2023 Champions League Team Previews: Part Six

With an exciting new location for the 2023 Champions League, final preparations are underway amongst all teams fighting to become champions of Europe in Paris, France. 15 men’s teams and 9 women’s teams will battle it out in their respective competition formats across five pitches at Parc du Tremblay on Saturday April 1st, in what is set to be a massive day for all teams across Europe, UK and Ireland.

In the competition’s seventh format, the level of play continues to grow, and you will be able to catch all the action throughout the day on our YouTube channel here.

In part six of the previews, we take a look at the women’s and men’s West London Wildcats teams and Cardiff Panthers.

Women’s Competition:

West London Wildcats

How has the lead-up to the Champions League been for your team this year?

Very positive. The girls are working hard and motivated.

Which players should we be on the look-out for during the tournament?

All 16 players are able to have a big impact at any moment.

Are there any major changes in terms of players or coaching staff that will impact your team’s performance?

We’ve managed to keep a lot of our core group while adding some quality new players which is exciting.

How does your team feel about the change in location from Amsterdam to Paris for this year’s tournament?

Although this is their first time in the CL, Paris wasn’t their first choice of location and caused some roadblocks with availability/accessibility.

What are the ambitions for your team at the 2023 Champions League?

To play our best possible brand of footy.

What is your team’s favourite part about competing in the Champions League?

Competing for the honour of being the best team outside of Australia.

Which player in your team would you trust the most to kick a goal after the siren to win the tournament?

Couldn’t go past our leading goalkicker from last year Amy Pattison.

Which team do you consider the biggest threat to your chances of winning the Champions League?

Cardiff will be strong and confident after beating us in their preseason cup but everyone is a threat.

Men’s Competition:

West London Wildcats

How has the lead-up to the Champions League been for your team this year?

We’ve had a pretty good lead up to the Champions League this year. Trainings have been very intense and the team can’t wait to crack into the physically of a tournament like Champions League. We’ve had some recent 9 a-side success with some of the boys heading to Cardiff for the Dragon Cup where we managed to bring home the win. We’ve also had some really good 9 a-side hit outs with the guys showing some real talent on a 9s pitch.

Which players should we be on the look-out for during the tournament?

We love an inside bull at Wildcat land, Jacob Barber and Max Burmester are two of the best. Their drive and hunger to win the loose balls are second to none, It’s second nature to them to put their bodies on the line. It’s like having a Patrick Cripps and Jack Viney on the one team. I can’t wait to see them give the opposition hell on the inside.

Are there any major changes in terms of players or coaching staff that will impact your team’s performance?

There are a handful of changes from the premiership side in August. A number of new Aussie lads as well as some Irish fellas putting their hands up for the challenge. I’m really looking forward to the new boys gel with the lads from last season as there is some high quality talent being injected into the side.

How does your team feel about the change in location from Amsterdam to Paris for this year’s tournament?

The guys were flat at first when they heard about the move to Paris, who doesn’t want a footy trip to Amsterdam. But, some of the boys are excited to bring the partners to the city of love, hopefully they don’t get too distracted.

What are the ambitions for your team at the 2023 Champions League?

My ambitions for the team is quite high, I would be expecting us to at least make a top four finish, then move on into the grand final.

What is your team’s favourite part about competing in the Champions League?

I think the boys just really enjoy getting away and spending quality time with a bunch of quality blokes. I know they are excited for the challenges we’ll face during the tournament and showing their talent facing off against the best teams in Europe. The boys are also extremely excited for the off field experience as well, meeting and hanging around with some of the best footballers on the continent and hopefully build the foundations to some life-long friendships. Hopefully we can all celebrate post tournament with a good old fashioned boat race.

Which player in your team would you trust the most to kick a goal after the siren to win the tournament?

Joel Madden, he’s a very experienced player with a level head who hasn’t missed a kick all pre-season and I see him kicking some big numbers during the tournament.

Which team do you consider the biggest threat to your chances of winning the Champions League?

The Belfast lads, they always seem to have fun playing hard-core contested football against us and seem to enjoy beating us up. We love the fight but they love it more.

Cardiff Panthers

How has the lead-up to the Champions League been for your team this year?

We have been in preseason training since January with some good turn outs. We have been looking to home in on the finer details and keeping our basic standards high. Throughout we have been focussing on our fitness to be able to step up to this level.

Which players should we be on the look-out for during the tournament?

All of them.

Are there any major changes in terms of players or coaching staff that will impact your team’s performance?

Throughout our season last year we had a consistent team selection with the additions coming in from last year to strengthen our side we were able to complete our season undefeated. Being adapted to 9’s and having a mostly UK born team means we are all growing together and improving every session and game we play in.

How does your team feel about the change in location from Amsterdam to Paris for this year’s tournament?

Excited to try a new place and experience French culture and enjoy all the wine after the tournament has finished.

What are the ambitions for your team at the 2023 Champions League?

Win!

What is your team’s favourite part about competing in the Champions League?

Playing and meeting teams from across the AFL Europe community that we haven’t played before or interacted with before. It is also amazing to be able to compete alongside our female Cardiff Panthers team.

Which player in your team would you trust the most to kick a goal after the siren to win the tournament?

Mr GB himself – Owain Ryland!

Which team do you consider the biggest threat to your chances of winning the Champions League?

None of them.