Axios Euro Cup 2013

In what is shaping as the biggest Euro Cup in history with the addition of our naming rights sponsor Axios we hope you are all ready for September 21st in Bordeaux. The local organising committee from the Bordeaux Bomber has been hard at work securing deals at accommodation across the city. Please follow the link for the information booklet of all the options.

Axios Euro Cup 2013 – Hotels

Axios Euro Cup 2013 – Travel Information

Euro Cup – APPENDIX I – Team entry form – FINAL 2013

Euro Cup – APPENDIX II – Application for eligibility exemption – FINAL 2013

Player Eligibility
For Countries who have competed in the EU Cup/Euro Cup on any previous occasion, a player is eligible if he meets the following criteria.
1) The Player was predominantly resident in the country of the league between 10 and 16 years of age subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
2) The Player is a citizen of the country of the league at the time when the competition is conducted, subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
3) The Player is not under suspension in that Player’s local competition during the period of the competition.

Sub Clause A
AFL Europe may on a case by case basis, waive the eligibility requirements if it is satisfied that a player is a bona fide resident in the country of the league and his participation would be in the best interests of the competition. Submissions in this regard must be made by lodging a player Eligibility form, which are available on above. Any player who has previously obtained exemption must apply again in 2013.

Both the Team registration form and the Player exemption form have to be sent back before the 30th of August.

Everyone must register on Eventbrite before the 8th of September:
Eventbrite - Axios Euro Cup 2013
The registration fee includes the dinner at the post event function, the event T-shirt and the insurance for the players.

We are organizing a coach/bus from Paris to Bordeaux. Any team interested in the bus trip departing from Paris – either on Thursday 19th or Friday 20th – and returning on Sunday please let us know before the 30th of August about your preferred times for these dates so we can figure out the best option for everyone.

Any volunteer to help during the event can register on Eventbrite and contact the organization team in Bordeaux at this email address:

More details to follow as the event gets closer.

AFL Europe Championship Grand Final – Ireland vs Great Britain

Ireland has won the 2013 AFL Europe Championship by kicking a goal with the last kick of the game to beat Great Britain by a point.  In a tight contest throughout the last quarter, Great Britain seemed to have it won before Mark Leavy kicked a snap goal to put Ireland in front, seconds before the final siren sounded.

Heroes for the Irish included late goal kicker Bobby Byrne and Kevin McSorley in defence who was pivotal in keeping Ireland within striking distance throughout the last quarter.   It was a heart breaking finale for the Great British team who went so close to winning their first major international trophy.

Man of the match was GB captain Ian Mitchell who was tireless on the ball and across half back for the Bulldogs, yet unable to drag his team across the line.  Sam Boyd, David Saunders and Ollie Dilieto were also strong contributors to a team that had glory snatched from them at the very end.

In a hard and bruising match, John O’Regan was subdued after a heavy collision with Britain’s Chris James in the second quarter.  The Irish captain had been dominating the match up to that point and it looked like that moment might have swung the match in favour of the Bulldogs.  However it inspired a greater effort from the Irish team and players James Flavin, Ger Walls and Tom Browne started winning more of the ball.

The last quarter saw the lead change a number of times and when GB’s Luke Booth kicked a goal to put his team up by 5 points close to the end, it looked like it would be a fairy tale win for the visitors.  With only seconds on the clock the ball swept down to the Irish forward line where it bounced off the hands of the pack and into the arms of the unlikely Irish defender Mark Leavy who snapped the goal and sent the Irish crowd into a frenzy as the final siren sounded.

Final Score:

Ireland: 7.3.45

Great Britain: 6.8.44

Ireland: Byrne 2, Bartley, Flavin, Manning, O’Connell, Leavy
Great Britain: Saunders 2, Kilheeny, Booth, Ryland, James

Best Players:
Ireland: McSorley, O’Regan, Roche
Great Britain: Mitchell, Boyd, Dilieto, Saunders

AFL Europe Championship Finals – Sweden vs Denmark

Denmark has won the battle of the Scandinavian countries by beating Sweden 48 – 32 to claim 3rd place in the 2013 AFL Europe Championships.

In what was an entertaining battle between two of the most skilful midfields in Europe with Sweden’s talented trio of Johan Lantz, Eric Salin and Emil Aberg getting on top early, aided by some strong work in the ruck from David Wahlberg.  The Swede’s were up at quarter time thanks to goals to David Verngren who has had a great tournament.  Things started tightening up in the 2nd quarter and it was 3.2.20 apiece headed into the half time break.

It was Denmark who started getting the upper hand around the midfield in the 3rd quarter led by their brilliant midfielders in Christopher Campion, Mathias Biron, Aksel Bang, Mikkel Kjoge and William Anderson, who managed to kick 3 goals for himself in the match including a nomination for goal of the tournament from a running shot from outside 50 metres.

Denmark’s defence also started standing up to the challenge and led by Rene Toft Palsgaard and Troels Ottesden, were able to start turning defence into attack.  Sweden were missing the drive of Tony McLoughlin from their half back line with the solid defender not able to play this match.  They were well served however by lively contributions from Joel Sprang, Gaetan Blondeau and  Chris Martensson, but it was not enough to give them their second win of the tournament.

The Swedish team played some formidable football throughout the tournament and were unlucky not to have beaten the Irish in their earlier encounter.  They will be left to ruminate on what may have been before preparing themselves for their next international foray.

For Denmark, the signs are extremely positive that they are closer to winning an international trophy sooner rather than later and if they are able to keep the nucleus of their young, exciting, skilful midfield brigade they will become one of the most formidable teams in Europe.

Final Scores

Denmark: 7.6.48

Sweden: 5.2.32


Denmark: Andersen 3, Norlander 2, Nielsen, Ottesen

Sweden: Verngren 3, Sorenson, Sahlin

Best Players

Denmark: Palsgaard, Andersen, Bang, Rose

Sweden: Lantz, Verngren, Blondeau, Martensson

AFL Europe Championships Finals – Croatia vs Germany

Croatia vs Germany

Croatia have beaten Germany 59-29 to finish 5th in the 2013 AFL Europe Championship.  The loss leaves a gallant Germany without a victory for the tournament which saw them suffer a large number of injuries to their team which they were never able to recover from.

It was a successful first tournament for the Croatians who have excited crowds with their power forward combination of Tomislav Cvetko, Ivan Ivos and Josip Josipovic.  Ruckman Josip Habljak also had a tremendous tournament, and again today, gave his smaller midfielders first use of the ball. Tomislav Nedic, Josip Kravar and Filip Lenic were strong runners for the Croatians and managed to give distribution to the dominant Croatian forward line.

The German team battled it out to the end and managed to stay in the game for long periods of time.  They were well served by full forward and vice captain Matthias Klusemann who made the most of his opportunities to kick 3 goals.  Captain Sebastian Esche also gave his all in the back half and was aided by Kevin Hopf and Fabian Cordts.

The Croatian fans will be happy with the end to this tournament which became a highlights reel in the last quarter with booming goals by Cvetko, amazing triple flip celebrations by Nedic and high flying from Josipovic.  They will certainly be a team to watch in the next twelve months.

Final Score:

Croatia: 9.5.59

Germany: 4.5.29


Croatia: Cvetko 3, Ivos 2, Josipovic 2, Obad, Valecic

Germany: Klusemann 3, Macher

Best Players:

Croatia: Kravar, Cvetko, Josipovic

Germany: Jung, Beyer, Cordts

Oldest Football Club in Australia’s Capital – With a European Connection

Image: Current EastlakeFC Ruckman Chad Gibson with Hall of Fame Member Alex Jesaulenko

In terms of depth of history, Australia doesn’t come close to European countries.  Where Australian’s talk in hundreds of years, European’s talk in thousands.

Despite Australia’s brief history, their population is extremely proud of what it has achieved and their sporting culture has been a huge part of building beliefs and values.  Australian Rules Football has been around for 155 years and there have been a number of Europeans and European descendants who have mastered our game in that time.

Before I moving to London to work as AFL Europe’s General Manager, Ben MacCormack lived in the nation’s capital for five years.  During this time he was involved as a coach at Canberra’s oldest club, Eastlake.

