Euro Cup 2018 – Tel Aviv Cheetahs ready to debut

The newest Australian Rules football team in Israel will make their way down to Cork next month in anticipation for their debut at Euro Cup 2018.

As a nation that first started playing football as part of a Peace Team project before becoming the Jerusalem Peace Lions, the country has now developed a side called the Tel Aviv Cheetahs.

Starting in May 2018, the Cheetahs have developed a serious following throughout the nation on the back of regular trainings and matches in preparation for the Euro Cup in October.

This rapid growth in such a short space of time is making Cheetah’s captain Shir Shalev extremely proud of his squad.

“The feeling is great,” Shir said.

“I was playing in the Euro Cup last year as one of the players and this year I have the chance to lead the team which is awesome and I’m feeling blessed to do it.”

The Tel Aviv Cheetahs recently held a warm-up tournament in preparation for Euro Cup 2018.

With Shir’s experience at the competition, the Cheetahs are under no illusions of the challenge that stands before them.

As a part of the Jerusalem Peace Lions in 2017, Shir had a big victory over the Swedish Elks to help the Lions finish in 11th spot.

This year however with a new team and some new competitors, Shir is hoping the Cheetahs can fair slightly better than his previous side at Euro Cup 2017.

“I think we have really good squad this year,” Shir said.

“We started practicing from only May but since then we’ve developed real good and I hope we’ll do well in the tournament.”

“I think our strength is our agility and fighting spirit. We plan to give a hard time to any team will go against.”

“I think this year we can win at least two games, and hopefully enter the top 8.”

With the expectations high for a newly formed club, the Cheetahs will be out to show the competition that football in Israel is seriously growing.

Follow the Tel Aviv Cheetahs here

 

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.

Euro Cup 2018 – Danish set to delight in Cork

The Danish Valkyries and Danish Vikings will be out to create their own history in Cork next month as they prepare to make their return to the Euro Cup competition.

With the men’s side absent and the girl’s side competing with the Welsh last year, the Danish are ready and raring to go in Cork next month.

The women’s side will once again be led by Odense Lionesses veteran and superstar Maria Falkesgaard.

Now the Valkyries captain for the fourth consecutive year running, Maria is very excited to lead out a new-look Danish outfit.

“When we have our full squad, the women on our team have very different profiles,” Maria said.

“We have tallies, smallies, smarties, fasties, oldies and young guns.”

With many of the girls taking place having just played for the runners-up in the WNAFL in the Odense Lionesses, Maria is bullish about her team’s chances of progressing through to the latter stages of the tournament.

“Our goal is to advance from the group stage and we want to challenge us selves and aim for the top four,” Maria said.

“Everybody that has been to Euro Cup in the past few years knows that Ireland and England have been dominating on the women’s side. It was the case even before I started playing footy.”

“But seriously I reckon they (the Danish girls) are the toughest bunch of sheilas I’ve ever met.”

A fifth place finish in 2016 was the last time the Danish girls played as a single entity at the Euro Cup.

In contrast, the men’s side are looking forward to regaining some experience at an international tournament after missing the Euro Cup in 2017.

After winning the tournament in Umag in 2015, the Vikings were excited to announce their squad earlier in the year.

With a mix of players from the DAFL including teams like the Farum Cats, Copenhagen Barracudas and premiers the Copenhagen Giants, the men’s team are out to impress on the international stage according to captain Thore Lauritzen.

“Anything less than a top three spot would disappoint me,” Thore said.

“We’ve still got a young squad, but all the players have either played with each other or competed against one another. They know each other and they know how to perform as a team.”

With expectations high, the Vikings are looking forward to coming up against some of the heavyweights playing Australian Football in Europe.

“Of course, it would be nice to win, and I’ve been to 2 Euro Cups and won at both occasions, but I know the competition is going to be tough,” Thore said.

Among these tough competitors are the Irish which Thore believes will be the Danes toughest competition this October.

