Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership Finals

After a very successful year for Australian Football in Ireland, this Sunday the year of footy will culminate in the country with the Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership Grand Final.

It has been one extraordinary year for the game in the nation.

Throughout a jam-packed year of events, the Irish have showcased their class through the Draft Cup , Super 7’s, Leprechaun Cup, Fitzpatrick Cup, Champions League, Taster Sessions, Charity Challenges and Euros 18 competitions.

For women’s football,  Michael Currane told afleurope.org the year has seen record numbers in both participation and competition success.

“10 different Irish Women’s Clubs / Teams have been formed and have competed,” Michael said.

“As of Round 3 of the Premiership, 150 girls had participated across domestic competitions.”

“5 Irish Players are about to play professionally in AFLW 3.0 , an extended Irish Banshees Development Squad of 50+ Players has been established and the foundations are being laid for the first Women’s Universities and Schools games over the coming months.”

“This sensational year for the country wraps up this weekend with the first Irish Women’s Premiership, with 4 competing teams and a number of partners on board.”

After three rounds of intense competition between the West Clare Waves, Cork Vikings, Dublin Angels and Portadown Power, one spot in the grand final remains up for grabs as we approach the final day of competition.

To this point in the tournament, the West Clare Waves have been the standout in the competition as the only undefeated side in the league.

With nine wins from nine games the Waves have booked their place in the Grand Final, and they are currently preparing to await the winner of the preliminary final between the Cork Vikings and Dublin Angels in the big dance.

Waves skipper Rosie Currane told afleurope.org that the team have had a fantastic season, but they won’t be getting ahead of themselves when Sunday’s match takes place.

“Yes we have had an amazing year, it’s hard to believe it,” Rosie said.

“We are delighted to be back in another final and particularly as it’s the first Irish Women’s Grand Final.”

“But we certainly won’t be getting ahead of ourselves and will need a huge effort from the team as both teams in the Preliminary Final are of a very high standard and capable of playing some brilliant football.”

When asked how her team has been so successful in 2018, Rosie noted the passion and desire the girls have for the sport as one of the key factors to their improvement throughout the year.

“There is no magic formula,” Rosie said.

“We have an amazing group of girls who just love the game and enjoy every single minute of Aussie Rules they play.”

“We are competitive of course but the main thing is that we really, really enjoy ourselves and playing this great game that we have all become addicted to.”

Crowned the champions of Europe in April, will the West Clare Waves add a national title to their trophy cabinet in 2018?

The preliminary final is set to be a blockbuster contest.

Both the Dublin Angels and the Cork Vikings finished with the regular season on the same number of wins, with the Vikings draw against the Power giving them second spot on the ladder by just one point.

Player-Coach of the Vikings Marie Keating told afleurope.org her side is very excited for the opportunity that presents itself this weekend.

“It’s been a privilege to be coach of the UCC Crusaders/Cork Vikings for the last three years,” Marie said.

“The players have varied experience in different sports and playing styles but have always approached improving themselves in Australian Rules Football with an inspiring sense of fun and dedication.”

“I’m absolutely delighted that we have made the semi finals of what has been a very competitive first Premiership for AFL Ireland Women’s and I look forward to each and every game to come with the team this season.”

Co-Captain of the side Siobhan O’Donnell explained to AFL Europe that the side’s improvement is a testament to the work being done behind the scenes at the club.

“I’d like to thank one teammate/coach in particular for her unwavering dedication and infinite AFL wisdom, Marie Keating (Keats),” Siobhan said.

“She has moulded a group of rugby and G.A.A. players into an Australian Football team.”

“In my opinion, the most effective way to improve as an Aussie Rules player is in a match setting.”

“It is only then that you can really see the importance of accurate kicking in order to secure a mark, or that the key to keeping possession is through high-spirited communication between teammates.”

“We chose to call ourselves the Cork Vikings for a reason.”

“We are a team of brave women, marked by battle wounds and we won’t leave the footy pitch without putting up a good fight!”

Coming up against the mighty Vikings in the semi-final, Captain of the Dublin Angels Laura Flannery has spent the season leading by example, telling afleurope.org “We are delighted to make the semi-final of the first AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership. All of the Angels have put the work in to develop their skills and continued to improve in each and every game.”

“The vikings are a skilled and talented team who will be tough opponents next Sunday. We are hoping for a cracking game!”

Despite finishing on the bottom of the ladder, the Portadown Power still managed to secure 16 points in the league while achieving two victories in the process.

They will take on the loser of the preliminary final at 2:00pm, in the Bronze Plate Final.

Michael Currane told AFL Europe that their physical style and work in the contest has been a highlight of their football in 2018.

“Their physical style of footy has proved very effective and difficult to break down,” Michael said.

“Over the three rounds the Power have been competitive throughout with a number of very close games and they were in a 3-way dogfight for finals spots down to the final siren.”

On Sunday, the day of football will begin with the first preliminary final at 1:00pm, before the Bronze Plate Final at 2:00pm and the Grand Final at 3:00pm.

The Grand Final will be played in Islandbridge and is supported by and associated with the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce & the Australian Embassy in Ireland.

