The season’s approaching…

With it getting towards a year since the last posting of a front page article, we at the AFLCNE thought it might be worth an update. Just to show that there’s someone here helping in our own small way to keep the footy world turning.

First, off the field news. With a new AGM came a change in committee, with a new president, secretary and treasurer elected. For the 2017 season these are:

President – Stephen Bowles (Sheffield Thunder)
Secretary – Phil Martin (Tyne Tees Tigers)
Treasurer – Andrew Batchelor (Nottingham Scorpions)

With it being an IC year, a huge focus has been on national selection, with training camps already having been held. Under the steerage of the Mozzie’s Dean Thomas, GB are hoping to come away with a few prize scalps this season, and to help them along their way a number of current and former AFLCNE players have already been named in the squad, surely with more to come. Couple this with Garth Nevin (Thunder) and Adam Morris (Wolverines) being named as coaches of the Dragonslayers and Vixens respectively, and it’s clear the AFLCNE is having a huge impact on the national game.

The women’s game in the north has also taken a leap forward, with the Nottingham Scorpion’s women’s team playing their first game last weekend, against the University of Birmingham. With fixtures coming up for March and April, expect to see more of the ladies as they build on their success so far.

And, in the men’s game, pre-season fixtures start in a couple of weeks with the West Midlands charity shield, to be held in Wolverhampton. A number of AFLCNE teams are represented, and it’s a great chance to get a first glimpse of how the squads are shaping up. As well as individual fixtures for quite a few teams (including the Champions League for the Mozzies), there’ll be the annual pre-season runout at the Haggis cup in Glasgow as your next chance to see a few northern teams in the same place.

Then, from 22nd April, expect to see teams battling it out to get their hands on the coveted AFLCNE premiership (see our fixtures here). The Scorps will be trying to go one better this time, while the Saints will be looking to build on a succesful debut season. The Tigers are going all out preseason to hit the ground running, while the Thunder are hoping to re-build and repeat the success of their 2015 campaign. Meanwhile, the Rams will be tough challengers, while the Wolverines will be looking to build on last season’s success and put in another challenge. And last but not least, the Mozzies will be looking to keep a tight grasp on that trophy.

As the season is approaching, all teams have started training, and they’ll all be keen on new players, whether a complete novice or seasoned hand. See our contacts page for more details about your local team, or drop us a line.

Hopefully, that gives you a taster of what’s been happening so far. Expect more to come as we approach the season.

Record breaking opening to the season


With Lightening Rounds and the first full round of the season undertaken last Saturday we’ve seen some big scores posted early in 2016.  With the Huddersfield Rams winning by  148 pts against the Tyne Tees Tigers you’d have thought it would be biggest winning margin of the round not the smallest!   The Manchester Mosquitoes chalked up an astonishing 165pt victory over last years Grand Finalists in the Sheffield Thunder. But even they were outdone by Wolverhampton’s  win over league new boys the Merseyside Saints, with the Wolverines winning by 289pts  50.23.323 to 5.4.34.

See the Rounds results here

See the updated ladder here

This just goes to show how difficult it is for new clubs to enter our league and be competitive from the get go.  We’re sure the Saints will regroup and bounce back but with their next game up against reigning Premiers Manchester it will be a tough task ahead for them.

Speaking of difficulties it’s a testament to the above and beyond attitude of our clubs that this rounds fixtures went ahead with the Tyne Tees Tigers having to swop hosting rights at short notice for the round with the Huddersfield Rams due to a waterlogged pitch.  A relocation of some 125 miles! The Tigers will now host Round 4.

Northern Storm to take on Dragonslayers

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The AFLCNE’s representative side will take on the England Dragonslayers in Huddersfield tomorrow afternoon.  Hosted by the Huddersfield Rams at Huddersfield YMCA on Laund Hill.

AFLCNE players will be lining up for both teams with the National side having first choice of  players.  Expect a high quality match with our British players taking centre stage with selection for both the England Dragonslayers and GB Bulldogs up for grabs this year!

Venue: Laund Hill, Salandine Nook, New Hey Rd, Huddersfield HD3 3XF.

Ball up: 14:00 2/4/16

Food and drink available on site.

