The 2017 AFL London season comes to a climax this Saturday as a carnival atmosphere greets Clapham Common in what will be an historic day of Grand Finals for the league. In addition to the football action there will also be plenty happening off the field to keep the crowd entertained with a fully stocked bar, quality coffee, street food trucks, competitions, prizes and giveaways. Entry is free with the first match at 9:30am and the last starting 4:00pm, on Clapham Common north side – more information can be found via the Facebook event.

For the first time five Premiership Cups will be contested on the day due to the expansion of the women’s game to a second division this year. This represents an admirable achievement for a league that first introduced women’s football only in 2015. A stellar season from the Wandsworth Demons, which saw four of their five teams finish minor premiers, continued through the finals with all teams reaching the Grand Final on their home ground. However, in a league often prone to upsets at this stage of the season and the Demons depth set to be tested, there are no certainties come Saturday.

The day begins with the Men’s Social division, which sees two-time reigning premiers Wandsworth Demons up against the Bounds Green based club, North London Lions. Having finished third on the ladder the Lions had to take the long route to the final, although easily knocking out both Wimbledon Hawks and Ealing Emus. This good form should help them against an experienced Wandsworth side looking to make history with the first ‘three-peat’ for the division.

In the second match it will be an age old battle for a brand new cup as West London Wildcats do battle with the Wandsworth Demons for the first ever AFL London Women’s Conference Premiership. For a club with such high footballing standards, it was little surprise West London’s inaugural women’s team proved to be a powerhouse of the division, going undefeated through the season. Wandsworth, having broken the hearts of the London Swans with a last minute goal to pinch a grand final berth, will need to try and nullify the strong run and carry game of the Wildcats to give themselves a chance.

Last year in the Men’s Conference Division the Demons were able to break a six year premiership run for West London’s Shepherds Bush Raiders in a three-point classic, and revenge will be on the Raiders minds as they line up once again this year. To say the Raiders have had a stranglehold on this division would be an understatement, having only lost the cup twice, both times to the Demons. This just adds even more spice to an already fiery rivalry between these two largest London football clubs.

Following this contest the South East London Giants will be forging new ground as they appear in their first ever AFL London Grand Final, in the Women’s Premiership match against the Demons. Whilst the Giants will be vying for their first ever silverware, the Demons will be looking to become the first club to win two women’s premierships, having won the inaugural cup back in 2015, and with a strong showing all season they will start as favourites.

In the final match of the day it’s another north vs south battle with the Lions taking on the Demons as they are in the Men’s Social. Also similarly to the Social grade, the Lions have had to fight their way from third place to have their chance of glory. However, this is not unfamiliar territory for the Lions having claimed the 2015 Men’s Premiership Cup from third place in a one point thriller. The Demons have had the stronger season having lost only once and possess depth and balance across the ground, so should feel they have the fire power to come away with the victory. Interestingly the last time these two teams met in the Grand Final was in 2012, when again the Lions were able to come away with a win by a solitary point, so the Demons won’t fancy a close game and will surely look to snuff out the Lions early.

AFL London 2017 Grand Finals on Clapham Common, from 9:30am to 6pm this Saturday 5th August.