Irish Down Under – Sarah Rowe AFLW

Sarah Rowe from the Collingwood Magpies joins AFL Europe as this week’s guest on Irish Down Under.

We’ve just entered the second half of the 2021 AFL Women’s season and the Magpies are sitting on top of the ladder, undefeated!

Hear from Sarah as she reflects on her time with the Pies and the improvement she has seen in the group since her debut in 2019, speaks on life in Australia outside of footy and the growth of the sport back home in Ireland.

Watch the episode here or listen to it on our podcast, below.

Video Guide:

0:27 – Sarah gives us the latest on her shoulder injury and a possible return date.

1:30 – The gradual improvement of the Collingwood women’s team over the past few seasons.

5:36 – Rotating through the forward and midfield and needing to be versatile.

6:41 – Living and playing with Irish pal Ash Sheridan and speaking to her outstanding form this season.

8:01 – Receiving support from back home as Australian football continues to grow in Ireland.

9:27 – Sarah reflecting on the challenges of her first year in the league and making the move over from Ireland.

12:20 – Life outside of footy in Australia including gelato, going to the beach and her studies.

15:55 – Sacrifices involved in moving Down Under to become a professional athlete.

17:31 – Playing in the AFLW and GAA all year round and switching to-and-fro.

20:36 – Sarah on the pathways into the AFLW for younger girls and giving advice for others who are working towards playing footy in Australia.

22:38 – The main physicality differences between AFLW and the GAA.

2021 Events Announcement: Euro Cup postponed to October

AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Scotland have made a decision to officially postpone the 2021 Euro Cup.

The tournament, which was scheduled to take place in Stirling on the 26th of June, will now be pushed back into October 2021 to ensure we can deliver the best Euro Cup tournament possible with a high number of participating teams. This also ensures that the teams in Europe will have an opportunity to train and play in their domestic leagues for an extended period of time prior to returning to an international tournament.

The decision to postpone the event was made due to the uncertainty surrounding mass participation events, community sport and international travel that we are all still faced with.

The new date unfortunately means AFL Scotland will no longer be able to host the 2021 Euro Cup. AFL Scotland however have been granted hosting rights to the 2022 Euro Cup and look forward to hosting the event in the summer next year.

We are excited to announce that AFL Netherlands will become the new hosts of the 2021 Euro Cup, which is set to take place in Amsterdam at Sport De Encharct on the 16th of October.

Whilst we have every intention of delivering this event in October, again this will only go ahead if the COVID-19 situation throughout Europe allows us to do so safely. AFL Europe will once again provide an update and a decision on the 2021 Euro Cup four months out from the event (June 18th). Those booking travel and accommodation for Amsterdam prior to this date would be encouraged to have a flexible booking.

Furthermore, with the Euro Cup being pushed back into an October timeframe, it was agreed at the AFL Europe General Assembly Meeting that the change of schedule would result in the cancellation of the 2021 Champions League which was set to take place in Amsterdam in October.

Unfortunately, this now means that with the next Champions League event not taking place until 2022, the teams who had originally qualified for the 2020 Champions League will not automatically qualify to attend next year’s event.

AFL Europe apologises to those teams who originally qualified for this tournament, however as those teams won their league titles in 2019, we believe too much time has passed to hold their place in the tournament as many teams would have changed since then. We also believe that this change will add more weight to the competitions held across Europe this year.

AFL Europe would like to encourage all clubs across Europe to spend these next few months focussing on re-engaging their players, umpires and officials by delivering regular and successful training sessions and matches at a local and regional level.

By focussing on all players and clubs within your region, we will ensure that the game recovers from a challenging period. Then, providing travel and restrictions permit, we can return to international tournaments such as Euro Cup towards the end of the year.

AFL Europe are excited to announce that we will once again host the Festival of Football, and are excited to see this tournament grow significantly from what we saw in 2020. We will again be supporting all countries participating in this tournament and provide the likes of footballs, medals and umpire shirts. Details on the 2021 Festival of Football will be confirmed and announced in the coming weeks.

AFL Europe again encourages all leagues and countries to focus on getting their plans in place to deliver some regular training and playing opportunities at a domestic level in 2021. The newly announced Quality Club Program is a great starting point for this so please make sure you send the relevant information (contact details and fixtures) through to AFL Europe as soon as possible and also make sure you encourage some of your players, umpires and administrators to register to the below programs as soon as possible.

