Australia take home the 7th Annual ANZAC Cup

There’s another traditional ANZAC Day football match that takes place just slightly north of the MCG, in the small but incredibly beautiful town of Villers-Bretonneux, France.

This year’s Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup saw Australia take out the win 112-63 making the tally 4 victories to Australia and 3 to France. What the tally doesn’t show you is the incredible relationships that are formed over the short few days between all involved. With both the Australian and French players and their guests being hosted by local families throughout the Picardie region, it has truly cemented this unique bond.

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ANZAC Day in Villers-Bretonneux began with all the French and Australian players attending the Dawn Service, held at the Australian War Memorial, in the early hours of the morning in the cold and heavy rains. Not one complaint was made, all involved shared this special experience, hearing only the rain and the bugle.

The players reunited for a march through the streets of Villers-Bretonneux, following three bagpipers and the French and Australian flags, right up to Stadium Timmerman. Standing arm in arm the National anthems played, and a minute of silence for our ancestors, who had fell on that very ground.

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A spirited start for the Australian team saw them dominate in the first quarter but the second quarter onwards showed a feisty French team not go down without a fight. With great quality of football being seen, two stand outs were chosen by the opposing teams. Best on ground for the Australian team, James Gottschalk, said he, “Just gave it my all for my country, it’s not every day you get to wear your country’s jersey. I wore it with pride and represented my country to the best of my ability to pay my respects to the ANZACs who also gave it their all for their countries”. With the players being chosen on their connection to the land and the history of Villers-Bretonneux and the ANZACs the quality of football was outstanding. The French best on ground went to Thibaut Picard who read the movement of the play outstandingly and worked exceptionally well with his team mates, always being on hand to keep the ball moving forward. Inside and outside player, tough and explosive, and really embodied the ANZAC spirit.

At the conclusion of the men’s match we saw the first ever Women’s match played at the AFL Europe ANZAC Cup. A lack of Australian numbers wasn’t an issue for the ladies, a seven a side match was played with the French lending a helping hand to their opponents. All the women mingled and played alongside and against each other adding another level to the relationships already formed. Australian, Jess Edwards, was awarded best on ground for the women’s team after dominating and coming away with 6 goals. Edwards also made an incredibly moving speech about mateship and the French-Australian relationship. The French women’s best on ground went to Camille Portal, twin sister to fellow French player, Berengere, for her aggressive and skilful approach to the game!

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Captain-coach, for the Australian men’s team, Tom Rischbeith, was fortunate enough to play his second year for the Australian Spirit. In reflecting on the game, Rischbeith said “I have found that one of the nicest thing about being involved in this game is that is has been a platform for myself and others to reconnect with our ancestors and with an era which is fast becoming old history rather than recent. I think it’s becoming rarer and rarer these days for people our age and younger to put much thought to the incredible sacrifices made by those who have fought for Australia at war, but with an event like this it gives a unique twist on ANZAC Day which us youngies (loosely applied term!) can attach to.”

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AFL Europe would like to thank all those who volunteered and supported the ANZAC Cup. It was an extremely special and touching event that we hope will get bigger and better in the years to come.

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Sarah Ongarello

The Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup 2015

This weekend will see the 7th annual ANZAC Cup take place in Villers-Bretonneux in France, this Saturday 25th April at 12pm at Stade Timmerman.

The Australian team, coming from all around Europe as well as Australia, will take on the French team led by Andrew Unsworth and Stevo Ryan. Both teams will attend the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, followed by a march, undertaken by both teams, through Villers-Bretonneux to Stade Timmerman, making the event even more special.

AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack has, “personally found extra significance in the event this year, listening to the boys stories over the past two years it has prompted me to research my own family history. This has led to discoveries that my great uncle and also my wife’s great grandfather are buried, in a similar vicinity, only 30km north of VB. We will visit their graves on this trip, which has added an emotion for us personally, and all of our extended families. This to me is the meaning of the event.”

With players for the Australian team being chosen by their personal connection and interest in the history that surrounds the ANZACs the two teams promise to deliver a memorable match for both the players and the spectators.

Assistant Coach of the French team, Stevo Ryan, on behalf of the French Team says, “We are all really excited about the match on Saturday.  To be in Villers Bretonneaux 100 years to the day, from when our ANZACS put our country onto the world stage in WW1 with the landings at Gallipoli, making this an emotionally charged event.  It’s fitting that in the spirit of the ANZACS, a game of AFL unites our two nations.”

Not only will an event like this unify our two nations but Stevo Ryan also believes, “that a lot of exciting things can and will happen here in France.  We’ve seen the interest for this game grow exponentially at our domestic club this year back in Paris. Saturday’s game represents an opportunity for many of our French players to gauge where they are in this game and hopefully to where they want to go in the future.”