Changes for 2016 season

Birmingham Bears

Sadly the Birmingham Bears have had to withdraw from the 2016 AFLCNE season.  Their playing numbers are such,  that they wouldn’t be in a  position to fulfil fixtures this year. The Bears are fully aware of the ramifications of this for the league but in the absence of so many organisers from previous years have made this decision rather than forfeit continuously throughout the season.

They are not folding  completely  and will continue to train in Birmingham and keep an active presence on social media whilst allowing any available players to compete in the AFLCNE for their nearest team the Wolverhampton  Wolverines. It is hoped that the Bears will be in a position to re-join the League in 2017.

The league fixtures will be completed as previously published but with double headers involving the Bears becoming single headers and their direct opponents having a bye week.  The altered fixture list will be available at shortly.

West Midlands Charity Shield – March 12th



Fresh from their success in the Fitzpatrick Cup Birmingham University are looking to host a Charity tournament on March 12th in Birmingham.  They will be raising money for Bloodwise the UK’s blood cancer charity. This is a charity that is close to home for Birmingham’s President and England Dragonslayer Ross Denton whose brother Ben was diagnosed with Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in August last year.

“I was absolutely gutted when my 26 (at the time, 25) year old brother was diagnosed with leukaemia back in August. I felt so useless as there was nothing I could do but keep him company as he was undergoing treatment. Thankfully he went in to remission not long afterwards but is still undergoing some pretty brutal treatment which is very difficult to watch. It’s brought our family so much closer together, and has shown me that a strong family can get you through anything. Ever since joining the sport, the Aussie Rules community has felt like a family to me. Everyone is so supportive and you know they will get behind you when you need them to. Together we can raise some money for an amazing cause and attempt to support all of those that have been affected by blood cancers in some way.”

The tournament will be 9 a-side and a suggested donation of £5 per player which can be made via this link.

Donate here

If your club wishes to enter a team either contact Ross on Facebook or email

The Facebook event with details for the tournament can be found here

Inaugural Northern Storm Squads Announced.


The following AFLCNE players have been nominated and selected to represent the Central and Northern England Australian Football League  with  The Northern Storm in April 2016.  For the game against the England Dragonslayers,  as the higher tier of representation the national team had first choice of available AFLCNE players.

The Northern Storm Inaugural Squad

Game Vs England April 2nd at Huddersfield.

Mick Kay (Thunder) – Captain.

Spike Kilheeney (Mozzies) – Vice Captain.

Craig Degville (Wolverines)

Jack Tift (Wolverines)

Chris Thomas (Wolverines)

Jakob Garside (Rams)
Ste Hall (Rams)
Dave Durrance (Rams)
Josh Kenny (Rams)
Matthew Peckett (Rams)

Tim Gower (Mozzies)
Stu Connolly (Thunder)

Michael Teasdale (Tigers)

Cameron Lloyd (Tigers)

Kieran McKenzie (Merseyside)

James McKenzie (Merseyside)

Martin Kearney (Scorpions)

Jamie Swift (Scorpions)

Will Sykes (Merseyside) – Coach.

The Northern Storm Squad

London AFL Tournament April 16th.

Ian Mitchell (Wolverines) – Captain.

Matthew Whiteley (Rams) – Vice Captain.

Craig Degville (Wolverines)

Jack Tift (Wolverines)

Chris Thomas (Wolverines)

Adam Morris (Wolverines)

Lewis Gedney (Wolverines)

Matthew Whiteley (Rams)
Luke Booth (Rams)
Graham Bickerdike (Rams)
Alex Overton (Rams)
Jakob Garside (Rams)

Matthew Kilheeney (Mozzies)

Chris Britton (Mozzies)

Declan Alder (Mozzies)

Spike Kilheeney (Mozzies)

Tim Gower (Mozzies)

Simon Vardy (Thunder)

Stu Connolly (Thunder)

Mick Kay (Thunder)

Anthony Roy Brannigan (Tigers)

Colum Donaghy (Tigers)

Steve Allen (Tigers)

Michael Teasdale (Tigers)

Cameron Lloyd (Tigers)

Neil Parsley (Merseyside)

Jack Smith (Merseyside)

Martin Kearney (Scorpions)
Jamie Swift (Scorpions)

Will Sykes (Merseyside) – Coach.