For more information, please visit the official AFL Ireland Women’s page here.

Movember Cup 2018

The 7th edition of the annual Movember Cup is set to take place this weekend in Manchester, as the Mozzies look to back up their AFLCNE triumph with another victory in England’s premier cup tournament.

The last competitive fixture for AFL England in 2018 sees six men’s teams and four women’s team competing at the Burnage Rugby Club.

President of the Manchester Mosquitoes Glenn Murphy told afleurope.org that it was great to see such a variety of teams taking part in this year’s tournament.

“It is great to have Newcastle Tyne Tiger involved this year as well as London Swans who are both making long trip to participate which speak volumes for the tournament and the reason we do it,” Glenn said.

“We are fortunate to have last year’s men’s champions (Birmingham Uni) and runner up (Wandsworth Demons) playing in the tournament again this year.”

“On the women’s side it’s is great to have four teams in the tournament this year with London Swans, Nottingham Scorpions and Birmingham Uni bringing two teams it is more than we expected when we started which is great and shows the development of Women’s AFL in the UK.”

The Movember Cup is played every year in honour of former Manchester Mosquitoes player Nathan Blakely, who played in the club’s inaugural AFLCNE premiership in 2010.

As a tournament very close in the minds and hearts of everyone at the club, Glenn described the event as a major highlight on the football calendar.

“As a club this is a major highlight of our year and something we are really proud of,” Glenn said.

“We aim to make it bigger and better each year and last year we raised around £750 so this year we are hoping to get to £1000 which would be a great effort.”

“Ideally it would be a good perfect day to host an Auskick clinic sometime down the line.”

The Manchester Mosquitoes won a fifth consecutive AFLCNE crown earlier this year, but they have never won the Movember Cup. Can they do the double in 2018?

With the competition strong in both the men’s and women’s competitions, the titles are well and truly up for grabs in both divisions.

But with a good track record in recent years, Glenn expects Birmingham to be hard to beat in 2018.

“Over the years Birmingham Uni have been quite successful in this tournament winning I think 3 times,” Glenn said.

“In the men’s draw I would expect Birmingham Uni and the Demons to be up there again this year.”

“On the women’s side London Swans likely to bring a strong squad up, Nottingham Scorpions having just qualified for Champion League will be confident and it’s really hard to know what Birmingham Uni will bring.”

As far as the Mozzies are concerned, Glenn is hopeful the club can take the cup home for the first time in their history.

Although the president also admitted that while a victory would be great, the day really is about something much bigger and more important than football.

“Our Mozzies have never won it so we will be giving our best this year but that’s not really the point of the day,” Glenn said.

“We want to raise as much money and awareness for men’s health, both mental and physical, that’s our goal.”

The Movember Cup kicks off at 10:00am local time this Sunday 25th November at Burnage Rugby Club SK4 3EA.

SEE THE MOVEMBER CUP FIXTURE HERE

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Switzerland set for first official national tournament

After months of preparation and planning, this Sunday will see the first Swiss tournament take place between hosts the Winterthur Lions, and newly established clubs the Basel Dragons and Geneva Jets.

As a first for football in the nation, the 9-a-side tournament will act as the inaugural Australian Football competition in Switzerland, as the teams prepare for the first season of the Swiss League set to take place in 2019.

Captain of the Winterthur Lions Stefan Burgener told afleurope.org that it was an amazing feeling to have now established three clubs in the country.

“I feel proud of what we’ve been able to grow in this short period of time”, Stefan said.

“In August we were thrilled to have a single 7-v-7 match in Switzerland and now we have about 38 players across 3 teams who will be playing on Sunday.”

Prior to the announcement of the weekend’s competition, AFL in Switzerland had consisted of just one club which was the Winterthur Lions.

As a result, the Swiss national team could only pick players from just the one franchise for international fixtures.

Now with more players to choose from and more potential for growth and development than ever before, Stefan is looking forward to seeing more awareness around the sport in 2019.

“I think this will grow awareness even further and help gather interest in the new Swiss League which will be played from May – September next year,” Stefan said.

“They both (Basel and Geneva) particularly since August this year, have been working tirelessly to grow a base of players and committee members for their respective clubs.”

“Now that the league has been established, we aim to establish more clubs in Switzerland and to improve our Men’s national team.”

 

Having played exhibition fixtures prior to Sunday’s official tournament, the Winterthur Lions will now play regular matches in 2019.

 

With the league now set to take place next summer, Stefan also mentioned to afleurope.org that the nation is trying to build up the women’s game in preparation for next year’s Euro Cup to be held in Norrtälje, Sweden.

“We also aim to hold as many women’s matches as possible and start a new women’s national team to compete alongside the men’s team at the Euro Cup in Sweden next June”, Stefan said.

“I’m excited for what the future holds.”

 

The Swiss Tournament kicks off at 1:30pm local time on Sunday.

For more information, please visit the official event page here.

 

Swiss Tournament Fixtures:

13:30: Winterthur vs. Basel

14:30: Winterthur vs. Geneva

15:30: Geneva vs. Basel

Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge ready for inaugural University League

The AFL England National University League kicks off this weekend as Birmingham and Oxford attempt to upset favourites Cambridge in the inaugural season of the competition.

With men’s and womens fixtures, the tournament will be a first for Australian Football in Europe as the game attempts to spread around colleges and universities across the continent.

Co-captain of the Cambridge women’s side Heather Muir told afleurope.org that her side are buzzing in the lead-up to the competition.

“We’ve got our boots, and our uniforms, and we’re both looking and feeling ready,” said Heather.

“There’s a real buzz amongst the team heading into what will be the first AFL game for many of our women’s players.”

With steady growth in 2018, Heather said her team is looking forward to showcasing their improvement this Saturday.

“From the ground level I’d say the team is proving fit, and our basic skills are improving week to week with thanks to head coach Dave, and our consistently excellent turn out to Sunday trainings,” said Heather.

“It (the competition) definitely gives us more of a chance to convince mates in Cambridge to come watch us play!”

“Standing on the side-lines in cold English weather, watching a fairly foreign game you tried to pitch as ‘kind of like rugby’, requires either very supportive friends, or a very enticing and exciting league.”

“Let’s hope for both!

Men’s skipper Reece Digance is also optimistic about his side leading into the weekend’s encounters.

“The players are really looking forward to the new format,” said Reece.

“We have a lot of new players who are new to the game and improving at each session.”

“This new league gives them an opportunity to play more games which is great.”

After going through a 5-week training program in Newnham College, Reece said his team will embrace the competitive fixtures on Saturday.

“Traditionally we have a big on field rivalry with Oxford and I dare say this will continue on the weekend,” said Reece.

“It’s hard to say a favourite for the cup because the teams change a bit year on year.”

“Although, from what I saw last year Birmingham will be tough to beat.”

With the league set to drive interest in Australian Football throughout universities and colleges across the continent, Cambridge Vice-President Mitch Baker said the new format will bring institutions more exposure and relevance among the university sports market moving forward.

“The start of a National League is a big positive,” Mitch said.

“We know university students wish to compete against other Universities in a more structured style.”

“This Tournament and League delivers just that, I think we’ll see this league develop quickly from this.”

“We look forward to getting members and their friends down to see the game live and generate the interest moving forward.”

For more information on the first round of action, visit the official event page here.

Saturday 10th of November

11:00-11:40

Women’s Division: Cambridge vs Birmingham

11:50-12:30

Men’s Division: Cambridge vs Oxford

12:40-1:20

Women’s Division: Birmingham vs Oxford

1:30-2:10

Men’s Division: Birmingham vs Oxford

2:20-3:00

Women’s Division: Cambridge vs Oxford

3:10-3:50

Men’s Division: Cambridge vs Birmingham

 

Become an AFL Europe Umpire

AFL Europe are on the hunt for umpires in preparation for 2019.

With over 20+ countries playing regular games of footy, the demand for umpires is increasing and we would love you to be involved.

As an AFL Europe umpire, you could have the chance to umpire in Amsterdam for the Champions League, in Norrtälje for Euro Cup and London for the European Championships.

You’ll also learn from some of the best in the business and be a key figure for Australian Football in your respective region.

For more information, please visit afleurope.org/umpire and register your interest with us today!

 

AFL Europe 2019 Internship Program

AFL Europe are now accepting applications to join our team as part of our Internship Program for 2019.

The role revolves around delivering the AFL Europe communications plan. This includes both written and video content to be published on our website and social media platforms as highlighted in the attached Job Description below.

To apply for the position, please send your CV and cover letter to admin@afleurope.org by Friday, November 23rd 2018 to be considered.

AFL Europe Intern (Digital Content) – Job Description

 

ANZAC Cup 2019 Applications Now Open!

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the Australian Spirit and Umpiring team to participate in the 11th Annual ANZAC Cup in Villers-Bretonneux, France.

The small town of Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France has a strong connection with Australian Armed Forces. On 24th April 1918, the town was captured by German forces. Overnight the Australian troops retaliated and by dawn on the 25th April 1918, the town had been retaken.

The ANZAC Cup is played between the Australian Spirit team and French national sides for both men and women and is part of the annual ‘Australia Week’ celebrations held in Villers-Bretonneux in the lead up to ANZAC Day.

Players and umpires will be expected to arrive in VB on Wednesday 24th of April to attend the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day. Matches will be played on Saturday, April 27th with teams departing VB the following day.

Members of the Australian Spirit men’s and women’s sides at the Australian War Memorial in VB.

The ANZAC Cup fee is £100 per player and includes a full playing kit and billeted accommodation for the duration of their stay.

Applications are welcome from any Australian or New Zealander with selection for the event emphasised on a player’s personal connection to WW1 and the Armed Forces and not just purely football/umpire ability.

Players/Umpires interested in applying for the 11th Annual ANZAC Cup should express interest to lily.beck@afleurope.org to receive an information sheet and application form.

Application forms must be returned by Saturday 1st December to be considered.

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

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 fixtures against the Croatian Knights  and Croatian Queens 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