Welsh Australian Rules Football League

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Welsh Australian Rules Football League
WARFL logo jpg.jpg
Formerly Welsh Australian Football League (Aussie Rules Wales)
Sport Australian rules football
Inaugural season 2007
No. of teams 5
Country Wales
Most recent
champion(s)
South Cardiff Panthers
Most titles South Cardiff Panthers (3)
Official website warfl.org.uk

Australian Rules Football has been played on an organised basis in Wales since 2007, with the league and representative teams run and managed by the Welsh Australian Rules Football League (WARFL) who is the controlling body of the sport in the country. All six senior teams in the WARFL are named after clubs in the South Australian National Football League. Prior to 2007 some clubs played in the BARFL but the rising popularity of Australian Football demanded the creation of a Welsh league.

History[edit]

Australian rules football was first played in Wales in 1944 when the 462 Squadron played against the second Sunderland Squadron formed teams based on State of Origin (Victoria vs Western Australia) to play a match at Pembroke Dock.[1]

However in recent times regular competition began with the formation of Aussie Rules Wales on 1 September 2006 by Bryce Stone who comes from Adelaide in South Australia and has recent Welsh heritage. Three teams were formed in 2007 being Cardiff Double Blues, South Cardiff Panthers and Swansea Magpies and competed in a 9-a-side format with modified rules in the Welsh division (WAFL) of the ARUK National league. Also the Swindon Devils from England's West Country competed as a guest fourth side. The season concluded with the Swindon Devils defeating South Cardiff by 71 points to win the inaugural (and only) WAFL Premiership.

Aussie Rules Wales then ceased trading in January 2008 and was replaced by the independently run WARFL, which seeks to become the national governing body of the sport in Wales.

The inaugural WARFL Premiership season kicked off in May 2008, with the Cardiff Double Blues, South Cardiff Panthers and Swansea Magpies competing in 9 rounds in 9-a-side format with full AFL rules. The Cardiff Double Blues eventually defeated South Cardiff Panthers by 94 points to win the inaugural 2008 WARFL Premiership. South Cardiff Panthers' David James was awarded best on ground.

In 2009 Gwent Tigers based in Newport joined the league in a 12 round competition with the 9-a-side format unchanged.

Also that year the WARFL introduced a pre-season competition known as the Cymru Clwb Cup played at Waunarlwydd RFC in Swansea where the three foundation clubs competed. The Cardiff Double Blues won the tournament winning both of their round robin matches.

At the end of the Premiership South Cardiff Panthers played Swansea Magpies at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff where South Cardiff won by two points to win their first Premiership after being runners up in 2007 and 2008. Swansea Magpies' Matthew Hopkins was awarded best on ground.

2010 saw further expansion of the league with the Vale Warriors based at Barry RFC entering. The second Cymru Clwb Challenge was played at Llandaff Fields with all WARFL clubs playing except for Gwent Tigers who did not field a team due to player unavailability. South Cardiff Panthers won all their matches winning the competition with Cardiff Doubles Blues player Rhys Morgan awarded player of the tournament.

That year the league ran as a 10 round competition with each team playing 8 matches and having 2 byes and continuing in the 9-a-side format. On 24 July the top of the league South Cardiff Panthers played against Swansea Magpies at Barry RFC where South Cardiff won by 71 points to be the first club in WARFL history to win consecutive Premierships. South Cardiff Panthers' ruckman Chris James was awarded best on ground.

The Bridgend Eagles and Bristol Dockers joined the league in 2011 with Gwent Tigers not fielding a team that year.

WARFL Clubs[edit]

The league is organised in a similar fashion to the SANFL, with the top two teams at the end of the "home and away" season playing off in the Grand Final for the Premiership Cup.

