ANZAC Cup 2017 – Match Reports

The 9th Annual ANZAC Cup, contested between the Australian Spirit and France, was played in picturesque conditions yesterday at Stadium Timmerman, Villers-Bretonneux. The beaming sun resulted in a nice crowd growing for the 12pm women’s game.

Following a minute’s silence and the national anthems the women’s game was under-way. It was played at a frantic pace from the opening bounce with Coline Duquet of France working well in the ruck to give her midfielders first use of the football.

Two goals to one had the French in front at the first change with Camille and Berengere Portal having strong opening quarters.

Wayward kicking in front of goal was hurting the Australian’s as they started winning the football out of the middle and holding deep in their forward line.

The Australian’s went into halftime with an 8-point lead after trailing the French at the quarter time break.

The second half went all the Australian’s way but they couldn’t convert in front of goal kicking 5 goals, 13 behinds to the end of the third quarter.

They got their radars straight in the final term with an extra 4 goals sealing victory in a great game of football. Final scorecard reading 9.15. 69 to 3.8. 26 in favour of the Australian’s.

Best on ground honours went to Steph Filbay of Australia and Camille Portal of France.

The men’s match followed immediately after the women with both sides taking part in the pre-game ceremonies of a minute silence and national anthems. A stirring rendition of the French national anthem had the local crowd excited at the prospect of knocking off the Australian side for the first since 2013.

Harriet O’Malley, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris, tossed the coin with Australian skipper, Tony Fulton choosing to run towards Le Melbourne Pub end of the ground in the first quarter.

Both sides started out strong with French full-forward, Pierre Boscart, looking dangerous coming out the goal square.

It didn’t take long for the Australian’s spiritual leader, Jay Treloar, to make an impact in the game with a strong double fist whilst 15 metres clear of an opponent.

Two goals apiece had both sides even at the quarter time break with the French looking very dangerous in the 9-a-side format.

It was much of the same in the second term with both sides struggling to convert with the immense tackling pressure. Australia edged in front late to take a 9-point lead into the main break.

Coaches, Jason Cameron and Tom Rischbieth got the boys firing in the third term as the Australian’s kicked five goals in quick succession to set up a comfortable lead going into the final quarter.

A strong finish by the French kept the Australian’s honest in the final term but it was too little, too late. Final scorecard reading 13.12. 90 to 6.15. 51 in favour of the Australian Spirit.

The trophies and medals were presented by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP, who was in Villers-Bretonneux for the ANZAC commemorations.

Best on ground honours went to Michael Curcio of Australia and Pierre Leschales of France.

A special mention to Tobias Siegel and Cai Davies for their stellar performances umpiring both games as well as all the volunteers led by the ABA for putting together another amazing ANZAC Cup.

With the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux next year, the 2018 ANZAC Cup is set to be extra special.

ANZAC Day at Belushi’s

Join the crew at Belushi’s Hammersmith for your 2017 ANZAC Day.

Head on down for a chilled out afternoon with your fellow Kiwi and Aussie family to celebrate ANZAC Day

  • Bar open from 7am
  • Cooked Breakfast served from 7am-12pm
  • BBQ’s from 12pm all afternoon
  • Live Music
  • Rock n’ Roll Bingo from 7pm

For full details click here

9th Annual ANZAC Cup – Australian Spirit v France

The 9th ANZAC Cup takes place in Villers-Bretonneux, France this Sunday 23rd of April with two games of football between the Australian Spirit and French National sides.

The small town of Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France has a strong connection with Australian Armed Forces. On 24th April 1918, the town was captured by German forces. Overnight the Australian troops retaliated and by dawn on the 25th April 1918 the town had be retaken.

The ANZAC Cup plays part of the greater ‘Australia Week’ celebrations held in Villers-Bretonneux, and culminates with the Dawn Service at the Australian National War Memorial, attracting thousands to pay their respects.

Players are selected for the ANZAC Cup Australian Spirit sides based on their personal connection to the Armed Forces, not their footballing ability.

The ANZAC Cup isn’t simply about the football, with players from both sides being hosted by local families from Saturday up until the Dawn Service on Tuesday. The weekend kicks off with a combined training session on the Saturday afternoon, before the teams enjoy dinner together and are presented with their playing jumpers.

On the Sunday, the teams come together to visit the National War Memorial to spend some time reflecting on the contributions of the young men and women who gave up so much during the war. The teams then march through the streets of Villers-Bretonneux meeting and greeting locals.

