2019 European Championships Fixture Announcement

It’s under a month until the start of the 2019 European Champions in London, and AFL Europe can now confirm the fixture for this year’s tournament.

The tournament will take place at Wimbledon Park, SW19, in London from Wednesday 9th of to Saturday 12th of October. Three days of football on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday will see nine teams from across Europe compete to be crowned as Champions.

In the men’s draw, reigning champions Great Britain have been drawn in Pool B alongside the Croatian Knights and the French Coqs. Over in Pool A, 2016 runners-up, the Irish Warriors, will play the German Eagles and the Danish Vikings. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

All of the men’s pool matches will take place on Wednesday before the semi-finals and 5th place match occur on Thursday.

The women’s draw sees three teams battle it out, with the German Eagles joining 2016 Grand Finalists, the Irish Banshees and the Great Britain Swans as they play each other twice over the Wednesday and Thursday.

Saturday will be finals day, with the women’s final being played at 1 pm after the men’s third-place match and before the men’s Grand Final 3 pm. Before that, the third-placed women’s team will play against AFL London team, the Wandsworth Demons. The men’s will follow a similar style, with sixth place playing against the Wimbledon Hawks and fifth against the Wandsworth Demons.

 

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.

HAMBURG DOCKERS COMPLETE CLEAN SWEEP

It was celebrations all round for the Hamburg Dockers on Saturday as both their men’s and women’s teams won their respective AFLG Grand Final’s. Both matches saw the Hamburg Dockers play the Berlin Crocodiles in Cologne, including the inaugural AFLG Women’s Grand Final. In the women’s game, it was tight during the first half of the game, as the Crocodiles managed to control the game and create a number of opportunities in their forward 50. At half time, it was Berlin who was leading by seven points having had two more scoring shots. However, the Dockers came out firing and turned the game around thanks to some rapid attacking play and a resolute defence that kept the Crocodiles to just one more goal for the rest of the game. When the final siren sounded, the Dockers had produced a fantastic turnaround, winning the first AFLG Women’s flag by 28 points. In a repeat of last year’s men’s Grand Final, the Dockers came out firing, kicking three goals in the opening term to lead by 12 points at the first break, with Berlin kicking one goal from four scoring shots. The second quarter was tighter than the first, with only two goals kicked by the Dockers helping them to extend their lead to 21 points. The Crocodiles were creating plenty of opportunities but couldn’t quite get the ball through the goals as they had kicked six behinds to go with their only goal at half time. Like the women’s game, there was a change in momentum in the third quarter as the Crocodiles managed to show their class that got them to this year’s Grand Final, kicking three goals while keeping Hamburg to just two as Berlin reduced the margin to 14 points with one quarter left. There might have been a couple of nerves in the Dockers camp, but a strong defence, restricting the Crocodiles to just a goal in the last quarter, combine with two more goals of their own meant the Dockers won the 2019 AFLG Grand Final by 19 points. These results mean that the men’s team have now won back-to-back premierships and the women are the inaugural AFLG Women’s premiers for 2019.

Final Scores (AFLG and AFLGW)

Men’s: Hamburg Dockers (9. 6. 60) defeated Berlin Crocodiles (5. 11. 41).
Women’s: Hamburg Dockers (9. 7. 61) defeated Berlin Crocodiles (4. 9. 33).

 

FINAL POSITIONS CONFIRMED IN DAFL

The month of August saw plenty of action in the DAFL after their summer break in July. Since then, the battle for a spot in the finals has been tightly contested and the battle for final positions in the top four has also been one to keep a close eye on. The game between the Copenhagen Giants and Port Malmo Maulers on the weekend confirmed the final positions for all DAFL teams, and more importantly looking forward, the order of the top four sides to compete in finals. It started off in attacking fashion, with six goals kicked in the opening term as the Giants lead by 14 points. They extended their lead in the second quarter with yet again six goals kicked, four going to the Giants and two for the Maulers, meaning Copenhagen led by 28 points at the main break. The pattern of the game continued in the third, as the Maulers created enough opportunities but the Giants were always a step ahead and extended their lead, thanks to another four goals, to a nearly unassailable 44-points. Both teams continued to attack, with three goals kicked by each side in the final term as the Maulers just couldn’t create enough of a comeback in the last quarter as the Giants won by 45 points to close out the 2019 home-and-away season. After this result, the Farum Cats finished top of the DAFL, with Odense Lions in second followed by the Maulers in third and the Giants in fourth. Finishing in fifth, outside the final were the Aalborg Kangaroos who will be looking ahead to next season.

Final Scores (DAFL)

Men’s: Copenhagen Giants (15. 13. 103) defeated Port Malmo Maulers (9. 4. 58).

 

DOCKERS RECORD FIRST WIN OF SEASON IN ENTHRALLING ZAGREB DERBY

After a long summer break, the AFL Croatia league got back underway on the weekend with a men’s game and a women’s game, with teams from Zagreb and Sesvete battling it out. In the men’s, it was a Zagreb derby as the Dockers and Hawks did battle. This particular game was a tough battle, as expected between the two teams, and it came right down to the final quarter. The Hawks started off strongly, controlling the game but couldn’t manage to kick away on the scoreboard and as a result, the Dockers kept the belief that they could still get the win. In the second and third quarter, the Dockers edged back into the game and were matching it with the Hawks across the ground in terms of pace, physicality and fitness. Heading into the final quarter, the game was still very much in the balance, and it was the previously winless Dockers who managed to get in front. Despite the Hawks giving their all in the final moments, it was the Dockers who won by just three points to record their first win of the season in a fantastic game of football. This result also had implications on the final standings, and with the Hawks suffering defeat, it meant the Sesvete Double Blues claimed the 2019 Premiership without playing this round. In the women’s game, the Zagreb Panthers took on the Sesvete Redlegs, and it was the Redlegs who ran out as comprehensive winners by 115 points. Despite the scoreline, the Panthers showed glimpses of their potential as they did get on the scoreboard a number of times throughout the match, but they couldn’t keep up with the Redlegs who were too fast and strong as they recorded an impressive victory.

Final Scores (AFL Croatia)

Men’s: Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers (72) defeated Zagreb Hawks (69).
Women’s: Žkan Zagreb Panthers (27) defeated by Žkan Sesvete Redlegs (142).

BLUES WIN DERBY AND PLACE IN GRAND FINAL

Over in Sweden, the two teams competing in this years SAFF Grand Final have been confirmed after a close battle in the Qualifying Final on the weekend. This match had not just a Grand Final spot at stake, but also bragging rights in the south Stockholm derby as the Sodermalm Blues took on the Arsta Swans. It was a close game between the Blues, who finished the season in second place, and the third-placed Swans, with their final positions on the ladder reflecting how close the two teams were in this game. The Blues have had the better of the Swans this season, winning the three home-and-away season games by comfortable margins on each occasion. However, the Swans produced a high level of footy on this occasion and challenged the Blues for the majority of the match. It was an entertaining and attacking match, with 41 scoring shots for the whole game between the two teams, but it was the Blues who took advantage of their opportunities as they kicked 13 goals for the game, highlighting their attacking prowess. For the Swans, they will probably look back and wish that the 10 goals and 13 behinds was different, as they had enough chances to win this game. When the siren sounded at the end of the game, it was the Blues who held on to record a 13 point victory to confirm their place in next weekend’s Grand Final against the Norrtalje Dockers in what is set to be a blockbuster match to decide the SAFF premiers.

Final Scores (SAFF)

Men’s: Sodermalm Blues (13. 8. 86) defeated Arsta Swans (10 .13. 73).

 

 

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

WIN TWO TICKETS TO THE 2019 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL

AFL Europe is thrilled to be able to offer one footy fan the chance of a lifetime to be at the MCG this Grand Final Day, with 2 tickets to the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final up for grabs via our Facebook competition.

Putting yourself in the running to be there for the biggest day on the football calendar couldn’t be any easier, simply;

  1. Like AFL Europe on Facebook here

  2. Tag a mate you would take to the game

  3. Tell us, in 25 words or less, which European team you would most like to play footy with and why. You can see the full list of European Australian Football Clubs here. 

Entries will close midnight London time, Sunday, September 22nd.

This competition is authorised with AFL Brandzone under the code GFAFL19/191

Terms & Conditions apply. 

