PSS Presents: Around the Grounds

Each week AFL Europe will take a look around the continent at the Australian Football highlights and thrilling matches. This Around the Grounds article delves into the standout performances from the weekend’s action and is presented by PSS International Removals.

AUSTRALIA MASTERS BEGIN EUROPEAN TOUR AGAINST FRANCE

On Sunday in Paris, the French Coqs hosted the Australian Masters side as part of the 2019 AFL Masters tour of Europe. In hot conditions, it was a demanding game for both teams but there was still plenty of entertaining football played in a high-scoring match. The French side was prepared from the start after finishing fourth in last weeks Euro Cup, and acclimatised to the conditions well, using their pace across the ground in a modified ten-sided game. The Australian side battled hard throughout and really challenged their opponents, but it was the French side who came out top by 41-points in a fantastic match showcasing the skill and passion of both teams on a great occasion. Australia will be playing another game this Wednesday at Hove in Brighton before their big Test Match against England next Saturday at Wimbledon. Following that, they will play two more matches, both in Ireland, against Galway and Ireland in two International Rules matches.

Final Scores (2019 AFL Masters European Tour)

Men’s: France (131) defeated Australia (90).

 

 

NORTH LONDON HOST WEST LONDON IN PRIDE ROUND

Teams from across AFL London decked out their kits with rainbow colours as well as face paint and flags over the weekend as part of Pride Round. At Bounds Green, the battle for second place in the AFL London Women’s Premiership saw the North London Lions host the West London Wildcats, and it was the home side who got off to a strong start. In the first two quarters, they had numerous inside-50 entries but couldn’t quite convert due to a strong Wildcats defence. At half-time, the Lions were up by 10 points but extended that to three goals by three-quarter time. The Wildcats got on the scoreboard in the last quarter and challenged as hard as they could but fell short as the Lions won by 19 points to retain second place.

Final Scores (AFL London Women’s)

Women’s: North London Lions (3.7.25) defeated West London Wildcats (1.0.6).

 

WEST CLARE WAVES WIN AFL IRELAND WOMEN’S SUPER 7’S

The West Clare Waves have won the 2019 AFL Ireland Women’s Super 7’s competition, remaining undefeated throughout the competition, which saw five teams compete over three rounds of footy. While the Waves finished first comfortably, with 10 wins over the 10 games that took place during the three rounds, the battle for silver between the Angels and Garissons was tense, with both teams separated by just one point at the start of the day. In the battle to decide the second place, the Garrisons held on in a thriller, winning by two points in a high scoring game and secured the silver medal in the process. Joining the Waves, Angels and Garrisons were two new teams to the Super 7’s tournament, the South Dubin Swans and the rejuvenated Midland Tigers. The Mid Ulster Suns also played their first game in a promotional match against the Australian Tax All Star team.

Final Scores (AFL Ireland Women’s Super 7’s)

Women’s: West Dublin Garrisons (4.4.28) defeated Dublin Angels (4.2.26).

 

MAGPIES DOMINANT AGAINST SWANS 

While the women were battling it out in Dublin, the AFL Ireland men’s competition continued their home and away season, with finals just around the corner. In a massive match for both sides, the Galway Magpies were too strong against the South Dublin Swans, running out 71-point winners. The Swans were looking for a win to keep their finals chances alive but came up against a determined Magpies side with all their focus on securing outright second on the ladder. For the Magpies, their win was secured thanks to their efficiency in front of goal, kicking 18 goals all day and only three behinds. Even with their best defensive effort, the Swans couldn’t match the opposition in tough conditions.

Final Scores (AFL Ireland)

Men’s: Galway Magpies (18.3.111) defeated South Dublin Swans (6.4.40).

 

 

PSS International Removals have helped people move from the UK to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the world for over 37 years. They offer friendly advice, no matter whether you’re sending a few boxes or a whole house removal including car. For more information call 020 8686 7733 or visit the PSS Removals website.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

PSS Announcement

PSS International Removals have re-joined AFL Europe as official partners for a third consecutive year in 2019.

A family-run business, PSS International Removals deal in assisting individuals with their International move, which includes moving baggage, household items and vehicles to many countries across the world including Australia and the UK, with a goal to help make the relocation process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Since 2017, PSS International Removals have been the naming partner for AFL Europe’s weekly ‘Around the Grounds’ article, capturing a snapshot of Australian Football matches played across Europe each weekend.

Director of PSS International Removals, John Moynes, said they are proud to once again partner with AFL Europe

“This is our third year with AFL Europe and during this time we have helped numerous AFL members with their International move. As a partner of AFL Europe, we are pleased to announce that we are able to offer all their members significant discounts on their international moves and look forward to a long-lasting partnership,” Moynes said.

AFL Europe values the commitment and relationship developed over the past two years with PSS International Removals and are excited that they are continuing in 2019.

“John and the team at PSS International Removals have been great supporters of AFL Europe and we are very pleased to continue our partnership in 2019. Each year we turn to PSS to manage our football and equipment shipments from Australia to the UK and their service has been absolutely first class. We cannot thank PSS International Removals enough for their support of AFL in Europe and we look forward to working with them again in the year ahead” said AFL Europe General Manager Ryan Davey.