Most French clubs will be represented in the French team:

ALFA Lions (Lyon): Thomas DEPONDT, Thibault PICARD

Bordeaux Bombers: Cyril DEBET

Bristol Dockers: Pierre-etienne DANDALEIX

Coyotes de Cergy-Pontoise: Herve DESJARDIN

Montpellier Firesharks: Jerome CANONICI

Paris Cokerels: Yvan BARBARIA, Pierre BOSCART, Julien DAGOIS, Baudoin GERMOND, Francois DANIEL, Thomas HEDLEY

Toulouse Hawks: Julien GIL, Simon MONDIN, Fabien FLOCH

As for the Australian team, they will come from England, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Australia, all sharing a connection to Villers-Bretonneux and/or the ANZACs:

Craig, BANKES, Trent GEORGIOUS, James GOTTSCHALK, Dale HOUSDEN, Ruory KIRKBY, Matthias KLUSEMANN, Paul MCKECHNIE, Stuart NEWMAN, Troy NEWMAN, Tom PETERS, Tom RISCHBIETH, Gareth SMITH and Rob YOUNG.

The match will commence at 12pm at Stade Timmerman and will be followed by a women’s match at 2.30pm. Entry is free and food and drink are available at the ground.

Map of Stadium Timmerman

 

Sarah Ongarello

AFL Wales Footballers Run for a Cause

On 11th April 2015, Wales international Australian Rules Footballers Joe Street and Evan Phillips started an extraordinary 235 mile charity run across the UK to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young http://www.c-r-y.org.uk.

They set off from the Liberty Stadium during Swansea City’s Premier League fixture against Everton on Saturday 11th April, and plan to run 212 miles all the way to London in time to then complete the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon on April 26th two weeks later. The challenge, sees the pair run an average of 15 miles each day throughout, cross the Severn Bridge, and navigate past assorted sporting landmarks such as The Millenium Stadium, Chepstow Racecourse, Bath Recreation Ground and the home of England Rugby, Twickenham Stadium.

In 2013, a close friend of Joe’s, semi-professional cyclist Tim Butt, suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest. Since then Tim and his friends have started doing assorted fundraising events for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), with this run being the largest. Backed by the charity, and with funding from Swansea Tennis Centre, the boys are also making a short Youtube documentary which will follow their trip, whilst also telling the story of why they have chosen to run for CRY & how the charity can help to prevent sudden cardiac death in young people through their free heart screening events.

You can track the pair’s progress by following their official twitter page @SwanseaToLondon, & if you wish to donate to their cause, you may do so by visiting uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ontheroadagain, or by texting JOEV88 £10 to 70070.

 

 

Sarah Ongarello

 

Meet the team!!

AFL Europe would like to welcome our two newest team members, Sarah Ongarello and Alex Hay!

Sarah and Alex have both moved from the sporting capital of the world, the slightly warmer, Melbourne to a somewhat chillier London to undertake internships with us here at AFL Europe.

Both mad footy fans, Sarah was brought up in a red and black household, hailing from a Media and Communications background and fresh from 6 months at the Victoria Racing Club, whilst Alex, being a Saints supporter and coming from a Sports Management background has marched his way from DraftStar to join us here in London.

Both Sarah and Alex are on board to assist us here with our marquee events the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League, Slater + Gordon’s Anzac Cup and the Euro Cup. Their skill sets will also allow them to assist our membership in their efforts to grow the game throughout Europe and further professionalise our processes.

If you want to know more about our team here at AFL Europe head to our About Us > Commission and Staff section.

 

 

ANZAC Cup Sponsor Announcement

AFL Europe is excited to announce this year’s sponsor for the 7th ANZAC Cup held in Villers-Bretonneux is Slater + Gordon.

The Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup will be held on ANZAC Day this year, Saturday 25th April 2015 at Stadium Timmerman, Villers-Bretonneux France.

Coming into the 7th year running, the Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup tally holds 3 wins to France and 3 wins to Australia, making this year an opportunity for a front runner. With the connection to the area and the history being just as, if not more, important than the quality of the football, the game is always played in high spirit and in reverence to fallen soldiers in mind.

The spirit of the day helps the town remember the history of nearly 100 years ago, with this year being the 97th anniversary of the battle that saw Australian troops help reclaim Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans. “This is a very special event on the AFL Europe calendar and should be an event that every Australian attends at some stage in their life,” states AFL Europe’s CEO Ben MacCormack.

This year will see the Australian team come from places such as Poland, Germany, Australia, England and Ireland. The men’s match kicks off at 12pm, followed by the women’s game and is free for anyone wishing to attend this special day.

 

 

Sarah Ongarello

The Axios Euro Cup will be held in…

 Umag!

It’s with great enthusiasm that AFL Europe, with the help of the Croatian Australian Football League (SANH), are thrilled to announce the location for 2015 Axios Euro Cup is the beautiful town of Umag!

The Axios Euro Cup is being held on the 10th October 2015 in Umag, which is located in Istra, the coastal region of Croatia. Taking place in the resort that also plays host to the annual ATP Croatia Tournament, the Cup promises a well organised, cheap and warm weekend. With special Euro Cup accommodation and being accessible from three airports under an hour and a half drive and the alternate option of hiring a car and driving from Italy or Slovenia, the 2015 Axios Euro Cup will be affordable for all.

Further information will be supplied in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

 

 

Sarah Ongarello