“They’ve got the home advantage and they are a strong side,” Thore said.

“But there are a lot of contenders and I think it comes down to which team weathers fatigue best at one-day tournaments.”

With the Danes fresh off their domestic seasons in the WNAFL and the DAFL respectively, the Valkyries and Vikings may just be the biggest threats to take home the chocolates in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Back in 2015, the Danish Vikings were a powerhouse of Australian football in Europe. Can they regain that from at Euro Cup 2018?

Follow the Danish Vikings and Danish Valkyries

 

Danish Euro Cup Recent History

Men’s: Absent (2017, 2016), Champions (2015)

Women’s: 6th place with Welsh Wyverns (2017), 5th place (2016), Runners-up (2015)

 

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.

AFL talent confirmed for Grand Final Lunch in London

The Annual AFL Grand Final Lunch at Australia House in London is now only 8 days away, and AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that former Richmond Best & Fairest winner, Dan Jackson, will headline the party of AFL & AFLW talent as MC of the biggest Grand Final preview in the Northern Hemisphere.

Jackson, who played 156 games for the Tigers across his ten seasons at Punt Road, will be joined by dashing Essendon half-back Conor McKenna, recently rewarded for his career-best season with selection in the AFLPA’s ’22-under-22′ side, and fellow code-hopper, Gaelic football legend turned AFLW pioneer Cora Staunton.

Alongside them, Hawthorn Premiership Player and cult hero Matt Spangher will partner with 258 game former ruckman and now Adelaide assistant & AFLW coach Matthew Clarke to talk all things footy, treating guests to the perfect afternoon of pre-Grand Final entertainment.

The event is one for any footy fan in Europe not to miss before the big game on Saturday, and you still have the chance to be in the room at one of Australia’s most iconic off-shore venues after a limited number of tickets were re-released to the public overnight.

These last spots will be snapped up quickly, so get in now to book your place at the premier Grand Final event in town by emailing events@afleurope.org

 

WHEN: Friday, 28th September 2018

TIME: 1pm-4:30pm

WHERE: Australia House, London

WHAT: Three-course lunch, beer & wine beverage package & entertainment

TICKETS: £130 per ticket or £1,200 for a table of 10 (+ VAT)

HOW: Email events@afleurope.org (please include name, company and number of tickets)

 

Limited tickets available – book your place now!

PSS Presents: Around the Grounds (September 19)

Around The Grounds with PSS International Removals

Catch up on all the latest footy action in Europe with this week’s edition of Around the Grounds.

Euro Cup 2018 – Austria striving for top-eight in Cork

It will be a very familiar looking Austrian line-up that lands on Irish shores for Euro Cup 2018 this October, with the men of the Avalanches determined to match or improve on last year’s eighth-place finish when they take the field in Cork.

The Avalanches have maintained the core of their lineup that has represented the country in recent Euro Cup competitions, and according to vice-captain Andreas Jauk, will hope to take full advantage of their tournament experience.

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor

“The core of our team is basically the same as at the last Euro Cups, but we also have a couple of new players that I really look forward to seeing play at the cup,” said Jauk.

“Personally, the last two Euro Cups were really good, I was in good shape and able to play decent games, so my personal goal is to play good footy, but I really want to enjoy a fantastic day of footy and finish top eight with our team.

“Of course England as the current champion [are a threat], but I am really looking forward to seeing Denmark again at the cup. I really like their style of play and they have fantastic skills. And of course, the Irish as the home team.

“Our goal is certainly top-eight again… because our core is the same as recent years, we have an advantage. We can play really hard and we are definitely a unit on the field, with a lot of experienced players who have played in a lot of cups.

Two men that are part of that core and who have featured in all ten Euro-Cup competitions to date are Martin Schittegg & Richard Claasseen, with both set to take the field again in 2018 and keep their streak alive.

Casting his eye back to that very first appearance back in 2008, Schittegg says his Euro Cup experience was almost over before it began, as both he and Richard missed Austria’s opening fixture in Prague due to traffic jams and had set out to “enjoy the day and say goodbye to footy after that tournament.”

While the early years were difficult on and off the field for the Avalanches, Schittegg says the atmosphere at Euro Cup always managed to make the efforts worthwhile.

“In 2008, we thought that would be our last trip to a footy match or tournament because things were not running well in Graz,” he explains.

“We started late with our training sessions and we never had a training with more than five players throughout the year. As far as I can remember, I was alone at least half of the planned sessions.

“We lost all of our matches and finished in last place, but the atmosphere at that tournament was so inspiring and we had so much fun playing that we got a new motivation to continue our way and increase our footy team in Graz.”

Results did not fall the Austrians way either at Zagreb 2009, Milan 2010 or Edinburgh 20112 as they finished in last place, but the side secured their first win at the 2011 tournament by beating Catalonia in Belfast and became more familiar with the winning feeling at Bordeaux 2013.

“When playing in Prague [in 2008], most of us didn’t know all footy rules and we didn’t have a clue about tactics and match plans at all. Since our team in Graz was built only by Austrians, and we had support from Aussies just occasionally, it took us a while to understand and learn the basics of the game.

“2013 in Bordeaux was a magic tournament for us because we were able to win a very close match against Norway, and after that against the Crusaders, so we were in ninth place and took home the Plate.

The camaraderie Euro Cup is always a highlight.

 

“We learned how to win a footy match in that year and since then we have finished inside the top ten every year.”

Schittegg may describe the side as “slow, heavy and old,” but says that the Avalanches always give their all and, “more often than not, find ways to win a match.”

And on the possibility of him heading to a twelfth Euro Cup in Nortalje in 2019?

“Actually, my fitness at the moment is much better than ten years ago, so anything is possible!”

Austria Euro Cup History

8th (2017), 10th (2016), 7th (2015), 10th (2014)

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.

Click for team previews:

Sweden

England

European CrossCoders bound for AFLW rookie camp in Melbourne

AFL Europe is excited to announce that 14 elite European sportswomen are set to travel to Melbourne next week, with the chance to shine in front of AFLW clubs at the inaugural International Rookie Women’s Camp with CrossCoders.

The European contingent from Ireland, France, Wales & England will travel alongside other highly talented sportswomen from America, Canada & Fiji, who have been identified from a pool of over 100 applicants to the CrossCoders program.

At least one of these women will find their way onto an AFLW list in 2019, with the Western Bulldogs and reigning premiership coach Paul Groves throwing their support behind the landmark international talent identification pathway.

The camp will see the elite talent from rugby, basketball, Gaelic football, camogie, netball, soccer and track & field backgrounds all vying to impress scouts, in a new frontier for the international expansion of Australia’s game.

AFLW Grand Final - Western Bulldogs v Brisbane

Paul Groves after the Bulldogs AFLW triumph in 2018. Photo – Zimbio

CrossCoders is the brainchild of Paul Groves, current Bulldogs AFLW player, Lauren Spark, AFL England President, Jason Hill, and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Jeffries.

Initially designed to deliver one prized rookie position on the Western Bulldogs list to an elite international talent, the program has expanded to become an AFLW-wide initiative that will allow all clubs to cast their eye over the cream of the international crop.

CrossCoders co-founder, Jason Hill, said he was extremely excited to help these “genuine superstars” transition to Australian Football after the application process received an overwhelming level of interest.

“We are so excited that in such a short period of time we’ve been able to attract such a highly talented list of amazing women. It’s amazing to see such a diverse spread from the up and coming superstar to the experienced performer, from the USA to Fiji,” Hill said.

Nia Jones is a Welsh dual-international in netball and soccer. Photo – BBC

“Speaking with the AFLW clubs, there is such intrigue into how International sports can transition into the sport and what skills can be adapted to give the clubs a competitive advantage in the 2019 season.

Hill says that CrossCoders can become a key pillar of the infrastructure that promotes international expansion of the game amongst women, with getting the foundations in place before the gulf between homegrown and overseas talent becomes too vast crucial to any future growth.

“The AFLW has a unique opportunity to be one of the few professional women’s sports in the world… at the moment, outside of WNBA, Soccer and Cricket, there aren’t many professional team sports around the world and even fewer which are supported as well by a nation as AFLW.

“I believe if we put these both together we have the perfect melting pot to push AFLW to the top of Women’s International Sport while others play catch up in becoming professional.

“I am passionate about finding ways to create further opportunities in professional sport for women and this is what CrossCoders is predicated on – the belief that we can help make more opportunities for women across the world in sport.

Aishling Sheridan will swap the Gaelic football for the Sherrin. Photo – Crosscoders

“Right now, we are seeing a growing movement across many different sports finally giving women the platform they deserve to showcase their talents and skills to the world. CrossCoders was born out of the desire to give women across the globe opportunities to succeed in sport, business and not be limited by the current professionalism of female sport.”

 

CrossCoders Inaugural Rookie Camp Participants – Melbourne

  1. Ailish Considine – Ireland – GAA
  2. Aishling Sheridan – Ireland – GAA
  3. Francesca Hocking – England – AFL & Soccer
  4. Aisling Curley – Ireland – GAA
  5. Matelita Tuilevuka – Fiji – Rugby Union
  6. Aisling McCarthy – Ireland – GAA
  7. Muireann Atkinson – Ireland – GAA
  8. Amanda Maginn – Ireland – AFL
  9. Eimear Gallagher – Ireland – GAA
  10. Amelia Kahr – USA – AFL
  11. April Lewis – USA – AFL
  12. Coline Duquet – France – AFL
  13. Fiadhna Tangney – Ireland – GAA
  14. Mairead Coyne – Ireland – Rugby Union
  15. Mary Ryan – Ireland – Camogie
  16. Nia Jones – Wales – Netball & Soccer
  17. Nicola Kirwan – Canada – AFL & GAA
  18. Yvonne McMonagle – Ireland – GAA

 

Follow the progress of the CrossCoders camp here

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

AFLG Grand Final Preview – Hamburg Dockers v Berlin Crocodiles

While the eyes of the football world will be firmly fixed on this weekends’ blockbuster AFL Finals action in Melbourne, the European spotlight will shine some 16,000km away from the MCG on Dresden, Germany, as the Hamburg Dockers and Berlin Crocodiles clash in the main event on AFLG Grand Final Day.

With the premiership flag and a highly sought-after spot at Champions League 2019 on the line, the reigning premiers from Berlin face the unenviable task of curtailing a Hamburg side that has blitzed its way through the AFLG in 2018, losing just one game on its way to the minor premiership.

The two sides may have shared the spoils with one victory apiece from their two home and away season meetings, but it will be the Dockers who surely take the greater confidence from their match-ups, after Hamburg responded to their heartbreaking one-point loss at the hands the Crocodiles in round seven by monstering Berlin to the tune of 107 points just two games later.

Whilst admitting that defeat was a wake-up call for his side, Berlin’s Chris Woods said that match has been a catalyst for a turnaround in form in the latter stages of the season.

No strangers to Grand Final Day, Berlin has the chance to go back-to-back in 2019

“We were given a big reality check after we were beaten handsomely by Hamburg in our last home game of the season… since then we have had a good win against Dresden and produced, what we think, was our best game of the year against Munich in the Semi-Final,” Woods said.

“Hopefully this will give us some momentum coming into the game on Saturday.”

Berlin secured their chance to defend their title and a third-successive Grand Final appearance with a 40-point semi-final victory over a red-hot Munich Kangaroos side in Cologne, a result that was considered an upset by many after they had been beaten by the Roos at both times of calling throughout the regular season.

The win was borne from a dominant first-half performance that put a 39-point buffer between the two sides by the main change, with the Crocs then able to hold Munich at arm’s length for the remainder of the match as Josh Bolleymer starred with eight majors.

Woods said while it will require their best effort to go back-to-back on Saturday, the club is excited and “very happy to be there again.”

“We lost a few key players from our inaugural premiership side last year, but we have had a number of new players arrive to rejuvenate the list, and allow us to have another crack at the flag.”

One of those players who was absent in the 2017 Premiership side was club stalwart Haroon Yousufy, who arrived at the Crocodiles 15-years ago as a refugee from Afghanistan believing he was coming to train with an English-speaking soccer team.

“You can imagine that he was very surprised when we showed him the shape of the ball,” Woods said.

“He has been a steady improver over the years and has developed now into a very strong forward pocket for the club. Unfortunately, he missed the premiership last years through injury, but he is eager to get involved this year.”

Hamburg’s spot in the Grand Final had seemed all but assured throughout the season and was duly confirmed as they continuing their stellar year by romping to a 134-point victory against the Rheinland Lions in the semi-final, with Kaden Fletcher kicking 6 and Kenneth D’Arcy & Sean Gilbert booting 4 each to book their place in style.

Captain Coach Pete Ritchter (right) leads the Dockers onto the ground

With an average winning margin of 95-points from their ten wins so far in 2018, the Dockers could be excused for having one eye on the European stage already, but playing coach Pete Richter says there has been no complacency for the purple haze in their two-week layoff.

“We have been slowly building since the semi0final, we’ve had seven training sessions in the two weeks break. Everyone is obviously excited for the weekend and fully fit and ready for the game,” Richter said.

“Since Berlin defeated us at home in June we have planned heavily around certain ways we want to defend and carry the ball… we knew heading into our last clash that we had more on the line as we were desperate to avoid the Crocodiles in the semis, and we were able to break away in the second quarter and win convincingly.

“The Crocodiles had some key players injured that were either missing or clearly playing injured, so we know they will be much better condition for this game

“Berlin boasts arguably the two best players in the competition in Rowan Miegel and Josh Bolleymer, we know we won’t be able to shut them out completely but limiting their influence will be one of our main focuses.”

The day will also provide a glimpse into the future of AFLG, as the German Eagles women’s national side take on a collaborative ‘challengers’ line-up made up of players from Denmark and locals in the curtain raiser before they embark on their maiden Euro Cup voyage to Cork in October.

The exhibition will highlight the talent in the women’s game ahead of the 2019 launch of the AFLG Women’s competition, with those fixtures set to take place alongside the men’s gameday’s to allow shared travel and reduced costs for clubs and players.

In a busy time for Australian football in Germany, AFLG President, Fabian Cordts, is hopeful that the foundations laid this year will provide a lasting platform for growth.

“We may have finally found a league structure in AFLG that benefits all clubs, allows small clubs to be competitive during the regular season… while not limiting the bigger clubs too much on their march towards September,” Cordts said.

“Bringing in a 50% quota of non-Australian grown-up players meant that especially smaller clubs have somewhat of a chance to be competitive, and while further development of the rule is needed, in the long-term we need local players to help grow the game and love the sport.”

 

AFLG Grand Final

Dresden, Germany

Hamburg Dockers v Berlin Crocodiles

3:00pm

Road to the Final

Berlin Crocodiles

  1. Def Rheinland by 74 points
  2. Def Frankfurt by 98 points
  3. Def Württemberg by 57 days
  4. Def By Munich by 7 points
  5. Def By Munich by 4 points
  6. Def Rheinland by 23 points
  7. Def Hamburg by 1 point
  8. Def Dresden by 80 points
  9. Def By Hamburg 107 points
  10. Def Dresden by 45 points
  11. Semi-Final. Def Munich Kangaroos by 40 points.

 

Hamburg Dockers

  1. Def Dresden by 87 points
  2. Def Munich by 12 points
  3. Def Frankfurt by 84 points
  4. Def Dresden by 110 points
  5. Def Frankfurt by 57 points
  6. Def Württemberg by 122 points
  7. Def By Berlin by 1 point
  8. Def Rheinland by 128 points
  9. Def Berlin by 107 points
  10. Def Rheinland by 113 points
  11. Semi Final. Def Rheinland by 134 points

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

WIN TWO TICKETS TO THE 2018 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL

AFL Europe is thrilled to be able to offer one footy fan the chance of a lifetime to be at the MCG this Grand Final Day, with 2 tickets to the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final up for grabs via our Facebook competition.

Putting yourself in the running to be there for the biggest day on the football calendar couldn’t be any easier, simply;

  1. Like AFL Europe on Facebook here

  2. Tag a mate you would take to the game

  3. Tell us, in 25 words or less, which European team you would most like to play footy with and why. You can see the full list of European Australian Football Clubs here. 

Entries will close midnight London time, Saturday, September 22nd.

Full T&C’s applyThis competition is authorised with AFL Brandzone under the code GFAFL18/176

PSS Presents: Around The Grounds (September 12)

Around The Grounds with PSS International Removals

Catch up on all the latest footy action in Europe with this week’s edition of Around the Grounds.

 

 

Euro Cup 2018 – Swedes ready to rumble in Cork

As a nation creating a strong reputation for themselves in major European competitions, Sweden may just be the dark horse of the Euro Cup 2018 field in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Having arguably the best preparation for the event given their leagues are still playing football, the Swedes are looking forward to bringing both their men’s (Swedish Elks) and women’s team (Swedish Ravens) to the prestigious international competition.

Historically their women’s side has been made up of players from the Port Malmö Lynx – a quality domestic footy side currently in with a chance of winning the Women’s Nordic Australian Football League.

This factor has previously resulted in the Ravens achieving a highly commendable results in the AFL Europe tournament.

After finishing fourth in 2016, the Ravens went one better in 2017 to finish third behind the Irish Banshees and the English Vixens in Bordeaux.

Now in 2018 with the women’s game growing rapidly in Sweden, the Ravens have announced a 2018 squad that features players from Linköping, Norrköping, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Norrtälje, Helsingborg and Malmö.

Mixing youth with experience, women’s coach Ryan Davidsson is looking forward to the challenge of improving upon last year’s outstanding Euro Cup run.

“The 2018 Ravens squad has a few new faces,” Davidsson said.

“We recently got together for a training weekend and everyone is super keen to get over to Ireland and try and improve on last years effort in Bordeaux.”

The Ravens in action during Euro Cup 2017. Image: Swedish Ravens

After finishing 12th in last year’s tournament, the Swedish Elks are confident they can turn their fortunes around when push comes to shove next month in Ireland.

With new guernseys and new sponsors, Elks skipper Nicklas Andersson is confident his team can play some good football this October despite missing some key personnel.

“We have some great players who wasn’t able to join the squad, but we still got a pretty strong team,” Andersson said.

“We are aiming to get a better position than last year, so I am realistically thinking we can make the top 8.”

Named in the Men’s Team of the Tournament in 2017, Nicklas is confident his side’s ‘good talk, good kicks and great team spirit’ will help the boys develop their skills and football IQ as they make their way to Cork.

The Elks finished 12th in 2017 and will be looking to push into the top eight this October. Image: Swedish Elks

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Sweden Euro Cup Recent History

Ravens: 3rd place (2017), 4th place (2016)

Elks: 12th Place (2017)

Euro Cup 2018

CIT Cork, Ireland

Saturday, October 13th

Stay across afleurope.org for all the build-up to Euro Cup 2018.