BAFA 2024 Premiership Preview: Who can stop the Manchester Titans from a three-peat?

As this British American Football Association season approaches, many teams have taken huge steps forward towards dethroning the back-to-back Britbowl Champions in the Manchester Titans, where changes in management and coaching staff seem to present struggles to other previously strong teams.

Let’s take a look at what to expect from this year’s BAFA Premier sides.


Manchester Titans – 2023 Champions – 10-0

As the Titans seek a three-peat, their roster only looks more loaded than last season. Despite losing star wideout Max Gracie-Ainscough to the Dresden Monarchs, the reigning champions have nothing to worry about; two-time Britbowl MVP Sam Bloomfield remains behind a star-studded offensive line while still having some of his favorite targets, including playmaking receiver Adam Bamber.

The Titans will look to begin the defence of their championship this weekend as they play host to the Tamworth Phoenix on Sunday.

Edinburgh Wolves – 2023 Semi-finalists – 7-3

After an impressive 2023 campaign, ending in a loss away to the London Warriors after their first ever playoff berth, the Wolves will look to push for yet another playoff run as they remain one of the strongest sides in the North.

Quarterback Jamie Morrison will yet again run the offense, although will be losing veteran running back Steve Wilson and wideout Lloyd Dignan to retirement – both playmakers have been team MVPs during their career in Edinburgh. The offensive line has been boosted by the addition of Great Britain left tackle Andrew Watts, along with Great Britain u19 centre Ben Millar.

Defensively, the Wolves will be highlighted by the likes of linebacker David Akintola and ball-hawking safety Dante Fornasiero, with the addition of University of West England Bullets defensive end Steven Malan, who is of course coming off of an undefeated championship-winning season which saw the Bullets avoid conceding a single point all season.

A statement from the Wolves expressed that they “have fantastic talent, fantastic leaders and are excited to step onto the field for our first game”.

The game in question will be a home game where they will host the newly promoted Newcastle Vikings this Sunday.

Tamworth Phoenix – 2023 Record – 7-3

Unlike other years, the Phoenix faced struggles in games that weren’t against the Manchester Titans, even losing to the Wolves by a score of 30-7 around the midseason mark. Uncertainty at the quarterback position, from losing Josh Allsebrook to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to other injuries throughout the season, caused issues for the ‘Nix in 2023, but they will certainly be looking to bounce back this season.

With signings all over the field, from Titans’ defensive back Mustapha Camara to Northants Knights running back Thomas Barrett, Tamworth will be an interesting team to watch as they open up the season with a visit to the champions in Manchester this weekend.

East Kilbride Pirates – 2023 Record – 3-6

With an almost entirely new staff, the Pirates will be looking to rebuild after what was a tough 2023 campaign to say the least. Head coach Matthew Davies will take over the Scottish side after being involved in the club since 2006, while Gordon Wallace will step up as offensive coordinator. On the other side of the ball, the Pirates have welcomed Bryce Stevenson to call the defense, joining the team after being let go by the newly-promoted Vikings.

In terms of on-field additions, defensive lineman Fraser Keil and linebacker Donald Stewart join from the Aberdeen Roughnecks, who are no longer competing in the league, while offensive lineman Jesse Thompson and running back Misba Islam have transferred in from the Vikings. A number of long-time Pirates who had previously moved to the Edinburgh Knights have also decided to return to East Kilbride for the 2024 season.

The Pirates will travel south to face the Merseyside Nighthawks this weekend to kick start their season.

Merseyside Nighthawks – 2023 Record – 1-9

After scraping past the Leicester Panthers in last season’s relegation battle, winning just one game, the Nighthawks look to be in for another tough year after very few notable offseason changes.

Merseyside have added experience to their offensive line with the addition of Tom Worrall (LJMU Fury, Assindia Cardinals), alongside Liverpool Raptors university players being added across the field.

The Nighthawks will open up their season this weekend as they host the East Kilbride Pirates.

Newcastle Vikings – 2023 Division 1 Finalists – 10-0

After a flawless regular season in Division 1 and an overtime loss in the final, the Vikings are looking to make an instant impact on the top tier of British American football.

Despite an already strong squad, the Vikings have further improved their team with a number of new arrivals, particularly by way of the Durham Saints, who reached the BUCS National Championship Game.
Headlining these university playmakers is American quarterback-receiver duo of Michael Ruisch and Terrell Brown. Star Saints wideout Matt Wilson will also join his teammates as they look to bolster an already-electric offensive unit.

Also making the move to the Vikings from the Saints is former Nottingham Caesars and BUCS All-Star linebacker Boris Gavin, while Swiss lineman Bora Dögmen will join from the Newcastle University Raiders.

