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:
For the full tournament fixtures see below:
Best of luck to all teams taking part and be sure to follow our regular updates on our Facebook and social media pages.