The board and management of AFL Europe would like to wish all our affiliates, members, friends and supporters the very best for Christmas. It’s been a momentous year for AFL Europe with the expanded Easter Series, the EuroCup and the AFL European Challenge and with new clubs and teams emerging all across the continent. 2013 promises to be even bigger again with some major announcements due in the new year and a calendar which includes the Easter Series, the AFL Europe Championship in Dublin and the EuroCup in Bordeaux, we can’t wait and we know you’ll all love it too.
Coaches from London and surrounds including the 2012 AFL London Premiers Nth London Lions were treated to a private AFL Europe Coaches Forum with AFL Coaching Legend Kevin Sheedy earlier this month. Sheedy and GWS Giants CEO David Matthews had generously offered their time to help develop the code whilst on a flying visit through London and to Manchester. They viewed the trip as a GIANT success (you can read more here) and enjoyed hearing the passion and enthusiasm towards developing our great game in Europe shown by the coaches present at the forum.
AFL Europe’s Commission also met with the GWS Giants supremo’s to thank them for their great involvement in Europe (4 brother clubs already in London, Sweden, Croatia and Ireland) and discuss additional projects for them to get involved in. The club showed particular interest in playing future matches in London and also in the development of our local talent through the various programs ran in 2012.
We hope to bring some exciting announcements in the coming weeks around how the Giants may be further involved in AFL Europe.
The following clubs were represented at the coaching forum: Reading Kangaroos, West London Wildcats, London Swans, Putney Magpies, Nth London Lions, Wimbledon Hawks and AFL England President Adam Bennett.
There have been many highlights in European Footy this year, but one that was less trumpeted was the resurgence of Australian Football in Belgium. There was of course a very successful team based in Brussells from 2004, the Saints, but in recent years the club had stagnated and stalled meaning that by the time AFL Europe had formed there was no Belgian representation.
Over the last 12 months there has been a great deal of activity as Nicolas Perez Lozano, Brendan Stead and Bjorn de Bruyn attempted to get teams up and running in Brussels and Antwerpen. All involved in AFL Europe are delighted to see these positive steps, considering the rich history of Australian Football in Belgium, with games played by Australian Soldiers in Ypres(1916) and Chatelet(1919). Afleurope.org caught up with Nic Lozano to see what the future holds for Footy in Belgium.
Q. Tell us about the efforts to re-introduce football in Belgium this year.
A. Well, it started in two places pretty much at the same time. When I got back from Australia mid-2011, I wanted to get some people together and play a bit of footy. I knew about the Brussels Saints so I tried contacting them, got a few of my friends to come and kick the footy, and contacted a few aussie expats groups in Brussels.
That’s how I met the guys in Antwerpen, who had been playing a bit on their side, and we got together with a few more people and started having a few casual sessions around October.
We’ve been having about one or two sessions a month since then, most of them in Antwerpen, which led to our first couple of games last september, on the 29th, in Amstelveen, in Holland, for the inaugural Benelux Cup (Belgium v Amsterdam v Den Haag).
Q. What’s your in background in the sport, why do you love it?
A. Because it’s the best game ever? I started playing when I went to Australia, and fell in love with it. I Had no serious background in any other sport before that, so I was pretty unfit and unskilled, but loved it from day one! I started running, practicing, even when I was travelling, and I got to play a few games in Melbourne with the Hampton Rovers thirds before I left.
Q.What’s the plan now, a Belgian league? Join the Dutch or even a Benelux league, could we see a team in Luxembourg too?
A. At the moment, we’re not really thinking about a Belgian league. The Benelux cup was a great day, and there are plans about making it a yearly tournament. We also got some contacts in France, to maybe play some games against the northern french teams like Paris or Strasbourg.I don’t know anything about Luxembourg, but we’ll be sure to invite them to play in the Benelux Cup if they do start something over there!
Q. EuroCup 2013 in Bordeaux, will Belgium be there?
A. We would love to. It’s a bit early to say, but we’ll definitely do everything we can to be ready for next year!
In recognition of the partnership between AFL Europe and S-Trend Sportswear, S-Trend Sportswear wishes to offer the chance for budding AFL “stars” within Europe to become an S-Trend Ambassador.
The intention is for a highly rated player within every AFL Europe member country to get on board with S-Trend to help both AFL Europe develop the game and S-Trend Sportswear to develop their brand.
If you are interested and think you have what it takes then please email your sporting CV to Graham Walton at S-Trend, (email@example.com) and he will get back to you with further details.
AFL Europe has decided to re-open its 2012 grant programs and will be accepting applications from today (Nov 21st) until Wednesday December 12th. Get your applications in quick to ensure your request for assistance is considered.
What a day of Aussie Rules glory we witnessed last Saturday at The Oval. We started the day by defining the importance of Aussie Rules football to those dedicated devotees with a short historical analogy dating back to 1859. In that year, two great books were published – the first was by Charles Darwin called The Origin of Species, the second was by the Melbourne Football Club called The Rules of Australian Football. One of these books went on to define the theory of competition and set a new standard as to the meaning of life, the other of course was Darwin’s book.
A crowd of more than 10,000 people filed in on the day to watch a pre-match of Europe’s best talent where a combined side of Ireland, Britain and Iceland took on a combined team from the Continent. This match was then followed by a classic encounter between Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs. The match had everything – passion, skills, streakers and drama. The crowd sat on the edge of their seats as Port Power clawed back a 6 goal deficit to the Bulldogs to finish with a magnificent Brad Ebert goal from the boundary line to give the Power a one point victory.
