Register Now: Community Concussion Management Guidelines – Information Session

Following the release of the AFL’s updated concussion guidelines for Australian Football at all levels, AFL Europe are running an information session to outline the Concussion Management guidelines.

The online session will take participants through a practical guide of the updated guidelines as well as allow the opportunity for those in attendance to ask questions.

The guidelines by the AFL have been developed to assist community football leagues, clubs, players, parents, coaches, trainers & other stakeholders on how to assess and manage any player who has suffered concussion or is suspected of having a concussion. These guidelines will be implemented at all future AFL Europe tournaments.

The information session will run for 60-minutes and all Australian Football clubs in Europe are strongly encouraged to have at least one club representative in attendance.

The session will run on Wednesday, 21st July at 6:00PM BST. Login details will be sent out 48 hours prior to the start of the session.

To read the AFL’s Concussion Management guidelines, click here.

Registrations close Sunday, 18th July.

Click Here to Register to the Community Concussion Management Guidelines – Information Session

Sofia defeat Varna in round one of inaugural AFL Bulgaria season

Sofia Magpies achieved a difficult and unexpected victory visiting the Varna Demons in Aksakovo for round one of the inaugural AFL Bulgaria season. Read the round one match report thanks to Atanas Kirachin from AFL Bulgaria.

Played on Saturday, 26th of June the Magpies defeated the hosts to claim the first official points in the Bulgarian league.

Both teams battled throughout the hot weather and suffered from short numbers on the bench, especially the Magpies, who went into the game with just one person on the interchange.

Nevertheless, the visitors got off to a flying start, as the entirely French midfield were able to create many chances for the Magpies to score, and took a nice lead into quarter time.

The Demons started to gain momentum in the second quarter, but inaccuracy in front of goal proved costly for the red & blue. The home side attempted to hit the lead but were hampered by an injury to one of their players, who remained on the bench until halftime.

After the break, the Magpies were once again quick to pounce and made life for the Demons difficult. The Demons, who worked their way back into the quarter, would soon trail the Magpies by three goals at three quarter time.

Heading into the final term, Varna would need to give it their best to become the first winning side in the Bulgarian league. The Demons managed to win the quarter, but it just wasn’t enough, as the visitors went on to claim the victory by two goals 6. 16. (52) to 8. 16. (64).

Congratulations to the Magpies who would return to Sofia with both points and took the first step towards the AFL Bulgaria title. The two teams will meet three more times throughout the season to determine the league premiers. If the season finishes with two wins each, a fifth and final game will be played to determine the overall winner at a neutral venue.

The next match will be played in the capital, Sofia, and is scheduled for July 10th. It is possible that the match will be rescheduled at the request of the teams.

Head to the AFL Bulgaria’s website to read the full report from round one and for all information regarding Australian footy in the country.

Photo Credit: Stanimir Srebar

Atanas Kirachin – AFL Bulgaria

Claudia Davey appointed as new General Manager

The AFL Europe Commission are pleased to announce the appointment of Claudia Davey to the role of AFL Europe General Manager.

Davey joins the AFL Europe team in London from Williamstown Football Club, where she held the role of VFL Women’s Football Manager.

Prior to her position with Williamstown FC, Davey has extensive experience working within elite sporting organisations including roles as Female Talent Coordinator at Western Jets, working in Strength & Conditioning at Cricket Victoria and Western Jets, in Commercial with Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Vixens Netball Club, as well as Sports Administration at Trinity Grammar School.

Davey spoke of her delight to be appointed as the new General Manager at AFL Europe and is very passionate about strengthening all aspects of Australian Football across Europe.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the growth in participation and awareness of Australian Football across Europe, but also building the talent pathway for athletes to play at the elite level,” said Davey.

“I love working in Australian Football (and sport) because of the support network, culture and values that it brings to people’s lives. I’m very excited to get involved with the AFL Europe community and meet the passionate people in all countries and clubs who contribute so much to the sport.

“My experience lies predominantly in building pathways for players as young as 14 to progress to the elite level. Initially I worked in High Performance and have transitioned into management roles in the U/18 talent pathway and VFLW with Williamstown Football Club over the last six years.

“The most crucial part of these roles is building an environment and a community that people want to be a part of and that supports athletes and staff in all aspects of their life, not just playing. I look forward to bringing this experience in building AFL communities to AFL Europe.”