Club Year established SANFL Partner Club Cymru Clwb Cup winners League winners League Premiership winners
Bridgend Eagles 2010 Woodville-West Torrens Football Club 0 0 0
Bristol Dockers 1991 NA 0 1 (2012) 0
Cardiff Double Blues 2007 Sturt Football Club 1 (2009) 1 (2008) 1 (2008)
Gwent Tigers 2008 Glenelg Football Club 0 0 0
South Cardiff Panthers 2007 South Adelaide Football Club 4 (2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013) 4 (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2013) 4 (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012)
Swansea Magpies 2007 Port Adelaide Magpies Football Club 0 0 0
Vale Warriors 2009 Woodville-West Torrens Football Club 0 0 0

WARFL League & Grand Final Results[edit]

Year League winners Premiers Grand Final venue Grand Final Score
2007 Swindon Devils Swindon Devils St Peters RFC, Cardiff Swindon Devils 20.8 (128)

South Cardiff Panthers 7.15 (57)

2008 Cardiff Double Blues Cardiff Double Blues St Peters RFC, Cardiff Cardiff Double Blues 18.18 (126)

South Cardiff Panthers 2.20 (32)

2009 South Cardiff Panthers South Cardiff Panthers Llandaff Fields, Cardiff South Cardiff Panthers 8.10 (58)

Swansea Magpies 8.8 (56)

2010 South Cardiff Panthers South Cardiff Panthers Barry RFC, Barry South Cardiff Panthers 17.20 (121)

Swansea Magpies 8.3 (51)

2011 South Cardiff Panthers South Cardiff Panthers Pontcanna Pitch, Sport Wales National Centre South Cardiff Panthers

Bristol Dockers

2012 Bristol Dockers South Cardiff Panthers Dings Crusaders RFC Bristol Dockers 6.7 (43)

South Cardiff Panthers 23.23 (161)

2013 South Cardiff Panthers South Cardiff Panthers Pontcanna Pitch, Sport Wales National Centre South Cardiff Panthers (0) Chippenham Redbacks (0)

WARFL Player Awards[edit]

Year Best & Fairest Top Goal Scorer Rookie of the Year
2007 Daniel Morgan-Kane

South Cardiff Panthers

Gareth Jones

South Cardiff Panthers

Ed Doe

South Cardiff Panthers

2008 David Saunders

Cardiff Double Blues

Tom Judson

Cardiff Double Blues

Gareth Llewellyn

South Cardiff Panthers

2009 Rhys Jones

Swansea Magpies

Andrew Atack

South Cardiff Panthers

Gareth Sturge

Cardiff Double Blues

2010 David Gamble

South Cardiff Panthers

Leigh Merrington

South Cardiff Panthers

Joshua Davey

South Cardiff Panthers

League and National representative teams[edit]

Two representative sides are organised by the WARFL, one to represent the national league which is an all-stars side known as the "WARFL Red Devils" drawn solely from the WARFL regardless of nationality.

The other representative team organised by the WARFL is the Welsh national team known as the "Cymru Red Dragons". The Red Dragons is primarily made up of players from the WARFL, however does include Welsh players from other leagues around the world.

WARFL Red Devils

The Red Devils first played in the 2007 AFL Britain National Championships known as the Brit Cup, representing the first Welsh side in the tournament's history. Thereafter the Red Devils have played in every Brit Cup including the 2010 tournament but 2012 was the year the Brit Cup made Wales its home for next 12 months as the Devils made the Grand Final that year beating the Favourites the Midland Tigers taking top spot and making history. The Red Devils have also appeared at the 2008 "Haggis Cup" the first time a Welsh team had played in Scotland and again in 2009 but did not field a team in 2010.

Cymru Red Dragons

In November 2007, the Red Dragons became the first all-Welsh representative team when they hosted the England Dragonslayers in Cardiff for the "Dragon Cup", England winning by 30 points.

In the second series of the Dragon Cup, the Cymru Red Dragons defeated 2008 EU Cup champions England Dragonslayers in Reading and Newport by 92 points (aggregate score over two tests) to win the Dragon Cup for the first time. However in September 2009 England defeated Wales in Cardiff and London to regain the Dragon Cup.

The inaugural "Bute Series" for the Crichton-Stuart Cup with Scotland Clansmen (which was also Scotland's first ever Australian Rules football international) was played in Glasgow and Cardiff over two tests in October 2009. The Cymru Red Dragons won the series on aggregate of 30 points with Scotland winning the first test and Wales winning at home in Cardiff the following week.

