2019 Euro Cup Tournament Preview

The 2019 edition of AFL Europe’s Euro Cup takes place tomorrow, Saturday the 29th of June, in Norrtälje, Sweden as 16 different national sides battle it out to decide who comes out on top as Europe’s best 9-a-side team.

Over 400 players plus team staff, fans and volunteers will be involved in a big day of Australian Football on Saturday with games scheduled to commence at 9am, with the final match scheduled to start at 6:30 pm.

Preparation for the tournament has been underway for 16 months, with the last few months being used to make sure everything comes together. AFL Sweden President and tournament organiser Ryan Tucker has been busy with preparations but is looking forward to what the day will bring.

“People are ecstatic that a European level tournament will be held in our small city… Our mission for this tournament was to increase the overall feeling and enjoyment for the participants and spectators,” Tucker said.

This is the first time Sweden has hosted the Euro Cup, one of the major tournaments on AFL Europe’s calendar, and for many, it will be a unique country to play Australian Football in.

“For our participants, it is the opportunity to visit Sweden, a country maybe not too often on the beaten tourist trail… Also having the Cup in the summer adds another element to the overall feel of the day and the festivities in the evening… It is a fantastic opportunity for our association to grow awareness of the sport here in Sweden,” Tucker said.

With the weather currently looking clear and in the mid 20’s for Saturday, everything is underway for another fantastic Euro Cup tournament.


Men’s Competition

Pool A:

In Pool A of the men’s draw, we see the Croatian Knights, German Eagles, Austrian Avalanche and the Finland Icebreakers. The Knights are the top-ranked side in the Pool and return after winning the Bronze medal in last years Euro Cup. They will be the team to beat, but the German Eagles will want to get revenge for their defeat to the Knights in the 2017 AFL International Cup Division Two Grand Final. This game between the Eagles and Knights will be the one to keep an eye out for, but the Avalanche and Icebreakers will also be ready to take advantage of any games dropped by the opposition. For the Avalanche, they will be aiming to have a strong tournament to get back into the Top 8 sides, while the Icebreakers are returning to the Euro Cup for the first time since 2013 and will be excited to get out on the field.

Pool B:

This Pool is made up of the French Coqs, Scottish Clansmen, Swedish Elks and the Russian Bears. As the host nation, the Swedish Elks will want to show everyone how good they are on the field and will look at the pool with optimism that they can push for a semi-final place. Joining them in Pool B are the Russian Bears, who have been consistent regulars at the Euro Cup since their debut in 2016. The top-ranked team in the pool are the French Coqs, who come into the tournament off an impressive win over the Australian Spirit side in the ANZAC Cup in April. They will want to replicate that form and if they do, will be very hard to beat. The final team in the Pool is the Scottish Clansmen, who will be looking to make the most of their strong Great Britain contingent, particularly in their game against Sweden which should be a tight battle between two sides looking to climb up the ranks.

Pool C:

Over in Pool C, the England Dragonslayers, Nederland Flying Dutchmen, Israeli Beasts and Polish Devils will battle it out for a place in the semi-finals. The England Dragonslayers won the Euro Cup in 2017, and finished 4th last year so will be hoping they can replicate their 2017 form in this year’s tournament. One team to keep an eye out for are the Polish Devils, who are competing in their inaugural Euro Cup, with the game only starting up in Poland in the past few months. Joining them are the newly named Israeli Beasts, who are returning officially for the first time as the Israeli national team. Their game against the Nederland Flying Dutchmen should be a great contest, with the Flying Dutchmen having increased selection opportunities this year after their local league expanded to three teams, a sign of the strong recent development in the Netherlands.

Pool D:

In the final Pool, the Irish Warriors, Welsh red Dragons, Czech Republic Dragons and Swiss Wolves will all be looking to have a strong Euro Cup tournament. The Irish Warriors will be looking to go one better than their last three tournaments, where they finished as runners-up on each occasion. Another team who will be looking to climb up the ranks after expanding their local league are the Swiss Wolves. Their game against the Czech Republic could have an impact on the rankings depending on other results, so both teams will view that as a big opportunity to win. The Dragons are returning for their third Euro Cup after competing in their first ever Champions League earlier this year. The other team named the Dragons, the Welsh Red Dragons, are entering the tournament with a good spread of Great Britain representative players and will be hoping to use that experience to their advantage.


