‘The Game of their Lives’ Commemoration Match

*Picture: Australian War Memorial

 On the 28th October 1916, the Queens Club in London played host to the first organised game of Australian Football played overseas by predominantly elite-level players.

Over 100 years ago two teams of Australian soldiers staged an ‘exhibition game’ that drew over 3000 spectators, including the then Prince of Wales and etched itself in the history books of Australian Rules Football.

The game was the brainchild of Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, who proposed it to the legendary general John Monash, then commander of the Third Division.

Lieutenant Frank Beaurepaire, an Olympic swimmer was tasked with organising the one-off match which raised almost £1000 for the British and French Red Cross Societies.

The two sides competing in the match were littered with football royalty. The Australian Units Training Team, who played in light red jumpers with a white kangaroo on them, was captained by Norwood champion, Charles Perry.

The side also included, Percy Trotter of Fitzroy and East Fremantle, George Bower of South Melbourne, Clyde Donaldson of Essendon and vice-captained by Fiztroy’s John ‘Jack’ Cooper.

They lined up against the Third Australian Division, who wore navy blue jumpers with a map of Australia in white, who were captained by South Melbourne’s Bruce Sloss.

Their vice-captain was Collingwood and Richmond star, Dan Minogue, while they also had Bill Stewart of Essendon, Hughie James of Richmond and Jack Brake of University and Melbourne on the Third Division side.

The game was low-scoring, with the Third Division side claiming a 16-point victory. The final score read 6.16. (52) to 4.12. (36).

Tragically for Third Division captain, Bruce Sloss, Jack Cooper, Stan Martin, James Foy, James Pugh and Les Lee, the exhibition was to be their last as all were tragically killed serving in the Great War.

In just over a weeks’ time, two London sides will commemorate the Exhibition Game in their round 1 encounter.

In what doubles as a 2016 grand final rematch, the Wandsworth Demons and West London Wildcats will wear replica kit in the game. The Demons will wear the light red jumpers with white kangaroo of the Australian Units Training Team while the Wildcats will wear the navy blue with white map of Australia of the Third Australian Division.

The May 6th encounter will be played at the Chiswick Rugby Club, Chiswick, London, W4 2SH. Ball-up will be at 3pm, with the match being captured on film by Game On Productions and BarTV Sports.

The match would not be possible without the incredible work of Game On Productions, Lizzie Kirkham, who is thrilled that the game will be remembered just over 100 years since the original took place.

Stay tuned for more information on the match.

View some original footage from the match courtesy of the British Pathe (www.britishpathe.com)

ANZAC Cup 2017 Review

The ANZAC Cup was played in Northern France over the weekend with the Australian Spirit claiming victory in both the men’s and women’s games on Sunday. Players spent 4 days with host families, with the event culminating in a moving dawn service at the Australian National War Memorial on ANZAC Day.

Saturday 22nd April

The Australian and French players arrived in Villers-Bretonneux to be greeted by their host families in the early afternoon. Many were treated with a traditional French lunch by their hosts before a combined training session at Stadium Timmerman.

Players from all four sides mingled and trained together for over an hour, with drills being led by the French coach, Andrew Unsworth and Australia’s Ash Walsh.


Following the training session players convoyed to Le Hamel for a welcome dinner hosted by the Association Bretonvilloise Animation (ABA). Prior to the dinner commencing respects were paid to the policeman killed in the Paris terror attacks two days earlier, with commemorations being led by the Mayor of Villers-Bretonneux.

The coaches from both sides presented the players with their jumpers before the team captains spoke of what it meant to represent their countries, in what is such an important time for both Australia and France.

Once the formalities were over, the ABA served the aperitif before serving a traditional French meal for the 100 people in attendance. Players and support staff of both teams openly shared their favourite football stories as the teams began forming relationships ahead of their big match.


Sunday 23rd April

Players and officials had a nice early start on Sunday morning with a visit to the Australian National War Memorial. This provided the opportunity for reflection at what is a beautiful and very special memorial.

Walking amongst the gravestones, players read the names of fallen soldiers engraved on the walls of the memorial, which was an incredibly moving and humbling experience for all the players.

Soon it was time to head back into Villers-Bretonneux for the parade through the town, another unique element of the ANZAC Cup. Players followed a local bagpiper and local children bearing the Australian and French flags through the streets of Villers with locals waving and cheering from their houses as the parade moved past.

Shortly after the conclusion of the march, the women’s match was underway. In the second official women’s ANZAC Cup game, it was the French who started stronger and looked dangerous early.

The Australian’s ferocity at the contest and tackling pressure proved too much for the French, as they failed to register a goal in the second and third terms.

