26 Apr, 2018
MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY 2018 PREMIERSHIP SEASON - PRESENTED BY AUSSIE SPORTS USA
SCHEIDT TAKES SCORING LEAD INTO WEEK THREE
American footy veteran Kenneth Scheidt bagged five majors for the Suncoast Suns in Week Two action, overtaking the 2018 Major League Footy Scoring lead as the competition for the season lead begins to kick into gear.
With a 5.0 performance in the Suns’ 10.2.62 – 6.4.40 win, Scheidt now narrowly edges Miami’s Neil Cohen for the top spot on the table.
|BLACKBOURN, ST. PETE||3||2||20|
|GILLIGAN, ST. PETE||3||1||19|
|LUMSDEN, ST. PETE||3||1||19|
|ELLIOTT, ST. PETE||3||1||19|
MLF WEEK 3: FIRST-PLACE SWANS LOOK TO TAME TIGERS
All attendees will receive a free McCafe voucher, courtesy of McDonald’s Tampa Bay, and all kids 14 and under will also receive a free kids Australian Rules football.
The ANZAC week match event will also mark the 2018 debut of the start-up Lakeland squad. The Tigers compiled a 1-2 record in the 2017-18 MLF Florida Winter League, including an even 1-1 mark vs the Swans.
Captained by long-time American footy veteran Patrick Bilder, the Lakeland side has not appeared in Major League Footy action since March 10.
The match will be broadcast live on swansradio.us and stpeteswans.com, with former New York/New Jersey MetroStars announcer Rich Libero on play by play. Miro Gladovic of American Footy Star will join Libero in the booth for commentary on all the action.
ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY: Major League Footy is the independent competition of Australian Rules Football in the United States. All matches are played on American (gridiron) football fields, and an emphasis is placed on head-to-head play in a Premiership format, rather than tournament play.
Founded in 2016, the league strives to eliminate financial barriers to American participation in the sport, as member teams do not assess player dues, and all uniform kits and other equipment is provided.
Each club is operated on the American sports model, rather than the club structure traditional in Australia. Clubs are sustainable through supporter memberships, ticket sales, sponsor partnerships and advertising.
WITH ASSIST FROM DONS, BOMBERS LAND IN TAMPA
Major League Footy is pleased to announce the addition of the Tampa Bay Bombers to the league’s 2018 Premiership Season competition, effective immediately.
The new Tampa-based side will take the ground in their first scheduled league match vs. the Suncoast Suns, Saturday, May 19.
Made possible by the support of the Essendon Bombers, who have graciously provided jumpers and other equipment to field the squad, the Bombers will be operated by Miro Gladovic.
Perhaps best known for his American Footy Star project, Gladovic has a long history with Essendon and the AFL, and is excited to field a side in Major League Footy.
‘The aim is to tightly integrated the storied Bombers tradition with Tampa’s long-standing history as home to MacDill Air Force Base, an important part of the Tampa Bay community’ says Gladovic.
‘We’ll take the ground in honor of both the Bombers identity and all of the service men and women at MacDill every time we play’ he added.
The headquarters of both the US Southern Command (SOCOM) and Central Command (CENTCOM), MacDill Air Force Base is home to a number of active-duty personnel from all NATO nations, including Australia and New Zealand, and is a critical economic and social component to the West Central Florida Region.
Adding a Tampa-based side will weave footy into the rich fabric of Tampa Bay sporting life, while honoring the men and women in service at MacDill Air Force Base.
Major League Footy is the independent league of Australian Rules Football in the United States. Games are played on gridiron (American) football grounds, and competition is based on head-to-head, rather than tournament play.
Major League Footy clubs are active and coming online in communities throughout the United States, with a particular focus on metropolitan areas in Florida for 2018.
SCHEIDT BAGS FIVE; SUNS SCORCH KANGAS, 62-40
American footy veteran Ken Scheidt paced all scorers – and assumed to 2018 MLF Scoring Leadership – on the strength of his five majors vs. Clearwater, Saturday at Crescent Lake Common in St. Petersburg.
Suncoast ran out winners 10.2.62 – 6.4.40 to notch their first victory of the season and move into second place on the 2018 MLF Premiership Season ladder.
After an early Suncoast outburst faded under an onslaught led by Kangas ruck Derek Epperson, Clearwater took a 2-point lead into the break.
From there, a series of set pieces feeding a forward-roaming Scheidt sealed the Suns’ comeback, with Clearwater wilting in a second half played in 92 degree heat.
