‘The Game of their Lives’ Commemoration Match

*Picture: Australian War Memorial

 On the 28th October 1916, the Queens Club in London played host to the first organised game of Australian Football played overseas by predominantly elite-level players.

Over 100 years ago two teams of Australian soldiers staged an ‘exhibition game’ that drew over 3000 spectators, including the then Prince of Wales and etched itself in the history books of Australian Rules Football.

The game was the brainchild of Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, who proposed it to the legendary general John Monash, then commander of the Third Division.

Lieutenant Frank Beaurepaire, an Olympic swimmer was tasked with organising the one-off match which raised almost £1000 for the British and French Red Cross Societies.

The two sides competing in the match were littered with football royalty. The Australian Units Training Team, who played in light red jumpers with a white kangaroo on them, was captained by Norwood champion, Charles Perry.

The side also included, Percy Trotter of Fitzroy and East Fremantle, George Bower of South Melbourne, Clyde Donaldson of Essendon and vice-captained by Fiztroy’s John ‘Jack’ Cooper.

They lined up against the Third Australian Division, who wore navy blue jumpers with a map of Australia in white, who were captained by South Melbourne’s Bruce Sloss.

Their vice-captain was Collingwood and Richmond star, Dan Minogue, while they also had Bill Stewart of Essendon, Hughie James of Richmond and Jack Brake of University and Melbourne on the Third Division side.

The game was low-scoring, with the Third Division side claiming a 16-point victory. The final score read 6.16. (52) to 4.12. (36).

Tragically for Third Division captain, Bruce Sloss, Jack Cooper, Stan Martin, James Foy, James Pugh and Les Lee, the exhibition was to be their last as all were tragically killed serving in the Great War.

In just over a weeks’ time, two London sides will commemorate the Exhibition Game in their round 1 encounter.

In what doubles as a 2016 grand final rematch, the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats will wear replica kit in the game. The Demons will wear the light red jumpers with white kangaroo of the Australian Units Training Team while the Wildcats will wear the navy blue with white map of Australia of the Third Australian Division.

The May 6th encounter will be played at the Chiswick Rugby Club, Chiswick, London, W4 2SH. Ball-up will be at 3pm, with the match being captured on film by Game On Productions and BarTV Sports.

The match would not be possible without the incredible work of Game On Productions, Lizzie Kirkham, who is thrilled that the game will be remembered just over 100 years since the original took place.

Stay tuned for more information on the match.

View some original footage from the match courtesy of the British Pathe (www.britishpathe.com)

ANZAC Cup 2017 Review

The ANZAC Cup was played in Northern France over the weekend with the Australian Spirit claiming victory in both the men’s and women’s games on Sunday. Players spent 4 days with host families, with the event culminating in a moving dawn service at the Australian National War Memorial on ANZAC Day.

Saturday 22nd April

The Australian and French players arrived in Villers-Bretonneux to be greeted by their host families in the early afternoon. Many were treated with a traditional French lunch by their hosts before a combined training session at Stadium Timmerman.

Players from all four sides mingled and trained together for over an hour, with drills being led by the French coach, Andrew Unsworth and Australia’s Ash Walsh.

 

Following the training session players convoyed to Le Hamel for a welcome dinner hosted by the Association Bretonvilloise Animation (ABA). Prior to the dinner commencing respects were paid to the policeman killed in the Paris terror attacks two days earlier, with commemorations being led by the Mayor of Villers-Bretonneux.

The coaches from both sides presented the players with their jumpers before the team captains spoke of what it meant to represent their countries, in what is such an important time for both Australia and France.

Once the formalities were over, the ABA served the aperitif before serving a traditional French meal for the 100 people in attendance. Players and support staff of both teams openly shared their favourite football stories as the teams began forming relationships ahead of their big match.

 

Sunday 23rd April

Players and officials had a nice early start on Sunday morning with a visit to the Australian National War Memorial. This provided the opportunity for reflection at what is a beautiful and very special memorial.

Walking amongst the gravestones, players read the names of fallen soldiers engraved on the walls of the memorial, which was an incredibly moving and humbling experience for all the players.