2019 European Championships Squad Preview – German Eagles

The 2019 European Championships are just around the corner and as part of the build-up, AFL Europe will be previewing all nine teams involved in this year’s tournament. The European Championship is AFL Europe’s premier 18-a-side tournament, played every three years, and this year will see teams from across the continent travel to London to see who comes out on top.

Our second preview will look at the German Eagles women’s team, who are attending the 2019 tournament for their first-ever time. In fact, the German Eagles women’s side only played at their first national tournament at last years Euro Cup. This year, at that same tournament, they took home the bronze medal after defeating the hosting Swedish Ravens in the third-place match.

That result highlights the substantial and impressive growth of women’s football in Germany. It also highlights the quality of football being played across the country, with a number of standout stars in the team such as Jennifer Englisch, Tinna Meißner and Marie Winkler, who all showed their class at the Euro Cup.

“This is a massive achievement for us… Female football has grown so quickly here in Germany, and we are excited to have enough players to compete in this tournament,” said coach Emily McKie.

With the first opportunity to play 18-a-side on a full-sized field, there have been some adjustments that the side has had to make, including learning new positions and adapting to new tactics.

While 9-a-side is fast, free-flowing and contains very few stoppages, 18-a-side may come as a surprise to some of the players as it’s generally more congested with more battles for contested footy and more stoppages around the ground.

“Most of our focus has been on learning the new positions and what the roles and expectations are for each player on the field,” McKie said.

To illustrate how new this format is to the German side, Emily said most of their team are new to 18-a-side football, but with that comes the opportunity to develop quickly that will help the team in the long run.

Overall, the squad has nine new debutants, with teams being represented from all over Germany – Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.

The German side is looking forward to their first Euro Champs but in terms of game style, they are going to back themselves with a system they have developed over time and trust.

“Of course, it’s a completely different game but we will have a very familiar focus on game style and teamwork that we had for the Euro Cup,” McKie said.

Coming off their success at Euro Cup, the Eagles are aiming for another positive result for the team.

“Keeping in line with our teams’ goal for the European Cup – we want to come home with a medal… We (also) want to prove that we are worthy of qualifying for the International Cup in Australia in 2020,” McKie said.

“We were pretty excited about coming third in the Euro Cup, so the girls have a lot of confidence heading into the European Championships to see what we are capable of.”

The German Eagles will back themselves to challenge the ever-strong Great Britain and Ireland women’s team, but one of the highlights of the tournament could potentially be seeing how they evolve to a new format on a full-sized field.

They have lots of momentum from their success at the Euro Cup and combined with a tight-knit group where teamwork is a key attribute in part thanks to the coaching group, the German Eagles are giving themselves every opportunity to reach their goal for this European Championships. They will certainly be a team to keep an eye on.

AFL Europe – Angus Boyle.

Fitzpatrick Cup 2020 Announcement

AFL Europe’s premier 9-a-side University tournament is set to take place at Horspath Sports Grounds in Oxford on the 8th of February after the venue was recently confirmed alongside the Oxford University Australian Rules Football Club.

As reigning premiers in both the men’s and women’s, UCC will be looking to retain their premierships from the 2018 tournament after the 2019 edition of the ‘Fitz Cup’ was cancelled due to snow and ice covering the playing fields making it unsafe for Australian football.

Despite the 2019 event being cancelled, Oxford put their hand up to host in 2020 and are ready to show what they have to offer.

“We’re really pleased to get the chance to host again after the unfortunate weather last year. Hosting the Cup is a great opportunity for the club to participate in the broader European footy community, and have the chance to meet and play some great teams!” said Kathryn Leslie, the President of the Oxford Football Club.

Oxford hosted the inaugural National University League’s Grand Final’s earlier this year and will be excited to showcase more fantastic football on their grounds. NUL representative Will Shillibier said Oxford will relish the opportunity to host again.

“Oxford were brilliant hosts of both the men’s and women’s inaugural NUL Grand Finals and I’m sure they will relish the opportunity to host the 2020 Fitzpatrick Cup, especially after the snow robbed them of the chance last year!” said Shillibier.

Horspath Playing Field on the 8th of February, 2019 when the Fitzpatrick Cup was cancelled due to heavy snowfall and ice.

