EC16 Team Preview – Irish Banshees

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Irish Banshees

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the Irish Banshees a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The Banshees last competed at International level in 2014 where we went down to Canada in the final of the International Cup in Melbourne but managed to bounce back from that disappointment to beat a very impressive England Vixens side in the final of the Euro Cup in London.

Since 2014 a number of our key players have moved on or are unable to travel to London due to other sporting commitments which mean the Banshees side that takes to the field in London will have only 5 players who have previously experienced international football.

On the flip side, the positives for the Banshees is that this year we have unearthed a lot of new talent and their enthusiasm and love of the game will be on display in London.

Brendan Kelly, who is the coach of the Ulster Kookaburras has joined the coaching staff for the 2016 tournaments. Shaun Saurin who previously coached the squad to Euro Cup success is unable to travel to London due to a family wedding but is doing some preparatory work with the team in advance of London.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

At the tournament there will be a joint coaching team of Pat Leavy and Brendan Kelly. The team are in safe hands as Pat, who managed the team at IC14 and EC14 has played with the Warriors from 2003 to 2013 which included two International Cup campaigns as well as numerous Euro Cups.

Brendan has also played in numerous Euro Cups and at IC14. He is currently a member of the Irish Warriors team competing at the Championships and he is hoping to retain the title he won in 2013.

The management team also have a number of support staff behind them, most notable Deirdre Ní Chearaill, former Banshee international and current lady president of ARFLI who has been one of the driving forces behind resurrecting the Banshees in 2016. She will be acting as team liaison.

The team is shaping up pretty well. We can see huge strides in each player’s development since the start of the summer. There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and some very exciting new players will be on show. On one hand you have multiple international medal winners like Emma Kelly, Fiona Roarty and Carolann Cassidy and on the other you have really exciting new prospects like Olivia McCann, Colleen Quinn, Claire Donnelly and Clara Fitzpatrick.

Add in some full format experience from the AFL London league gained by Onóra Mulcahy and Linda Connolly and we think it’s a formidable team.

We have 16 players from the Ulster Kookaburras, 1 from the Galway Magpies, 2 players from London club, the Wandsworth Demons, with the remainder coming from the Dublin Angels.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus

We would have liked to have had more collective training sessions in the lead up to the tournament but to counteract that we have linked in with the men’s carnival rounds in the ARFLI premiership. This has allowed the girls learn the finer points of AFL from looking at the men’s game.

We’re looking forward to playing on a full oval as we rarely get the chance, so in particular we’ll be looking to add width and pace to our game, which will allow the players adapt their Gaelic football skills to a new game. The experience of 18 a side will be of huge benefit going into IC17.

Our strength is definitely the quality of our footballers. All the players have played Ladies Gaelic Football to a high level in Ireland. Our weakness is probably the lack of 18 a side football in Ireland and an inability for the team to train collectively on a regular basis.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Emma Kelly, Onóra Mulcahy and Fiona Roarty can really dominate, so it’s certainly worth watching out for them. As we are travelling with a relatively new squad, a number of players have really improved out of sight over the last few months so it would be unfair to single any one player out.

That is the exciting part of a tournament, you never know which player we will be all talking about by the end of it – hopefully it will be one wearing green!

 

Coach’s thoughts – Pat Leavy

“We’d expect to have a fair crack at getting to the final, but we know it will be difficult. The Crusaders will have the best players from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France, while the GB Swans are currently the benchmark in Europe. The GB women’s league is probably the best female league outside of Australia. The Vixens were excellent the last time we played them in 2014 and have improved since.

From a Banshee point of view, how the tournament unfolds will be determined by how our players react to full format and knowing the potential in our team, I’m excited at seeing how they will develop as the tournament progresses but expect a great team performance and hopefully we will get over the line”

 