The march concludes at Stadium Timmerman and soon after the women’s match will start at 12pm and then the men’s will immediately after. Presentations and a minute’s silence will follow the matches and is always a special moment for all involved.

Australian players will conduct a footy clinic for the local children of Le Hamel on Monday afternoon introducing young French students to the great game of Australian Rules Football and is a great addition to this year’s event.

This year is the 9th edition of the ANZAC Cup with the Australian Spirit winning 5 of the 8 games so far. This is the 2nd consecutive competitive match for the women’s teams with Australia taking the victory in last year’s inaugural match.

The men’s side is being led out by ex-Armed Serviceman and current Army Reserves enlistee, Tony Fulton. Tony spent time deployed in East Timor for a peacekeeping mission recounting it as one of the most rewarding experiences in his life.

“ANZAC Day to me is about reflection and respect for the ultimate sacrifice that many ANZAC soldiers have made in the past, and still continue to make to this day. Having practiced the tradition of attending ANZAC Ceremonies for most of my life, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to be doing it in Villers-Bretonneux, France, on what I anticipate to be one of the most moving and memorable ANZAC Ceremonies I’ve had the privilege to be involved in. A win would be great as well.” – Tony Fulton, Australian Spirit Men’s Captain

Tony Fulton, Australian Spirit Men’s Captain

The women’s team will be captained by Hayley Canton. Hayley has a long family history of involvement in the armed forces, with her great grandfather, grandfather and both parents serving in the Australian Army.

“ANZAC Day has always been a massive part of my life as my father, mother and grandparents have all served our country in the Australian Armed Forces. The first ANZAC Day I remember, I marched with my father at our local service. I was so proud to represent my grandfather and to wear his medals. Since then I have attended many ANZAC ceremonies, to pay respect to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives or their livelihood for our freedom and way of life. I know the people of Villers-Bretonneux value the ANZACs and their contributions to the town. To be there at such a meaningful time of year, to see the memorial and to be able to put an image to the stories you hear about the battles I the most incredible experience.”  – Hayley Canton, Australian Spirit Women’s Captain

Hayley Canton, Australian Spirit Women’s Captain

Whilst the game is always competitive, with both teams wanting nothing more than to win, the ANZAC Cup provides a unique opportunity for remembrance and reflection on the bond between the ANZACs and French, the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the Somme region in Northern France.

In what is one of Australia’s most revered days, the 60 players, umpires and volunteers taking part have the unique opportunity to experience the meaning to ANZAC Day from the perspective of the locals in the small town of Villers-Bretonneux.

Congratulations in advance to the two teams and umpires taking part in the 2017 ANZAC Cup.

Umpires

Tobias Siegal – AFL Germany Umpire & Coordinator

Cai Davies – Victorian Football Umpires Association

Women’s

Australia

Amanda Rojek – Oxford University AFC

Alex Daley – Wandsworth Demons

Bianca Maes – Fitzroy FC/Hamburg Dockers

Bianca Valenzisi – Wandsworth Demons

Brittany McGinley – Wandsworth Demons

Emily Ashby – Kew Bears

Grace Houghton – Wandsworth Demons

Hayley Canton (Captain) – Wandsworth Demons

Isabel Currenti – Wimbledon Hawks

Laura Hewison – Wandsworth Demons

Emma Lundaahl – Wandsworth Demons

Leiha Shrubsall – Dublin Angels

Stephanie Filbay – Oxford University AFC/North London Lions

Jo O’Dwyer – Wandsworth Demons

Siobhan O’Dwyer – Wandsworth Demons

France

Joanne Mouradian

Fanny Maillet

Camille Portal

Melanie Colot Rat

Stephanie Walker

Catherine Giles

Naima Ait El Mouden

Emilie Giancarli

Berengere Portal

Anne Pille

Coline Duquet

Claire Perez

Men’s

Australia

Anthony Acfield – Kew Bears

Ash Walsh – Seymour FC/Wandsworth Demons

Ben Crole – Strathmore FC/Wimbledon Hawks

Ben Polmear – Port Malmo Maulers

Bryce Hayes – Mt Eliza Red Legs/North London Lions

Christopher Sharpely – South Yarra FC/Wandsworth Demons

Craig Primmer – South Sharks/Turku Dockers

Dick Benson – Old Xaverians/Wandsworth Demons

Elmo Primmer – Yeronga Devils/Turku Dockers

Jay Treloar – Gympie Cats/Moorooka Roosters/North London Lions

Matt Casalbuono – Moonee Valley FC/Wandsworth Demons

Michael Curcio – St Bedes Mentone Tigers/Wandsworth Demons

Phil Spivey – Altona North FC/ Sussex Swans

Ryan Spivey – Sussex Swans/Wimbledon Hawks

Steven Trollope – East Burwood/Paris Cockatoos

Tony Fulton (Captain) – Traralgon FC/Wandsworth Demons

Jason Cameron (Coach)

Tom Rischebieth (Coach)

France

Julien Gil – Toulouse Hawks

Herve Desjardin – Cergy Coyotes

Pierre Leschasles – ALFA Lions

Cyrille Gandolfo – Toulouse Hawks

Benoit Treuillet – Bordeaux Bombers

Pierre-Etienne Dandaleix – Bristol Dockers

Jeremy Sardin – Perpignan Tigers

Raphael Ubeda – Bordeaux Bombers

Pierre Boscart – Paris Cockerels

Thomas Despondt – ALFA Lions

Thomas Crepin – Cergy Coyotes

Jacob Raiwalui – Paris Cockatoos

Franck Nussbaumer – Paris Cockerels

Mathieu Osterero – ALFA Lions

Maxime Favero – Cergy Coyotes

Nicolas Boche – ALFA Lions

Andrew Unsworth (Coach)

Level 1 Coaching Courses throughout Europe in 2017!

It is with much excitement that AFL Europe would like to announce, in partnership with anzuk Education, that we will be delivering AFL Level 1 Coaching Accreditation Courses in 2017.

Unfortunately, we cannot visit every country, although we have developed a comprehensive coaching program that we believe will allow us to service as many countries/leagues/clubs as possible to ensure that we can continue to grow and develop the game of AFL throughout Europe.

Please see the list below which will outline the dates and cities where courses will be delivered;

  • Sunday, 14th of May – London
  • Sunday, 28th of May – Milan
  • Sunday, 4th of June – London
  • Sunday, 11th of June – Dublin
  • Sunday, 18th of June – Copenhagen
  • Sunday, 9th of July – Cologne
  • Sunday, TBC – Paris/Toulouse

The courses will run for a full day, although the exact times, location and details/requirements of each course will be confirmed closer to the date.

There will be limited positions available for each course, therefore anyone wishing to receive their Level 1 Coaching Accreditation is asked to complete an Level 1 Coaching Accreditation Course – Application Form and sign an AFL Coaches Code of Conduct and return to Ryan.Davey@afleurope.org to be considered for a place in the course. Applications will close 1 month prior to each course and successful applicants will be notified via email and will be provided with more detail.

These courses will be the equivalent level of a Level 1 Coaching Accreditation received in Australia, although there will be NO CHARGE to attend these courses and receive the Level 1 Accreditation in Europe.

We are thrilled to be able to provide our hard-working volunteers with the opportunity to receive a Level 1 Coaching Accreditation to further help develop and grow football in Europe.

 

 

Haggis Cup Preview

This weekend will see the official kick off to the Scottish AFL season with the return of the Haggis Cup at the West of Scotland Rugby Club in Glasgow. This year’s Haggis Cup will feature a mix of men’s and women’s teams from across the UK, with the women’s competition boasting sides from the Nottingham Scorpions, Glasgow Sharks, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Wimbledon Hawks, and two teams from the Wandsworth Demons.

The men’s competition will have teams representing the Wolverhampton Wolverines, Huddersfield Rams, Tyne Tees Tigers, Edinburgh Bloods, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Kingdom Kangaroos, and two teams from both the Glasgow Sharks and the Wandsworth Demons.

This year’s tournament kicks off at 9.30am, beginning with each team playing four games of ten minute halves in the group stages before moving on to semi finals and placing matches. The women’s grand final takes place at 4pm and the men’s at 4.30 before wrapping up the tournament with presentations and an after party at Malones Glasgow.

Keep up to date with the match results on AFL Scotland’s Facebook and professional photos will be available to purchase from http://www.duncolm.co.uk/ after the tournament.

The Down Under Centre teams up with AFL Europe

AFL Europe is excited to announce that we’ll be teaming up with the Down Under Centre in 2017. The Down Under Centre comes on board with the vision of assisting AFL Europe grow the game of Aussie Rules across Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey said, “the partnership with the Down Under Centre will provide great benefit to the AFL Europe community and will assist the growth of Australian Rules Football in Europe. We are thrilled to work with the entire team at the Down Under Centre. Wes (Founder) is very passionate about AFL and wants to see the game thrive right throughout Europe.”

