Fancy joining the Portsmouth Pirates’ bid for Australian Rules Football success?

The Portsmouth Pirates Australian Rules team have started training ahead of their second London League campaign.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 11:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 11:49 am
Portsmouth Pirates' training session at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash

The Pirates joined forces with Southampton-based Gaelic Football team St Jude’s for a special ‘skills-swapping’ session at the weekend at Warblington School, Havant.

The new season starts in late April and runs through until the end of July or beginning of August.

Head coach Steve Woodland is keen to promote the sport across the Portsmouth region, and to boost his squad’s numbers.

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The Portsmouth Pirates squad at the weekend training session at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash (070320-012

‘You don’t need to have any experience of the sport, you don’t even need to have even watched it,’ he said.

‘It’s really easy to pick up. It’s fun to play, a good laugh.

‘We’ve found it suits rugby players who are looking to keep fit during the summer months.

‘It’s a very aerobic sport, great for fitness.

Portsmouth Pirates in training at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash

‘Basketballers also like playing, and Gaelic footballers too - there’s a big crossover.

‘It’s a game for most ages - our players range from 18 to about 48.’

Games generally last around two hours - they are over four quarters with breaks - and teams consist of 22-man squads (18 starters, four subs).

The Pirates have been going for around 20 years - club president John Titcombe remains a driving force - but last season was their first in the London League after switching from the Southern League.

Portsmouth Pirates in training at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash

‘We’re different in that most of our squad are Brits,’ continued Woodland.

‘We’ve only got two Aussies in the team - one of them is me and I’ve been over here for 30 years so I’m more English than Aussie now!

‘I turned up to a training session last year and ended up leaving as head coach. I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s been an enjoyable experience so far.

‘We won two games last year and lost five, but that was beyond our expectations.

Portsmouth Pirates' training session. Picture: Vernon Nash

‘We started running junior coaching sessions before our home games last season, and we;ll be doing that again this year.

‘We’re also taking part in an exhibition event at Petersfield RFC on Good Friday for the Ruby Against Cancer charity.’

Anyone requiring more information on the Pirates - or wishing to get involved on the playing side - can email Woodland at [email protected]

A flag at the Portsmouth Pirates' training session.
Portsmouth Pirates in training at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash
Portsmouth Pirates in training at Warblington School. Picture: Vernon Nash