If you or someone you know are relocating overseas, head to pssremovals.com for more information on the services they provide.

 

Match of the Round

AFL Masters European Tour

Australia AFL Masters v French Coqs

7/06/2019  Stade la Grenouillère  15:00

This Sunday the 7th of July, the 2019 AFL Masters European tour will begin with Australia taking on the French national side.

With successful tours of England, Ireland, China and India over the past 10 years, the Australian Masters side returns to Europe for 2019 in the month of July.

The Australian Masters side will play three AFL games on this tour, against France, Sussex and an England All Stars side. They’ll also be travelling to Ireland to play two International Rules games against Galway and an All Ireland side.

The team is made up of 40 to 50 year olds, who have played Australian Football their whole life and now play in the thriving AFL Masters competition in Australia, they will show their experience and developed skills this weekend.

Up against a fierce French team, these sides have not played against each other before and will create a great spectacle for the French locals.

Fresh off the back of last weekend’s Euro Cup in Sweden, where they finished 4th overall, the French Coqs have plenty of recent international experience under their belt to capitalise on.

They will have to adapt from this nine-a side-tournament to a full 18 this weekend but are a close group who are starting to build their experience together.

Looking to build from recent experience and with six debutants in this match, the Coqs are looking to learn from the past to get over the Australians.

As elaborated on by Coach, Andrew Unsworth, “It is a great chance to experiment with some different players and positions. Also, we can apply our lessons learned from Euro Cup just last week.”

ANZAC Cup Winners 2019 – French Coqs

This will be the last chance that the France national side will have for full scale match preparation ahead of the AFL Europe European Championships in October, so there will be a variety of tactics displayed throughout the match.

Being great ambassadors for growth of the game, these Australian players, particularly Mark Cornish, share the excitement for the match-up and for the future of AFL in Europe.

“We are super excited to be the first ever AFL Masters team to set foot on French soil and we look forward to a great game.  We are proud and looking forward to the opportunity to fly the AFL Masters banner and help promote AFL in Europe.”

The Australian Masters team, coached by past Eagles and Lions AFL player, Brent Staker, is made up of some experienced campaigners.

This is a great contrast to the French side, who are less experienced and haven’t played the game their whole lives, however their speed, agility and time as a team together recently will go a long way towards them putting up some stiff competition for the Aussies.

French Coach, Andrew Unsworth believes the Australians will be a tough match-up, but explains if his side can stick to their plan they can win this one.

“We expect a highly skilled Aussie side that has the ability to score quickly if they are not under pressure, so we need to make sure that we keep up the pressure while getting our running game going.”

In what will create even more awareness and growth for footy in France, this match will provide amazing memories for all involved and with the pace of the French team and the size in contests of the Australians, it will be a thrilling match.

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, sky and outdoor

Australian Masters Tour 2016

AFL Masters European Tour

Upcoming Matches:

AFL Masters v French Coqs – Sunday 7th July at 3.00pm, Stade la Grenouillère, Antony

AFL Masters v Sussex Swans, Wednesday 10th July at 6.00pm, Brighton

 AFL Masters v England,  Saturday 13th July at 4.30pm, Wimbledon

AFL Masters v Galway (International Rules), Tuesday 16th at 4:30pm, Pearse Stadium Galway

AFL Masters v Ireland (International Rules), Saturday 20th July at 4:00pm, The Denn GAA Club, County Cavan

 

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Fine Wine Partners for their support of the growth of the game throughout Europe.

Umpire Spotlight – Katrina Stopinski

Now into her 12th season of umpiring Australian Football, Katrina Stopinski is one of the most experienced umpires in Europe.

It’s not just the number of years that she has been umpiring for that makes her one of the most experienced and respected umpires in Europe, but it’s the commitment she gives to her role and the game of football that has got her to where she is now.

After umpiring in last weekends Euro Cup in Sweden, Kat has now umpired in a total of 10 countries, an incredible feat.

On top of that, since moving to London in 2017, she has umpired in three Champions League tournaments, three Euro Cups, two Haggis Cups, the Fitzpatrick Cup, inaugural St Petersburg Cup, AFL England National University League, CEAFL in Prague, and a range of other games around London and the UK.

With her role as Head of Umpiring in AFL London, she has been very busy this year, but the work she puts in is invaluable and her effort has been key to the umpiring department’s strength.

It’s clear to see why she is so well known across Europe and the UK, having been involved in so many games over the last couple of years.

Kat has been involved with footy for nearly as long as she can remember, but her umpiring career began 12 years ago.

“My involvement with footy began hanging out at my brother’s games, which eventually turned into being a water carrier, goal umpire, interchange steward, timekeeper, umpire escort, boundary umpire and sports trainer – pretty much any role you could fill, I’ve done it,” she said.

“Women’s football was still in its infancy, so when I finished school (the only place I ever played footy), I started umpiring as a part-time job.”

