Match of the Round

Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes vs Perpignan Tigers

It’s the Coyotes going head-to-head with the Tigers to close out round 2 for the CNFA this weekend on the Cergy-Pontoise boys home turf.

Both sides came out of round 1 of the season with hard-fought victories and will be hoping to continue their good starts to the year.

The Coyotes opened their 2016/17 campaign against reigning premiers, the Paris Cockatoos, and account their victory to their supreme fittest and skills. That match was tight for three quarters before the Coyotes pushed away in the last to win 104-87.

For the Tigers they scrapped through for a four-point victory against the Toulouse Hawks away from home. The Tigers have some very strong individual players and are evolving quickly as a club so they’ll be a real handful for the Coyotes come Saturday.

The Coyotes will go into this one as slight favourites but won’t be taking it lightly by any means. They’ll still be hurting from their 2015/16 grand final defeat and will be looking for redemption right throughout the new season. Coach of the Coyotes, Herve Desjardin, summed up what his side has to do to win tomorrow perfectly, stating “To beat the Tigers? We need to score more goals than behinds!”. It could be a tough road trip for the visiting Tigers but they’ll be full of confidence knowing they can match it with any team in the CNFA on their day.

Good luck to both sides going out there tomorrow, we’ll be looking forward to hearing the result of this blockbuster.

 

 

Player of the Week

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

This week we’re taking a look at the man behind the CNFA’s newest club, the Blagnac Aviators, Anthony Girard.

Name:

Anthony Girard

Club:

BLAGNAC AVIATORS

Nationality:  

Française

What position do you play?

Attacker

AFL team you support:

Sydney Swans

Favourite AFL player:

Gregoire Patacq at Rostrevor Old Collegians. I’m so sorry, it’s only man I know who plays in Australia.

How did you find out about AFL?

Honeymoon in Australia

How long have you been playing for?

I’m playing a year in Toulouse Hawks and I started this season with the Blagnac Aviators

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

It’s a playful game and fun. I feel like a kid when playing!

Best AFL moment?

AFL Grand final SWANS vs BULLDOGS, my first final on TV

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

For my first training, I take a big shepherd on my hip… I realized that this sport was made for me but I had to quickly assimilate all the rules.

At the end of my first year, I was proud to receive from my team the title of best rookie.

BUT MOST PROUD when my friend always, Robin AZIZA, asked me to create a new Australian Football Team in the city of Blagnac. It is a very rewarding experience from a personal point of view to create everything but it’s not easy.

Around the Grounds

Welcome to Aussie Rules, Eksjo Bulldogs!

AFL Sweden has a new member in its footy family. The Eksjo Bulldogs were officially welcomed to the AFL Sweden competition when they took part in their first intra-club game at the weekend. The Port Malmo Maulers travelled to Eksjo to help with numbers for the session.

Congratulations on playing your first intra-club match Bulldogs, we’ll follow your progress closely and wish you all the best going forward.

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CNFA Wrap up

The second day of the CNFA Championships took place at the weekend. The ALFA Lyon took on the Toulouse Hawks and dominated from start to finish. They ended up amassing a huge 175-points to the Hawks 40.

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In the other match the Bordeaux Bombers hosted the Paris Cockerels in picture perfect conditions. In what was a close game the Cockerels came away with the all-important four points with a 90 to 59 final score.

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The final game of round 2 takes places this weekend with the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes taking on the Perpignan Tigers. Stay tuned for more news on that game later in the week.

Euro Cup flashback – Rob Fielder assists Russia

It’s been a few weeks since the Euro Cup but we’ve come across this gem of a photo from the tournament:

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That’s England Dragonslayers coach, Rob Fielder, giving up his time following his teams game to help a coach-less Russian side during one of their hit-outs. What an absolute legend! No surprises that he was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to AFL England.

Simple gestures like that are what footy in Europe is all about. Great stuff Rob.

Ireland hold on to beat a fast finishing Bulldogs

The highly-anticipated AFL Europe Championships final rematch took place at the weekend in Dublin. The GB Bulldogs, with a host of changes, were hoping to further develop their talent pool prior to the International Cup in 2017. For the Irish, along with a lot of changes themselves, were seeking some redemption following a terrible performance on the mainstage at EC16.

The Warriors jumped out of the blocks early to dominant possession. Coupled with their frantic pressure they registered the first three goals of the match. Going into the first change 15-points up was a great start for the Irish boys and they continued this in the second to go into the main break with an 8.5. 53 to 4.4. 28 scoreboard advantage.

