We wrap up our season preview series, and our womenâ€™s previews, with the Western region.
The West is responsible for Womenâ€™s Divisional titles in each of the last seven seasons; Six in a row by Denver and last yearâ€™s steak ending triumph by San Francisco in Divvy 1, and Portland in Division 2, who did so alongside Calgary in 2015, and Seattle and Arizona in 2016.
RUGGLES CUP @ HOUSTON
Houston Lonestars 10.12.82 def Tulsa Buffaloes/OKC Flyers 2.0.12
Houston 12.7.79 def Baton Rouge Tigers 2.2.14
Baton Rouge 7.7.49 def Tulsa/OKC 3.5.23
The Houston Lonestars kicked off their 2017 campaign with two convincing wins over the Tigers and Tulsa/OKC, looking in midseason form already.Â Baton Rouge notched a split for the day with a 16 point triumph over the Buffaloes/Flyers combination in the nightcap.Â (Recap)
The emergence of womenâ€™s Aussie Rules football into the sporting consciousness of Australia has been a sight to behold.Â It emerged from the precipice and into the white hot spotlight in February when, after years of talk and planning, the first AFL Womenâ€™s season came and went in a resounding success.
Following nearly in lockstep, the growth of the womenâ€™s game in the USA has been tremendous in the past two seasons.Â 2017 will see fourteen clubs field sides, and at least three more, Chicago, Des Moines, and Wisconsin, in development.
Weâ€™ve saved the largest grouping of menâ€™s teams in the USAFL for last.Â Itâ€™s the biggest, the most expansive, and full of some of the best footy in the country.
Since the first USAFL tournament in 1997, sixteen Division 1 Grand Finals have had at least one team from this region, and five deciders were all-Western affairs.Â The Denver Bulldogs have their names stamped all over the division, with a total of eight titles, including four on the trot from 2002-2005, and the San Diego Lions, winners in 2001 and 2006.
Just like their Northern brethren, the southern part of the USAFLâ€™s Central region has teams at the top echelon of talent, and others that are on the way up with constant improvement.
At the top of the heap are the Austin Crows, two time defending Division 1 champion. Whether anyone can knock them off this year is up for a round table type debate.Â But teams like Dallas and Houston will be nipping at their heels, and always put together entertaining footy matches during the Texas Cup series.
They come from the land of the ice and snow, or at least thatâ€™s what the weather is like until April.
The Northern part of the USAFLâ€™s Central Region has benefited from the fact that there are a number of teams in the upper Midwest, and their relative proximity to them.Â That has forged some of the leagueâ€™s greatest rivalries, friendly and otherwise, over the past 20 years.
Our first region to preview is the East; eight teams with varying histories and fortunes.
New York continued their dominance in season 2016, continuing to be the lead singer of the rock and roll band that is this grouping of clubs.Â There are improvements and strength coming from up and down the east, especially from the Nationâ€™s capital, Boston, and the Florida gulf coast.
â€śApril hath put a spirit of youth in everything.â€ť â€“ William Shakespeare
20 years is a long time. Â Itâ€™s a generation. Â A time of growth, and a time of change, a time of maturity.
20 years ago, this country had a handful of teams playing our great game. Â Who would have thought that both the game and the league would have blossomed the way it did, just like the blooms of April?
USAFL Regular Season:
Nashville 10.11 (71) defeats Atlanta 4.5 (29)
The Kangaroos held sway at home against the rival Kookaburras, blowing open a close game at halftime en route to a 42-point win at Elmington Park.Â Cliff â€śNuggetâ€ť Cosnahan lit up the Kookas for six of Nashvilleâ€™s ten major scores.Â [Recap]
"Who thought footy would bring me to f***ing Iceland?" says a chilly Ross Levesque, bitterly surveying his drenched apparel against a backdrop of rugged rocky terrain and steep dark hills rising in the distance.
But it wasn't strictly footy that brought him to Iceland - rather, his brother Jay, whom Ross introduced to footy in 2003 and who is now a USA Revolution veteran, was the larger factor for Ross' short trip.Â The two faced off in the Arctic Cup, with Ross playing for a combination Swedish/Icelandic team and Jay for the Baltimore Washington Eagles.
The 2017 AFL men's season is upon us, kicking of on Thursday, March 23rd and continuing all the way though to the Grand Final at the MCG in October.
You can see every single game LIVE with a WATCH AFL subscription. Â Select either a weekly, monthly, or season pass and catch every mark, every goal, and every breathtaking moment of the AFL Premiership season.
The overall character of a football community, be it local, national, or international, is a sum of its parts.Â Usually, we only see the high profile ones â€“ the players on the ground, the coaches, and those in the upper reaches of the administrative hierarchy.Â But the living and breathing dynamic of a club or a league also includes and relies on umpires, clubpeople, and fans for continuity.Â For if it wasnâ€™t for those, this communityÂ wouldnâ€™t be here.
For the third straight season, the USAFL will travel around the country bringing exciting Australian football action to three American cities.
The 2017 USAFL Regionals series sees the best menâ€™s and womenâ€™s teams in the country converge to see who will lift the hardware in a pivotal series of midseason matches.
Last year saw 26 clubs and several hundred players take to grounds across the country, and this year the hope is that more teams and footballers will get involved to help continue to make these among the best events on the USAFL calendar.
Australia Day commemorates the landing of the the first fleet of British ships in Port Jackson Harbour, Sydney, in 1788. Â Traditionally celebrated with cricket, barbeques, cold beverages, and the like, the fesitivities will not be limited just to Australia.
Below is a listing of USAFL clubs who will be holding Australia Day events in the week surrounding Australia Day proper (January 26th). Â If you don't see your club listed here, check out ourÂ team page.
Austin, Texas (Austin Crows)