Level 0 and Level 1 Umpires courses in February


Love ’em or Hate ’em there simply isn’t a game without Umpires.

All AFLCNE clubs are required to provide field and goal umpires for league fixtures throughout the season. Sometimes a lack of confidence can stop people from volunteering. To grow our game and develop our sport we need more umpires.

AFL Europe will be running a level 0 and level 1 accredited umpiring course in Central London on Saturday 27th February (lvl 0) and Sunday 28th of February (lvl 1) and it costs nothing!

If you’re interested in umpiring or just want to help develop your own game and club then register for AFL Europe’s course at the following link.

AFL Europe Level 0 and Level 1 umpiring course

If you can’t make those dates or can’t travel try the AFL Community website where you can undertake the Club Umpire online learning programme (which is also free) from the comfort of your own home. So no excuses!

Online Umpiring Course


AFLCNE representative side to take the world by storm


Late last year we announced that the Central and Northern England League would be introducing a representative side with the aim of giving our best British players more experience of playing the 18 -a-side format of the game  and act as a stepping stone to playing at international level.

We are pleased to be able to announce that the AFLCNE representative side will be called <drum roll….>

The Northern Storm

In the first year of this side all club presidents have been asked to nominate players for selection to Ian Mitchell (Wolverhampton) and Will Sykes (Merseyside).  The squads to play against the England Dragonslayers and in the AFL London pre-season tournament in April will be announced here on Sunday the 31st of January.

Australia Day 2016


January  26th is Australia Day, Australia’s National Day.  Some of our clubs have events either on the weekend or the day it self. If you’re interested in attending one of these events feel free to get in touch with the clubs:


Sat 23rd

Newcastle upon Tyne:  Tyne Tees Tigers host an Australia Day party from 5pm:  Details

Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Wolverines play in an International Rules Game: Details

Tues 26th

Merseyside: Merseyside Saints having some drinks from 19:00 at The Montgomery in Eastham

Sun 31st

Manchester: Manchester Mosquitoes are having an open training session and BBQ at Burnage Rugby Club from 11:00.

Wolverines look to keep International Rules title

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International Rules Football is a hybrid game of  Gaelic Football and Australian Rules football. The rules are  a compromise between those of the two codes, with Gaelic football players being advantaged by the use of a round ball and a rectangular field (Australian rules uses an oval ball and field), while the Australian rules football players benefit from the opportunity to tackle between the shoulders and thighs, something banned in Gaelic football.

Many will be aware of the annual International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland, held last autumn in Dublin, with the Irish taking home the Cormac McAnallen trophy for 2015.   But in the West midlands the upper hand lies with the Australian Rules Footballers. AFLCNE club the wolverhampton wolverines hold an International rules series against local GAA club St. Mary’s an the Wolverines are currently in possession of the 2015 trophy and we will be looking to hold onto it over the two test matches that are to be played on the weekends around Australia Day and St Patrick’s Day in January and March of 2016.

With the first fixture starting at 13:30 Saturday January 23rd at 13:30 Aldersey Highschool in Wolverhampton there’s no reason for you not to get your footy fix in early this year!



On the 26th, 29th of January and the 11th of February we will be promoting our sport at the National Sports Roadshow in Worcester, Leeds and Lincoln respectively.  These Roadshows have presentations , demonstrations and stalls from a wide range of companies, clubs and sports right across the sports Industries  including the likes of Worcester RFC, Leeds United, Yorkshire County Cricket, the FA and Lawn Tennis Association.

AFL England recently attended a highly successful Roadshow at Brunel University in London and now it’s our turn to help promote our sport, build connections and grow the game. We will have a stall and 30 minute taster session to deliver at each of these events and all involved in Aussie Rules are welcome to come and help out!

If you are available and willing to help man the stall or deliver the 30 min sessions can you let Ian Baxter know either via email: or on Facebook.


Dates and Venues

  • 26th January Worcester University
  • 29th January Leeds Beckett University
  • 11th February University of Lincoln

AFLCNE introduce Concussion Guidance for 2016 season

The long term effects of concussion is a hot topic in contact sports across the globe, not just for Australian Rules Football.  The Central and Northern England Australian Football League has the welfare our players at the heart of what we do.  As such we are introducing league rules and guidance for the management of concussion for the 2016 season.