Soon it was time to head back into Villers-Bretonneux for the parade through the town, another unique element of the ANZAC Cup. Players followed a local bagpiper and local children bearing the Australian and French flags through the streets of Villers with locals waving and cheering from their houses as the parade moved past.

Shortly after the conclusion of the march, the women’s match was underway. In the second official women’s ANZAC Cup game, it was the French who started stronger and looked dangerous early.

The Australian’s ferocity at the contest and tackling pressure proved too much for the French, as they failed to register a goal in the second and third terms.

In what was a great game of footy, Australia claimed victory 9.15.69 to 3.8.26. Stephanie Filbay and Camille Portal were awarded best on ground honours for their respective sides.

The men’s match followed immediately after the women’s match, but not before a rousing rendition of the French national anthem, which had many in the crowd believing that this could be the year to break their 3 ANZAC Cup drought.

It was a fast-paced start with both sides registering early goals. A massive third term gave Australia the advantage, and despite a strong final quarter the deficit proved too much for the French to overcome.

The final score read 13.12.90 to 6.15.51, with Michael ‘le lapin’ Curcio and Pierre Leschales rightfully chosen as the best players afield.

A moving presentation ceremony was hosted by the ABA, a presentation that was made even more special with trophies and medals presented by Harriet O’Malley, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris, and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP.

A special thanks to umpires Tobias Siegel and Cai Davies for officiating the matches doing a splendid job.

On what was a beautiful day in Villers, players and officials enjoyed some well-earned post-game refreshments generously provided by Pirate Life Brewery Company.

For full match reports click here.

With the French players departing on the Sunday evening, the Australian’s were hosted by one of the local families at their home to enjoy a mix of French and Australian cuisines.  Celebrations carried on into the night with some classic Aussie rock ballads being belted out by all who attended.

 

Monday 24th April

The Monday gave players a chance to explore the surrounds of VB with many enjoying the sights of nearby town, Amiens.

In the afternoon, the players delivered an Auskick clinic for the children of Le Hamel, which has a population of only 500. Forty local children had their first AFL experience and took part in the session, which taught the students some basic AFL skills such as kicking, handballing and marking.

The hour-long session was one to remember with neither the kids nor the players wanting it to end. Players were presented gifts by the children and were surprised when the young students sung the Australian national anthem in what was a very touching moment.

Whilst in the area, several players took the time to visit the Le Hamel Memorial. A timeline of events leads visitors out to the memorial proper. The vast landscape and trenches surrounding the memorial created an eerie sense of the conditions those fighting would have encountered close to 100 years ago.

The day finished with a quiet drink at the Le Melbourne pub in Villers. This time was used to share stories of the past few days, before players returned to spend their final evening with their host families.

 

Tuesday 25th April

Players met at 3:30am to begin the 40 minute walk from the town centre out to the Australian National War Memorial. An incredible Dawn Service, in icy cold conditions, was delivered with dignitaries and armed servicemen and women delivering stories and letters from those who gave up their lives on the battlefields of the Somme.

Following the service, it was time for players to go their separate ways with the Australian squad returning to all the different parts of Europe that they now call home.

It was the 9th time AFL Europe has had the privilege to deliver the ANZAC Cup. The event wouldn’t be possible without the huge efforts of the ABA led out by Xavier Graux, the host families, O’Neills Sportwear for supplying a fantastic playing uniform for the Australian team, BarTV Sports for capturing the event, the French national men’s and women’s sides, the locals of Villers-Bretonneux, Le Hamel and surrounds, the umpires, and the Australian players who put in so much effort with their applications.

2018 is the 10th edition of the ANZAC Cup, but more importantly the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. AFL Europe looks forward to working together with the ABA and local families of Villers-Bretonneux to create another fantastic ANZAC Cup.

Click here to see the video highlights of the Anzac Cup, courtesy of BarTV.

ANZAC Cup 2017 – Match Reports

The 9th Annual ANZAC Cup, contested between the Australian Spirit and France, was played in picturesque conditions yesterday at Stadium Timmerman, Villers-Bretonneux. The beaming sun resulted in a nice crowd growing for the 12pm women’s game.

Following a minute’s silence and the national anthems the women’s game was under-way. It was played at a frantic pace from the opening bounce with Coline Duquet of France working well in the ruck to give her midfielders first use of the football.

Two goals to one had the French in front at the first change with Camille and Berengere Portal having strong opening quarters.

Wayward kicking in front of goal was hurting the Australian’s as they started winning the football out of the middle and holding deep in their forward line.

The Australian’s went into halftime with an 8-point lead after trailing the French at the quarter time break.

The second half went all the Australian’s way but they couldn’t convert in front of goal kicking 5 goals, 13 behinds to the end of the third quarter.

They got their radars straight in the final term with an extra 4 goals sealing victory in a great game of football. Final scorecard reading 9.15. 69 to 3.8. 26 in favour of the Australian’s.

Best on ground honours went to Steph Filbay of Australia and Camille Portal of France.

The men’s match followed immediately after the women with both sides taking part in the pre-game ceremonies of a minute silence and national anthems. A stirring rendition of the French national anthem had the local crowd excited at the prospect of knocking off the Australian side for the first since 2013.

Harriet O’Malley, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris, tossed the coin with Australian skipper, Tony Fulton choosing to run towards Le Melbourne Pub end of the ground in the first quarter.

Both sides started out strong with French full-forward, Pierre Boscart, looking dangerous coming out the goal square.

It didn’t take long for the Australian’s spiritual leader, Jay Treloar, to make an impact in the game with a strong double fist whilst 15 metres clear of an opponent.

Two goals apiece had both sides even at the quarter time break with the French looking very dangerous in the 9-a-side format.

It was much of the same in the second term with both sides struggling to convert with the immense tackling pressure. Australia edged in front late to take a 9-point lead into the main break.

Coaches, Jason Cameron and Tom Rischbieth got the boys firing in the third term as the Australian’s kicked five goals in quick succession to set up a comfortable lead going into the final quarter.

A strong finish by the French kept the Australian’s honest in the final term but it was too little, too late. Final scorecard reading 13.12. 90 to 6.15. 51 in favour of the Australian Spirit.

The trophies and medals were presented by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP, who was in Villers-Bretonneux for the ANZAC commemorations.

Best on ground honours went to Michael Curcio of Australia and Pierre Leschales of France.

A special mention to Tobias Siegel and Cai Davies for their stellar performances umpiring both games as well as all the volunteers led by the ABA for putting together another amazing ANZAC Cup.

With the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux next year, the 2018 ANZAC Cup is set to be extra special.

ANZAC Day at Belushi’s

Join the crew at Belushi’s Hammersmith for your 2017 ANZAC Day.

Head on down for a chilled out afternoon with your fellow Kiwi and Aussie family to celebrate ANZAC Day

  • Bar open from 7am
  • Cooked Breakfast served from 7am-12pm
  • BBQ’s from 12pm all afternoon
  • Live Music
  • Rock n’ Roll Bingo from 7pm

For full details click here

9th Annual ANZAC Cup – Australian Spirit v France

The 9th ANZAC Cup takes place in Villers-Bretonneux, France this Sunday 23rd of April with two games of football between the Australian Spirit and French National sides.

The small town of Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France has a strong connection with Australian Armed Forces. On 24th April 1918, the town was captured by German forces. Overnight the Australian troops retaliated and by dawn on the 25th April 1918 the town had be retaken.

The ANZAC Cup plays part of the greater ‘Australia Week’ celebrations held in Villers-Bretonneux, and culminates with the Dawn Service at the Australian National War Memorial, attracting thousands to pay their respects.

Players are selected for the ANZAC Cup Australian Spirit sides based on their personal connection to the Armed Forces, not their footballing ability.

The ANZAC Cup isn’t simply about the football, with players from both sides being hosted by local families from Saturday up until the Dawn Service on Tuesday. The weekend kicks off with a combined training session on the Saturday afternoon, before the teams enjoy dinner together and are presented with their playing jumpers.

On the Sunday, the teams come together to visit the National War Memorial to spend some time reflecting on the contributions of the young men and women who gave up so much during the war. The teams then march through the streets of Villers-Bretonneux meeting and greeting locals.

The march concludes at Stadium Timmerman and soon after the women’s match will start at 12pm and then the men’s will immediately after. Presentations and a minute’s silence will follow the matches and is always a special moment for all involved.