Women’s Competition

Pool A:

On to the women’s Pool’s, and the Irish Banshees, Croatian Queens, German Eagles and Welsh Wyverns will be competing in Pool A. Returning as Euro Cup Champions for 2018 and 2017 AFL International Cup Champions, the Irish Banshees will want to win yet another big tournament. This year, the Croatian Queens have had two teams to select their squad from after their local league expanded to include a second team. Their strong performance at this year’s Champions League shows they can be a real challenge to the opposition. The German Eagles will be returning for their second Euro Cup after finishing 5th in their first ever Euro Cup last year. This year, their goal is to finish in the top three, and their matchup against Croatia could go a long way to deciding who will battle for a semi-final place. Joining them are the Welsh Wyverns, who will be hoping their preparation for the tournament having played regular games against teams from the SEAFL and CNEAFL  late last year will put them in a solid position at this year’s tournament.

Pool B:

Pool B in the women’s see the England Vixens, Swedish Ravens, Swiss Heidi’s and French Gauloises match up against each other. The Champions from the 2017 tournament, the England Vixens, will be hoping to make the Grand Final and battle it out for the title after they finished second last year. With a large group of Great Britain players, they have plenty of experience to guide them. In Pool B, the big game will be the Vixens against the hosts, Swedish Ravens, who finished third in both 2017 and 2018. Joining them for the first ever time are the Swiss Heidis, playing in their inaugural Euro Cup. Rounding out Pool B is the French Gauloises who are Euro Cup regulars and will be hoping they can have a strong day after an impressive performance at the ANZAC Cup.


2019 Team Previews:

Part One: Austrian Avalanche, Croatian Knights, England Vixens.

Part Two: Croatian Queens, Russian Bears, Polish Devils.

Part Three: England Dragonslayers, Finland Icebreakers, Swedish Ravens.

Part Four: Czech Republic Dragons, French Coqs, German Eagles (women’s).

Part Five: Irish Banshees, Israeli Beasts, German Eagles (men’s).

Part Six: Irish Warriors, Swiss Wolves, Welsh Wyverns.

Part Seven: Swedish Elks, Welsh Red Dragons, French Gauloises.

Part Eight: Scottish Clansmen

2019 Euro Cup Team Previews: Part Eight

Only two days left until the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup, which is being held in Norrtalje, Sweden this year for what is set to be a thrilling day of football as national teams from 16 different European countries field their nations best players and over 350 players battle it out for the Cup.

This year’s edition of the Euro Cup will see all the games take place on Saturday the 29th of June. As part of the buildup, AFL Europe will be previewing all the teams competing. In our eighth and final edition of the team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the Scottish Clansmen.


Men’s Competition:

Scottish Clansmen

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

We’ve worked hard with all domestic and international clubs to identify the best Scottish talent available. The coaches have been keeping a close eye on players progress throughout the season and preparing a suitable game plan.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

We have a total of 11 clubs being represented in our national team.

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

This year sees two of our players make their Euro Cup debuts.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

A lot of physical presence and an eagerness to build on last years performance.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

This is Scotland’s major annual tournament, there is a lot of competition for a spot. Representing your country is the main aim of any player and as soon as our players land in Sweden club allegiances go out the window. We all have the same aim to show Europe what Scotland is made of.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

To build on our strong performance last year and ensure that any team we play against go away knowing they’ve had to work for every touch of the ball

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

David Jordan of Wandsworth Demons was part of the team of the tournament last year, also one of our returning players after a few tournaments,  Al Lindop who plays out of Canada at the Burnaby Eagles.

The Scottish Clansmen will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Pride, passion and ensuring that there’s no party without Scotland.



Community Spotlight – Morten Merhøj

For Morten Merhøj, football isn’t just something to do on the weekend, it’s been a central part of his life through travel, education, relationships and work.

After a local football club visited his Physical Education class at school when he was 12 years old, Morten fell in love with the game. He was then fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Australia as part of a trip to see and play the game against Australian school teams as well as attending his first ever game at the MCG.

“I will never forget my first Friday night game at the MCG, meeting AFL players and playing against school kids who grew up with the game,” Merhøj said.

A few years down the track, and he is now the person going around to local schools, teaching the game to students and recruiting them to join the team he was coaching, just like he did when he was 12.

“Later I went to Australia with my own group of young players to give them a similar experience and I am proud to see that many of those kids, now grown men, still play and love the sport today,” Merhøj said.

Morten then moved to Odense to study at the Southern University of Denmark. The nearest footy club for him was more than two hours away, so he made the big decision to start his own club – the Odense Lions.

A year down the track and the club expanded to create a women’s team, the Odense Lionesses. For Morten, the decision to create a women’s team resulted in him meeting his future wife, who was one of the founding women in the Lionesses team.

In the 2015 Euro Cup in Croatia, both Morten and his partner played for Denmark – Morten with the Vikings and his wife with the Valkyries. Both came home with medals, as the Vikings won gold and the Valkyries won silver. Football clearly runs through Morten’s family and he is grateful that his old coaches went to his school to introduce him to Australian Football.

