2019 Champions League Team Previews: Part Six

The annual AFL Europe Champions League is just around the corner, 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 five of our team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the Edinburgh Bloods and the Amsterdam Devils in the Men’s side of the draw, and the Wandsworth Demons in the Women’s.

 

Men’s Competition

Edinburgh Bloods

Chris Gurney – Secretary 

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

We qualified by winning the SARFL Grand Final in 2018, beating the Glasgow Sharks in a close encounter by five points. This was somewhat of an upset as the Sharks finished top of the regular season table, beating us twice in the process.

Have you been involved with any pre-season tournaments? If so, how did that go?

We recently competed in the Haggis Cup in Edinburgh. We had a mixed day, results wise, losing out in the Semi-Final, but we were happy with our performance in general as we had a lot of new players in the squad (some playing their first ever game of footy).

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

We always back our skills and believe that we can compete against anyone on our day. Having that sense of belief in each other is something we drive from.

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

Having taken part in the first two Champions League Tournaments, we really enjoy testing ourselves against different teams from around Europe.

 

Amsterdam Devils

Michael Stewart – Coach

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

We won the Netherlands Grand Final against Delft. Fantastic day that coincided with sunshine and Ladies Day.
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?
Yes we have played in Paris and also in London, we had a great tournament and the hosts were fantastic.  We got to experiment with our game plan and see some of our new players who have joined the team.
What can we expect to see from your team this Champions League?
We will be taking it one game at time, cliche we know, however the competition gets better and better every year so we can be looking forward to some great football all round.
Where do you rank competing in the Champions League in the AFL Europe calendar and what does it mean to the team?
This is the start of our season, we only have a few games here in The Netherlands each year so we are always looking to host teams to play us here in Amsterdam or travel to play some games in Europe. If there are any team who want a game this year please PM us on our Facebook page.
Do you have any extra bits of information about the club, like past years funny/interesting stories?
We have a new baby devil from our former club president Scott Martin. We wish him and his family all the best and they will be cheering for us this year on the sidelines this year.

Women’s Competition:

Wandsworth Demons

Priscilla Lodge – Vice President

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

We were premiers of the AFL London Women’s Premiership division for the 2018 season.

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?

We took 2 teams up to Edinburgh on Saturday 2nd March. This was a fantastic day that saw 16 girls pulling on the red and blue for the first time, many of whom had never played Aussie Rules before at all. Our focus for the day was about getting as much match experience in the legs as well as team bonding, and everyone’s hard work was topped off by taking home the chocolates. It was a great start to the year and I’d like to thank AFL Scotland again for such a fantastic tournament.

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

We’ve selected a team this year that is a solid mix of speed, strength and experience. 50% of the team are girls who are new to the Demons this year so I’m really excited to see what they can bring.

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

We worked incredibly hard throughout the AFL London season last year which culminated in a tight finals series that saw us win the flag, so to qualify for the Champions League again is a massive achievement and honour that is not lost upon any of the SheDees. The opportunity to compete against the best of the best throughout Europe at the Champions League, the largest tournament in Europe, is something we are approaching with excitement, enthusiasm and a healthy batch of nerves. After losing to West Clare Waves in the Champions League grand final last year, we can’t wait to come back to Amsterdam and hopefully go one better in 2019.

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

Last year we made AFL London history by winning Women’s Premiership and Conference divisions. The grand finals were spread across two weekends in August that saw the conference girls win first followed by the premier girls the next week. To support each other throughout both games, and then be able to celebrate all together was incredibly special and something that will forever be etched in the club’s history. The moment of the siren sounding in the premier match and all the conference girls running on to celebrate and sing the song all together is something that none of us will be forgetting any time soon!

 

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe