Match of the Round: A Day Out in Prague

It’s a massive day in Prague this Saturday with the final tournament of the CEAFL, a women’s international friendly and a ‘Come and Try’ taster session all taking place in the Czech capital. 

CEAFL:

It’s the final tournament of the Central European Australian Football League (CEAFL) this weekend where Prague will host the highly competitive six-team tournament.

As a league made up of teams from Italy, Austria, Czech Republic and Croatia and now Switzerland (with some Swiss players competing as part of a mixed team), Saturday promises showcase the highly talented athletes playing Australia’s game in the European continent.

After winning the last two rounds, the Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers are attempting to win back-to-back CEAFL crowns to cap off what has been a remarkable season for the boys from Croatia.

In their way however will be their very familiar rivals the Sesvete Double Blues.

The who will fancy their chances of upsetting the Dockers away from Zagreb.

The competition features two pools of 3 teams.

In Group A, the Sesvete Double Blues, hosts the Prague Dragons and a mixed team including players from the Styrian DownUnder Dogs and Winterthur Lions will all vie for a semi-final birth.

Group B features the Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers, their cross-town rivals the Zagreb Hawks and the best performing team in Italy the North West Eagles.

All teams will play two pool games consisting of 12 minute halves.

The top four teams will then make their way to the semi-finals with the final to take place at 4:00pm local time.

 

CROATIAN QUEENS VS GERMAN EAGLES

Aside from the CEAFL tournament, a women’s international friendly fixture will also feature on Saturday.

This will be played between the Croatian Queens and the German Eagles.

As great preparation leading into the Euro Cup this October, this match will see the girls from both nations put on the boots once again as they continue to promote the women’s game across the continent.

After the German girls competed in a trial match last weekend (North Germany vs South Germany), this match marks the first time an official German girls national team will compete outside the nation.

 

 

TASTER SESSION:

If the men’s competition and women’s international friendly weren’t enough, Prague will also host a ‘Come and Try’ taster session to encourage more individuals to play our game this Saturday. Run by AFL Europe in combination with the Prague Dragons, Aussie Rules Croatia and AFLG Women, this event will aim to showcase why Australian Football is such a popular game with those who involved in the industry.

 

SCHEDULE:

MEN’S TOURNAMENT: 10:00AM – all day

COME AND TRY TASTER SESSION: 12:00PM

WOMEN’S EXHIBITION MATCH: 1:00PM

For more information, please visit the following event page.

ARFLI Grand Final Preview – Belfast Redbacks v Galway Magpies

The Grand Final spotlight shifts over to the Emerald Isle this weekend as the two dominant sides of the ARFLI Season face off for the silverware, with the hosting Belfast Redbacks looking to see off the Galway Magpies on the big stage to complete a perfect season.

With Belfast having already cemented their place in the final a week prior, it was the Magpies who booked the final ticket in last Saturday’s semi-final with a gutsy 25-point win over the reigning premiers from Leeside in Dublin, producing the sort of performance that will see them take it right up to the high flying Redbacks if they can maintain the rage in consecutive weeks.

The two sides are no strangers to each other having already faced off on four occasions throughout the regular season, and while the Redbacks took the chocolates in each of those match-ups, club co-captain Ben McDevitt says his side will not be taking anything for granted at the fifth time of asking.

 

The Redbacks continued their hot form by toppling the visiting USA Revolution recently. Photo; Bob Given Photography

 

“The Pies always give us a tough game no matter on the occasion, and can probably consider themselves unlucky not to have picked up points against us this year. We have been involved in a few close games but thankfully we have pulled together and secured the victory,” McDevitt said.

“Both teams know each other pretty well – maybe too well – with both teams happy to play the game on the edge.”

McDevitt says that the Redbacks have benefited greatly from a decision in the offseason which saw the club make a concerted effort to forge a more positive environment, with the banning of on-field negativity and blaming of any external factors helping spur the side to an undefeated year so far.

While that record will count for nothing if the side can’t overcome the Magpies on Saturday, the Redbacks have arguably never been better placed for a tilt at a premiership, with the current side boasting a full team of Irish Warriors past or present along with a strong Aussie contingent.

