German Eagles vs Swedish Elks
The 2nd day of matches at the AFL Europe Championships was again graced with beautiful sunshine. The German Eagles and Swedish Elks kicked off proceedings with what many pundits predicted to be the most bruising and physical encounter of the tournament.
Both sides were eager for the contest and this showed when they both started warming up at full intensity 45 minutes prior to the first bounce.
With the breeze at their backs in the first quarter, the German side, took the ascendancy early in the match. The footy was camped in the Eagles forward 50 with only their accuracy for goal proving costly. Tristan Thormann backed up his performance from Sunday to again assert a physical presence to every stoppage or contest he took part in.
Buster Sund picked up the slack for the Elks and did his best to swing the momentum in his sides favour. Despite the Eagles having the better of the game early, the Elks got a goal against the run of play to open the scoring for the day. A quick reply from Germany and this match was all level going into the 2nd term.
The 2nd quarter was a see-sawing affair with the Swedes and Germans trading goals to start the quarter. Andreas Svensson racked up a ton of the footy in the midfield for Sweden while their backline was being well served by Hampus Olsson who had a handful of last ditch intercept marks in the Elks defensive 50.
Jakob Jung showed his class in the midfield and displayed why he was one of the most talked about talents in Europe, while teammate Ruben Streicher was getting off the leash for the Germans up forward and when he marked and goaled from deep in the forward pocket the momentum well and truly shifted in the Eagles favour.
With a two goal lead to the Germans at halftime and kicking with the breeze in the third term meant the boys from Sweden had to muster something special to get back in the game. Some inspirational words from coach, Ryan Tucker, had the Elks come out from the main break like men possessed.
The intensity went up a notch in this game and the Swedish side did everything they could to get themselves back into the match. Spot fires were opening up after each contest with neither side taking a back foot.
Two goals in quick succession for Sweden to Phillip Nilsson and Chris Martensson to open the 4th quarter and the Elks opened the door for a come-from-behind victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be with Germany’s, Jan Huesken, kicking his third goal of the game and sealing what proved to be Germany’s first win in a full 18-a-side match in over 3 years, a great achievement for coach Mark Woods and his chargers.
Final scores: 7.14. 56 to 4.4. 28
Germany: J. Huesken 3, R. Streicher 2, M. Herthum, H. Van de Stay
Sweden: K. Karlsson, A. Olsson, P. Nilsson, C. Martensson
Germany: J. Jung, T. Thormann, J. Huesken, M. Schutoff, M. Preiss, R. Streicher
Sweden: A. Svensson, H. Olsson, B. Sund, A. Tellstrom, T. Persson, J. Nilsson
GB Bulldogs vs Irish Warriors
The much anticipated game against these two old rivals was set to be an absolute thriller and it didn’t disappoint. With a twilight bounce, a growing crowd joined the boundary at Motspur Park to catch a glimpse of these two European powerhouses go head-to-head.
With a few injuries, a no-show and a dip in the Serpentine taking its toll on the home side they had to utilise their full squad for this game. The Irish weren’t without their troubles with a few knocks from their first hit out against the Germans ruling out some of their players.
Squad issues aside both teams were fired up for what was most likely a dress rehearsal for the Championship match in a few days’ time. The match opened with the footy whizzing from end-to-end. Neither side could string together more than a handful of clean possession, with a mixture of nerves and intense opposition pressure forcing simple skill errors.
Muiris Bartley was collecting a heap of the footy across the halfback line for Ireland and was launching the Warriors into attack with his raking left boot. Similarly, for GB was Luke Booth who was everywhere for the home side.
The 1st quarter deadlock was eventually broken by Irish forward pocket, Ryan McCloskey, whose nous around the goals was second to none. Another goal to Padraic O’Connell and the Irish had the better of the opening exchanges.
The 2nd term was a complete scrap. The footy was hot and neither side took a backward step. The Bulldogs were again hampered by their inability to covert forward entries. They finished the first half with 10 behinds and no goals in what proved a goalless term for both sides.
It was a low scoring first half with the scorecard not reflecting the excitement the game was providing its spectators. Jack Coughlan and Chris Britton were doing all they could to get the home side up-and-about while Gavin Murray was proving pivotal for the Irish in the ruck.
The match resumed similar to how it left off. Turnovers were again hurting both sides. Dominic Joyce got off the chain and opened the scoring for Ireland. Ill-discipline crept into the Bulldogs game and coupled with their inaccuracy in front of goal was putting the game out of reach.
With 3 goals to GB’s 0 in the third term the Irish looked like they had this game on ice. Injuries took their toll on the Warriors with a handful of players finishing their day early.
The Bulldogs started the 4th term still without a goal to their name. Cashman finally broke through for the hosts to breath some life into his Bulldogs teammates. Cashman goaled again and before you knew the game was alive. Andrew Walkden jagged another for GB and the game was well and truly turning into a nail biter. A mercurial tap on to an open Liam Burns steadied the ship for Ireland and gave them a 7-point lead with 5 minutes to play.
The footy was locked in the GB forward line with conversion again proving costly for the Bulldogs. They couldn’t buy a goal. It took a left-foot snap deep in the forward pocket from Vice-Captain, Michael Sharp to get the Bulldogs within a solitary point of the Irish with 2 minutes on the clock.
That was all she wrote in this blockbuster with the Irish able to hold on for what was a thrilling 1-point victory. Inaccuracy was the achilles heel for Great Britain and will be something they will look to rectify in their final pool game on Thursday.
Final Scores: 6.5. 41 to 4.16. 40
Ireland: R. McCloskey 2, P. O’Connell, D. Joyce, E. O’Murchu, L. Burns
GB: M. Cashman 2, M. Sharp, A. Walkden
Ireland: M. Bartley, G. Murray, K. O’Brien, D. McElhone, P. O’Connell, D. Joyce
GB: M. Sharp, A. Cochrane, L. Booth, A. Overton, C. Britton, J. Coughlan