These rules and guidance are based on the 3rd edition of the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool it has been put together by League President Dr. Ian Baxter and has been agreed  by AFLCNE presidents.

You can find our rules and guidance  under the documents and policies tab in the about us section on our website.  The Rugby Football Union have an excellent on-line training section on management of concussion, it’s free and you can access it at the following link. Concussion Testing:- e-learning

If your not sure why the long term effects of concession are important watch this 20 minute video of Carlton and AFL great Greg “Diesel” Williams.

Tigers prepare for 2016 by announcing new home

Tyne Tees Tigers Logo

AFLCNE club the Tyne Tees Tigers are looking to the future with an exciting development for their club, announcing their new home ground and training venue for 2016.  Based in Gosforth they will be becoming affiliate members of the Gosforth Sports Association alongside Gosforth Rugby Club and Newcastle City Cricket Club.

Tigers President Phil Martin had this to say about the move “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the tigers to be a part of a community sporting venture and the permanent home for both training and playing opens the club to be more accessible and part of a wider community”

The Tigers are looking for opponents for a match to help celebrate the move in March. If your club is interested please get in touch with Phil via

A little piece of History

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Our league has been running since 2010 as part of the growing story of Aussie Rules in the UK but how long has  Aussie Rules been played here? You may be surprise to find out that it’s been for well over 100 years.

Former league secretary and member of the Tyne Tees Tigers Michael Teasdale found this newspaper clipping from 100 years ago today (Dec 13th 1915) during his work at South Tyneside Library.

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“I was looking through the papers because we have a display in the library which updates weekly with articles from the Shields Gazette, in particular those mentioning local servicemen, alongside articles from the Daily Mirror which provide a larger perspective on the war.

I was definitely surprised both to find the picture and to discover that games were played in the UK 100 years ago, albeit just within the ranks of the Anzacs. My feelings (well, thoughts) upon finding it were “that’s cool, I’ll have to show the lads at the club that” followed shortly by “how many times can this journalist say ‘football’ in a caption that short?” though it doesn’t actually make me view the game any differently – at the end of the day these guys were passing the time as they knew how.”

This game played by ANZACs is even earlier than the one played in 1916 at Queens Club  in London, which Collingwood hope to recreate next year in London. You can see a clip of what is thought to be the 1916 game here.

But neither of these can claim to be the first game of Australian Football in the UK. That honour goes to the match held in Balham London in 1888 between Edinburgh University and London University some 27 years earlier!

AFLCNE to form Representative Side



As 2015 starts to draw to a close we start looking to next year and here at the AFLCNE we are no exception.

In 2016 the Central and Northern England League will be forming a League representative side with a view to playing 18 a-side games as opposed to the leagues 9s format.  The aim behind this is to give our top British talent more experience of the 18s game and help them to prepare for national team selection and hopefully playing for the British Bulldogs.

All clubs have been asked to put forward the names of their players who they feel would be suited to playing in this representative team.  The final selections will be made by Ian Mitchell (Wolverhampton Wolverines) and Will Sykes (Merseyside Saints). The name of the representative side has yet to be decided.

It is envisaged that the AFLCNE rep side will join a training session/friendly fixture  with the English Dragonslayers in Huddersfield on April 2nd before taking part in the AFL London Pre-season tournament on April 16th.

At the London tournament there will also be a ‘Supers’ competition for the over 35s.  If there are enough interested ‘old-timers’ from around the League we would also like to enter a team in this. Any AFLCNE players wishing to register an interest in the Supers comp please contact Ian Baxter at


AFLCNE introduce Plate competition for 2016



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


AFL Coaches Association Coaching Clinic


On Monday 16th of November AFL Europe and the AFL Coaches Association held a Coaching Clinic deep in the bowels of Australia House in London.  With a highly decorated panel that included:

  • 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.

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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

Movember Cup Details


The Manchester Mosquitoes host their Annual Movember Cup this Sunday.  12 teams from all over the UK will be competing, promising us all a great tournament for a great cause.

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

Public Transport:

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.

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Why Movember Matters… part 2


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.



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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

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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