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.


On Sunday, the Geneva Jets hosted Round 4 of the AFL Switzerland competition as three teams, Winterthur, Northern Bears, and Basel, joined the hosts in the battle for a place in the Grand Final. This was an exciting occasion for the sport in Switzerland, as it was the first time that an official league game had been hosted in Geneva. With one round left after this one, results were key and it was the home team who dominated throughout the day. The standout game was between the Jets and the Basel Dragons. Despite the final score, the Dragons took it right up to the host team in the hot and windy conditions. The Dragons battled hard and held their own, but in the end, the Jets were just too fast and their experience helped lead them to a 64 point win. In Geneva’s other game, the Jets defeated a determined Winterthur Lions side. While the Jets had already booked a place in the Grand Final, the Basel Dragons and Winterthur Lions game was key to determining the other team to make the Grand Final. The Lions had to win to keep their chances alive, but it was the Dragons who recorded an impressive 59 point victory to confirm a place in the big dance. Earlier in the day, the Northern Bears had defeated the Jets Reserves in a high scoring battle. The final round of the season will take place in a couple of weeks’ time with final places already confirmed, before the Grand Final in September which will see the Geneva Jets play the Basel Dragons.

Final Scores (AFL Switzerland)

Mixed: Geneva Jets (12. 9 .81) defeated Basel Dragons (2. 5. 17)
Geneva Jets Reserves (7. 10. 52) defeated by Northern Bears (19. 15. 129).
Winterthur Lions (2. 5. 17) defeated by Basel Dragons (12. 4. 76).
Geneva Jets (10. 24. 84) defeated Winterthur Lions (1. 4. 10).



Saturday saw Round 9 of the St. Petersburg Australian Football League take place as the Northern Tigers played against the Baltic Hawks. In a close season so far, where winning consecutive games have been hard to achieve, the theme continued as the Tigers won this round after the Hawks had won in Round 8. Sunny conditions welcomed both sides and the game started at a frenetic pace in the clear conditions, with six goals kicked in the opening term. The Tigers held a slender two-point lead but the Hawks accurate kicking was giving them plenty to work with. The second quarter was again even, with eight goals kicked but the Tigers managed to sneak ahead by 16 points. It was during the third quarter that the game opened up as, despite their best efforts, the Hawks couldn’t match the Tigers, who kicked three unanswered goals to take a 35-point lead into the last change. The Hawks battled hard to try and get back into the game, but couldn’t match their opponents around the ground as the Tigers controlled the game to finish with a 36-point victory in an entertaining match where every player either kicked a goal or had a score involvement.

Final Scores (St. Petersburg Australian Football League)

Men’s: Northern Tigers (92) defeated Baltic Hawks (56).



It was Grand Final time in the WARFL on Monday night as the Cardiff Panthers played the Bristol Dockers in Cardiff to decide who would be Premiers and qualify for next years Champions League. After eight rounds of football that started back in April, it was the Panthers and Dockers who battled it out in an entertaining and tough contest. In a game that ebbed and flowed throughout, it was the Panthers’ skills, fitness, and experience that helped them record a 23 point win when the final siren sounded. The Dockers gave it everything they could, battling right to the end of the game, but the Panthers continued their good form from the season to take the trophy home. Joining the two teams competing in the Grand Final, was the Bath and Wiltshire Rebacks who helped with the umpiring alongside regular AFL Europe umpire Josh Davey.

Final Scores (Welsh Australian Rules Football League)

Men’s: Cardiff Panthers (90) defeated Bristol Dockers (67).



Next weeks AFL Scotland Grand Final will see the Glasgow Sharks take on the Edinburgh Bloods after Edinburgh defeated the Tyne Tees Tigers on the weekend. In tough conditions for football, the game saw a tight contest all the way through until the final quarter. In the windy weather, neither team could kick away and gain a sustainable lead in the match until halfway through the last quarter, when the fitness and endurance levels of the Bloods started to show as they went on to kick a number of goals without reply from the Tigers. Up to that stage, the Tigers had matched last years premiers for physicality and speed over the ground but just ran out of legs late in the game. When the final siren sounded, the Bloods had recorded a 37-point victory to reach this year’s Grand Final, but the Bloods were made to fight hard by the Tigers, providing a perfect test before the big dance next Saturday the 24th of August.

Final Scores (AFL Scotland)

Men’s: Tyne Tees Tigers (59) defeated by Edinburgh Bloods (96).



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

Match of the Round

AFL Switzerland Seniors

Geneva Jets, Basel Dragons, Winterthur Lions

18/08/2019  Centre Sportif de Vessy, Geneva  1:00pm

Round four of the AFL Switzerland senior competition is set to be a thriller, with the Geneva Jets, Basel Dragons and Winterthur Lions all facing off in an exciting battle this weekend.

Being a mixed competition, this league allows both men’s and women’s players to be a part of the sport together and this inclusiveness is perfect for so many people to be a part of the great game. Plans for multiple stand alone women’s sides are well underway, as this competition will grow even more in the coming years.

Geneva have seemed the best side of the 2019 competition, already booking a place in this year’s grand final in September after some dominating performances.

The Jets play an exciting brand of footy and through quick clearances will put on a show for the crowd with some high scoring matches and plenty of scoreboard pressure.

Only losing the first game of the season to Basel, the Jets look to be in their best form, having not lost since, and they are looking to continue this in round four and towards the grand final.

This weekend is pivotal to the Dragons’ and Lions’ seasons, both fighting for that final spot in the big dance.

These two sides are some of the most evenly matched in all of Europe, having one win against each other and even a draw this season, expect another extremely close match up in a very important part of the season.

Basel Dragons Secretary and AFL Switzerland committee member Jason Ransome highlights the importance of this match up, “the other grand final spot is still very much up for grabs for both Basel and Winterthur. So this being the final match of the day will be the one to watch. Whoever wins that match will make it extremely hard for the other in round five requiring them to win both matches.”

Basel will be hunting for the ball at all occasions. A team who is strong in and under contests, they will be looking to win the clearance battle and have exciting ways of beating the opposition around the ground.

While Winterthur will look to use their size and strength to intimidate the opposition and win aerial contests making for a thrilling day of footy.

These three clubs have grown quite quickly in the space of a year, as all clubs were founded in 2018 and already taken major strides in the right direction.

The way that these clubs are able to recruit a combination of Australians and locals show that their tactics are paying off and it’s exciting to see people from all backgrounds are able to play the game of AFL.

“Each club is uniquely different in AFL Switzerland. Having many international organisations based in Geneva, means they have many Australian’s based here giving the club a large playing base to choose from each round. The Winterthur Lions are a majority Swiss based club, which helps them recruit a lot more Swiss to their club as opposed to the other two clubs. Basel has many families and has been modeled on an old suburban Melbourne club. This has helped attract families and is currently the only club in Switzerland that has juniors who attend training,” said Jason.

A major reason behind this is their great connection to the home of AFL in Melbourne, Australia where the Winterthur Lions and Basel Dragons are directly connected to two major clubs of the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Winterthur are partnered with the Coburg Lions and Basel with the Port Melbourne Boroughs. These efforts to work together have built a platform for AFL Switzerland to grow and through sponsorship and the sharing of ideas have already made a lot of progress.

With three huge clubs facing off, this is one of the most important weekend’s in their footy calendar. The Jets will be looking to continue their form towards a huge grand final, while the Dragons and Lions will be battling it out for that final place. Geneva will be home to a big crowd this weekend with exciting brands of footy on display and some high scoring affairs.

Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!


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

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe


Umpire Spotlight – Paul Barron

From “doing a shoey” in front of the Australian Ambassador for Sweden to combining the tricky balance of umpiring and playing Australian Football, Paul Barron has been involved in the game for roughly 20 years.

Having started umpiring at the age of 14 in Sydney, before moving on to senior football as he went up the ranks, Paul gained a wealth of experience in the game, so when he moved to Malmo in Sweden in 2014, he had no hesitation in combining playing and umpiring to stay involved in Australian Football.