Kat went on to umpire for a number of years at a junior level before being asked to be part of a Reserves game in which the umpiring panel was all female. After that game, her umpiring coaches gave her some fantastic feedback, believing she could make the step up to umpire a Senior men’s game, which she did the following year, moving from Division 3 Reserves to Division 2 Seniors in one season.

She then umpired the highest junior age Grand-Final and the Division 1 Under 18 Grand Final and her pathway continued into the next year, umpiring at the National Under 18 Girls Championship where she umpired the Grand Final and was named Umpire of the Tournament.

A fantastic list of achievements, but for Kat, her ultimate goal for umpiring was achieved a few weeks after the Under 18 Girls National Championships, when she debuted in the Division 1 Seniors, becoming the first ever female field umpire to officiate at that level in her league.

According to Kat, the main reason she umpires is that it combines three of her favourite things: football, fitness and friends.

“You also have the best seat in the house being in the middle of the field!” She said.

She has also met some amazing people in the umpiring community and many of her close friends today have come from that group.

“Umpiring groups are just like footy clubs; we train, we work hard on game day, we have social functions and we aim to be on the field on the grand final day! Umpiring also requires a lot of teamwork, between field, goal and boundary umpires which I like as I have grown up participating in team sports,” she said.

With a goal to umpire in as many countries across the world as possible, anything seems possible to Kat as she aims to add to her already impressive list of achievements.

As one of the most accomplished umpires in Europe, Kat will continue to umpire where she can, when she can and is already looking forward to making it 11 countries to have umpired in when she travels to Switzerland in August.

Euro Cup 2019 Tournament Review

The 2019 Euro Cup saw 16 national teams travel to Norrtajle, Sweden for Europe’s major 9-a-side competition. Under clear blue skies, 68 matches took place across five different pitches to crown the 2019 Euro Cup winners.

With over 350 players as well as coaches, team staff, volunteers, umpires, family and friends, the Norrtajlie Sportcentrum was packed out by the AFL Europe community with a great turnout from the locals.

It all came down to the two Grand Finals which saw England and Ireland go head to head in both the men’s and women’s finals.

In the women’s, it was the Irish Banshees who proved to be the best team as they secured back to back Euro Cups, defeating the England Vixens by 30 points after a strong second-half performance.

Over in the men’s, the tables were turned as the England Dragonslayers won another Euro Cup to add to their previous success in the tournament by defeating the Irish Warriors by seven points in an even contest where the key difference was converting forward-50 entries to scores.

 

Women’s Competition

Pool A:

In Pool A, Ireland was looking to finish top of their group, and they did just that winning all three games, with an impressive average winning margin of 78 points in their group games. In their semi-final, Ireland only conceded one goal against Sweden as their outstanding form continued. Against rivals, the England Vixens, in the Grand Final, the game was tight at the start, but Ireland’s fitness and ball skill were key to their 30 point victory as they lifted the Euro Cup for the second year in a row.

The German Eagles were hoping to improve on last years result and they managed to achieve just that in their second ever appearance as a national team. They won two of their pool games, against Wales and Croatia, before reaching the semi-final where they fell short against the England Vixens by just five points in one of the most thrilling matches of the day. They then played Sweden for third place and won as the Eagles secured a bronze medal for 2019.

Wales opened their Euro Cup campaign with a fantastic 14 point win over the Croatian Queens, but couldn’t match the strength of Germany and Ireland in their next two group games. In the Bowl semi-final, the Welsh produced an impressive performance against Switzerland, winning by 10 points. In the Bowl Cup final, the Welsh fell short against a strong French side, as Wales finished the tournament in sixth place.

The Croatian Queens started off their 2019 Euro Cup in an entertaining game against Wales, but they fell short by 14 points in the end. In their next two games, they battled hard but injuries hampered their effort and tested their depth as they were defeated by Germany and Ireland. They played France in the Bowl Cup semi-final and despite being close early, lost by 39 points. In the battle for the seventh place, the Swiss prevailed as the Croatian’s finished in eighth place.

Pool B:

Over in Pool B, England Vixens were excellent in defence as they only conceded two goals on their way to finishing on top of their pool. In the semi-final against Germany, which went down to the final seconds, the Vixens managed to hold on by five points to book a place in the Grand Final. Against Ireland, the Vixens battled hard but couldn’t match the skill of the Irish, coming away from the tournament with another silver medal.

The hosting Swedish Ravens finished second in the group after close wins over France and Switzerland before losing out to England in their final pool match. In the semi-final, the Swedish faced the in-form Banshees, losing the semi but with the chance to still win a medal. Against Germany, the hosts challenged the Eagles but ultimately lost as they finished fourth in the competition.

France started off slowly in the group stage, losing to England and Sweden but bounced back well to win against the Swiss before winning their Bowl semi-final in style against Croatia. Up against Wales, the French showed their quality with the ball as they finished the tournament as Bowl winners with a 14-point win and finished in fifth place.

Despite not winning a game in their pool, the Swiss proved to be tough opposition in their inaugural tournament as they challenged Sweden and France in two close games. In the Bowl semi-final, they couldn’t keep up with a fast Welsh team, losing by 10 points in another close match. Playing Croatia in the battle for seventh place, the Swiss finished off strong with an impressive 16-point win.