Squad

  1. Claire Donnelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  2. Terri Kelly (Dublin Angels)
  3. Ciara Mone (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  4. Catherine Collins (Dublin Angels)
  5. Emma Kelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  6. Fiona Roarty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  7. Carolann Cassidy (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  8. Olivia McCann (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  9. Onóra Mulcahy (Wandsworth Demons)
  10. Naomi Curtis (Dublin Angels)
  11. Mairead Walsh (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  12. Marley Bevan (Dublin Angels)
  13. Ursula Murphy (Irish Exiles AFL)
  14. Linda Connolly (Wandsworth Demons)
  15. Leona Russell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  16. Claire Doherty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  17. Clara Fitzpatrick (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  18. Aisling Gillespie (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  19. Edel Gray (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  20. Crea McAleer (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  21. Tracey Moloney (Irish Exiles AFL)
  22. Amy O’Donnell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  23. Nuala O’Hagan (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  24. Colleen Quinn (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  25. Oonagh McAnespey (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  26. Niamh Mc Fadden (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  27. Colleen Mallon (Irish Exiles AFL)
  28. Ashleigh Payne (Dublin Angels)

EC16 Team Preview – GB Swans

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – GB Swans

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the GB Swans a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The GB Swans were established earlier this year by two England Vixens players who wanted the opportunity to play in tournaments alongside the GB Bulldogs (men’s team), including the European Championships and the International Cup. Since the formation of the team, the GB Swans have attended two events, the Champions League in Amsterdam and the AFL London Preseason Cup in Peckham. In what couldn’t have been a better start for the team, they won both tournaments, making a name for themselves as a team to beat. Charlotte Eales and Lisa Wilson, who founded the team, have been working hard to schedule selection days, prepare the team for the upcoming tournament, arrange kits and are working hard to bring in sponsorship. The management team have hugely been helped out by Jason Hill, Team Manager for the GB Bulldogs.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

The GB Swans are lucky to have 3 excellent coaches; Garth Nevin as Head Coach and Lauren Spark & Ian Mitchell as Assistant Coaches who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. On announcement of the GB Swans forming a few months ago, the Swans received nearly 50 registrations of interest from girls across the country. After two selection days in Birmingham and Glasgow, a squad of 26 was selected for the European Championships. The girls come from a number of different teams representing England, Scotland and Wales. Unfortunately, we are yet to have a Northern Ireland girl register, but we hope to get them engaged soon! Clubs that are represented by the GB Swans are: Glasgow Sharks, Wimbledon Hawks, University of Birmingham, Greater Glasgow Giants, Wandsworth Demons, South East London Giants and North London Lions.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus 

The two selection days we had in Birmingham and Glasgow were doubled up as training camps to give the coaches an idea of the skill and fitness level of the girls in order to give feedback to aid improvement before the tournament. Alongside these, many of the players selected for the EC16 team played in the AFL London Preseason Cup back in April. Many of the girls have played together before for the England Vixens and Scottish Sirens, or within their clubs, however this will be the first time for many of the girls playing together.

With many of the girls coming from the AFL London league, there is a wealth of 18 aside experience which will be one of our strengths. However, fitness is always an issue when playing on an Oval as large as the one at Motspur Park. The girls will be looking to neaten up their skills, clean hands and kicks whilst ensuring constant pressure on and off the ball.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Sisters Alex and Danni Saulter have had a bout of injury this season with the latter being out all season with a fractured elbow, sustained in the AFL London Preseason Cup. With both girls nearly back at full fitness they will be a force to be reckoned with; Alex in the half-back line and Danni strong in the midfield. They will both be hoping to replicate their fantastic performances in the 2015 Euro Cup where they both played for the England Vixens who took out the title.

One of our youngest, Chloe Hall, recently moved from playing at the University of Birmingham to the South East London Giants. She has rapidly adapted to the 18 aside format and her knowledge, skill and commitment to the game has been outstanding. She will be one to watch at this tournament and in the future for GB Swans. She also stands out as she has a tomato blush as she exerts herself into the contest. A real leader and hard ball getter!

 

Coaches thoughts – Garth Nevin 

“I’m not going to lie, I have set high expectations. I believe the talent we have in our team we should push very hard for the No 1 European spot. I hope that the girls send a message to the other countries competing in the International cup in 2017. We mean business. Another aim is to open the doors for the upcoming inaugural year of Women’s AFL in Australia for all GB women. The commitment these women have shown inspires me to pass on every bit of AFL knowledge I have. Whatever the result, I will be extremely proud of these ladies and honoured to be the first ever coach of the GB Swans.”