The AFL’s support for this match has been outstanding and the work of Tony Woods and Andrew Dillon was much appreciated. The occasion was also enhanced by the presence of AFL Commissioner, the very charming Linda Dessau and her partner and aspiring photographer Tony Howard who no doubt walked away from the weekend with more shots than Donald Bradman. The AFL have shown faith in the AFL Europe Community and especially my predecessor, Gerard Murphy, and I hope they feel we have repaid that faith with our passion and commitment to the day’s success.
We look forward to this match being the start of an annual event that allows us to showcase our game in the best possible way on one of history’s most famous grounds. In London we are blessed with so many awe-inspiring buildings and sporting grounds but it was truly uplifting to hear the players speak afterwards of the privilege to have been part of such a special event.
Chairman AFL Europe
In the end the scoreline might have flattered the European Islanders team, but there was no question of whether they merited their win on saturday at the Kia Oval. The final score of 11.11(77) to 2.3(5) was made to look far more impressive by four final quarter goals as prior to this the only point the team in white had as many goals as behinds was when Ryan McLoskey scored their first goal.
It took both sides some time to settle and get used to new teammates but once they did, the intensity of the contests was fantastic. The Islands team was well on top for the first half, but in the second the continent dominated for long stages without being able to get goals on the scoreboard. In the end both of their goals came in the third quarter from Tomislav Cvetko and Gregoire Patacq. The Islanders remaining goals were scored by James Flavin 2, Kevin McSorley 1, Kevin O’ Brien 1 (Goal of the day), Andy Smyth 1, Luke Booth 1, Levi Fernandez 1, Matt Kilheeny 1, David Saunders 1 and Gerard Walls 1.
At the post match function best on ground awards were given to Troels Ottesen for the Continental team and Gerard Walls for the victorious Islanders team, with a tickets donated for next year’s grand final by the AFL and by Event Planning Group.
After only 6 weeks in the job I have had the pleasure of watching more football played with true passion than ever before in my life. What a baptism to the role was the Euro Cup in Edinburgh! This was surely one of my most enjoyable days of sport ever and a personal highlight for me was the sheer passion amongst the playing group and also the volunteers. Forever etched in my mind was the Denmark and Croatia game that reminded me of what passion was all about, a couple of points saw the Croats eliminated and the pain was evident. They will surely be a powerhouse of the future under the stewardship of their new coach Ciaran O’Hara.
To say I am looking forward to working with all of you is an understatement. I believe we have both the people and the resources to build on that outstanding foundation laid down by the outgoing Chairman Gerard Murphy and Commissioner Sally Capp. Can I pay special tribute to Gerard who we all agree is a remarkable individual and has worked tirelessly to ensure we are “United, Structured and Respectful”, what an amazing legacy he has left and I hope to repay his confidence by giving my energy and effort to carrying on and building on this legacy.
I look forward this weekend to reacquainting myself with many of you at the European Challenge match at the Kia Oval, we expect a really strong crowd to see these two elite level teams fight it out for the bragging rights to Europe. I expect this to be the beginning of an annual game which will assist us in raising the profile of the game in Europe and supporting our plan to increase player participation throughout Europe.
Chairman, AFL Europe
Following the success of our live audio transmissions at the EuroCup in Edinburgh, AFL Europe’s very own internet radio station will be back up on air again this saturday from the Kia Oval. Coverage of our game between Europe’s Islands and the Continental team will begin at 13.05 GMT(14.05 CET). Check back to afleurope.org or our facebook page for details.
The teams for next saturday’s curtain raiser at the Kia Oval have been finalised. As anticipated a number of players have had to withdraw due to study, work or injury, but that has hardly diminished the quality of the teams with well established players who were unlucky to miss out called up in their place. The team’s contesting the JLT Group All Star Game are as follows.
JLT Group has come on board to sponsor the All-Stars curtain raiser match prior to the AFL European Challenge. We are proud to announce the following players have been selected to represent either the Islands team or Continent team.
Head Coach – Shaun McElhone – Ireland
Asst Coach – Pall Finsson – Iceland
1. Luke Booth – England
2. Ryan McCloskey – Ireland
3. Gerard Walls – Ireland
4. James Flavin – Ireland
5. Matt Kilheeny – England
6. Liam Corbett – Wales
7. Alasdair Lindop – Scotland
8. Kevin O’ Brien – Ireland
9. Eoin O Suileabhain – Ireland
10. Levi Fernandez – England
11. Andy Smith – Scotland
12. Ian Mitchell – England
13. Leifur Bjarnason – Iceland
14. Pall Finnsson – Iceland
15. David Lally – Ireland
16. David Saunders – Wales
17. Tom Exton – Scotland
18. Kevin McSorley – Ireland
19. John O’ Regan – Ireland
21. Sean Walton – England
23. Martyn Hinchey – England
35. Sam Brunton – England
Head Coach – Daniel McClaer – Sweden
Asst Coach – Nicola Giampaolo
1. Zvonimir Murkovic – Croatia
2. Wilfried Houvion – France
3. Joost Van Der Hulst – The Netherlands
4. Johan Lantz – Sweden
5. Jakob Jung – Germany
6. Tom Browne – Finland
7. Joe Durling – The Netherlands
8. Rene Damborg – Norway
9. Jonas Nielsen – Denmark
10. Giovanni Alloisio – Italy
11. Niccolo Di Giorgi – Italy
12. Fillippo Alloisio – Italy
13. Josip Kravar – Croatia
14. Chris Martensson – Sweden
17. Troels Ottesen – Denmark
18. Aksel Bang – Denmark
19. Matthias Klusermann – Germany
20. Alban Schieber – France
21. Natis Johansson – Sweden
23. Gregoire Patacq – France
24. Tommaso Arnulfo – Italy
55. Tomislav Cvetko – Croatia
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