Finals Time in Europe

TIME TO DELIVER

As we approach the end of July, it’s crunch time for many of our clubs vying for finals action in 2018. In an AFL Europe exclusive, we are previewing the finals race across five nations as Australian Football heats up across the continent!

 

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

 

 ENGLAND (AFL LONDON AND AFLCNE):

In London we’ve already started and after an explosive first week of finals footy, the competition is wide open in both the Mens’ and Women’s competitions.

With AFL London having three divisions of competitions (Premiership, Conference and Social), there are many fixtures to get through but here is just a glimpse of what is taking place in the nation’s capital.

In the Men’s Premiership Competition, the West London Wildcats are into the GF after a massive win against The Wandsworth Demons in the first semi final. West London were forced to go to extra time to defeat the minor premiers, meaning a rematch could be on the cards in the big dance if the Demons can knock off the North London Lions in the preliminary final. North London are coming off a massive win against the London Swans and will be full of confidence heading into this intriguing fixture. No matter the case, the race to becoming premiers of the Men’s Prem comp is once again a very close contest in 2018.

In the Men’s Conference Division and Men’s Social Division, the Wandsworth Demons look the goods and will be a very hard team to stop in both comps. Their Conference side will face the winner Shepherds Bush Raiders and the Regents Park Lions, while their Social side will play either the Reading Kangaroos or Bound Green Lions in their GF.

In the Women’s divisions, picking a winner in any division is a tough thing to do! The Women’s Premiership comp was shocked on the weekend when the minor premiers and previously undefeated Wandsworth Demons side lost to the North London Lions. This sees North London through the GF, while the Demons will have to fight arch rivals the Wildcats to make their way through to the final stage of the competition.

In the Women’s Competition Division, the London Swans have found their feet and they’re through their comp’s biggest match of the year. They’ll play the Clapham Demons in the first finalised Grand Final fixture. After these teams played in tight affairs earlier in the year, this is sure to be a ‘Conference Classic’.

In the Central and Northern England Competition, the Grand Final has been decided and the fixture is a beauty! The Manchester Mosquitoes will continue to press their claims as one of the competition’s greatest teams as they play the Nottingham Scorpions in the big dance this weekend.

Going for five consecutive AFLCNE crowns in a row, the Mozzies will be warm favourites but they will play a Scorpions outfit determined to turn the tide. These two teams have met in the last couple of premiership deciders and it’s been the Mosquitoes who have got the better of the Scorpions on both occasions.

With this game being held in Nottingham, can the underdogs upset one of the best teams Northern England has ever seen?

 

SCOTLAND (SARFL):

There may be plenty of action in England, but there is also plenty of action in Scotland leading into the SARFL finals! In a dominant display throughout the home and away season, the Glasgow Sharks have earned their spot as minor premiers ahead of the Edinburgh Bloods. To play the Sharks in the Grand Final, the Bloods will be forced to beat the Kingdom Kangaroos in a sudden death preliminary final.

It was be a tough task for whoever has to play the Sharks, but in a Grand Final anything can happen. While their season has without a doubt been impressive, in their last home and away game of the season Glasgow lost to the Tyne Tee Tigers showing they are a team that can be beaten.

Will the Bloods or Roos be good enough to beat them?

To find out, you’ll have to tune in to the SARFL Grand Final coming up in August!

 

IRELAND (ARFLI):

If you follow ARFLI or AFL Ireland Women’s on Facebook, you’ll know that Aussie Rules in Ireland is in overdrive at the moment and don’t we love that! In the premier Men’s competition, the Belfast Redbacks have been superb all year to finish minor premiers after the five rounds of competition. The undefeated Redbacks are now through to the Grand Final and their opponent is yet to be determined!

The Galway Magpies finished second after a topsy-turvy last round of competition, meaning they will play either the South Dublin Swans or Leeside Lions in a brutal semi final in Dublin on the 11th of August. For the Lions and Swans, this will be a re-match of the 2017 ARFLI Grand Final, where Leeside were successful. Now they will need to do it the hard way if they are to make the Grand Final that will take place on the 25th of August in Belfast.

With four teams still in the mix to be the ARFLI Premiers in 2018, this competition is heating up nicely as we approach the pointy end of the season.

 

SWEDEN (SAFF):

The final round of the home and away season in Stockholm is upon us and it’s the Södermalm Blues who remain the favourites to take out the 2018 SAFF Competition. Their biggest rival is still yet to be known as both Solna Axemen and the Norrtälje Dockers are fiercely battling for second place on the ladder.

Currently it’s Axemen ahead by just percentage and they should hang on to this position as they place the winless Ärsta Swans in their next fixture. No matter the case, a match between Axemen and the Dockers is set to determine who will challenge the Blues for the title this season.

Södermalm will start as warm favourites, but they have been beaten in 2018. Can they get the job done on Grand Final day or will the next best leave them in their wake? Find out when the SAFF Grand Final takes place in September.

 

GERMANY (AFLG)

With two rounds left of the regular season in Germany, the Hamburg Dockers are turning up the heat on the rest of the competition. A convincing win over arch rivals the Berlin Crocodiles on Saturday has ensured the Dockers remain stable at the top of the AFLG table. The Munich Kangaroos however are trying their best to overtake the Dockers and are currently in second position on the table. They trail the Dockers by just percentage and have now opened up a two game gap ahead of the Crocodiles.

While being two games behind the top two, the Crocodiles are two games clear of fourth meaning their position in the finals is all but cemented. The action in the AFLG therefore is occurring in the middle of the table, where the Rheinland Lions and Frankfurt Redbacks are fighting it out for the last finals position.

The Redbacks have a must win game against the Württemberg Giants in Round 9, while the Lions don’t play again until Round 10 where they face the mighty Hamburg Dockers. A win for the Redbacks and a loss for the Lions could see them split by just percentage at the end of the home and away season.

If that is the case, with a percentage of 99 compared to a percentage of 54, the Lions are still the warm favourite to make the finals this August, but only just!

While most people are expecting a Dockers/Roos Grand Final in the AFLG in 2018, the Berlin Crocodiles still remain a threat.

Can they repeat their 2017 heroics, or this this the year of the purple haze or the blue and white?

 

Do you have finals coming up? Do you have any news you want to tell us?

Let us know through our Facebook page or email us at admin@afleurope.org

 

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week, AFL Europe will take a look at some of the football highlights around the continent in Around the Grounds presented by PSS International Removals. Here are the standout performances from the weekend’s action.

 

Ireland power past USA Revolution

Credit: Bob Given Photography

Playing host to the travelling United States Revolution side, the Irish Warriors put on a dominant display in Dublin on Sunday. Trailing by a point at quarter-time, the Warriors kicked thirteen goals to one in the next three quarters to run out 76-point victors. The USA side will next stop in Belfast for a match against the Belfast Redbacks on Tuesday.

Final Score: 

Irish Warriors 14.13 (97) defeated USA Revolution 2.9 (21)

 

Lions and Wildcats through to the Premiership Grand Finals in London

In the first week of the AFL London finals, it was the North London Lions women’s side and the West London Wildcats men’s side that booked their respective places in the AFL London Premiership Grand Finals. In an upset, the North London Lions side had an impressive 33-point victory over the Wandsworth Demons in first women’s semi final. It was the first loss the Demons had suffered in 2018 and Wandsworth will now play West London’s girls side for a place in the AFL London Women’s Premiership Grand Final.

In the first men’s semi-final it was the West London Wildcats men’s side who narrowly edged out the Wandsworth Demons in a match that went to extra time! Playing for a spot in the big dance, the sides could not be separated in regular time, but a late Wildcats goal in extra time saw West London eventually prevail by just three-points. The Demons will now play the in-form North London Lions for a spot in the AFL London Men’s Premiership Grand Final.

Final Scores (AFL London Men’s and Women’s Premiership):

Women’s: North London Lions 6.5 (41) defeated Wandsworth Demons 1.2 (8)

Men’s: West London Wildcats 6.10 (46) defeated Wandsworth Demons 6.7 (43)

 

Dockers smash Crocodiles and get their revenge

Don’t get on the wrong side of the Hamburg Dockers! That’s what the AFLG learned on Saturday when the boys in purple got their revenge on the Berlin Crocodiles in an emphatic performance in Berlin. After the Crocs got the better of the Dockers by a point earlier in the season, many expected another tight affair between the two rivals. That wasn’t the case as Hamburg cruised to a massive 107-point win over their fancied competitors. This leaves the Dockers as the hot favourites to take this year’s AFLG crown.

Final Scores (AFLG):

Hamburg Dockers 23.14 (152) defeated Berlin Crocodiles 7.3 (45)

 

Bulgaria is introduced to Australia’s game

In a taster session, Bulgarians were introduced to Australian Football on the weekend as the sport attempts to reach yet another European nation. In the session, attendees learned the basic skills of the game before participating in a casual exhibition match to understand just how the game is played and officiated. To keep up to date with all the latest from Bulgaria, visit their website at https://aflbulgaria.com/.

 

SARFL finals finalised! 

It’s the Glasgow Sharks who finish on top of the SARFL ladder for the 2018 season, but will they be the champions of Scotland once the finals are completed? Having won 7 of their 8 fixtures, the Sharks will go in as favourites to win the title despite losing to the Tyne Tee Tigers in their final home and away game on Saturday. Facing them in the Grand Final will either be the Edinburgh Bloods or Kingdom Kangaroos. Bouncing back from a loss against the Sharks, the Bloods made amends against the Roos on Saturday in a 40-point win. But the two teams will play each other with a lot more on the line when they meet in a blockbuster semi-final in two weeks time.

Final Scores (SARFL):

Tyne Tee Tigers 17.13 (115) defeated Glasgow Sharks 10.15 (75)

Edinburgh Bloods 18.11 (129) defeated Kingdom Kangaroos 14.05 (89)

 

PSS International Removals have helped people move from UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 36 years. They offer friendly advice, no matter whether you’re sending a few boxes or a whole house removal including car. For more information call 020 8686 7733 or visit https://www.pssremovals.com/afleurope

Moneycorp Presents: Umpire Spotlight – Nilss Lode

Moneycorp Presents: Umpire Spotlight

Nilss Lode

Each month, AFL Europe will showcase an umpire contributing to the game of Australian Football around the continent. Many thanks to Moneycorp for their continued support of AFL in Europe and this Umpire Spotlight segment.

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

With 12 years of experience playing Australian Football in Germany, Nilss Lode knows a thing or two about Australian Football in Europe.

It’s a game that has brought him so much joy since his early days in primary school.

Growing up in Melbourne, the Victorian loved the chance to have a kick-to-kick in his youth.

He kept that passion as he moved across to Europe and now he still has that passion as an AFL Europe umpire.

“Umpires have an ability to stay in the game longer than players as the physical demands are not as high. We get the best view of the game and we’re not spectators!”

Nilss career in umpiring started when he talked to a mate that was already involved in the profession.

He was interested in why his friend loved the task so much that he attended an AFL Europe umpire workshop that didn’t go quite the way he expected.

“I didn’t go there with the expectation to be an umpire, but after going through the laws of the game in a workshop session, we umpired a practice game for the German Eagles national team.”

“It was a great thrill to umpire my first game with a dedicated umpire coach at my side and I decided that I wanted to be an umpire going forward.”

Nilss had the chance to umpire at the 8th annual ANZAC Cup in 2016.

Having the right resources available to him was definitely important for Nilss’ development. He loved the profession but as he explains, it was the support on offer that made him determined to carry out a long-term tenure as an umpire.

“It was important for me to have the opportunity to develop my umpiring skills so that I could umpire to the best of my ability.”

“AFL Europe through my coach, Shane Hill, offered that coaching support andI umpired for the AFLG and attended all the AFL Europe tournaments to have the opportunity to umpire with the more experienced, and the best umpires in Europe.”

Throughout his time wearing the green on match days, Nilss has had the chance to umpire all across this wonderful continent.

As an AFLG Grand Final umpire on two occasions while also becoming an AFL Europe event specialist after officiating tournaments in England, France and The Netherlands, there is no doubt that Nilss has made the most of his time since making the switch.

But unlike many umpires in Europe, Nilss has also umpired in nations outside of the continent.

Nilss with fellow umpires for an AFL Japan Grand Final.

“I umpired a game in first division with a current AFL Grand Final umpire, Chris Donlon.”

“I’ll never forget that game as it was my first time umpiring with the 3 umpire system and I had Hayden Kennedy (AFL umpire 400+ games record holder, current AFL Umpire Coaching Manager)  as a coach.”

“I was a bit nervous before the game to umpire with an AFL umpire but once the game started, it was like being part of a premiership team as a player, but better, as this was with AFL umpires!”

“Chris Donlon was very supportive during the game and said that I made good decisions. He also gave me his AFL umpire shirt after the game!”

Now still as passionate about the profession as ever before, Nilss is extremely grateful of the opportunities that he has had officiating this peculiar sport.

“We get to see the game in the thick of things. Sometimes I witness incredible individual or team passages of play during a game, that no spectator can imagine.”

“I love to be part of the best game in the world.”

Do you know an umpire with an outstanding story in Australian Football? Get in touch via our AFL Europe Facebook page or via email to Will.Taylor@afleurope.org.

 

GET YOUR AFL EUROPE NEWS FIX HERE

Ireland ready to face touring USA Revolution

20 years in the making, US tour of Ireland set for Sunday kick-off

Ireland is ready to take their Euro Cup 2018 preparations up a gear this weekend with a blockbuster cross-Atlantic clash between the Warriors and the travelling USA Revolution on Sunday set to kick-start a historic tour that has been nearly 20 years in the making. 

A travelling party of over 40 American players, coaches, staff and supporters will touch down in Dublin as the US seek to test themselves against one of the world’s best international outfits, and while the Warriors will be sure to play welcoming hosts off the field, there will be plenty for the men in green to play for on the field as coach Brian Currane casts his eye over his prospective Euro Cup side.

Warriors Coach Brian Currane is leaving no stone unturned in preparation for a whirlwind 24-months.

Currane has spent the last nine months “watching every Sherrin that was being kicked up and down the country” to gauge the talent he will have at his disposal as Ireland gear up for a huge period of International Australian Football, encompassing two 9-a-side Euro Cups in 2018 & 2019 and next Octobers 18-a-side European Championships in London, before culminating with the 2020 International Cup in Melbourne.

He says that these fixtures against the USA will not only offer a significant on-field test for the Warriors but also provide “a huge boost” to the Irish preparations from a selection perspective ahead of these major tournaments.

“The two games against the Revolution fitted in perfectly with my plans for the year as recently I named a Warriors Development Squad of over 50 players as the starting point on our next 3 Year International Cycle culminating in the 2020 International Cup,” Currane said.

“Euro Cup is rolling around fast, and even more so as it is hosted here in Cork this time around, so all players on the Development Squad have been monitored from end last season and will continue to be monitored throughout all games this season both here and in the UK.

Both Brian Currane and brother Michael, now Warriors Team-Manager, were part of the side which faced the US in the first ever International Australian Football competition back in 2001, with the Irish edging past the Americans on their way to securing the Atlantic Alliance Cup in London.

Ireland took the honours when the two sides last met in Melbourne in 2017

Michael Currane says that ever since that initial encounter in 2001, the intention has been to develop a regular fixture to bring the two nations together, and it has “taken until now for that to happen.”

“For as long as Ireland has been playing International Footy there have been great battles on the field with the USA, and from those early pioneering days of international competition, a great friendship and comradery has been forged between the two teams,” Currane said.

“Every battle on the field between the two countries is fierce and physical but always played in the best of spirits. We are both very similar in that it means a huge amount to both sets of players to represent their country and wear that national jersey and they both do so with a huge amount of pride and passion,”

“It’s a huge undertaking to get a tour like this off the ground so obviously, we want it to be a memorable experience for everyone in the Revolution group as I have no doubt it will be.”

