Action Heating Up As China’s AFLC Reaches Midpoint of Season

The American Football League of China has reached the mid point of its season and clear favorites have emerged. The Hong Kong Cobras and Shanghai Titans are both undefeated and clash in this weekend’s top game. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Warriors who are also undefeated take on the Shanghai Titans and the 2-0 Shanghai Nighthawks play host to the Chengdu Pandamen.

The Cobras and Warhawks top the league. Check out the complete league standings on the AFLC website.

Hong Kong Warhawks (2-0) @ Hong Kong Cobras (3-0)
Sunday 18th October, 8pm kickoff , Happy Valley Sports Ground

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The top 2 teams in the country face off in the most anticipated game of the year so far, as the undefeated teams face off at the Happy Valley Sports Ground. At stake is top seeding ahead of the playoffs but more importantly, city pride.

“The team atmosphere has been great this week, everyone is really excited. We have prepared well for this game. We lost to the Cobras twice last year so everyone is keen to win one.” said Sidney H from the Warhawks.

“It’s kind of like the Hong Kong Superbowl. Whatever happens, I want to enjoy the game and be there with my family – they are the best. I think as long as we play our best and leave nothing behind, it’s going to be a great game.”

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Warhawks ground attack. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Warhawks

“The team is looking good” said Cobras coach Ben O’Neill, “We have doubled our practice schedule for the last 2 weeks and we are all excited to play. We are all focused but anxious to play the game and we are very dialed in. We know that if we lose, we will hear about it for a long time. Losing is not an option for us.”

“Our quarterback, Eli Hammiche, needs to play well. The offensive line really needs to step up and block well, especially on running plays. On defense, Ben Wong, our Middle Linebacker, will be looking to lead a strong defensive performance. We had 3 receivers who left our team to join the Warhawks. They were all very talented, so our passing defense will have to play very well.”

China - AFLC - Cobras
Photo courtesy Lampson Ysl

Shanghai Titans (1-1) @ Shanghai Warriors (2-0)
Sunday 18th October, 2pm kickoff, Songjiang Sports Centre, Shanghai

AFLC - Week 4 preview-7Heading to the north division, another cross city battle is set to take place in Shanghai, between the undefeated Warriors and the mid-table Titans, who are keen to continue their winning streak after their last match, in August, against the Chengdu Pandas (winning 42-12).

“Since there are only four regular season games, every game is a big game. The Warriors are a tough team to gameplan against because they have so many good skill position players. So far this season they have not been challenged by their opponents and have not displayed their full squad’s strength. We are going to have our hands full for sure, but we are looking forward to execute our coach’s game plan and compete. It should be a tough battle” commented Datong Wang of the Titans.

When asked about the game, Warriors head coach Zach Brown commented:

“The team’s feeling good. Early on, we anticipated that the first half of the season would be less challenging compared to the second half. We played well in our first 2 games, which gives us a lot of confidence, but not cockiness. We’re feeling organised, conditioned and looking forward to this game. We have focused on all elements of the game to make sure that everyone is ready, and prepare for what we might see from the Titans”.

“The Titans are a well coached team. They run their plays well, and they offer a good mix of pass and run which is dangerous, but we’ve prepared well for that. It should be a fun game of football overall.”

Datong Wang added;

“Football is a team sport, so to win we will need to play well as a team. Player personnel wise, we do not have the number of experienced athletes that the Warriors have, so we will need to work well as an unit. There isn’t any one player we can point to and say he needs to play well, to beat a team like the Warriors all 11 players on the field need to do their part. We need to have a great team effort to win this game”.

Chengdu Pandamen (1-2) @ Shanghai Nighthawks (2-0)
Saturday 17th October, 2pm kickoff, The Rugby Club, North Zhangyang Road, Shanghai

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Image courtesy of Life In The Huddle

In the second game taking place in Shanghai, the Nighthawks look to remain undefeated as they host the Chengdu Pandamen. For Chengdu, a narrow opening day victory has been made a distant memory by two big losses – both to Shanghai teams – but the team is determined to make the most of their cross country trip to Shanghai.

Pandamen defensive coach, Floyd Simmons, remarked:

“The team is looking better, we are still having some of the same challenges as expected. I respect the Nighthawks and I think they are very talented and physical. Facing a team with many foreigners, we always have the challenge of competing against talent and the level of knowledge that they have for the game.”

“I’ve seen a lot of development with our team in practice but the game will determine whether or not we use what we’ve learned in the past couple of weeks effectively. I’m hoping we can apply what we have learned. We learn and we adjust, that’s what football is all about.”

Guangzhou Apaches (0-2) @ Gunagzhou Tigers (1-1)
Sautrday 17th October, 12 midday kickoff

AFLC - Week 4 preview-5In the second southern city clash, it’s the turn of the Apaches to face the Southern Tigers. Riding on the wave of a 58-0 win over the Combat Orcas, the Tigers welcome in the winless Apaches who are attempting to pick up a victory to make up for their slow start.

When asked, the Apaches commented about the game “The team is feeling good, and we’re preparing to try and get the victory. We have some good players on both sides of the ball, which should help to cause problems for the Tigers”

Allan was the Presenter and Co-Producer of Gridiron TV for 4 years, and also spent 10 years playing football in the UK, both at university & adult level, with 107 combined games in his career (on offense, defense and special teams). Allan is now