Week 1

The post draft chatter was lauding the Argyll Apaches and the Westburn Blades as the immediate pre-season favorites and there was the usual buzz about the return of FOOTBALL !! We all sat back and expected our intriguing mix of new records, expected successes, head scratching failures (and selections !), unexpected hero's , unexpected goats, high profile injuries and more.....  and after a quite breathtaking opening Thursday fixture it seemed a new tradition for opening day high scoring was well and truly on the cards. Unfortunately after that early promise the wheels came off a little over the rest of the weekend as our 26th campaign got off to a somewhat less than stellar start with the 2nd lowest opening day haul ever ( 2005). The undoubted stars of it all were the Caledonia Express as they swept to a stunning 47-21 win over the unfortunate Scunthorpe Steelers with Marty even getting a rare honor of 1st points of the new season on Mike Gillislee's first 2 yard TD run and it was good news all round for the Flying Garioch Brothers as the Garthdee Gryphons held on Monday night to see of the 2 Minute Drillers. Its worth noting those two fixtures provided more than 50% of the Weeks total... leaving the remaining four match-up's all in the sub par sub 20pt mark with the Arnhall Dolphins officially scraping the barrel by getting away with a 13-12 win over the champion Laurel Lions. There is no truth to the rumour the Commish, the 3rd highest scorer of the week, was last seen crying into his Malbec. At the end of it all perhaps the most striking feature was the number of points left on the table ... pretty much across the board. Week 2 will show who adjusts best... lets hope another old tradition.. the Week 2 slump does not make an appearance !! Overall the long suffering Pittodrie Division came out best of all with 3 of their 4 sides getting opening day successes , while at the other end of the spectrum it was the Bon Accord who fared worst of all with the Braves alone getting a notch in the W column... despite their lowly 15pt haul. Remarkably the Geacher's two game opening day winning streak is the current League hottest.  Outside the six ball-clubs already 1-0,  the Drillers and Steelers  arguably look the best placed to threaten down the line with last named a bit of a dark horse with some significant firepower  to come with Jameis Winston now primed for 12 straight starts. New coach Matthew Inkster, as many before him, struggled a little out of the gate.. but not many rookie outfits have won their debut fixture... I fully expect the Head Pirate to bounce back and make the transition from PPR to ALFF rules.  As always things can look very different very quickly and Week 2 will likely paint a different picture as NFL DC's get their hands on game film and make adjustments. It's fair to say every team potentially has it's upside , so the slow starters have every reason to believe they will get better and be a post season candidates and of course injuries will test the depth of many a roster.... perhaps the small points spread outside of the top four scorers this week is a sign that parity is very much in evidence again after a little split in 2016. The odds still very much favor (18-7) an eventual champion who wins on opening day ... which suggests the ALFF pundits tea leaves point firmly back at the name of Garioch, McGeachy, Sutherland or Bothwell being etched on the Steven Wood Memorial Trophy come early 2018...    As always I will be supported in the report writing by the usual squad of scribes and hacks with Stuie now contributing from NZ.  6 games down ... 79 to go... Week 1 emphasized  you don't have to be the best each week to win... only score more than your opponent ! As always I sincerely hope you win as many as you deserve !! After 25 years could it really be Marty's turn ? Enjoy !!

 

Caleb & Cards Conquer Commish

DB Justin Bethel on his way to the EZ with a crucial pick six.

Like Nigel Molesworth and his chums returning to St Custards for the new term, all ready to compete for the Mrs Joyful Prize For Raffia, the ALFF is back, and my Wednesday afternoons are now taken care off with doing this. Chizz. Week one saw two of the founder members go on a head to head when Donnies Gryphons met Jimbo's Drillers in what was the 26th regular season meeting between these clubs. For what it is worth the Drillers have won the last 5 encounters and lead the series 18-5, whilst Donnie has lost his last four season openers but Vegas somehow had the Gryphons two-point favourites. Shurely shum mishtake? Well as it 'appens guys'n'gals, Vegas was right on the money. Donnie got of to the best of starts when Arizona's Justin Bethel ran an interception back 82 yards to give the Birds an early lead which they never gave up. Todd Gurley came back with a 5 yard run for the Commish, but not before Caleb Sturgis had nailed a 50yrd FG followed by another from the 42 and the Bird's first round pick Davonta Freeman burrowed in from the five. LeGarrette Blount caught one from the one yard line to keep the Drillers in contention and Dan Bailey had four FGs and one PA, but a final FG from Sturgis from 37yards and a Kirk Cousins toss from 29 yards out cemented a 27-23 victory for Coach Garioch. What does it all mean? Well Donnie has the Blades up next, and that will be a difficult game for both teams, but Donny must take great succour from this victory over his long time nemesis and he will surely feel confident given the Blades lacke lustre showing in week 1. The supposed weakest Division in the league has three winning teams, and one of them will move to 2-0 after week 2. Jim will not be too despondant at this loss, but as he faces up to the Johnson-less Apaches in their next game, he knows that if he loses again, they will find themselves bottom of the Bon-Accord Division and two games off the pace after two weeks. this will not be acceptable. However the Drillers will know that they will score less points than they did this week and still win. Personally I think it is grate to be bak in St Custards, and the only good things about skool and the ALLF are the BOYS wizz who are noble brave fearless etc although you hav various swots, bullies, cissies, milksops greedy guts and oiks with whom i am forced to mingle hem-hem..... See you all next week, as any fule kno......

 

Apaches Nick Week 1 Winner

 

Goat Jowls boots one of his 3 vital FG's for the Braves.

Dateline. September 2017. The ALFF is back and running. Four of the original coaches from the inaugural season are, still with us, along with numerous other veterans, and a debut coach, just to keep the pot stirring. A big Howdie to the Cove Bay Pirates, as they dip their toes in the water. Most of last year’s crews have returned, including one coach operating form the other end of the world. Just shows you how far sado-masochism will travel for its kicks. By the time the dust had settled all the coaches had their new squads; whether they actually had the players they wanted, is a moot point. Draft strategies tend to last up to around the middle of round 2…if you are lucky. This week one fixture threw, two old stagers, together. Geronimo and his Apache’s facing off against Crackshot and his Desperado’s. The Apache’s have a history of low scores in this fixture, having only once topped 26 points, whilst the Dan’s are coming off a 7 game, end of season slump. They had managed to win the last 2 head to head games, and were looking to continue. The Apache’s had been installed as, post draft, favourites…pretty much a, fickle finger of fate scenario. Vegas favoured the Apaches by 3. This one started with Thursday night action, as Gostkowski, got the ball rolling. He connected on FG’s from 25 and 31 yards as well as 3 PAT’s, but it was a solid score, rather than a game breaking one (unlike the actual fixture itself). Then along comes Sunday, and rather that the big explosion, this one turned into a mosey, down the local caffeine dealers, for a skinny latte and a buttery. A big night…it was not. Roethlisberger went 24 of 36 for 263 yards and 2 scoring passes. Short range scores from 4 and 2 ensured 6 points. The reply from Rodgers, was not what was required, or expected. He was 25 of 42 for 311 but managed only the one scoring pass; a 32 yard score. Bothe sets of running backs raided the goose egg factory, and they were, almost accompanied by the entire set of wide men. DeAndre Hopkins proved the exception with a 4 yard score. Mason Crosby added a 40 yard FG and 2 PATs for the Dan’s, but it was never going to be enough, and this one was gone. The Desperado’s make it 8 games since they tasted victory, and will want to bounce back as soon as possible. Crackshot leads the RSS 18-7 but that will be of little comfort. The Apaches start 2017 with a win, albeit a stuffy one. They will look to motor on, and justify the, early favourites tag. Anyhooo…….week one is in the record books and 12 more weeks of league action to follow. By then the whet will have been sorted from the chaff, and the play off’s will beckon. As usual, anything can happen over that period of time, and probably not what was expected. Stay tuned to see what happens.

