The 2020 edition of the Fitzpatrick Cup is just around the corner, with the finest University teams in Europe set to descend on Horspath Athletics Ground next Saturday, February 8th. Next up in our Team Previews are Oxford University, who will be flaunting two men’s and one women’s squads on the day as they play host to the tournament. Below, we hear from OUARFC President Kate Leslie on how the teams are shaping up.
What has the last year looked like for Oxford?
The last 12 months were very successful for our club with the men winning the 2018/19 NUL grand final and the women minor premiers. We are looking to build on that success and with any luck emulate these achievements this year.
What’s the aim of the team for this years competition?
We’re expecting a strong showing from both of our men’s teams this year. If one of our teams can come away with the cup then it will be a huge success for the club as a whole. With a fairly new team on board for the women this year, we are becoming familiar with the game, and working on improving our ball skills. Both teams are focused on building a positive and supportive culture for the wider club and the European league.
The tournament is in your own backyard this year, will that help?
It certainly helps from an availability perspective, allowing us to fill two sides for the men’s tournament and put forward a strong women’s team. However we know there will be solid competition coming to Oxford and a home advantage won’t mean a great deal when games get underway. We are looking forward to the opportunity to involve others in Oxford in Aussie Rules though, including our Oxford University Australian/New Zealand society, and it’s always nice to have some extra support on the sidelines!
Are the oxford teams looking forward to playing host?
Absolutely! We are looking forward to a great day of footy and celebrating afterwards with all the teams that have travelled to play here! It will be great to showcase the sport of Australian Rules Football in Oxford and we look forward to welcoming teams from across Europe.
Any young stars to keep our eye on?
We are fortunate to have lots of new people joining our squad this year! Keep an eye on Josh Jee, who is showing some really positive signs in his first year of footy and becoming a real threat up forward.
What’s the key strength of the team?
Our women’s team have a great attitude to backing one another up on the field and playing as a team. The men’s team‘s strength is a balance across all lines of the field.
Who’s the coach in charge for this tournament?
We’ve been coached by our captains Jasper Fried, Cam Sharp and Beth Hamilton this year, with some extra input for the women’s team from Ben McDonald.