Talent Transfer – 5 Who Made It

With the upcoming Easter Series set to showcase the talents of not just the elite talent of our own leagues, but also eight prominent Gaelic Footballers, we look at five athletes who successfully made the transition to the AFL with European Connections.

Jim Stynes. Gaelic Football. Dublin, Ireland. No player overcame more obstacles to succeed in VFL/AFL football than the late Jim Stynes. The Dubliner, was among the first to accept an invitation to try out with the Melbourne Football club in 1983 and was to endure serial heartbreak on his route to Australian Football’s highest individual honour. He was dropped back to play with Prahran for a while in the VFA, suffered the indignity of costing the Demons a Grand Final place in 1989 when he ran across the mark of Gary Buckenara and was almost dropped at the start of his dominant Brownlow winning season in 1991. He would go on to demolish the record for consecutive games in the AFL, sometimes playing through extremely painful injuries and in his post football career would establish a groundbreaking youth outreach programme and become President of the Melbourne FC. He died tragically young last year after a four-year battle with cancer. His brother Brian also played for Melbourne, and their youngest brother David was a member of Ireland’s International Cup winning teams in 2002 and 2011.

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Tadhg Kennelly. Gaelic Football. Kerry, Ireland. Now a very familiar figure in Europe in his role as an International talent manager with the AFL, but also in his coaching capacity with the European Legion and European Titans. Tadhg Kennelly joined the Sydney Swans and went on to play more than 200 games for the club in two spells divided by a return to Gaelic Football with his native Kerry. In winning an All Ireland with Kerry on his return, Tadhg joined his brother and legendary father in winning a celtic cross medal in the green and gold. More spectacularly he was also an essential member of the Sydney Swans Premiership winning team in 2005.

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Mike Pyke. Rugby Union. British Columbia, Canada.  Okay we’re not trying to pinch glory from our Canadian brethren. Mike Pyke’s introduction to professional sport was in Europe. He joined the Edinburgh Rugby team in 2004 and made his debut for the Canadian national team the same year. He spent two years at the scottish club before moving to France to play for Montauban, it was during this time he scored a wonder try for Canada against the All Blacks. Having incurred some serious injuries at Montauban Pyke began looking at a career change and a friend suggested Aussie Rules, he put together a DVD of his highlights and an agent began to shop it around the AFL. Having had success with Tadhg Kennelly, Sydney were prepared to take a risk and it certainly paid off last September when a huge performance by Pyke helped the Swans to another Premiership.

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Ivan Maric. Basketball. Melbourne, Australia. The mighty mullet and current Croatian Footy ambassador may have been raised in Australia, but he did not take up footy until he was 16, having been a basketball player prior to this. Maric honed his skills at the Calder Canons, but nearly quit football in his second year having become frustrated with the technical aspects of the sport. He persisted thankfully and has now played more than a hundred games for Adelaide and Richmond. Maric’s generosity has been obvious in recent months as he has provided support to the Croatian Knights national team.

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Pearce Hanley. Gaelic Football. Mayo, Ireland. In at 5, but a man who is certainly carving a great career for himself in the AFL. Last season was a breakthrough one for the Irishman who hails from Mayo on the country’s western seaboard. Hanley, was a prodigious talent in Gaelic Football playing for his county’s senior team at 17. The following year he joined the Brisbane Lions and he made his debut for the club late in the 2008 season. In the last two seasons he has been an ever present for the Lions and last year finished third in the club’s best and fairest, a massive achievement at a club with superstars such as Simon Black, Jonathan Brown, Joel Patfull and Tom Rockliff.

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Axios Systems announced as naming rights sponsor of Euro Cup

In a major coup for AFL Europe, Axios Systems have signed on for 3 years as the naming rights sponsor of the Euro Cup. It will now be known as the Axios Euro Cup with the next edition in Bordeaux being the 2013 Axios Euro Cup.

Axios Systems delivers on-premise and SaaS Service Desk and IT Service Management (ITSM) software to customers across the globe. They combine software, consulting and training to implement ITSM strategies tailored to meet the needs of their customers.

IT services are critical to an organization’s ability to deliver value to customers. By implementing an ITSM strategy, you can improve equality, agility and efficiency of IT services.

If you or your company needs such services please make sure you get in-touch with Axios through www.axiossystems.com and support a company that supports Australian Rules in Europe.

We would like to publicly thank Andros Symeonides – Senior VP Business Development and Ranald Haig who both recently played for Iceland in the 2012 Euro Cup and have been instrumental in securing this support for the development Australian Football in Europe.

Bordeaux Logo 2013

New design for the 2013 Axios Euro Cup by Kolja Koracak – AFL Europe Commissioner

NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 6

Final day of round 1 saw Mick Malthouse’s Blues journey North to take on reigning premiers the Swans and the exciting young side the Giants have been developing.

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NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 5

Metricon Stadium on Queensland’s Gold Coast provided the venue for Day 5 of the NAB Cup, as the hometown suns were joined by neighbours Brisbane and Hawthorn.

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NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 4

It was derby day in Melbourne as Melbourne, North Melbourne and Richmond met in the lightning carnival at Etihad Stadium, with Majak Daw giving the public just a glimpse of what he’s capable of.

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European Legion team announced

The 2013 Easter Series will this year be held in Guildford, England and Copenhagen, Denmark.

The first leg will be played between the European Legion and the AIS AFL Academy.

Below is the team selected to proudly represent Europe against the best from Australia in the 1st game.

European Legion:

Chris Campion – Denmark

Nathan Campion – Denmark

Jens Djernes – Denmark

Mathias Biron – Denmark

Mikkel Kjoege – Denmark

Jakob Jung – Germany

Wilfried Houvion – France

James Laverty – Ireland

Cameron Cope – England

Luke Booth – England

Muiris Bartley – Ireland

Levi Fernandez – England

Tom Exton – Scotland

Victor Petersen – Denmark

Rene Palsgaard – Denmark

Sean Walton – England

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Combine – Ireland

Hampus Ollson – emergency – Sweden

Jonas Nielsen – emergency – Denmark


Tadhg Kennelly – Coach

Brad Ottens – Coach

Glenn Lovett – Assistant Coach

Ian Mitchell – Assistant Coach

Palli Finnson – Assistant Coach

Kolja Koracak – Team Manager

Ciaran O’Hara – Communications

Jane Potter – Physio


All players need to arrive in London on the 31st March before 3pm and depart on 7th April after 11am. Cost of accommodation, transfers in London, kit and meals will be covered by AFL Europe. Flights and spending money will be the responsibility of the player. Players need to confirm their availability via email (info@afleurope.org) by Wednesday 27th February or your spot will be offered to someone else. Congratulations and good luck.

NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 3

Day 3 saw Saint Kilda visit AAMI Park in Adelaide to take on the home town Crows and Port.

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NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 2

Highlights from the Perth based carnival involving Fremantle, Geelong and West Coast.

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NAB Cup Round 1 – Day 1

The NAB Cup commenced this weekend as the embattled Essendon, found themselves out in the same lightning carnival as Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs.

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AFL International Combine – Dublin

Results (top 3):

Standing Vertical Jump:

C. Cope – 70cm

D. Cahalane – 64cm

S. Walsh – 64cm

Running Vertical Jump:

C. Cope – 84cm

E. Lowndes – 84cm

D. Cahalane – 82cm

Agility Run:

D. Flynn – 8.09sec

S. Carthy – 8.11sec

C. Cope – 8.17sec

20m Sprint Test:

C. Cope – 2.94sec

P. Brophy – 2.97sec

D. Cahalane – 2.99sec

Beep Test:

P. Brophy – 14.7

E. Lowndes – 14.2

N. Scully – 14.2


AFL Draft Combine Records:

Standing Vertical Jump: 85cm – Dean Towers – 2012

Running Vertical Jump: 102cm – Jared Brennan and Nic Naitanui – 2002 & 2008

Agility Run: 7.77sec – Stephen Hill – 2008

20m Sprint: 2.75sec – Joel Wilkinson – 2010

Beep Test: 16.01 – Bradley Hill – 2011