Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight.
Irishman Gavin Murray always kept a close eye on the AFL in Australia and jumped at the opportunity to join in on the game in 2012.
“I had always had a keen interest in AFL and used to watch all the weeks highlights here, in Ireland, on an all Irish speaking TV channel called “TG4″. It is pretty similar to GAA apart from the ball so the transition across isn’t too hard for a Gaelic player but trying to run and bounce a Sherrin footy took a bit of getting used to,” said Gavin.
Gavin’s footy career began at the South Dublin Swans in 2012, which he was introduced to through a mate.
Gavin picked up the game quickly, and found that his Gaelic skill were easily transferable to AFL. Once he got started, a passion for the Australian game was born and Gavin has played consistently ever since.
Not long after joining the Swans, Gavin moved to Sydney, enhancing his love for the game even more where he played for the UTS Bats.
“The differences I noticed, when in Australia, was the speed of the game, obviously most of the players there were brought up playing the game but while playing in Europe, I noticed that players that weren’t technically as good would put their bodies on the line for the team and were always super eager to learn and get better at the game,” said Gavin.
Gavin has since progressed to playing all over Europe and has a long list of accolades in his footy career.
After returning from Sydney, Gavin joined the AFL London competition in an effort to continue playing 18-a-side football – a rarity in the AFL Europe leagues. Since playing with the Wandsworth Demons, one of his highlights over the years as a Demon was winning the 2018 AFL London Grand Final by a single point.
Representing his nation on multiple occasions for the Irish Warriors, Gavin has been around the world for major international tournaments and with his team first attitude is always one of the first picked in the side.
His regular appearances at Euro Cup, Champions League, European Championships, and the AFL International Cup make Gavin one of the most experienced players Europe has to offer.
Photo by Danny Radis Photography
Gavin has even played for the Perpignan Tigers in France, saying “this was my favourite place to play in Europe, such a great team and beautiful location.”
Known as a player than can punish you in the ruck and on the scoreboard, Gavin uses his size and strength to his advantage in games and is an exciting talent to watch.
Improving each year to become one of the top players in Europe, Gavin is happy with his progress and thrilled to see the direction of AFL in the continent.
“AFL is such a great sport but nowadays it isn’t just an Australian sport. The fact that it is growing so much across the globe shows that. Thanks to AFL I’ve had so many opportunities to travel, meet new people and make countless amounts of new friends,” said Gavin.
Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe