AFL Europe Festival of Football to return, new date set for August

We’re excited to announce the return of the Festival of Football.

The governing bodies of AFL in Europe are invited to host a tournament with their local teams in a city of their choice, all to occur on the same day of Saturday, 14th of August.

Similar to last year, the format and number of teams in each tournament may differ however all will be supported by AFL Europe and supplied with a Sherrin KB football, medals for the champion team, a Team of the Tournament guernsey and much more.

The inaugural event, held last year on September 26th, was introduced to give teams around Europe a chance to play competitive footy after many leagues faced cancelled or interrupted seasons.

Participating countries held matches and tournaments where government restrictions allowed them to do so safely, and fortunately we were able to see more than 50 games of footy played across ten different countries.

READ: EUROPE UNITES FOR A SPECTACULAR DAY OF FOOTY

Highlights from last year’s event included the inaugural Australian Football match between two Bulgarian teams, the first-ever all Poland footy tournament, a mixed tournament in the Netherlands and an array of debutants playing the sport for the first time after patiently waiting all year to be able to do so.

Countries are welcome to host both a men’s and women’s tournament where possible, and join with neighbouring countries to form a regional tournament if necessary and safe to do so.

We’re excited to see the AFL Europe Community come together for another action-packed day of Australian Football being played all around Europe and we look forward to sharing the details of each tournament over the next few months.

Those wishing to host a tournament in their country as part of the Festival of Football, will only be permitted to do so if the event complies with the appropriate COVID-19 government guidelines.

Please contact your local league or club president should you have any questions around participating in the Festival of Football in your country.

AFL Europe Podcast: One Kick Later – Morten Merhøj

In episode fifteen of the AFL Europe Podcast and for the latest instalment of our One Kick Later series, we’re joined by Morten Merhøj.

Being introduced to Australian Football in Denmark and at a young age, Morten shares his journey in the sport from playing in Farum’s junior program to representing his country on the international stage.

Over the years, Morten has become heavily involved in the growth of footy in Denmark and the Danish Australian Football League (DAFL), talking to some of league’s history and traditions, as well as many success stories that have come out of the country including the growth of the club in Odense.

Listen via Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Alternatively, type in and search AFL Europe Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Coach Development Series to resume next week, new coaches encouraged to register

Our 2021 Coach Development Series with anzuk Education is set to resume next week and is open to registration for coaches who were unable to attend the first four sessions of the program.

The second and final block of webinars will start on Sunday, 9th of May and will run for four consecutive weeks (16th, 23rd & 30th).

The remaining sessions will start at 9:00AM BST and feature new presenters and new topics each week.

So far, we have been privileged to be joined by four elite coaches and mentors; Andrew Horsfield, Jack Barry, Dr. Brooke Patterson and Leigh Clarke.

Coaches who missed or were unable to attend our first four sessions may register into the next block of sessions by filling in the form below.

Newly registered coaches who attend all of the remaining sessions will be granted access to CoachAFL.

Coaches who attended any of the first four sessions have been emailed and do not need to re-register.

Registrations closed Friday, 7th of May 11:59AM (BST). Please email coach@afleurope.org if you are interested in attending.

AFL Europe Podcast: One Kick Later – Alban Schieber

On this episode of One Kick Later on the AFL Europe Podcast, we’re very excited to be joined by Alban Schieber.

Alban grew up in France however discovered footy on a student exchange program to Australia. Upon his return to France, and what you’ll soon find out in this episode, is how Alban became heavily involved in the sport and the growth of the AFL Europe community.

From playing locally with Bordeaux to representing France at a national level, from taking on roles such as the president of the CNFA (now AFL France) to recruiting Australians in the early days of AFL Europe’s ANZAC Cup, Alban shares his wonderful journey with Australian Football and how he continues to discover new ways he can grow the sport throughout Europe.

Listen via Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Alternatively, type in and search AFL Europe Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Irish Down Under – Bríd Stack AFLW

Welcome back to another episode of Irish Down Under hosted by James Brosnan and Mike Currane.

In this episode, we’re excited to be joined by Bríd Stack from the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Bríd had quite the rollercoaster start in Australia; two-week’s hotel quarantine, travelling with the Giants into a number of “hubs” across the country and then unfortunately sustaining an injury that ruled her out of her debut AFLW season.

Nevertheless, Bríd remained the ultimate professional she is, persisting through her rehab and recovery to get back into non-contact training and even becoming a mentor for the younger players at the club.

Hear from Bríd as she chats to Jim and Mike on her time Down Under, thriving in a professional environment, teaming up with good mate Cora Staunton plus hear from Bríd as she reviews the 2021 individual season’s for the Irishwomen who took part and then, helps us share our top 10 moments from the year.

Watch the episode here or listen to it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Video Guide:

0:26 – And just like that, the women’s season is done!

1:29  – What the end of an AFLW season looks like and exit interviews.

4:46 – Recovery from her neck injury in the pre-season and returning to training.

6:44 – Bríd’s journey in her first few months after arriving in Australia including her injury.

12:53 – Recovery, setting weekly goals, shifting her mindset.

15:36 – Developing into a mentor and thriving in the professional environment.

19:09 – Looking ahead and plans for the next few months.

20:32 – Bríd’s take on the AFLW Grand Final and how all of the Irish girls went across the 2021 season.

28:24 – Mike, Jim & Bríd share our top 10 moments by the Irish girls from the 2021 AFLW season.

Irish duo to go head-to-head in AFL Women’s Grand Final

Excitement looms in Ireland as natives Ailish Considine and Orla O’Dwyer have both been named in tomorrow’s 2021 AFLW Grand Final.

Considine’s inclusion will see her play her first AFLW game since round six, coming into the side as a replacement for captain Chelsea Randall (concussion).

O’Dwyer, who has had a standout year in just her second season with the Lions and was voted as the AFL Ireland Women’s Irish Player of the Year, will join Considine in becoming the second Irishwoman in the competition’s history to play in an AFLW Grand Final.

With the two girls playing on opposing sides, tomorrow’s match will guarantee premiership success (again) for Ireland.

Considine, who has faced an interrupted season through injury, became the first Irishwoman to win an AFLW premiership in her debut season in the league in 2019.

Finishing on top of the ladder, Adelaide have earned home ground advantage which will see the match played at Adelaide Oval, where it last drew a crowd of 53,000 fans.

O’Dwyer and the Lions, who finished the season second on the ladder, will be looking to win their first AFLW flag after overcoming the Collingwood Magpies by just four-points last week.

Adelaide were able to capitalise on an inefficient Demons side, winning their preliminary final by 18-points and are on the hunt for their third premiership since the competition’s inaugural season in 2017.

Watch – O’Dwyer on AFL 360 previewing the 2021 AFLW Grand Final.

The AFL Europe community will also be keeping a close eye on both head coaches tomorrow.

Over the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to have Adelaide’s Matthew Clarke and Brisbane’s Craig Starcevich get involved and support the AFL Europe community and the growth of the sport across the continent.

Adelaide Crows Head Coach, Matthew Clarke, made the trip to London in 2018 to speak at AFL Europe’s Grand Final Lunch in September.

Brisbane Lions Head Coach, Craig Starcevich, who was in Switzerland last year in the AFLW’s off-season, assisted the Basel Dragons and AFL Switzerland through their 2020 season.

Whilst in Europe, Starcevich also made a trip to Heidelberg, Germany and ran a training session with the German women’s national side.

Earlier this week, Starcevich was recognised as the AFL Coaches Association’s AFLW senior coach of the year.

As voted by his peers, Starcevich earned the nod ahead of Adelaide’s Matthew Clarke in second, and Melbourne’s Mick Stinear in third.

The 2021 AFL Women’s season has been the most brilliant and unpredictable yet, and I’m sure tomorrow’s match will be no different.

The match kicks off at 5:00AM BST / 6:00AM CEST and can be watched outside of Australia via Watch AFL.

See the full teams and match details via the AFL Women’s website.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe

AFL Europe Podcast: One Kick Later – Laura Turner-Ramadan

On this episode of One Kick Later on the AFL Europe Podcast, we’re very excited to be joined by Laura Turner-Ramadan.

Laura first experienced Australian Football in a ten-month stay in Sydney and could not believe it when she heard there were teams playing back home in England. Well, it’s since become quite the journey for Laura, which has included captaining and leading teams to AFL Europe’s Champions League, Euro Cup, European Championships as well as the first Great Britain women’s team to the AFL’s International Cup in 2017.

I’ve got no doubt you’ll find Laura’s love and motivation for the sport extremely infectious, as she shares her story and experiences on representing her country in international tournaments, the growth of the AFL London women’s league and it being a proven pathway to the AFLW for players and coaches, having a child on an AFL Grand Final day and plenty more.

Listen via Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Alternatively, type in and search AFL Europe Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

First block of Coach Development Series finished, new Coaching Mentor Program

The first block of online sessions in AFL Europe’s Coach Development Series with anzuk Education has concluded, taking a short break before continuing next month.

The short break will allow the 200+ coaches that attended the first four webinars to go over their learnings and prepare for the resumption of the series in May.

For each community club throughout Europe, having one club representative attend all four of these sessions has added to their chance of winning £500 worth of footballs, as per AFL Europe’s Quality Club Program.

So far in the series, we have been privileged to be joined by four elite coaches and mentors; Andrew Horsfield, Jack Barry, Dr. Brooke Patterson and Leigh Clarke.

Our special guests, all who are from Australia, presented to our coaches covering the topics of Peak Performance, Building Relationships, Injury Prevention and Coaching Basic Skills, respectively.

We’re excited to share that the end of the first block of sessions has helped inspire the launch of AFL Europe’s Coaching Mentor Program.

The coaches who attended the first four sessions of the Coach Development Series have been placed in groups consisting of up to 14 other coaches, including one Level 2 coach, from across Europe.

All coaches are encouraged to engage online with their fellow group members to learn and develop their own skills, whilst also helping their peers and the growth of Australian footy in Europe.

“Regardless of whether you are the most experienced Australian Football coach in Europe or the least experienced, you can always learn from other coaches and you can always be teaching other coaches,” said AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey.

“The Coaching Mentor Program will encourage our coaches to interact with their group members through video calls, messages and other forms of communication to extract as much information and learnings from one another as possible. This program will also ensure we create strong relationships within our coaching network.

“The level of engagement and commitment to this year’s Coach Development Series has been outstanding, and we hope to see that continue through this new program to benefit the growth and skill development of Australian Football in Europe.

“Special thanks to AFL Europe’s Education Partner, anzuk Education, for bringing the Coach Development Series to life.”

As mentioned earlier, the Coach Development Series is set to resume in May but will now take place on Sunday mornings. All coaches who attended the first first four sessions will receive an email with the details for our fifth session of the series in the coming weeks.

New coaches are still welcome to register into the series. Please email your interest to coach@afleurope.org.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe

AFL Europe Podcast: One Kick Later – Florian Naumann

Welcome to a brand new series on the AFL Europe Podcast, One Kick Later.

Hosted by Jackson Jones, One Kick Later will talk to some of the most passionate players, coaches, umpires and volunteers across the world who have fallen in love with Australian Football and have played significant roles in growing the sport across Europe.

Without further ado, we’re excited to present our first guest of the series, Florian Naumann.

Growing up in Germany, Flo was first introduced to the sport on a school exchange trip to Australia. Seeing Essendon play live at the MCG, and even having a kick with the Olinda Football Club in Victoria, it didn’t take long for Flo to fall in love with the sport.

Hear from Flo speak to Jackson about some of his favourite footy experiences over the years, including the AFL’s International Cup in 2017, the growth of the men’s and women’s game in Germany, transitioning between 9-a-side and 18-a-side matches and his good friend “Tinna” who has become the first German national to play in the VFLW in Australia.

Listen via Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Alternatively, type in and search AFL Europe Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Irish Down Under – Aishling Sheridan AFLW

The AFL Europe Podcast has reached double digits!

Celebrating episode ten of the podcast and the Irish Down Under series, we’re excited to be joined by Collingwood’s Aishling Sheridan just days after the Magpies’ finals victory.

Aish has starred in her second year with the Pies, finishing second at the club for goals kicked throughout the 2021 AFL Women’s season.

Aish joins Jim & Mike to chat finals footy, growing up in a sports-driven household, playing alongside fellow countrywoman Sarah Rowe and then, is joined by a surprise special guest!

Watch the episode here or listen to it on our podcast, below.

Video Guide:

0:25 – Finals footy and defeating North on the weekend.

1:14  – Aish on that viral photo, video calling her family after the win.

2:29 – Finals atmosphere and playing at Victoria Park.

4:06 – Finals mindset and preparation.

5:44 – Reviewing her own performance from the weekend.

6:56 – Growth and development of the Magpies over these past few years.

8:26 – Maintaining her fitness in the AFLW off-season and returning for year two in the league.

10:14 – Growing up in a sports-mad household.

12:19 – Playing alongside Sarah Rowe and talking to Sarah’s season.

13:45 – Linking up with Sarah on-field; from college football to the AFLW.

15:10 – Using game footage to improve on her game-sense and decision making.

16:31 – Starting her own business.

18:03 – A special guest drops in… Magpies star Ruby Schleicher!

19:18 – Ruby on her outstanding season and the form of the team through 2021.

20:30 – Returning from injury and being credited as the AFLW’s most improved player in 2021.

21:37 – Playing alongside Aish and Sarah and what it’s like having them at the club.

22:41 – Ruby with the goss about her Irish housemates.