Irish Banshees defeated the England Vixens in the Women’s Grand Final.

Men’s Competition

Pool A:

In Pool A of the men’s draw, the German Eagles began with two comprehensive victories before a tight eight-point win over Croatia saw them finish the group stage undefeated. In the quarterfinals, they comfortably beat Wales, but couldn’t match the strength of England, losing by just 13 points in the semi-final. Up against France in the battle for third place, Germany secured their second bronze medal of the tournament in a close six-point win.

Finishing second in Pool A, the Croatian Knights secured comfortable wins against Austria and Finland but lost out to an in-form Germany. In the quarters, they were defeated by the impressive Irish side but bounced back well to win their semi-final against the Netherlands. Against the hosts, Sweden, for fifth place, the Knights lost by just 10 points to finish the competition in sixth.

After a tough start with two losses in a row, Austria bounced back well against Finland. Despite having many shots on goal, Austria lost their quarter-final against the Czech Republic. In the semi-final, they were defeated by an impressive Israel team before Austria finished off their campaign on a positive note with a good win against Poland as they finished 15th.

In their first Euro Cup since 2013, Finland found it tough early losing their three pool games and the quarter-final against Switzerland. They finally got their reward for effort in their win against Poland with a 23-point win, before being defeated by Israel as the Finnish side concluded their first Euro Cup tournament in six years in 14th position.

 

Pool B:

France was the dominant team in Pool B, conceding just two goals as they went on to win all three games in a comfortable manner. They then went on to win their quarter-final by 30 points against the Netherlands but lost to the strong Ireland side in the semi-final. In a tight contest for bronze, the French lost by just six points to the Germans as France finished in 4th place.

The host team, Swedish Elks, beat Scotland and Russia but lost to France in the group stage. Following that, they were defeated by a dominant England side in the quarter-finals. However, the hosts went on to win an enthralling contest by seven points against Wales in the semi-final. They then won an entertaining final against Croatia to be crowned the Bowl Champions and come away with a 5th place finish in their home tournament.

Scotland started off positively with a win against Russia but lost to both Sweden and France in their group. They won their quarter-final in convincing fashion against Poland and also won their semi against Switzerland. In a replay of their first game, the Scottish won against Russia with a bright performance to finish the Euro Cup as Plate Champions, finishing ninth overall.

Despite a tough start, losing their group games, Russia hit form in the finals, beating Israel in the quarter-final and the Czech Republic in the semi. Up against their opponents from their first Pool B game, Russia put up a good fight but just fell short against Scotland as they finished in 10th place, illustrating the fantastic improvement in the Russian team.

 

Pool C:

The eventual Euro Cup champions, the England Dragonslayers, won all their pool games convincingly by an average margin of 58 points. A big win in the quarter-final saw them move to the semi’s where they defeated Germany by 13 points in their closest game to date. In the Grand Final against Ireland, the Dragonslayers were more clinical in front of goal as they became the 2019 Champions after a narrow seven-point victory.

Finishing second in the pool, the Netherlands started off with two important wins but went down to England in their final group match. They then lost to France in the quarterfinals and to Croatia in the semi-finals. In the 7th Place play-off against Wales, the Welsh side was too strong as the Netherlands ended their tournament in eighth place.

A tough start against England and the Netherlands, Israel defeated Poland in an impressive 40-point win to finish their group games. The quarter-final game against Russia was close, but Israel lost by just seven points. In the semi-final, they defeated Austria after a great defensive display, conceding just a point, before defeating Finland to end their tournament in 13th place.

In their first ever Euro Cup tournament, Poland, unfortunately, didn’t win a game as they finished 16th but showed their potential in a number of games. They managed to kick a goal in their first ever Euro Cup game and also scored two goals in their final match against Austria. This experience will go a long way to their growth as a team and nation new to Australian Football.

 

Pool D:

Eventual runners-up, Ireland, topped their group comfortably on their way to the final. They had another big win in the quarter-final against Croatia by 59-points. Another strong performance in the semi-final against France helped them continue their form going into the Grand Final. Coming up against rivals England, they couldn’t keep that form up all the way through, as they lost in a close game by just seven points to finish with the silver medal.

Starting off with two wins, Wales were looking strong early before losing to Ireland in their last group game. They were then defeated by Germany in the quarter-finals and lost the semi-final against the hosts Sweden. In their final game, they finished with a good win over the Netherlands by 35 points in a great attacking display as they finished the tournament in seventh place.

A close loss to Wales to start their campaign, Switzerland then lost to the in-form Irish team but finished off the group strongly with a win over the Czech Republic. In their quarter-final, they won by 28-points against Finland but were defeated by Scotland in the semi. In the battle for 11th place, the Swiss team beat the Czech Republic again, this time by 23 points to finish in 11th spot.

The Czech Republic had a tough group stage, losing all their games, but their form took a turn for the good as they beat Austria in their quarter-final by nine points. They fought valiantly in the semi-final against Russia but ultimately lost before they played Switzerland for the second time in the 11th placed play-off. This game was closer than the group match, but the Czech team lost by 23 points as they finished in 12th place.

England Dragonslayers defeated the Irish Warriors in the Men’s Grand Final.

Final Standings

Women’s Competition:

1. Ireland

2. England

3. Germany

4. Sweden

5. France

6. Wales

7. Switzerland

8. Croatia

Men’s Competition:

1. England

2. Ireland

3. Germany

4. France

5. Sweden

6. Croatia

7. Wales

8. Netherlands

9. Scotland

10. Russia

11. Switzerland

12. Czech Republic

13. Israel

14. Finland

15. Austria

16. Poland

Golden Whistle – Paul Barron

2019 Euro Cup Golden Whistle – Paul Barron

Women’s Team of Tournament:

Croatian Queens – Ana Vukovic

England Vixens – Chloe Hall

French Gauloises – Aralia Pierret

German Eagles – Jennifer Englisch

Swedish Ravens -Malin Anderberg

Swiss Heidis – Katherine Deller

Welsh Wyverns – Nicole Hagan

Player of the Tournament – Irish Banshees – Mairead Coyne

2019 Euro Cup Women’s Team of the Tournament

Men’s Team of the Tournament:

Austrian Avalanche – Bernhard Voller

Czech Republic Dragons – Chris Marias

England Dragonslayers – Andy Cochran

Finland Icebreakers – Aku Immonen

French Coqs – Nicolas Boche

German Eagles – Florian Naumann

Irish Warriors – Cian O’Mahony

Israeli Beasts – Eli Lipshatz

Nederland Flying Dutchmen – Jort Kolman

Polish Devils – Radek Szeniec-Kiedrzynski

Russian Bears – Mikhail Kuropatkin

Scottish Clansmen – Fraser Smith

Swedish Elks – Buster Sund

Swiss Wolves – Dominic Lanz

Player of the Tournament – Croatian Knights – Dejan Pavkovic

2019 Euro Cup Men’s Team of the Tournament

Thank you to everyone for their support and effort in making this year’s Euro Cup a memorable event. A massive thank you and mention to the umpiring squad for 2019, with a total of 13 umpires covering 68 matches. Thank you for an outstanding effort and your contribution on the day.

A big thanks must be said to AFL Sweden for their amazing management of this event in conjunction with the team at Norrtalje Sportcentrum for hosting us.

We applaud all the volunteers and pitch managers for keeping the day running on time and for their support of the game in Europe.

We would also like to acknowledge the Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Sweden, Sara-Kate Goltz-Wharton and Staffan Tjornhammar the Norrtalje Municipal Commissioner for coming along and supporting this fantastic event.

To all of the teams, players and coaches, congratulations on an amazing tournament played in great spirit both on and off the field, you all represented your nations with pride.

Good luck for the rest of the 2019 season!

 

Liam McAllion & Angus Boyle – AFL Europe.

Irish Watch – AFL Round 15 Review

Things were back to normal for round 15, as all 18 teams featured in an enthralling weekend of action filled with jaw-dropping highlights and tight finishes.

Round 15 would also see a season high seven Irish players feature across the country, with their influence on the competition as a whole getting stronger and stronger.

 After missing the past seven weeks with a nasty quad injury, experienced Gold Coast defender Pearce Hanley enjoyed a successful return in the Sun’s 42 point loss to Sydney at the SCG.

 Proving to be a welcome addition, Hanley was excellent in sureing up the Suns back half and providing some crucial guidance to what is a very inexperienced Gold Coast defence.

 Critical in shutting down the influence of in form Swans small forward Tom Papley, Hanley slotted back into the Suns half back line beautifully as he showed his worth both defensively and offensively with ball in hand.

The veteran would end up with a solid 21 disposals and seven marks and got through the game with no follow up injury scares.

An important cog to the Suns lineup, Hanley will continue to progress over the next month as they hope to break their ten game losing streak.

The Bombers would return to the Thursday night stage in round 15, this time facing the red hot Giants in the familiar surroundings of Marvel Stadium.

In what was a tight encounter for much of the night, a last quarter surge by the Bombers would prove too much for the GWS, as they run out six point victors in what many thought to be controversial circumstances.

As for Irishman Conor McKenna, his good form would continue under the roof as he again proved critical to the exciting and tough brand of footy being produced by the Bombers in recent weeks.

His pace and skill was on display for all to see on Thursday night, as he constantly looked to get the ball moving quickly and expose the Giants for speed across the half back line.

Finishing up with 17 disposals, six contested possessions and a mark, McKenna was excellent for the Bombers all night and really rose to the occasion in the final term as his side roared its way to a famous victory.

Friday night football would return to the Cattery for the first time in 2019, as the ladder leading Cats took on the fifth placed Crows in a crucial contest.

After a strong start which saw Adelaide get out to a 20 point lead, the class of the Cats would eventually take over in the second half, as Geelong successfully bounced back with a 27 point win. 

The Cat’s Irish defensive duo were again brilliant all night, as they were successful in limiting the influence of a number of Adelaide’s star forwards.  

Although he was relatively quiet with ball in hand only having the nine disposals, Mark O’Connor stood out with some moments especially defensively matched up on the likes of Eddie Betts and Lachy Murphy.  

