2023 Euro Cup Team Previews – Part Five

With only three days to go until the Euro Cup, the excitement and anticipation is building for the 16 countries that will venture out to our new location in Kiel, Germany, vying for the opportunity of becoming the best country in Europe at Australian Rules Football. In an extraordinary story that will play out across the day, two countries will be looking for a four-peat – an unprecedented feat that may never be seen again. The Irish Banshees, dominant in the grand final last year, will be vying for glory again, but there will be nine other sides hungry to stop them in their tracks. In the men’s side of the draw, the England Dragonslayers will be desperate to repeat their last three contests at the Euro Cup, but 14 determined countries will be fighting for a change at the top.

As is the common approach for AFL Europe’s biggest tournaments, we love to get an insight into the build-up and preparation for the teams competing, as well as the history of these sides, and we continue our team previews with the Israeli Beasts, the Ulster Wolfhounds and the Scottish Clansmen.

Israeli Beasts

The Israeli Men’s national team (The Beasts) has participated in the 2019 EC finishing 13th and improving to an 8th place finish at the 2022 EC. Prior to that, an Israeli team has participated in the EC since 2015 (Tel-Aviv Cheetahs, Jerusalem peace lions), and finished no higher than 11th place.

Speaking to coach Ido Schnitzer, he said ‘footy in Israel has taken a big step up in the last 12 months. Following a positive momentum off the EC 22 in Edinburgh, we have seen a significant increase in numbers of participants, an increase in training sessions, strengthening of the management and coaching teams, and much more. This has led to the sharpening of the skills for new players, and we hope for better team chemistry overall.’

The major lead-up event was the inaugural AFL Israel Anzac match held this April in the historic city of Beersheba in Israel. This was a tournament featuring 62 players, half were Israelis, and half were Aussies from the UAE and from the Vienna Galahs team. In the Anzac match, the Israeli players faced quality opponents, culminating in a tightly fought grand final between one of the Israeli teams and team Australia-UAE. Playing against Australians is always a challenge, both physically and tactically, and the feel that came out of the Anzac event was motivation and confidence in their form towards the 2023 Eurocup.

Ulster Wolfhounds

In their inaugural Euro Cup, the Wolfhounds couldn’t be more excited for Kiel. With several training sessions being held in the lead-up to the big day, coach Declan McClements is hoping for a gelled and motivated side. With inexperience possibly playing a factor on the day, McClements spoke of the key aim for the day being enjoyment and to remain competitive throughout the day. Through encouraging the team to just have fun, ‘it will allow the players to relax and soak up the experience of their debut on the biggest stage outside of Australia.’

Scottish Clansmen

The Clansmen have been improving and becoming more consistent as a side over the past 3 Euro tournaments,  finishing 8th, 9th and 6th – their highest finish in the 15 team tournament format last year in Edinburgh.
Speaking to the club, a very strong preparation for this year’s tournament has occurred thanks to the organisation of our team manager John McIntyre, with the playing squad committing to several squad training sessions pre Kiel and buying into improving their fitness levels.
Two new assistant coaches in Adam Jack and Duncan Fell will also boost the Scottish chances at the Euro Cup, who will lead the forward and back lines. Both have helped the team immensely and the players are benefiting from their vast experience.
The players and coaching staff wanted to make sure last years results weren’t a one off, so we have set ourselves a goal of maintaining top 6 with our ultimate goal to break into the top 4. A very challenging goal with the depth of footy in Europe but one the players are very hungry to try achieve.


  • Sam Briggs, AFL Europe