Current US coach Tom Ellis was one of those to play on the opposing side to the Currane brother’sway back in 2001 and shares their enthusiasm for the prospect of the upcoming tour acting as a starting point for more regular match-ups in the future. 

I want the USA to play as many games as we can with as many players as we can develop,” Ellis said.

“We had over 70 players trying out for a spot in the last cup and we wanted to reward those that didn’t make it with something special and this trip was the reward,

“It brings a lot of excitement to the competition overall to play a game representing your country.”

Always passionate, Australian Football is making strides in the US.

As for the current state of Australian Football across the Atlantic, Ellis says that the rate of growth in recent years provides a great reason for excitement, with an “outstanding” nationals event in San Diego last year highlighting the trajectory of footy in the States.

“The game in The USA has been doing well. We have over 30 teams and women have made a great impact. The umpires continue to grow with experience and the management of the regional and national tournaments continues to get us on some great venues.”

Sunday’s match between the two nations at the Civil Service GAA Ground in Dublin will be the first of a two-game series with the second game held August 4th, with the Americans schedule also including a midweek match against the ARFLI leading Belfast Redbacks on Tuesday.

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

USA Revolution Tour of Ireland

Game 1: Sunday 29th  July v Irish Warriors

Game 2: Tuesday 31st July v BelfastRedbacks

Game 3: Saturday 4th August v Irish Warriors

 

Stay across the US tour of Ireland by following The Irish Warriors on Facebook here

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Craig McCulloch

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight

Craig McCulloch

 Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

 

At age 31, Craig McCulloch is now finding himself surprisingly passionate about Australian Football.

Born in Stirling, Scotland, the man from Bo’ness is a home carer by trade and a devoted teammate come training to the rising West Lothian Eagles.

Like many of those who try Aussie Rules in Europe, Craig got involved through his mate Benji who took him along to his inaugural footy training.

“I initially only went along for some fitness. I continued to go to training but didn’t think the sport was for me.  I contemplated giving up and not going back, but I spoke to Benji and he advised me to speak to Mikey Allen about my concerns to which I did and he had a chat with me during 1 training session and I decided to stick it out a bit longer. Once I played my first game I was absolutely hooked on the sport!”

His first ever game was definitely an experience that Craig will remember.

It made him realise that to really appreciate the sport of AFL, an individual must take part in a proper AFL match.

“My first ever game I just thought to myself… Wow! This is amazing. There is only so much you can do at training but when you get into an actual game it’s completely different and I will tell this to anyone starting out in this sport that play a full game before you decide if it’s for you or not.”

As a member of the West Lothian Eagles outfit, Craig is optimistic about the club’s future in Scotland. With the side to enter the SARFL in 2019, Craig is looking forward to showcasing his talents in a variety of positions on the footy field.

“I am a versatile player and am willing to play any position the team needs me to play in but if giving the choice I prefer full/half back. Moving forward I’m just trying to improve my skills at the game as I have not been playing the sport for 6 months so still making mistakes and have so much to learn. But I’m willing to give it my all and improve as much as I can.”

As a player who is now understanding the game and the tactics behind the sometimes complicated sport, Craig is now encouraging his children to take up the sport to keep active and healthy, while teaching them valuable life lessons about the culture that team sport can bring to a community.

“After I took up this sport I was advised to take my 2 son’s to training Callum (17) and Dominic (16) if nothing else to get them out the house and get some exercise and they both seem to be enjoying it with the main aim to improve them as players at a young age and hopefully they progress to the highest level.”

“Just recently my boys have participated in training and are goal umpires and runners for the team which gives them a sense on belonging to the team. Since the West Lothian Eagles started a women’s team, I have taken my daughter Hollye (13) along and she absolutely loves it. I love that our team is very family orientated and they’re always wanting to get families involved in some way to keep them a part of the team.”

Now that the whole McCulloch family is involved with the sport, it’s fair to say Craig and his kids are staying with the AFL Europe community for a very long and without a doubt very successful haul.

Is there someone at your club with an outstanding football story that deserves to be recognised? Get in touch, riley.brettell@afleurope.org

 

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week, AFL Europe will take a look at some of the football highlights around the continent in Around the Grounds presented by PSS International Removals. Here are the standout performances from the weekend’s action.

 

Sharks seal birth in SARFL Grand Final

In a massive game between Glasgow and Edinburgh on Saturday, it was the Glasgow Sharks who got the chocolates and in the process booked themselves a grand final birth in the 2018 SARFL Grand Final. After getting off to a good start, Glasgow kept their composure as the Bloods made their way back into the contest. Eventually it was the hosts who ran out 36-point winners. They’ll play the Tyne Tee Tigers in their final regular season match before the big dance, while the Bloods will take on the Kingdom Kangaroos.

 

 

Final Score (SARFL):

Glasgow Sharks 15.16 (106) defeated Edinburgh Bloods 9.16 (70)

 

Putney get the double in the London Conference Division

At the Richard Evans Memorial Playing Fields, the Putney Magpies made it 2 from 2 in the AFL London Conference Divisions with big wins on the weekend. The men’s side had to fight against the Lions trailing by two points at three-quarter time. A spirited final term saw the boys turn the scoreline around in this tight affair, as they came out 9-point winners in a gutsy performance.

 

 

In contrast, the women’s side had a massive win without conceding a goal against the West London Wildcats. The win cemented Putney’s position in the finals, and they will now take on the London Swans in the first week of the finals.

 

Delft deal with the Devils

Turning their previous misfortunes around, the Delft Blues were inspiring in a hardly fought 11-point victory over the Amsterdam Devils in the Netherlands. Playing in their new kit at the Sportpark De Eendracht, the match featured five debutants who got to learn quickly just how fast and skilful these Australian Football athletes can be. Four of these players were from the newly formed Waterland Eagles (pictured) and they were able to gain some valuable lessons from playing in a match between two very competitive outfits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DownUnder Dogs target the youth in Austria

Running a clinic with some of the Austrian youth, Michael Jud and his Styrian DownUnder Dogs made their way to FSV Güssing to teach over 60 children the game of Australian Football. Teaching them the basic skills of kicking, handballing and marking, the young ones enjoyed the chance to learn a new sport while having plenty of fun in the process!

 

An Irishman is the hero in an AFL classic!

Now not often do we report back on what is happening in the AFL, but last weekend’s Saturday night contest has us still talking about a scenario that is just too good to be true. After trailing by 29 points minutes into the last quarter, the Geelong Cats somehow found a way to beat the Melbourne Demons in a thriller at GMHBA Stadium. And who was the hero you ask? Well, it was none other than Irishman Zac Tuohy who kicked the winner after the siren in one of the games of the season. Good on you Zac!

 

 

PSS International Removals have helped people move from UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 36 years. They offer friendly advice, no matter whether you’re sending a few boxes or a whole house removal including car. For more information call 020 8686 7733 or visit https://www.pssremovals.com/afleurope

Match Of The Round – Edinburgh v Glasgow

EDINBURGH BLOODS V GLASGOW SHARKS

As far as sporting rivalries go, you will be hard-pressed to find one which betters any clash between representatives of Edinburgh and Glasgow irrespective of the code, and Saturday’s SARFL clash between league powerhouses the Edinburgh Bloods and Glasgow Sharks is no exception.

The two Scottish heavyweights will slug it out in Glasgow in their penultimate fixture of the home and away season, with the unbeaten Sharks striving to book their place in the August 18th SARFL Grand Final while the second-placed Bloods vie to spoil the party and ensure there is everything to play for the following week.

The Sharks, having accounted for their traditional rivals by 29-points when the two sides met back in round two, will put an unassailable 8-point margin between the two clubs with just one game to play before finals if they can topple Edinburgh again on Saturday.