“I umpired for many years in Australia as I was never a very good player and the pocket money growing up was handy,” he said. Now he regularly umpires at major tournaments around Europe.

Paul’s umpiring experience includes two underage national championships in Australia, one held in Brisbane and the other in Melbourne. He has also umpired in Denmark, in his local league and at this years Euro Cup in Sweden as well as in the Champions League in Amsterdam.

At this year’s Euro Cup, Paul was awarded the Golden Whistle, given to the umpire of the tournament, and celebrated in true Australian fashion.

“I was accepting the trophy in front of the Australian Ambassador and local mayor when one of the Irish players came up to me with a beer and a football boot. Of course I couldn’t say no, so now I can tell everyone that I’ve done a shoey in front of the Australian Ambassador to Sweden,” he said.

Winning the Golden Whistle was also a bit of a special moment for Paul, as the tournament was in the country he is currently living in, and many of his teammates were present from Port Malmo.

“It was a nice moment. Living in Sweden I got a big cheer since a lot of my Malmo team mates were there playing for the Swedish national team,” he said.

For many umpires, their goal is to umpire the highest quality football possible, which tends to be the grand final in whichever league they are in. Paul achieved that goal last year in the Danish Australian Football League between the Copenhagen Giants and the Farum Cats.

Having said that, Paul has umpired plenty of football at a variety of levels, and his aim for umpiring in Europe at the moment is to do as many games as possible to help grow the sport.

“My goal is to umpire as many games as possible. I love the fact that Australian Football is played outside of Australia so by umpiring, I’m enabling people to play footy in Europe. And if I can teach some of the newer players the rules or give some advice to new umpires then even better,” he said.

Becoming an umpire is a daunting experience to some, but there are plenty of opportunities at local leagues and major tournaments throughout Europe where people can get involved and Paul says there are lots of those opportunities available for anyone who wants to give it a try. With people like Paul involved, those who are willing to give it a try will be in good hands as his experience in the game goes to show.

During his football career, Paul has been involved in plenty of games either as a player or umpire and will hopefully be involved in plenty more to come – and the “shoey” story will certainly be told for a while!

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Colin O’Riordan is making his mark at AFL level

It’s been an interesting journey for 23 year old Irishman Colin O’Riordan, coming from a Catholic household in the Irish countryside with Gaelic football running through his veins.

Following in the footsteps of his champion Gaelic Football playing father (Michael), O’Riordan would achieve this same goal in 2014 when he made his senior debut for Tipperary and immediately becoming a regular at senior level and racking up numerous awards.

His career trajectory was set as a professional Gaelic player.

It wasn’t until an AFL Europe draft combine caught his attention that he found out about Aussies Rules and it didn’t take long for him to be hooked on the game.

“I went over to London to play an exhibition game for AFL Europe against the AIS boys from Australia and while only playing for 40-45 minutes I was interested in the game and intrigued by a possible pathway to the AFL.” O’Riordan told AFL Europe.

After impressing at the combines in Europe, O’Riordan would attract the attention of three AFL clubs in St Kilda, Essendon and Sydney, with the decision made very easy by the effort the Swans made in their recruiting pitch.

“I just loved Sydney, they flew me up to training at their Academy where I had a few kicks the footy and ever since then I decided that if I got offered a contract that’s 100% where I’d want to be.”

He would eventually be picked up in October 2015 by the Swans with an international rookie contract, showing how quickly he had impressed recruiters.

Sydney recruiting manger Kinnear Beatson was extremely happy to have secured the Irish talent, speaking glowingly of O’Riordan’s ability to grasp the game so quickly.

“What struck us most was how well he kicked the footy, he genuinely looks like an AFL footballer” Beatson said following the clubs signing of O’Riordan.

“He’s got great skills, takes the ball at the highest point when marking overhead, his work ethic and his competitiveness really shone out in the session he had with us.”

O’Riordan’s dedication would be a standout trait when he joined the club, as he remembers working hard to earn the respect of the group and get the best out of himself as an athlete.

“All you want to do is try to impress and that’s all I did, I just wanted to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and gain the respect of the playing group.”