 

Squad

  1. Beth Bailey
  2. Carolyn Baker (Glasgow Sharks)
  3. Jen Bennett (Wimbledon Hawks)
  4. Freya Blount (University of Birmingham)
  5. Lea Cobham (North London Lions)
  6. Louise Darby (Wimbledon Hawks)
  7. Charlie Eales (Wimbledon Hawks)
  8. Chloe Hall (University of Birmingham)
  9. Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks)
  10. Kirsty Gray (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  11. Rose Lewis (Wandsworth Demons)
  12. Laura Mackay (University of Birmingham)
  13. Jess Milford (Wimbledon Hawks)
  14. Sophie Morris (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  15. Rania Ramadan (North London Lions)
  16. Zoe Rowe (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  17. Alex Saulter (North London Lions)
  18. Danni Saulter (North London Lions)
  19. Caroline Sellar (Glasgow Sharks)
  20. Louise Smith (Glasgow Sharks)
  21. Ellie Sutherland (Glasgow Sharks)
  22. Lynsey Torrance (Glasgow Sharks)
  23. Laura Turner (North London Lions)
  24. Lisa Wilson (Wimbledon Hawks)
  25. Lucy Jones
  26. Laura Park (Greater Glasgow Giants)

 

 

EC16 Team Preview – German Eagles

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – German Eagles

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

The next team preview is of the German Eagles. They’ll be raring to go in the 18-a-side tournament especially after claiming the Bowl at last year’s Euro Cup.

How have the German Eagles been going since Euro Cup 2015?

The Eagles have been slowly building a group of passionate, focused and tough footballers over the past 10 years, as the sport grows along with it in Germany.

The Eagles finished Euro Cup 2015 in Umag, Croatia as winners of the Bowl. This highlighted the growth and development in Germany.

At Euro Cup 2015 a new management team was introduced, they continued to work on the principle of national team growth, whilst adding in a new intensity to the group.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

Mark Woods will continue coaching the Eagles into the Championships in 2016. Woods is an Australian who currently plays in the AFL Germany competition with the Munich Kangaroos. His in-depth knowledge of the local German players will be invaluable come August. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge but more importantly has a passion to develop the game outside of Australia.

A full squad will be on the plane to London for the August tournament. The list will be very new and have many fresh faces. With their usual captain and half a dozen first 18 players missing from the squad this could prove a difficult tournament. With experience lacking there is a chance to blood some new players which can only strengthen the Eagles in the long-term.

Pulling on the German jumper is always a great honour for the players and each player knows their roles to help the Eagles compete strongly.

The Eagles squad comprises players from all over Germany. Most AFL Germany clubs are represented with Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Freiberg, Frankfurt and Munich all providing players to the national squad. This squad will also include some players from England and the Netherlands.

Pre-Tournament Focus

The Eagles have met for a 2-day training camp during the mid-season AFL Germany break and proved a key lead up camp prior to the AFL Europe Champs.

The team is a mix of youth and experience and have established six team pillars they want to be renowned for in the competition. If all players stick to these team pillars they’ll be successful come August.

One key area of focus for the Germans in the lead up has been their ability to work hard without the ball in hand. They believe that this will be a key feature and highlight of their game style.

The Eagles are well-known for their team balance and drive. They are driven to do their country proud. They aren’t here to make up the numbers by any means and want to be the best team in Europe. They are lucky because their players are able to play in any position across the ground and are willing to put themselves on the line for their country.

However, their limited time together will prove challenging and the quicker they gel as a team the more dangerous they’ll become to their opposition.

Who has the X-Factors?

The Germans are strong across the park and are blessed with the ability to play their players in any position. A few names to keep an eye out for are big bodied midfielder/defender, Florian Naumann, who can take a strong mark overhead and hits very hard. Ruben Streicher is a raw talent who plays as a tall forward or ruckmen. He was named in the Euro Cup team of the tournament last year in Croatia and is only going to improve. Jakob Jung is one to watch for the opposition. He has all the attribute of a top-quality midfielder with his speed and skills, he’s also tough as nails so will be hard to stop in the Champs.

Players who have shown significant improvement for the Eagles are Jan Husken and Simon Assmus. Both will be hoping to continue their rapid develop and shake up competition.

The coach’s thoughts – Mark Woods?