Major League Footy action returns next April 28, as the ladder-leading St. Petersburg Swans host the Lakeland Tigers in a 7 PM ball-up.
MIAMI’S COHEN LEADS MLF SCORERS AFTER WEEK ONE
Miami Saints tall Neil Cohen leads all Major League Footy scorers after the first week of league action in the 2018 Premiership Season.
St. Petersburg ruck Jason Blackbourn follows on the leader board with 20 points, after kicking 2.2.
The Swans’ Chris Gilligan came up even with former South Croydon Bulldog (EFL) Mark Lumsden, as each came away with 19 points over two matches.
St. Pete’s Matt Elliott (Waverly Blues, EFL) is close behind with 18 points after three first half tallies vs. Miami.
|BLACKBOURN, ST. PETE||3||2||20|
|GILLIGAN, ST. PETE||3||1||19|
|LUMSDEN, ST. PETE||3||1||19|
|ELLIOTT, ST. PETE||3||0||18|
SWANS TOP MLF LADDER AFTER WEEKEND ROMP
The St. Petersburg Swans find themselves in the catbird seat – atop the Major League Footy ladder at 2-0 – after Week One of the 2018 Premiership Season.
Showcasing both an explosive offense and stingy defense, the St. Petersburg side debuted the new campaign looking eerily alike their AFL namesakes in both Week One matches.
The Swans followed a 10.6.66 – 1.5.11 throttling of their cross-state rivals, the Miami Saints with an equally one-sided 7.1.43 – 2.1.13 decision over Starfish FC.
Sparked by ruck Jason Blackbourn and steady shots Mark Lumsden and Chris Gilligan, St. Pete also saw strong efforts from Clint Jones and player/coach Matt Elliott.
Elliott’s three lightning-strike majors early in the first half opened the floodgates for St. Petersburg in the Miami match, while Blackbourn and Lumsden contributed goals from 50+.
Holding both Miami and Starfish FC to a combined three goals in the series, the Swans defense also put the clamps on any serious threat in either contest.
The results put St. Petersburg – back-to-back Premiers of the last two MLF Winter campaigns – easily ahead in early days of the circuit’s Inaugural Premiership season.
St. Petersburg will return to action for Week Three, as the Bloods host the Lakeland Tigers.
Major League Footy is an independent competition of 9-a-side Australian football in the United States. Matches are played on American gridiron fields. The competition is based on head-to-head play in a league-wide schedule, rather than tournament play.
Swans Kicking out-legs Starfish FC, 43-13
The St. Petersburg Swans left the ground of the Largo Sports Complex on the 2018 Major League Footy Premiership Season Opener at 2-0, atop the ladder and with a huge lead in percentages, after thumping Starfish FC 7.1.43 – 2.1.13, Saturday night in Largo, Florida.
The nightcap topped off an evening that earlier witnessed the Bloods throttling of their cross-state rivals the Miami Saints,10.6.66-1.5.11
Jason Blackbourn, Mark Lumsden and Chris Gilligan continued to showcase their kicking skills with an array of long-distance boots.
Clint Jones put in a solid performance with a goal and a minor, while buttressing the Swans attack throughout the evening.
The Major League Footy season opener featured the Miami Saints, Starfish FC and St. Petersburg Swans each playing two head-to-head matches.
While Miami stormed out of the gate in the first game, taking a 38-9 tally over Starfish FC, St. Petersburg dominated all competition and won the evening with a 2-0 record in the round-robin.
Swans Dismantle Weary Saints, 66-11
St. Petersburg Swans assistant coach Matt Elliott set the ultimate example for his charges when he opened the season with three early majors, powering the Red and White to an emphatic 55-point win over the Miami Saints, Saturday at Largo Sports Complex in Largo, Florida.
The Melbourne native helped St. Pete storm out to a 19-2 lead – and the Bloods never looked back, running out 10.6.66 – 1.5.11 winners on a pitch-perfect spring evening in Florida.
After a dominant performance in their opening victory over Starfish FC , Miami’s energy level waned as the match wore on. Aussie natives Jason Blackbourn, Mark Lumsden and Chris Gilligan imposed their physical will on the Saints early and often.
The match looked decided at halftime, as St. Petersburg sprinted to a 32-9 lead at the break.
The second half featured impressive kicking skills by Blackbourn, who nearly scored on a field-length kick. In-bounding from his own goal area after a Miami behind, Blackbourn launched a massive attempt that landed just short of the Saints goal line and was eventually driven home by Pat Bilder for the crumb.
Lumsden, the fifth import in St. Pete’s lineup, also displayed massive kicking skills with a booming, no-doubt goal from the midfield stripe to close out the victory.
Saints Dominate Starfish FC, 38-9
LARGO, Florida -The Miami Saints kicked off the 2018 Major League Footy Premiership Season with a rousing opening match against Starfish FC at the Largo Sports Complex on Saturday night.
The South Florida MLF squad stormed out of the gate on their way to a 4.14.38 – 1.3.9 victory in the season’s inaugural match.
Miami looked well-organized in the opening game, seemingly tilting the field in their favor. The Saints dominated possession as well as territory in the early going.
The American gridiron field provided close-in, physical action with several well-placed collisions throughout the match.
Anthony Hear, Tom Hecker and Neil Cohen dominated the early phases of the game as the Saints stormed out to a 21-0 lead.
Pat Bilder broke the shutout for SFC with a behind just before halftime, but the first half closed with Miami leading 27-1.
The second half featured a more organized Starfish club as Marc Karver, Robbie Scarallo and Bilder built synergy in a more level stanza.
The Major League Footy season opener featured the Saints, Starfish FC and St. Petersburg Swans each posting two head-to-head matches for 2018 Premiership points. Each match featured two 15-minute halves for a total 30-minute game time.
While Miami stormed out of the gate in the first game, St. Petersburg dominated all competition and won the evening with a 2-0 record in the round-robin.
SWANS HOST MIAMI IN 2018 OPENER
The St. Petersburg Swans kick off the 2018 Major League Footy Premiership Season Saturday, April 14 at 7 pm, as the Miami Saints visit the Largo Sports Complex.
The match will be broadcast live at swansradio.us, with Rich Libero calling all the action.
The match kicks off a full schedule of Major League Footy competition in 2018, with new clubs in Jacksonville and Los Angeles currently training, while Chicago and Dallas are also preparing to hit the training ground.
Major League Footy is the independent competition of 9-a-side Australian Rules Football in the United States.
HIT SHOW: HOW ESPN CREATED A GENERATION OF FOOTY FANS
By RICH LIBERO
Those of us who watched Australian Rules Football on ESPN in the early 1980’s will always associate Men at Work’s “Down Under” with the show’s opening segment.
The kettle drum signaled the start of an exotic form of athletic chaos. The drums and cymbal crashes accompanied massive collisions into goal posts, shoulder-on-shoulder hits and marks where players jumped, planted their cleats into the back of an opponent and seemingly levitated in mid-air to make a mark.
Yes, back in 1982, the cable bill came with ESPN and we were happy. The thrill of watching a sport from a country most of us would never visit or understood added to the 24-hour sports network’s unique vision and value.
In a 1999 interview, veteran anchor Bob Ley reflected on ESPN’s 20th anniversary when he said: “The biggest cult, by far, surrounded Australian Rules Football.”
From 1980-86 ESPN broadcast a mix of live and tape-delayed VFL (Victorian Football League) matches. The game received reasonable time slots and gained popularity among the cable network’s growing audience.
ESPN essentially used the Australian feed, lending the complete flavor of watching this unique and entertaining sport as it was produced and packaged in a foreign land. The speed of the play-by-play combined with Aussie accents, colloquialisms and terminology required an attentive ear. Still, Americans gravitated to the spectacle.
“It was like a train wreck in sports,” former SportsCenter anchor George Grande said in ’99. “The people could care less about the rules and how you score, they just wanted to see people kill each other.”
Consider the fare on offer to the American sports fan at the time – the slow, low-contact pace of baseball or the intermittent violence of the NFL between huddles and commercials, low-impact basketball and ice hockey, which featured non-stop action, hits and fighting, but served as a mostly regional sport.
Suddenly, a bunch of massive, muscle-bound Aussies appeared with accents somewhere between an American country twang and England proper clad in weeny-bikini-sized shorts and wife-beater jerseys.
How much was a goal worth? What the heck was a behind? How do the announcers do the score line math so quickly? Who cares!?
Those things aside, fans gravitated to the non-stop action, power, pace, and massive, pre-historic-sized pom-poms undulating behind the goal posts. Oh yes, and of course, the two finger-pointing of some clinical looking dude with a hat and white lab coat whenever a goal was scored.
Back in those days, however, Aussie footy appeared under the banner of the VFL – the Victorian Football League. The sport dominated the Australian province of Victoria with the bulk of the league’s teams sharing grounds and orbiting in and around Melbourne.
In a way, the exposure in America cause the VFL to think bigger and by 1990, the league morphed into the Australian Football League. The league saw teams such as Footscray Bulldogs (now Western) re-brand and others – the Fitzroy Lions and Brisbane Bears — merge.
As the AFL grew, so did the league’s footprint into Adelaide, Fremantle, Gold Coast, Perth and Western Sydney.
But just as the AFL gained a polished status on par with some of the world’s top sports leagues, it lost its place in ESPN’s ever-crowding lineup. The reliable staple made way for more traditional American sports such as the NBA.
Of course, the massive growth of domestic and international soccer also helped consume the minds of internationally-minded American fans.
Today, hardcore footy fans soldier on, working hard to locate matches on a premium channel such as Fox Soccer Plus or FS1. The games are usually live and not in the best time slots, but they still manage to pull in ratings in the 30,000-50,000 range – a testament of devotion from ex-pat Aussies and absorbed Americans.
Major League Footy offers an opportunity for fans to discover an uniquely American-sized version of the game they learned to love on ESPN. And given the global information world we live, there’s a good chance, this could be playing to interested audiences back in Australia.
Wouldn’t that be a turnabout?
This article appears in the Spring 2018 edition of Major League Footy: The League
SHERRIN SIGNS ON AS OFFICIAL MATCH BALL OF MLF
Major League Footy, the independent league of Australian Rules Football in the United States, has announced an agreement making Sherrin the Official Match Football of Major League Footy.
As part of the arrangement, Sherrin will also supply Major League Footy with a wide variety of leather and synthetic balls, as well as a range of sizes for the league’s Youth and Development Programs.
Those programs kick off Friday, 30 March as the league’s St. Petersburg Swans club launch their first Footy Camp on the season, with 50 children ages 5-12 receiving their introduction to footy.
ST. PETE CLINCHES TOP OF WINTER TABLE
By virtue of a three-goal win Saturday at sun-soaked Crescent Lake Common, the St. Petersburg Swans have clinched as 2017-’18 Major League Footy Winter Minor Premiers, running out 66-48 winners over Pittsburgh.
After a slow start saw the sides struggle to convert opportunities, the offenses came alive in the second frame, despite the hot conditions.
The result eliminates the Orlando Kangas from contention to overtake to the top of the ladder.
Now at the top of the table with a 4-1 record and a 139.6 percentage, St. Petersburg will finish the 2017-18 Major League Footy winter campaign with next Saturday’s match, looking to repeat with a Premiership flag after last season’s 3-1 mark and subsequent victory over the Suncoast Suns in the Winter Championship.
The St. Petersburg Swans host the Orlando Kangas, Saturday, March 24 at Crescent Lake Common in St. Petersburg. Ball up is 11 AM.
MLF SECURES LOCAL OPERATOR IN DALLAS
The Dallas Outlaws are slated to begin training later this spring, with an eye on joining the MLF Western Conference for the 2019 season.
New Major League Footy clubs have begun training in the Greater Los Angeles area, while the Jacksonville Demons are set for their first kick Wednesday, March 14.
As the MLF Winter Season heads toward the Four ‘N Twenty Bowl – March 31 – the league has announced a 40-game slate of Eastern Conference head-to-head matches for the 2018 Premiership season. The Western Conference schedule will be announced later this month.
KLINGER IN ADVISORY ROLE TO MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTY
Major League Footy is pleased to announce the addition of Darrin Klinger as Special Advisor to the League.
Through business, politics and sports, Darrin has established key relationships between the U.S. and Australia.
Darrin travels to Australia regularly and works with a variety of sports interests including the Australian Rules Football Coaches Association, Melbourne Storm (NRL), Netball Victoria, and a number of Australian Football League teams, coaches, players and executives.
He is the founder of Australia – USA (AUSA) Connect, a network of thought leaders bridging opportunities through an exchange of ideas and business opportunities between two like-minded cultures. He is a member of the Australia America Association, AFL’s Geelong Cats Football Club. A massive tennis fan, Darrin has attended five straight Australian Opens.
JACKSONVILLE, MIAMI DEBUT IN MLF FOR ’18
The 2018 Major League Footy Eastern Conference schedule is packed with 40 head-to-head matches, highlighted by home and away series between the upstart Miami Saints and both the St. Petersburg Swans and Clearwater Kangas.
The start-up Jacksonville Demons will also take their bow July 28, when they host St. Petersburg at 9A/Baymeadows Park in Jacksonville.
Major League Footy is an independent league of 9-a-side Australian Football played on an American football (gridiron) field.
Competition is based on head-to-head play, rather than tournament-style events.
The Major League Footy ladder is based on 4-points for each win, with playoff finals featuring the top four clubs based on won-loss and percentages.
Other highlights include two ‘State of Origin’-style matches featuring the Pittsburgh Blackbirds and Greater Northern Philadelphia, both including Pennsylvania-born players representing the Keystone State.
The full Major League Footy Western Conference schedule will be released March 26, highlighted by a St. Petersburg Swans visit to Los Angeles, Saturday, August 25th.
The Los Angeles side will be stocked with a player list of NFL-level athletes new to footy at the 2018 MLF Los Angeles Player Combine, June 3 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
MLF SCHEDULE REVEAL COMING MONDAY
A full season of great head-to-head footy action looks to be highlighted by a full slate of matches for the Miami Saints, as the squad preps for its busiest season yet.
Other highlights loom as the St. Petersburg Swans travel cross-continent to take on the upstart Los Angeles MLF side the weekend of July 28; and the Jacksonville Demons joining competitive play August 11, with an appearance in the 2018 Florida Cup at Ft. Lauderdale following up in September.
MLF DEPLOYS AUSBALL FOR DEVELOPMENT
Major League Footy has announced an initiative to leverage the Ausball format of non-contact, co-ed footy in an effort to enhance the recruitment and growth of Australian Rules Football in MLF youth, scholastic and collegiate programs.
Ausball provides a fun, standardized environment for participants of all ages to discover our great sport, while developing footy skills and teamwork. These skills are essential, should players choose to continue to play at a higher level.
Under the guidance of Ausball orignators Denis Ryan and Matt Bishop, Ausball has long been a part of club footy in the United States, and Major League Footy is very proud to make Ausball part of our development, education and youth programs going forward.
The Ausball Academy website will re-launch soon, while MLF clubs in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Los Angeles will immediately make the Ausball format part of their own clubs’ development efforts.
All MLF clubs will operate a league-wide Ausball program under standardize rules going forward.
Come have a kick!
Major League Footy is pleased to announce that Four ‘N Twenty Bowl 2018 is coming to American Integrity Stadium at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Saturday, March 31. Game time is TBA.
The Inaugural Four ‘N Twenty Bowl at American Integrity Stadium will feature MLF clubs battling for the Winter Season Premiership at the fabulous purpose-built soccer facility at Premier Sports Campus.
Four ‘N Twenty USA / USAAPI support the St. Petersburg Swans of Major League Footy, and the Swans offer hot Four ‘N Twenty pies at all 2018 Twilight Series home games.
American Integrity Insurance is one of Florida’s most respected and fastest-growing insurers, and has partnered with Premier Sports Campus on naming rights for the stadium at PSC.
Located in Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota/Bradenton), Premier Sports Campus is one of the nation’s leading multi-event sports facilities, and has hosted soccer, rugby and Australian Rules Football matches and tournaments, plus much more.
The 2018 Four ‘N Twenty Bowl will be broadcast live – broadcast details will be announced as soon as available.
FOOTY 9s: FAST, FORWARD FOOTY
Think the Quarterback style forward pass will never work in ‘footy’? Well, it’s not an entirely new idea.
In fact, Footy 9s is a refined evolution of the World War II era sport ‘Austus’…and an idea whose time has come.
There were certainly grand plans afoot after a successful run of Austus matches in Victoria during the War, when Ern Cowley of the Melbourne Sporting Globe and his friend Bill Jost devised a new sport of compromise rules that would see American athletes stationed in the South Pacific take on Aussie Rules clubs on a more even playing field.
How to do that? The forward pass.
By incorporating the forward pass into what otherwise was fully Australian football, the American competitors immediately became competitive in an otherwise completely new sport.
In fact, the prodigious passing of the Yanks proved more than competitive – the American sides actually took the ‘Best of Five’ series of matches, 3 games to 2, and sparked talked of an international ‘World Championship of Football’ in the US after the War.
Sadly, the conclusion of the American’s service Down Under instead saw the end of the Austus Era, as players returned to their respective football codes.
It’s been a 75-year wait, but Footy 9s stands as the evolution of this remarkable and ‘Invented in Australia’ fusion of the best of both codes.
With refined rules and game-play best suited for American skills and sporting tastes, Footy 9s has taken a great old-school solution to the ‘Bringing Footy to America’ quandary that has seen the traditional 18-a-side on a cricket oval find slow going in the States.