This year marks Canberra’s 100th Birthday and today AFL Canberra Hall of Fame member and Ben’s former Football Manager, Keith Miller, launched the book “Kick It Long”, which celebrates the rich history of the Eastlake Football Club.

Eastlake provided one of the game’s all-time greatest players in Alex Jesaulenko, born in Salzburg, Austria.  He is regarded as one of the game’s greatest-ever players and is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.  He immortalised his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final.

Son of a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother, Alex and his family emigrated to Australia in 1949.  According to Jesaulenko, the family name should have been spelt ‘Esaulenko’, but the immigration officials listed it with a ‘J’ in front thinking that is what they heard.  As Australians tend to do, they shortened it and nicknamed him ‘Jezza’ from a young age.

A young Jesaulenko played soccer (football for you Europeans) and rugby union before taking up Australian Rules when he was 14.  He starred for the Eastlake Football Club helping them to win three consecutive Premierships from 1964-1966.

“[Eastlake] certainly provided a winning culture.  I was lucky to play at a footy club that was on the way up that just had a new regime put in, with [former Carlton president] George Harris and his mob, appointed a new coach in Ronald Dale Barassi, they had experienced players and they recruited young guns… and I just fitted into the mix,” said Jesaulenko.

One thing Jesaulenko remembers was the culture at the club – it was a great place to be.

”I think we got paid $2 each or two pound each [per game], at the end of the year – we’d played 18 games – and we just put our $36 on the bar and drank it out, so we gave our money straight back to the club,” he said.

Jezza was then drafted into the AFL, playing 256 games for Carlton and 23 games for St Kilda.  In all of his 279 AFL appearances he kicked 444 goals and took many of the all-time great marks. To immortalise his ability, the annual AFL ‘Mark of the Year’ is known at the Jesaulenko Medal.

Miller’s book explores the history of Canberra’s oldest Australian Rules Football club, which was founded in 1926, as well as that of Manuka Football Club, which merged with Eastlake in 1991.

Miller’s extensive experience with the club included time as a captain, coach and player between 1978 and 1985.

“The book maps out the path of two clubs who created a rich tradition of fierce neighbourhood rivalry for over half a century then found themselves joining forces to survive,” said Miller.

“It is a history that has its origins in the formation of Canberra and parallels the changing economic, social, sporting and demographic development of Canberra.”

Manuka Football Club was formed in 1928 and was a long-time rival of Eastlake before they merged in 1991.

The two clubs were only separated by Manuka Oval and battled each other for six decades, playing 17 Grand Finals against each other and establishing one of the code’s strongest rivalries.

The two clubs shared 32 premierships between them, with Eastlake winning 17 and Manuka 15.

Miller said the book was a tribute to everyone who had contributed to the success of both clubs.

“The book is dedicated to every player, coach, committee member, volunteer and supporter who has travelled that journey and created our history,” Miller said.

“Canberra is 100 years old and these people have played an important part in 86 of those years.”

We look forward to many more Europeans playing their part in the history of our great game.

For those interested in buying a copy of the book please contact .


AFL Europe Championship – Day 3

Kieran Harte

Germany vs Denmark

Denmark have finally broken through for their first win of the tournament by easily accounting for Germany in the opening match of round 3 in the 2013 AFL Europe Championship.  Having been narrowly beaten in their first two games, the classy Danes were leaving nothing to chance in this encounter and came out strong from the opening siren.

Led superbly by William Andersen, Mikkel Kjoge and Chris Campion in their midfield, Denmark were winning the majority of ball ups and were able to enter their forward 50 metre zone time and time again.

Denmark’s full forward Mikkel Norlander had his best game of the championship and kicked 4 goals in a dominant display.  Rene Toft Palsgaard, Christian Mau Rose and Troels Ottesen were great contributors for the Danish defence and managed to move the ball swiftly into attack whenever they were challenged.

For the Germans, who have been rocked by injuries this tournament, there were some brave performances from Fabian Cordts and Johannes Sartory in their backline and Matthiass Klusemann who made the most of his opportunities by kicking two goals.  Jakob Jung and Matthias Oeser were also gallant in the midfield but ultimately no match for the classy and well drilled Danes who ran our eventual winners 60 to 13.


Final Score:

Denmark: 8.12.60

Germany: 2.1.13


Denmark: Norlander 4, Sorensen, Ottesen, Mau Rose, Campion

Germany:  Klusemann 2

Best Players:

Denmark: Andersen, Ottesen, Kjoge, Norlander

Germany: Sartory, Oeser


Great Britain vs Sweden

Great Britain has won their way into the 2013 AFL Europe Championship Grand Final next Saturday with a comfortable 40 – 20 win over Sweden in their round 3 clash.

Great Britain got out to an early lead with goals to David Saunders and Sam Willatt and were able to keep Sweden goalless in the first quarter.  They stretched that lead in the 2nd quarter before breaking the game open in the 3rd quarter.

The battle of the midfields was a tightly contested affair for most of the match.  Sweden’s Emil Aberg and Johan Lantz saw plenty of the football and were using it well to set up attacks.  For Great Britain Sean Walton and Alastair McKinnell were busy and creative.

The difference between the two teams in the end was the effectiveness of the GB forward line who made the most of their opportunities and had dangerous targets in Chris James, Saunders and Willatt.  The GB defence was also well served by Mark Ireland, David Gamble and Paul Harris.

Sweden was well served by their excitement machine in Natis Johannson who kicked another amazing goal to add to his tournament highlights.  Eric Sahlin and Joel Sprang also looked dangerous when the ball was in their vicinity but weren’t able to shrug the strong British defence for long enough.

Great Britain now head into the Grand Final on Saturday with their confidence sky high and will look to win their first ever AFL International silverware.  The match promises to be a great spectacle, especially if they end up playing their great rival Ireland.

Final Score:

Great Britain: 6.4.40

Sweden: 3.2.20


Great Britain: Willatt 3, Saunders, Rich, Kilhenny

Sweden:  Johansson, Sprang, Sahlin

Best Players:

Great Britain: Dilieto, Ireland, Ryland, Willatt

Sweden: Aberg, Lantz, Martensson


Ireland vs Croatia

Ireland will meet old foes Great Britain in the Grand Final of the 2013 AFL Europe Championship after easily accounting for Croatia in the last round of the group stages at the DCU Sportsground in Dublin 83 – 7.

Ireland led from the first goal of the match and were rarely challenged by an unusually subdued Croatian team.  It was meant to be a battle of the two most physical teams in the tournament but Ireland’s swift ball movement and skilful kicking never allowed their opposition to turn it into a tight tussle.

For Ireland, Captain John O’Regan was again tireless in his running and effective with his ball use.  When the game was there to be won, it was Brian Roche at centre half forward who provided the focal point of the Irish attack where he was well supported by Ryan McCloskey and Brian O’Connell.  There were eight goal kickers for the Irish in what was easily their highest score of the tournament.

Ireland have now won all three of their games for the tournament, as have Great Britain, who earlier in the day were far too strong for Sweden and sit undefeated at the top of Group B.

It will be an intriguing Grand Final, with Great Britain have nothing to lose having come into this tournament as underdogs against an Ireland team who will have to deal with the expectation of favouritism and the home crowd.

The challenge for Ireland will be in stopping Great Britain’s forward trio of Chris James, Sam Willatt and David Saunders who have dominated every defence they’ve played so far.

Great Britain will be spending the next two days contemplating how to shut down the influence of key play makers O’Regan, James Flavin and Paul O’Halloran.

The Grand Final starts at 5pm this Saturday at the DCU Sportsground in Dublin.  Sweden will play Denmark beforehand at 3pm and Germany will play Croatia in the curtain-raiser at 1pm.

Final Score:
Ireland: 12.11.83
Croatia: 1.1.7

Ireland: O’Connell 3, McCloskey 2, Joyce 2, Lenihan, Manning, P. O’Halloran, Roche, C, O’Halloran
Croatia:  Cvetko

Best Players:
Ireland: O’Regan, Roche, Bartley, McCloskey
Croatia: Obad, Cvetko, Murkovic


AFL Europe Championship – Day 2

For this second day of the AFL Europe Championship, all the teams had something to prove. Day 1 produced very tight results, the successful teams wanting to keep their positions at the top of the tables.