The Down Under Centre is the one-stop shop for all your migration needs to Australia and New Zealand, specialising in Australian Skills Assessments for the purpose of migration. The team at the Down Under Centre work closely with their clients to complete the migration process efficiently and to ensure that they have the strongest possible application before submitting.

Image: Down Under Centre founder Wes Zandt with his son Jet

 

A Collingwood fanatic, the Down Under Centre Founder, Wes Zandt, hasn’t let distance or time zones diminish his love for Australian Rules Football. “In the nine years that I have lived in London, I haven’t missed a single Collingwood game. I am excited to partner with AFL Europe, I feel so passionate about AFL and I look forward to working with the team to help grow this great game of ours.”

The Down Under Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. They’re a walk-in centre so please feel free to drop in and say G’day!

Champions League 2017 Review

Champion teams from throughout Europe converged on Amsterdam over the weekend to contest the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League.

With 24 teams (19 men’s, 5 women’s), 16 umpires, countless volunteers, 5 pitches and 60 matches across the day it was always going to be a massive tournament for all involved.

The Group Stages

The women’s group was a tight contest from start to finish. The Paris Cockerelles started their campaign with a hard-fought win over the Odense Lionesses while the Port Malmo Lynx knocked over pre-tournament favourites, the Wimbledon Hawks. The Mixed Team, led by a host of GB Swans, proved a difficult opponent winning their first three games.

The Cockerelles continued their strong form throughout the group to finish atop of the table before progressing in the semi-finals having only dropped a game to the Mixed Team. They were best served by Coline Duquet and Camille Portal who were dominating games in the midfield.

The Lionesses finished second with two wins, two losses next to their names while the Hawks and Lynx rounded out the table to with one win apiece.

Standings after the Group stages

  1. Paris Cockerelles
  2. Odense Lionesses
  3. Wimbledon Hawks
  4. Port Malmo Lynx

*Mixed Team unable to qualify for finals

The men’s competition was divided into four groups (3 groups of 5, 1 group of 4). Group A proved the closest of the three with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats the standouts. The North West Eagles, Cardiff Panthers and Oslo Crows each took a game off one another showing just how close the three teams were. Two of the games of the tournament took place in this group with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats finishing their encounter at 20 apiece while the North West Eagles and Cardiff Panthers fought out a nail-biter on the live stream with the Eagles holding on for an 8-point victory.

Group B consisted of 2 time defending champions, the West London Wildcats, Paris Cockatoos, Glasgow Sharks, Zaprude Giants and Sussex Swans. It was no surprise that the Wildcats were the early favourites but an in-form Cockatoos and Glasgow Sharks showed that they had what it took to give the defending champions a scare. The Giants and Swans struggled against the bigger sides but represented their clubs well and will only be better for the experience.

Last year’s losing finalists the Manchester Mozzies were met strongly by the boys from Munich in Group C. Their match went down to the wire with the Mozzies just edging past them 28-22. The Bordeaux Bombers continued with the form that saw them lift the French Cup in December last year finishing third in the group after knocking off the Port Malmo Maulers and wildcards, the Styrian Downunderdogs.

The final group, Group D, consisted of four teams, hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Norrtalje Dockers, the Zagreb Dockers and Russian United. This group played longer halves to ensure they played similar game time to the other three groups. The Devils were on a mission, after two years of just being off the pace, wanting to prove to their home crowd they were the real deal in 2017. The Norrtalje Dockers started strongly against Russian United before failing to trouble the Devils and Zagreb sides. Russian United again struggled but showed improvement on their 2016 campaign and gained valuable experience against some very polished sides.

Standings after the Group stages

Group A

  1. Leeside Lions
  2. Farum Cats
  3. Cardiff Panthers
  4. North West Eagles
  5. Oslo Crows

Group B

  1. West London Wildcats
  2. Paris Cockatoos
  3. Glasgow Sharks
  4. Zaprude Giants
  5. Sussex Swans

Group C

  1. Manchester Mozzies
  2. Munich Kangaroos
  3. Bordeaux Bombers
  4. Port Malmo Maulers
  5. Styrian Downunderdogs

Group D

  1. Amsterdam Devils
  2. Zagreb Dockers
  3. Norrtalje Dockers
  4. Russian United

The Finals

The women’s final pitted the 1st placed Paris Cockerelles against the 4th placed Port Malmo Lynx in the first semi-final. The Cockerelles were expected to go through after defeating the Lynx in the group stages. The Lynx had other plans with an 11-point win catapulting them through to the final.