Australian players will conduct a footy clinic for the local children of Le Hamel on Monday afternoon introducing young French students to the great game of Australian Rules Football and is a great addition to this year’s event.

This year is the 9th edition of the ANZAC Cup with the Australian Spirit winning 5 of the 8 games so far. This is the 2nd consecutive competitive match for the women’s teams with Australia taking the victory in last year’s inaugural match.

The men’s side is being led out by ex-Armed Serviceman and current Army Reserves enlistee, Tony Fulton. Tony spent time deployed in East Timor for a peacekeeping mission recounting it as one of the most rewarding experiences in his life.

“ANZAC Day to me is about reflection and respect for the ultimate sacrifice that many ANZAC soldiers have made in the past, and still continue to make to this day. Having practiced the tradition of attending ANZAC Ceremonies for most of my life, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to be doing it in Villers-Bretonneux, France, on what I anticipate to be one of the most moving and memorable ANZAC Ceremonies I’ve had the privilege to be involved in. A win would be great as well.” – Tony Fulton, Australian Spirit Men’s Captain

Tony Fulton, Australian Spirit Men’s Captain

The women’s team will be captained by Hayley Canton. Hayley has a long family history of involvement in the armed forces, with her great grandfather, grandfather and both parents serving in the Australian Army.

“ANZAC Day has always been a massive part of my life as my father, mother and grandparents have all served our country in the Australian Armed Forces. The first ANZAC Day I remember, I marched with my father at our local service. I was so proud to represent my grandfather and to wear his medals. Since then I have attended many ANZAC ceremonies, to pay respect to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives or their livelihood for our freedom and way of life. I know the people of Villers-Bretonneux value the ANZACs and their contributions to the town. To be there at such a meaningful time of year, to see the memorial and to be able to put an image to the stories you hear about the battles I the most incredible experience.”  – Hayley Canton, Australian Spirit Women’s Captain

Hayley Canton, Australian Spirit Women’s Captain

Whilst the game is always competitive, with both teams wanting nothing more than to win, the ANZAC Cup provides a unique opportunity for remembrance and reflection on the bond between the ANZACs and French, the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the Somme region in Northern France.

In what is one of Australia’s most revered days, the 60 players, umpires and volunteers taking part have the unique opportunity to experience the meaning to ANZAC Day from the perspective of the locals in the small town of Villers-Bretonneux.

Congratulations in advance to the two teams and umpires taking part in the 2017 ANZAC Cup.

Umpires

Tobias Siegal – AFL Germany Umpire & Coordinator

Cai Davies – Victorian Football Umpires Association

Women’s

Australia

Amanda Rojek – Oxford University AFC

Alex Daley – Wandsworth Demons

Bianca Maes – Fitzroy FC/Hamburg Dockers

Bianca Valenzisi – Wandsworth Demons

Brittany McGinley – Wandsworth Demons

Emily Ashby – Kew Bears

Grace Houghton – Wandsworth Demons

Hayley Canton (Captain) – Wandsworth Demons

Isabel Currenti – Wimbledon Hawks

Laura Hewison – Wandsworth Demons

Emma Lundaahl – Wandsworth Demons

Leiha Shrubsall – Dublin Angels

Stephanie Filbay – Oxford University AFC/North London Lions

Jo O’Dwyer – Wandsworth Demons

Siobhan O’Dwyer – Wandsworth Demons

France

Joanne Mouradian

Fanny Maillet

Camille Portal

Melanie Colot Rat

Stephanie Walker

Catherine Giles

Naima Ait El Mouden

Emilie Giancarli

Berengere Portal

Anne Pille

Coline Duquet

Claire Perez

Men’s

Australia

Anthony Acfield – Kew Bears

Ash Walsh – Seymour FC/Wandsworth Demons

Ben Crole – Strathmore FC/Wimbledon Hawks

Ben Polmear – Port Malmo Maulers

Bryce Hayes – Mt Eliza Red Legs/North London Lions

Christopher Sharpely – South Yarra FC/Wandsworth Demons

Craig Primmer – South Sharks/Turku Dockers

Dick Benson – Old Xaverians/Wandsworth Demons

Elmo Primmer – Yeronga Devils/Turku Dockers

Jay Treloar – Gympie Cats/Moorooka Roosters/North London Lions

Matt Casalbuono – Moonee Valley FC/Wandsworth Demons

Michael Curcio – St Bedes Mentone Tigers/Wandsworth Demons

Phil Spivey – Altona North FC/ Sussex Swans

Ryan Spivey – Sussex Swans/Wimbledon Hawks

Steven Trollope – East Burwood/Paris Cockatoos

Tony Fulton (Captain) – Traralgon FC/Wandsworth Demons

Jason Cameron (Coach)

Tom Rischebieth (Coach)

France

Julien Gil – Toulouse Hawks

Herve Desjardin – Cergy Coyotes

Pierre Leschasles – ALFA Lions

Cyrille Gandolfo – Toulouse Hawks

Benoit Treuillet – Bordeaux Bombers

Pierre-Etienne Dandaleix – Bristol Dockers

Jeremy Sardin – Perpignan Tigers

Raphael Ubeda – Bordeaux Bombers

Pierre Boscart – Paris Cockerels

Thomas Despondt – ALFA Lions

Thomas Crepin – Cergy Coyotes

Jacob Raiwalui – Paris Cockatoos

Franck Nussbaumer – Paris Cockerels

Mathieu Osterero – ALFA Lions

Maxime Favero – Cergy Coyotes

Nicolas Boche – ALFA Lions

Andrew Unsworth (Coach)

Level 1 Coaching Courses throughout Europe in 2017!

It is with much excitement that AFL Europe would like to announce, in partnership with anzuk Education, that we will be delivering AFL Level 1 Coaching Accreditation Courses in 2017.

Unfortunately, we cannot visit every country, although we have developed a comprehensive coaching program that we believe will allow us to service as many countries/leagues/clubs as possible to ensure that we can continue to grow and develop the game of AFL throughout Europe.

Please see the list below which will outline the dates and cities where courses will be delivered;

  • Sunday, 14th of May – London
  • Sunday, 28th of May – Milan
  • Sunday, 4th of June – London
  • Sunday, 11th of June – Dublin
  • Sunday, 18th of June – Copenhagen
  • Sunday, 9th of July – Cologne
  • Sunday, TBC – Paris/Toulouse

The courses will run for a full day, although the exact times, location and details/requirements of each course will be confirmed closer to the date.

There will be limited positions available for each course, therefore anyone wishing to receive their Level 1 Coaching Accreditation is asked to complete an Level 1 Coaching Accreditation Course – Application Form and sign an AFL Coaches Code of Conduct and return to Ryan.Davey@afleurope.org to be considered for a place in the course. Applications will close 1 month prior to each course and successful applicants will be notified via email and will be provided with more detail.

These courses will be the equivalent level of a Level 1 Coaching Accreditation received in Australia, although there will be NO CHARGE to attend these courses and receive the Level 1 Accreditation in Europe.

We are thrilled to be able to provide our hard-working volunteers with the opportunity to receive a Level 1 Coaching Accreditation to further help develop and grow football in Europe.

 

 

Haggis Cup Preview

This weekend will see the official kick off to the Scottish AFL season with the return of the Haggis Cup at the West of Scotland Rugby Club in Glasgow. This year’s Haggis Cup will feature a mix of men’s and women’s teams from across the UK, with the women’s competition boasting sides from the Nottingham Scorpions, Glasgow Sharks, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Wimbledon Hawks, and two teams from the Wandsworth Demons.

The men’s competition will have teams representing the Wolverhampton Wolverines, Huddersfield Rams, Tyne Tees Tigers, Edinburgh Bloods, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Kingdom Kangaroos, and two teams from both the Glasgow Sharks and the Wandsworth Demons.

This year’s tournament kicks off at 9.30am, beginning with each team playing four games of ten minute halves in the group stages before moving on to semi finals and placing matches. The women’s grand final takes place at 4pm and the men’s at 4.30 before wrapping up the tournament with presentations and an after party at Malones Glasgow.

Keep up to date with the match results on AFL Scotland’s Facebook and professional photos will be available to purchase from http://www.duncolm.co.uk/ after the tournament.