It took a half of football for the Bulldogs to finally switch on and it was the ever-dependable Myles Hudson and Alex Overton that led the charge from the backline. For the Warriors, Roch Hanmore and David McElhone were influencing the play from midfield.

Despite the improved efforts of the Bulldogs the third term ended with the Warriors registering three goals to the Bulldogs two, leaving a 27-point margin going into the final quarter.

The five-goal margin didn’t deter the reigning European Champions and they started the last term with a bang. A yellow card to an Irish player further aided the GB charge as they closed the gap to within 7-points late in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that’s as close as they came as the final siren gave the Irish Warriors a little bit of redemption for their loss two months earlier. Final scores reading 12.6. 78 to 10.11. 71.

Goals:

Ireland: R. McCloskey 4, C. Lordan 3, P. O’Connell 2, L. Burns, S. Guing, M. Bell

GB: A. Walkden 4, J. Hill 3, J. Coughlan 2, C. Britton

Match of the Round

Irish Warriors v GB Bulldogs

It’s been just over 2 months since the Great Britain Bulldogs held aloft the European Championship trophy. It’s a day their opponents, the Irish Warriors, won’t forget too quickly as they were completely outclassed at a game they’ve dominated for years.

The Bulldogs used their home tournament as a platform to launch towards their ultimate prize of claiming the International Cup next year. Since their EC16 victory they’ve played Holland, in what was their opponents first ever 18-a-side international, and had players involved in the 9-a-side Euro Cup with England, Scotland and Wales.

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The Irish were hurt badly by their final performance at EC16, it stung a lot. If anything its provided them with the perfect wake up call for their International Cup preparations. They bounced back at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon but ultimately fell short in extra time of the final against a strong Croatian outfit.

This weekend sees the two sides meet again for the first time since that EC16 final, this time on the Warriors home turf in Dublin. The National Sports Campus plays host to the next epic chapter of this fierce rivalry and with a traditional 2pm bounce scheduled its sure to attract a large crowd of vocal Irishmen and women.

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Both teams are coming in with numerous changes to when they last met.  Alex Watson, Charlie Steel, Anthony Brannigan, Jordan Wynne and Tomos Wyn-Jones enter the mix for the Bulldogs.

The Irish welcome Oisin Collins, Roch Hanmore and Peter Traynor into the side. They’ll sorely miss playmakers Kevin O’Brien and Muiris Bartley in this hit-out but it provides an opportunity for some others to take the next step up.

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Neither side will be taking a backward step in this encounter as it provides all 44 players an opportunity to stake their claim for a place on the plane next August. Good luck to everyone involved in this one, hopefully matches like this become a regular fixture throughout the season.

Player to watch….

GB Bulldogs

Andy Walkden was the difference between the two sides in the EC16 final in what was a man of the match performance. His form hasn’t dropped off as he earned team of the tournament honours at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon. The Warriors will have to keep a close eye on the crafty half-forward if they are to be any chance.

Irish Warriors

Ryan McCloskey was unstoppable at EC16 before a shoulder injury interrupted his campaign. His absence in the forward line was sorely missed in the later stages of that competition. The small forward doesn’t need many possessions to hurt his opposition so whichever Bulldog marks up on him will have to be switched on at all times.

A word from….

GB Bulldogs – Team Manager Jason Hill:

“This gives GB more vital preparation going in to International Cup 2017. It was great winning against the Irish in London but this will be a totally different game in their home conditions and if we want to compete at IC17 we will need to be able to take the game to teams in uncomfortable places. A lot of thanks goes to Ciaran from Ireland for setting up the game and we are excited to bring a GB side across the Irish Sea in what we hope will be a more regular fixture.”