Completing a Bachelor of Sports Science and Masters of Business Administration at Victoria University has equipped Davey with the confidence to excel in her past roles, and even launching a successful business in Career Mentoring.

Appointed to Board Director of Gridiron Victoria earlier this year, Davey is very familiar with growing the awareness and participation of sport in emerging markets.

“Joining the Gridiron Victoria Board has given me an excellent insight to growing a predominantly American sport in Australia – where people know very little about the sport and may have never even watched a game – which is very similar to growing Australian Football in Europe. This experience has prepared me for some of the challenges the AFL community may face in Europe and how to best identify those (challenges) to strengthen clubs.”

Chair of the AFL Europe Commission, Oliver Howard, said the appointment of Davey was a coup for European footy.

“We are thrilled to welcome Claudia to the team at AFL Europe,” said Howard.

“Claudia brings incredible passion for the development and growth of the game and the drive to lead our community as we re-start playing footy across the continent.

“Coupled with her deep experience identifying and nurturing elite talent, we couldn’t be more impressed and excited for Claudia to begin.”

With the appointment of Claudia Davey comes the departure of current Managing Director, Ryan Davey, who ends his time with AFL Europe at the end of August after almost five years.

Howard said, “Ryan will leave a lasting legacy at AFL Europe. He has overseen significant growth in all areas of the game – participation, elite talent pathways, coaching and umpiring – and has led with distinction.

“Recently, Ryan has galvanised the AFL Europe community during the most difficult period with footy unable to be played. Ryan will hand over the role with the highest respect and admiration from all who have had the pleasure to work with him over the past five years.”

Ryan will remain closely involved with AFL Europe as a member of the AFL Europe Commission, ensuring a smooth transition to Claudia.

Claudia will officially commence as General Manager at AFL Europe on August 2nd, 2021.

AFL Europe Podcast: With Special Guest Craig Starcevich

This week, for episode 22 of the AFL Europe Podcast, we’re stepping away from our One Kick Later series and are very excited to be joined by 2021 AFLW Brisbane Lions premiership coach, Craig Starcevich.

Plenty of people within the AFL Europe community will be familiar with Starcevich who has presented in both of the AFL Europe Coach Development Series’, as well as running a training session with the German women’s national team in Heidelberg last year and helping out the AFL Switzerland teams through their 2020 season, where he even played a game.

Well in this episode, whilst we appreciate and recognise Starcevich’s efforts to support our great sport in Europe sharing his experiences within the community, we take a dive into getting to know Craig Starcevich as a former AFL premiership player with Collingwood, and now AFLW premiership coach of the Lions.

In between, Starcevich has held roles such as High Performance Manager with the Lions men’s team during their three peat, as well as working in Female Football High Performance with AFL Queensland.

Starcevich has had a front row seat to see how both the men’s and women’s games have evolved over the years, and shares with us some incredible stories and experiences from his time in the sport.

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

Match Reports – The Leeside League, Round 2

Tramore Valley Park once again played host for the second round of The Leeside League last Wednesday night. Reporter for Ireland, Stephen O’Sullivan, has compiled what went ahead in round two as three more games of fantastic footy were played in the Rebel County.

Saints v Suns

The Saints took on the Kerry Suns in the first contest of the evening. Prior to ball-up, it was the Suns that needed a victory to keep their hopes alive of lifting their maiden Leeside League title at their first attempt.

It was the Saints however who came out of the traps firing, continuing their scintillating form from round one against the Bombers. Racking up nine goals in total, the Saints gained their second successive victory of the tournament by a margin of 42-points. To their credit, the Suns never gave up right until the final siren.

The Suns will have to pick themselves up for their final game this coming Wednesday. With Killarney playing host to round three, the Kerry side will have the comfort of playing on home territory and will be looking to claim their first victory.

Final Score: Saints 9 goals (54) to Suns 3 goals (18).

Crusaders v Vikings

In what was arguably the game of the round, the Vikings took on the Crusaders knowing that a victory would earn them the inaugural women’s title. The Crusaders on the other hand, knew that a win was a must in order to bring the series to the final game in Killarney next Wednesday night.

Indeed it was the latter who came out on top, but only by the slimmest of margins. It was a one goal difference in the end, as the Vikings were so close to taking home this years title. Alas, the Crusaders gained the win that will ensure a great battle in Kerry next Wednesday.

Final Score: Crusaders 6 goals (36) to Vikings 5 goals (30).