The Down Under Centre teams up with AFL Europe

AFL Europe is excited to announce that we’ll be teaming up with the Down Under Centre in 2017. The Down Under Centre comes on board with the vision of assisting AFL Europe grow the game of Aussie Rules across Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey said, “the partnership with the Down Under Centre will provide great benefit to the AFL Europe community and will assist the growth of Australian Rules Football in Europe. We are thrilled to work with the entire team at the Down Under Centre. Wes (Founder) is very passionate about AFL and wants to see the game thrive right throughout Europe.”

The Down Under Centre is the one-stop shop for all your migration needs to Australia and New Zealand, specialising in Australian Skills Assessments for the purpose of migration. The team at the Down Under Centre work closely with their clients to complete the migration process efficiently and to ensure that they have the strongest possible application before submitting.

Image: Down Under Centre founder Wes Zandt with his son Jet

 

A Collingwood fanatic, the Down Under Centre Founder, Wes Zandt, hasn’t let distance or time zones diminish his love for Australian Rules Football. “In the nine years that I have lived in London, I haven’t missed a single Collingwood game. I am excited to partner with AFL Europe, I feel so passionate about AFL and I look forward to working with the team to help grow this great game of ours.”

The Down Under Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. They’re a walk-in centre so please feel free to drop in and say G’day!

Champions League 2017 Review

Champion teams from throughout Europe converged on Amsterdam over the weekend to contest the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League.

With 24 teams (19 men’s, 5 women’s), 16 umpires, countless volunteers, 5 pitches and 60 matches across the day it was always going to be a massive tournament for all involved.

The Group Stages

The women’s group was a tight contest from start to finish. The Paris Cockerelles started their campaign with a hard-fought win over the Odense Lionesses while the Port Malmo Lynx knocked over pre-tournament favourites, the Wimbledon Hawks. The Mixed Team, led by a host of GB Swans, proved a difficult opponent winning their first three games.

The Cockerelles continued their strong form throughout the group to finish atop of the table before progressing in the semi-finals having only dropped a game to the Mixed Team. They were best served by Coline Duquet and Camille Portal who were dominating games in the midfield.

The Lionesses finished second with two wins, two losses next to their names while the Hawks and Lynx rounded out the table to with one win apiece.

Standings after the Group stages

  1. Paris Cockerelles
  2. Odense Lionesses
  3. Wimbledon Hawks
  4. Port Malmo Lynx

*Mixed Team unable to qualify for finals

The men’s competition was divided into four groups (3 groups of 5, 1 group of 4). Group A proved the closest of the three with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats the standouts. The North West Eagles, Cardiff Panthers and Oslo Crows each took a game off one another showing just how close the three teams were. Two of the games of the tournament took place in this group with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats finishing their encounter at 20 apiece while the North West Eagles and Cardiff Panthers fought out a nail-biter on the live stream with the Eagles holding on for an 8-point victory.

Group B consisted of 2 time defending champions, the West London Wildcats, Paris Cockatoos, Glasgow Sharks, Zaprude Giants and Sussex Swans. It was no surprise that the Wildcats were the early favourites but an in-form Cockatoos and Glasgow Sharks showed that they had what it took to give the defending champions a scare. The Giants and Swans struggled against the bigger sides but represented their clubs well and will only be better for the experience.

Last year’s losing finalists the Manchester Mozzies were met strongly by the boys from Munich in Group C. Their match went down to the wire with the Mozzies just edging past them 28-22. The Bordeaux Bombers continued with the form that saw them lift the French Cup in December last year finishing third in the group after knocking off the Port Malmo Maulers and wildcards, the Styrian Downunderdogs.

The final group, Group D, consisted of four teams, hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Norrtalje Dockers, the Zagreb Dockers and Russian United. This group played longer halves to ensure they played similar game time to the other three groups. The Devils were on a mission, after two years of just being off the pace, wanting to prove to their home crowd they were the real deal in 2017. The Norrtalje Dockers started strongly against Russian United before failing to trouble the Devils and Zagreb sides. Russian United again struggled but showed improvement on their 2016 campaign and gained valuable experience against some very polished sides.

Standings after the Group stages

Group A

  1. Leeside Lions
  2. Farum Cats
  3. Cardiff Panthers
  4. North West Eagles
  5. Oslo Crows

Group B

  1. West London Wildcats
  2. Paris Cockatoos
  3. Glasgow Sharks
  4. Zaprude Giants
  5. Sussex Swans

Group C

  1. Manchester Mozzies
  2. Munich Kangaroos
  3. Bordeaux Bombers
  4. Port Malmo Maulers
  5. Styrian Downunderdogs

Group D

  1. Amsterdam Devils
  2. Zagreb Dockers
  3. Norrtalje Dockers
  4. Russian United

The Finals

The women’s final pitted the 1st placed Paris Cockerelles against the 4th placed Port Malmo Lynx in the first semi-final. The Cockerelles were expected to go through after defeating the Lynx in the group stages. The Lynx had other plans with an 11-point win catapulting them through to the final.

The second semi-final had an in-form Odense Lionesses against an out-of-sorts Wimbledon, however, the Hawks showed their class and lifted when it counted to convincingly beat the Lionesses by 20-points.

The evenness of the women’s competition showed with the 3rd and 4th placed teams playing off for the Champions League title. It was an incredible game with the Hawks lifting a notch in the big game. They controlled the game and held out to win by 7-points claiming their first Champions League title and becoming the first women’s club champions of Europe.

The men’s finals were always going to be a great spectacle with Group A’s Leeside Lions taking on Group D’s Amsterdam Devils in the first semi-final. The Devils lifted in front of their home crowd and held on to a hard-fought 27-19 victory in a fiery encounter to progress to their first Champions League final in their third attempt.

The second semi-final saw a rematch of last year’s final with Group B’s West London Wildcats taking on Group C’s Manchester Mozzies. The Wildcats flexed their muscles and proved too strong for the Mozzies with the scoreboard reading 65 to 18.

The Wildcats were through to yet another Champions League decider with an underdog Amsterdam Devils hoping to pull off the unthinkable. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead to going into half-time with a 15-point buffer, inaccuracy hurting them and keeping the Devils in the game. A quick goal to start the second half got the Devils within range and when they kicked the 2nd goal of the half with 5 to go they were a real chance.

Two quick goals in response sealed the game for West London with a third goal late putting the icing on the cake to claim their third straight Champions League title with the scoreboard reading 37 to 14.

A special mention to the squad of 16 umpires who officiated throughout the day. Another stellar effort from the third team and congratulations on a great day of umpiring.

A massive thank you goes out to AFL Netherlands for their superb efforts in making this great event happen again in 2017, Spark United & Sportpark de Eendracht for hosting us, Drovers Dog for providing extra food and beverage options, all the volunteers and pitch managers who work so hard throughout the day, the umpiring squad led by John Enright who assembled the biggest group of umpires to any AFL Europe tournament, the team managers, Tony Pubjie the First Consul of the Australian Embassy Netherlands and everyone who attend the 2017 edition of the Champions League. You all represented your leagues proudly. Good luck with your 2017 seasons!

Awards

The Down Under Centre Golden Whistle

Cai Davies

Player’s & Team of the Tournament

Men’s
Michael Stewart – Amsterdam Devils
Benoit Treuillet – Bordeaux Bombers
Dan Aldous – Cardiff Panthers
Mathias Biron – Farum Cats Australsk Fodboldklub
Daniel Connor – Glasgow Sharks Australian Rules Football Club
Dominic Joyce – Leeside Lions AFL
Oli Hobin – Manchester Mosquitoes
Ruben Streicher – Munich Kangaroos
Ryan Tucker – Norrtälje Dockers
Niccollo De Giorgio – North West Eagles
Jarrod Casperz – Oslo Crows
Justin Kristensen – Port Malmö Football Club Maulers
Slava Belov – Russian United
Dan Shinners – Styrian DownUnderDogs
Joe Durling – Sussex Swans Australian Rules Football Club
Jared Risol – West London Wildcats
Ivan Ivos – Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers
Zvonimir Murkovic – Zapruđe Giants

Men’s Player of the Tournament
Jacob Raiwalui – Paris Cockatoos

Women’s
Lisa Wilson – Mixed Team
Sidsel Wraa Hansen – Odense Australsk Fodbold Lionesses
Georgia Verkuylen – Port Malmö Football Club Lynx
Isabelle Currenti – Wimbledon Hawks

Women’s Player of the Tournament
Coline Duquet – Paris Cockerelles