Team Lists

GB Bulldogs Irish Warriors
Luke Booth (Captain) (Huddersfield Rams) Gareth Baird
Michael Sharp (VC) (North London Lions) Liam Burns
Chris Britton (VC) (Manchester Mosquitoes) Stephen Guing
Anthony Brannigan (Tyne-Tees Tigers) Sean Paul Henry
Lewis Gedney (Wolverhampton Wolverines) Brendan Kelly
David Hastie (Wimbledon Hawks) Colin Lordan
Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks) Kevin McDonnell
Alex Overton (Huddersfield Rams) Sean McGlinchey
Ryan Spivey (Sussex Swans) Tom McKenna
James Talbot (North London Lions) Gavin Murray
Matthew Warwick (West London Wildcats) Conor O’Halloran
Jordan Wynne (Wimbledon Hawks) Peter Traynor
Andrew Cochran (Manchester Mosquitoes) Matt Bell
Marc Cashman (Wimbledon Hawks) Oisin Collins
Jack Coughlan (North London Lions) Roch Hanmore
George Dibble (Wolverhampton Wolverines) Luke Hickey
Tim Gower (Manchester Mosquitoes) David Lally
Jason Hill (Wimbledon Hawks) Ryan McCloskey
Michael “Spike” Kilheeney (Manchester Mosquitoes) David McElhone
Owain Ryland (London Swans) Stuart McKeating
Charlie Steel (Wandsworth Demons) Paul Murphy
Andy Walkden (Manchester Mosquitoes) Padraic O’Connell
Alex Watson (Wandsworth Demons) Seamus Owens
Tomos Wyn-Jones (University of Birmingham) Coach: Brian Currane
Coach: Dean Thomas
Support Staff: Hilary Wilson, Charley Dakin, Millie Morgan

 

 

 

 

Player of the Week

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet. 

Name: Cóilín Ó Lordáin (Lundy)

Club: Leeside Lions / Irish Warriors

Nationality: Irish

What position do you play?

Preferably anywhere around the mids, but unfortunately I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none so I’ve also been found from time to time in the ruck, backs and forwards!! I’m quite good, actually no I’m excellent so it’s no issue to me really.

AFL team you support: GWS Giants 

Favourite AFL player:

Shane Mumford or that Eddie Betts lad is handy enough too I guess (Although this is nothing on Leeside Lions club legend and Irish Warrior teammate Paudie Connell).

The Irish league is quite small compared to our counterparts in other leagues, so there are a lot of friendly & not so friendly faces. In ARFLI it would have to be the evergreen Peter Ross. Petey is a great servant of the game having been to two international cups and an inspiration to us all in the league.

How did you find out about AFL? 

Always had an interest from a young age due to the similarities and crossover with the GAA, as well as that the carnage that used be the compromise rules series; Mighty Stuff Indeed. TG4, a TV station here in lreland, used also show weekly highlights even though I hadn’t a clue what was going on.

My playing career itself didn’t kick start itself until I moved to Toronto in 2011. Out one Sunday to watch the Limerick hurlers in championship, a lorry load of pints and a few sneaky Jäger bombs later, some food was needed and I headed off for an auld dirty kebab. As I thought about how I was going to go about ringing in sick to work the following morning, I was stopped on the street by two Aussie blokes. Seeing me in my GAA gear they were fierce keen to get me involved in their footie club. So I handed them my number and said call me if they were ever stuck thinking nothing would come of it. The rest as they say is history.

How long have you been playing for?

6 years

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Getting a phone call one Saturday morning 30 mins before the game asking would I be interested in playing a game that the team was a man short and badly stuck. Thrown into forward pocket out of the way, I was warned not do anything stupid that the team needed to win to make finals. I ended up kicking 5 goals and bouncing the footie on my first attempt. I remember thinking to myself afterwards, “This AFL craic is handy enough, I might actually keep this up”. I have never scored 5 goals in a game since nor bounced the ball in a match.

Best AFL moment?

Any time I have gotten to pull on the green guernsey and represent Ireland. Winning the ARFLI premiership this year undefeated was also quite special.

The trip away with the lads in Edinburgh and the bus trip to and from Belfast this year were quite epic as well and I’m sure they’ll live long in the memory of the lads too. Roll on Amsterdam next year 😉

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

I have a booming left leg. Unfortunately, it’s in dire need of a sat nav or something. It’s accuracy is questionable at times. However, it’s improving slowly and surely. It might work to perfection some day before I decide to hang up the boots.

I also have the finest and biggest arse in Ireland if not Europe, however my club mate Eoin Ó Súilleabháin gives me a right run for my money with his own derriere, although he is on the downward spiral now, age is catching up with him.

 

 

Around the Grounds

Fielder and Bennett awarded AFL England Lifetime Achievement Awards

Two legends of AFL England were presented Lifetime Achievements Awards at the conclusion of the Masters game in Reading at the weekend. Rob Fielder and Adam Bennett have been integral to the game here in the UK and Europe over the past decade. Rob finished up his tenure as England Dragonslayers coach at the Euro Cup in Lisbon after 10 years in charge while Adam recently stepped down as AFL England President after providing years of service.

