goal and grab a couple of quick behinds. Brandon Fletcher showed some of his great experience and skill and managed to disrupt a lot of the Sheffield attacking play. At the halftime break Sheffield were leading 31-24.
The 3rd quarter showed a renewed and different Rams, they started to move the ball more freely and with a lot more confidence. The first goal came for Karl Haigh after the ball was moved through the hands from the back line starting with some excellent play from Graham Bickerdike. This was quickly followed by a second gaol by Dave Durrance after the Ram’s started to dominate more of the rucks and managed to capitalise on their possession. The Rams also started to switch the play more and this led to some great passages of interplay that allowed them to move the ball quickly up the pitch. Alex Overton continued to show a great deal of coolness around the ruck and put Sheffield under pressure whenever they had the ball. This helped Huddersfield’s attacking line to continue to score some well-crafted goals. With the Rams upping the tempo of the game, this enabled them to come from 7 points behind to lead 54-48 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The final quarter again started with the Ram’s competing fiercely for every ball. The continued pressure made it difficult for Sheffield to get out of their half for the beginning of the quarter. As the Rams became more and more confident the midfield and defence began to interchange around the pitch more freely and they also started to pick out some good long passes to their front men with some confident guided kicks. This enabled the Rams to keep the scoreboard ticking over with several behinds. Sheffield to continue to attempt to play a good passing game, but with Graham Bickerdike smothering what should have been an easy goal for Sheffield then moving it smoothly up the pitch with the help of Luke Booth, the result never seemed in much doubt that the Rams would win. There were more goals for Karl Haigh, Matt Whitley and Dave Durrance with the final score 85-51 for the Rams.
This was a solid all round performance for the Rams, who showed the benefit of a lot of hard training in the off season. The Rams will be a force to be reckoned with this season…