The Magpies are confident that they can cause a boilover and atone for their 2014 Grand Final defeat.

Standing in the way of a third Redbacks flag in six years are the men from Galway, who sat second on the table after the regular season and lifted themselves over the highly fancied Leeside Lions in last weeks Semi-Final.

Galway President, Padraig Brady, says the club is looking forward to getting the chance to atone for their heartbreaking defeat in the 2014 Grand Final against the same opponents, with the feeling in the camp overwhelmingly positive.

“2018 has been a year of transition for the Magpies, having recruited a few new players who have reenergized the group, and although we still have the smallest squad in the league, we have proven we are well able to compete with the best in the league,” Brady said.

“Our form at the beginning of the year was quite poor but we have managed to turn that around and take some major scalps along the way. The 110 point victory over the Dublin in the last ladder game showed out intent,

“We are hitting our best form at the business end of the season… We are however under no illusions with regards to the task at hand. We are aware we are playing the Belfast Redbacks in their own back garden, a team who have gone through the season undefeated and are notoriously difficult to beat at home.”

It will be an upset if the Magpies are to climb the mountain on Saturday, but they need only to look across to the UK mainland for inspiration from the Edinburgh Bloods & Wandsworth Demon’s in recent weeks, who have laid down the template for pulling off giant-killing jobs on the big day.

 

ARFLI GRAND FINAL

BELFAST REDBACKS v GALWAY MAGPIES

MALLUSK PLAYING FIELDS

FIRST BOUNCE 2 PM

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

The New afleurope.org!

Welcome to the new and improved afleurope.org website – the official home of AFL Europe – where you can stay right across the news, find key major event information and learn more about the great game of Australian Football.

Like Jack Higgins after a ‘’cheeky snag’,’ we’re pretty happy with our fresh new look and some of the big new features that we’re now bringing to the table, so take your time and have a look around.

New Features;

Find A Club:

No matter where you are in Europe, there will either be a club on your doorstep OR, the chance for you to pioneer one! We now have a full list of clubs in Europe that will make finding a place to have a kick easier than ever, with all currently available contact details contained in the one-stop shop that will continue to expand as the Australian Football footprint grows.

 

Talking Your Language:

We know Australian’s can be difficult to understand at times, and throwing an egg-shaped ball in the middle of a huge oval in between 36 players and a host of umpires can make things near incomprehensible for people who are unfamiliar with the terminology of the game. So, we’re on a mission to translate the finer points of the game into a language that everyone can understand. See our videos towards the bottom of the ‘AFL Explained’ link in the heading.

 

Watch The Game:

Catch the highlights of the best of the recent action from the big leagues in Australia to see what Australian Football is all about at the top level. From there, you can use AFL Europe’s exclusive discount to get your WATCHAFL subscription and ensure you have access to live and HD streaming of all pre-season, home and away & finals AFL matches, plus AFLW & all your favourite Fox Footy programs.

 

Buy Your Footy Online:

Buying a beautiful Sherrin footy in Europe has never been easier with our new in-house shop, that will have the official ball of the AFL delivered to your door and ready to be kicked around in no time.

 

There is plenty more to come moving forward, so bookmark afleurope.org and keep checking in to stay up to date with all the football news and events in Europe!

Flying Dutchmen land in London for International Tune Up

Footy fans in the English Capital haven’t had to wait long for another footy fix following the culmination of the AFL London season a fortnight ago, with the Netherlands Flying Dutchmen on the ground and set to take on the Great Britain Bulldogs in an International Friendly at Motspur Park on Saturday.

With a jam-packed International eighteen-month schedule for European sides kicking off in only 50 days’ time at Euro Cup 2018 in Cork, the game provides a welcome opportunity for both nations to bring players into camp and consolidate on the rapid development of the game in both countries which has been clear for all to see in recent years.

The match will be played as a full-scale 18-a-side clash rather than the 9-a-side format of the impending Euro Cup competition, but Dutch coach, Neil Cooke, says that Saturday’s game will provide a golden opportunity to showcase the development of footy in Holland, two-years after the Dutchmen played their first game in the traditional format against the Bulldogs.

“These sorts of games don’t come around that often for us, so we must seize this opportunity in London,” Cooke said.

“After a successful 9-a-side domestic season in the Netherlands, I am hoping to see the improvement seen by the Dutch squad translated to the 18-a-side format.”

The sentiments of the coach were echoed by player Bas van Schie, who expressed his delight at the prospect of taking the field in London after missing the match-up between the two nations in 2016.

The Dutch will be looking to turn the tables on GB after their meeting in 2016

“This weekend’s 18-a-side game against GB is a great chance for the Dutch players to get a taste of the real deal, since normally AFL Netherlands’ games are played in a 9-a-side format. This is something I’m looking forward to personally as well, as it will be my first 18-a-sider,” van Schie said.

“It will be a step towards the Flying Dutchmen’s goal to field a team in the 18-a-side European Championship in the future.”

As the Dutch strive to improve on their 6th place finish at Euro Cup 2017, Team GB are happy to admit their focus lays further ahead, with one eye on retaining their title at 2019’s 18-a-side European Championships.

Having named fifteen debutants in the squad, Bulldogs coach, Dean Thomas, says the side will be using Saturday’s hit out as a “precursor” to things in 2019 and beyond.

“Whilst we like to ‘stay in the moment at the Bulldogs, there is absolutely an eye towards 2019 and the European Championships,” Thomas said.

“We will experiment with some different structures and strategies in this game… things we plan to implement next year and beyond,

“We will be fielding 15 debutants, so in international terms, it is a relatively inexperienced squad, however many of these players have established themselves in their respective leagues over a number of seasons, so this opportunity acts as a natural progression for them.

GB are looking to make waves at the 2019 European Championships and beyond

“We would expect every player in the Bulldogs side this Saturday to be pushing hard for selection next year, but they will have competition, as we are in the process of putting together a substantial squad list for our training and practice match schedule next season, which will be a busy year.”

Thomas stated that the motivation behind the fixture is “twofold,” with the desire to develop more recognition for the traditional 18-a-side format another factor in arranging the friendly.

“We were keen to get an international fixture on the books this season, as were the Netherlands, so it was a good fit. In the future, we hope to return the favour and head to Amsterdam if we can get the right facilities arranged,” Thomas said.

“Many players only get to play 9’s during the season, and while 9’s is a very important part of the footy landscape in Europe, it is 18’s where players really discover what it takes to progress fully in the sport.”

Along with the Bulldogs and Dutchmen spectacle, fans will be treated to the world’s third-ranked female side, the Great Britain Swans, taking on a specially assembled London All-Stars team from midday, with Thomas hoping to see both games get the support they deserve from the footy public.

“It would be great for both nations to get as many of the footy family in the UK along to watch, even curious onlookers. These guys and girls work very hard and make a lot of sacrifices along the way, so to get ongoing recognition from the footy public here, is something these players deserve and I am sure, appreciate.”

12:00pm – Great Britain Swans vs London All Stars
2:00pm – Great Britain Bulldogs vs Netherlands Flying Dutchmen

Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields
1 Marina Ave
New Malden
KT3 6NE

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Martin Krichler

Put forward to us by his football coach Matt Murray, Martin Krichler of the Frankfurt Redbacks has been described as one of the most improved Australian Football players in Germany.

A German national team representative, Martin has impressed his teammates and opponents alike with his superb attitude and dedication to the sport.

In 2018, the Redback decided that he wanted to become a fitness machine in the hope of playing every game of the season.

As a result his season to date has been extremely impressive as he has helped the Frankfurt Redbacks become a very competitive team in a very tough competition.

It’s this supreme motivation and contribution to his club that has given his coach many reasons to smile this season.

“With only 2 games remaining in the season it looks that he will likely claim the elusive award of, “Iron Redback” for playing every game of the season (including trial and inter-club matches)” Murray said.

“Marty even organised a holiday trip to Iran around footy games, flying out the night after a game in Cologne then arriving back especially on Friday night before we traveled up to Hamburg to contest a tournament.”

What makes Martin’s passion for the sport so impressive can be seen through the vast distances he travels to play this foreign game.

Despite living over 120km’s away from Frankfurt in Würzburg, according to his coach he still manages to make almost every training session.

This sacrifice has clearly paid dividends during this season, as shown in one crucial clash against the Munich Kangaroos earlier this season.

“For me as his coach, his commitment to fitness, training and the club was epitomised during last game against the Munich Kangaroos.”

“In the final quarter, we were down by over 8 goals when one of the best and fastest players from the opposition picked up the ball in open space and looked like he was going to open the game up and drive the ball into their forward line.”

“Martin took chase and sprinted after this player. Just as the player was about to kick away, Martin launched himself and made a goal-saving tackle and I couldn’t be more proud of him in this moment.”

As a footballer and as a clubman, 2018 has been a terrific year for Martin that has been appreciated by both his club and his opponents alike.

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Moneycorp Presents: Umpire Spotlight – Joshua Davey

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

As the recently announced Golden Whistle winner in AFL London, Joshua Davey is the man of the moment when it comes to umpiring in Europe.

Unlike many umpires in the game, Josh first found footy not by seeing the game live, but by seeing it on reality TV show Neighbours and the legendary Dr Karl.

“I first saw the game on Neighbours, if I remember correctly Dr Karl played for the local.”

“What really interested me was a vlog I was following of a guy living in Geelong who recorded the scenes on the streets when they won the Premiership in 2009 and I thought I should check it out to see what provoked such a massive street party.”

“From there I looked up if the game was played in the UK and found a local team in Cardiff, the Panthers.”

It was from this moment that Josh started to playing footy for the Cardiff Panthers and the Wimbledon Hawks as he made multiple appearances in top-tier competitions. As a Welsh and European Legion representative in Dublin during the European Championships in 2013, Josh was quite the player before making the switch to umpiring.

“As I already had the time spare I decided to volunteer my services to umpire and help out.”

“A few other people had the same idea and a Level 1 umpiring course was run by Shane Hill who was Head of Umpires at the time.”

“Although I’d umpired a few games for my club before, this was the first experience of umpiring “proper”. I did my first game with Ian Kafka and we remain good friends to this day. At the end of the week I was fortunate to be chosen to umpire the Grand Final between Ireland and GB.”

“The next week I was asked to travel to London to help out the AFL London Grand Final Day and umpired the Social Division Grand Final.”

“That has led me to travel to London most weeks since to umpire within the London Leagues and I also got to umpire at various EuroCup tournaments throughout Europe.”

Josh’s rapid rise up the umpiring ranks culminated in his presence at the 2016 European Championships as an umpire. Here he was coached by National Umpires Manager at the AFL at the time, Adam Davis.

This experience saw him umpire the Grand Final between GB and Ireland, before he became qualified as a Level 2 umpire.

With plenty of big experiences in his first couple of years as an umpire, a trip to Australia for the International Cup was without a doubt a big moment in Josh’s career as an umpire to date.

“In 2017 I travelled to Australia with Oscar Ayyadi and Geoff Pascoe, umpiring in the International Cup in Melbourne.”

“I got to witness some great teams first hand, umpiring the eventual men’s winners PNG and was I selected as emergency umpire for the Women’s Grand Final at Etihad.”

With his achievements not to bee underestimated, Josh loves having the best seat of the house and seeing the greatest game in front of him when he is umpiring Australian Football.

Having achieved almost everything there is to do with AFL in Europe, Josh is looking forward to working with more umpires in the future to spread the word about this great game of ours.

“Within Europe I’ve been fortunate to umpire some great games including 1 point Grand Finals in London and Dublin and the AIS/AFL Academy team.”

“There’s a great relationship between all the umpires across Europe and we look forward to catching up with each other at various games and tournaments throughout the year.”

With the 2018 Euro Cup coming up and the 2019 European Championships set to take place in London, it’s fair to say we haven’t seen the last of Josh Davey in the fluro green!

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

 

 

Sharks looking for Blood on Scottish Grand Final Day

Glasgow & Edinburgh can forget all about Rangers, Hearts, Hibs & Celtic this Saturday afternoon with the two traditional rivals of Scottish Australian Football, the Glasgow Sharks & Edinburgh Bloods, marching on Linlithgow for the 2018 SARFL decider.

The Bloods ensured it would be the competitions two best performing sides from throughout the regular season featuring on the final day, showing great heart in their 43-point semi-final victory over a spirited and physical Kingdom Kangaroos line-up last Saturday.

In their first Grand Final in three seasons, Edinburgh will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky in 2018 as they look to turn the tables on the competition benchmark from Glasgow, having been beaten by 29 & 36 points in the sides two previous meetings this year.

Edinburgh will cite a particularly poor start as the key factor in their 6-goal defeat when they faced the Sharks in the penultimate round of the home and away season, but their efforts in the second half of that game will give the Bloods plenty of cause for optimism after they provided stern opposition for the men from Glasgow.

Despite having the edge on their Grand Final opponents throughout the season, Glasgow Vice-President James Hancock has identified in-game momentum as the only significant separating factor between the two sides in the two matches.

“We got off to a flying start last game but had a period we were not happy with in the 3rd quarter that let the bloods right back into the game. We held on to win but the game was very close,” Hancock said.

“We know on Saturday that we won’t expect the bloods to start slowly again, so we need to grind out 4 consistent quarters to win… we can’t expect and favours from the opposition.”

It took a final round defeat to the Tyne Tees Tigers to prevent the Sharks from going through the season unbeaten – a loss which came after they had already booked their place in the final – with the side’s dominance forged on the back of a potent forward line that booted 232 points more than the next highest scoring team.

While his sides attacking flair has been a highlight all year, Hancock expects a defensive struggle as both sides adjust with everything to play for.

“Both teams are well led and drilled, so it will be about executing our game plan and skills on the day and taking our chances that will make the difference,” he said.

“The bloods have been solid and continued their consistent form that we have seen all year in the semifinal. From our perspective, we have a had a fantastic year but we have not completed our goal for the season yet, so we need one more big game to overcome a very strong opposition.”

LAST TIME THEY MET

Glasgow 15.16 (106) defeated Edinburgh 9.16 (70)

SARFL Grand Final

EDINBURGH BLOODS V GLASGOW SHARKS

LINLITHGOW RUGBY CLUB

FIRST BOUNCE: 2PM

Party hosts Wandsworth face gatecrashers from all angles

Saturday marks one of the marquee days on the Australian Football calendar in Europe, with Grand Final Day in London treating supporters to four huge games as the powerhouses of the game in the UK, the North London Lions, West London Wildcats & Shepherds Bush Raiders descend on Clapham Common and look to pull the rug out from under the hosting Wandsworth Demons.

With representation in all four matches this the weekend, The Dee’s face the remarkable prospect of claiming each of the five AFL London division flags, and will roll onto their home turf chocked full of confidence following their women’s conference sides thrilling one-point victory against the London Swans last Saturday.

While hundreds of footy fans are expected to make the pilgrimage to ‘The C’ to catch the action, there will be few in attendance who will have as much emotional investment in the day as Wandsworth President, Xavier Holland, who said that the club will have to overcome some stern tests if they are to claim a historic clean sweep.

Cover Photo by Danny Radis Photography

The Demon’s contingent will be out in force again at their home ground. Photo: Danny Radis Photography

“We’re all fairly nervous coming into these games and I think that all four matches are really fifty-fifty battles,” Holland said.

“Out of three of the four match-ups, we’ve been beaten by three of those teams during the season, with the men’s conference team going unbeaten but the last time they played the Raiders it was only a six-point game, so we’re all evenly matched,

“I think we’re excited but we’re nervous because we don’t know what to expect, but we’re happy to take it all on and hopefully come away with a few wins.”

Regardless of the results on the field, AFL London President, Cai Davies, speaking at the competition Awards Night on Wednesday, expects that the day will provide a fitting conclusion to another successful AFL London season, with the closeness of the previous matches between Saturday’s competing sides making for a tantalising prospect this weekend.

“We have had some competitive games all season between the clubs that are left, so it could easily go either way on the day,” Davies said.

“Looking at the men’s premier division first week final between West London and Wandsworth for example where we saw a tie at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game into extra time, where the Wildcats went on to win by just over a goal, it really showed us how competitive footy has become in London and what we can expect for Saturdays games.”

All four matches will be streamed live via the AFL London YouTube channel, with the opening bounce of the men’s social division Grand Final kicking off the coverage at 9:30am (GMT).

 

9:30am – MEN’S SOCIAL DIVISION – SOUTH LONDON DEMONS v NORTH LONDON LIONS

Dubbed ‘a game of dinosaurs’ by Demons President, Xavier Holland, given the number of ‘stalwarts’ from both sides who will take the field in the day’s opener, Wandsworth will vie for their fourth consecutive social division flag and hope to repeat the clinical performance of last year’s Grand Final against the same opposition.

 

Photo: Danny Radis Photography

11:30am – MEN’S CONFERENCE DIVISION – SHEPHERDS BUSH RAIDERS v CLAPHAM DEMONS

The Demons face an exceptionally tricky second-leg assignment in their quest for the quaddie as they come up against of the most dominant sides in the history of Australian Football in Europe, the Shepherds Bush Raiders.

The conference entity of the Wildcats has had a vice-like grip on the title since being formed in 2000, taking home 15 of a possible 17 trophies, though their two defeats have both come at the hands of the Demons in 2009 & 2016.

The two-sides last clashed in the first semi-final where the Demons prevailed in a very tight contest, winning 6.8 (44) to 6.2 (38), but Raiders captain Chad Sellenger says that taking the longer route to the final could prove beneficial to his side.

“We have an extra game under our belts now playing last weekend where we were able to work on the game plan and fine-tune some things, so everyone’s electric at the moment and pretty excited for the big day,” Sellenger said.

“We know they’re a very physical side, on their home ground which they play very well, hopefully, we can match them. We know our strengths, but we know theirs as well, it’s going to be an absolute nail-biter. It’ll go down to the wire.”

The Raiders remain a force in conference football. Photo: Danny Radis Photography

 

2:00pm – WOMENS PREMIER DIVISION – NORTH LONDON LIONS v WANDSWORTH DEMONS

The first of the two feature events on the day’s card pits the reigning premiers from Wandsworth up against a North London Lions line-up who have struck hot form at the right time of year, having stormed into the Grand Final after toppling the previously unbeaten Demons by 33-points in the first Semi-Final.

Acutely aware of the opportunity that is in front of them, Lions President, Jay Treloar, admits that the old adage of Grand-Final ‘just another week’ has been thrown out the door in the lead-up to the match.

“You’d like to say it’s no different to any other week, but it’s grand final week – everyone’s up and about, numbers are fantastic. It’s good to see many more girls than usual down at training and I think everyone’s really excited,” Treloar said.

“We’ve probably got the best chance we’ve ever had to create a bit of history at the club, so the girls are really up and about for it and having been here since the inception of the side it’s just wonderful to see.”

Cool, calm and collected clichés are also out of fashion in the Demon’s camp, with co-captain Bianca Valenzisi admitting there are plenty of nerves amongst the excitement for the girls from Wandsworth.

“We’re all a little bit nervous coming up closer to the game and feel we’ve got a lot to lose, but our preparation is to not change too much and only make some small adjustments,” Valenzisi said.

“The main area of focus will be to not break our structures because it’s been working all season, but after the last time we played the Lions we are going to have to make a few adjustments

“I think it’ll be a good game either way. There are a lot of nerves flying around but there are enough cool heads amongst us that are trying to keep it under wraps.”

Bodies will be on the line as the Demon girls look to go back-to-back. Photo: Danny Radis Photography

 

4:00pm – MEN’S PREMIER DIVISION – WEST LONDON WILDCATS v WANDSWORTH DEMONS

One of the fiercest rivalries in Europe takes centre stage for the crescendo of Grand Final Day, with the four-time Champions of Europe from West London striving to reclaim the AFL London crown that was taken from them by the Demons in 2017, after their thrilling 3-point Grand Final win against the Lions.

If recent form between the two sides is any indication, echoes of Anthony Hudson’s famous final words in the 2006 Grand Final, “who would of thought that the sequel, would be just as good as the original” may just be ringing on the wind at the common, with the one thing capable of topping the semi-final classic between the two sides where extra time was required, is a repeat of that on the biggest stage this Saturday.

West London took the honours by a single goal on that occasion and will hope that the resultant week off will help them reclaim the AFL London crown.

Photo: Danny Radis Photography

Wildcats Captain, Tyson Mihocek, said that the side was grateful for last weekend’s reprieve but are now primed for one last push.

“Our current form is reasonably good, and it was a pretty brutal sort of game against the Demon’s so the boys were pretty thankful to have last week off,” Mihocek said.

“Wandsworth are going to be tough – we know that – but we’re just going to focus on being first to the footy and making sure we use the ball well going forward and trying to look after our forwards a bit, which was something we probably didn’t do too well in the first-final

“Everyone’s obviously excited to have two teams in out of our five – which is a testament to the club – and all the boys that are involved on Saturday are really excited.”

Demons President, Xavier Holland, said that while the last matchup between the two clubs nearly drove him to a heart attack, he was hopeful the side could get the job done and book a ticket to Champions League 2019.

“We have been playing well all season, and now get the ultimate challenge of coming up against the Wildcats who are a great club,” Holland said.

“They [West London] are sort of our arch-nemesis, but also a sister club that is very similar in many ways, with a lot of high-quality players on both sides.”

“Hopefully this time it doesn’t take extra-time to save me from a heart attack, but I expect it to be another neck and neck battle… I can’t pick a winner but hopefully, the demons can come out on top.

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Ashley Swift

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight

Ashley Swift

 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.

As one of the more decorated players in his competition, Ashley Swift is a man who just loves Australian Football.

Recently named in the AFLCNE 2018 Team of the Year, Ashley’s love of the game started from the moment he got a taste of the Sherrin.

“I didn’t really know at first what was going on, but I just knew I loved it.”

“The bumping, the kicking, the physical side and just being around a team and the winning feeling you get, you just don’t get that from many sports at all.”

As a Nottingham Scorpion, Ashley is a big fan of his club that has terrific sides in both a men’s and women’s capacity.

His Scorpions recently lost a tight AFLCNE Grand Final to league juggernauts, the Manchester Mosquitoes.

Nevertheless, Ashley is still so proud of the culture that has been created at his club.

“We’ve got a great team going here, we’ve got a men’s and women’s side.”

“It’s just such a great atmosphere at training and at games, win or lose it doesn’t really matter. It’s just great fun to be a part of the team.”

Throughout his time playing for Nottingham, Ashley has tried out many positions in the unique 9-a-side competition.

It’s a format that encourages plenty of scoring and plenty of running as the AFLCNE Grand Final would suggest.

With so many games in a season and so much travel on offer, Ashley believes that now is the best time to join this exciting competition.

“Come down and give it a go because it’s such a great sport.”

“It’s a sport for small players, tall players and for bigger players.”

“We’ve got a position for everyone and it’s such a good thing to have in your life!

Aside from his time at Nottingham, Ashley has been a regular for the England Dragonslayers.

A victory at the Euro Cup in Bordeaux last year must rank as one of his greatest achievements in the game.

Going through the tournament undefeated, Ashley will again look to do the same in Cork later in September.

Although no matter the result of this year’s competition, there is no doubt that Ashley Swift has been and continues to be a great contributor for the sport across the European continent.

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

 

AFLCNE Grand Final Preview – Nottingham Scorpions v Manchester Mosquitoes

Scorpions out to end Manchester dominance in CNE big dance

It’s a clash which perfectly befits the legacy of two famous sporting cities this Saturday as the Nottingham Scorpions set out to topple a juggernaut in Saturday’s AFLCNE Grand Final, against the four-time reigning premiers from Manchester.

The task for Nottingham to do what no CNE side has been able to do in 2018 and beat the Mozzies is a mighty one, but the side showed the dogged determination that will be required to atone for their consecutive Grand Final defeats on the day with their 12-point Semi-Final victory over the Wolverhampton Wolverines.

While Manchester would be well within their rights to have the champagne on ice as they travel down the M1 following yet another flawless CNE season, the recent form may well be weighted towards the hosts given the Mozzies haphazard preparation in recent weeks.

The Mozzies could be considered short of a gallop in racing terms after they received the easiest path possible into the Grand Final with the unfortunate forfeit of their Semi-Final opponents, the Huddersfield Rams, which came on the back of their final round and pre-finals byes that forced the club into scheduling an emergency scratch-match to get crucial game time into the squad.

Nottingham will hope to use the extra competitive match hardness to get the early jump on their opponents, and should take further encouragement from their significant improvement across the two clashes against the Mozzies earlier in the season, where they bridged the gap from a convincing 67-point defeat to the Mancunians in round two to just five goals when they faced off again later in season.

Scorpions Secretary, Martin Kearney, says that while his side has great respect for what Manchester has achieved in recent seasons, they believe they can now knock the champions from their perch.

“The Mozzies have been an incredibly strong team for a number of seasons now and we expect this to be our toughest game of the season,” Kearney said.

“We’ve seen in our previous two games against them that in spells we have the quality to put them under some real pressure and this Saturday is about doing that for four quarters.

“We obviously thought the same last year but felt we let ourselves down at a crucial point at the start of the final quarter which cost us and we’ll learn from that this year. It’s nice to finally have one in Nottingham in front of our friends and family and everyone is really excited and quietly confident that this year it’ll be the Scorpion’s singing at the end of the game.”

Nottingham will be looking to Great Britain representatives Rob Goliah & Mark Ireland to lead the charge along with 2018 recruit Lachlan Murdoch, whose quality has shone through in his first season after coming out from Australia, earning praise from Kearney for the “huge influence” he has had on the development of the sides English contingent.

As for his final message before the side crosses the white line on Saturday, Kearney can thank Shia LaBeouf for his inspiration.

“The Scorpions (or more myself) have had a little saying over the last few seasons – No sacrifice, no victory,” Kearney said.

“We don’t care that it’s from the Transformer’s movie, it’s still true. Everybody has been thinking about this for a while now so there’s little that needs to be said to the team, it’s just a case of making sure we focus and prepare.”

For Manchester, it is simply matter of maintaining the status quo that has served them so well over the past five years on their way to becoming not only the most dominant outfit in AFLCNE history , but one of the premier men’s teams throughout the whole of Europe which was highlighted by their fifth-placed finish at the AFL Europe Champions League in Amsterdam earlier in the year.

When asked if the side was feeling any additional pressure as they strive for a fifth-consecutive flag, President Glenn Murphy indicated that the demographics of the current side meant that history would not be a burden on the day.

“As a club we are going for five which would be a great achievement and something we would be proud of if it happens, but within the team there are guys playing in their first, second, third, fourth and fifth Grand Finals, so it’s a different feeling for everyone,” Murphy said.

“Obviously going through the regular season undefeated was a good result, but it really won’t mean much unless we can get the ‘W’ on Saturday,

“We know what Nottingham bring and they are a good side, and I don’t think regular season form means much. You only have to look at the Grand Final last year and how close it was all the way up to three-quarter time.”

 

Last Time They Met

Manchester Mosquitos 15.26 (116) def. Nottingham Scorpions 12.11 (83)

 

Road To The Final

Nottingham:

Rd1. Defeated Huddersfield by 15

Rd2. Defeated By Manchester by 67

Rd3. Defeated Wolverhampton by 89

Rd4. Defeated By Merseyside on Forfeit

Rd5. Defeated By Manchester by 33

Rd6. Defeated Wolverhampton by 4

Rd7. Defeated Merseyside

Rd8. Defeated Huddersfield

SF. Defeated Wolverhampton by 12 points

Manchester:

Rd1. Defeated Nottingham by 67

Rd2. Defeated Huddersfield by 73

Rd3. Defeated Wolverhampton by 38

Rd4. Defeated Merseyside by 182

Rd5. Defeated Nottingham by 33

Rd6. Defeated Huddersfield by 111

Rd7. Defeated Wolverhampton by 96

Rd8. Defeated Merseyside

SF. Defeated Huddersfield on Forfeit

 

AFLCNE GRAND FINAL

NOTTINGHAM SCORPIONS V MANCHESTER MOSQUITOES

2PM SATURDAY – NOTTINGHAM MORDEN’S RUGBY CLUB

 

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 Riley Brettell – AFL Europe