Congratulations on your recognition Rob and Adam, the game here in the UK and Europe is certainly in a better place because of both your tireless efforts.

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CNFA round 1 kicks off

A beautiful weekend in France set the scene for round 1 of the CNFA season at the weekend. Reigning Premiers, the Paris Cockatoos went down at home to grand final opponents, the Cergy Pontoise Coyotes 104 to 87.

The Bordeaux Bombers proved too strong for CNFA newcomers the Blagnac Aviators in their first hit-out as they cruised to a 40-point victory.

The final match of the round turned out to be a thriller with Perpignan Tigers pipping the Toulouse Hawks by 4-points.

The Paris Cockerels and ALFA Lions didn’t play in the first round of matches but will be raring to go next weekend for the next instalment of the CNFA season.

Check out the full review below:

http://cms.football-australien.fr/index.php/80-1ere-journee-du-championnat-de-france-leo-lagrange-2016-2017

DAFA say goodbye (for now) to stalwart

Euro Cup in Lisbon was the last time DAFA stalwart, Nick Bennett, will pull on the orange and blue jumper for a while. Nick has been a core member of the DAFA over the past few years by sitting on the board, coaching and playing. He has been a huge part of getting the Champions League up and running in Amsterdam as well as the continued development of Aussie Rules in the Netherlands.

Thanks for all your efforts Nicko, taking out the Plate final in Lisbon was a great send-off.

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Max Rooke visits AFL London Women’s players

2 x Geelong Premiership Player and current Gold Coast Suns Development Coach, Max Rooke, stopped in to run an AFL London Women’s session on his recent visit to the English capital. Max took the girls through the basics of kicking and handballing before letting the girls in on his famous tackling technique.

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Special thanks to Mitch Skelly of the Wandsworth Demons for organising the session and Max for giving up his time to give back to the women’s game.

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Australian Wombats hold on against AFL England Masters

On Saturday the Australian Wombats took on our AFL England All-Stars in the first ever International Masters Test between the two nations. The game took place at the home of the Reading Roos, King’s Meadow, in picturesque conditions on Saturday afternoon.

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The Wombats are coached by former West Coast and Brisbane player, Brent Staker, who pulled the boots on for the occasion. Our All-Stars led at every change but were unable to hold onto their lead late in the final term when the Wombats stepped up a gear. The final scorecard reading 54-52 in favour of the Australians.

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The Wombats are now on their way to Ireland for a two-test series of International Rules against the Irish. We’re hopeful of accommodating the Australian Masters in the years to come and hopefully even getting to a point where we can send a touring side over of our own.

Good luck in Ireland boys!

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AFL Europe Umpires take the next step

Three of AFL Europe’s umpires have been selected to take part in next year’s International Cup in Melbourne. Geoff Pascoe, Josh Davey and Oscar Ayyadi earned selection to IC17 following stellar performances with the whistle at our recent AFL Europe Championships held in London during August.

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Check out the full article on their achievements below:

http://www.aflcommunityclub.com.au/index.php?id=47&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=3701&cHash=b82881277e72ccb938a9df86eaf33456

Euro Cup 2016 – Review

The 2016 edition of the Euro Cup was held in sunny Lisbon on the 8th October. With 374 players in action across 22 teams from 16 countries it was always going to be a huge day of Aussie Rules.

The National Stadium Jamor in Lisbon played host to the tournament with three pitches in perfect condition being used for the 9-a-side competition. Games kicked off bright and early at 9am with the pool stages allowing teams to jostle for position and qualify for the divisional finals.

The Pool Stages

Croatia and Germany were the early standouts with some dominant displays of Aussie Rules. The usual powerhouses of Ireland and England were clinical as ever and cruised through their initial exchanges. The final standings were as follows:

Pool A:

  1. Croatia
  2. Wales
  3. Austria
  4. Italy

Pool B:

  1. Ireland
  2. France
  3. Jerusalem Peace Team Lions
  4. Russia

Pool C:

  1. Germany
  2. Scotland
  3. Norway
  4. Portugal

Pool D:

  1. England
  2. Crusaders
  3. Netherlands

First place in each pool went through to the Cup semi-finals and were in with a shot to be crowned Euro Cup Champions. Second place in each pool qualified for the Bowl finals and third and fourth place battled it out for the right to be crowned Plate winners.

On the women’s side of the draw it was a two pool competition. Fierce rivals, England and Ireland were drawn into same pool and reignited their recent battles early on with a hard fought group stage victory going in favour of the girls in green. A three team Pool B had another big clash as the Swedish and Danish locked horns in what was a thriller. The final group standings were as follows:

Pool A:

  1. Ireland
  2. England
  3. Scotland
  4. France

Pool B:

  1. Sweden
  2. Croatia
  3. Denmark

The top two teams from each Pool went through to the semi-finals while third place qualified for the 5th place playoff.

Finals Time

In the Plate Division it was the Dutch and Austrians who won through to the much coveted final. The Dutch had a fiery hit-out against the Italians to give themselves a chance to retain their 2015 title while the Austrians accounted for the Norway Trolls to show how much they’ve improved in recent years.

It was a tight contest early with neither side hitting the scoreboard until the 6-minute mark of the first half when the Flying Dutchmen opened their account. They slotted back-to-back goals and jumped out to a 16 to zip lead at half-time. When the Dutch opened the scoring in the second half it was always going to be a tough ask for the Austrians. The Avalanches could only manage the solitary goal as the Dutch proved too strong in a game highlighted by its tight and physical clashes amongst players. For the second year in a row the Dutch were crowned Plate winners at the Euro Cup. The final score 35-8.

The second-tier Bowl Division final was contested between Wales and France. Both sides were incredibly exciting to watch in the Pool stages and were hoping to add some silverware to the trophy cabinet after a long, hot day of footy.

Wales jumped out of the blocks early to score the first goal of the game into what was a growing breeze. It didn’t take long for France to counter and they got back-to-back goals to take a 5-point lead into half-time. The French were elite with their foot skills and made the Welsh pay kicking out to a handy lead early in the second half. The lead proved enough for France as they held on for a memorable victory in a fast paced game. The final score 27-16.

It was two old foes going head-to-head again in the Women’s Final. England and Ireland had proved that they were the two best teams throughout the day and were pumped up for another highly anticipated encounter on the main stage.

In typical fashion it was a hard-fought first half between the two sides, neither giving an inch or taking a backward step with their attack on the football. This was reflected in the 1-0 score line in favour of the English at half-time.

The second half opened up with England capitalising on their chances when attacking into the breeze to go 7-points up. The Irish didn’t take long to reply and again we were in for another thriller. From nowhere the Irish grabbed another goal in what proved to be the match winner with the crowd erupting. The final few minutes can only be described as complete mayhem. When the final siren sounded three players were laying on the ground injured and seeking medical attention as the remaining Irish players were embracing in jubilation. Full credit to both sides for again putting an amazing display of women’s footy. The final score 16-7.

The Men’s Final pitted a massive Croatian side against a quick and agile Irish team. Under a setting sun and a growing crowd this was going to be one to remember, and it didn’t disappoint.

The breeze had picked up and the big kicking Croatians used it perfectly in the first half. They kicked two goals back-to-back within the couple of minutes to jump out to an early lead. The first half went all in the Croatians favour and some big hits highlighted their intent on claiming their second Euro Cup title. They went into the main break with a 20-point lead. The Irish opened scoring after the break but the Croatians were quick to reply. Neither side were giving up an inch but it was the Irish who were making their mark on the scoreboard. A frantic final few minutes’ left everyone at the ground perplexed as neither side celebrated as the final siren sounded. It was a draw, 35-points apiece, you couldn’t write a better script.

Extra-time was to be played with 5-minutes each way. The Croatians clicked into another gear and didn’t give the Irish a chance. Their bigger bodies had worn down the Irish and when Croatian Captain, Tomislav Cvetko, went back and goaled late in the second half of extra time it was all but over. The Croatian bench stormed the field in celebration as they were crowned Euro Cup Champions of 2016. The final score was 53-39.

A massive thank you needs to go out to Antonio da Cunha and his team at Move Sports for helping us make Euro Cup in Lisbon come together. Thank you to the umpire squad led by Shane Hill, our volunteers led by pitch managers Fanny Maillett, Laura Pinckney and Hayley Canton, as well as BarTV Sports for providing a first-class live stream of the tournament.

The tournament was played in the right spirit and showcased the amazing footballing community Europe has on offer. Thank you to everyone involved in making this great event so special and we’ll see you all again at the 2017 edition of the Euro Cup.

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Match of the Round

CNFA Season Preview

For this week’s ‘Match of the Round’ we caught up with CNFA President, Alban Schieber, and got his thoughts about the upcoming season and the teams competing ahead of tomorrow with round 1 kick offs.

This season is quite special for us as it will be played between October and April when we usually play until mid-June. The reason is quite simple and quite exiting as well for all the players: we will have our Grand Final in the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris. Our 2017 Grand Final will be the curtain raiser of the last Top 14 game between Paris and Racing Metro 92. 

Another thing that will make this coming season so special is that for the first time ever, every single team competing in the 2016/2017 Leo Lagrange Championship has a real chance to run for the premiership or at least the semi-finals. In fact, all clubs have been doing a good job over the summer to get numbers, fitness and competitive players. 

ALFA Lions:

After a couple of “on and off” seasons, the team starts to have experience players surrounded by quite a lot of young athletes. The team has played for the first time internal games at training.

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Blagnac Aviator:

Even though they are brand new in the competition it would be a mistake to think that they are not a serious competitor in the race to the semi-final. They are based on a few skilful players who have won two premierships with the Toulouse Hawks. They have had interesting numbers at training with 30+ players coming for clinics and training. Blagnac is a good place to recruit rugby players. We wish them the same first season that the Cockatoos had last year.

championnat-blagnacBordeaux Bombers:

For the first time since their last premiership, the club has finally break the ice and recruited before the start of the season. They have also been playing a few internal games to give a chance to the 30 players to get a kick and have a chance to show their abilities. They should be back in the race after two seasons struggling.

championnat-bdxCoyotes de Cergy-Pontoise:

They are probably the team to follow as they climb the ladder step by step. Every year they get better! And what’s better than runner-up? The Coyotes have raised the bar from playing entire games with 9 blokes a few years back to a strong grand finalist squad of 20 players last year. You can be sure that they are all pumped to climb that last step that is keeping them away from the premiership.

championnat-cergy-pontoiseParis Cockatoos:

The 2016 premier is going to run after a second title this year. The Paris team based on strong squad numbers with experience players who are both French and Australian. They also have a few new players coming along. Training together the Cockerels is a chance that give them plenty of opportunities to play.

championnat-pariscockatoosParis Cockerels:

Disappointed after a semi-final lost against their brother’s, the Cockatoos. They are very motivated to win the premiership again. As the Cockatoos, they have both French and Australians players with a good knowledge of Australian Football.

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Perpignan Tigers:

After bringing the club back into the championship last year, the Tigers hope to conquer the only “missing title”. For that they have been recruiting and securing players in Perpignan but they will also get some help from the Montpellier Firesharks (reborn this summer) and a couple of Australians. This should give them the extra boost to join the final 4!

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Toulouse Hawks:

Like always they are capable of everything. Strong, skillful and athletic, they are always hard to play and full of resources. If the injuries leave them alone, they are for sure one of the most dangerous team in the tournament.

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Good luck to all team involved in the 2016/17 CNFA Championship. We’ll be following the results closely.

Special thanks to Alban Schieber for putting together such an amazing season preview.

Around the Grounds

#EuroCup16 wraps up for another year

The 2016 Euro Cup in Lisbon was held over the weekend under clear blue skies and a scorching sun. With 374 players from 16 countries across 22 teams participating the day was an incredible success.

The main pitch was live streamed throughout the day with a record number of people tuning in from all over the globe. Blow-by-blow commentary for the majority of the day brought the games to life and make for great viewing on replay.

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Under a setting sun on the main pitch the crowd grew to watch the finals matches. Congratulations to the Netherlands (Plate), France (Bowl), Ireland (Women’s Champions) and Croatia (Men’s Champions) for claiming victory in their respective divisions.

A special thank you to our three pitch manager’s Fanny Maillett, Laura Pinckney and Hayley Canton for ensuring the day ran smoothly along with our umpiring squad led by Shane Hill.

Stay tuned for a full event report in the coming days.

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Sparky joins the big time after AFL Women’s Draft

Wimbledon Hawks stalwart, Lauren Spark, became the second Hawk to join the newly formed AFL Women’s League for 2017. She was taken at pick 76 by the Western Bulldogs.

Sparky’s selection sets up a mouthwatering clash with Hawks teammate, Kate Shierlaw, at some stage next year.