 

 

Champions Fingered By Fish

Wideout Jason Witten scores the winning TD for Arnhall.

In a week of ugly wins this one topped the Davie Dodds scales ( younger coaches think of Ian Dowie after a bad accident) but there was no sleep lost in Westhill as the Arnhall Dolphins stumbled to a 13-12 win over the no show Laurel Lions. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro now residing in Met Life Stadium was the only true star in this snorefest with his 8pts in Buffalo the real difference maker in an otherwise forgettable season opener for both HC's. Going into the late, late Sunday action 12-10 in front the Lions looked like they were on course to extend the reigning champions opening day win streak to a new record 4 on the bounce ... but QB Eli Manning ordered goose egg with the game on the line with Fin's WR Jason Witten securing the victory for Mad Fish's outfit with a 12 yard TD grab. A successful 2pt conversion was the other score on the  Arnhall side of the ledger but the Granite Div side will surely build on this with a meaty looking running game sure to kick on down the track. None of his Divisional rivals broke 18pts ... so its not as if the Fish looked overmatched at this early stage. However the form of Russell Wilson has to be a concern for the coaching Umpire.... given the holes in his offensive line. Coach Hamilton must have sensed something was up when vet K Adam Vinatieri not only missed a short FG .. but followed that with a PAT shank that cost his side dear. Other than a single AV FG all coach Hamilton had to show for his opening day efforts  as League Champion was a 32 yard counter from WR Jordy Nelson and a 20 yd fumble return for a TD from his Philly defence. Worryingly RB DeMarco Murray was not a huge factor and it could be a long haul for the Pittodrie Div ballclub if his 3 big veterans ( Manning , Murray & Vinatieri) don't fit the bill. It's only Wk2... but next weeks' match-up against the hot starting Posse could set the tone for James bid to become the first ever repeat champion. Coach Sutherland's first win in the fixture ties the RSS at 1-1.

 

Player of the Week

Anointed on Thursday ... crowned on Monday. RB Mike Gillislee scored more (or equal to) no fewer than EIGHT SIDES on the Week 1 opening card. His 3 short TD runs earn the CalX RB the Week 1 Player of the Week award.

 

 

Play of the Week

More Thursday night exposure here. Posse stand-out Tyreek Hill stepped right back into big play mode on opening night.... his 75 yard scoring reception (from unactivated Arnhall Dolphin Alex Smith) land the first 2017 Play of the Week.

 

 

 

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Steelers Scorched by Runaway Express

Tyreek Hill scampers 75 yards for a big Posse TD.

