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.

Next up we have the Port Malmo Lynx, CEAFL Champions, the Zaprudje Dockers, AFL Scotland’s, Glasgow Sharks, the Norrtalje Dockers and Welsh powerhouse, the Cardiff Panthers.

Port Malmo Lynx

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

The Port Malmö Lynx had a reasonably quiet 2016 match wise but trained hard and qualified for Champions League by winning the AFL Sweden 9 a side cup.

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

Training has been going well leading up to CL 2017. There’s always a lack of matches for us at this time of year but there will be a pre-season hit out this weekend against the Lund Giants. In general, I’m happy with our preparations so far.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League? 

Questions about expectations are always hard to answer but as a coach I expect to see big improvements in areas that we have been lacking in. The players are always keen to go one step better at each tournament so I expect them to lay everything on the line for this one.

Player to watch?

Hmm player to watch, always keep an eye on My Almkvist, she got player of the tournament at Euro cup 2016 but we have a few more that will be keen to impress so keep your eyes open.

Zaprudje Giants

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

KAN Zaprudje Giants qualified for Champion League by winning the Central European Australian Football League (CEAFL). The league had three tournaments in Zagreb, Graz and Prague, and we won all three.

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

The preparation for Champion League are going pretty well so far.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Team expectation is to end in Top 6.

Player to watch?

Players to watch are surely Zvonimir Murkovic, one of the best players in Croatia through last five years and three-time European Legion player, and Igor Galez, strong full-back who was selected for tournament squad in Euro Cup in Lisbon.

Glasgow Sharks

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

We qualified for the tournament by becoming the SARFL 2016 Premiers. We had a great season, winning the national league for the first time in the clubs history. We beat our close rivals and then current premiers the Edinburgh Bloods in a tough semi final which bolstered the club with the belief to go on and win in the Grand Final.

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

The playing group have been hitting training hard and even getting together out with normal training sessions for extra running and fitness work. The club as a whole have been very excited for this chance and no one is going to let this chance skip by them

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our aim is always to walk away from any competition as champions. We are relishing the chance to play against quality side from all over Europe and measure where we sit in the footy landscape.

Player to watch?

Club captain Adam Jack missed playing in the clubs first Grand Final win and is looking hit 2017 with few bags of goals.

Norrtalje Dockers

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

The Norrtälje Dockers won the Stockholm Australian Football Federation Premiership on the back of a club record year. Winning 7 of 8 games during the regular season and then qualifying to the finals series for the first time in the clubs short 5 year history. A solid 5 goal Semi Final win led the Dockers to the big dance where 2015 premiers Södermalm Blues were beaten by 6 goals. The Dockers capped a stellar year by taking out all 3 major awards at the league presentation night. Matthew Schulte winning best Australian whilst also taking out the goalkickers trophy with 31 goals and Buster Sund claiming the prize for best Swede.

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

Pre-season training kicked off indoors two weeks before christmas and has continued once a week through the start of 2017. The Dockers hailing from Sweden have to contend with blistering cold and snow in pre season outdoor training but we feel it is what makes us stronger!

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We will be looking to notch up a few wins over the day and test our skills and structure against teams from around Europe. The biggest and most exciting part for us is getting away as a team and meeting other footy teams from the continent!

Player to watch?

Fredrik Lenard will be making his Australian football debut at Champions league so the team will be right behind him on game day. Keep also a close eye on Goldilocks running from the back!

Cardiff Panthers

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

We tussled through the WARFL league with some close results against Bristol Dockers, Chippenham Redbacks and Swansea Magpies however we came through the league champions giving us the advantage of home turf for the Grannie.  The Grannie was played in Cardiff and the conditions were great for a running game which suits our style.  We had the legs on the Redbacks in the last quarter and managed to come through victors.

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

Our coach, Joshua Davey, rounded up the boys in January to do some indoor late night training sessions.  So far the prep has gone just as planned with some skill work and the all dreaded fitness!  However we are all prepped for the the tournament.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We spoke with the Dutch team during the Euro’s in Lisbon and they persuaded us that the event had a great vibe and expressed what was great about AFL in Europe so no pressure!  It sounds like a fun and enjoyable tournament and we will go to compete but have a good time while doing it.  Other than that we’ll take each game as it comes.

Player to watch?

Mike Palmer: as he may kick the ball in your face…by accident…honest!