Top of the table clash for AFL London
The scene is set for a cracking AFL London Grand Final rematch this Saturday at Clapham Common with both West London and Wandsworth going into the Aussie Rules blockbuster undefeated and with a head of steam.
THE scene is set for a cracking AFL London Grand Final rematch this Saturday at Clapham Common with both West London and Wandsworth going into the Aussie Rules blockbuster undefeated and with a head of steam.
The Wildcats, in their first hit-out at home this year, were 107-point winners over London Swans on Saturday at Barn Elms, while the Demons defeated Wimbledon at Motspur Park by 31 points.
The results put West London and Wandsworth first and second on the ladder.
Wildcats co-coach Dan Prigmore said his side were under no illusion they are unbeatable despite two huge wins in the first two rounds.
“We’re aware our biggest challenge awaits us with Wandsworth away,” he said.
“We’ve got some important players coming back but I’m sure they’ll be strong too so we’re looking forward to it.”
Demons coach Jarryd Browne believes his side has what it takes to overcome the Wildcats but admitted his side would be the underdog.
“Obviously they’ve come out firing and they are going to be favourites,” he said.
“They had the edge over us last year but we’ve changed our team set up and we’ve got a lot of confidence in our structure.
“If we play smart footy we’ve got the fire power to come back at them hard.
He said his players always find a bit extra against their arch-rivals.
“It’s pretty fierce; it’s a love-hate relationship,” he said. “We up the ante at training for the week and know they are the benchmark.
“We like beating them more than any other team.”
A shoot-out beckons for punters keen to venture to Clapham Common (for a 3pm bounce) with both sides possessing potent forward lines. Mark Brescacin bagged eight on the weekend, as did West London’s Jason Broadbent.
Browne was full of praise for Brescacin who has stepped up to be captain this year.
“I can’t think of a player in AFL London who’s better than him,” Browne said.
In other Premiership division results, the close one was at Putney Heath, where Putney downed North London in the last kick of the day to win 14.15 (99) to 14.9 (93).
The Lions led for most of the first half but lost key players Luke Stevenson (quad) and Jake Spiteri (shoulder) before halftime to injury, both sidelined for the rest of the match.
The Magpies took the ascendancy in the third stanza, before the tight final term in which the home side prevailed in a nailbiter.
Levi Fernandez again acquitted himself well in the Lions’ midfield, his ball use improving by the week, while Todd Grima, brother of North Melbourne’s Nathan, and ‘Kiwi Jimmy’, also played well.
Lions co-coach Adam Littlechild said he was impressed with his team’s efforts after their big loss to the Wildcats in Round 1.
“They really got on top of us in the third and left us for dead a bit,” he said.
“But overall, it was good to get so close given what happened in Round 1 and hopefully that shows we’re not far off it.”
Putney’s Jacob Bailey and Greg Clapman were prominent for the winners, and are looking the goods this season.
In the Conference division, the big story was at Motspur Park where the match was abandoned early in the third quarter after a Demons’ player broke his leg.
The ambulance came and took the Clapham player to hospital after which too much time had lapsed and the match was called off with the Demons leading by more than 100 points.
It was a familiar story at Barn Elms with the Raiders again tearing their opposition apart, thrashing the Swans 24.13 (157) to 1.4 (10).
Lachy Dowling was again the focal point, booting seven goals while Tommy Butlin was the sole goal scorer for the Swans.
North London turned around last week’s crushing defeat by the Raiders to beat Putney 17.6 (108) to 8.9 (57).
And the big surprise in the Social division was Wimbledon’s win over Wandsworth’s thirds.
Read more: Shining a light on our Aussie Rules footy
Images by Mathew Scudds