……. *EXHALES*… thank god those football-less months are behind us! So let’s just dive right in and we’ll get any sentimental bumf dealt with at the end. We’re back, brosephs! The Caledonian Xpress are not only back, but they returned with a pocked full of “BANG!”. They traded in a few “bucks” for that “bang”… and… ummm… “they scored a lot of points”, is what I’m trying to say! There was a lot to be said in the pre-game about this one; Steelers won the last 4 straight in the series (including in the playoffs last season), Steelers have never lost a season opener, Posse lost 4 straight openers,… well by the end of Thursday Night Football, Coach Marty must have been about ready to stick two fingers up to the analysts and give it the ol’ “nyerr nerr ner ner nyerrrrr!”. Gamble? Brilliant draft strategy? Backfield lottery? Kech yer breeks n’ jus’ ging fer the best available player? We may never truly understand the mind of Captain Cove, but (for one week at least) he’s looking like a genius/”idiot savant”. Fourth round pick Mike Gillislee was the primary contributor, finding the paint from 2, 2 and 1 yards out for 18 points. Retained all-round sensation Tyreek Hill showed that he can be a legit #1 threat and reminded us of how explosive he is by getting under a 75 yard rainbow from Alex “He’ll Never Throw 4 TDs in a Game” Smith, for 6(3). Mr Adam, the gauntlet lays before you. And before he even had his team selection down, some quite called “Irma” (defs not a real name) blew Scunthorpe’s starting QB out of the water as Jameis Winston would have to be replaced by rookie unknown, DeShon Kizer. Yes, a Cleveland QB starting a game in week 1 of an ALFF season. When was the last time that happened? Jeff Garcia? Bernie Kosar?! Milt Plum?!?! Fair play to him though, after a rocky start and no run game, he put up decent numbers, including a 1 yard TD run and a 3 yard pass to Corey Coleman. Beast Mode was back in business after a year making silly videos (including some time in Houston, Scotland - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIjQuxaK4Mw ), now playing out of his native Bay Area and he was looking good. Not good enough for a TD, mind, but still beastin’. Carlos Hyde was also in the Bay Area – well, up in Santa Clara, anyway – and also failed to get his team in the end-zone, making this comeback mularky about as likely as Chris Collinsworth making it through a game without saying “Now here’s a guy…”. Amari Cooper faired a little better with an 8 yard reception for a score for the Scunthorpe side before Blair Walsh booted a trio of fieldgoals.
Back in Marty Land and things started going from good to great. Cam Newton lobbed a pair of TD passes (40 and 9 yards), Graham Gano hit his own threesome of FGs as well as a couple of extra points and Austin Hooper had two receptions for over 120 yards including a 64 yard TD for a 6 pointer. So at the end of week 1, the Posse are the pace-setters and clearly have potential for an explosive 2017 season after a 47-21 victory. The Steelers also have plenty of talent, but were just up against it from the start. There can’t be hurricanes in Florida every week, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty of Mr Winston this season. Steelers lead the RSS 3-2. Quick update from New Zealand: I’ve got NFL Gamepass and have been watching the games on my phone in the office, so I will survive the weird times until they sack me for screaming my hatred for Phil Rivers etc... IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK! Chur bros! Kia Ora!

 

 

Killers Wreak Havoc On The Johnnies

Jordan Howard scores on a 4 yard run for the Killers.

A fresh season and a new start for one and all in the ALFF; can you smell that optimism in the air – admittedly in some areas there is a mephitic tang to the atmosphere but let’s stay positive. Unlike in the NFL everyone in our league starts off on the same footing although even at this early stage some appear to be hobbling! Yes the NFL front office have done their best to spoil the chances of some of us but if we can’t rise above these trivial obstacles we would all support Rangers! What obstacles I hear you cry? Well how about the big winds blowing in the states? (A problem likely to be exacerbated as the Brothers Garioch are scheduled to visit in October – you have been warned…and so now has America)! Despite the Mayor Of Trumpton reporting that global warning doesn’t exist the evidence to the contrary mounts and annoyingly impacts even the ALFF. The week 1 matchup between the Kincorth Killers & The Wrecking Rebels is a point in fact as Killers Coach Derv had an enforced change due circumstances beyond his control; that would be Irma to you and me. This blowhard not only flattened and devastated many communities in the West Indies & the U.S. but required team changes in the ALFF, to wit, Mike Evans of the Bucs became unavailable and he had to be replaced by Emmanuel “Bernie” Sanders of the Broncos. Admittedly this was the only change the weather forced in this game but the import for the league is there for all to see. The early action commenced on TNF and saw the Killers starting cheat QB Tom Brady post, what many neutral fans hope will become a regular occurrence this year, the first goose egg of the campaign. (This might seem harsh until you hear what the Commish and other Coaches from the ALFF would have the Golden Boy endure; not for the squeamish)! In fact Brady’s failure (I hope never to tire from typing that phrase) led the well trusted and respected Vegas View to favour the Rebs by 2 after that ignominious start. In response Rebs QB Matt Ryan though misfiring repeatedly in the Red Zone did notch a steady 6 points. The battle of the running backs was an interesting affair, The Rebs highly touted rookie Christian McCaffrey managed a debut goose egg whilst teammate Melvin Gordon had a reception for a TD; The Killers Justin Howard had a TD run but his colleague Adrian Peterson was starved of carries, possibly because he now needs a zimmer (ironic as it was a Zimmer that thought he was past his use by date) to get on the field and irony upon irony takes all day to do it now! Consequently AP didn’t cross the half way line never mind the goal line. The Killers now went for the jugular and their WR trio of Des Bryant, Emmanuel Sanders & Alshon Jeffrey netted a single point from the latter on a 2 point conversion. Scary stuff I hear you say however the Rebs WR trio hardly faired any better as Rob Gronkowski had a failure on the TNF football, Zack Ertz was in default mode (yards but no points) & in the MNF Keenan Allen did find the end zone once and was then penalised for taunting (in a losing cause I might add – bags the first use of the term mercurial in 2017 for this prat who was then seen laughing and joking on the sideline)! With neither defence troubling the scorers it was left to the kickers to decide the outcome. Leading 12 – 7 the Rebs had a rookie to call on and as we know this is far from an ideal situation, particularly when his competition was about as grizzled a veteran as can be found. In that scenario my money would be on the vet….and so it proved. Young Fairbairn posted a single digit score for the Rebs and that single digit was a one meanwhile the Killers veteran Matt Bryant booted a satisfying 11 points to send the KIncorth Faithful home happy with an 18 – 13 victory. The Rebs finished with 5 straight regular season losses and have started the new campaign in the same ominous form, expect changes for week 2. The Killers? Their 4 game winning streak continues and with a fair wind? We’ll keep you posted!

