Haggis Cup Preview

This weekend will see the official kick off to the Scottish AFL season with the return of the Haggis Cup at the West of Scotland Rugby Club in Glasgow. This year’s Haggis Cup will feature a mix of men’s and women’s teams from across the UK, with the women’s competition boasting sides from the Nottingham Scorpions, Glasgow Sharks, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Wimbledon Hawks, and two teams from the Wandsworth Demons.

The men’s competition will have teams representing the Wolverhampton Wolverines, Huddersfield Rams, Tyne Tees Tigers, Edinburgh Bloods, Greater Glasgow Giants, the Kingdom Kangaroos, and two teams from both the Glasgow Sharks and the Wandsworth Demons.

This year’s tournament kicks off at 9.30am, beginning with each team playing four games of ten minute halves in the group stages before moving on to semi finals and placing matches. The women’s grand final takes place at 4pm and the men’s at 4.30 before wrapping up the tournament with presentations and an after party at Malones Glasgow.

Keep up to date with the match results on AFL Scotland’s Facebook and professional photos will be available to purchase from http://www.duncolm.co.uk/ after the tournament.

The Down Under Centre teams up with AFL Europe

AFL Europe is excited to announce that we’ll be teaming up with the Down Under Centre in 2017. The Down Under Centre comes on board with the vision of assisting AFL Europe grow the game of Aussie Rules across Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey said, “the partnership with the Down Under Centre will provide great benefit to the AFL Europe community and will assist the growth of Australian Rules Football in Europe. We are thrilled to work with the entire team at the Down Under Centre. Wes (Founder) is very passionate about AFL and wants to see the game thrive right throughout Europe.”

The Down Under Centre is the one-stop shop for all your migration needs to Australia and New Zealand, specialising in Australian Skills Assessments for the purpose of migration. The team at the Down Under Centre work closely with their clients to complete the migration process efficiently and to ensure that they have the strongest possible application before submitting.

Image: Down Under Centre founder Wes Zandt with his son Jet

 

A Collingwood fanatic, the Down Under Centre Founder, Wes Zandt, hasn’t let distance or time zones diminish his love for Australian Rules Football. “In the nine years that I have lived in London, I haven’t missed a single Collingwood game. I am excited to partner with AFL Europe, I feel so passionate about AFL and I look forward to working with the team to help grow this great game of ours.”

The Down Under Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. They’re a walk-in centre so please feel free to drop in and say G’day!

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.

 

 

 

anzuk Education join the AFL Europe Community

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that we’ll be teaming up with anzuk Education who will become the Official Education Partners for 2017.

The partnership, which will support AFL Europe’s coaching, umpiring and game development programs, is certain to have a positive impact on the AFL Europe community. According to AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, this partnership couldn’t have started at a better time. “Game Development will be a major focus for AFL Europe in 2017. We are excited to provide better training and education to our coaches, umpires and club administrators over the next 12 months, and the fantastic team at anzuk Education are going to bring these plans to life.”

anzuk Education offer roles for teachers, teaching assistants and support staff from across the world in schools spanning the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  The Director of anzuk Education, Ben Goldsmith is thrilled with the new partnership confirming that they are, “always on the search for exceptional talent, therefore it was only natural that anzuk Education and AFL Europe formed a relationship. anzuk and AFL Europe are proud to be working together to create exceptional experiences in all settings from sports and schools.”

Whether you are looking for short-term or permanent work, anzuk Education are able to find the right role for you. Head over to their website at www.anzuk.education/uk and follow them on Facebook (@anzuk.uk), Twitter (@anzuk_UK) and Instagram (anzuk.Education).

 

Spark & Shierlaw on AFLW Season 2017!

Six weeks have been and gone since history was made in the inaugural AFL Women’s fixture between Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park.

Tomorrow will see the culmination of the 2017 AFLW season when the undefeated Brisbane Lions take on the Adelaide Crows with the winner going down in history as the first AFLW Premiers.

On the eve of this momentous occasion AFL Europe caught up with two of their own stars of the AFLW, the Western Bulldogs’ Lauren Spark, and Carlton’s Kate Shierlaw, to hear their experiences on season one and all things women’s footy.

The pair were team mates in the Wimbledon Hawks’ undefeated 2016 AFL London season before making the move back to Melbourne when drafted to their respective AFL clubs late last year.

While growing up, Spark would’ve loved to play AFL but felt she could never dream of forging a professional career because there were no pathways for young girls and women into the AFL. When she was finally given the opportunity to chase her lifelong passion at the end of 2016, Spark dropped her life in London to return to Melbourne and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

“Walking into the Western Bulldogs home ground, I was thrown into all kinds of professionalism that I wasn’t expecting. The physios stretching all parts of my body, the doctors asking about my medical history and the strength and conditioning team testing me in order to create a personal program”, Spark recounted of her first weeks as an AFLW player.

She went onto say, “a group of girls with the same passion thrown together, some from the same amateur clubs, some normally rivalled opponents and some I’d not seen nor met before. But this was something we had to get used to, playing with and against our friends”.

A few months on, Spark made her AFLW debut as a ruck and key defender for the Western Bulldogs, and couldn’t be happier about the support she, her teammates, and her competition have received.

“AFLW has been bigger than I think anyone could’ve expected. The media attention, the attendance by spectators and the influx of young girls and women wanting to play shows that this is the long-lost missing piece of the AFL community puzzle.”

Kate Shierlaw, rookie forward for the Carlton Blues, agrees with her ex-teammate about the AFLW being inspirational for younger generations.

“Young girls are now growing up in a world where this is the norm and they can run around in the back yard pretending they are one of the AFLW stars. How cool is that?”

Shierlaw’s footy background is significantly different to Spark’s having only started playing with the oval footy last year in London. Despite not playing footy and growing up in Adelaide, Shierlaw was drafted to the club she grew up supporting, the Carlton Blues.

“The roller coaster since I signed as a rookie for Carlton has been incredible. To be selected to the club you have supported your whole life is something special and brings out a passion that’s very hard to find elsewhere”, Shierlaw said.

Wanting to try something new when moving to London from Adelaide in 2015, she joined the Wimbledon Hawks, and had immediate success with her athleticism and strong marking shining through.

Her AFLW Coach, Damien Keeping, credits Shierlaw’s success to her work ethic and her desire to perfect her football skills. It was these skills that helped her team come out on top when she found herself up against Spark and the Western Bulldogs in the two clubs round 5 encounter. The girls found themselves lining up on each other but didn’t let their friendship effect their performance on the field.

Shierlaw remembered the encounter that saw the Blues win by 6-points, saying, “It was a bizarre experience but once the game was underway, there is so much movement and concentration that it could have been anyone. We both respect each other as athletes and there was no smack talk out on the field. I was lucky enough to be on the winning side of a close, exciting match which was more important than any battle between two mates. It’s just one of so many great stories that has come out of this AFLW experience. Now we are both living out that dream that has never been a possibility.”

Both went on to have solid seasons for their respective clubs with Spark playing every game in a ruck/defensive role and Shierlaw playing up forward in all bar one match after being elevated off the rookie list.

Tomorrow morning’s season decider between the Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows draws the curtain on the history making inaugural AFL Women’s season. The rise has been bigger than anyone could imagine and no doubt consolidates the fact that the women’s game is here to stay and is only going to get bigger and better.

Good luck to the 44 women playing donning the Lions and Crows jumper tomorrow and congratulations to everyone involved in AFLW’s historic season.

 

 

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!

 

O’Neills & AFL Europe Renew Successful Partnership

AFL Europe is pleased to announce that for a second year, O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Company Ltd. will be our official apparel partner for 2017. Both O’Neill’s and AFL Europe are excited to be joining forces once again, as together they aim to strengthen and grow the game of Australia Rules Football throughout Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, stated that, “we couldn’t be happier to be working alongside Kieran, Orla and the entire team at O’Neill’s once again. This year is going to be a fantastic year for everyone within our AFL Europe community and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have such a great apparel partner on board who can provide quality products, and superior service, to our entire community.”

Australia Rules Football is played across over 20 countries in Europe. O’Neills will supply quality bespoke playing kit and leisurewear for key tournaments such as the Anzac Cup, the Champions League & Euro Cup.

Commenting on the renewal of the partnership, Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director said, “O’Neills are delighted to extend our partnership with AFL Europe. We are looking forward to providing quality playing kit and team wear such as the 2017 Champions League Team of the Tournament guernsey  and working with the AFL Europe team”.

For information on how your club can develop their own unique identity please contact Orla Ward at oward@oneills.comalternatively clubs can design their own kit on http://icreate.oneills.com/australian-menu-2-stripe.html  

About O’Neill’s

O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Company is proud to be the largest and leading sportswear manufacturer on the island of Ireland, employing more than 700 staff. Established in 1918, O’Neills specialise in the design, manufacture, personalisation, and supply of performance multi-sportswear globally. The brand is synonymous with quality, combining cutting edge leading sportswear design and customer service excellence, with unbeatable delivery times. The brand is the Choice of Champions across rugby, soccer, netball, hockey, boxing, cricket, athletics, cycling, boxing and Australian rules.

 

 

Win a Watch AFL Subscription!

The 2017 AFL Season is due to kick off this weekend and to celebrate we have a Watch AFL subscription to give away to one of our lucky Instagram followers!

To enter;

  1. Share a photo of yourself wearing an Aussie Rules Football jumper or any paraphernalia and holding your device (smartphone, tablet or laptop) to prove you would Watch AFL anywhere in Europe. Whether wearing your favourite AFL team’s jumper whilst nursing your laptop on a gondola ride in Venice or wearing your club’s beanie and scarf while holding your smart phone as you walk through the beer halls in Munich; you have a chance to win!
  2. Be following @afl_europe on Instagram, tag us, use the hashtag #WatchAFLinEurope. Share the post on as many platforms as your like!
  3. The winner will be chosen based on the contestant’s imagination and creativity – so get creative!

The competition is now open and closes at 11.59pm BST on 5 April 2017.

Example Entry:

‘Missed another train watching the AFL 360 replay on WatchAFL – totally worth it! #WatchAFLinEurope’

Location: Golders Green, London

To view the full terms and conditions, Click HERE