Croatians to take on Norwood FC

In a first for footy in Europe, South Australian National Football League (SANFL) side the Norwood Football Club will play the Croatian men’s and women’s national teams in a friendly fixtures this weekend in Biograd na Moru.

The Redlegs have made their way over to Croatia to start their pre-season training camp that will involve a fixture against the Croatian Knights this Sunday.

Coach of the Croatian men’s side Ivan Molnar said the “squad is excited and they are looking forward to the experience”.

“It feels great and it makes us very proud,” Ivan said.

“For me it crowns all the hard work that our association has been doing on development of Australian Football in Croatia in the last decade.”

The connection with Norwood comes from the time Croatian superstar Tomislav Cvetko has spent with the club in Adelaide as both a listed player and a Project/Coaching Clinics assistant.

In 2018, the Redlegs had a very successful year finishing the season as runners-up to North Adelaide in a very competitive SANFL Grand Final.

As one of the powerhouses of Australian Football in South Australia, Ivan is looking forward to seeing his team learn from these professional athletes.

“The squad is feeling excited and we are looking forward to this experience,” Ivan said.

“It is not often that you have the chance to play against the professional players.”

“We also hope it will help in the promotion of the sport.”

Norwood FC on the first day of their training camp in Biograd.

Aside from the games, the Croatians are ensuring the hosts are well looked after during their stay in Biograd.

It’s their hope that a successful visit from the Redlegs could help encourage other teams to visit Croatia for similar types of camps in the future.

“We have also organised some things for them to do beside training like a visit to the national park,” Ivan said.

“The most important part is that our guests leave Croatia happy and with some nice memories.”

“Who knows maybe they are not the last club to come to visit us for preparations?”

After arriving in Croatia on Monday, the Norwood squad will spend ten days in the nation before returning to Australia at the end of the month.

The matches between the Croatians and Norwood FC will take place from 1:30pm local time this Sunday. 

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Nic Nat makes his way to Tel Aviv training

On holiday in Israel, Nic Naitanui may of found his favourite Australian Football club in Europe.

Last night in Tel Aviv, the West Coast Eagles star attended a training session run by the Tel Aviv Cheetahs.

Captain of the Cheetahs, Shir Shalev, said the visit from Nic Nat was something the players will not forget for a very long time.

“The boys were obviously very excited about meeting him and having him come to our pitch for the practice,” Shir said. 

“I think the first thing you notice about him is how humble he is, and that’s really heartwarming considering his impressive career and achievements.”

“He is a very nice a guy, and it was a great honour for all of us to meet such a legend!”

Selected in the 2012 All-Australian side, Naitanui has currently played 161 games for the Eagles across his ten-year AFL career to date.

As one of the best players in his position across the competition, Shir told AFL Europe the words of wisdom from Naitanui will hold the team in good stead moving forward.

“An encounter like this brings a great boost of energy and motivation for all of us,” Shir said.

“We got about 50 people attending because of Nic Nat’s appearance which is higher than the usual turnover. His visit definitely helped us with spreading the word about the team and attracting new people.”

“Nic Naitanui is such a great role model and not just for athletes, proving that the hard work and humility will take you far in life.”

“And this experience really encouraged us to work and train harder for the years to come.”

As for whether Naitanui is now a Cheetahs supporter?

“We’ve presented him with our team’s guernsey,” Shir said.

“So he is now officially the newest Cheetah in the fold.”

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Prince of Wales Signs On with AFL Europe

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has extended his patronage of the organisation.

His Royal Highness developed a fondness for the sport during his time at Geelong Grammar in 1966 and became Patron of AFL Europe in August 2013.

His Royal Highnesses’ passion lies particularly in the games ability to facilitate development in young people, and the benefits of over 4,000 juniors participating in Australian Rules programs throughout the UK and Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, says that the support of The Prince of Wales will provide another great boost to the organisation as the code continues to expand its footprint throughout the UK and Europe.

“We were hopeful that His Royal Highness would be able to continue his affiliation of AFL Europe, but we’re also aware that he often has to relinquish these roles in order to take on the new ones which arise constantly, so for him to extend his patronage is extremely exciting,” Davey said

The Prince of Wales was on hand ahead of the 10th Annual ANZAC Cup in Villers-Bretonneux earlier in the year, where he received a personalised Australian ‘Spirit Team’ guernsey to mark his 70th birthday, and Davey says AFL Europe hope to continue strengthening the existing relationship with His Royal Highness and Clarence House.

“We are certainly extremely grateful to have the backing of the Prince of Wales, and his support is a testament to the hard work that is going on by the passionate people on the ground right around Europe,” Davey said.

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

Dan Jackson joins AFL Europe Commission

After the hugely successful running of Euro Cup 2018 last weekend, AFL Europe is thrilled to be able to deliver more good news with the announcement that former Richmond Tiger, Dan Jackson, will be joining the AFL Europe commission.

Chairman Oliver Howard made the announcement at Sundays Annual General Meeting in Cork, and says that Jackson “will be a great addition to the AFL Europe team.”

“The entire AFL Europe community will benefit hugely from of all Dan’s experience, as an 11-year player and Best & Fairest winner at Richmond, the inaugural winner of the Jim Stynes Community and Leadership Award in 2012 for his work with a number of community programs, and his time as a board member of the AFL Players Association,” Howard said.

Jackson accepts the inaugural Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award from the late Jim Stynes.

“In addition to his standout AFL career, Dan has a demonstrated history of supporting grassroots and international footy, having helped coach the French national team at the IC2011 and IC2014 and since retiring has worked with the Canadian national women’s team and numerous club teams in Canada, the USA, England and France.”

Jackson, who will balance his commission duties with his work with Foundation Performance and masters of performance psychology studies in Edinburgh, said that he looks forward to working with those on the ground around the continent to drive the growth of the game.

“I’m really excited to get on board with AFL Europe,” said the 2013 Jack Dyer Medalist.

Jackson in his playing days at Punt Road

“Having spent some time coaching teams in France, Canada, US and UK over the last few years I’ve seen first-hand the passion and energy foreign players bring to our game and I look forward to helping where I can.”

Jackson joins the commission in place of former Chairman, Chris Dow, who will step down after six years serving to focus on his family and work commitments.

“Chris has been a huge reason for the success of AFL Europe and his relentless drive and passion has ensured the continued growth of footy in Europe,” Howard said.

“Chris has always been an amazing leader and mentor to all of us and there’s no doubt he will be greatly missed.”

AFL Europe’s 2018 Annual Report and minutes from the AGM will be published on www.afleurope.org prior to the 14th November.

Champions League 2019 Announcement

AFL Europe are thrilled to announce that next year’s Champions League will once again be held in Amsterdam on the 6th of April, 2019.

This will be the fifth consecutive year Amsterdam has hosted the AFL Europe event since the inaugural competition in 2013.

Europe’s premier international club competition will bring together the best teams from around Europe in their quest of becoming club champions of the continent.

Hosted by AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Netherlands and the Amsterdam Devils, the continent’s feature tournament of its type will remain at the Sportpark De Eendracht complex.

Both Grand Final’s will be played at the complex’s marquee venue, the National Rugby Centre Stadium (NRCA Stadium), home of the Netherlands national rugby team.

AFL General Manager Ryan Davey said the announcement “illustrates the outstanding success of previous Champions League competitions.”

“These events take considerable time and effort and I would like to thank AFL Netherlands and the Amsterdam Devils for their continued support in growing the game of Australian Football within Europe.”

“AFL Europe are confident that next year’s competition will once again showcase some of the best talent from some of the best clubs across the European continent.”

“We are very excited to work alongside all staff involved to ensure the 2019 Champions League is another rousing success.”

Confirmation of next year’s Champions League date finalises an exciting line-up of events on the AFL Europe calendar in 2019.

Following the Champions League, the annual Euro Cup tournament will be held in Nörrtalje, Sweden in June.

Four months later in October, the European Championships, AFL Europe’s premier 18-a-side international tournament, will be held in London.

For more information on the Champions League for 2019, keep up to date with afleurope.org and follow AFL Europe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

Champions League 2019

Amsterdam, Netherlands

6th of April

Hosted by AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Netherlands and Amsterdam Devils

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

 

Euro Cup 2018 Wrap-Up

Two new champions of Europe have been crowned over the weekend, as the Irish Banshees and Danish Vikings took the honours at the continents premier international Australian Football spectacle in Cork on Saturday.

With 24 teams representing 15 different nations across the men’s and women’s divisions of the tournament, a huge pool of almost 400 players and staff descended on the Cork Institute of Technology for a 64-match footy festival.

The Irish chill and persistent rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd, with all eyes on the reigning champions from England, as the Dragonslayers (men) and Vixens (women) set out on their title defence.

While the traditional powerhouses from England, Ireland, Croatia and Denmark were expected to make waves, the day’s early highlight came from the German Eagles women on their Euro Cup debut, as they triumphed over the Danish Valkyries to secure a historic first ever win.

Their enthusiasm upon hearing the final siren typified the spirit of the entire day, with the progression of the developing football nations noticeable for all in attendance and small gains celebrated as heartily as any of the key wins by those at the top end of the draw.

The Irish Banshees, winners of last year’s International Cup in Melbourne, were out to claim Euro Cup retribution for their loss to England in the previous year’s Final, and did their part to set up the tantalising rematch by accounting for Croatia, Scotland & France in the group stages, before toppling Sweden in the Semi-Final.

The Vixens duly kept up their end of that bargain by beating Croatia in their semi-final to earn a place in the decider, but their male counterparts were not so lucky as they hit a major hurdle in the form of the Danish Vikings.

The Vikings had taken all before them on their return to the competition after missing the 2017 edition in Bordeaux, and their convincing victory over the Dragonslayers added more fuel the fire as they stormed into a final against the Irish Warriors.

An increasingly parochial home crowd were revelling in the prospect of an Irish double as the day wore on, and the Banshee’s visibly fed off that atmosphere to put England to the sword from the word go, running away with the game by 25-points to secure their third Euro Cup title.

With that first-leg in the bank expectation turned to Ireland’s men, but despite the typically spirited performance, the Warriors were never able to head the Dane’s, as the Vikings kept the home nation at arm’s length for the duration of the contest.

It was Denmark’s first Euro Cup title since 2015, and based on their performances throughout the day it would seem unlikely they will wait as long to secure their next piece of silverware, as they set an impressive standard for European sides to match in the huge cycle of international football which looms.

Mella Morey and Mike Currane hold the trophy aloft

Final Standings

Men’s Division:

1. Denmark

2. Ireland

3. Croatia

4. England

5. France

6. Netherlands

7. Germany

8. Scotland

9. Wales

10. Sweden

11. Tel Aviv

12. Czech Republic

13. Austria

14. Russia

15. Switzerland

 

Men’s Team of the Tournament:

Austria: Jan Lewis

Croatian Knights: Josip Habljak

Czech Republic Dragons: Karel Masek

Danish Vikings: Jakob Overgaard

England Dragonslayers: Luke Booth

French Coqs: Thibaut Sarin

Netherlands Flying Dutchman: Kieran Keesmaat

Irish Warriors: Paul O’Halloran

Russian Czards: Aleksandr Dobrodii

Scottish Clansmen: David Jordan

Swiss Mountain Cocks: Stefan Burgener

Swedish Elks: Buster Sund

Tel Aviv Cheetahs: Shir Shalev

Welsh Red Dragons: Scott Jones

Player of the Tournament: Phillip Evermann (German Eagles)

 

Women’s Division:

1. Ireland

2. England

3. Sweden

4. Croatia

5. Germany

6. Scotland

7. Denmark

8. France

9. Wales

 

Women’s Team of the Tournament:

Croatian Queens: Ana Barisic

England Vixens: Rania Ramadan-Turner

French Gauloises: Camille Portal

German Eagles: Theresia Meisher

Irish Banshees: Aisling McCarthy

Scottish Sirens: Caroline Sellar

Swedish Ravens: Tilda Bengtsson

Welsh Wyverns: Mary Pickard

Player of the Tournament: Maria Falkesgaard (Danish Valkyries)

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

Euro Cup 2018 Tournament Preview

Only 1 sleep remains before 350 players from 15 nations descend on Cork, Ireland, and the first ball is bounced at one of the world’s premier international football spectacles, with AFL Europe’s Euro Cup 2018 earmarked to be the best in the events eleven-year history.

The city on the southwest coast of Ireland will play host to 64 matches on the day at the Cork Institute of Technology sports facilities, as Europe’s premier national teams face off in the nine-a-side format chasing the title of champions of Europe.

That crown currently belongs to England in both men’s and women’s divisions after their Dragonslayers (men’s team) & Vixens (women’s team) both took the spoils in Bordeaux at the 2017 edition of the tournament.

Dragonslayers skipper, Matt Whiteley, said it was “an honour” to be named captain of his country to lead out the Euro Cup title defence.

“To lead the team out will be a magnificent feeling and one that will stay with me for a very long time,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we can emulate our performance last year and I will be able to lift the trophy once again come evening time.

“The squad has several returning players from last year and we have strengthened with the addition of players from all over the country. We have game winners right across the pitch and we all get on,

“I am excited to see how some of the new players go as they have shown in our recent warm-up game that they have the presence around the pitch to compete with anyone. With coach Garth Nevin leading us again, we have all the personnel capable of defending our crown.”

Bringing such a diverse group of players from across the continent to compete on a 64-game, one-day footy bonanza obviously comes with its logistical challenges, but AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, says that the commitment to the event is “a testament to the strength of the European footy community.”

“It is always an extensive process putting an event like this together, but with the great collaboration between our team in London and those on the ground in Cork, we’ve never been more confident of the day proving a huge success than we are heading to Cork.

“Every year Euro Cup is a hit with all players, officials, volunteers and spectators who get to experience what is a unique event… even in footy heartland in Australia there is nothing quite like it,

“There is an extraordinary amount passion on show as some of the most passionate footy people around come together from every corner of Europe, some coming in as seasoned campaigners, others might be having their first competitive game…famously one player once rode her bike over 1,000km’s from Sweden to Croatia just to get to the tournament, then played through a knee injury that she sustained on the way!”

The tournament marks the beginning of a jam-packed 18-month international cycle for the European nations, encompassing the 2019 Euro Cup in Norrtålje, Sweden, the full-scale 18-a-side European Championships in London, and the 2020 International Cup in Melbourne.

With these events occurring in addition to the ever-expanding domestic competitions around Europe, you can expect to see a lot more of the European footy landscape making waves in the coming years.

Stay across afleurope.org for extended build-up to Euro Cup 2018

 

Euro Cup 2019 – Cork, Ireland

Saturday 13th October

Follow AFL Europe on Facebook for live coverage

 

Recent Winners:

Men’s Division

Milan 2010 – Croatia

Belfast 2011 – Ireland

Edinburgh 2012 – Ireland

Bordeaux 2013 – England

London 2014 – Denmark

Umag 2015 – Denmark

Lisbon 2016 – Croatia

Bordeaux 2017 – England

 

Women’s Division

London 2014 – Ireland

Umag 2015 – England

Lisbon 2016 – Ireland

Bordeaux 2017 – England

Euro Cup Fixture Confirmed

European footy fans can officially start putting their Euro Cup 2018 viewing plans in place today, with AFL Europe thrilled to confirm the official fixture for Europe’s premier international nine-a-side tournament next Saturday.

With 64 matches across a jam-packed game of footy, it will be hard to know where to look at times, but you can see the full schedule, highlights, and an explanation of how the ranked draw was conducted below.

See the full fixture here

FIXTURE EXPLANATION

AFL Europe began the fixturing process by ranking all 15 men’s and 9 women’s sides using their most recent 3-year history at the tournament, to create a draw that would best deliver a fair fixture for all competing sides.

The resultant draw saw the 15 teams competing in the men’s division divided into three groups of four teams and one group of three teams, while the 9 sides contesting the women’s division were separated into one group of four and another group of five teams.

Given the disparity between some group sizes, match length has been extended slightly for matches in Men’s Group C (3 teams) and Women’s Group A (4 teams) to ensure that playing and rest time is ultimately even between all 24 sides across the day.

Teams will play each other team in their pool once throughout the group stages, with the top side in each men’s pool progressing to a quarter-final against a second-placed side from another group, and top two sides in women’s pools progressing to semi-finals. All other sides will continue to play to determine their overall final ranking.

 

FIXTURE HIGHLIGHTS

Sweden Ravens v German Eagles – Women’s Group B – 9:00am

It’s a historic start to Euro Cup 2018 as the German Eagles women make their competitive tournament debut against last year’s bronze medalists from Sweden. Both nations have come on in leaps and bounds on the domestic front in the last twelve months, and after the Ravens became the fairytale story of Euro Cup 2017 reaching the semi-final, the Eagles will be out to make a similar first impression in Cork.

You can catch all the action for the opening match live via Bar TV’s online stream through AFL Europe social media channels.

 

England Vixens v Danish Valkyries – Women’s Group B – 9:00am

Group B of the women’s draw serves up another fascinating contest early in the day, with the English Vixens title defence beginning against a returning Danish Valkyries, who are back at the tournament for the first time since 2016. Expectations are high in both Danish camps as their men and women both publically their sights on semi-final berths, so the Vixens can expect their back-to-back credentials will be put to the test in this early morning belter.

 

Croatian Knights v Tel Aviv Cheetahs – Men’s Group C – 10:10am

Croatian skipper Ivan Ivos has admitted that he considered his sides Euro Cup 2017 to be a disappointing campaign, given the momentum the Knights brought into the tournament as the then newly crowned champions of Division Two at the International Cup in Melbourne, and their road to redemption begins with a clash against the new kids on the block from Israel.

Tel Aviv takes over from the Jerusalem Peace Lions as the competitions Israeli representatives, bringing some familiar faces and experience that stretches back to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team days that will provide a stern test to the ever-vociferous Knights in their tournament opener.

Croatia will undoubtedly be one of the sides to watch, as they eye their third Euro Cup title having previously taken the top honour in Milan 2010 and Lisbon 2016.

 

England Dragonslayers v French Coqs – Men’s Group D – 1:05pm

The third and final round of matches in Group D serves up what could be a cross-channel classic, with the title holders facing their southern neighbours with top-spot in the pool potentially on the line.

England will be confident of pushing deep into the finals once again, but have every reason to be wary of a French line-up that are well drilled over the nine-a-side format and which put the fear of God up an extremely talented Australian Spirit lineup at the ANZAC Cup in April.

The Dragonslayers won’t take a backward step though, with captain Matt Whiteley saying the team ‘’have all the personnel [to have us] capable of defending our crown.’’ We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Irish Banshees v French Gauloises – Women’s Group A – 1:40pm

Another clash that is likely to have a big bearing of the makeup of the women’s division finals matches, the 18-a-side world champion Irish Banshee’s will be desperate to account for the French and secure the top spot in Group A as they chase Euro Cup redemption on home soil.

The scars from last year’s Grand Final defeat remain tender for the Banshee’s but they will be hell-bent on revenge in 2018, and this match against the Gauloises will go a long way to setting up the salivating prospect of a Grand Final rematch against the Vixens should they come out on top.

The French women though, like their male counterparts, showed at the ANZAC Cup that they will be no pushovers and they themselves could be eyeing top-spot come this final fixture of Group A.

 

FOLLOW ALL THE EURO CUP ACTION THIS SATURDAY LIVE ON BARTV FROM 9:00AM, AND ACROSS ALL AFL EUROPE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

 

Euro Cup 2018 – Russians ready to roll in Ireland

Putting forward the best young and experienced players from St. Petersburg, the Russian national footy team are entering Euro Cup 2018 full of confidence and belief.

Led by their dedicated skipper Slava Belov, the Czars are looking forward to the challenge of coming up against Europe’s best football nations once again this October.

“The squad is close to optimal,” Slava said.

“We managed to save the best players from the previous tournaments and new players who joined the sport this season look very prominent.”

Despite their recent struggles in the tournament, the nation’s best footballers are optimistic about their chances in Cork in 2018.

It’s an optimism that comes from a successful year of results for football in the country.

The Czars in action at Euro Cup 2017 in Bordeaux.

The inaugural St. Petersburg Cup in May saw the Russians field two sides that played some outstanding football.

On the same weekend, 12 new coaches were earned AFL Level 1 accreditation helping the game move forward in the region.

Now the Russian players and coaches alike are eager to showcase just how much they’ve improved in the last 12 months.

“All the squad represents St. Petersburg having played AFL in St. Petersburg for the whole season together in two teams,” Slava said.

“This will surely help our team work and team interaction.”

“The new players have started fast and the experienced players now must be clutch in the most important moments of the matches.”

Knowing just how tough the competition can be, the Russians know the threat all of the nations possess to their success.

Yet their goals remain high with a top eight finish in the sight for the Czars.

“At our level every opponent for us is tough,” Slava said.

“We will try to play every team as if we have only one game at the tournament.”

“The goal is to qualify from the group stage to the top bracket.”

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.

Euro Cup 2018 – Super Scots ready to impress on the international stage

With both the Sirens (women’s) and Clansmen (men’s) sides present at Euro Cup 2018, the Scots are ready to impress on the international stage.

Determined to show a quality of football beyond what their ranking may suggest, the nation’s best footballers will land in Cork this weekend in the hope of progressing through the pool stages in both divisions.

The Clansman led by captain Campbell Lewis are situated in Pool A along the likes of Austria, Sweden and hosts the Irish.

But despite having such strong competition in their group, the Scots are optimistic leading into their opening matches.

“It’s perhaps one of our strongest sides for years”, Campbell said.

“Some players with Euro Cup experience of the past are not involved this year, but some of the newer names have experience in top leagues outside Scotland.”

When asked about his team’s strengths, Campbell looked at the variety of players in different positions within the squad ready to roll for the 2018 campaign.

“We have plenty of players who play different positions at their clubs so our coaches have lots of options depending on how our opposition set up”, Campbell said.

“We’ve spent the year focusing on key aspects of our game; we’d probably want to come away regarded as the best contested ball winners at the Euros, and the best communicators in terms of supporting each other on field.”

“Loud and hard at the ball, if we do that all day I think we can be proud of our effort and it will bring us decent results.”

In the women’s competition, the Sirens have also drawn Pool A in a group that features the French, Croatians and once again the hosts in Ireland.

Ranked seventh in Europe, the women will run out under their superstar captain Stacey Hughes for the fourth consecutive time.

But this time she’ll lead the largest group of footballers the nation has had at a Euro Cup.

Our squad for Cork is a mixture of experienced players and players playing at their first Euro Cup,” Stacey said.

“It is exciting to see so many new players in the squad and great to be taking our biggest ever squad to the Euro Cup.”

Knowing the threat that England and Ireland possess, Stacey also made reference to the improved depth throughout the women’s competition.

“As ever Ireland and England will be the favourites for the title and rightly so, they are two excellent teams,” Stacey said.

“All of the teams are capable of winning games on the day which should lead to a very competitive tournament. I am expecting the Germans to be strong on debut.”

As for where they see themselves in and amongst the ranks, the Scots are looking to showcase a standard of football that showcases their improvement over the last twelve months.

Scotland are currently ranked 7th in Europe so we will be hoping to finish higher than our ranking and give a good account of ourselves on the day,” Stacey said.

“We will be looking to get some wins on the board and give all our players a good experience at the Euro Cup especially the debutants.”

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.