AFL Europe Media – Kieran Harte

Swedish Elks vs Croatia Knights

Sweden has kept their tournament hopes alive after overcoming Croatia in round 2 of the 2013 AFL Europe Championship at Dublin’s DCU Sportsground today.

The win leaves Sweden with one win and one loss to date, after succumbing to Ireland on Saturday.  This win was set up by Sweden’s skilful midfield, with Natis Johansson, Emil Aberg and Johan Lantz all putting in strong performances and winning much of the ball.

Sweden’s backline also held up well against a tall and physically strong Croatian forward line with Irish born Tony McLoughlin superbly marshalling the troops.  The sheer force of Croatian big men Tomislav Cvetko, Tomislav Marsic and Ivan Ivos threatened to tear the game open at stages, but Sweden were able to maintain their composure when Croatia came within a goal late in the last quarter.

There were chances for both teams at the end to win the match before Swedish ruckman David Wahlberg received a free kick for a push in the back inside his own 50 metre zone.  He coolly slotted through the goal from 45 metres out to give Sweden a nine point lead before the final siren sounded.

Final Score:

Sweden: 5.11.41

Croatia: 5.2.32


Sweden: Verngren 2, Blondeau, Johansson, Wahlberg

Croatia: Cvetko 2, Molnar, Jospivic, Kravar

Best Players:

Sweden: Aberg, Johansson, Lantz

Croatia: Habljak, Lenic, Cvetko


GB Bulldogs vs Germany Black Eagles

Great Britain has announced itself as a team to be reckoned with in the 2013 AFL Europe Championships after a scintillating 51 point win over Germany.  The performance featured match winners all over the ground for the GB Bulldogs, with none better than Anthony Trigg and Sean Walton who worked together to win clearance after clearance.

Helping the dominant midfield convert the opportunities was Chris James who managed to kick a tournament high four goals in the match.  He was assisted by the other forwards in Sam Willatt, David Saunders and Mark Todd who made the most of their opportunities.

Great Britain’s defence was also dominant, with strong efforts by Inti Arburo, Mark Ireland and Ollie Dilieto rebounding the ball time after time.  The strong defensive efforts of GB’s midfield were also noticeable, led by Mark Ireland, Owain Ryland and Mark Todd.

Germany now find themselves with two losses from two games and are no chance of reaching the Grand Final.  They had courageous performances from players Florian Naumann, Johannes Sartory and Matthias Klusemann, but were soundly beaten by Great Britain’s better use of the football and efficiency when going forward.

Final Score:

Great Britain: 9.12.66

Germany: 2.3.15


Great Britain: James 4, Saunders 2, McNicholas, Todd, Harris

Germany:  Jung, Klusemann

Best Players:

Great Britain: Walton, Trigg, Ryland, Dilieto, James

Germany: Naumann, Sartory, Cordts


Irish Warriors vs Denmark Vikings

Ireland has secured a remarkable come from behind victory against Denmark in the second round of the 2013 AFL Europe Championship to have them one win away from the grand final.  Two freakish snap goals from Brian Roche and some heroics from James Flavin and John O’Regan in the last quarter saw Ireland overcome a four goal deficit.

Denmark had been the better team for much of the match and had managed to open up and maintain a handy lead against the Irish until late in the game.  Matthias Biron was everywhere for the losing side and couldn’t have done much more to drag his countrymen across the line.  He was well supported by Christopher Campion, Mikkel Kjoge and William Andersen who were all finding space and showing superior kicking skills to Ireland’s on ball brigade.

Up by 15 points at the last change, it looked like Denmark would be too poised to allow Ireland back into the game.  Campion had an opportunity to stretch the lead even further but missed and then suddenly Brian Roche had kicked two remarkable snap goals to have Ireland back in the game.

It was James Flavin who had been one of Ireland’s best players throughout the match who kicked the goal to put Ireland in front with less than a minute to go.  A goal on the siren to Paul O’Halloran flattered the final margin for Ireland who ran out eventual 10 point winners in the most entertaining match of the championship to date.