In what was a great game of footy, Australia claimed victory 9.15.69 to 3.8.26. Stephanie Filbay and Camille Portal were awarded best on ground honours for their respective sides.

The men’s match followed immediately after the women’s match, but not before a rousing rendition of the French national anthem, which had many in the crowd believing that this could be the year to break their 3 ANZAC Cup drought.

It was a fast-paced start with both sides registering early goals. A massive third term gave Australia the advantage, and despite a strong final quarter the deficit proved too much for the French to overcome.

The final score read 13.12.90 to 6.15.51, with Michael ‘le lapin’ Curcio and Pierre Leschales rightfully chosen as the best players afield.

A moving presentation ceremony was hosted by the ABA, a presentation that was made even more special with trophies and medals presented by Harriet O’Malley, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris, and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP.

A special thanks to umpires Tobias Siegel and Cai Davies for officiating the matches doing a splendid job.

On what was a beautiful day in Villers, players and officials enjoyed some well-earned post-game refreshments generously provided by Pirate Life Brewery Company.

For full match reports click here.

With the French players departing on the Sunday evening, the Australian’s were hosted by one of the local families at their home to enjoy a mix of French and Australian cuisines.  Celebrations carried on into the night with some classic Aussie rock ballads being belted out by all who attended.


Monday 24th April

The Monday gave players a chance to explore the surrounds of VB with many enjoying the sights of nearby town, Amiens.

In the afternoon, the players delivered an Auskick clinic for the children of Le Hamel, which has a population of only 500. Forty local children had their first AFL experience and took part in the session, which taught the students some basic AFL skills such as kicking, handballing and marking.

The hour-long session was one to remember with neither the kids nor the players wanting it to end. Players were presented gifts by the children and were surprised when the young students sung the Australian national anthem in what was a very touching moment.

Whilst in the area, several players took the time to visit the Le Hamel Memorial. A timeline of events leads visitors out to the memorial proper. The vast landscape and trenches surrounding the memorial created an eerie sense of the conditions those fighting would have encountered close to 100 years ago.

The day finished with a quiet drink at the Le Melbourne pub in Villers. This time was used to share stories of the past few days, before players returned to spend their final evening with their host families.


Tuesday 25th April

Players met at 3:30am to begin the 40 minute walk from the town centre out to the Australian National War Memorial. An incredible Dawn Service, in icy cold conditions, was delivered with dignitaries and armed servicemen and women delivering stories and letters from those who gave up their lives on the battlefields of the Somme.

Following the service, it was time for players to go their separate ways with the Australian squad returning to all the different parts of Europe that they now call home.

It was the 9th time AFL Europe has had the privilege to deliver the ANZAC Cup. The event wouldn’t be possible without the huge efforts of the ABA led out by Xavier Graux, the host families, O’Neills Sportwear for supplying a fantastic playing uniform for the Australian team, BarTV Sports for capturing the event, the French national men’s and women’s sides, the locals of Villers-Bretonneux, Le Hamel and surrounds, the umpires, and the Australian players who put in so much effort with their applications.

2018 is the 10th edition of the ANZAC Cup, but more importantly the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. AFL Europe looks forward to working together with the ABA and local families of Villers-Bretonneux to create another fantastic ANZAC Cup.

Click here to see the video highlights of the Anzac Cup, courtesy of BarTV.

ANZAC Cup 2017 – Match Reports

The 9th Annual ANZAC Cup, contested between the Australian Spirit and France, was played in picturesque conditions yesterday at Stadium Timmerman, Villers-Bretonneux. The beaming sun resulted in a nice crowd growing for the 12pm women’s game.

Following a minute’s silence and the national anthems the women’s game was under-way. It was played at a frantic pace from the opening bounce with Coline Duquet of France working well in the ruck to give her midfielders first use of the football.

Two goals to one had the French in front at the first change with Camille and Berengere Portal having strong opening quarters.

Wayward kicking in front of goal was hurting the Australian’s as they started winning the football out of the middle and holding deep in their forward line.

The Australian’s went into halftime with an 8-point lead after trailing the French at the quarter time break.

The second half went all the Australian’s way but they couldn’t convert in front of goal kicking 5 goals, 13 behinds to the end of the third quarter.

They got their radars straight in the final term with an extra 4 goals sealing victory in a great game of football. Final scorecard reading 9.15. 69 to 3.8. 26 in favour of the Australian’s.

Best on ground honours went to Steph Filbay of Australia and Camille Portal of France.

The men’s match followed immediately after the women with both sides taking part in the pre-game ceremonies of a minute silence and national anthems. A stirring rendition of the French national anthem had the local crowd excited at the prospect of knocking off the Australian side for the first since 2013.

Harriet O’Malley, Cultural Attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris, tossed the coin with Australian skipper, Tony Fulton choosing to run towards Le Melbourne Pub end of the ground in the first quarter.

Both sides started out strong with French full-forward, Pierre Boscart, looking dangerous coming out the goal square.

It didn’t take long for the Australian’s spiritual leader, Jay Treloar, to make an impact in the game with a strong double fist whilst 15 metres clear of an opponent.

Two goals apiece had both sides even at the quarter time break with the French looking very dangerous in the 9-a-side format.

It was much of the same in the second term with both sides struggling to convert with the immense tackling pressure. Australia edged in front late to take a 9-point lead into the main break.

Coaches, Jason Cameron and Tom Rischbieth got the boys firing in the third term as the Australian’s kicked five goals in quick succession to set up a comfortable lead going into the final quarter.

A strong finish by the French kept the Australian’s honest in the final term but it was too little, too late. Final scorecard reading 13.12. 90 to 6.15. 51 in favour of the Australian Spirit.

The trophies and medals were presented by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP, who was in Villers-Bretonneux for the ANZAC commemorations.

Best on ground honours went to Michael Curcio of Australia and Pierre Leschales of France.

A special mention to Tobias Siegel and Cai Davies for their stellar performances umpiring both games as well as all the volunteers led by the ABA for putting together another amazing ANZAC Cup.

With the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux next year, the 2018 ANZAC Cup is set to be extra special.

Champions League 2017 Review

Champion teams from throughout Europe converged on Amsterdam over the weekend to contest the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League.

With 24 teams (19 men’s, 5 women’s), 16 umpires, countless volunteers, 5 pitches and 60 matches across the day it was always going to be a massive tournament for all involved.

The Group Stages

The women’s group was a tight contest from start to finish. The Paris Cockerelles started their campaign with a hard-fought win over the Odense Lionesses while the Port Malmo Lynx knocked over pre-tournament favourites, the Wimbledon Hawks. The Mixed Team, led by a host of GB Swans, proved a difficult opponent winning their first three games.

The Cockerelles continued their strong form throughout the group to finish atop of the table before progressing in the semi-finals having only dropped a game to the Mixed Team. They were best served by Coline Duquet and Camille Portal who were dominating games in the midfield.

The Lionesses finished second with two wins, two losses next to their names while the Hawks and Lynx rounded out the table to with one win apiece.

Standings after the Group stages

  1. Paris Cockerelles
  2. Odense Lionesses
  3. Wimbledon Hawks
  4. Port Malmo Lynx

*Mixed Team unable to qualify for finals

The men’s competition was divided into four groups (3 groups of 5, 1 group of 4). Group A proved the closest of the three with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats the standouts. The North West Eagles, Cardiff Panthers and Oslo Crows each took a game off one another showing just how close the three teams were. Two of the games of the tournament took place in this group with the Leeside Lions and Farum Cats finishing their encounter at 20 apiece while the North West Eagles and Cardiff Panthers fought out a nail-biter on the live stream with the Eagles holding on for an 8-point victory.

Group B consisted of 2 time defending champions, the West London Wildcats, Paris Cockatoos, Glasgow Sharks, Zaprude Giants and Sussex Swans. It was no surprise that the Wildcats were the early favourites but an in-form Cockatoos and Glasgow Sharks showed that they had what it took to give the defending champions a scare. The Giants and Swans struggled against the bigger sides but represented their clubs well and will only be better for the experience.

Last year’s losing finalists the Manchester Mozzies were met strongly by the boys from Munich in Group C. Their match went down to the wire with the Mozzies just edging past them 28-22. The Bordeaux Bombers continued with the form that saw them lift the French Cup in December last year finishing third in the group after knocking off the Port Malmo Maulers and wildcards, the Styrian Downunderdogs.

The final group, Group D, consisted of four teams, hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Norrtalje Dockers, the Zagreb Dockers and Russian United. This group played longer halves to ensure they played similar game time to the other three groups. The Devils were on a mission, after two years of just being off the pace, wanting to prove to their home crowd they were the real deal in 2017. The Norrtalje Dockers started strongly against Russian United before failing to trouble the Devils and Zagreb sides. Russian United again struggled but showed improvement on their 2016 campaign and gained valuable experience against some very polished sides.

Standings after the Group stages

Group A

  1. Leeside Lions
  2. Farum Cats
  3. Cardiff Panthers
  4. North West Eagles
  5. Oslo Crows

Group B

  1. West London Wildcats
  2. Paris Cockatoos
  3. Glasgow Sharks
  4. Zaprude Giants
  5. Sussex Swans

Group C

  1. Manchester Mozzies
  2. Munich Kangaroos
  3. Bordeaux Bombers
  4. Port Malmo Maulers
  5. Styrian Downunderdogs

Group D

  1. Amsterdam Devils
  2. Zagreb Dockers
  3. Norrtalje Dockers
  4. Russian United

The Finals

The women’s final pitted the 1st placed Paris Cockerelles against the 4th placed Port Malmo Lynx in the first semi-final. The Cockerelles were expected to go through after defeating the Lynx in the group stages. The Lynx had other plans with an 11-point win catapulting them through to the final.

The second semi-final had an in-form Odense Lionesses against an out-of-sorts Wimbledon, however, the Hawks showed their class and lifted when it counted to convincingly beat the Lionesses by 20-points.

The evenness of the women’s competition showed with the 3rd and 4th placed teams playing off for the Champions League title. It was an incredible game with the Hawks lifting a notch in the big game. They controlled the game and held out to win by 7-points claiming their first Champions League title and becoming the first women’s club champions of Europe.

The men’s finals were always going to be a great spectacle with Group A’s Leeside Lions taking on Group D’s Amsterdam Devils in the first semi-final. The Devils lifted in front of their home crowd and held on to a hard-fought 27-19 victory in a fiery encounter to progress to their first Champions League final in their third attempt.

The second semi-final saw a rematch of last year’s final with Group B’s West London Wildcats taking on Group C’s Manchester Mozzies. The Wildcats flexed their muscles and proved too strong for the Mozzies with the scoreboard reading 65 to 18.

The Wildcats were through to yet another Champions League decider with an underdog Amsterdam Devils hoping to pull off the unthinkable. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead to going into half-time with a 15-point buffer, inaccuracy hurting them and keeping the Devils in the game. A quick goal to start the second half got the Devils within range and when they kicked the 2nd goal of the half with 5 to go they were a real chance.

Two quick goals in response sealed the game for West London with a third goal late putting the icing on the cake to claim their third straight Champions League title with the scoreboard reading 37 to 14.

A special mention to the squad of 16 umpires who officiated throughout the day. Another stellar effort from the third team and congratulations on a great day of umpiring.

A massive thank you goes out to AFL Netherlands for their superb efforts in making this great event happen again in 2017, Spark United & Sportpark de Eendracht for hosting us, Drovers Dog for providing extra food and beverage options, all the volunteers and pitch managers who work so hard throughout the day, the umpiring squad led by John Enright who assembled the biggest group of umpires to any AFL Europe tournament, the team managers, Tony Pubjie the First Consul of the Australian Embassy Netherlands and everyone who attend the 2017 edition of the Champions League. You all represented your leagues proudly. Good luck with your 2017 seasons!


The Down Under Centre Golden Whistle

Cai Davies

Player’s & Team of the Tournament

Michael Stewart – Amsterdam Devils
Benoit Treuillet – Bordeaux Bombers
Dan Aldous – Cardiff Panthers
Mathias Biron – Farum Cats Australsk Fodboldklub
Daniel Connor – Glasgow Sharks Australian Rules Football Club
Dominic Joyce – Leeside Lions AFL
Oli Hobin – Manchester Mosquitoes
Ruben Streicher – Munich Kangaroos
Ryan Tucker – Norrtälje Dockers
Niccollo De Giorgio – North West Eagles
Jarrod Casperz – Oslo Crows
Justin Kristensen – Port Malmö Football Club Maulers
Slava Belov – Russian United
Dan Shinners – Styrian DownUnderDogs
Joe Durling – Sussex Swans Australian Rules Football Club
Jared Risol – West London Wildcats
Ivan Ivos – Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers
Zvonimir Murkovic – Zapruđe Giants

Men’s Player of the Tournament
Jacob Raiwalui – Paris Cockatoos

Lisa Wilson – Mixed Team
Sidsel Wraa Hansen – Odense Australsk Fodbold Lionesses
Georgia Verkuylen – Port Malmö Football Club Lynx
Isabelle Currenti – Wimbledon Hawks

Women’s Player of the Tournament
Coline Duquet – Paris Cockerelles

Champions League Tournament Preview!

The 2016 Champion teams from across Europe converge on Amsterdam this weekend to decide which team is the best of the best in the 2017 installment of the AFL Europe Champions League.

For the 3rd year running AFL Netherlands will host what will be the largest tournament in its short history with 24 teams donning their team’s colours from 14 different countries.

Spark United Clubhouse and Sportspark De Eendracht will again be the venue with 5 pitches being used throughout the day and a total of 60 games being played making for a jam-packed day of Aussie Rules in the Dutch Capital.

The women’s draw features 5 teams with AFL London’s Wimbledon Hawks, firming as early favourites after an undefeated 2016 season. They’ll be buoyed by the recent AFLW season where they were fortunate enough to follow two of their ex-teammates, Lauren Spark and Kate Shierlaw, on the main stage.

The Paris Cockerelles have shown rapid improvement over the past 12 months and after having a strong preseason will be ones to watch. AFL Sweden’s Port Malmo Lynx and DAFL’s Odense Lionesses, are always tough opponents and had strong showings at last year’s Champions League and the bulk of their squads having great Euro Cup tournaments for their respective countries. Neither should be underestimated and wouldn’t surprise the masses if they came away as Champions.

The Mixed Team round out the women’s competition and are made up of Scottish players who were unable to field a team along with a host of Wimbledon Hawks extras will prove strong competition for the four club’s sides taking part.

The men’s draw consists of 19 teams broken up into 4 groups (three groups of 5 and one group of 4). Group A features the ARFLI’s Leeside Lions, DAFL’s Farum Cats, the Cardiff Panthers of the WARFL, Norway’s Oslo Crows, and AFL Italia’s North West Eagles. Their will be pressure for the Lions to be there at the pointy end of the competition but with a group as strong as they’ve been drawn they won’t have an easy game.

Group B consists of two-time Champions League winners, the West London Wildcats. They’ll again be the team to beat this year but won’t do it easily with a red-hot Paris Cockatoos, Zaprude Giants from Croatia, Sussex Swans and Glasgow Sharks looking to knock them off their perch. The Cockatoos are nearly at the end of their 2016/17 domestic season so they’ll be match-fit and ready to take on the challenge.

Group C has last year’s runners-up, the Manchester Mozzies. The buzz coming out of the midlands is all positive with some handy recruits and key GB players suiting up for AFL CNE premiers. The Munich Kangaroos, Port Malmo Maulers, Bordeaux Bombers and Styrian DownunderDogs have very strong line-ups and will be flexing their muscle to claim the top spot in their group. Look for the mighty DownunderDogs to cause a few upsets after the bulk of their squads had great hit-outs at Euro Cup with Austria.

Group D consists of four teams, hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Norrtalje Dockers, Zagreb Dockers and Russia United. This could be the most evenly matched group of them all with any side a chance to finish on top. The Dockers of Norrtalje could really shake up the competition after they had a very strong season in the SAFF.

This year is set to be our most competitive Champions League tournament and one to follow closely.

It’ll be live streamed tournament all day by our regular streaming partners, Bar TV Sports. All Pitch 1 matches will be streamed lived with the links available on our website below:

Live Stream

For the full tournament fixtures see below:

Champions League Fixture (Final)

Best of luck to all teams taking part and be sure to follow our regular updates on our Facebook and social media pages.




Champions League Fixtures

The Champions League 2017 Fixtures are out!

The men’s division will be battled out among 19 teams across four groups while the 5 women’s teams will be jostling for positions before heading into their final series.

The day commences at 9:30am with the women’s final scheduled for 5pm and the men’s final following immediately after at 5:30pm.


Champions League Fixture (Final)

Champions League Team Previews

In the lead-up to the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League, hosted by AFL Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday 1st April, we’ll be taking a quick look at the teams who’ve qualified for the premier club tournament held in Europe.

Next up we have the Oslo Crows, Port Malmo Maulers, French Cup Champions, the Bordeaux Bombers, AFL Italia’s, North West Eagles, and the Women’s Mixed Team.

Oslo Crows

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

The league is Norway is very small. The Oslo Crows club is split into two teams, Oslo West and Oslo East. Ås University field the final third team in the league. In previous years, Oslo West and Ås have dominated the league. For the 2016 season, thanks to a strong recruiting push, Oslo East pulled ahead early in the season and stayed there before winning the Grand Final against Oslo West.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

During the winter the Oslo Crows train indoors as our home pitch is covered in snow and ice. This year we were only able to get access to a school sports hall approximately the size of a basketball court. In other words, our short game has become fantastic! Watch out for short, sharp kicks and hand passes and plenty of sprinting!

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We are highly ambitious and now with the team to back those ambitions, anything is possible! We’re going to play hard, fast footy and make Norway proud. Particularly against teams representing the countries our national team lost to in the Euro Cup!

Player to watch?

Watch out for our two flying Vs, new recruits Victor Scherman, who previously played for the Paris Cockatoos, and Vemund Solberg Rustad, who played for PINTS football club in Darwin. Both are strong in the ruck and hard to pin down.  The form a strong part of the core team strategy of keeping the ball constantly in motion.

Port Malmo Maulers

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We won the Swedish Cup in Norrtälje and knocked off a hard fought Södermalm in the finals.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We have been training indoors during winter mainly focusing on skills and fitness.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We enter the Champions league as a dark horse. If we are playing good and have a bit of luck go our way we could defiantly be contenders, though in saying that making the finals will be a good goal for us.

Player to watch?

Two time best and fairest winner and captain Chris Mårtensson. He is a versatile player that can have a big impact anywhere on the field. He is big, strong and fast with great leadership qualities and he will lead the Maulers to victory.

Another one too look out for is DAFL’s leading goal scorer Ben Polmear. The goal scoring veteran will be will be a handful for defenders and he will be looking to kick a bag at this year’s tournament.

Bordeaux Bombers

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We qualified for the Champions League by winning the French Cup. The beginning of our 2016 season was difficult because many of our players were new and they lacked experience. By early September, our team was playing well – we are always in a race for the final half of the championship.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Our organisation for the trip to Amsterdam hasn’t seemed too difficult, and our players are motivated and excited to participate in the Champions League.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our goal is to enjoy being on the field and win as many of our matches as possible.

North West Eagles

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We won the only official game in Italy last year, in Pisa we defeated The ROMA Blues, and it was a sort of challenge round.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We’ve been training since late January on regular basis, so everything is going well at the moment.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We are newcomers so we only hope to add to our experience some important matches and give all we’ve got to give and have fun.

Player to watch?

Niccolò De Giorgi and Filippo Alloisio have both played games in European Selections taking on the Australian Academy Side in London and Copenhagen, but Filippo had a bad injury that forced him on the sidelines for the whole 2016 season.

Women’s Mixed Team

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Due to the invited SARFL Representative team being unable to field a full squad, the team spot has been transitioned to a Rogue Women’s team with an open invitation to players across the continent. The team has therefore been formed with girls of 5 different nationalities with many hoping to get in as much game time as they can in their run up to the International Cup in August.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Due to the team’s inability to qualify for the final, our aim will be to provide some strong competition for the other teams in the tournament through leadership from GB Swans Caroline Sellar.

Player to watch?

A player to watch will be newcomer to the sport, Alex Peill, who has was selected for the GB Swans after only playing 2 games so she will be keen to put her training in to practice. Though we are a team built from a variety of players with a mix of experience, we will still be looking to put out a strong contest, displaying some good footy!


Champions League Team Previews

In the lead-up to the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League, hosted by AFL Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday 1st April, we’ll be taking a quick look at the teams who’ve qualified for the premier club tournament held in Europe.

Next up we have the Port Malmo Lynx, CEAFL Champions, the Zaprudje Dockers, AFL Scotland’s, Glasgow Sharks, the Norrtalje Dockers and Welsh powerhouse, the Cardiff Panthers.

Port Malmo Lynx

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

The Port Malmö Lynx had a reasonably quiet 2016 match wise but trained hard and qualified for Champions League by winning the AFL Sweden 9 a side cup.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Training has been going well leading up to CL 2017. There’s always a lack of matches for us at this time of year but there will be a pre-season hit out this weekend against the Lund Giants. In general, I’m happy with our preparations so far.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League? 

Questions about expectations are always hard to answer but as a coach I expect to see big improvements in areas that we have been lacking in. The players are always keen to go one step better at each tournament so I expect them to lay everything on the line for this one.

Player to watch?

Hmm player to watch, always keep an eye on My Almkvist, she got player of the tournament at Euro cup 2016 but we have a few more that will be keen to impress so keep your eyes open.

Zaprudje Giants

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

KAN Zaprudje Giants qualified for Champion League by winning the Central European Australian Football League (CEAFL). The league had three tournaments in Zagreb, Graz and Prague, and we won all three.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The preparation for Champion League are going pretty well so far.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Team expectation is to end in Top 6.

Player to watch?

Players to watch are surely Zvonimir Murkovic, one of the best players in Croatia through last five years and three-time European Legion player, and Igor Galez, strong full-back who was selected for tournament squad in Euro Cup in Lisbon.

Glasgow Sharks

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We qualified for the tournament by becoming the SARFL 2016 Premiers. We had a great season, winning the national league for the first time in the clubs history. We beat our close rivals and then current premiers the Edinburgh Bloods in a tough semi final which bolstered the club with the belief to go on and win in the Grand Final.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The playing group have been hitting training hard and even getting together out with normal training sessions for extra running and fitness work. The club as a whole have been very excited for this chance and no one is going to let this chance skip by them

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our aim is always to walk away from any competition as champions. We are relishing the chance to play against quality side from all over Europe and measure where we sit in the footy landscape.

Player to watch?

Club captain Adam Jack missed playing in the clubs first Grand Final win and is looking hit 2017 with few bags of goals.

Norrtalje Dockers

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

The Norrtälje Dockers won the Stockholm Australian Football Federation Premiership on the back of a club record year. Winning 7 of 8 games during the regular season and then qualifying to the finals series for the first time in the clubs short 5 year history. A solid 5 goal Semi Final win led the Dockers to the big dance where 2015 premiers Södermalm Blues were beaten by 6 goals. The Dockers capped a stellar year by taking out all 3 major awards at the league presentation night. Matthew Schulte winning best Australian whilst also taking out the goalkickers trophy with 31 goals and Buster Sund claiming the prize for best Swede.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Pre-season training kicked off indoors two weeks before christmas and has continued once a week through the start of 2017. The Dockers hailing from Sweden have to contend with blistering cold and snow in pre season outdoor training but we feel it is what makes us stronger!

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We will be looking to notch up a few wins over the day and test our skills and structure against teams from around Europe. The biggest and most exciting part for us is getting away as a team and meeting other footy teams from the continent!

Player to watch?

Fredrik Lenard will be making his Australian football debut at Champions league so the team will be right behind him on game day. Keep also a close eye on Goldilocks running from the back!

Cardiff Panthers

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We tussled through the WARFL league with some close results against Bristol Dockers, Chippenham Redbacks and Swansea Magpies however we came through the league champions giving us the advantage of home turf for the Grannie.  The Grannie was played in Cardiff and the conditions were great for a running game which suits our style.  We had the legs on the Redbacks in the last quarter and managed to come through victors.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Our coach, Joshua Davey, rounded up the boys in January to do some indoor late night training sessions.  So far the prep has gone just as planned with some skill work and the all dreaded fitness!  However we are all prepped for the the tournament.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We spoke with the Dutch team during the Euro’s in Lisbon and they persuaded us that the event had a great vibe and expressed what was great about AFL in Europe so no pressure!  It sounds like a fun and enjoyable tournament and we will go to compete but have a good time while doing it.  Other than that we’ll take each game as it comes.

Player to watch?

Mike Palmer: as he may kick the ball in your face…by accident…honest!

Champions League Team Previews

In the lead-up to the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League, hosted by AFL Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday 1st April, we’ll be taking a quick look at the teams who’ve qualified for the premier club tournament held in Europe.

Next up we have the undefeated 2016 AFL London women’s premiers, the Wimbledon Hawkettes, the Paris Cockatoos, the Zagreb Dockers, the Sussex Swans & the ARFLI Champions, the Leeside Lions.

Wimbledon Hawkettes

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season!

The Wimbledon Hawkettes were undefeated in the London league in 2016, winning the Grand Final against the North London Lions​. We were consistent on the field throughout the season, using our midfield pressure to push the ball forward, and shutting down the opposition when they came into our end. We also had the honour of being the only London team to have two of our forward line players drafted into the AFLW this season (Don’t worry, they won’t be kicking goals for us in this tournament!).

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We recently started our pre-season training and many of the girls are looking fast after a productive off-season! We train with our men’s team so have been getting plenty of experience going up against rough opponents, and fighting for every contested footy. The weather in England has been all over the place as well, so we will be ready to play in whatever the Amsterdam skies want to throw at us.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

 Ideally to take home the flag, as with any competition the Hawkettes always step onto the field wanting to win! Off the field though, I think the ladies will be looking to have fun and make footy contacts across Europe. We are bringing a big team to Amsterdam as this tournament is also our pre-season tour, and I think we’d like to share how we are growing the sport in London. Tournaments are a great place to recruit new players who come down to watch, and the surest way to keep that going is by putting on an exciting competition and ​following it up with a memorable afterparty.

Player to watch?

Midfielder Chloe Ong​ – Recruited from the sidelines, Chloe spends the Aussie Rules off-season playing football (soccer) in London. She has a great mix of speed and stamina which means she puts a formidable amount of pressure onto her opponents and keeps the footy moving into the forward line.

Paris Cockatoos

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season!

The Cockatoos are the newest team in the Paris Cocks franchise. The team was created for the 2016 season as we had too much players for just one men’s team. The team did amazingly well last season only losing two games in the regular season. They beat the Cockerels in the semi-finals (very tough and emotional game cause both team are from the club). In the Grand Final they beat the Coyotes in the last quarter. This was by far the toughest game of the season with all the Cockerelles and Cockerels cheering like crazy when they brought the trophy back to Paris!

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The French Championship is running from September to end of April so the Cockatoos are training twice a week and playing a game pretty much every two weeks. We are definitely ready for the Champions League!

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

 We basically approach every game with the expectation of winning so we definitely have our eyes on making the final four. As a team we’re hitting some really good formats we’re bringing a lot of depth so there’s no reason why we can’t challenge the really good teams.

Player to watch?

A couple of our local products are worth looking out for. Julian Dagois and Clement Dony have had really consistent seasons are playing great footy. Jacob Raiwalui is a really exciting talent so it will be fun to cut the big boy loose against quality opposition. Also a couple of our old blokes have wound the clock back this season which has been fun to watch.

Zagreb Dockers

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season!

We qualified for the 2017 Champions League by becoming champions of Croatia in 2016. The Croatian league of Australian football includes 6 clubs and it lasts from April till October. We were favorites to win the title being the reigning champions from 2015. Also, our squad is very strong and experienced. In the regular part of the competition we finished second but in playoffs we won all games and managed to defend the title, becoming champions for two years in a row.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The preparation for the Champions League started two months ago. It was very cold in Zagreb so we were training indoors. We will play in the Croatian Cup, so we will have a few matches before coming to Amsterdam.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our expectations for the Champions League are to be better than last year when we finished in 9th place. This year we are coming with a full squad and we hope to be at least second in a group. There are no Australians in our team so this is a great opportunity for our players to grow and learn.

Player to watch?

Player to watch is definitely the Captain of Croatian national team, Tomislav Cvetko. He was elected as Best and Fairest of Croatian League in 2016. Tomislav is soon to leave for Australia to play footy there. No doubt he is a star but our team is a compact unit with a lot of talented players and some of them will hopefully be a pleasant surprise at 2017 Champions League.

Sussex Swans

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season!

Under the leadership of Will Mclean, Sussex Swans grew their numbers significantly in 2016, with most non-Australian first time players. Going into their first game of the Southern England Australian Football League, the Swans suffered a loss against Southampton Titans – fortunately, this would be their last loss of the season. The final game of the season was played against Surrey Stags at the Swans’ home ground in Brighton. The passion and energy of the 2016 new recruits provided Will with enough confidence to put out a rookie team against the much more experienced Stags. The Swans took their eleventh win and the title of 2016 SEAFL Premiers.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Having committed to the 2017 Champions League in December of last year, the Sussex Swans returned back to skills-training on the first Saturday of January and every subsequent week since, training through rain, sleet and snow. The weather isn’t the only brutal elements the Swans have faced, with a new mid-week HIIT training session leaving the 2017 players fitter, stronger and faster than ever before. Word has spread about the Swans’ hard training and dedication with a strong increase in membership – the Swan’s even welcomed their first ladies players to training in March.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

 The Sussex Swans haven’t trained all through winter with the expectation that winning is not a possibility. This may be the Sussex Swans’ first challenge at the Champions League title, but that doesn’t mean that they are a team to be taken lightly. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is!

Player to watch?

Boo. One to both watch and hear.


 Leeside Lions

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Having not won the flag since 2007 and not appearing in a grand final since 2011, the Leeside Lions were perennial underachievers in recent times. 2016 saw a great mix of youth and experience in the Lions ranks as there was great numbers crossed over for the summer period from our sister Uni club, the UCC Bombers. There was a great buzz at trainings and games and we knew 2016 had the potential to be our year. The ARFLI season is played on a carnival basis with each team playing two league games on the same day. The Leeside Lions won the 2016 ARFLI flag on the back of an unprecedented unbeaten season winning 9 from 9 culminating with the defeat of the highly-experienced Belfast Redbacks by double scores, 104-52 on home soil.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Preparations have been going well, the Lions are training with the UCC Bombers at the moment, recent Fitzpatrick Cup winners. This allows us to challenge ourselves against quality opposition on a weekly basis with great playing numbers. We were also delighted to host the North London Lions for a pre-season game on Saturday 11th March, this was a tough and fair contest but it certainly was very beneficial to both teams with our North London counterparts preparing for their AFL London season and us for the AFL Europe Champions league with the final score as follows:

Leeside Lions 10.8 (68) North London Lions 6.9 (45).

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

 The Champions League is unknown territory to us but its something we’re very excited about. There is no point entering a tournament unless you want to win it and I think that’s our mantra for Amsterdam. We’re going to go, enjoy the experience, play as good footy as we can and hopefully that will take us to the latter stages of the comp.

Player to watch?

This is a difficult one as we have guys with plenty of international 9s experience as well as some older club stalwarts and the influx of youth from the UCC Bombers. Players like Paul Murphy and Padraic O’Connell will certainly be players to watch as they are part of the Irish Warriors squad for the upcoming IC17. You have experience with the likes of Eoin O’Sullivan and Cian Quigley who have literary won everything there is to win in the game. For 9s you are looking for the team to perform as a cohesive unit and that’s our aim, no individual players, just one team.