What attracted Morten to the sport compared to others was the physical aspect of the game. It’s not just about the tackling, according to Morten, but also the willingness to run, fight and launch yourself at the ball.

When not playing on the field, Morten has had a number of roles in the game across Denmark. He was a junior coach and board member at his first club. Now, he currently holds roles as Chairman of the DAFL Development and elite committee, vice-president, head coach, Women’s National coach, National team manager, DAFL umpire coordinator, chairman of the DAFL tournament committee and SDU Australian Football University Coordinator.

“My passions have also evolved beyond the playing and into organising, planning and developing setup, players and the sport in general,” he said.

Looking ahead to the future, Morten believes clubs around Europe will continue to develop and grow.

“I am always impressed when I hear of people starting clubs from nothing because I know how much work is needed. The rise of women’s football is also a key factor to success in Europe. Clubs with women playing and involved in running things is, in my opinion, stronger and hope that we will see even more women’s teams start around Europe… The future of Australian Football in Europe is looking bright,” he said.

Football in Denmark is also looking bright, with new facilities being developed while on the international stage, the Denmark Vikings are planning to send a team to this year’s European Championships in October.

It’s clear that Morten loves his football, and it has been a key pillar to his life so far, growing up with the game and even meeting his wife through the sport. Looking ahead, if people are inspired by Australian Football like Morten was when he was just a kid, then the game will be in good hands.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Lars Hagberg

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. 

A veteran of the game is an understatement for Lars ‘Larry’ Hagberg, who has now been playing Australian football in Europe for 17 years.

Studying in the AFL capital of the world, Melbourne, in 1994, Larry was surrounded by the sport and was mesmerised by it.

“It’s the most exciting sport to watch and play, period. It’s fast, physical and requires a lot of skill. I like that it combines the full contact part with speed and athleticism. Anyone can play as long as you have an eye for the game. And there’s always been great camaraderie in the sport.”

After studying and moving to Denmark, Larry was excited to find out that Denmark had a thriving AFL league and immediately wanted to get involved.

Playing for the Copenhagen Crocodiles, in the DAFL, he started to build his career, feeling great to be be able to play the game that he fell in love with in Melbourne.

Later moving to Sweden, he didn’t want to lose this passion and joined the Södermalm Blues in Stockholm, where he still plays today.

Building his standard of play each year, Larry has been able to represent his country at two International Cups in Melbourne, Australia.

“The two International Cups I’ve played in Australia with the Swedish Elks are definitely my highlights. Such fantastic trips and it’s amazing to meet players from around the world, as well as seeing the genuine interest in footy from overseas.”

Playing against the best players and teams in all of Europe, definitely builds experience and skill level, this experience has helped Larry to be at his best and at the standard he wants to be as a football player.

“I’d have to say my stamina and work in and under contests are my strengths. Being able to run all day and not being afraid to put my body on the line and take a hit.”

Not only having the skills of the game now, Larry has been a major factor into where AFL in Sweden is at today and has helped his side the Södermalm Blues from the beginning.

As a great advocate for the game overseas, Larry shares the joy of being a part of the inaugural Södermalm AFL game, after a lot of hard work.

“One of the most rewarding moments was playing the first game at the footy oval we setup ourselves as a club. We acquired a set of flag poles to be used a posts and had  a working bee cementing them into the ground. With the aid of AFL Europe we got goal post pads which completed our 15 a-side footy oval with permanent goals and proper markings. Needless to say we had a great time and winning the inaugural game felt even sweeter.”

With the upcoming Euro Cup is being held in Sweden, Larry and his team in Södermalm have gone a long way to highlighting Sweden on the AFL map and become a prime spot for the upcoming event.

With an already stellar career, countless memories and a vested interest in the growth of the game, Lars Hagberg is the epitome of what AFL Europe stands for.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week AFL Europe will take a look around the continent at the Australian Football highlights and thrilling matches. This Around the Grounds article delves into the standout performances from the weekend’s action and is presented by PSS International Removals.


The West Lothian Eagles hosted the Tyne Tees Tigers in Scotland on Saturday as the Eagles looked for their first win of the season, while the Tigers were looking to maintain their position in the top two of the AFL Scotland competition. In their inaugural AFL Scotland season, the Eagles were hoping to surprise their opponents with their leg speed and agility around the contests. However, it was the efficiency and strength of the Tigers up forward that shone through on the day, as the Tigers kicked 28 goals, with Connor Robinson kicking a club-record 13 goals. Overall, the Tigers had eight different goalkickers as they secured a big 146 point win to put them on top of the ladder. Despite the score, the Eagles continue to improve in their first season and although they kicked 13 behinds in this match, they have shown they create plenty of opportunities in front of goal and will continue to battle hard for the clubs first win.

