2019 Champions League Team Previews: Part Eight

Only 8 days until the 2019 AFL Europe Champions League, with the tournament returning to Amsterdam once again for what is set to be a competitive day of football as the best club teams from around Europe battle it out.

This will be the fifth time the tournament has taken place, as this year will see all the games take place on Saturday the 6th of April. As part of the buildup, AFL Europe will be previewing all the teams competing. For part eight and our final edition of team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the men’s and women’s premiers of the 2018 event. Firstly the West London Wildcats from the Men’s side of the draw, and then the West Clare Waves in the Women’s.

 

Men’s Competition:

West London Wildcats

Keith Della-Vedova – Team Manager

How did you qualify for this year’s Champions League?

We qualified after winning the 2018 version of the AFL Europe Champions League.

Have you been involved with any pre-season tournaments? If so, how did that go? If not, have you had the chance to play any other teams recently in preparation?

A trip out to Cambridge University for a highly competitive game, we managed to give plenty of people some valuable game time that will hopefully put us in good stead for the tournament.

What can we expect to see from your team this Champions League?

As with every year, we look to be competitive and display a team first brand of football that is required to succeed in this tournament, prior year’s results are irrelevant! We have a mixture of new and experienced players that will look to create their own Champions League experience so expect to see a team ready to throw the kitchen sink at whatever comes our way.

Where do you rank competing in the Champions League in the AFL Europe calendar and what does it mean to the team?

It’s the premier European tournament and it’s always a privilege to play amongst so many other quality teams, it’s fantastic to see each team grow year on year which is what makes this tournament such a great concept. It’s a unique experience that not many will have the opportunity to be involved in let alone be lucky enough to be successful, you only have to go as far as our past players Facebook page and the comments every anniversary on the photo’s to see how much people value being a part of this tournament. This year’s team will draw inspiration from our past years teams and look to emulate them.

Do you have any extra bits of information about the club, like past years funny/interesting stories?

What happens on tour stays on tour!

 

Women’s Competition:

West Clare Waves

Rosie Currane – Team Captain

How did you qualify for this year’s Champions League?
We qualified as defending champions after we won last years Champions League. We also won the first AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership last November.
Have you been involved with any pre-season tournaments? 
No, Champions League will be our first hit out for 2019. We haven’t played any games since the Premiership here. A couple of our girls played in the Universities Cup a few weeks ago. Hopefully we won’t be too rusty. We are looking forward to getting back in action.
What can we expect to see from your team this Champions League?
We will hopefully be competitive again. We were rank outsiders last year so it was a big surprise to win. We will enjoy ourselves for sure, as we always do, and take it one game at a time. We will have a lot of girls playing in their first Champions League so they are all really looking forward to it .
Where do you rank competing in the Champions League in the AFL Europe calendar and what does it mean to the team?
Oh it’s an amazing competition and the pinnacle of club Aussie Rules in the continent, and one of the biggest club competitions outside of Australia. AFL Europe have done a fantastic job in growing the Champions League over the last 5 years. So even though it’s our first competition of the year, it’s one we very much look forward to and winning it last year, was a wonderful experience and it’s always great to be part of such a competitive and large, well organised event .
Do you have any extra bits of information about the club, like past years funny/interesting stories?
As most people will now be aware, one of our best players from last season and last year’s Champions League Ailish Considine, has gone on to be signed professionally by Adelaide Crows. Of course we are sorry to lose her as a player but we are really enjoying watching her play AFLW & supporting her.  Maybe we’ll find a new star at this year’s Champions League!
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe