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17th Mar 2013 4:47pm | By Michael Gadd
Can you smell it? On the other side of the globe, the boots are being polished and the Sherrins are getting pumped up for a shiny new season of AFL action, starting this week.
Meanwhile, in London, an army of fans of the oval ball and round field code are sweating in the cold ahead of their own season, which begins in May.
TNT thought who better to preview AFL season 2013 than the guys who fly the footy flag in the world’s north.
We asked London clubs to have a peek into their corresponding Aussie side’s crystal ball and also tell us how you can get involved in AFL footy in Blighty.
Name: Nathan Costley, Wildcats co-coach
One to watch: Travis Varcoe is virtually a new recruit for the Cats. His speed and goal sense will be vital for the aging blue and white army.
Uphill battle: It’s a huge year for the Cats – can they keep the flag window open while their crop of future stars develop?
The recruitment of Hamish McIntosh and Jared Rivers, along with return of Varcoe and Nathan Vardy from injury, indicates the answer is yes.
Prediction: Top four finish, hopefully just like their West London counterparts!
Our club: The Wildcats and Wildkittens aren’t just about footy, with social events a huge part of the club, including our end of season trip to Corfu.
Play: wildcatsfc.co.uk; Dan on 07500 015944.
Name: Mark Pitura, president
One to watch: Dane Swan will poll well in the Brownlow or hopefully he’ll be suspended by the AFL so he can come and play for Putney Magpies in our 10th anniversary year.
Uphill battle: The high expectations of the supporters and Eddie McGuire’s ego.
Prediction: Top four finish with the Pies defeating Mick Malthouse’s Carlton to get into the granny.
Our club: If you want a bogan with a mullet yelling at you at training or games, don’t come to Putney, we don’t have that type of culture. We’re well suited to Aussie Rules in London.
Name: Clarence, club mascot
One to watch: Old soldiers like Jonathan Brown and Simon Black’s wobbly knees/shoulders/other important joints can’t wait any longer. 2013 is the year they turn the corner.
Uphill battle: Winning games is important. Win enough and they’ll make the finals (pass that on to Vossy). Making the GF of the NAB Cup is a promising start, but it’s early days.
Prediction: Things are on the up. The Lions in Brisbane will squeak into the finals with a 6th-8th finish.
Our club: It finally came together in 2012 and we were AFL London Premiers! We blew the prize money on celebrations, but another big year looms on and (importantly) off the field.
Play: firstname.lastname@example.org; president Chris on 07963 488527 or head coach Brendan on 07884 250873.
Name: Gus, chief shepherd of the those on the pond.
One to watch: Lewis Jetta. He’s got pace to burn and goals to match – a very handy combination!
Uphill battle: Overcoming the Premiership hangover, just ahead of beating GWS Giants.
Prediction: We’ll snooze our way through the home and aways before waking from our slumber in time for the finals, in which we’ll march on and take the cup for another year!
Our club: Central London’s Zone 1 team who mix the art of socialising with bursts of champagne football.