Welcome to the Team!

AFL Europe is would like to introduce you to our two new team members! Daniel and Benjamin have come on board with AFL Europe this year in an Intern capacity. Check out their backgrounds here!


Daniel Orr

A passionate Carlton fan with a Sherrin in hand since birth, Daniel Orr has had a not so decorated playing career within Victoria that included a brief stint with VFL club North Ballarat. Sadly it’s all downhill from there, and after a disappointing end to the 2015 season with his beloved Torquay Tigers losing their senior grand final, it seemed only fitting for Daniel to apply his craft away from the football field and into the office here at AFL Europe. With a bachelor’s degree in Education and Physical Education, Daniel brings with him an extensive array of skills formed during his five years as an experienced educator in roles such as head of department, regional sport coordinator and founding and implementing an exclusive sports academy program tailored to promising student athletes in development pathways within the sports industry.

Daniel is excited to be transitioning further into the field of sports and business management, where he will not only be assisting in an events capacity but also have a strong focus on AFL Europe Junior and Youth Development.


Benjamin Durance

Ben grew up in the non-traditional Aussie Rules State of NSW. Growing up playing rugby league and union he was lucky enough to be convinced to try his hand at AFL by his Victorian-born parents in his early-teens and never turned back. Ben grew up in a household divided between Collingwood and Essendon. Watching the Bombers dominance in the late 90s and early 2000s was enough convince Ben to pledge his allegiance to the Bombers.

Ben moved to Brisbane following high school to commence further study at the University of Queensland. Unsure of what to study he kept his options open by undertaking a dual degree in Business Management and Exercise and Sports Sciences. During this time, he joined the University of Queensland Red Lions AFL Club where he enjoyed his time as part of the QAFL squad. Getting involved with event organisation at the club Ben found a passion for sports management and administration.

The prospect of contributing to the numerous events and tournaments that AFL Europe has scheduled for 2016 is an opportunity Ben is incredibly excited by in his role as an AFL Europe Intern with a strong focus on Events, Women’s development and Grant funding.


Colin O’Riordan – Sydney Swans

AFL Europe flew Irish young gun, Colin O’Riordan, over to partake in the 2015 Melbourne AFL Draft Combine. Colin performed outstandingly and went on to sign a 2 year International Rookie deal with Sydney Swans. Colin will keep us updated over his time there!

Diary Part 2

“Keep going, don’t give in, push yourself harder, there’s more in the tank” these phrases were a common theme in my first pre season with the Swans. They constantly popped into my head and kept me positive for those long four months, four months that I thought would never end. Without a shadow of a doubt it was the toughest and most physically demanding thing I have ever done. To leave my family, friends and girlfriend in Ireland and pack my bags and head to Australia and play a game I never played before. It’s something I never saw myself doing but when the opportunity arose I knew I couldn’t turn it down. I felt I had two choices, reject the offer and be always left wondering or embrace the challenge and have a crack at this opportunity.

Coming over initially I didn’t know what to expect, I had heard people saying that an “AFL pre season is tough” and “be prepared”, but until you actually experience it first hand yourself I don’t think you really understand how true that statement is. The running seemed to be endless, the demands being placed on my body was something I wasn’t used to. I can safely say I have never felt so physically exhausted as I did in my last four months. In saying that I have never felt fitter and stronger either. While the running and physical work during pre season was hard and I often questioned how I would get through it, I quickly realised that I can push myself further than I ever thought was imaginable.

I remember one morning in particular lying in bed, knowing what lay ahead for the day and just wanting to close my eyes and go back to sleep. I honestly thought, if I ran today I would break down. I just couldn’t possibly see myself running, simply because I thought my body wouldn’t handle it. The weirdest things come into your head on occasions like this, however it always resorts back to one thing; I began to think about my family at home. You don’t want to disappoint them or let them down so you push yourself that extra little bit. “They didn’t raise a quitter” was my legacy during my first pre season and when things got tough this is what kept me going. The running didn’t last forever either and I knew that the pain and tiredness I was feeling was only physical and eventually it would subside.

I honestly can’t describe the sense of accomplishment and somewhat relief I felt after completing every session. Knowing that you gave your all and pushed yourself to the max is actually a pretty good feeling. I’d usually finish training and jump in the ice bath for 5 minutes, followed by 5 minutes in the Jacuzzi to reenergize my aching muscles. It’s amazing how quickly your body recovers itself after a tough session. You come in after training and think you’ll never run again and suddenly two days later you’re out there running around like a new person. I learned one major thing in my four months here and that is that recovery is crucial in sport. It is probably something that at home I didn’t take that serious but once your placed in an environment where recovery is a large proportion of the game you quickly see how important it is.

Another major thing I learned is that diet is so important. What you place in your body has a direct impact in how you perform on the field. Since I moved here I live off the mantra “you eat crap, you play crap”. It’s a simple mantra but incredibly true. If you don’t eat the correct foods before training, matches or gym sessions, you’re not going to reap the rewards. I realized at a very early stage if I was going to keep up with these “freak” athletes I needed to eat the right foods and fuel my body correctly.

I suppose if I was to sum up my first pre season at the Swans in three words I would have to say, “tough”, “relentless” and “enjoyable”. You might wonder where I get the enjoyment out of feeling sick, exhausted or frustrated but like I said its that feeling of self accomplishment that beats every other feeling in the world. That feeling of fulfillment, that I started and completed one of the toughest things imaginable is amazing and it overrides every physical pain I felt during my four months to date. Here’s to an exciting first season!

Check out more on Colin on his Talent Page.

AFL Europe Juniors

Our first AFL Europe Juniors session kicks off this Sunday 21st Feb 2016 from 10.30am in Clapham Common!

Auskick for 4 – 9/10 yr Olds
Bring your children down and have some fun with the family trying out Auskick!

Juniors for 10/11 – 15 yr Olds
Taster session for Juniors will also be run, going through basic skills and rules of the game in a fun and safe environment!


The session will start at 10:30am – we will split up Auskick and Juniors with 2 coaches taking each session. This is for families with children that fit in both categories so they will play at the same time.

Water and fruit are kindly being donated by Brickwood Cafe.

For more information contact claphamcubs@gmail.com.

Champions League – Registrations open!

Registrations are now open for eligible teams, for our 2016 Champions League.

AFL Europe has also partnered up with STA Travel to bring you great travel deals. Book your travel and accommodation with STA Travel by emailing afleurope@statravel.com or calling +44 161 667 0068 and tell them you’re from AFL Europe.

STA x AFL Europe


For any questions, email admin@afleurope.org

Prince Charles Extends his Patronage over AFL Europe

DRAFT picks may already be in place but the AFL is tomorrow to announce a major re-signing, of sorts, with heir to the throne Prince Charles to remain patron of the game in Europe for another two years.

His Royal Highness, who fell in love with the game while attending Geelong Grammar School in 1966, has agreed to extend patronage of AFL Europe for two years as it looks to expand its influence particularly in schools in Britain.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, who was in Ireland as part of the 2015 International Rules Series, warmly welcomed the support as a “huge honour”.

“The Prince of Wales has a strong interest in the development of young people,” he said. “It is this passion, combined with his long held fondness for Australia, which makes us so pleased that he has extended his patronage and that he continues to lend his support for AFL Europe.”

With an ambitious program to extend the game beyond the 8500 registered players in Europe, newly appointed AFL Europe CEO Megan Hession said the re-signing was important.

“We believe his ongoing support will greatly assist us to reach an even broader audience as we further introduce Australian football into schools and communities across Europe,” she said.

As well as pushing the game through AFL Auskick further into British schools, Hession also hopes to develop and strengthen a youth and female AFL competition in Europe, have games on free-to-air UK TV and Europe’s champion hand-ballers and Gaelic footballers to switch codes to AFL.

Prince Charles’ support is also seen as important to back two exhibition matches, one on Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in France between ex-pat Australians and a local French club and another to be played, post season, in London in October to commemorate a game played 100 years ago before Diggers were shipped to the Western Front.

The 1916 game is recorded as the first official AFL exhibition match to be played outside Australia and New Zealand and featured Prince Charles’ namesake in the English side, the Prince of Wales later King Edward VIII.

The Collingwood Club is in talks to field the players for this historic match.


Written by Charles Miranda for http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/more-news/prince-charles-aussie-rules-roots/news-story/f65db6c59f4013a6a874404ce9f1db16