This week in the ‘Match of the Round’ we’ll be taking a look back at a very special weekend in Austria. Last weekend, the Australian Football League Austria (ALFA) celebrated their 10th Anniversary of the first match of Aussie Rules to be played in their country. In the early days of AFLA, before forming teams or leagues, teams played simply in black or white t-shirts. They’ve made amazing progress in the last ten years with three teams forming the ALFA League, with the Styrian Downunderdogs regularly competing in tournaments within the larger Central European Australian Football League (CEAFL).
The anniversary celebrations were kicked off with a ‘legends match’ consisting of both current players and the original players who helped to form the league ten years ago. Their ‘legends’ title has certainly been well earned with many of the players playing a huge role in the development of Aussie Rules in Austria.
The legends sides were divided into black and white teams and played in t-shirts in true homage to the original matches. This match was more about reminiscing than being competitive, with ALFA’s Martin Schittegg describing the game as “a good mixture of fun and footy”.
Following the match, ALFA turned their focus to the next generation of footy players in Austria by putting on a training session with the children of both past and current players.
The kids thoroughly enjoyed being taught to catch a footy, handball, and kick by the players – we can’t wait to see some of these kids playing in Austria at the 20th ALFA Anniversary!
The headline match of the day took place later that afternoon, which saw two of Austria’s teams battle it out on the field for the Max Bailey Cup. The Styrian Downunderdogs went head to head with the Austrian Avalanches for the first time since 2013. The match truly was anyone’s game up until the final whistle, with the Dogs eventually taking the lead in the intense match and running out winners with a 67-64 victory to take home the Max Bailey Cup.
Following the matches, the festivities continued in true Aussie style with a BBQ, beers, and plenty of footy talk amongst the ALFA community. Congratulations to the Australian Football League Austria for their development in the last ten years, and we look forward to seeing how Aussie Rules continues to progress in the future.