“In Euro Cup 2015, Germany played their first matches under a new coaching style and set of team rules. The team had only come together two days before the cup. Yet when we played to the rules and stuck to our style, we played very well. We lost only one game for the day, against Ireland, and that by only a small margin, having been thrashed by them in previous years.

With this in mind, we are looking to continue to grow as a country squad. I will be most proud when we stick to the game plan and the team rules. We will play hard (and of course fair).

This being said, all of the players want to win. I want to win.”

Team List

  1. Florian Naumann
  2. Jonas Nebel
  3. Simon Assmus
  4. Martin Schuttoff
  5. Jakob Jung
  6. Jan Ostrawsky
  7. Johannes Mast
  8. Constantin Pixa
  9. Martin Krichler
  10. Markus Preib
  11. Martin Bauer
  12. Sebastian Esche
  13. Rob Macher
  14. Ruben Streicher
  15. Jan Husken
  16. Johannes Orlowski
  17. Sven Bonus
  18. Henrik van de Stay
  19. Jonas Jakobeit
  20. Matthias Schmitz
  21. Tobias Menzel
  22. Moritz Herthum
  23. Jascha Jung
  24. Karl Haigh
  25. Tristan Thormann
  26. Rob White
  27. Uli Schmoll
  28. Johannes Binninger
  29. Waldemar Schlundt
  30. Richard Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EC16 Team Preview – Irish Warriors

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Ireland Warriors

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

Next up to be previewed is the Ireland Warriors. The boys from Ireland are always up around top of the placings and will be looking to further assert the dominance in London.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

Since the International Cup in 2014 the Irish Warriors have been consistent participants in the yearly Euro Cup. They finished third in the 2014 and were beaten by Croatia after the siren in Umag in the third-place playoff. There has been a high volume of player turnover in recent years for the Warriors.

The positive for the Irish is that their Draft Cup competition unearthed a lot of new talent and the squad will contain a number of players making their Warriors debuts.

The management for the Irish Warriors has undergone significant changes in recent years. The team at IC14 was managed by Paul Brogan and coached by Shaun McElhone, who led the team to wins at Euro Cup 2011 and 2012 as well as retaining the AFL Europe Championships in Dublin 2013. Shaun’s success was unable to travel Australia for IC14 but had the side coached under the watchful eyes of David Stynes and Lachlan Buzsard.

Since the success of the recent era a new coaching and management team has been put in place and it has evolved over the last few years. They’ll be looking to go one step better than previous tournaments and come away with the win at the Champs come August.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

The joint coaching team of Brian Currane and Ciaran O’Hara, both of whom have worked with the team since 2014 and began the process whilst IC14 was underway.

Brian was one of the best forwards in Ireland for many years and was a member of the winning International Cup side from 2002. He was also involved in an administrative capacity for the AFL Europe Championships in 2010.

Ciaran has for many years been involved in the management of the National team, having travelled as an assistant to the International Cup in 2002. In the 2008 and 2011 instalments of the tournament he also managed the team. He coached Croatia at the last AFL Europe Championships in Dublin and has a wealth of experience coaching Irish club teams.

Supporting the coaches is a number of people, most notably, former captain Cian Quigley as team liaison.

The team itself is coming together well, blending a mix of youth and experience. With multiple International medal winners like David McElhone, Eoin O’Suilebhain and Gerard Walls mixing with some really exciting prospects like Stuart McKeating, Paul Murphy and Luke Hickey this Warriors side looks pretty formidable. Add to this some full format experience from the UK Leagues and the Irish could be hard to stop.

The side is made up of 9 players from both the Belfast Redbacks and Leeside Lions, 2 from the Galway Magpies, 2 from South Dublin Swans and a number of player representing UK Clubs such as the Manchester Mozzies, North London Lions, Wandsworth Demons and Wimbledon Hawks.

Pre-Tournament Focus

Due to very busy domestic league schedules it has been difficult for the Warriors to meet for training camps. Their players will be in form with regular carnivals and premiership games throughout the year keeping them fit and with good touch.

The Warriors will relish the opportunity to run out onto a full sized oval seeing as they don’t usually get the opportunity. They’ll look to add width and pace to their game which is something Irish players are traditionally very good at. With a high calibre of football player, the Irish will always a tough opponent and will be very difficult beat. Their Achilles heel is always their inability to train as a team before big tournaments which will put pressure on them early in the Champs to gel as quick as possible.