The Sharks will be shooting to book their place in the SARFL Grand Final

Sharks Vice-President, James Hancock, says that the side will “relish” the chance to face their biggest challengers once more on Saturday and be out to “send a message,” in what is a potential Grand Final prelude.

“We always expect a tough game against the Bloods, where only four full quarters of effort will be enough to get us over the line,” Hancock said.

“The Bloods are well led by their captain-coach ‘Sparra’, and are a very well drilled and disciplined team who hold their defensive structures well and makes them hard to score against,

“We were very happy with the hard-fought win [in round two], however, we started slowly and we know we can’t afford to replicate in this weekend’s game,

“We fell into the trap, at times, of kicking the ball to the favour of the Bloods defensive zone, so we know we need to change our approach to how we move the ball from end to end, which we have been doing well in our recent SARFL games.”

It will be a big ask for Edinburgh to curtail the momentum of the Sharks, especially with the in-form Glasgow forward Liam Dolling continuing to make waves in his break-out season with a monstrous 11-goal haul against the West-Lothian Eagles last weekend.

But the Bloods will take confidence from their hard-fought 37-point victory over the reigning premier Glasgow Giants in their last outing, as they seek to take the season down to the wire with a win to force the Sharks to beat the Tyne Tees Tigers next Saturday in order to book that prized first ticket to the Final.

A win to the Bloods will keep their chances of finishing on top alive

Saturday 21st July

GHA Rugby Club, Glasgow

2pm First Bounce

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

 

STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE ACTION IN SCOTLAND BY FOLLOWING AFL SCOTLAND HERE

FOLLOW THE GLASGOW SHARKS

FOLLOW THE EDINBURGH BLOODS

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week, AFL Europe will take a look at some of the football highlights around the continent in Around the Grounds presented by PSS International Removals. Here are the standout performances from the weekend’s action.

 

A Western Bulldogs contract is up for grabs in Europe! 

In a huge development over the past few days, Crosscoders are giving one lucky Australian Rules football player a chance to win an AFLW contract with the Western Bulldogs in 2019. As a global program that aims to provide female athletes with once in a lifetime opportunities, the company is joining forces with AFL Ireland, AFL England and the Western Bulldogs to allow this initiative to happen. Applications close on the 21st of August 2018, with the successful applicants required to take part in a Rookie Camp in Melbourne, Australia in September. All successful applicants will have the chance to work with AFLW Premiership Coach, Paul Groves and the reigning premiers squad.

 

Bulgaria to host first ever training session

The good news continues with the announcement that Bulgaria will hold it’s first ever training session this Saturday as the game gets introduced to yet another country across the continent. Hosted by a few passionate AFL fans, the training session is for everyone young and old who would love to get to know more about Australian Football. The session is set to be the first of many in Bulgaria as the nation hopes to build a national team to build the sport in the region.

 

Giants go back to back while ‘SheDees’ dominate in London

We’re getting into the final stages of the AFL London Women’s Premiership season and it looks like the Wandsworth Demons will reign supreme in 2018. Another commanding victory against the Wimbledon Hawks on Saturday has the Demon’s best women’s side well ahead of the competition as the only undefeated side in their respective league. In the other Saturday fixture, the South East London Giants continued their resurgence at the back-end of the season with a thrilling victory against the North London Lions. The upset result has given the Giants back-to-back wins and has pushed them off the bottom of the ladder.

 

Clapham Cubs come together again

Paving the way for junior Australian Rules football in Europe, the Clapham Cubs met up on the weekend for the End of Season Picnic on the beautiful Clapham Common. With kids and parents turning up in full force, the day was an instant success with expats and local English families alike.

 

PSS International Removals have helped people move from UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 36 years. They offer friendly advice, no matter whether you’re sending a few boxes or a whole house removal including car. For more information call 020 8686 7733 or visit https://www.pssremovals.com/afleurope

Grand Final Lunch Tickets Now On Sale

AFL EUROPE GRAND FINAL LUNCH TICKETS NOW ON SALE

The AFL Europe Grand Final Lunch is Europe’s premier Australian Football corporate event and you can now secure your seat for a day spent preparing for the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final in one of London’s finest venues at Australia House.

Proudly presented by AFL Europe in conjunction with the Office of the Agent-General for South Australia and sponsored by the Adelaide Football Club, the event will see 200 attendees treated to a three-course lunch along with a range of Australian beer & wine, fantastic entertainment and auctions items, and the all-important preview of the 2018 AFL Grand Final by  football guests that are soon to be announced.

Join us to celebrate Australian football’s marquee event before the biggest game of all takes place at the MCG the following day.

WHEN: Friday, 28th September 2018

TIME: 1pm-4:30pm

WHERE: Australia House, London

WHAT: Three-course lunch, beer & wine beverage package & entertainment

TICKETS: £130 per ticket or £1,200 for a table of 10 (+ VAT)

HOW: Email events@afleurope.org (please include name, company and number of tickets)

Secure your tickets now, email events@afleurope.org

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Michael Jud

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight

Michael Jud

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

 

With the best beard in the AFL Europe community, Austrian superstar Michael Jud is one of Europe’s most passionate Australian Football players.

Representing the Styrian DownUnder Dogs, Michael became a fan of Australia’s biggest sport after being fed-up with football (soccer), and craving a game with more physicality and pace.

“I always wanted to try out a physically competitive sport since I was fed up with playing ordinary football.”

“A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to play Aussie Rules Football, Google and YouTube then convinced me to join the DownUnderDogs in Graz for training.”

“Luckily, the guys persuaded me to head down with them to Zagreb just after my 3rd training session for a tournament, which was in retrospect, the moment I fell in love with this beautiful sport and community.”

The 27-year old plays up forward, has a strong marking ability and is without a doubt a big danger for the opposition backline when he is around the sticks. But despite having some considerable talent and flair, Michael doesn’t see this as the biggest strength to his game.

“I think my marking skills are quite OK for an European and my kicks are also decent.”

“But, I assume my biggest strength is my will to always give 100% on the field and push as long as my feet can carry my body and give everything I’ve got for my teammates.”

Michael was named in the 2018 AFL Europe Champions League Team of the Tournament in Amsterdam earlier this year.

 

Being apart of the only club in Austria means Michael and his teammates often travel vast distances to play Australian Football.

This factor however has not stopped the student from having some fantastic moments playing the great game.

During his career, Michael has travelled to the AFL Europe Champions League and Euro Cup competitions. He has also been a regular for the Down UnderDogs in the CEAFL tournament, which includes teams from the Czech Republic, Italy and Croatia.

In essence, it has been these experiences that has helped Michael build a strong relationship with the somewhat foreign game.

“Playing a more or less unknown sport includes so many aspects of organisation and commitment – from running a club with organizing trainings, games, facilities and travels to recruitment, gaining sponsors, exhausting road trips  – those are the things I love about Aussie Rules in Europe.”

“It is always amazing to see how people sharing the same passion do their best to keep up with the sport and try to carry that passion throughout Europe. From the thriving friendship that grew with our mates from Zagreb or Prague to that atmosphere at the Euro Cup and at the Champions League when whole European footy is at one place for a day – that shared passion of so many completely different people keeps me up with playing footy.”

Moving forward, the Austrian is very determined to ensure that his club can continue to develop despite the challenges they continually face.

Ensuring the Down UnderDogs can secure motivated new players is a key priority of his.

But just as big a priority to Michael is working out how his club can help advance the game throughout not just Styria, but also to the wider regions in Austria.

“An Aussie Rules club in Vienna reformed this year and held their first training after 6 years of inactivity.”

“It is amazing to see how such a simple sport can let so many different people from so different nationalities come together without any major problems.”

“The ultimate goal would be to establish a strong base of people caring for our club, so that when some of us drop out or reduce our input, the club will exist as long as possible.”

“When I am not able to actively play anymore, I want t0 watch footy being played in Austria.”

Is there someone at your club with an outstanding football story that deserves to be recognised? Get in touch, riley.brettell@afleurope.org