This work ethic would see the young Irishman take dramatic strides, as he picked up the game quickly and slotted in beautifully to the Swans NEAFL set up.

Playing his first game in 2016, match notes suggested the Irishman did not look out of place from the beginning as he claimed 20 touches in just his second match at the level.

Despite being very new to the game, O’Riordan was never content at state level, with his eyes firmly set on the AFL from the beginning.

“You don’t really want to play NEAFL and that’s the reality, you come over with your head set to play AFL and for me that’s all I really wanted.”

Spending two years honing his craft at state level, O’Riordan would begin to truly breakout in 2018 where he averaged an astounding 28.9 disposals and 8.6 marks a game to put himself in the frame for senior selection.

After a string of dominant performances in the NEAFL, O’Riordan would finally get his chance to play senior football in round 17 of 2018 when the Swans travelled to Docklands Stadium to face North Melbourne.

It’s a day Colin says he will never forget. “It was what I always wanted.” He said. “Being able to get my Mum and Dad over to watch the game made it even more special, and to win the way we did, I just wanted more.”

He would play two more matches in 2018, showing glimpses of a promising future at the highest level.

With three pre seasons under his belt, 2019 was the year O’Riordan looked to make his mark.

“It’s been a progressive year.” He said reflecting on 2019.

“[Playing senior footy] is obviously what I came to do and I’ve learned a lot more this year than any year.”

This growth saw him able to string together 11 straight games through the middle of the year before being struck down with a groin injury two weeks ago.

Throughout his 12 games, O’Riordan averaged 14.1 disposals and 4.3 marks across half back and the wing whilst looking more and more confident at the level each week. Despite his success this year, the Irishman is far from satisfied.

“I’m happy but not really content with where I’m at.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be content with where I am, it is a step in the right direction.”

As for the team as a whole, the Swans have been the youngest team in the competition on numerous occasions this year which is something O’Riordan is super excited about moving forward.

“We still want to progress and we are annoyed with aspects of this year, however it’s been pretty special to be a part of a group with a real sense of camaraderie and belonging.” He told AFL Europe.

“It’s exciting times for sure.”

At the end the day though for Colin O’Riordan it’s all about going out there and giving his all.

“You have to have confidence in your own ability that you can beat [anyone].” He said of the jump to the AFL.

“You can really just focus on yourself, get your body right, and when it comes to the weekend have an absolute crack.”


Zac Standish – AFL Europe 

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Phil Forbes

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. 

Growing up in the outer-east suburbs of Melbourne, Phil Forbes was surrounded by people who loved the game of AFL and before long he joined the craze, playing four years for the South Croydon Bulldogs in his teenage years.

Phil moved to Poland for work and initially didn’t think about playing AFL in Europe, but after hearing about the rise of the game in the continent he was eager to become a driving force for the game in a new country.

With his height and agility, Phil has developed his game since being in Poland and has played in some important games on the international level in many countries.

“I’m 194cm and while I’m far from my prime, I can still move pretty damn fast. Whether I’m on the field or watching from the sidelines, I’m always talking, yelling, or just generally being loud. Here in Poland where a lot of Poles are traditionally shy, my loudness can be encouraging and get everyone going,” he said.

AFL is such a big part of the culture of Australia and when you support a team you feel connected to so many others each AFL season. Phil explains that when moving overseas to Poland he was always looking for things to help his experience feel like home and playing AFL was certainly a main contributor.

“Being an expat, I’ve found myself trying to focus on the things from home that I truly love and miss – AFL is one of them. When I moved to Poland, I never considered playing, but it just kind of happened and evolved. Now that I’ve started playing again, I’m finding a new love for the game.”

Phil wanted to build on the sport in Poland and started to put together a national side where today, thanks to his volunteer work, has put the Polish Devils side on the map as they made their debut in this year’s Euro Cup.

Phil recruited, taught, coached, managed and played all in order to get this side off the ground and after such an effort to be a part of the tournament in Sweden, the future of the Polish Devils looks extremely promising thanks to his hard work.

Since founding this Polish side, Phil has created a crew which he believes is helping to create it to be a more successful club, “I’ve had to sacrifice a few other things in order to get the ball rolling. I’m lucky that I work with a half dozen others (Aussies and Poles) and we delegate jobs pretty well. I take care of the websites and marketing, another guy takes care of the training, another guy takes care of all the admin, another manages the money. Building these core group of guys wasn’t easy, but the best way to improve yourself as a player and a club is to delegate and keep each other accountable.”

While Phil has loved his time building the game in Poland, one of his favourite moments of his Australian Football career so far was playing in an ANZAC commemoration match in Peronne, France, last year.

“To be in a small French village, playing our game from our home, in a city where so many Australian’s fought and died, 100 years ago, it was a hell of an experience,” he said.

From playing football in the outer east suburbs in Melbourne as a teenager to having a significant role within Polish football and playing in France, Phil has been a key pillar for the game in Europe and hopefully his work both on and off the field has helped create a pathway for the next group of stars to play in Poland.

If you are interested in finding out more about Australian Football in Poland, head to the following link:

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.


Thursday night football welcomed the Port Malmo Maulers and Farum Cats as the two sides battled it out in the race to decide positions for the upcoming finals. On a day where there had been sun, rain and even hail storms in the region, the weather cleared enough for a closely contested football match that went right down to the final siren. The Cats got off to a flyer, with fast ball use and making the most of their opportunities as they led by 29 points at the first break. However, the Maulers stepped up a gear in the second quarter and showed everyone what they are capable of as they clawed back the score and held a six-point lead at half-time – a 35 point turnaround in one quarter. The Maulers continued their momentum, but the Cats had also lifted their intensity and both defences were able to gain more control in the third quarter compared to earlier in the match. At the final change, it was the Maulers who were in front by 13 points. However, following the theme of this contest, there were more twists as the Cats piled on the pressure and with the last kick at goal for the game, scored a pivotal goal as they recorded an important five-point win in a fantastic game of football.

Final Scores (DAFL)

Men’s: Port Malmo Maulers (80) defeated by Farum Cats (85).



After a successful match earlier in the year in the Netherlands, the Rhein-Main Redcats hosted a return match against the Amsterdam Devils women’s team on Saturday. In sunny conditions as seen in the picture below, the Redcats and Devils battled it out against each other at the Ostpark in Frankfurt. The Redcats team was made up of a combination of players from the Rheinland Lions and Frankfurt Redcats who have been competing in the AFLG Women’s league this season, while the Amsterdam Devils hadn’t played a competitive match since hosting the Champions League in April. In the last game, the Devils came away with the victory and Saturday saw the same result but the visiting team were made to work hard for the win. The Devils started off the stronger of the two teams, with their ball movement and physicality showing around the contest. With a number of players with experience in Gaelic football, the Devils were the stronger side, but a well-worked team goal in the third quarter highlighted the improvement of the Redcats team. The Redcats continued to fight hard but couldn’t match the Devils experience on a day that could become a regular feature in the future. It was a great day for all involved and created a great opportunity for AFL Netherlands and AFLG Women to build a positive relationship for the future of the game in those two countries.

Final Scores (AFL Netherlands/AFLG Women)

Women’s: Rhein-Main Redcats (6) defeated by Amsterdam Devils (99).



On Saturday, the Hamburg Dockers hosted the Berlin Crocodiles as the home side looked to finish the home and away season undefeated, while the visitors were looking to secure their place in the finals and gain some momentum heading into the finals, starting in two weeks’ time. In a tight, physical match, the class of the Dockers shone as they were able to control enough of the game in the key stages to win the final game of the home and away season by 29 points. Despite the final margin, the Crocodiles will believe they can take the game right up to the Dockers in the kind of environment that finals football can produce if they meet at some stage during the AFLG finals. Both defences will look back at the game and find positives with the low-scoring match which tend to be the nature during finals, so both sides would have taken plenty of positives out of the game. The Dockers will be deserved favourites from here after going through the season undefeated, but the Crocodiles will be looking forward eagerly to put their own impression on this year’s finals series, with semi-finals on the 24th of August before the Grand Final a couple of weeks later.

Final Scores (AFLG)

Men’s: Hamburg Dockers (66) defeated Berlin Crocodiles (37).



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

Irish Watch – AFL Round 21 Review

It was a tough weekend for two of our more high profile Irishman, as Conor McKenna’s Bombers and Pearce Hanley’s Suns suffered crushing defeats to the tune of 104 and 91 points respectively.

The Bombers, in particular, were the subject of much criticism following their embarrassing performance against the Western Bulldogs, as they let their opposition pile on 21 consecutive goals to put their finals hopes at serious risk.  

With many Bombers players targeted for their lacklustre efforts, you certainly can’t put McKenna in that category as the lightning-fast defender showed off his new bright blonde haircut with a spirited performance on an otherwise dirty night for his team.

In what was an incredibly lopsided affair, McKenna would do all he could to help stop the dominance of the Dogs and generate some pace and energy off the Essendon half backline.

Picking up a respectable 19 disposals, three marks and four tackles, you couldn’t fault the Irishman’s efforts as he gave 100% until the final siren.

His willingness to take the game on in spite of the situation his side found itself in was a particular highlight of his game as he always looked for an attacking option.

He also used the ball going at 69%, serving as a shining light on the otherwise dour night for his struggling team.

Similarly to McKenna, Hanley pushed hard all day for the Gold Coast who were simply overawed by what can only be described as a Brisbane Lions juggernaut at the GABBA.

Having not registered a win since round four, it was a daunting task for the Suns who are looking to close what has been a disastrous season on a positive note.

However, after a tight start, they were no match for second-placed Lions who, led by a six goal haul by Charlie Cameron, flexed their muscles over their cross town rivals.

As for Hanley he would again play a crucial role for his team patrolling the defence whilst also getting involved through the middle of the ground.

One of the few experienced heads in the Suns lineup, Hanley did all he could to spark his team as he looked to use his trademark run and dash to make things happen.

Collecting a reasonable 17 disposals, five tackles and a mark, he certainly battled hard till the end and tried to lift his younger teammates.

His use of the ball was again superb, going at 76% as he constantly looked to take aggressive options and put the Lions on the back foot.

It wouldn’t be all doom and gloom for our Irishman however, with Hawthorn forward Conor Nash being a late inclusion into his sides dominant 56 point win over the Giants with Canberra.

In unique snowy conditions in the nations capital, the Hawks would brave the cold beautifully to dismantle a Giants side who struggled to get going from the outset.

Replacing Jack Gunston less than an hour before the first bounce, Nash would come in and produce a career best performance in a forward line that functioned beautifully in trying conditions.

With the game plan simply being kick it forward, Nash’s pressure was excellent in helping the Hawks lock the ball inside their attacking half and dictate the game.

His ability to get up the ground was also outstanding as he picked up a career high 16 disposals as he ventured up across half forward and up to the wing at times.

He also showed his presence around the goals, hitting the scoreboard once and having five score involvements.

Along with his ability to find the ball and convert, Nash would commit 18 pressure acts and have two tackles in what was an outstanding display from the big forward.

Zach Tuohy’s Cats would enjoy a return to form on Saturday night as they kept North Melbourne to the lowest score in the club’s history on their way to securing a much needed 55 point win at GMHBA Stadium.

Tuohy would produce another clinical performance across half back and on the wing, proving to be a vital part of what was an exceptional defensive performance from the Cats.

Along with his ability to curb the influence of North Melbourne’s forwards, Tuohy was creative with ball in hand and helped springboard a number of Geelong attacks from the back half.

Picking up a solid 22 disposals and four marks, Tuohy added much needed speed to the game with his ability to break the lines proving crucial on a number of occasions.

In the VFL, Geelong’s Stefan Okunbor experienced a major milestone in the Cats win over North Melbourne as he kicked his first ever goal. 

A natural athlete, the 21 year old showed flashes of brilliance and courage as he continues to adapt to Australian Rules Football.

Zac Standish – AFL Europe

Match of the Round

Rhein Main Redcats v Amsterdam Devils

10/08/2019  Ostpark, Frankfurt  4:00pm

In a chance to get some competitive match play in as a team and grow the bonds within the AFL Europe community, the German Rhein Main Redcats will face the Amsterdam Devils in a women’s clash this weekend.

The Amsterdam Devils side have some experienced and polished players, while the Rhein Main side are a combination of the Rheinland Lions and the Frankfurt Redcats but have found a great balance and are confident that they can again play well together.

Held in Frankfurt, all players are keen to face each other once again, after a meeting earlier in the year in the Netherlands was a huge success.

In their last encounter the Devils outshone the Redcats, who were an extremely new side at the time. With some time to work together as a team and the home ground advantage for the Redcats, expect a thrilling match up that will come right down to the wire.

For the Amsterdam Devils, they have not played a match since the Champions League in April so are extremely excited to be back on the field in a competitive environment.

Devils’ Captain Bridgette Allen describes the team’s feelings as they head over to Germany, “The girls are very excited as we haven’t had a game in a while… It’s a great chance for the Devils girls to actually get some more competitive game time! We have a couple of new players debuting so it will be a great game.”

In her debut match for the Devils, Gaelic player Kate Caulfield is expected to use her elite skills in a new sport this weekend. “We are anticipating her skills will cross over brilliantly, plus she has killer speed which will be an asset in the midfield,” said Bridgette.

With the coming together of two countries, Janine Becker of the Rhein Main Redcats is thrilled to see the growth of women in the sport and how these types of matches are extremely beneficial for the growth of the game in Europe.

“It is so great to see how you can find the spirit of footy and everything involved with it spreading in other countries! All the support between the teams from different countries is incredible. Seeing other clubs growing their women’s team and footy for women becoming bigger and bigger all over the world should be an inspiration for every other country,” said Janine.

One of the most improved players for the Redcats is Marie Kaiser. Only starting to play the game last year, her commitment to continuously improve has helped her become one of the Rhein Main’s best players and her skills across the ground will be pivotal to the side and exciting to watch.

This international match is set to be a great learning experience for all involved, and a chance for some new players to get a game under their belt. Both clubs are set to grow and succeed into the rest of 2019 and beyond, and this weekend’s international friendly is sure to show that both on and off the field.


Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!


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

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe




Community Spotlight – Michael Currane

As one of the original driving forces for AFL in Ireland 20 years ago, Michael Currane has well and truly been there since the beginning.

From playing, to managing, to coaching, Mike is a major factor to the success of AFL Ireland and is the epitome of what AFL Europe stands for on and off the pitch.

Inspired by Irish AFL player and Brownlow winner Jim Stynes, Mike regularly watched highlights of the great Australian game growing up and wanted to be a part of it all.

“I absolutely loved the game from the first moment I saw it. There was a highlights package on our Irish Language TV Station, and I was glued to it every week, watching legends of the game including our own Jimmy Stynes. I was always attracted to the more physical side and the skills side of the game.”

This led to Mike playing footy with his siblings, where he and his brother Brian would drag their sisters outside, find some fencing posts, set them up as goal posts and kick the footy around, taking big marks and kicking goals together.

Mike says, “Never in our wildest dreams during those kickabouts would we have thought that any of us would have the chance to go on and play.” Not only did they play, but all four brothers and sisters went on to win AFL Ireland Premierships and three went on to represent their country.

Mike joined some Aussies and had his first Australian football training session in Phoenix Park, where he started to play the game. Wanting to grow the game, Mike was a founder of the Dublin Demons. After building the game up in their area, the club were able to combine with the Belfast Redbacks for the first ever official game on Irish soil 20 years ago.

Mike helped build an Irish championship tournament not long after which gained attention, before laying the building blocks of AFL Ireland which today is one of the most flourishing leagues in all of AFL Europe.

When younger, Mike was an extremely successful player, winning three premierships with the Dublin Demons and representing Ireland in the International Cup in Melbourne twice, where his Irish side took out the tournament in 2002.

As well as being an on-field success, Mike was able to help grow the game in Ireland and even across Europe, founding the EARFC (European Australian Rules Football Council). This was able to kick start a huge growth of the game across the continent and formed the foundation of what we now know as AFL Europe.

After playing and managing large parts of the Irish league for many years, Mike took another huge step, managing the Irish men’s team at the 2017 International Cup, where the idea of AFL Ireland Women’s also started to take shape.

With the vision of having a local domestic league for Irish women to compete in regularly, Mike along with Olivia McCann grew the women’s league massively within 18 months.  Off the back of this, the Banshees national team have gone on to win recent Euro Cup events as well of having plenty of Irish representation competing professionally in the AFLW.

Currently in his third year of being a large part of the AFL Europe Commission, Mike is also the head of AFL Ireland Women’s, the head Coach of the Ireland National Teams (Irish Banshees & Irish Universities) and the Ireland Ambassador with Crosscoders.

His countless efforts to help the growth of the game is a major reason to why Ireland is a major AFL hub worldwide and his work helps AFL Europe immensely.

Picking up so many jobs at once and being so selfless with volunteering his time in so many areas, Mike urges others to do the same, “I have always taken a very active role off the pitch even when playing. I think it’s very important for players to do so. The success of clubs and leagues across Europe and the global footy community is hugely dependent on volunteers. More often than not that means players doubling up with admin roles.”

From wanting his own opportunity to play the game and having many dreams come true, to being so selfless with efforts to involve everyone in the game, Mike has done some amazing work over many years and will continue to do so. Without him the AFL Europe community wouldn’t be where it is thriving today, and he expects the the international growth of the game to continue to succeed.

“I’m very excited to see where AFL in Europe goes over the next few years. Footy has continued to grow across the continent, it’s getting bigger year on year. Aussie Rules is growing across all countries and still new clubs and leagues are being formed. There has never been better support and governance structures in place with AFL Europe – amazing people are doing amazing work across the continent.” 

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Jennifer Englisch

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. 

Something that is shining through the AFLW competition in Australia are dual sport athletes, and just like those athletes, Jennifer Englisch has already shown her ability to adapt to many different sports having made a smooth transition to footy in Germany.

The AFLG Women’s league is continuing to grow and Jennifer is a large part of this growth, joining the sport for the Hamburg Dockers earlier this year.

Jennifer is not new at facing challenges, after competing in Judo professionally and also playing European Handball, she believes she can take many of her attributes into AFL and loves how versatile the sport is.

“I was looking for a new team sport where I could combine ball skills, physical strength and coordination. Spending time in Australia, I loved what I saw in the sport and wanted to get involved,” Englisch said.

Within one week of training, her teammates had convinced her to join the Hamburg Dockers at the Champions League tournament where she was able to improve each game.

Within a few months, she had improved her footballing skills at an incredible rate, and German Eagles Coach Emily McKie wanted her in their national side.

Coach Emily explains how vital Jennifer is for their team after recent success at the 2019 Euro Cup where the German Eagles won the Bronze medal. “Having a player of Jen’s calibre has been a big confidence boost for the girls. She really leads by example and has such a strong, physical presence on the field. The girls know that they can rely on her to not only win the ball and make something of it, but they also know that she will be there to support, shepherd and tackle the opposition,” McKie said.

Within only months of playing the game Jennifer has taken her sporting strengths and found even more in this sport as she looks ahead to getting even better.

“I enjoy body contact and breaking tackles. I play in the ruck and I can also jump high and tap the ball to my rovers. However, my biggest strength is my passion for the sport and my desire to continuously improve.”

Jennifer’s passion for being involved at every opportunity when playing is evident from the sidelines, and is a key attribute to Jennifer’s game that Emily values highly.

“For Euro Cup,  I asked her to alternate between ruck and a loose half-back position and she did it, without question, because she just wanted to do what was best for the team,” McKie said.

Jennifer aspires to win the AFLG with the Hamburg Dockers, and would love the opportunity to play AFL in Australia. Her continued improvement and love of the game will take her a long way to achieving both of those goals in the near future.



Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

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