The season’s very nearly almost here, and we’re getting pretty excited about it. This weekend sees last season’s top six battle it out for first blood, with the Saints having to wait until next week to get their first points on the board.
The season opener tomorrow sees premiers Manchester Mosquitoes take on plate winners Tyne Tees Tigers at Burnage. The Mozzies will be going all out to make an early statement of intent, while the Tigers will undoubtedly be keen to show development arising from their packed pre-season schedule.
Across the penines and down a bit, Sunday sees this week’s double-header take place in Nottingham. The first game sees a repeat of the Scorps-Rams pre-season fixture. The Scorps will be desperate to avenge that defeat and stake an early claim to a finals place. However, Huddersfield will be out to prove that they’ve only got stronger since that game.
Wolves take on Sheffield Thunder in the final game of the weekend. The Wolves will want to carry the momentum from their Haggis cup performance and make an early charge for the finals places, while Sheffield will be keen to demonstrate that, despite them not playing any pre-season fixtures, they’re in with a good shout for the finals.
It’s lining up to be a bumper weekend of footy. As with all AFLCNE games, it’s free to watch, so head to Manchester or Nottingham (or both) for a taste of what the rest of the season has to offer.
This week’s fixtures:
- Sat 22nd April, 12pm – Manchester Mosquitoes vs Tyne Tees Tigers at Burnage Rugby Club, Stockport, SK4 3EA
- Sun 23rd April, 12pm – Nottingham Scorpions vs Huddersfield Rams at Nottingham Moderns RUFC, Nottingham, NG11 7AA
- Sun 23rd April, 2pm – Sheffield Thunder vs Wolverhampton Wolverines at Nottingham Moderns RUFC, Nottingham, NG11 7AA
In the last of our (slightly-compressed-because-the-season-has-crept-up-on-us) team profiles, we turn our attention to West Yorkshire’s only AFLCNE team, the Huddersfield Rams.
The Rams are another of the AFLCNE founder members, and since their inception have been an unmissable presence in the league, reaching two grand finals over the course of their existence. They have an almost exclusively English player base, and through this the Rams have been a hotbed of local talent, producing a string of players that have represented their country at the highest levels.
They are also one of the more active footy teams, and you’ll find them taking up any excuse for a kick, whether it’s in Newcastle, Wolverhampton or Glasgow (or, indeed, a snowy Huddersfield in January).
Last season saw the Rams deliver some solid performances with a young developing team to reach the semi-finals. They will hope that their team will, under the guidance of the Ram’s crop of internationals, use this experience to develop and go one further in 2017.
And their pre-season started positively, with a big win over last season’s finalists Nottingham Scorpions. After their annual run-out at the Haggis Cup, the Rams are ready to hit the season hard, with their first game being a chance to repeat their pre-season exploits against the Nottingham Scorpions on Saturday, at Moderns RUFC (ball-up 12).
Yesterday we were in the West, today we head across to the East Midlands to look at the Nottingham Scorpions. They’re a team with a long history in the AFLCNE, and are rightly proud of what they’ve achieved so far.
Being one of the founder members, the Scorps made an appearance in the first three finals, taking the premiership for the only time in 2011. While a three-season hiatus followed, Nottingham continued their trend of producing strong British talent, seeing players become regular features for both GB and England.
Last season saw a resurgent Scorps get to another Grand Final, with their only defeats of the season coming against eventual champions Manchester Mosquitoes. This wasn’t just luck, with stellar performances seeing Scorpions players claim best of British and league top scorer for the 2016 season. Retaining that strong core has been key for the Scorps, and they’ll see 2017 as a year to avenge that finals defeat.
However, it isn’t just the men’s side of the team that the league’s proud of. Having formed a women’s side last year, the Nottingham Scorpions women have burst onto the British footy scene, dominating in performances against seasoned teams from London up to Scotland. Boasting a number or current and future internationals, the future can only by bright for the Scorps women.
The men’s team will kick off their season vs Huddersfield Rams this Sunday, ball-up at 12pm at Nottingham Moderns RUFC. Some of the women’s team will also be in action for GB or North London Lions at the pre-season cup at Duke’s Meadow, Chiswick.
It’s been a bit quiet on the website front lately, on account of Easter, and the committee’s need to recover from the Haggis cup. But, today we continue our series of team profiles to look at the Wolverhampton Wolverines.
The Wolves were formed in 2009 by current president (and GB Swans coach) Ian Mitchell, and became a fully-fledged AFLCNE side in 2011. Although they haven’t yet made it to the Grand Final, the Wolves have an enviable player pedigree, having seen representatives go on to play for England, GB, the European Legion and the West Midland Tigers.
Last year, saw the Wolves make a promising early charge, keeping pace with eventual finalists the Mozzies and Scorps for much of the season. Although performances tapered towards the latter half, the Wolves stayed with the leading pack, easily making the finals, and losing in a spirited performance to Nottingham Scorpions.
This year, the Wolves have their eyes on going further. A strong pre-season performance at the Haggis Cup saw them conquer the best Scotland had to throw at them, losing out in the final to AFL London side Wandsworth Demons, and this performance will do nothing but boost their confidence in reaching the big dance for the first time in their history.
With a family-orientated nature, and their recent efforts to start a second team in Coventry, the Wolves are looking firmly towards the future, and are keen to grow footy around the Midlands. If you’d like to find out more, you can find them on the web, Facebook and Twitter.
You can next catch the Wolves in action this Sunday, when they run out against Sheffield Thunder in Nottingham.
Another weekend, another crop of AFLCNE teams in action. After the Mozzie’s trip to Amsterdam last week, no less than four teams are getting some cross-border action tomorrow, this time at the Haggis Cup in Glasgow.
While the Wolves, Rams and Tigers men’s teams will compete in a 10-team tournament, the Scorp’s women’s team will be competing in a 5-team women’s tournament – an event that in itself shows how far the women’s game has come in the UK.
Haggis Cup regulars the Rams will be looking to replicate past successes, while the Tigers will be continuing on their apparent quest to play every team in the SARFL, all the while making a run for the final. Wolves will be looking to bring their brand of footy up north and give us a preview of why they expect to go one better in the league this season, while the Scorps will be hoping to replicate their fantastic success so far this year.
As always, the Haggis will be an exhibition of footy, bringing together teams from across the UK to compete, and of course, drink together. So, get behind our teams headed North – if not for the footy then at least for the boat races afterwards!
Today it’s the turn of new boys on the block, Merseyside Saints. Having entered the the AFLCNE only last year, the Saints have big ambitions to bring footy to Merseyside.
The 2016 season saw the Saints take to the field for the first time at the Wolverhampton lightening round, suffering a baptism of fire with a 300-point defeat. However, they took on the steep learning curve with enthusiasm over the following weeks, reducing those deficits week-by-week and eventually claiming their first ever points.
Their season ended at the plate semi-final, going down by 47pts to eventual plate winners the Tyne Tees Tigers. While any defeat is disappointing, scoring 9 goals and 74 points overall is a testament to just how far the Saints came on in a little over 3 months. Having managed the notable achievement of fielding a team every week, the Saints clearly have a solid skills base on which to build.
This year, with new additions to the squad, they’ll be looking to grow that success further, inevitably eyeing a march up the table. Whatsmore, they’re planning for the future by recently announcing the introduction of a junior set-up, so we’ll hopefully be seeing much more of the Saints over years to come.
You can see the Saints in action for this first time this season on May 6th, when they clash with the Mozzies in Huddersfield. For more information on training, find the Saints on the web, Facebook and Twitter.
As the first evidence of this year’s summer starts to glimmer through, we take a look at Sheffield Thunder. Founded by two Aussie ex-pats in 2010, the Thunder are one of two Aussie Rules clubs in the Yorkshire area and have seen both GB and England players (and coaches) pass through their ranks.
After their creation, the Thunder quickly developed into finals stalwarts, rarely finishing outside of the top 4. Arguably, the Thunder’s finest hour came in 2015 when a string of victories, including one against eventual premiers the Mozzies, saw them make the Grand Final for the first time in their history. Although it wasn’t to be, as the Mozzies secured victory in a second consecutive final, Sheffield walked away knowing that, having won 3 out of 4 quarters, the future looked rosy.
However, a perfect storm of injuries and retirements, combined with stellar performances from their AFLCNE counterparts meant that the Thunder finished 5th in 2016, eventually finishing runners-up in the inaugural Plate Final to the Tyne Tees Tigers, and for the second year in a row losing a final despite winning 3 quarters of the game.
2017 sees the Thunder looking to rebuild their depleted squad and once again make a tilt for the finals. As part of this, they are welcoming all newcomers, irrespective of fitness level or experience – for more information find them on Facebook or Twitter.
You can first see Sheffield Thunder in action vs Wolverhampton Wolverines, on 22nd April at Moderns RUFC, Nottingham, NG11 7AA.
As we approach April, pre-season for many of the AFLCNE teams is being stepped up another gear. With all teams now training and some clubs having already played their first friendlies, this weekend sees a footy bonanza.
Most notably, the Mozzie’s pre-season preparation will be put to the test as they head across to Amsterdam on Saturday for this year’s champions league. Having finished runners-up in 2016, the 16-man squad will be looking to go one better this year and come back as champions of Europe.
However, closer to home there’s more footy action taking place. Nottingham Scorpion’s men’s and women’s team will both be in action on Saturday, with the women facing off against the West London Wildcats, before the men take on AFLCNE rivals Huddersfield Rams. All teams will be keen to show off their off-season development, and it’ll be a tightly contested affair.
And in the Midlands, Wolverhampton Wolverines warm-up before their Haggis cup trip by playing a development side in Coventry. While this will give early match experience to the Wolves lads, it’s hoped that it’ll help spark further development of footy in the Midlands.
You’re absolutely spoilt for choice this weekend, fixture times and locations below:
- Manchester Mosquitoes at Champions League – Ball-up from 10am at Bok de Korverweg 6A, 1067 HR, Amsterdam
- Nottingham Scorpions men’s/women’s take on Rams/Wildcats – Women first game, 1:30pm ball-up, men second game, 3pm ball-up. Moderns Rugby Club, Nottingham, NG11 7AA
- Wolverhampton Wolverines take on a development side – Ball-up 16:00 at Sphinx Sports and Social Club, Coventry, CV3 1WA
The second of our team profiles looks at league juggernauts Manchester Mosquitoes. One of the original AFLCNE teams, the Mozzies played their first league game in 2006 and during that time have grown into the most successful club in AFLCNE history, having taken 5 premierships, playing in 6 grand finals.
The Mozzies originally competed under the BARFL Regional banner, finishing 3rd in their first season, and became part of the AFLCNE following its creation (then the AFL Central and North West league). Since then, they have become somewhat of a grand final fixture, running out in 6 out of the 7 finals so far. They have also established the ‘Movember Cup’, an annual charity competition that’s come to serve as the last run-out of the year for many AFLCNE clubs.
In 2016, the Mozzies completed a ‘three-peat’, taking the premiership for a third successive season, this time in a final against fellow league stalwarts Nottingham Scorpions. With domestic success demonstrated, the Mozzies are off to the AFL Champions league in April, this year looking to go one better than last and bring the trophy to the North of England.
The success of the Mozzies can be in part attributed to their inclusive club-orientated nature, and they’re always keen on new players, supporters or club members to help out. Home games are played at Burnage Rugby Club, SK4 3EA, where they’ll play the first game of their season vs Tyne Tees Tigers on 22nd April.
With the season just around the corner, we’re starting the countdown by profiling each of our teams. Over the next month expect to see a blog post every few days giving you a taster of who you can expect to see around the North this summer. And we start with the North East’s only Aussie Rules team, the Tyne Tees Tigers.
The Tigers were formed in 2012 in an effort to bring footy back to North East England following the decline of the North East league. Entering the AFLCNE in 2014, the Tigers claimed a shock first victory by defeating champions Leeds Minotaurs, though a tough first season followed with them finishing 7th.
2015 saw the Tigers claim a highest-ever 5th finish, with a string of victories, including one against eventual Grand Finalists Sheffield Thunder. Finishing 6th the following season, the Tigers defeated the Saints to make the inaugural AFLCNE plate final, narrowly defeating the Thunder to claim their first AFLCNE silverware.
2017 sees the Tigers continue to build with a packed pre-season, having played two fixtures already and the Tigerpig (Newcastle) and Haggis (Glasgow) cups lined up over the next few weeks. They’ll be looking to hit the ground running in their first game of the season against Manchester Mosquitoes on 22nd April at Burnage Rugby Club, Stockport.
The Tigers are actively recruiting from across the North East, with pre-season training taking place on Saturdays at 09:45, at their home ground Gosforth Sports Association, Broadway West, Gosforth, Newcastle, NE3 2NH.
With Wolverhampton Wolverines kicking off the season for a number of clubs last weekend at the West Midlands Charity Shield, this Saturday sees the Tyne Tees Tigers take to the field for their first run-out of a packed 2017 pre-season at the Bawbag cup.
The Tigers will make the journey to visit our Northern neighbours, playing in a three-team round robin tournament versus the Kingdom Kangaroos and West Lothian Eagles in South Queensferry.
Last season’s 2-team format in Newcastle saw the Roos take victory, and the Tigers will no doubt be hoping to return the favour and demonstrate what the AFLCNE has to offer by bringing the trophy back south of the border. However, the addition of new boys the Eagles adds a new dimension to the mix, and the day is looking like a spicy affair.
The tournament will start at 12:00 at the Queensferry Sports and Community Hub, 30 Ashburnham Road, South Queensferry, EH30 9JN.
Tomorrow sees the annual West Midlands charity shield taking place, hosted by Wolverhampton Wolverines. Men’s and women’s teams will battle it out to claim the first silverware of the season, all in aid of Balls to Cancer.
As well as last year’s champions the Wolverines, tomorrow will see the Uni of Birmingham (men’s and women’s), Huddersfield Rams, West London Wildcats and last year’s AFLCNE grand finalists Nottingham Scorpions (men’s and women’s) eager to make an early mark and give us a taste of what to expect this season.
The bar will be open, and there’ll be an Auskick session in the middle of the day, so it’s a great opportunity for a family day out, all for a good cause.
The comp will take place at Willenhall Rugby Club, Bognop Road, Essington, WV11 2BA, with ball-up at 11:00. All spectators are welcome (and encouraged!), and any players who fancy a kick will be welcome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 aflcne.com shortly.
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.
If your club wishes to enter a team either contact Ross on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Facebook event with details for the tournament can be found here
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)
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.
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!
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.