Who has the X-Factor?

The ruck duo of Gavin Murray and Dominic Joyce will be ones to look out for and can be really dominate. They could dictate first use for their midfielders which is key to winning big games.

The improvement shown by players like Sean Paul Henry is going to be vital for the Warriors. His natural athleticism has always had him at the forefront of opposition discussions but not his foot skills have become a focal point of his game which makes him a really exciting prospect for the Irish side.

Coaches thoughts – Brian Currane?

“We’d expect to have a fair crack at defending our title, but we know it will be difficult, GB were very good in 2013 and have improved since and the home advantage for them could be the percentages they need to take out their first European Championship.”

Team List (includes emergencies)

  1. Muiris Bartley (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  2. Sean Paul Henry (Belfast Redbacks)
  3. Luke Hickey (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  4. Brendan Kelly (Belfast Redbacks)
  5. Stiofan Mac Finn (Wimbledon Hawks)
  6. Tom McKenna (Belfast Redbacks)
  7. Paul Murphy (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  8. Conor O’Halloran (Leeside Lions)
  9. Eoin O’Suilleabhain (Leeside Lions)
  10. Tom Stack (Manchester Mozzies)
  11. Gerard Walls (Belfast Redbacks)
  12. Liam Burns (South Dublin Swans)
  13. Conor Fitzgerald (Wandsworth Demons)
  14. David McElhone (Belfast Redbacks)
  15. Sean McGlinchey (Belfast Redbacks)
  16. Stuart McKeating (Belfast Redbacks)
  17. David Miller (Belfast Redbacks)
  18. Gavin Murray (South Dublin Swans)
  19. Kevin O’Brien (Wandsworth Demons)
  20. Eoin O’Murchu (Wandsworth Demons)
  21. Conor Fitzgerald (North London Lions)
  22. Dominic Joyce (Leeside Lions)
  23. Ryan McCloskey (Belfast Redbacks)
  24. Kevin McDonnell (Galway Magpies)
  25. David McGinty (Galway Magpies)
  26. Kevin McSorley (Belfast Redbacks)
  27. Kevin O’Brien (Wandsworth Demons)
  28. Padraic O’Connell (Leeside Lions)
  29. Coilin O’Lordain (Leeside Lions)
  30. Rory O’Donnell (UCC & Leeside Lions)
  31. Alan Tobin (Wandsworth Demons)

EC16 Team Preview – Swedish Elks

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Swedish Elks

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

What’s happened since the International Cup in 2014?

The Elks have remained relatively quiet since the International Cup in 2014. The team participated in the 2014 Euro Cup with mixed results. They also hosted the 2015 Nordic Challenge beating Norway and Denmark (for the very first time) to claim the title.

2016 has seen the Elks host regional training sessions as well as a combined session following the Swedish Cup tournament in Norrtalje in June this year.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships?

Head coach Daniel McClaer resigned in 2015 and the board spent a lot of time finding a new coach before finally settling on Brett Petersen based in Malmo. Unfortunately, Brett will not be attending the Championships in August so the team will be coached by manager and AFL Sweden President, Ryan Tucker.

There are a few new faces in the team but the majority of players have played in the Elks squad for a number of years. They hope to mix the older generation with the youth coming through but finding the right balance will be key.

Players are spread all across the country with all but one active team not having a player represented. Sweden have also taken advantage of neighbouring countries not entering a team with players from Norway, Finland and Lithuania.

Pre-Tournament Focus?

The lead up to this tournament has not been perfect having only recently secured a new head coach the team has not received the desired amount of attention moving into the Championships. Unfortunately, combined training sessions and team meetings have not been able to happen as planned which puts the Elks behind the eight-ball in terms of preparation. In saying this, the group of players play with and against one another at club level week in, week out which provides a level of familiarity.

The biggest hurdle will be the adjustment of newer players to the 18-a-side format after playing at 9-a-side format for their respective clubs. The Elks are renowned for their fitness, determination and voice on the field which will more than make up for any other areas they may be lacking.

Who has the X-Factor?