We wish both girls all the best in the inaugural AFL Women’s league.

Australian Masters kick off tour with a win

The Australian Masters side which is touring England and Ireland have kicked off their campaign with an 11-point victory over Oxford University at Merton Sports Ground.

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The boys will have to rest up as they visit the Australian High Commission today before taking on an AFL England All-Stars side in Reading on Saturday. Further details on that match at the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1058075340928430/

CNFA season kicks off this weekend

The CNFA season is upon us with round 1 of the 2016/17 season kicking off this weekend. The Paris Cockatoos will be hoping to avoid second year blues after they claimed the premiership in their first season against the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes in the season decider earlier this year in June.

Its set to be a fantastic year of Aussie rules action in the CNFA. Check out the fixtures below:

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Hawks and Demons covering all bases

The Wimbledon Hawks and Wandsworth Demons supplied record numbers of participants to this year’s Euro Cup.

The Hawks had players in 5 of the 16 countries:

England: Jason Hill, Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Jennifer Bennett, Louise Darby, Lisa Wilson, Charlotte-Ellen Eales and Jess Milford

France: Chloe Romeo

Scotland: Rachel Kilmartin, Lauren Spark (Coach), Kate Shierlaw (Assistant)

Ireland: Stiofan Mac Finn

Wales: Jordan Wynne

The Demons had a total of 22 club members playing or coaching for 4 countries, umpiring or volunteering in an amazing show of community involvement.

Well done to both clubs for great achievements and for all their efforts ensuring the 2016 installment of the Euro Cup was a great success.

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Euro Cup 16′ – Tournament Preview

Euro Cup 2016 Preview

1 more sleep!

Euro Cup 2016 is nearly upon us. With 15 men’s and 7 women’s teams on display tomorrow it’s sure to be a jam-packed day of Aussie rules action.

This year’s Euro Cup sees the biggest turn out of women’s teams to date. Players from Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Sweden will be making their way to Lisbon this weekend with hopes of getting their hands on some silverware.

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The reigning champions; the England Vixens, will be returning with a new three-man coaching team on board and with a few new faces in the line-up they will be looking to retain their title. Joining the Vixens in group A are the 2014 Champions, the Irish Banshees. After being absent at the 2015 Cup in Croatia and narrowly losing to the GB Swans in the European Championships this August, the Irish will be fired up and no doubt will be coming out in full force. The French Cockerelles face a tough competition in what is likely to be the tougher of the two groups, however; this season has seen the French being involved in a number of tournaments including the Champions League and ANZAC Cup so will be hoping their practice as a team will aid their chances. Finalising group A is another 2015 absentee in the Scottish Sirens. After struggling in the 2014 Euro Cup, the Sirens have been secretly strengthening and with the majority of the squad fresh from playing for the GB Swans this summer, they will be one to watch.

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Unfortunately, due to a late drop out, there will only be 3 teams making up Group B. 2015 runners up, the Danish Valkyries, will be looking for an easy run through to the semi-finals however their neighbours, the Swedish Ravens, will surely have something to say about this. The Ravens displayed a strong performance at the Champions League tournament earlier this year and they look to have recruited well this season with a huge social media campaign displaying their many new faces. The battle of the Scandinavians is sure to be a tight contest and one not to be missed. Finally, the youngest team, in both years established and in average player age, are the Croatian Queens. The Queens debuted in their home country last year with a team made up of school students. Little has been heard from the team in the last year but considering the strength of their brothers, the Croatian Knights, they cannot be ruled out.

The men’s side of the draw is being contested by 15 teams each divided into four groups. We’ve taken a look at each team’s prospects leading into tomorrow’s tournament.

England – 2015 placing Runners-Up – The English return looking to go one step further in 2016 after losing in the final to Denmark in Croatia. A lot of the squad returns for 2016 with some new faces from previous Dragonslayers squads. After the GB side won EC16 expect a strong challenge from the Dragonslayers who boast 14 of their side being 18-a-side European champions. Expect a quick and physical game from the Dragonslayers in coach, Rob Fielders, last tour in charge. Can they do the double in 2016 and send Rob out on a high note?

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Croatia – 2015 placing 3rd – The Croatians come into the tournament on the back of a strong Euro Cup 15 beating Ireland in the 3rd place playoff after losing to tournament winners Denmark in the semi-finals. Expect a bruising style of football from the Southern-Europeans looking to make the finals in 2016. Without Denmark, Ireland or England in their side of the draw they have to be considered strong contenders.