 

Pirates Tuckered Out By Flashing Blades

RB Jonathon Stewart flips into the EZ on a 9 Yd TD grab.

Newbie coach Inkster was handed a short lesson in winning ALFF ugly as the Westburn Blades made it 4 opening day wins on the trot with a low scoring 17-12 success in this low key opening weekend fixture. Coach Kiwi's charges took command in the early Sunday period  thanks to the combination of  QB David Carr and K Jason Tucker and although QB Philip Rivers did his best to rally the Monday loaded Pirates with a TD treble, a 03-17 deficit proved too much for the greybeard signal-caller  to claw back. Matthew's first taste of ALFF action on Thursday night did not go to  plan as Danny Amendola left injured without scoring and the WR was joined on the doughnut line by his New England defence. It fell to kicker  Steven Hauschka to kick the "other" Cove Bay side's first ever ALFF points with 3 PAT's at Orchard Park. Top pick Antonio Brown joined a lengthening list of Pirates in the scoreless zone with the aforementioned Rivers the only one to add to the kicker's efforts. Meanwhile the ever resilient Blades had opened their account thanks to retained QB David Carr's TD double in Music City with Justin Tucker tagging on a short 25 Yd FG and a three PAT's (what no 50 yarder !!??) , leaving ageless RB Jonathon Stewart to complete a compact if less than stellar Westburn scoring effort with a rare 9 yard TD grab. Youngblood has enough ALFF skin in the game to know wins come in many shapes and sizes and all count the same come December. If and when Shady McCoy gets on track this Blades squad has the potential to go all the way. With the Posse & Gryphons already leading the scoring charts the Pittodrie Div could be the grouping to beat this term. The Pirates head honcho needs to chalk this one down to experience and trust his top picks will  get the job done with lost of upside should rookie RB Dalvin Cook break-out. Next up for Matthew is the 1-0 Arnhall Dolphins.. a 1-0 side that scored just 1 more point than his Pirates.

 

 

Sleeper of the Week

It looked like a clean sweep for the Thursday night fixture in the add on columns with Kareem Hunt looking a likely Sleeper.... BUT that was before the Drillers failed to convert  a 22-27 deficit into a victory over the Gryphons on Monday night. Had the Ricker went with his LA Rams defence instead of his Bills... he would have scored a convincing 39-27 win over the Birds... and been sitting pretty. Instead his missing 14pts (net -14pts) earn him a painful Week 1 SOW.