Thursday will now see Ireland play Croatia in the final round at 7pm, in a match that will send them directly through to the grand final if they win.

In the other games for the day, Sweden put their round one loss to Ireland behind them by defeating Croatia.  Great Britain overcame Germany to put them through to their first major international tournament final after other results from their group went their way.

If Ireland can overcome the Croatians this Thursday it will lead to a mouth-watering grand final with Great Britain.

Round 3 – 2013 AFL Europe Championship   –  Thursday August 8th

3pm:  Germany v Denmark

5pm: Sweden v Great Britain

7pm: Ireland v Croatia


Final Score:

Ireland: 7.7.49

Denmark: 6.3.39


Ireland: Flavin 3, Roche 2, McCloskey, O’Halloran

Denmark:  Soerensen, Ottesen, Starbaek Nielsen, Andersen, C Campion, Mau Rose


AFL Europe Championship – Day 1

Saturday the 3rd of August witnessed the start of the AFL Europe Championship in Dublin. Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Croatia and Germany started their fight for the title on a day with early sunshine which quickly turned into heavy rain. Congratulations to all the teams that competed as the day was played in great sportsmanship and dedication to Australian Rules Football.

Denmark Vikings vs GB Bulldogs

Even though the Vikings started the game into the wind they were more precise in their game than the Bulldogs. The contest was willing with strong tackling in a physical games from both sides which lasted the whole match.
Denmark dominated the two first quarters. They showed great skill with a structured game plan especially in the midfields and were dominant in the ruck. They controlled the game well, so much so that the Bulldogs didn’t score during the second quarter.
From the third quarter, the game radically changed and on the back of a left foot snapshot from Chris James the tide began to turn. From then, Great Britain Bulldogs kept the advantage and deserved their hard fought win.

Denmark Vikings  1.2 (8)   2.7 (19)   2.8 (20)   4.9 (33)
GB Bulldogs         1.1 (7)   1.1 (7)     3.1 (19)   7.1 (43)
Denmark Vikings: Mau Rose (2), Starbaek Nielsen (2)
GB Bulldogs: James (2), Kilheeney, Saunders, Ireland, Willatt, Booth
Denmark Vikings: C. Campion, Mau Rose
GB Bulldogs: Walton, James

Irish Warriors vs Swedish Elks

During the first quarter the Swedish Elks had the majority of possession but the Irish Warriors were making their job difficult thanks to their great defense. The Elks were less precise by hand and foot due to the defensive pressure causing rushed decision and turnover football.
Then at the second quarter brought heavy rain which in turn caused the ball to get heavy and slippery. The team that desires the ball more usually wins these types of contests.
The third 1/4 saw both teams go scoreless it what was becoming a dour affair. They showed a lot of willingness for the contest however couldn’t convert this into scoring opportunities.
The last stanza continued in its willing nature and witnessed some huge contests in front of a crowd heavily supporting the locals. In the end there was only one kick in the match and it could have gone either way. A true show of how close this competition will be.

Irish Warriors   1.0 (6)   3.2 (20)   3.2 (20)   3.4 (22)
Swedish Elks   0.4 (4)   1.4 (10)   1.4 (10)   2.4 (16)
Irish Warriors: Paul Henry, O’connell, Manning
Swedish Elks: Johansson, Karlsson
Irish Warriors: Lenihan, O’Halloran
Swedish Elks: Olsson, Lantz, Mc Loughlin


Croatia Knights vs Germany Black Eagles

Croatia came out firing on all cylinders registering 3 goals in the first four minutes. The Knights dominated the hard ball and showed great speed and precision early. They were very aggressive in attack and didn’t enable the Black Eagles to play their game.

From the second quarter the German’s made continual efforts to get back into the game. They had good possession of the ball and capitalised with goals at every opportunity. From 1/4 time the Croatians only registered 1 goal showing a remarkable turn around from the Black Eagles. If not for the early domination this result could have been very different.
The match was played in great spirit and again was a brilliant example of the sports growth in Europe.

