The weekend saw AFL Europe and DAFA play host to the Inaugural Champions League tournament which brought ten teams to Amsterdam to face off for the title. Teams qualified for the event after finishing as premiers in their local leagues allowing for 17 of the top teams in Europe to receive an invite and 10 to make their way to the Netherlands.
The round robin style tournament, with the ten teams split into two groups, kicked off at 9am with some players really feeling the cold donning thermal gear under their kits. The red group was tightly contested with many games able to go either way. The exception was the West London Wildcats, who went through the group stage undefeated. It came down to the percentage, the Amsterdam Devils scraped through to the finals over the Edinburgh Bloods and Solna Axemen after they ended on the same amount of wins with a straight kick deciding who went through. The black group had the Rheinland Lions storm through to finals undefeated, with Belfast Red Backs only nursing their Lions loss to play the Wildcats.
The semi-finals kicked off with the West London Wildcats barely holding off a valiant Belfast Red Backs by 2 points with a late goal to make it into the all important final, whilst the Manchester Mosquitoes managed to avoid the wooden spoon by defeating the Zagreb Hawks. Shortly after, the Rheinland Lions and Amsterdam Devils kept the crowd on their feet by drawing at the final siren. In a nail biter, the game went into overtime (first score wins) and saw the Lions steal a quick goal to seal their place in the finals. Malmo Redeyes had a comfortable win over the Solna Axemen to take out 7th place in the all Sweden contest whilst the Toulouse Hawks finished in 5th overall ahead of the Edinburgh Bloods who had tired from the long day at that point.
The Belfast Red Backs overpowered the Amsterdam Devils, on their home turf, to take 3rd place by a healthy 10 goal margin before the inaugural final took place. After both the West London Wildcats and Rheinland Lions dominated their collective groups, they faced off for the title of the AFL Europe Champions League. With the crowd at its highest capacity all day, rugged up, with Coopers in hand, the West London Wildcats took out the crown finishing 8.6.54 to the Lions 1.1.7.
|1st||West London Wildcats|
|3rd||Belfast Red Backs|
Post tournament festivities ran far into the night only pausing to allow AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack, to announce the team of the tournament. The best player from each team, as voted by their own teams, was also revealed and presented with an AFL Europe Champions League guernsey making them part of the 10 man Champions League squad.
A big congratulations to the West London Wildcats for taking home the cup and well done to those players who made the team of the tournament:
|Nicholas Moran||Amsterdam Devils|
|Gerard Walls||Belfast Red Backs|
|Ewen Pickles||Edinburgh Bloods|
|Daniel Scotford||Malmo Redeyes|
|Jake Norris||Manchester Mosquitoes|
|Kristopher Marsh||Rheinland Lions|
|Adam Cubbage||Solna Axemen|
|Emilien Martinez||Toulouse Hawks|
|Todd Pfeiffer||West London Wildcats|
|Josip Habljak||Zagreb Hawks|