Bombers v Lions

The Lions were looking to add to their opening round victory over the Suns in the final game of round two. The Bombers, coming off the back of an opening round defeat to the Saints, had other ideas. Only a victory would keep their hopes alive of winning this year’s Leeside League, and the Bombers did not disappoint.

In what was a seesaw type of a game, the Bombers finally pulled away with a three goal victory over their Cork counterparts. The Lions will take confidence from the five goals they put on the board going into the final game against the Saints on Wednesday evening, in what will be a huge game in determining this year’s champions.

The Bombers will take on the home side, Kerry Suns, with the hope of putting up a big score in order to take out the title.

Final Score: Bombers 8 goals (48) to Lions 5 goals (30).

A fantastic evening of footy with plenty of goals and hard hits. Round three this Wednesday is sure to be an epic one with all teams having something to play for. We will bring you the best of the action from Killarney later in the week.

For more information on The Leeside League, including leading goalkickers, head to the AFL Ireland website here.

If you would like to get involved and contribute to AFL Europe as a County Reporter, please contact your local AFL league president.

Stephen O’Sullivan – Reporter for Ireland

AFL Europe Podcast: One Kick Later – Slava Belov

Welcome to episode twenty-one of the AFL Europe Podcast where Slava Belov from Russia joins us as part of our One Kick Later series.

After attending an AFL match live in Melbourne in 2012, and then playing a season with the West London Wildcats in the AFL London league in 2013, Slava eventually headed back home to St. Petersburg with his newfound love for Australian Football, and launched the St. Petersburg Cats.

What started as Slava and two of his closest mates, the Cats have since grown into two teams; Baltic Hawks and Northern Tigers, who compete in the St. Petersburg Australian Football League and when possible, drive more than seven hours to the country’s capital to play the Moscow Bears.

Slava’s focus with the Cats over the years has been about building a welcoming community whilst exploring new ways to improve game development and skill, such as introducing by-laws and taking match stats.

An interesting listen as Slava shares his story about finding the sport and a bit about the Australian Football landscape in Russia. Listen to episode twenty-one via Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Alternatively, type in and search AFL Europe Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

2021 Coach Development Series attendance typifies level of passion for Australian footy across Europe

AFL Europe are pleased to share that this year’s online Coach Development Series with anzuk Education was attended by just over 300 club representatives from 27 different countries across the world.

Huge credit goes to the AFL Europe community, and the 113 local footy clubs that were represented in at least one of the sessions, for the level of passion and engagement that was shown throughout the series.

The Coach Development Series covers a wide range of topics and is designed to develop all current and aspiring Australian Football coaches.

Throughout the series, we were fortunate to be joined by eight elite coaches and leaders from the Australian sporting landscape who each offered their own time to share their knowledge and unique experiences with our coaches.

Coaches were given a few weeks off after the first four week block of the Coach Development Series to put some of their learnings into practice. The presenters who joined us in weeks five to eight were Olympic gold medallist, Michelle Mitchell OAM OLY, Coaching Content & Learning Lead at the AFL, Samuel McKenzie, Darebin Falcons VFLW Head Coach and former England Vixens Head Coach, Mitch Skelly and Brisbane Lions AFLW premiership coach, Craig Starcevich.

Starcevich, who joined the series as a guest speaker for his second year in a row, presented to the topic of ‘End of Season Review’ and was once again impressed by the coaches in attendance.

“The number of coaches who have regularly attended both this year’s and last year’s series has been amazing,” said Starcevich.

“It’s great to see the tremendous amount of passion and interest that is shared for Australian Football across the world. I very much enjoyed being a part of it all again and I’d like to wish good luck to the coaches and teams in Europe who can hopefully get some games underway this year.”

Ioanna Kopasaki from the Rheinland Lions in Germany is one coach who is looking forward to getting some games played this summer. Kopasaki attended all of the 2021 Coach Development Series and shared what she enjoyed most about the online program.

“The series taught me practical tools to review performance throughout the whole season and to plan for success,” said Kopasaki.

“The injury prevention session with Dr. Brooke Patterson provided helpful and practical information for a safe return to footy after the pandemic-related break, and I was absolutely thrilled about the session with Craig Starcevich!

“Having the premiership coach provide a detailed insight into the end of season review of the best team in the AFLW was a huge learning opportunity.”

Paul O’Halloran from Galway Magpies in Ireland, who also attended all of the eight-week series, said the program went beyond what he had expected.

“When you think coaching, you are inclined to imagine skills, tactics, magnetic boards and structures,” said O’Halloran.

“The series covers so much more than that. It is largely about coach empowerment and giving coaches an understanding of the entirety of the role and that particular scope is limitless.

“Each session was just 90-minutes long but could be talked about in detail for many, many hours. It has given me a taste for more and hopefully I can use what I have learned to good effect with my club in the coming years.”

AFL Europe would like to thank all coaches and club representatives who attended the series this year. We acknowledge the critical role all coaches play in the growth of the sport across the world, and hope the series provided all in attendance the tools necessary to fulfil your role as a coach with a greater level of confidence.

A special thanks to our Education Partner, anzuk Education, for supporting the Coach Development Series and enabling it to run for a second consecutive year.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe

Match Reports – The Leeside League, Round 1

The Leeside League kicked off in fashionable style in Tramore Valley Park, Ireland last Wednesday night. Stephen O’Sullivan has compiled the best of the action from round one.

Lions v Suns

In their debut game, the Kerry Suns were assigned a formidable task of facing last years winners, the Lions. But not ones to shy away from a challenge, the Suns flew out of the traps and got their noses in front within the first two minutes – Cathal Curran kicking their first ever goal after a strong mark. Lions quickly replied with Darren O’Dwyer grabbing his first for the evening, quickly followed by Dapper O’Connell with a peach of an effort from play. Very little space was being given by either team, with the backs from both sides dominating the rest of the half, Steve McCarron marshalling the Suns from the back and Eoin O’Neill likewise for the Lions.

The Sherrin seemed to stick around the mids for long periods of the second half, only really opening up towards the tail end. Cian O’Mahoney extended the Lions lead with a well-worked goal, and Conor Nyhan moved up from the backs to kick another Lions goal on his first day out. The game finished with a flurry when Ian Sull and Steve McCarron goaled to leave just one between them, before Darren O’Dwyer kicked the final Lions goal to finish off an impressive start for the holders.

Credit to the Kerry Suns for travelling up to Cork mid-week and competing with such intensity, it was great to see and we look forward to more. A few big names to return from the Kingdom, and the final round being played down in Killarney, no doubt they’ll have a big say in matters yet!

Final Score: Leeside Lions  5 goals (30) to Kerry Suns  3 goals (18).

Leading men’s goal kickers after round one.

Crusaders v Vikings

We were treated to an exhibition of all that is good about footy from our women’s teams; goals, marks, tackles, smothers… All were on display here as both teams pitted themselves against one another in the first of a three game series.

Vikings were the first to strike with two goals in quick succession from Shannon Stevenson, followed by another from Sarah O’Donovan, as they showed no signs of letting up. The Crusaders, to their credit, battled hard and peppered the goal with shots, but the ‘’in-house-rule’’ of goals only and no behinds meant their accuracy was tested. Mary Hurley pulled one back for Crusaders but Maria Quirke kicked two from midfield – one a monster from 40m – and Sarah O’Donovan furthered her tally to give the Vikings a healthy lead at the break.

Leading women’s goal kickers after round one.

After some choice words from Bláthnaid Wiseman at half-time, and a few positional changes, the Crusaders came out fighting in the second half, lead by Annie Walsh covering every blade of grass available – and kicking three majors in the process – and CJ Murphy capitalising on her own ruck-work to score a great individual goal. Not to be outdone, Shannon Stevenson added two more to her tally, split by another Maria Quirke goal, to maintain the Vikings dominance.

The game finished with a Vikings win after a dominant first half display, but with the Crusaders winning the second half, this series is far from over. It’s anyone’s call who will be crowned Leeside League champions in two-weeks time. Both teams left the field to a guard of honour and round of applause from the men’s teams, in recognition of The Leeside League’s first ever women’s game.

Final Score: Vikings 12 goals (72) to Crusaders 6 goals (36).

Women’s standings after round one.

Bombers v Saints

‘’Hotly contested’’ or ‘’in the balance’’ call it what you will, this game was amazing – with just the right amount of bite! When these two teams meet, it’s rarely a one-sided affair, and this was no different as there was never more than a score between the teams. Bombers piled on the pressure and seemed to be getting to grips in around the mids, but again the accuracy required in this league was telling. For all their forward pressure, only two goals were recorded – both from the boot of Steve McCarron. But the pick of the goals was an individual effort from Alan Daly, selling candy not once but twice before unleashing a shot on the run which crept inside the near post for The Saints’ first goal. Brian O’Shea scored twice to put the Saints in front at half time and both teams took a welcome break after what was a toughly fought half of football.

Cian O’Mahony and Cathal Curran traded goals in the second half, before Steve kicked his third to level the game. Harry ‘Spider’ Hynes kicked the Bombers in front and they looked to be in the ascendency when, against the run of play, Andrew O’Neill kicked a monster from the wing to level it up again. With less than a minute to play, Paul Murphy found himself with a set shot to the right of the posts, and kicked the winning goal for the Saints.

It was the pick of the games, and the talent on display was noticed by a few Lions old boys looking on. Safe to say, the future is bright here on Leeside.

Final Score: Bombers 5 goals (30) Saints 6 goals (36).

Men’s standings after round one.

For more information, head to the AFL Ireland website here.

Credit: Eoin O’Sullivan (Match Reports) , Ian O’Sullivan (Graphics).

If you would like to get involved and contribute to AFL Europe as a County Reporter, please contact your local AFL league president.

Stephen O’Sullivan – Reporter for Ireland

AFL Germany pay tribute to beloved teammate through Pink5 Challenge

The AFL Germany community are running an initiative to remember beloved teammate, Janine Benecke, and raise awareness around the dangers of drink driving.

In the lead up to AFL Germany’s Janine Benecke Round, on August 7th, the ‘Pink5 Challenge‘ welcomes anyone around the world to go for a 5km run in support of Janine and Go Pink For Life.

Once you’ve completed your run, the challenge asks that you share your results on Instagram, tag in five friends (and @aflgwomen) who you think should complete the challenge and if you can, donate €5 to Go Pink For Life.

Janine was one of the founding members of Australian Football for women in Germany, who tragically had her life taken by a drunk driver in Italy, January 2020.

Go Pink For Life is a not-for-profit organisation that was set up to remember Janine and the other victims of the incident in Luttach. Whilst recognising Janine’s favourite colour pink and her favourite animal, the flamingo, the organisation aims to raise awareness and education around the dangers of drink driving, whilst providing a voice for those affected by drink driving incidents that have occurred around the world.

Janine was loved throughout the AFL Europe community for her positive attitude and enthusiasm towards the sport and life in general. She helped build the Rheinland Lions women’s team, was selected to represent her national team on a number of occasions and kicked the first-ever goal for the German Eagles in their 2018 national team debut.

If you would like to get involved in the challenge to remember Janine and support Go Pink For Life, follow the above steps and get running now!

If you would like to donate to Go Pink For Life, visit their website here (scroll down to the bottom to donate).

More information about the challenge can be found on AFL Germany women’s Instagram account, and once you’ve completed the challenge, you can comment on the original post (on June 5th) for your chance to win 1 of 3 goodie bags from Go Pink For Life.

Former Wimbledon Hawk calls time on AFLW career

Western Bulldogs premiership defender, Lauren Spark, has announced her retirement from the AFLW.

Taken with pick 76 in the 2016 AFL Women’s draft, the 35-year-old played for the Bulldogs since the competition’s launch in 2017.

Throughout her five years in the AFLW Spark played 28-games, perhaps highlighted by the 2018 Grand Final where she was named in the best afield as the Dogs went on to defeat Brisbane Lions by six-points.

Beyond her achievements in the AFLW, which included roles in the Bulldogs’ Community Foundation and Bulldogs leadership group, Spark was a pioneer for women’s footy in London where she played for two years with the Wimbledon Hawks in the AFL London women’s competition.

Spark was a star for the Hawks contributing to Wimbledon’s undefeated run in 2016, and topped it off with a best on ground grand final performance in Wimbledon’s first premiership.

Off the field, Spark inspired the next generation of footballers, co-founding the first junior AFL club to be set up in England, Clapham Cubs.

Furthermore, after being drafted into the AFLW and moving to Melbourne, Spark remained involved with her former England teammates, helping as an assistant coach for the Great Britain Swans at the 2017 International Cup, where the team finished third in their tournament debut.

The following month, we were pleased to welcome Spark as guest speaker at the AFL Europe Grand Final Lunch in London, sharing her journey into the AFLW and reflecting on her first year with the Bulldogs.

We would like to wish Lauren all the best with her future endeavours and thank her for her major contributions to the growth of Australian Football in Europe.

Read Western Bulldogs’ announcement regarding Spark’s retirement here.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe