X-Cellent Lions win inaugural AFLX Sydney tournament

The Brisbane Lions have proven to be the surprise packet of the inaugural AFLX tournament played in Sydney. The Lions easily accounted for the Sydney Swans in the grand final decider going out 67 -41 winners. Over 9,000 fans turned up at the Sydney Football Stadium to enjoy the carnival like atmosphere of fast flowing football and the big 10 point scoring “Zooper” goals.

Gold Coast Suns Touk Miller in action against the Western Bulldogs during the AFLX Sydney tournament. Photo: Jodie Newell

The majority of players and coaches seemed to enjoy the format which brought much needed game practice and physical conditioning to all sides. Thankfully no serious injuries were recorded throughout the AFLX tournament which will leave many club physios and coaches breathing a sigh of relief.The seven games provided plenty of entertainment and the much hyped “Zooper Goal” brought a roar from the crowd especially when the home teams in Sydney and the Greater Western Sydney Giants slotted home a 10-pointer.

GWS Giants speedster Lachie Whitfield had a solid workout during the AFLX tournament. Photo: Jodie Newell

For the Sydney based teams, the Swans were the better performers. They won their pool games against the Western Bulldogs (which they blasted out of the park with a total of 88 points) and the Gold Coast Suns. In the grand final they ran up against a slick Brisbane Lions outfit and were never really in the hunt. The Swans players that caught the eye were Dane Rampe who seemed to relish the free flowing game, as did Harry Cunningham and James Rose. James Bell who hasn’t played a senior game showed some quality glimpses and he’s a player to keep an eye on in 2018.

Heavy contest. Sydney’s James Rose slams into Western Bulldogs tallman Tim English. Photo: Jodie Newell

The Greater Western Sydney Giants had a so-so tournament losing both games to Richmond and Brisbane. The team was made up of mostly youngsters. The standout new recruit for the GWS for me, was Aiden Bonar. He showed plenty of glimpses of why he was the Giants first pick in the 2017 draft. Bonar has height and pace and had a good eye for the ball. Hopefully that will translate on a bigger stage sometime later this year. Another pleasing aspect from the GWS Giants perspective was Lachie Whitfields’s post-match comments to us. When asked about how the team was navigating the pre-season, Lachie was quick to point out the team had a strong desire to make amends for the major disappointment of losing last year’s preliminary final. Some clubs like to say they’ve moved on or forgotten “the past” but it was refreshing to hear that Lachie felt his Giants team had unfinished business and were determined to make up for it.

GWS Giants midfielder Lachie Whitfield. Lachie told us post-game the GWS Giants are determined to make 2018 a better year Photo: Jodie Newell


Pool A Matches:

Match 1 : Richmond 49 d GWS 34

Match 2: Brisbane 66 d Richmond 61

Match : 3 Brisbane Lions 64 d GWS 58


Pool B Matches:

Sydney 88 d Western Bulldogs 36

Gold Coast 87 d Western Bulldogs 22

Sydney 72 d Gold Coast 41

Grand Final

Brisbane 67 d Sydney 41

Swans AFLX Team list:

1. James Rose
6. Jordan Foote
7. Harry Cunningham
13. Oliver Florent
20. Sam Reid
22. Dean Towers
24. Dane Rampe
25. Ben Ronke
27. Daniel Robinson
28. Nic Newman
29. George Hewett
30. Tom McCartin
31.Harrison Marsh
32. James Bell
38. Colin O’Riordan
40. Nick Smith
41. Jake Brown
42. Robbie Fox
44. Jake Lloyd
45. Angus Styles

Greater Western Sydney Giants AFLX Team List :

6. Lachie Whitfield
9. Tom Scully
10. Aiden Bonar
11. Will Setterfield
13. Isaac Cumming
31. Jeremy Finlayson
20. Adam Tomlinson
25. Lachlan Keeffe
33. Lachie Tiziani
34. Nick Shipley
36. Harry Perryman
38. Daniel Lloyd
41. Jack Buckley
42. Jake Stein
43. Dylan Buckley
50. Sam Reid





About the Author

Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music