AFL Europe would like to thank AFL Scotland and AFL Netherlands for their support and flexibility throughout this decision process.

We look forward to hopefully running this event in Amsterdam at the Sportpark De Eendracht complex later this year, and then teaming up with AFL Scotland to host AFL Europe’s Euro Cup next year.

German Eagles star earns VFLW debut

German Eagles and former Hamburg Dockers star, Theresia Meißner, has been selected to make her debut for the Geelong Cats Victorian Football League women’s side this weekend.

The Cats will take on Collingwood in Round 1 of the VFLW season tomorrow (27th February) at 12:00PM AEDT.

Meißner moved to Australia at the end of 2019, having only played Australian Football for just over a year, and is the first German National to sign with a VFLW side.

Meißner was a star on the AFL Europe footy scene, collecting a number of accolades including Team of the Tournament honours at the 2018 Euro Cup in Cork, 2019 Champions League in Amsterdam and 2019 European Championships in London.

Her performance with Hamburg at the 2019 Champions League would also see her named as captain of the Team of the Tournament. Through that same year, Meißner won the Dockers Best & Fairest award in a Hamburg side that would go on to win the inaugural AFL Germany Women’s grand final.

Despite being in Australia, Meißner has remained involved with her Eagles and Dockers teammates, keeping in contact and taking part in AFL Europe’s Race to the MCG last year.

The Race to the MCG invited AFL Europe’s participating countries to put together a team of 30 to run the distance from London to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (16,900km) in both a men’s and women’s competition. Kilometres were logged by participants and then accumulated by AFL Europe, with a ‘top performer’ from each competition recognised weekly.

By no surprise, Meißner was soon to be applauded and named as one of the women’s top performances.

Meißner will be joined by a handful of former AFL Europe players in the VFLW this year.

Aisling Curley, who has been selected to play for the Southern Saints, represented the victorious Irish Banshees at the 2018 Euro Cup in Cork and played in the Harvey Norman AFL Ireland Women’s competition.

Katie Stone from the Western Bulldogs represented Australia Spirit in the 2018 ANZAC Cup, and played for Oxford Uni and North London Lions in the AFL London competition.

Amanda Maginn is another Irish representative who played in the AFL Ireland Women’s league, and represented the Irish Banshees when they won the AFL’s 2017 International Cup.

Former Wandsworth Demons women’s premiership coach and 2018 ANZAC Cup Best On Ground medallist for Australia, Mitch Skelly, will also feature in the VFLW this season as head coach of Darebin Falcons.

As per the AFLW website, matches this weekend will be streamed through the VFLW digital channels.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe

Lisa Wilson recognised with AFL Europe’s first Level 2 Coaching Accreditation

Congratulations to Lisa Wilson for becoming the first person to complete an AFL Level 2 Coaching Accreditation through AFL Europe’s coaching program.

The current player-coach of the Rheinland Lions has made leaps and bounds with her coaching over the past few years, which all started at the Clapham Cubs junior AFL club back in 2016.

Lisa has since worked hard on improving her coaching and education of the sport by attending a number of AFL Europe’s coaching programs, including a Level 1 Coaching Course in Cologne in 2017, a Level 2 Coaching Course in London in 2019 and the new online Coaching Development Series last year.

Throughout that time, she also coached the Hamburg Dockers women’s to win the inaugural AFL Germany Women’s Grand Final and has passionately grown the sport of Australian Football right across Europe.

“I absolutely love coaching and have been working really hard on it over the last few years, so I feel really proud to get the accreditation badge,” said Lisa.

“The Level 2 Accreditation was a full year’s worth of work… finding a mentor, creating a philosophy, planning sessions, taking feedback and making improvements… it’s quite a challenge. I really put a lot of effort into it and very much enjoyed it.”

Achieving a Level 2 Coaching Accreditation through AFL Europe involves attending and completing a one-day workshop, followed by a number of assessment tasks to be submitted as your application.

For Lisa and 14 other coaches in Europe, this had begun in 2019 by attending AFL Europe’s Coaching Course in London, which was joined by the likes of Dan Jackson and John Blair.