The second semi-final had an in-form Odense Lionesses against an out-of-sorts Wimbledon, however, the Hawks showed their class and lifted when it counted to convincingly beat the Lionesses by 20-points.

The evenness of the women’s competition showed with the 3rd and 4th placed teams playing off for the Champions League title. It was an incredible game with the Hawks lifting a notch in the big game. They controlled the game and held out to win by 7-points claiming their first Champions League title and becoming the first women’s club champions of Europe.

The men’s finals were always going to be a great spectacle with Group A’s Leeside Lions taking on Group D’s Amsterdam Devils in the first semi-final. The Devils lifted in front of their home crowd and held on to a hard-fought 27-19 victory in a fiery encounter to progress to their first Champions League final in their third attempt.

The second semi-final saw a rematch of last year’s final with Group B’s West London Wildcats taking on Group C’s Manchester Mozzies. The Wildcats flexed their muscles and proved too strong for the Mozzies with the scoreboard reading 65 to 18.

The Wildcats were through to yet another Champions League decider with an underdog Amsterdam Devils hoping to pull off the unthinkable. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead to going into half-time with a 15-point buffer, inaccuracy hurting them and keeping the Devils in the game. A quick goal to start the second half got the Devils within range and when they kicked the 2nd goal of the half with 5 to go they were a real chance.

Two quick goals in response sealed the game for West London with a third goal late putting the icing on the cake to claim their third straight Champions League title with the scoreboard reading 37 to 14.

A special mention to the squad of 16 umpires who officiated throughout the day. Another stellar effort from the third team and congratulations on a great day of umpiring.

A massive thank you goes out to AFL Netherlands for their superb efforts in making this great event happen again in 2017, Spark United & Sportpark de Eendracht for hosting us, Drovers Dog for providing extra food and beverage options, all the volunteers and pitch managers who work so hard throughout the day, the umpiring squad led by John Enright who assembled the biggest group of umpires to any AFL Europe tournament, the team managers, Tony Pubjie the First Consul of the Australian Embassy Netherlands and everyone who attend the 2017 edition of the Champions League. You all represented your leagues proudly. Good luck with your 2017 seasons!

Awards

The Down Under Centre Golden Whistle

Cai Davies

Player’s & Team of the Tournament

Men’s
Michael Stewart – Amsterdam Devils
Benoit Treuillet – Bordeaux Bombers
Dan Aldous – Cardiff Panthers
Mathias Biron – Farum Cats Australsk Fodboldklub
Daniel Connor – Glasgow Sharks Australian Rules Football Club
Dominic Joyce – Leeside Lions AFL
Oli Hobin – Manchester Mosquitoes
Ruben Streicher – Munich Kangaroos
Ryan Tucker – Norrtälje Dockers
Niccollo De Giorgio – North West Eagles
Jarrod Casperz – Oslo Crows
Justin Kristensen – Port Malmö Football Club Maulers
Slava Belov – Russian United
Dan Shinners – Styrian DownUnderDogs
Joe Durling – Sussex Swans Australian Rules Football Club
Jared Risol – West London Wildcats
Ivan Ivos – Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers
Zvonimir Murkovic – Zapruđe Giants

Men’s Player of the Tournament
Jacob Raiwalui – Paris Cockatoos

Women’s
Lisa Wilson – Mixed Team
Sidsel Wraa Hansen – Odense Australsk Fodbold Lionesses
Georgia Verkuylen – Port Malmö Football Club Lynx
Isabelle Currenti – Wimbledon Hawks

Women’s Player of the Tournament
Coline Duquet – Paris Cockerelles

Champions League Tournament Preview!

The 2016 Champion teams from across Europe converge on Amsterdam this weekend to decide which team is the best of the best in the 2017 installment of the AFL Europe Champions League.

For the 3rd year running AFL Netherlands will host what will be the largest tournament in its short history with 24 teams donning their team’s colours from 14 different countries.

Spark United Clubhouse and Sportspark De Eendracht will again be the venue with 5 pitches being used throughout the day and a total of 60 games being played making for a jam-packed day of Aussie Rules in the Dutch Capital.

The women’s draw features 5 teams with AFL London’s Wimbledon Hawks, firming as early favourites after an undefeated 2016 season. They’ll be buoyed by the recent AFLW season where they were fortunate enough to follow two of their ex-teammates, Lauren Spark and Kate Shierlaw, on the main stage.

The Paris Cockerelles have shown rapid improvement over the past 12 months and after having a strong preseason will be ones to watch. AFL Sweden’s Port Malmo Lynx and DAFL’s Odense Lionesses, are always tough opponents and had strong showings at last year’s Champions League and the bulk of their squads having great Euro Cup tournaments for their respective countries. Neither should be underestimated and wouldn’t surprise the masses if they came away as Champions.

The Mixed Team round out the women’s competition and are made up of Scottish players who were unable to field a team along with a host of Wimbledon Hawks extras will prove strong competition for the four club’s sides taking part.

The men’s draw consists of 19 teams broken up into 4 groups (three groups of 5 and one group of 4). Group A features the ARFLI’s Leeside Lions, DAFL’s Farum Cats, the Cardiff Panthers of the WARFL, Norway’s Oslo Crows, and AFL Italia’s North West Eagles. Their will be pressure for the Lions to be there at the pointy end of the competition but with a group as strong as they’ve been drawn they won’t have an easy game.

Group B consists of two-time Champions League winners, the West London Wildcats. They’ll again be the team to beat this year but won’t do it easily with a red-hot Paris Cockatoos, Zaprude Giants from Croatia, Sussex Swans and Glasgow Sharks looking to knock them off their perch. The Cockatoos are nearly at the end of their 2016/17 domestic season so they’ll be match-fit and ready to take on the challenge.

Group C has last year’s runners-up, the Manchester Mozzies. The buzz coming out of the midlands is all positive with some handy recruits and key GB players suiting up for AFL CNE premiers. The Munich Kangaroos, Port Malmo Maulers, Bordeaux Bombers and Styrian DownunderDogs have very strong line-ups and will be flexing their muscle to claim the top spot in their group. Look for the mighty DownunderDogs to cause a few upsets after the bulk of their squads had great hit-outs at Euro Cup with Austria.

Group D consists of four teams, hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Norrtalje Dockers, Zagreb Dockers and Russia United. This could be the most evenly matched group of them all with any side a chance to finish on top. The Dockers of Norrtalje could really shake up the competition after they had a very strong season in the SAFF.

This year is set to be our most competitive Champions League tournament and one to follow closely.

It’ll be live streamed tournament all day by our regular streaming partners, Bar TV Sports. All Pitch 1 matches will be streamed lived with the links available on our website below:

Live Stream

For the full tournament fixtures see below:

Champions League Fixture (Final)

Best of luck to all teams taking part and be sure to follow our regular updates on our Facebook and social media pages.

 

 

 

Champions League Team Previews

In the lead-up to the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League, hosted by AFL Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday 1st April, we’ll be taking a quick look at the teams who’ve qualified for the premier club tournament held in Europe.

In our final round of team previews we have the hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Odense Lionesses, the all important 3rd team, the Umpires, AFL Germany Champions, the Munich Kangaroos, and after finishing the AFL Russia Championships in a tie we have Russia United, who’re made up of players from the St. Petersburg Cats and Lazy Koalas Moscow.

Amsterdam Devils

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

The Amsterdam devils were automatically elected as representatives for AFL Netherlands for the Champions League tournament. The 2016 year was a great season for new player development and focused on building grassroots football in the Netherlands.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The preparation has been good. We have kept our core player group and have had some good additions to the club which has strengthened our list.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We expect to make the finals this year and anything is possible from there. The West London Wildcats will be the team to beat again this year.

Player to watch?

Cameron Ludowke is a new player to the club and has been very impressive in the pre-season and we look forward to seeing what he can produce in the Champions League.

Odense Lionesses

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

In 2016, our Scandinavian teams weren’t able to field a full side at the same time, so we spent the year trying to develop the sport in our region. We were able to found a second Danish female team in Farum (home of the current Danish premiers, also coming to the competition), and forged new bonds with Norway who will once again join our ranks since Euro Cup 2016. So our team will consist of our experienced Odense Lionesses, new young guns from Farum Wildcats, and a couple of battle-tested Norwegians shield-maidens.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The Champion League will be the real game of the year for our girls. By the end of the pre-season the girls were in numbers at training and a couple of Lionesses even took on the boys at Odense’s male team’s trial game. In the continuing effort of developing footy in Denmark, a weekend training camp was held in Farum for the girls, with the invitation extending to both clubs and unaffiliated players. This constituted our main preparation to Champions League.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our main expectation is to ignite even further our girls passion for footy. Last year’s Champions League helped us groom many of our players to high stakes games, whom in turn had a big hand in the sport’s expansion in our region. Result-wise, even-though we come with a patchworked squad again, we expect to be very competitive and have no intention of giving in to the teams from the British Isles, currently leading the competition.

Player to watch?

Our experienced and previous “Players to watch” are still the backbone of our team and a certain threat for the opposition. Young midfielder Anja Muller has shown good footy instincts from the start and might make her breakthrough. Amanda Teglhus will take on a new role on the field and was seen practicing it a lot at training. Also the Young Astrid Wind is a player to watch, having improved her game so much since last year. That has also resulted in her despite being among the younger teenagers in the team she has a lot of important roles.

Umpires

Who’ll be umpiring at CL17?

We have a very strong pool of umpires attending the Champions League this year. Umpires from a far away as Australia and USA alongside umpires from Germany, Ireland, France, UK, Holland and Sweden. Lots of umpires with experience at umpiring big games. 16 Umpires in total will be on duty in Amsterdam so we will have plenty of umpires to cover all the games.  This is the strongest group of umpires we have ever assembled for an AFL Europe competition so we are confident we will do a good job.

How’s the squad feeling in the lead-up to the biggest CL in its short history?

We are all excited to get to Amsterdam and get going. We only have one returning umpire that has previously worked at the Champions League so it’s going to be a new experience for a lot of us.  For some of our Aussie and US umpires it will be their first time at an AFL Europe event so we are determined to show them a good time and show how good European Umpires can be!

Umpire to watch?

We have some really strong umpires that have umpired at state level in Australia but the umpire to watch is definitely Laurie Rupe. Laurie is a USAFL umpire and is coming to us all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota to officiate at this event.  That’s quite a trip to umpire a footy match but she will have an even longer one in the summer when she heads to Melbourne to umpire at the 2017 International Cup! Laurie is a very experienced umpire and has regularly officiated at the USAFL Nationals. She took control of the Division 3 final at the 2016 Nationals in Florida. It gives us great joy to welcome one of our USAFL sisters to Europe for the competition and we hope she will go home with great things to say about AFL Europe.

If you want to become an AFL Europe umpire and watch the game from the best seat in the house contact us at umpires@afleurope.org and keep an eye on the AFL Europe website for training courses in your area.

Munich Kangaroos

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Probably one of the best seasons for the Munich Roos to date. We were undefeated for the year so no real complaints as coach!!

Having said that, we have lost two or three key players for the CL 2017 unfortunately, so hopefully a couple of the younger more inexperienced Germans can step up!!

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Great!! 30cm of snow still on our park so preparation has been rather restricted!! Mostly it has been Beer hall training!!

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

For the boat-race afterwards I expect no-one to beat us!! In all seriousness though, we just want to give a good account of ourselves.

Player to watch?

Good question. If i had to pick one player i would have to say probably Josh Wilson who had a great year last year and is looking the goods again this year.

As a smokey, I’d say BIG Ruben Streicher aka The Cube!!

Russian United

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Two teams St Petersburg Cats and Lazy Koalas tied the point at the end of AFL Russia 2016, so it was decided to send a combined team to gain more experience for both sides and get better chances in Champion’s League

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Training sessions being held separately in Moscow and St. Petersburg. https://vk.com/wall-72747145_280 Photos from St. Petersburg

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League? 

Score points in every half and hopefully get the first win for the Russian team at the tournament.

 Player to watch?

The squad is very leveled. Keep an eye on the only Aussie in a team Frank Alan.

 

 

 

anzuk Education join the AFL Europe Community

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that we’ll be teaming up with anzuk Education who will become the Official Education Partners for 2017.

The partnership, which will support AFL Europe’s coaching, umpiring and game development programs, is certain to have a positive impact on the AFL Europe community. According to AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, this partnership couldn’t have started at a better time. “Game Development will be a major focus for AFL Europe in 2017. We are excited to provide better training and education to our coaches, umpires and club administrators over the next 12 months, and the fantastic team at anzuk Education are going to bring these plans to life.”

anzuk Education offer roles for teachers, teaching assistants and support staff from across the world in schools spanning the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  The Director of anzuk Education, Ben Goldsmith is thrilled with the new partnership confirming that they are, “always on the search for exceptional talent, therefore it was only natural that anzuk Education and AFL Europe formed a relationship. anzuk and AFL Europe are proud to be working together to create exceptional experiences in all settings from sports and schools.”

Whether you are looking for short-term or permanent work, anzuk Education are able to find the right role for you. Head over to their website at www.anzuk.education/uk and follow them on Facebook (@anzuk.uk), Twitter (@anzuk_UK) and Instagram (anzuk.Education).

 

Spark & Shierlaw on AFLW Season 2017!

Six weeks have been and gone since history was made in the inaugural AFL Women’s fixture between Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park.

Tomorrow will see the culmination of the 2017 AFLW season when the undefeated Brisbane Lions take on the Adelaide Crows with the winner going down in history as the first AFLW Premiers.

On the eve of this momentous occasion AFL Europe caught up with two of their own stars of the AFLW, the Western Bulldogs’ Lauren Spark, and Carlton’s Kate Shierlaw, to hear their experiences on season one and all things women’s footy.

The pair were team mates in the Wimbledon Hawks’ undefeated 2016 AFL London season before making the move back to Melbourne when drafted to their respective AFL clubs late last year.

While growing up, Spark would’ve loved to play AFL but felt she could never dream of forging a professional career because there were no pathways for young girls and women into the AFL. When she was finally given the opportunity to chase her lifelong passion at the end of 2016, Spark dropped her life in London to return to Melbourne and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

“Walking into the Western Bulldogs home ground, I was thrown into all kinds of professionalism that I wasn’t expecting. The physios stretching all parts of my body, the doctors asking about my medical history and the strength and conditioning team testing me in order to create a personal program”, Spark recounted of her first weeks as an AFLW player.

She went onto say, “a group of girls with the same passion thrown together, some from the same amateur clubs, some normally rivalled opponents and some I’d not seen nor met before. But this was something we had to get used to, playing with and against our friends”.

A few months on, Spark made her AFLW debut as a ruck and key defender for the Western Bulldogs, and couldn’t be happier about the support she, her teammates, and her competition have received.

“AFLW has been bigger than I think anyone could’ve expected. The media attention, the attendance by spectators and the influx of young girls and women wanting to play shows that this is the long-lost missing piece of the AFL community puzzle.”

Kate Shierlaw, rookie forward for the Carlton Blues, agrees with her ex-teammate about the AFLW being inspirational for younger generations.

“Young girls are now growing up in a world where this is the norm and they can run around in the back yard pretending they are one of the AFLW stars. How cool is that?”

Shierlaw’s footy background is significantly different to Spark’s having only started playing with the oval footy last year in London. Despite not playing footy and growing up in Adelaide, Shierlaw was drafted to the club she grew up supporting, the Carlton Blues.

“The roller coaster since I signed as a rookie for Carlton has been incredible. To be selected to the club you have supported your whole life is something special and brings out a passion that’s very hard to find elsewhere”, Shierlaw said.

Wanting to try something new when moving to London from Adelaide in 2015, she joined the Wimbledon Hawks, and had immediate success with her athleticism and strong marking shining through.

Her AFLW Coach, Damien Keeping, credits Shierlaw’s success to her work ethic and her desire to perfect her football skills. It was these skills that helped her team come out on top when she found herself up against Spark and the Western Bulldogs in the two clubs round 5 encounter. The girls found themselves lining up on each other but didn’t let their friendship effect their performance on the field.

Shierlaw remembered the encounter that saw the Blues win by 6-points, saying, “It was a bizarre experience but once the game was underway, there is so much movement and concentration that it could have been anyone. We both respect each other as athletes and there was no smack talk out on the field. I was lucky enough to be on the winning side of a close, exciting match which was more important than any battle between two mates. It’s just one of so many great stories that has come out of this AFLW experience. Now we are both living out that dream that has never been a possibility.”

Both went on to have solid seasons for their respective clubs with Spark playing every game in a ruck/defensive role and Shierlaw playing up forward in all bar one match after being elevated off the rookie list.

Tomorrow morning’s season decider between the Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows draws the curtain on the history making inaugural AFL Women’s season. The rise has been bigger than anyone could imagine and no doubt consolidates the fact that the women’s game is here to stay and is only going to get bigger and better.

Good luck to the 44 women playing donning the Lions and Crows jumper tomorrow and congratulations to everyone involved in AFLW’s historic season.