Ireland – 2015 placing 4th – The Irish have long been the powerhouse in European footy but 2015 and 2016 so far haven’t gone to script. Expect the Irish to come back hard at Euro Cup 16 and set the record straight. The Irish still consider themselves the best team outside of Australia and will be bringing their fast, running style to Portugal to right the wrongs of Euro Cup 15 and EC16. A mouth-watering potential semi-final between England and Ireland could make an interesting encounter.

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Germany – 2015 placing 5th – The Germans have been gathering steam since finishing 5th in Croatia. A strong performance at EC16, where they finished 3rd, will look to be built on when the Germans return to their usual 9-a-side format. Expect the Germans to bring a powerful team full of industry who will be well drilled and ready to go come Saturday.

France – 2015 placing 6th – The French come into Euro Cup ’16 after a disappointing Euro Cup ’15 where they expected better. The French will be looking to improve on that performance with their free-flowing game. In a tough draw with Ireland expect them to be challenging for the title in that group and a showdown with the winners of Pool D.

Austria – 2015 placing 7th – The Austrians had a tough Euro Cup ’15 being drawn with eventual champions Denmark before a tough game against France but recovered well to beat the Scottish to 7th place. The Austrians will continue to bring serious fight and endeavour to the tournament and should go well in a group with returning sides Italy and Wales.

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Scotland – 2015 placing 8th –  The Scottish are coming they say. A belief from the north of the UK is that Scotland should be placing higher than 8th within Europe and they plan to use Euro Cup ’16 to prove this. With a number of GB hopefuls looking to push a claim towards the GB International Cup ’17 side expect them to come hard in a group they will look to win.

The Netherlands – 2015 placing 9th – The Dutch continue to improve and rise their standing within Europe. The boys from Holland have continued to improve their league and recently played their first full international against GB. The Dutch have plenty of skilled players and a return to the usual 9-a-side format should give them a good chance against England and the Crusaders.

The Crusaders – 2015 placing 10th – The Crusaders are something of an unknown entity. Made up of European players who don’t have a national team to play for, or weren’t selected, they could be anything. The biggest challenge for the Crusaders is always a mix of languages that have never played together before. Can they overcome this in 2016?

Norway – 2015 placing 11th – The Norwegians come into the tournament looking to replicate their neighbours in Sweden and Denmark and bring a stylish game to the field. A team looking to improve are in a tough group but don’t count them out now

Peace Team – 2015 placing 12th – The Jerusalem Peace Team Lions are back in for Euro Cup 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Lions team manager, Avraham Benvenisty has provided us with an insight into their preparations leading up to this year’s tournament. The Jerusalem Peace Team Lions are taking part in their 2nd European Championship! The team was founded again a few months ago, with only 3 players that knew how to play the game (or that have even watched a game before), but recruitment brought us to the point of having 14 lads that know the rules, learned the game, and accomplished the goal of playing in the upcoming Euro Cup!

Wales – 2015 placing DNP – The Welsh return to the International fold to give us a full complement of the British Isles. An unknown entity with a lot of new faces, and some old, returning to the Euro Cup fold. The Welsh will be looking to create some upsets in their group and believe they have the team to be the story of the tournament.

Russia – 2015 placing DNP – The Russians are will relish the Portuguese sunshine although the heat could prove a factor for them. They play a tough and uncomprising style of football and could surprise a few early tomorrow.

Portugal – 2015 placing DNP – The host nation. They’ve managed to pull together side and will seriously consider themselves a chance to impress on their home turf. The recruitment of former Portugal Rugby champion, Antonio da Cunha, could prove a real coup. His 52 games of international rugby experience could see some sore bodies from the Roosters opponents.

Italy – 2015 placing DNP – the Italians are back and they’ll be putting everything they’ve got into jostling for a good finals place. With a total travelling party of 25 they’ll be sure to have the sidelines filled fans. Could really surprise a few tomorrow.

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Tournament previews by Lisa Wilson and Jason Hill.

For those who can’t make it to Lisbon be sure to tune into our live stream of all Pitch 1 match’s

http://afleurope.org/eurocup-2016-live/

Full schedule:

http://afleurope.org/eurocup-mens-draw-announced/

http://afleurope.org/womens-draw-for-eurocup-announced/