The assessment tasks that follow the workshop include finding a mentor to go over your coaching with through three sessions, setting up your coach plan and creating your own coaching philosophy.

Many would think that with the tasks entailed in achieving the accreditation, and the circumstances that shocked the world last year, this would’ve been an impossible assignment to complete through 2020, however, Lisa would strive to find a way.

Reaching out to good friend and Great Britain Swans teammate, Laura Turner-Ramadan, Lisa found her mentor who would accompany her through the full year process. Lisa and Laura’s first mentor session was in preparation for the all-female Australian Football tournament held in Paris in early-March last year.

“We’ve been teammates for years… since playing for the inaugural England Vixens in 2014 and then playing together for the Great Britain Swans at the AFL’s International Cup in 2017.

“I go to her a lot when I have questions regarding footy and even life, we exchange ideas all the time. So, I thought there’d be no better person to have as my mentor as she knows me as a player and as a person.”

After the tournament in Paris, lockdowns were soon announced across the world halting all competitive play and training. Fortunately in Germany, restrictions began to ease in April with teams able to slowly work their way back into training, to internal club matches, to even a few games against other clubs, allowing Lisa to work on her coaching philosophy and coaching plan and then put them into action with the Rheinland Lions women’s team.

“Eventually we were lucky to get Rheinland Lions’ internal league underway, which was three rounds of mixed teams, with four girls in each team.

“We also travelled to Kiel for a game which was actually my first game back in over a year from an ACL reconstruction.”

In the lead up to these matches, Lisa had asked some of the Rheinland Lions men’s players to watch and provide feedback on her coaching. Lisa would use this feedback to continue to develop her coaching and to discuss it with Laura on a video call as part of her required mentor sessions.

Looking for other ways to improve, Lisa would next ask her assistant coach, Tim Crundall, to film her coaching the Rheinland Lions girls at training.

“I’m really lucky to have Tim as an assistant coach at Rheinland Lions, who has been of great support especially with helping our new players learning to kick and preparing them for our team drills.

“With Tim there I was also able to get him to film me coaching at training. I put together a 15-minute video of my coaching in action which I sent to Laura and Ryan Davey to take a look at and provide some more feedback.

“It was actually really handy to be able to see myself as well… if I was clear enough or if I talked too much. I found it really, really useful.”

By the end of 2020 Lisa had finalised and sent off all of her assessment documents to AFL Europe, including her coaching philosophy, and was soon enough approved to receive her AFL Level 2 Coaching Accreditation.

A proven player, representing England at national level and playing for the Great Britain Swans at AFL’s International Cup, Lisa’s love for coaching Australian Football began in 2016, when she and Wimbledon Hawks teammate, Lauren Spark, who now plays for the Western Bulldogs in the AFLW, set up a junior AFL club in London.

“Lauren and I set up the Clapham Cubs Kids Club in 2016. That was my first experience in coaching the sport.

“We did that every Sunday morning from 11:00AM until midday and it was my favourite hour of the week. We had about 12-20 kids every week and they absolutely loved it.”

In 2017, Lisa had decided to move to Germany and not before long was recruiting to start a women’s footy side in Hamburg. Using her past experiences of setting up the Wimbledon Hawks women’s side (2014) and the AFL London women’s competition (2015), Lisa established the Hamburg Dockers women’s team and would become their player-coach.

Unfortunately, an ACL injury in 2018 meant her role as player-coach for the Dockers was short-lived. However, all of her attention had now turned to coaching in which Lisa would soon learn a lot about her new passion as a coach, coaching Hamburg women’s through the inaugural AFL Germany Women’s season in 2019.

“The coaches at Hamburg were of great help to me, especially Pete Richter and Harry Wyatt.

“They had way more experience than I did and had been playing footy since they were kids. We had set up a little coaching group so I would always post in there asking for tips.”

Lisa actually coached the Hamburg women’s side right through to the grand final and went on to defeat the Berlin Crocodiles to become the first AFL Germany’s Women’s premiers.

“Going into that grand final, we were the underdogs by far. Berlin had beaten us both times during the season.

“I knew I had to do something different for the grand final. I had an idea of doing a proper motivational speech at the start of the game. So they (Pete & Harry) told me to look up the Alastair Clarkson “how to kill a shark” speech.

“I did my research and used a bit of that (Clarkson’s speech) before the grand final started. I did this speech to the girls on “how to kill a crocodile”. It was one of those things that could’ve been a hit or miss, but it went down really well and we won the game.

“One of the men’s coaches came up to me afterwards and told me I had coached the match unbelievably well. It was really, really rewarding to hear that, especially being the underdog team.

“And that was just before AFL Europe’s Level 2 Coaching Course in London, and from there I felt really inspired to take my coaching to the next level.”

When asked on why current or aspiring coaches should undertake AFL Europe’s coaching program, Lisa highlighted the importance of being able to network with other coaches to integrate new drills into your training.

“I think it’s great to bring more structure to your own sessions.

“The trainings that we do in AFL Europe could range from 6 to 26 people of different genders, abilities and age groups, it’s quite different to what coaches are dealing with in Australia.

“Often it can be difficult to apply some of the drills that you see in Australia. With the coaching accreditation, you find yourself in a group of coaches from right across Europe that you can start networking and sharing experiences with, learning things to make your own trainings a lot better.

“We’ve got a Facebook group for Australian Football coaches in Europe where we share a lot of drills that we have done, that we know will work.”

With the Level 2 Accreditation now under her belt, Lisa’s next focus involves going into schools in Germany and running Australian Football sessions in English as a way to teach the language. She also wants to assist others in becoming coaches too, which could eventually lead to her running coaching workshops across Europe.

It’s the effort and passion of those like Lisa that push the sport of Australian Football to grow right across the world. We would like to congratulate Lisa once again for achieving an AFL Level 2 Coaching Accreditation and thank her for all of the hard work and the time she has devoted to developing footy around Europe.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe

Irish Down Under – Lauren Magee AFLW

Just a few days after becoming the latest Irishwoman to make her AFL Women’s debut, Lauren Magee from the Melbourne Demons has joined us for the fourth instalment of Irish Down Under.

Lauren was first scouted by the Demons at AFL Europe’s first-ever women’s talent combine in Dublin late-2019, and signed with the club in August last year.

Hear from Lauren as she speaks on her debut against the Dogs, testing at AFL Europe’s first-ever women’s talent combine, being recruited by the Demons and more.

Watch the episode here or listen to it on our podcast, below.

Video Guide:

0:47 – Lauren on her debut and when she found out she was playing.

3:58 – First month in Australia.

6:12 – Lead up to making her debut.

9:21 – Adjusting from top-level GAA to the AFLW in a matter of months.

12:07 – First thoughts on the idea of moving to Australia and playing in the AFLW.

14:19 – Attending AFL Europe’s first-ever women’s talent combine.

16:33 – Encouraging others to try Australian Football.

18:17 – The process of being scouted and recruited by the Demons from AFL Europe’s Talent Combine.

22:39 – Influence of her family on her sporting career.

25:14 – TG4 supporting women’s sport and the AFL Women’s in Ireland.

27:10 – Being assigned a nickname from her Demons teammates.

AFL Europe’s Quality Club Program

AFL Europe have introduced a new Quality Club Program for all of our participating Australian Football teams and governing bodies.

This program is designed to help provide local clubs around Europe with the skills and confidence to successfully grow and develop the game of Australian Football in their region.

As part of the Quality Club Program, local clubs have been asked to submit some basic contact information to their respective AFL Governing Body. AFL Governing Bodies (i.e. AFL Austria) are to then submit this information to AFL Europe by the due date outlined in the email sent to all club presidents and governing bodies last week.

Furthermore, each local club is encouraged to have at least one club representative at each of the three online development programs that AFL Europe will be delivering in the coming weeks and months;

These programs (click on each to register) have been designed by AFL Europe to ensure that the volunteers across Europe who are fulfilling critical club roles feel confident to support their club and by extension help grow the game.

The clubs who provide all of the information (contact details & fixtures) by the due dates and who had at least one club representative attend each of the development series listed above (e.g. club representative/s attending all sessions of the Coach, Club & Umpire programs) will go into a draw to win £500 worth of Footballs from the AFL Europe shop.

The Governing Bodies (i.e. AFL Scotland) who provide all of the club contact & fixture information as listed above for all clubs AND who can confirm that all of their clubs had at least one representative attend each of the Development Sessions as listed above will go into a draw to win £1,000 worth of Footballs from the AFL Europe shop.

Should you have any questions please ask your club president, otherwise email admin@afleurope.org.

Biggest AFL Fans in Europe Competition

We’re running a competition on Instagram to find the Biggest Australian Football League Fans in Europe.

It’s time to get in your favourite team’s colours, put on some face paint and get creative as you’ve got just two weeks to share a video to Instagram showing us why you are one of the biggest AFL fans in Europe, for the chance to win 1 of 18 AFL International Digital Memberships.

Your video must be shared to your Instagram account as a post and include the tag @AFLEurope as well as the hashtag #BiggestAFLFansEurope. Ensure your account is on public so that we can see and validate your entry!

AFL Europe will be judging all entries on the level of creativity and passion for your favourite club that is shown in the video, but keep them short and sharp! We’d like videos submitted to be less than 15 seconds.

Thanks to the support of all 18 AFL clubs, there are 18 AFL International Digital Memberships (one for a fan of each AFL team entering the competition) to be won. An AFL International Digital Membership allows you to become an official member of your club and will give you access to live stream the 2021 AFL season through Watch AFL.

Your video submission into the competition must clearly be towards one (your favourite) AFL team. Submissions into the competition will be judged alongside the other submissions of the same AFL team.

Once the competition ends on Sunday, 7th March 11:59PM (GMT), the team at AFL Europe will judge and narrow down the best 36 submissions (two for each team).

Then, the top two entries for each AFL team will be shared to our Instagram Story (for 24 hours each) in the week of Monday 8th, March to let our followers vote on their favourite submissions and ultimately decide who are the Biggest AFL Fans in Europe.

Good luck!

Please read the full terms & conditions below before you share or submit your video.

Terms & Conditions

  • Entry into the competition commences from its announcement on Monday 22nd February 2021 and ends at Sunday 7th March 2021 11:59PM GMT.
  • The Biggest AFL Fans in Europe competition is run by AFL Europe and by no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Youtube.
  • Entry into the competition is open for anyone with a valid Instagram account that is aged 16 years and older however you must be a European resident or a resident of an AFL Europe participating country for your submission to be eligible to win.
  • An Entrants submission towards the competition must be a video uploaded to a valid Instagram account and include the tag @AFLEurope as well as hashtag #BiggestAFLFansEurope in the caption/post description.
  • A video submission can be in any language and must be towards one (Entrants favourite) AFL team. You may include or tag the AFL team your video is submitted towards for clarification. Please keep submissions less than 15 seconds.
  • Entrants Instagram accounts must be set to ‘public’ for the duration of the competition (so we can see and validate your entry) to be eligible to win.
  • AFL Europe will judge and determine the best two submissions from each team (36 in total) based on the level of creativity and passion shows towards the Entrants favourite AFL team. An Entrants submission will therefore be judged against other Entrants submissions of the same AFL team.
  • Once AFL Europe determines the top 36 video submissions, the final 18 (one winner for each AFL team) will be decided via a fan vote through AFL Europe’s Instagram Story @AFLEurope in the week of Monday 8th March 2021. Voting will last 24 hours for each. Should the votes of two videos end in a tie after 24 hours, AFL Europe will decide the winner through a random draw.
  • There will be one winning video submission for each AFL team (18 in total). Should there be no submissions towards any AFL team, a winner for that AFL team will not be selected.
  • Each winner will be contacted by AFL Europe via direct message on the valid Instagram account used for the submission. Winning submissions will also be shared across AFL Europe’s social media platforms and website.
  • Should an Entrant submit multiple videos to the same or different AFL teams, AFL Europe will only judge their first submission as eligible to win.
  • By entering the competition, Entrants agree to allow AFL Europe to share their submission video via our social media and with the AFL club their submission is associated with for advertising/social media purposes.
  • AFL Europe reserve the right to disqualify any entry that is deemed inappropriate or does not follow stated contest rules, and is responsible for determining whether a person is an Eligible Entrant in its absolute discretion.
  • AFL Europe will not knowingly collect any information from any unsupervised person under the age of 18. If you are under 18 years of age you must not submit any personal information to us unless you are being supervised by a parent or guardian or have their direct consent.
  • Due to the busy schedule of AFL teams leading into Round 1, and with the competition set to finish within that lead up, there may be a short delay for winners in receiving their prize.

2021 Umpire Development Series Register Now

Registration for AFL Europe’s 2021 Umpire Development Series with anzuk Education is now open.

The online program, which begins in April, is free to join and is aimed at developing all current and aspiring Australian Football umpires from around the world.

The 2021 Umpire Development Series will cover a range of different topics, including the role of an umpire, communication, positioning, decision making and the laws of the game, with sessions delivered by some of AFL Europe’s most experienced and highly accredited umpires.

JOIN THE AFL EUROPE UMPIRES COMMUNITY GROUP ON FACEBOOK

Signing up to the program will register you into four 60-minute sessions, held via Zoom at 6:00PM (GMT) on every Wednesday in April (7th, 14th, 21st & 28th).

Attending all four of these sessions will award you an accreditation and certificate from the AFL, although beyond that it will provide you with the confidence and skills to begin umpiring matches around Europe immediately.

All Australian Football teams within Europe are encouraged to sign up a minimum of one umpire to AFL Europe’s Umpire Development Series to ensure that we continue to increase our umpiring numbers and support the growth of the game.

Registrations close Monday 5th, April. Details on how to attend the first session of our Umpire Development Series will be sent out to the email address you submit below on Tuesday, 6th April.

Any questions please email umpire@afleurope.org.

Register via the form below or click here.

 

2021 ANZAC Cup Cancelled

AFL Europe regret to announce the cancellation of the 2021 ANZAC Cup held in Villers-Bretonneux, France.

The decision was made in consultation with all key stakeholders involved in delivering the event and comes as a result of many factors including the government guidelines that are in place in France and across Europe, the restrictions on travel and the health concerns for those involved and the wider community.

The health and safety of our players, officials and entire community is always AFL Europe’s number one priority and with that in mind we know it would not be responsible to move forward with this event.

The ANZAC Cup is played annually on the 25th of April between the French national and Australian Spirit men’s and women’s sides.

Players selected to play in the Australia Spirit teams are done so based on their own personal or family connection to the armed forces rather than their specific footballing experience or ability.

LEARN MORE ABOUT AFL EUROPE’S ANZAC CUP

The event commemorates the anniversary of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux that took place during WW1.

Players are hosted by adoring local families and spend time in the lead up to the game engaging with their opposition by running community footy clinics, sharing a dinner and guernsey presentation, taking part in a street parade and holding a combined training session, attend the dawn service at the Australian National Memorial and visit the Sir John Monash Centre.

The men’s and women’s Australian Spirit players that were selected to play in the 2021 ANZAC Cup have been offered priority selection into the sides for 2022.

Irish Down Under – Cora Staunton AFLW

Episode three of Irish Down Under has now been released and this week we are very excited to be joined by Cora Staunton from the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Cora and her Giants teammates have just picked up their first win of the 2021 season and are now finally settled back into Sydney, after a challenging few weeks on the road.

Hear from Cora as she chats to AFL Europe on that first win for the year, the increasing number of Irishwomen and young talent that has been entering the AFL Womens competition, as well as the impact head coach Alan McConnell has had on her AFLW career.

Watch the episode with Cora or listen to it on our podcast, below.

Video Guide:

0:24 – GWS’ first win for the 2021 season.

1:19 – Reflecting on a challenging few months since returning to Australia.

3:37 – Being on the road since the start of January and in a number of hubs.

5:56 – Cora speaking on fellow Irishwoman and GWS teammate Bird Stacks recovery and influence on the group.

7:41 – The increasing number of Irishwomen in the AFL Womens over the past few years and the growth of the sport in Ireland.

10:53 – The impact Giants Head Coach Alan McConnell has had on Cora’s AFLW career.

13:28 – Acting as a mentor to Alyce Parker and talking to the quality of the young talent coming through.

15:10 – Working through challenges, including her injury in 2020.

17:58 – Keeping the Australian Football skills up to scratch when back home in Ireland.

20:21 – The benefit of training with AFL Ireland Women’s before coming over to Australia.

21:55 – Finally having the whole team back in Sydney and looking forward to the rest of the 2021 season.