You can never go past veteran Andy Svensson. The oldest player in the team seems to get younger when he plays footy. Having played since the early 2000s he is a valued member of the team. Andy was a member of the combined Denmark and Sweden side that took out the championships 20 years ago in 1996.

New Elks, Alex Olsson and Calle Wrang have proved in domestic footy that they can produce, whilst stalwarts Chris Martensson and Hampus Olsson will lead the team with bravado.

One of the most improved players is Buster Sund from Norrtalje. He was just 17 years old at International Cup in 2014 and gained valuably from that experience to become one of the most dominant players in the Stockholm league in the past two years.

Coach’s thoughts – Ryan Tucker

“For me this tournament will serve as a great learning tool for the players looking to play in IC17. A bunch of new guys have never played 18-a-side footy and I am excited to see what can happen when the game widens. I am happy with the team we have put together and I think we have some great strengths in our fitness and passion for the game. our size will also be a factor during the tournament which we can hopefully exploit. Even though we have a few new players to the team our experienced players have a number of years behind them which will be very useful in tight games.”

Team List

  1. Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
  2. Anton Tellström (Helsingborg)
  3. Jacob Lantz (Helsingborg)
  4. Hampus Olsson (Helsingborg)
  5. Jacob Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  6. Philip Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  7. Robin Nilsson (Helsingborg)
  8. Niklas Jonsson (Norrtälje)
  9. Martynas Alijosius (Norrtälje)
  10. Erik Lindqvist (Norrtälje)
  11. Gustav Svensson (Norrtälje)
  12. Buster Sund (Norrtälje)
  13. Tim Lindgren (Port Malmö)
  14. Tobias Gogu (Port Malmö)
  15. Tony Persson (Port Malmö)
  16. Jonas Lovén (Port Malmö)
  17. Christopher Mårtensson (Port Malmö)
  18. Jonas Birgén (Årsta)
  19. Mattis Kvarnström (Årsta)
  20. Oscar Magnusson (Solna)
  21. Pekka Tångström (Göteborg)
  22. Kaj Karlsson (Södermalm)

 

EC16 Team Preview – GB Bulldogs

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – GB Bulldogs

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

Kicking off our team previews is the host country men’s side, the Great Britain Bulldogs.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

In the 2014 International Cup the Bulldogs were drawn into Pool A alongside Ireland, Naura, Fiji, France and Indonesia. They claimed victories over France and Fiji and overall finished 9th.

In the current world rankings Great Britain are ranked 11th.

Following the International Cup in 2014, Head Coach Mark Pitura, departed from the top position. With no time pressure the GB management team took their time with the new coaching selection. In early 2016 it was announced that reigning AFL CNE premiership coach, Dean Thomas, would step up as GB Head Coach. He will be assisted by long-serving player, Will Worthington, as well as Jason Hill and Rhys Long as Team Manager’s.

The past 12 months have been very positive for the GB side with England finishing 2nd in the Euro Cup in Croatia with many of the current GB squad present.

Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships

All 30 players have now been announced with a very fresh look to the squad that competed at IC14.Only Will Worthington, Owain Ryland, James Talbot and Andy Smith (unfortunately now injured) remain from the squad that flew to Australia 2 years ago. The squad comprises players from across the country with representatives from the Wimbledon Hawks, the North London Lions, the Manchester Mozzies, the Wolverhampton Wolverines and the Wandsworth Demons leading the way. Players from the Huddersfield Rams, the West London Wildcats, Southampton Titans and the London Swans making up the remainder of the 30. This just goes to show the strength and development across the country. Many of the squad will be Bulldogs debutants despite having International experience with their home nations team in tournaments like the Euro Cup.

AFL Europe Championships focus

Head Coach Dean Thomas has spent the first half of the year instilling team ethos, plans and support structure in place within the training squad while nailing down his squad from the Bulldogs performance squad. Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge and success with the Manchester Mozzies and has been working on translating this success into the International arena.

Who has the X-Factor?

With a very young looking Bulldog’s squad, many of who are making their international debut, it’ll be very hard to pick who would potentially provide the difference in this tournament.

The University of Birmingham keep producing high quality players and their link up with the North London Lions continues to be fruitful. Ross Denton, Jack Coughlan, Jonny Harvey, Andy Walkden, Chris Britton, George Dibble and Michael Sharp have all come through the pipeline and will be worth a watch at EC16.

The London league is seeing impressive performances from the Wimbledon newbies in Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Marc Cashman and Jason Hill. While Alex Watson and David Jordan at the Wandsworth Demons are putting in highly rated performances along with West London Wildcats defender, Lewis Brackstone.

The AFL CNE league continues to churn out new and young talent in Craig Degville, Andrew Cochran and Harry Duffield.

More experienced players such as Owain Ryland, Andy Smith, Will Worthington and Luke Booth will be key to bringing success, through their big tournament experience and years of service to the Bulldogs.

All in all, X-Factor performances have the ability to come from the whole GB squad and we’re as excited as anyone to see who’ll shine at the AFL Europe Champs in August.

Coach, Dean Thomas’ thoughts and aims for the AFL Europe Championships

“The tournament itself is a fantastic opportunity for locally produced players to showcase their capabilities and test themselves at a higher level than they have previously competed in. It’s also an opportunity for the sporting public, in the UK, to get along and see for themselves, the entertaining nature of the sport we participate in. The players themselves can’t rely on experienced Australians to guide them in this tournament. It is therefore their opportunity to claim the limelight.

Our end goal, like every other nation attending, is to win the tournament. There has been a major overhaul of the squad, with a view to sustainable long term improvement, but in the short term we are quietly optimistic that the players we are assembling will be primed in August to deliver a very competitive performance in every game we participate in”.

Great Britain Bulldogs Squad:

  1. Lewis Brackstone (West London Wildcats)
  2. Chris Britton (Manchester Mozzies)
  3. Luke Booth (Huddersfield Rams)
  4. Marc Cashman (Wimbledon Hawks)
  5. Jack Coughlan (North London Lions)
  6. Craig Degville (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  7. Ross Denton (North London Lions)
  8. George Dibble (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  9. David Hastie (Wimbledon Hawks)
  10. Jonny Harvey (North London Lions)
  11. Jason Hill (Wimbledon Hawks)
  12. Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks)
  13. Owain Ryland (London Swans)
  14. Michael Sharp (North London Lions)
  15. Andy Walkden (Manchester Mozzies)
  16. Alex Watson (Wandsworth Demons)
  17. Jack Wood (West London Wildcats)
  18. Will Worthington (London Swans)
  19. Andrew Cochran (Manchester Mozzies)
  20. Harry Duffield (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  21. David Jordan (Wandsworth Demons)
  22. Andy Smith (Wandsworth Demons)
  23. Spike Kilheeney (Manchester Mozzies)
  24. Cameron Cope (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  25. Alex Overton (Huddersfield Rams)
  26. Ryan Spivey (Susses Swans)
  27. James Talbot (North London Lions)
  28. Matt Warwick (West London Wildcats)
  29. Martyn Hinchey (Southampton Titans)
  30. Matthew Goodman (The Wandsworth Demons)

 

2016 AFL EUROPE CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2016 AFL Europe Championship Schedule taking place in London from August 13-20th.  AFL Europe’s triennial 18-a-side tournament is a warm up for the AFL International Cup in August 2017. With match days falling on, Sunday 14th, Tuesday 16th, Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th at Motspur Park (Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Ground, KT3 6NE) this year’s competitors are:

 

MEN

German Eagles

Great Britain Bulldogs

Irish Warriors

Swedish Elks

 

WOMEN

European Crusaders (Made up from France, GB and Scandinavia)

Great Britain Swans

Irish Banshees

 

SCHEDULE

DAY ONE – SUNDAY 14TH AUGUST

1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles

3pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Swedish Elks

 

DAY TWO – TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST

4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Irish Warriors

 

DAY THREE – THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST

1.30pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

2.15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

3pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v German Eagles

 

DAY FOUR – FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST

11.30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

12.15pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

1pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

 

DAY FIVE – SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST

1pm Men’s Third Place PO

2.30pm Women’s Grand Final

3.30pm Men’s Grand Final

 

Good luck to all involved, we can’t wait to host you in London from 13th-20th August 2016.

 

For volunteering, physiotherapists, or umpires please email admin@afleurope.org