Final Scores (AFL Scotland)

Men’s: West Lothian Eagles (4.13. 37) defeated by Tyne Tees Tigers (28.15. 183).



On a perfect summer’s day in London, the Wandsworth Demon’s hosted the Wimbledon Hawks in the Men’s Premiership division of AFL London on Saturday. Right from the start, the game ebbed and flowed with neither team really able to gain total control over their opponents. The game started off tight, as both defences cancelled each other out in the opening stages, with the Hawks taking it right up to the Demons. In the warm weather, the third and fourth quarters were more open and free-flowing as the fitness of both teams began to influence the game. The Demon’s managed to get a couple of goals ahead, but the Hawks challenged late to bring the margin down to just five points with only moments left on the clock. As the Hawks midfield tried to get the ball out of the centre, the siren blew and the Demon’s held on in front of their home crowd by five points in a thrilling game of footy.

Final Scores (AFL London)

Men’s: Wandsworth Demons (10.10. 70) defeated Wimbledon Hawks (10.5. 65).



On Saturday, the Welsh Australian Rules Football League hosted a coaching session and training day. AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey travelled to Wales for the day, with over 25 coaches attending the event in the glorious Welsh weather. The day saw a variety of discussions focusing on team management, tactics, rules and communication. A special thank you to our Official Education Partner, anzuk Education, for supporting this event and helping with the promotion of Australian Football across Europe through coaching and umpiring courses.

Welsh Australian Rules Football League (WARFL)



The Sussex Swans and London Swans travelled to Crawley to play in a friendly match during their bye-rounds. With only one Women’s game taking place in AFL London on the weekend, and with the hosts, Sussex, also having a bye, the two Swans teams decided to play a friendly game, with both teams trying some new tactics and players changing positions. Both teams have developed a closeness over the years, which was also reflected on the field on Saturday as Sussex won a goal. As the game was listed as a friendly, it was a fantastic opportunity for both teams to highlight the continued growth of football, particularly the women’s game, and expect to see more events between the Swans over the next few years.

Women’s: Sussex Swans defeated London Swans.



PSS International Removals have helped people move from the UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 37 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 the PSS Removals website.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

2019 Euro Cup Team Previews: Part Seven

It’s now less than a week until the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup, with the tournament being held in Norrtalje, Sweden for what is set to be a thrilling day of football as national teams from 16 different European countries field their nations best players and over 350 players battle it out for the Cup.

This year’s edition of the Euro Cup will see all the games take place on Saturday the 29th of June. As part of the buildup, AFL Europe will be previewing all the teams competing. In our seventh edition of the team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the host nation, the Swedish Elks, and the Welsh Red Dragons in the men’s side of the competition and in the women’s, the French Gauloises.


Men’s Competition:

Welsh Red Dragons

Coach: Tom Case

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

We have had steady preparation with a few dedicated Welsh training sessions alongside our club level training, all the boys have been playing for their respective clubs so fitness and match sharpness are in good swing.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

Four teams are represented, two WARFL and two AFL London clubs.

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

Three debutantes, the exciting Alex Clarke, Rhodri James is looking sharp and Conor Neeson is in good form so all very positive additions.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

You can expect to see a lot of speed and sharpness in tight spaces, freeing up our little guys to get some good space.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

It means we get to show that our small country has a big amount of fight. We get to show our skills on a larger scale and compete against the best in Europe.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

After being seeded in the second tier spot we are looking to get through to the Cup QF and then plan from there, big early displays will set the tone for us before facing the Irish in our last group game. We are expecting big things from this select group of Red Dragons.

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

Owain Ryland is always dangerous when on form, being a top GB player. Scott Jones who won BIG in Cork 2018 and Alex Clarke the debut player has had a big start to our domestic season.

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

Rory Dewhurst likes a good sleep talk and whispered to imaginary cats last year. With Aaron Gale splitting his head open on the main pitch within minutes then staying out until 4 am for the after party, he was the main hero from last years tourney.

The Welsh Red Dragons will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Tenacity, we’ve come to compete and we shall do, so we aren’t here to just make up the numbers!


Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Swedish Elks

Coach: Leighton “Padsy” Rowsell

Captain: Buster Sund

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

The Elks have unfortunately had a bit of a limited build-up to this year’s Euro Cup. Training is always difficult with multiple competitions several hundred kilometres away from one another. Although, from what we have seen, the young blood is showing a lot of promise and the more experienced blokes have kept the cobwebs away by still running around in their local leagues.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

Most of the mainstay teams are being represented (Port Malmö Maulers, Helsingborg Saints, Norrtälje Dockers, Solna Axemen, Södermalm Blues) with the hosting Dockers providing roughly half the team. Not sure what’s in the water in Norrtälje but the young blokes love their footy up there. Particularly excited to see Fredrik “Fish Fingers” Lenard have his first run in the Elks kit. He’s quickly proved himself to be a formidable back man and only missed last year’s Euro Cup due to injury.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

Some of the (longer in the tooth) fellas that will be exciting to see will be the returning Mick Larsson, Hampus’ Olsson and Chris Mårtensson after a few years away from international competition. I’m sure a couple of the returning, experienced boys might have lost a bit of pace so you can expect them to make up for it by using their size and strength to be first to the ball.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

A top-five place would be nice and it’s more than possible with the squad we have, but I think our priority on this day is to put on a good show for the AFL Europe community. Also, as always, to continue building for the future of AFL Sweden by continually developing the younger blokes, who will be able to take a lot out of this opportunity.

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

Everybody at AFL Sweden are really excited and proud to be hosting this year’s Euro Cup. Ryan Tucker and the legends from the Norrtälje Dockers deserve massive praise and appreciation for putting everything together to make this the biggest and best Euro Cup yet.  It wouldn’t be happening without all of their hard work so make sure you buy a Docker a beer on the day if you see them getting around.


Women’s Competition:

French Gauloises

Coach: Thibaut Picard

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

The preparation wasn’t as good as we wanted because we couldn’t have a proper full team meeting. However, each girl has done an incredible job to get fit and ready.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

The girls come from six clubs (Bayonne, Bordeaux, Lyon, Paris, the new club of Anthony, and Wimbledon).

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

Four players are going to discover the competition, but everyone has played at the last ANZAC Cup or Champions League. For sure, representing a country could be emotional, but they are all strong enough to play great footy. One important thing is that there is a new coach for the competition as well, so we have a lot of parameters to manage for a day-competition. But everyone is pretty excited to see something special.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

The last two competitions in Cork and Amsterdam were very frustrating and everyone in France thinks that we can do a better job that we did. The impact of new players and the experience of others can be the perfect mix for this kind of day. Be sure that you’ll see an aggressive French team! But we all want to play good footy as well, which means that we have to do the right things all around the ground, take our time and play for our teammates! If you have to bet on a surprise, you might have a look at this bunch of girls!

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

We haven’t missed the Euro Cup for a while! That shows how important is it for the French girls. As we don’t have a proper women’s competition here in France, the Euro Cup is one of the highlights of the year with the Champions League and the ANZAC Cup. This is a huge effort to go to Sweden, and everyone has trained a lot for that!

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

I suppose everyone in the team wants to have fun on and off the field. We really have to progress as a team, which is not easy when you don’t train a lot all together. Moreover, the training game that we had to play had been cancelled because of the weather so we are not sure how far we can go. However, we want to make something special and being out of the semi-final would be a failure. We have shown at the ANZAC Cup that we can play strong footy.

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

Well, she is quite new in the team but be sure to keep an eye on Aralia. Her impact in the midfield and her capacity to break tackles can provide us time and put us on the right direction. She can be the link between our back and forward line. The intelligence, the experience and the science of the game of Camille is a must see as well. 

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

In the last Euro Cup, the coach wasn’t able to get to Cork because of a cancelled flight. I really hope everything will go right for me this year!

The French Gauloises will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

You know, the most important thing is to remember that this is a sport and only sport. So whatever happens on the field, you’ll always see a smile on our faces, you’ll always hear us sing and say fair-play!

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Irish Watch – AFL Round 14 Review

Round 14 would be the last of the AFL’s bye rounds, with Adelaide, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, GWS, Richmond and Carlton all enjoying a week off.

This wouldn’t impact our Irish contingent, however, with five players suiting up for their respective clubs in what was an action-packed weekend of AFL action.

In what has been one of the great modern-day rivalries, Sydney and Hawthorn would add another chapter to the encounter at the SCG on Friday night, as the class of the young Swans ended up being too much for the out of form Hawks.

Although they didn’t feature in the epic matches of the early to mid-2010’s, Irishman Conor Glass and Colin O’Riordan would be quickly engulfed into the rivalry in what was a fierce Friday night clash.

Having earned a place in the Hawthorn side about a month ago, utility Conor Glass would enjoy a breakout game at the SCG as Clarkson would shift him back to the half-back line despite his success as a pressure forward last week.

Featuring in what was a very inexperienced defence, Glass was superb all night exhibiting a cool head well beyond his years as he constantly repelled the Swans attack and made excellent decisions with the ball in hand.

His hardness in the contest was another feature of this performance as he won a number of key balls in the Hawks back half that could have easily resulted in Sydney goals had he not put his body in the line.

The man from County Derry would end up with a career-high 20 disposals, three marks and a tackle in a display that will almost certainly lock his spot down in the side heading into the back half of the season.

He would also use the ball at an effective 70%, showing his poise coming out of defence and ability to hit teammates in dangerous positions.

After suffering a concussion two weeks ago against the Eagles, O’Riordan would return fresh from the bye with another solid performance across half back and the wing for the Swans.

In what was a crucial game for the club as they look to remain within touching distance of the top eight, O’Riordan would play his role to perfection, providing plenty of run and using his height to be a marking target.

Ending up with 14 disposals and a career-high nine marks, the Irishman had some big moments in the Swans win with his toughness around the contest and precise skills proving pivotal all night.

It was also great to see him really take the game on, as he often took the ball and ran, placing greater pressure on an undersized Hawthorn backline.

Thursday night would see the Bombers look to continue their good form by claiming a major scalp in the Eagles on the road at Optus Stadium.

However, after a bright start, Essendon simply could not match the class and strength of the reigning premiers who, despite a very wayward night in front of the sticks, ran out comfortable 35 point victors.

After one of the best games of his career last week, Conor McKenna battled hard all night but struggled to have that same impact as the Eagles ramped up the pressure on Essendon’s prime ball movers.

In what was a very physical game, McKenna was excellent in being able to break the lines and give Essendon a bit of punch coming off half back.

Easily the best of the Bomber running defenders on the night, McKenna would end up with 17 disposals, four marks and a tackle as he never stopped taking the game on.

His ball use was a particular highlight to his game, as he continues to prove himself as one of the competitions best kicks with an excellent efficiency of 88%.

Going through the first half of the season with just one loss, the post-bye curse would again rear its ugly head for the ladder leading Cats who would drop their second game of the year to Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Completely dominated around the ball all night, it was a rough night for Geelong who simply looked flat after a well deserved week off.

The post-bye blues wouldn’t be a problem for Irishman Zach Tuohy however, who enjoyed his best game for the year in a well-rounded performance across half-back against the Power.

With Port constantly pumping the ball inside 50, it seemed as if Tuohy was always there to intercept and get the Cats out of trouble.

His poise under pressure was a particular standout, as he was consistently faced with a barrage of Port Adelaide smalls and midfielders looking to force mistakes deep in Geelong’s back half.

Playing a true general’s role, Tuohy would end up with an impressive 28 disposals and eight marks, whilst using the ball at a moderate 68%.

With injury dominating the start of his season, it seems as if Tuohy is back to his best as the Cats press on towards the finals.

Standing alongside Tuohy in an under fire Cats defence, Mark O’Connor stood up admirably as his stock as an outstanding small defender continues to rise.

With Port running rampant in the midfield, the Cats defenders were superb as the Power only managed 67 points from an incredibly high 56 inside 50’s.

O’Connor would constantly find himself in tough one on one situations against the Port Adelaide smalls and was brilliant in either taking the mark or killing the ball out of bounds or into the hands of a teammate.

He was also very solid under pressure with ball in hand, with his 11 disposals coming deep in defence at an impressive 82% efficiency.

This was certainly a new challenge for the young defender and one he passed with flying colours.

Zac Standish – AFL Europe

Match of the Round

AFL Scotland

West Lothian Eagles v Tyne Tees Tigers

20/06/19  Linlithgow Rugby Club  2:00pm

The West Lothian Eagles and Tyne Tees Tigers will continue the exciting footy that AFL Scotland has shown this year, as they battle it out this weekend in a season defining match for both clubs.

Having contrasting seasons thus far, the Eagles and Tigers both have a lot to play for.

The Eagles in their inaugural AFL Scotland season are looking for their first win to jump start a finals run, while the Tigers are looking to leap to the top of the ladder, following three consecutive wins.

This match has the potential to be a shootout, with both sides showing on their day, that they can kick scores of over 100.

The overall importance of this game is huge for both sides and is described by Tigers Coach Chris Rodger.

“This weekend’s game is pivotal to our season, it will strengthen our spot on the top half of the ladder and continue our push for finals.”


Reiterated from Eagles club founder Michael Allan, there is a sense of optimism surrounding their side this week.

“Officially only 18 months old as a club, we have now been training well with increased numbers and this is our week where we could get some points on the board and then build on our season from there.”

Efficient in front of goal and using their size through aerial contests, the Tyne Tees Tigers have some exciting qualities and can be damaging in many areas of the ground.

Their resilience and overall fitness to will themselves back into games is also an exciting strength of this Tigers outfit.

In contrast to this their opponent of the West Lothian Eagles use their leg speed and agility well to break the lines and are known for their hard hitting tackles, showing they will not back down in this game and can lift their intensity when needed.

The new changes in staff for the Eagles are seen as a real positive, as people within the club are starting to notice an effective game plan, which is needed in important matches like the one this weekend.

“A change in coach and playing style has seen a marked improvement as of late, being competitive with some of the top teams and hoping the strategies in place will get us some wins in the games ahead.” said Michael Allan.

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These sides have helped the progression of AFL in Europe and by sharing the Australian sport culture to locals, these clubs will continue to grow and be successful for years to come.

“Again this year with a few new faces and good numbers around the club it all looks pretty good for our future on and off the track,” said Tigers Coach Rodger.

With the Tigers amazing efforts to enhance Australian football in Scotland and the emergence of the new club West Lothian Eagles, the standard of AFL Scotland is rapidly increasing and is exciting to see some new players in this match-up.

Michael Allan from the Eagles shares how his side has an element of mystery going into this match-up and how great it is to see this rise of Australian football in Scotland, through their new club.

“This year so far we have introduced around 17 men and women to AFL and will continue to build on this, we can add a surprise element against the opposition and giving a game to many new players is great for the growth of the sport.”

With the West Lothian Eagles improving each week and the Tyne Tees Tigers wanting to capatalise on a successful season so far, both teams have a lot to play far.

This match will be a close encounter and with the players wanting to represent their club with pride, increased attack on the contest will be shown.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.

2019 Euro Cup Team Previews: Part Six

With just over a week now until the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup, this year the tournament will be held in Norrtalje, Sweden for what is set to be a thrilling day of football as national teams from 16 different European countries field their nations best players and over 350 players battle it out for the Cup.

This year’s edition of the Euro Cup will see all the games take place on Saturday the 29th of June. As part of the buildup, AFL Europe will be previewing all the teams competing. In our sixth edition of the team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the Irish Warriors and the Swiss Wolves in the men’s side of the competition and in the women’s, the Welsh Wyverns.

Men’s Competition:

Irish Warriors

Coach: Brian Currane

Captain:  David McElhone

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

We have had a very hectic schedule of footy since early January which included the AFL Ireland Universities having its busiest season so far which included the Fitzpatrick Cup, the Irish Universities Cup, Cork Colleges Cup which all led to the successful first ever International Universities Cup in April,

The domestic clubs also had a busy preseason with tournaments like the Leprechaun Cup and Rebel shield. And then we had the Belfast Redbacks attending the Champions League. We also held a number trial games with the Irish Warriors Development Squad.

There is real excitement around the Irish Warriors and this is to show with now over 60 players on the Development Squad which include a number of exciting new players that have been coming through our Talent Pathway Program, who are involved with the Universities teams, and also with the upcoming Winter 7s Provincial teams and the two newly formed Clubs in Munster and Ulster.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

We have six clubs and two Universities represented on our squad including, Belfast Redbacks, Leeside Lions, Galway Magpies, South Dublin Swans, UCC Bombers, CIT Saints, Manchester Mosquitoes and West London Wildcats.

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

We have selected five debutants who have a great opportunity to establish themselves in the Warriors set up. Along with four players from last years tournament returning for only the second Euro Cup wearing the green Guernsey.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

Again like all our previous Euro Cups we will be the team that leaves everything on the field right up to the final siren playing through to our team core values.

We have a mix of quick and exciting players that will move the ball across the ground, along with some key position guys that are not short of height.  Throw in a few guys that are serious tacklers and all this should lead to a new and exciting style of play for the Warriors.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

It means a lot to the Warriors to be competing in this amazing European tournament which grows in standard every year.  For a player in any sport,  it means the world to them to be able to represent their country in an international tournament and it goes without saying that every one of these players and coaches are honoured to represent their country under the Irish flag.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

Every one of the 16 men’s sides competing in this years Euro Cup will have high expectations and will want to do the best they can, and the Irish Warriors know there will be many challenges through the day. Having been so close and getting to the Grand Final for the last three Euro Cups and having come away as runners up to three different Champions in, Denmark 2018, England 2017 and Croatia 2016, the Warriors will give everything that they can to go that one step further this year in what will be another very closely contested tournament.

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

Each player that’s selected for any Irish Warriors squad should be watched out for and this years squad is no different. Each player that will wear the Ireland Guernsey in Norrtalje has been selected for a specific role and reason and they all bring something that should be watched.

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

Interesting characters have always been a part of our Warriors teams, which always leads to interesting stories but that would be telling, during and after the event.

The Irish Warriors will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Being a team that everybody feared and nobody wanted to stand beside, while off the field everyone wants to be around us.

Swiss Wolves

Coach: Tommy Ross

Captain: Stefan Burgener

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

All of our national team players have been training regularly for their respective clubs and playing in the newly started Swiss League. We have also held a few separate national team training sessions. The last one before the Euro Cup will involve a barbecue afterwards so everyone can get to know each other even better, especially our new players.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

All three Swiss clubs are represented (Winterthur Lions, Basel Dragons, Geneva Jets).

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

We’ll have five players making their Euro Cup debut in the men’s. As footy has been growing in Switzerland, we’ve also been able to recruit some exciting new local talent.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

A team that wants to work hard from start to finish throughout each game of the tournament.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

We don’t take it for granted and are very humbled to have the opportunity to represent our country. Also, these large tournaments are always a lot of fun and great to meet people with similar interests across the globe.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

We expect to compete hard in every game, and win at least one game.

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

Everyone is probably going to say this, but I wouldn’t single out one player, working hard for each other, communication and working together as a team is what will make the difference on the pitch.

The Swiss Wolves will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Having many surprises.

Women’s Competition:

Welsh Wyverns

Coach: Jess Sallers

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

We were fortunate enough to take part in the National University League which has upped our game time and has given us a chance to trial new positions and combinations. We’ve been training together as a team and even having a BBQ before we fly out. Bring on the burgers!

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

Being the only AFL club in Wales, the Welsh Wyverns all come from the mighty Cardiff Panthers.

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

Due to the pool of Welsh players almost doubling this year, we are excited to have eight debutants!

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

On the field we will have players working hard for each other and linking up for great passages of play. Paired with great tenacity and a never give up attitude. Off the field we will have an awesome social atmosphere with great banter and questionable dance moves.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

Representing your country in a European tournament is a great honour and should be done with pride. For Wales, it’s a chance to up our game and test ourselves against the best in Europe and leave our mark as high quality football players. In the future we’d like to establish a second team in Wales so the Euro Cup is an opportunity to raise the profile of the women’s game and bring our momentum home.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

A great competitive and social atmosphere! A chance to get to know our fellow footy players and strengthen the bonds in the AFL Europe community.

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

As a group, we have such a diverse range of skills and everyone offers something. To name a few, Martha Williams is a great ball winner and has an excellent work rate. Jenny Green’s experience and cool head make her an asset under pressure and Sophie Williams is a newbie with a lot of potential.

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

Lots of our players have crossed over from different sports such as hockey, rugby and netball. Two of our players even play American football for Great Britain.

The Welsh Wyverns will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Good banter, great football and an awesome team spirit.

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Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

anzuk Education sign on for a third consecutive year

AFL Europe and anzuk Education are pleased to announce they will continue their partnership for another year.

After another successful year in 2018, anzuk Education will continue as the Official Education Partner of AFL Europe ensuring the ongoing development of coaches and umpires across Europe in 2019. anzuk Education’s support will help provide clubs and leagues around Europe with access to coaching & umpiring courses to further develop the game on the continent.

Across London and the UK, anzuk Education help offer roles for teachers, teaching assistants and support staff to people from all over the world who live and work in the UK. anzuk Education invest in teachers looking for temporary or permanent work, provide search and selection for executive level managers, recruit support staff and supply permanent and casual educators and support staff for early childhood.

anzuk Education UK Director, Ben Goldsmith stated that, “anzuk Education are proud to be the premier education partner with AFL Europe and their affiliates. Within the partnership we assist in providing the resources to help AFL Europe train and develop 100’s of coaches and umpires in both the UK and greater Europe. We are now into the 3rd year of our partnership and, as an organisation, value the game of Aussie Rules and are delighted to help support its growth of the game internationally.”

AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey shared the same excitement to be extending the partnership, “It’s a fantastic result to have anzuk Education on board to support AFL Europe once again. We have built a strong relationship in recent years and thanks to the support of Ben and his entire team, we will continue to educate and develop our coaches and umpires in 2019. This year alone we are expecting to accredit over 100 coaches in Europe, without the support of anzuk Education this feat would not be possible.”

If you are currently in the UK and looking for either short-term or permanent teaching work, anzuk Education are able to find the role for you. Please send your CV through to Joy Bayliss at joy.b@anzuk.education/uk and follow them on Facebook (@anzuk.uk), Twitter (@anzuk_uk) and Instagram (@anzuk.education.uk)