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.

In our final round of team previews we have the hosts, the Amsterdam Devils, the Odense Lionesses, the all important 3rd team, the Umpires, AFL Germany Champions, the Munich Kangaroos, and after finishing the AFL Russia Championships in a tie we have Russia United, who’re made up of players from the St. Petersburg Cats and Lazy Koalas Moscow.

Amsterdam Devils

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

The Amsterdam devils were automatically elected as representatives for AFL Netherlands for the Champions League tournament. The 2016 year was a great season for new player development and focused on building grassroots football in the Netherlands.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The preparation has been good. We have kept our core player group and have had some good additions to the club which has strengthened our list.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We expect to make the finals this year and anything is possible from there. The West London Wildcats will be the team to beat again this year.

Player to watch?

Cameron Ludowke is a new player to the club and has been very impressive in the pre-season and we look forward to seeing what he can produce in the Champions League.

Odense Lionesses

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

In 2016, our Scandinavian teams weren’t able to field a full side at the same time, so we spent the year trying to develop the sport in our region. We were able to found a second Danish female team in Farum (home of the current Danish premiers, also coming to the competition), and forged new bonds with Norway who will once again join our ranks since Euro Cup 2016. So our team will consist of our experienced Odense Lionesses, new young guns from Farum Wildcats, and a couple of battle-tested Norwegians shield-maidens.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The Champion League will be the real game of the year for our girls. By the end of the pre-season the girls were in numbers at training and a couple of Lionesses even took on the boys at Odense’s male team’s trial game. In the continuing effort of developing footy in Denmark, a weekend training camp was held in Farum for the girls, with the invitation extending to both clubs and unaffiliated players. This constituted our main preparation to Champions League.

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Our main expectation is to ignite even further our girls passion for footy. Last year’s Champions League helped us groom many of our players to high stakes games, whom in turn had a big hand in the sport’s expansion in our region. Result-wise, even-though we come with a patchworked squad again, we expect to be very competitive and have no intention of giving in to the teams from the British Isles, currently leading the competition.

Player to watch?

Our experienced and previous “Players to watch” are still the backbone of our team and a certain threat for the opposition. Young midfielder Anja Muller has shown good footy instincts from the start and might make her breakthrough. Amanda Teglhus will take on a new role on the field and was seen practicing it a lot at training. Also the Young Astrid Wind is a player to watch, having improved her game so much since last year. That has also resulted in her despite being among the younger teenagers in the team she has a lot of important roles.

Umpires

Who’ll be umpiring at CL17?

We have a very strong pool of umpires attending the Champions League this year. Umpires from a far away as Australia and USA alongside umpires from Germany, Ireland, France, UK, Holland and Sweden. Lots of umpires with experience at umpiring big games. 16 Umpires in total will be on duty in Amsterdam so we will have plenty of umpires to cover all the games.  This is the strongest group of umpires we have ever assembled for an AFL Europe competition so we are confident we will do a good job.

How’s the squad feeling in the lead-up to the biggest CL in its short history?

We are all excited to get to Amsterdam and get going. We only have one returning umpire that has previously worked at the Champions League so it’s going to be a new experience for a lot of us.  For some of our Aussie and US umpires it will be their first time at an AFL Europe event so we are determined to show them a good time and show how good European Umpires can be!

Umpire to watch?

We have some really strong umpires that have umpired at state level in Australia but the umpire to watch is definitely Laurie Rupe. Laurie is a USAFL umpire and is coming to us all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota to officiate at this event.  That’s quite a trip to umpire a footy match but she will have an even longer one in the summer when she heads to Melbourne to umpire at the 2017 International Cup! Laurie is a very experienced umpire and has regularly officiated at the USAFL Nationals. She took control of the Division 3 final at the 2016 Nationals in Florida. It gives us great joy to welcome one of our USAFL sisters to Europe for the competition and we hope she will go home with great things to say about AFL Europe.

If you want to become an AFL Europe umpire and watch the game from the best seat in the house contact us at umpires@afleurope.org and keep an eye on the AFL Europe website for training courses in your area.

Munich Kangaroos

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Probably one of the best seasons for the Munich Roos to date. We were undefeated for the year so no real complaints as coach!!

Having said that, we have lost two or three key players for the CL 2017 unfortunately, so hopefully a couple of the younger more inexperienced Germans can step up!!

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Great!! 30cm of snow still on our park so preparation has been rather restricted!! Mostly it has been Beer hall training!!

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

For the boat-race afterwards I expect no-one to beat us!! In all seriousness though, we just want to give a good account of ourselves.

Player to watch?

Good question. If i had to pick one player i would have to say probably Josh Wilson who had a great year last year and is looking the goods again this year.

As a smokey, I’d say BIG Ruben Streicher aka The Cube!!

Russian United

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Two teams St Petersburg Cats and Lazy Koalas tied the point at the end of AFL Russia 2016, so it was decided to send a combined team to gain more experience for both sides and get better chances in Champion’s League

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

Training sessions being held separately in Moscow and St. Petersburg. https://vk.com/wall-72747145_280 Photos from St. Petersburg

What are your teams expectations for the 2017 Champions League? 

Score points in every half and hopefully get the first win for the Russian team at the tournament.

 Player to watch?

The squad is very leveled. Keep an eye on the only Aussie in a team Frank Alan.