Croatia Knights               6.2 (38)   6.2 (38)   7.4 (46)   7.5 (47)
Germany Black Eagles  0.0 (0)     3.1 (19)    4.3 (27)   5.3 (33)
Croatia Knights: Ivos (3), Cvetko (2), Kravar, Murkovic
Germany Black Eagles: Naumen (3), Cordts, Klusemann
Croatia Knights: Cvetko, Ivos, Murkovic
Germany Black Eagles: Naumen

See you all on Tuesday and stay tuned for the recorded videos from todays matches.

Titans maintain winning run with Grand Final victory

Match Report: Grand Final
Saturday 27th July 2013

Southampton Titans     6.1 (37) | 10.2 (62) | 15.4 (94) | 18.9 (117) 
Bournemouth Demons 2.0 (12) | 6.3 (39) | 7.7 (49) | 8.8 (56)

Southampton Titans capped off their undefeated run last weekend by winning the AFL England South Grand Final by 61 points over the Bournemouth Demons on Saturday.

The Titans began the match in devastating form, kicking a total of 6 goals for the first quarter to the Demons 2. The second term was a more even contest with the Demons starting the quarter with 3 successive goals. At the major break the Titans had a 23 point lead and the unfortunate Demons had 2 of their key players off the pitch with injuries.

In the second half the Titans picked up the pace and added 8 goals to the Demons 2. The central trio of Martyn Hinchey, Matt Warwick and Farai Goredema-Braid were unstoppable, and the ever reliable Dom Delegate and Adam Street were solid in defence. The Titans forwards, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Kieran Doyle were ruthless in front of goal, kicking 11 goals between them for the match.

At the final siren the Titans had defeated the Demons by 61 points to win their first premiership since 2008.

Matt Hook

Australian Football on The Emerald Island

Some call it the luck of the Irish, others say they were born to play but whatever your opinion, Irish footballers are becoming a solid fixture within the AFL for good reason. As well as being naturally adept to the game, the Irish have proven to be fierce competitors. The likes of the late and great Jim Stynes, Tadhg Kennely and current players such as Collingwood Magpies’ Marty Clarke and Brisbane Lions’ Pearce Hanley have all played big roles in their respective AFL teams as well as in building the game’s popularity in Ireland.

Back in their homeland, the Irish AFL league, the ARFLI, has attracted players from all over the country who are inspired by the success of their countrymen in Australia. Surprisingly the official history of AFL in Ireland only stretches back to 1999 when the league began, however the success of the local leagues and the national team in such a short time span speaks volumes for the advantage the Irish have growing up with sports such as gaelic football.

Over the years the game has developed however and according to national team half back flanker, Kevin McSorley, the Irish guys are now “playing footy the way footy should be played.” McSorley himself began playing gaelic and rugby before Australian football and admits that the success of the Irish teams has come from most of the players having a grounding in these traditional sports.

McSorley, who is part of an elite back line explained that the Irish national team, the Warriors, have a hard time with selection as there are so many players that could get picked. Managers from each region in Ireland select a core team of around forty players including older stalwarts and new talent. Players are picked and mixed from this initial group based on injuries, form and commitment to the team. McSorley went on to state that the team is blessed with a “good blend of youth and experience” and when asked if there were any players in particular to keep an eye on, he named over half the team as potential AFL prospects.

The Irish are known for their speed, agility, strength and skills. They are also renowned for their fearlessness when attacking the ball. These attributes all make for the complete AFL footballer, however loyalty to sports in their homeland such as gaelic keep a lot of potential AFL superstars at bay. This hasn’t stopped the game growing in popularity over the past ten years however and it is now at a point where it has begun to be introduced in colleges and even some primary schools. McSorley, a College Lecturer in his off time from the game, has developed a college team called the NRC Eagles which he believes to have great potential to produce the next wave of world class Irish Australian footballers.

Regardless of the hype surrounding the home team, not to mention the strong competition, the Irish still uphold the title as the team to beat. And being the number one team in Europe with a history of competitiveness at both European and International competitions, the Warriors rightly carry high hopes and plenty of confidence heading into the 2013 AFL Europe Championships.

Michael McCormick