The Vikings will make their Premiership debut this weekend as they head North to face the Edinburgh Wolves in what will be a baptism of fire for the newly-promoted side.


London Warriors – 2023 Finalists – 9-1

After a disappointing end to a strong regular season campaign last year, the Warriors will certainly be looking to bounce back from their Britbowl loss last summer.

Despite losing approximately 15 players since the end of last season, either to retire or pursue international careers, the defending Premier South champions have picked up a number of players across the board, including plenty of promising rookie players.

The Warriors have retained the majority of their coaching staff, including Marvin Allen and Ian Carpenter coaching defense and offense respectively, while also welcoming Randall Storey to coach the offensive line.

The Warriors will look to begin the defense of their division title on May 5th as they pay host to the Hertfordshire Cheetahs.

SGS Bristol Aztecs – 2023 Semi-finalists – 8-2

After a historical 2023 campaign, which saw the Aztecs snap the Warriors’ six year unbeaten streak in the regular season, Bristol have refused to take their foot off the gas. Among their plethora of new signings are UWE Bullets stars Jacquez Hall (Iowa Wesleyan, NCAA DIII) and CJ Wall (Princeton, NCAA DI) as well as poaching difference-makers from around the league, from former Solent Thrashers’ dynamic quarterback Alfie Birks to London Blitz and Great Britain Lions offensive lineman Ibrahim Ahmed.

The 2024 season will also see the return of defensive back Joe Cassidy from an impressive first year in the GFL with the Dresden Monarchs. This and the addition of Great Britain and Exeter Demons defensive back Tom Seager bolsters an already loaded defensive backfield which contains four GB Lions.

Following a week one bye, a visit to the Cambridgeshire Cats will see the Aztecs open their 2024 season.

London Blitz – 2023 Record – 7-3

After a shocking leadership change with the resignation of coach Damian Anderson, the Blitz will be entering the 2024 season with a new look as a number of key players have vacated the team.

While the Blitz have not been particularly vocal about the changes their team is going through, and there is still uncertainty and speculation around the organization, it is impossible to count the London side out after being one of the top teams in the country for such a long period.

The London Blitz will open their 2024 campaign with a visit to Cambridgeshire where the Cats will get the first look at what we can expect from the Blitz this season.

Cambridgeshire Cats – 2023 Record – 3-7

After a season that was better than the record gave them credit for, the Cambridgeshire Cats will be looking to take a step up to challenge for the top half of the table in 2024. Their already-explosive Sam Huxtable-led offense has picked up some key signings including 2022 BUCS All-Star running back Teddy Pope, previously of the Solent Thrashers. The Cats’ offense will certainly be one to watch with weapons such as Pope and CFL Combine participant Michael Johnson across the board.

The Cats will face the Blitz this weekend to open up their season at home.

Solent Thrashers – 2023 Record – 3-7

After a disappointing 2023 season, the Thrashers likely be pushing through a rebuild year following the loss of veteran head coach Steve Rains, who vacated the spot to shift his focus to the Bournemouth University Bobcats over the winter. With the departure of Rains also came the loss of many key players, from the aforementioned Teddy Pope (Cambridgeshire Cats) and Alfie Birks (Bristol Aztecs) to other starters all over the team.

Despite these losses, the Thrashers have maintained most starting spots, with Dayle Greenfield remaining at the helm of the new-look offense, as players like BUCS All-Star MVP Sam Adesanya look to break out in the new system.

New coaches include head coach and Team GB Olympian Dan McMillan (Solent Redhawks), offensive coordinator Abe Day (Bath Killer Bees, British Army Jackals) and, most notably, Edmonton Elks kicker Dean Faithful will be coaching special teams.

Solent will host the newly-promoted Hertfordshire Cheetahs this weekend to open their 2024 season.

Hertfordshire Cheetahs – 2023 Division 1 Champions – 10-0

As they elevate into the Premier division after an undefeated 2023 campaign, the Cheetahs are in a good position to compete instantly. In what was possibly the most competitive division in all of Britball, the Cheetahs managed to dominate a strong SFC1 South last year. In their 10 regular season games, they put up 260 points while only conceding 51, but the Cheetahs also managed to prove their ability to battle in close games in the postseason, as they ended their season with a 27-21 overtime win against the Vikings in the Division 1 championship game.

While the coaching staff have remained unchanged through to 2024, Hertfordhsire have made efforts to further improve their roster, with the likes of Luke McCorkindale-Brown joining standout Hafeez Bisiriyu in the backfield following the retirement of running back Adam Adenji.

Defensively, the already-sturdy Cheetahs have been bolstered by the addition of defensive tackle Bradley Parish and linebacker Phillipe Blèhiri, who have been named as players to watch heading into the season.

The Cheetahs will kick off their season this weekend as they head to the coast to face the Solent Thrashers.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.