He also took a number of key marks, and was smart in the way he used the ball to assist the Cats ball movement from defence.

As for Tuohy, it was a relatively quiet night by his lofty standards with 18 disposals and four marks across half back.

His ball use however was certainly on point as he used at an extremely effective 89%, and was consistent in his ability to put the Cats in dangerous positions across the middle of the ground and even inside 50.

He also exhibited an excellent toughness around the contest and was pivotal in his leadership as Geelong’s defence comprehensively got the better of Adelaide’s forward line.  

It was old fashioned wet weather footy at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, as a last gasp goal by Jamie Cripps saw the Eagles get out of jail against the wayward Hawks.

 After an extended period out of the side and some excellent performances in the VFL, forward Conor Nash made his return to the Hawks AFL side.  

In a day that didn’t suit key forwards, Nash toiled hard and experienced some reward with seven disposals, four tackles and a crucial goal to get the Hawks off to a fast start.

His tackling pressure was a particular highlight to his performance on the weekend, as he often made it tough for the Eagles defenders to get the ball outside their defensive 50.  

He also provided a strong target for the Hawks to kick to and was excellent in his ability to compete and assist the likes of Paul Puopolo and Luke Breust in trying conditions.

Meanwhile, Conor Glass was again solid across half back and the wing with his hardness and skills on a wet day simply outstanding.

Finishing up with 11 disposals, four contested possessions, five marks and a tackle, Glass played his role well all day, and was just reliable on a very scrappy day.

 The highlight of his game however would be the way he used the ball, as his 91% efficiency was not only super impressive but critical to how the Hawks went about so nearly upsetting the reigning premiers.

 

 

2019 Euro Cup Tournament Preview

The 2019 edition of AFL Europe’s Euro Cup takes place tomorrow, Saturday the 29th of June, in Norrtälje, Sweden as 16 different national sides battle it out to decide who comes out on top as Europe’s best 9-a-side team.

Over 400 players plus team staff, fans and volunteers will be involved in a big day of Australian Football on Saturday with games scheduled to commence at 9am, with the final match scheduled to start at 6:30 pm.

Preparation for the tournament has been underway for 16 months, with the last few months being used to make sure everything comes together. AFL Sweden President and tournament organiser Ryan Tucker has been busy with preparations but is looking forward to what the day will bring.

“People are ecstatic that a European level tournament will be held in our small city… Our mission for this tournament was to increase the overall feeling and enjoyment for the participants and spectators,” Tucker said.

This is the first time Sweden has hosted the Euro Cup, one of the major tournaments on AFL Europe’s calendar, and for many, it will be a unique country to play Australian Football in.

“For our participants, it is the opportunity to visit Sweden, a country maybe not too often on the beaten tourist trail… Also having the Cup in the summer adds another element to the overall feel of the day and the festivities in the evening… It is a fantastic opportunity for our association to grow awareness of the sport here in Sweden,” Tucker said.

With the weather currently looking clear and in the mid 20’s for Saturday, everything is underway for another fantastic Euro Cup tournament.

 

Men’s Competition

Pool A:

In Pool A of the men’s draw, we see the Croatian Knights, German Eagles, Austrian Avalanche and the Finland Icebreakers. The Knights are the top-ranked side in the Pool and return after winning the Bronze medal in last years Euro Cup. They will be the team to beat, but the German Eagles will want to get revenge for their defeat to the Knights in the 2017 AFL International Cup Division Two Grand Final. This game between the Eagles and Knights will be the one to keep an eye out for, but the Avalanche and Icebreakers will also be ready to take advantage of any games dropped by the opposition. For the Avalanche, they will be aiming to have a strong tournament to get back into the Top 8 sides, while the Icebreakers are returning to the Euro Cup for the first time since 2013 and will be excited to get out on the field.

Pool B:

This Pool is made up of the French Coqs, Scottish Clansmen, Swedish Elks and the Russian Bears. As the host nation, the Swedish Elks will want to show everyone how good they are on the field and will look at the pool with optimism that they can push for a semi-final place. Joining them in Pool B are the Russian Bears, who have been consistent regulars at the Euro Cup since their debut in 2016. The top-ranked team in the pool are the French Coqs, who come into the tournament off an impressive win over the Australian Spirit side in the ANZAC Cup in April. They will want to replicate that form and if they do, will be very hard to beat. The final team in the Pool is the Scottish Clansmen, who will be looking to make the most of their strong Great Britain contingent, particularly in their game against Sweden which should be a tight battle between two sides looking to climb up the ranks.

Pool C:

Over in Pool C, the England Dragonslayers, Nederland Flying Dutchmen, Israeli Beasts and Polish Devils will battle it out for a place in the semi-finals. The England Dragonslayers won the Euro Cup in 2017, and finished 4th last year so will be hoping they can replicate their 2017 form in this year’s tournament. One team to keep an eye out for are the Polish Devils, who are competing in their inaugural Euro Cup, with the game only starting up in Poland in the past few months. Joining them are the newly named Israeli Beasts, who are returning officially for the first time as the Israeli national team. Their game against the Nederland Flying Dutchmen should be a great contest, with the Flying Dutchmen having increased selection opportunities this year after their local league expanded to three teams, a sign of the strong recent development in the Netherlands.

Pool D:

In the final Pool, the Irish Warriors, Welsh red Dragons, Czech Republic Dragons and Swiss Wolves will all be looking to have a strong Euro Cup tournament. The Irish Warriors will be looking to go one better than their last three tournaments, where they finished as runners-up on each occasion. Another team who will be looking to climb up the ranks after expanding their local league are the Swiss Wolves. Their game against the Czech Republic could have an impact on the rankings depending on other results, so both teams will view that as a big opportunity to win. The Dragons are returning for their third Euro Cup after competing in their first ever Champions League earlier this year. The other team named the Dragons, the Welsh Red Dragons, are entering the tournament with a good spread of Great Britain representative players and will be hoping to use that experience to their advantage.

 

Women’s Competition

Pool A:

On to the women’s Pool’s, and the Irish Banshees, Croatian Queens, German Eagles and Welsh Wyverns will be competing in Pool A. Returning as Euro Cup Champions for 2018 and 2017 AFL International Cup Champions, the Irish Banshees will want to win yet another big tournament. This year, the Croatian Queens have had two teams to select their squad from after their local league expanded to include a second team. Their strong performance at this year’s Champions League shows they can be a real challenge to the opposition. The German Eagles will be returning for their second Euro Cup after finishing 5th in their first ever Euro Cup last year. This year, their goal is to finish in the top three, and their matchup against Croatia could go a long way to deciding who will battle for a semi-final place. Joining them are the Welsh Wyverns, who will be hoping their preparation for the tournament having played regular games against teams from the SEAFL and CNEAFL  late last year will put them in a solid position at this year’s tournament.

Pool B:

Pool B in the women’s see the England Vixens, Swedish Ravens, Swiss Heidi’s and French Gauloises match up against each other. The Champions from the 2017 tournament, the England Vixens, will be hoping to make the Grand Final and battle it out for the title after they finished second last year. With a large group of Great Britain players, they have plenty of experience to guide them. In Pool B, the big game will be the Vixens against the hosts, Swedish Ravens, who finished third in both 2017 and 2018. Joining them for the first ever time are the Swiss Heidis, playing in their inaugural Euro Cup. Rounding out Pool B is the French Gauloises who are Euro Cup regulars and will be hoping they can have a strong day after an impressive performance at the ANZAC Cup.

 

2019 Team Previews:

Part One: Austrian Avalanche, Croatian Knights, England Vixens.

Part Two: Croatian Queens, Russian Bears, Polish Devils.

Part Three: England Dragonslayers, Finland Icebreakers, Swedish Ravens.

Part Four: Czech Republic Dragons, French Coqs, German Eagles (women’s).

Part Five: Irish Banshees, Israeli Beasts, German Eagles (men’s).

Part Six: Irish Warriors, Swiss Wolves, Welsh Wyverns.

Part Seven: Swedish Elks, Welsh Red Dragons, French Gauloises.

Part Eight: Scottish Clansmen

2019 Euro Cup Team Previews: Part Eight

Only two days left until the 2019 AFL Europe Euro Cup, which is being held in Norrtalje, Sweden this year for what is set to be a thrilling day of football as national teams from 16 different European countries field their nations best players and over 350 players battle it out for the Cup.

This year’s edition of the Euro Cup will see all the games take place on Saturday the 29th of June. As part of the buildup, AFL Europe will be previewing all the teams competing. In our eighth and final edition of the team previews, we will be taking a closer look at the Scottish Clansmen.

 

Men’s Competition:

Scottish Clansmen

What has your preparation been heading into the 2019 Euro Cup?

We’ve worked hard with all domestic and international clubs to identify the best Scottish talent available. The coaches have been keeping a close eye on players progress throughout the season and preparing a suitable game plan.

How many clubs are represented in your national team?

We have a total of 11 clubs being represented in our national team.

How many of your players are going to be making their Euro Cup debuts?

This year sees two of our players make their Euro Cup debuts.

What can we expect to see from your team this Euro Cup?

A lot of physical presence and an eagerness to build on last years performance.

What does competing in the Euro Cup mean to your team?

This is Scotland’s major annual tournament, there is a lot of competition for a spot. Representing your country is the main aim of any player and as soon as our players land in Sweden club allegiances go out the window. We all have the same aim to show Europe what Scotland is made of.

What are your expectations for the Euro Cup?

To build on our strong performance last year and ensure that any team we play against go away knowing they’ve had to work for every touch of the ball

Who are the players in your team that we should be watching out for?

David Jordan of Wandsworth Demons was part of the team of the tournament last year, also one of our returning players after a few tournaments,  Al Lindop who plays out of Canada at the Burnaby Eagles.

The Scottish Clansmen will be remembered in the 2019 Euro Cup for…

Pride, passion and ensuring that there’s no party without Scotland.

 

 

Community Spotlight – Morten Merhøj

For Morten Merhøj, football isn’t just something to do on the weekend, it’s been a central part of his life through travel, education, relationships and work.

After a local football club visited his Physical Education class at school when he was 12 years old, Morten fell in love with the game. He was then fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Australia as part of a trip to see and play the game against Australian school teams as well as attending his first ever game at the MCG.

“I will never forget my first Friday night game at the MCG, meeting AFL players and playing against school kids who grew up with the game,” Merhøj said.

A few years down the track, and he is now the person going around to local schools, teaching the game to students and recruiting them to join the team he was coaching, just like he did when he was 12.

“Later I went to Australia with my own group of young players to give them a similar experience and I am proud to see that many of those kids, now grown men, still play and love the sport today,” Merhøj said.

Morten then moved to Odense to study at the Southern University of Denmark. The nearest footy club for him was more than two hours away, so he made the big decision to start his own club – the Odense Lions.

A year down the track and the club expanded to create a women’s team, the Odense Lionesses. For Morten, the decision to create a women’s team resulted in him meeting his future wife, who was one of the founding women in the Lionesses team.

In the 2015 Euro Cup in Croatia, both Morten and his partner played for Denmark – Morten with the Vikings and his wife with the Valkyries. Both came home with medals, as the Vikings won gold and the Valkyries won silver. Football clearly runs through Morten’s family and he is grateful that his old coaches went to his school to introduce him to Australian Football.

What attracted Morten to the sport compared to others was the physical aspect of the game. It’s not just about the tackling, according to Morten, but also the willingness to run, fight and launch yourself at the ball.

When not playing on the field, Morten has had a number of roles in the game across Denmark. He was a junior coach and board member at his first club. Now, he currently holds roles as Chairman of the DAFL Development and elite committee, vice-president, head coach, Women’s National coach, National team manager, DAFL umpire coordinator, chairman of the DAFL tournament committee and SDU Australian Football University Coordinator.

“My passions have also evolved beyond the playing and into organising, planning and developing setup, players and the sport in general,” he said.

Looking ahead to the future, Morten believes clubs around Europe will continue to develop and grow.

“I am always impressed when I hear of people starting clubs from nothing because I know how much work is needed. The rise of women’s football is also a key factor to success in Europe. Clubs with women playing and involved in running things is, in my opinion, stronger and hope that we will see even more women’s teams start around Europe… The future of Australian Football in Europe is looking bright,” he said.

Football in Denmark is also looking bright, with new facilities being developed while on the international stage, the Denmark Vikings are planning to send a team to this year’s European Championships in October.

It’s clear that Morten loves his football, and it has been a key pillar to his life so far, growing up with the game and even meeting his wife through the sport. Looking ahead, if people are inspired by Australian Football like Morten was when he was just a kid, then the game will be in good hands.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Lars Hagberg

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

A veteran of the game is an understatement for Lars ‘Larry’ Hagberg, who has now been playing Australian football in Europe for 17 years.

Studying in the AFL capital of the world, Melbourne, in 1994, Larry was surrounded by the sport and was mesmerised by it.

“It’s the most exciting sport to watch and play, period. It’s fast, physical and requires a lot of skill. I like that it combines the full contact part with speed and athleticism. Anyone can play as long as you have an eye for the game. And there’s always been great camaraderie in the sport.”

After studying and moving to Denmark, Larry was excited to find out that Denmark had a thriving AFL league and immediately wanted to get involved.

Playing for the Copenhagen Crocodiles, in the DAFL, he started to build his career, feeling great to be be able to play the game that he fell in love with in Melbourne.

Later moving to Sweden, he didn’t want to lose this passion and joined the Södermalm Blues in Stockholm, where he still plays today.

Building his standard of play each year, Larry has been able to represent his country at two International Cups in Melbourne, Australia.

“The two International Cups I’ve played in Australia with the Swedish Elks are definitely my highlights. Such fantastic trips and it’s amazing to meet players from around the world, as well as seeing the genuine interest in footy from overseas.”

Playing against the best players and teams in all of Europe, definitely builds experience and skill level, this experience has helped Larry to be at his best and at the standard he wants to be as a football player.

“I’d have to say my stamina and work in and under contests are my strengths. Being able to run all day and not being afraid to put my body on the line and take a hit.”

Not only having the skills of the game now, Larry has been a major factor into where AFL in Sweden is at today and has helped his side the Södermalm Blues from the beginning.

As a great advocate for the game overseas, Larry shares the joy of being a part of the inaugural Södermalm AFL game, after a lot of hard work.

“One of the most rewarding moments was playing the first game at the footy oval we setup ourselves as a club. We acquired a set of flag poles to be used a posts and had  a working bee cementing them into the ground. With the aid of AFL Europe we got goal post pads which completed our 15 a-side footy oval with permanent goals and proper markings. Needless to say we had a great time and winning the inaugural game felt even sweeter.”

With the upcoming Euro Cup is being held in Sweden, Larry and his team in Södermalm have gone a long way to highlighting Sweden on the AFL map and become a prime spot for the upcoming event.

With an already stellar career, countless memories and a vested interest in the growth of the game, Lars Hagberg is the epitome of what AFL Europe stands for.

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe