The North London Lions are an Aussie Rules football club, based north of the River Thames in London.
Founded in 1990, today we field three teams in the AFL London league (two men's teams and one women's team). We are a Club that prides itself on being competitive and social in equal measures. On the field we take our sport seriously and play to win, while off the field we make the most of every social opportunity. Our community today, and including hundreds of ex-Lions covers London, the UK, Australia and most other parts of the globe, including Europe, North and South America, Asia and more.
Our year starts early in January with pre-season training, and continues all year with games, social events, international trips and more. The season here in London runs from May - August, with finals played in late July and early August.
The North London Lions were established in early 1990, and enjoyed a successful first season, narrowly missing the finals despite being very competitive. The Club played out of Enfield, in North London, and off the field quickly built a reputation as a very social Club (including a Club band playing gigs, under the name North London Trash). In setting up the Club, rather than copying the set up of an existing AFL club, the founding members decided to do something unique and so deliberately chose a jumper design from one Club, a song from another, and an emblem from yet another. Hence the Club was known as the Lions, took the field in a red and black jumper similar to Essendon, and sung a version of the Melbourne club song.
The 90's was a period of growth and consolidation for the Lions. Despite never quite making it to win a Grand Final, the Lions were consistently competitive on the field. Home games were played at Hendon Rugby Club initially, before a move to Mill Hill Rugby Club in 1994. The Club grew slowly but steadily across this decade. In 1997 another founding Club the Lea Valley Saints folded, however a number of their players chose to join the North London Lions. 1998 saw the Club training for the first time in Regents Park (as well as playing home games at Turnpike Lane), and the Lions have been a feature at Regents Park ever since.
The arrival of a new century saw a significant turn of fortune for the Lions also. As well as training in Regents Park, the Lions were able to secure a playing ground in Regents Park also. Player numbers continued to grow, and 2001 was a big year for the Club as 1st grade finally made the Grand Final versus Wimbledon. While things looked bad early on, and the Lions hadn't scored a goal by half time, a huge turnaround in the second half saw the Lions storm home to the win. In 2002 the Lions decided to enter a 2nd team in the newly formed Conference competition. The Regents Park Lions were an instant hit, and having gone through the Season undefeated were unlucky to lose the Grand Final by 2 points. However the Lions went back to back in the Premiership, as a very strong North London side was never troubled and ran out winners by 66 points over the West London Wildcats.
2005 saw the Lions playing home games at a new ground in East Ham, while 2007 saw another new home ground as the Lions arrived at their current long-term home ground at Bounds Green. 2008 also saw the introduction of a third Lions team, the Bounds Green Lions in the AFL London Social competition.
After a decade-long wait for more Premiership success, the Lions finally took home the AFL London Premiership flag again in 2012. Despite being huge underdogs on the day, the Lions took the lead and held on to a 1 point margin for the final 6 minutes of the game! The Lions Conference team were on the wrong side of a close margin, going down by 2 points despite having kicked more goals than the opposition.
Season 2012 also signalled the start of a very successful period for the Club, and in 2013 the Premiership team aimed to go back to back. After a strong season the Premiership team once again made the Grand Final however lost by 9 points.
Season 2014 saw a competitive Lions Club with all teams making the finals, but none quite able to reach the Grand Final.
Season 2015 saw a huge turnaround as the Lions Premiership team made the Grand Final and then led for the entire game, holding off the favourites, the Wildcats, to win (again) by a single point in a tense and exciting grand final. With the creation of an AFL London Women's competition in 2015, the Lions were one of 4 founding teams. Our mighty Lionesses have added a brilliant new dimension to the club both on and off the field, and went on to win their first ever premiership in 2019 under founding coach, Jay Treloar.
Season 2020 was cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Season 2021 was shortened to allow for 5 games to be played given the unprecedented circumstances. Our Men's Premiership team went on to win the grand final under first year coach Mike Sharp, the club's first ever GB born coach.
The Lions have been regular participants in finals football at all 4 levels in AFL London in recent years. However the emphasis on fun as well as competitive footy remains and our community here and abroad continues to grow.