National Team Results[edit]

Date Against Nation Tournament Venue Score Series Winner
3 Nov 2007 England Dragon Cup St Peters RFC, Cardiff, Wales Cymru Red Dragons 9.7 (61)

England Dragonslayers 12.19 (91)

England won by 30 points
18 Oct 2008 England Dragon Cup - 1st Test Kings Park, Reading, England England Dragonslayers 7.7 (49)

Cymru Red Dragons 11.13 (79)

25 Oct 2008 England Dragon Cup - 2nd Test Tredegar Park, Newport, Wales Cymru Red Dragons 15.16 (106)

England Dragonslayers (44)

Wales 2-0
12 Sep 2009 England Dragon Cup - 1st Test St Colmcilles GAA, Cardiff, Wales Cymru Red Dragons 6.13 (49)

England Dragonslayers 6.18 (54)

19 Sep 2009 England Dragon Cup - 2nd Test London, England England Dragonslayers 13.10 (88)

Cymru Red Dragons 3.3 (21)

England 2-0
17 Oct 2009 Scotland Bute Series - 1st Test Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, Scotland Scotland Clansmen 8.12 (60)

Cymru Red Dragons 7.2 (44)

24 Oct 2009 Scotland Bute Series - 2nd Test St Colmcilles GAA, Cardiff, Wales Cymru Red Dragons (66)

Scotland Clansmen (36)

Wales 1-1 (30 points on aggreagate)
7 Aug 2010 Scotland Bute Series - 1st Test St Colmcilles GAA, Cardiff, Wales Cymru Red Dragons 9.8 (62)

Scotland Clansmen 26.28 (184)

21 Aug 2010 Scotland Bute Series - 2nd Test Victoria Park, Glasgow, Scotland Scotland Clansmen 12.11 (83)

Cymru Red Dragons 5.6 (36)

Scotland 2-0
18 Sep 2010 England Dragon Cup - 1st Test Chippenham RFC, England England Dragonslayers 6.14 (48)

Cymru Red Dragons 4.12 (36)

26 Sep 2010 England Dragon Cup - 2nd Test St Colmcilles GAA, Cardiff, Wales Cymru Red Dragons 4.4 (28)

England Dragonslayers 15.12 (102)

England 2-0
2 Oct 2010 Austria Euro Cup - 1st Round Parabiago, Milan, Italy Cymru Red Dragons 5.10 (40)

Austria Kangaroos 0.4 (4)

2 Oct 2010 Croatia Euro Cup - 2nd Round Parabiago, Milan, Italy Croatia Knights 7.9 (51)

Cymru Red Dragons 4.0 (24)

2 Oct 2010 Spain Euro Cup – Plate Round Parabiago, Milan, Italy Spain Bulls 5.1 (31)

Cymru Red Dragons 3.6 (24)

Wales (7th place) Croatia winners
1 Oct 2011 Northern Ireland Euro Cup – Plate Round Belfast, Northern Ireland Spain Bulls (Unknown)

Cymru Red Dragons (Unknown)

Wales (5th place) Ireland winners
Aug 2012 England Home Nations Cup Cardiff, Wales England Dragonslayers (Unknown)

Cymru Red Dragons (Unknown)

Wales (2nd place) England winners

Wales Player Awards[edit]

Year Best & Fairest Top Goal Scorer Rookie of the Year
2007 Tom Case

Swindon Devils

Ed Doe

South Cardiff Panthers

N/A
2008 David James

South Cardiff Panthers

Ed Doe

South Cardiff Panthers

N/A
2009 David Saunders

South Cardiff Panthers

Gareth Sturge

Cardiff Double Blues

N/A
2010 Gareth Griffiths

Vale Warriors

Andrew Atack

South Cardiff Panthers

George Llewellyn

Portsmouth Pirates

Great Britain Bulldogs[edit]

As of 2013, 15 players from the WARFL have been selected to represent the Great Britain Bulldogs, these being:

Andrew Atack (Cardiff Panthers), Tim Atkins (Swansea Magpies), David Carpenter (Cardiff Double Blues), Liam Corbett (Cardiff Panthers), Joshua Davey (Cardiff Panthers), Ed Doe (Cardiff Panthers), Tom Gillard (Cardiff Double Blues), Mark Horsman (Cardiff Panthers), Chris James (Cardiff Panthers) David James (Cardiff Panthers), Tom Judson (Cardiff Double Blues), David Saunders (Cardiff Panthers), Gareth Sturge (Cardiff Double Blues), Jon Saunders (South Cardiff Panthers), Owain Ryland (South Cardiff Panthers) & Eliot Rich (South Cardiff Panthers).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian War Memorial

External links[edit]