A combination of university teams from Ireland and England competed in 2018 but the tournament is open to universities from across Europe.

With the second season of the National University League just around the corner in England and Wales, a number of the teams competing at the ‘Fitz Cup’ will have had three rounds to develop their tactics and match fitness as they look to stop the recent dominance of the Irish Universities.

“The Fitzpatrick is a really important part of the season for all teams… Every club has said that they relish the increased competitive opportunities for students, and the Fitzpatrick Cup, alongside both the NUL and the International University Test Match,  really demonstrates the growth of the sport across the European footballing landscape,” said Shillibier.

Reigning premiers UCC will no doubt be back again as they look to win a three-peat in both the men’s and women’s, as the tournament hosts from 2017 and 2018 will be looking to show everyone who is the strongest University side in Europe.

It’s set to be another fantastic tournament as Oxford will be joined by a number of teams, showcasing the talent and development of the game at the university level in Europe

Match of the Round

AFLG Grand Finals

Women’s: Berlin Crocodiles v Hamburg Dockers  1:30pm

Men’s: Hamburg Dockers v Berlin Crocodiles  3:30pm

7/9/2019  Cologne

AFLGW

The inaugural AFLGW league has been a huge success, with not only the development of players across Germany, but the growth of clubs as a whole. This year has been a real step forward for women playing the great Australian game.

After such a competitive and exciting season, the Berlin Crocodiles and the Hamburg Dockers will battle it out this weekend for the first ever AFLGW premiership.

In their first year of existence, the Berlin Crocodiles women have taken huge strides towards success and have quickly found they can hold their own against Europe’s best.

“This games means quite a bit to all involved obviously. We grew individually as players, but we also grew together as a team. So being able to compete in this game, proof ourselves and our skills in the grand final is not just a great learning experience but a payoff for commitment shown by each and everyone so far in this season,” said Crocodiles Captain Theresa Kresse.

French player for the Crocs, Steffi Lepronier is key to this side playing well, with her ability to use run and carry out of defence and even lock down an opponent, Berlin’s bursts forward begin with her in some exciting fast game play.

Having gone all season to this point undefeated, the Crocs are in some amazing form and will look to bring the energy they have brought against Hamburg twice throughout the season again in the big game this weekend.

Berlin have found new strengths in their side each week and believe when they play to these strengths they can beat any team that comes their way.

Captain Theresa Kresse elaborates, “The strength of the ladies team is the support everyone gives to their teammates. We like to shepherd and support everyone around us. Secondly, I believe that we are fairly creative on the ground in terms of improvising in under-pressure-situations.”

In contrast, the opposition of the Hamburg Dockers haven’t got the edge over the Crocodiles this season, but being the most experienced German women’s side and having played across European tournaments such as the Champions league this year, their quality could go a long way to getting a win this weekend.

Having finished fourth in an extremely competitive Champions League tournament in Amsterdam earlier this year, they have taken a lot of confidence from this and know what playing under pressure is like, which is vital for a Grand Final clash.

With some big wins against the southern German teams throughout the season and losing by a mere two points to Berlin in their last outing, Hamburg have had a positive year in their first official season and always seem to make it hard for the opposition.

With many players coming from other sports or being a part of the Australian game for some years now, all Dockers players seem to know what it takes for a club to be successful and believe their core values can have a huge impact on and off the field.

“Our three values are our positivity, support and fun. We aim to stick to these values on and off the field which leads to one of our key strengths being the effort our girls put in to each game. They never relent, they push and push and push to make sure they are always there to get that shepherd in, smother the ball and to support their teammates,” said Dockers Lisa Wilson.

With consistency across the ground, the Dockers are a hard match up and this quality shines through their leaders. The addition of their Captain Anni Rode this week, lifts the Dockers on field leadership and adds a much needed player for them to get the win.

“Our Captain Anni Rode has been battling a work sustained thumb injury this season but we are glad that on the weekend we will have her leadership, strength and here great long kicks to our advantage,” said Lisa.

With some of the best women’s players in Europe, exciting battles throughout the season and such an anticipated build up, this will be an extremely close encounter with plenty of fast paced, skilful footy.

 

AFLG

Men’s AFL in Germany has taken major strides this year, with the national team taking out the bronze medal at the Euro Cup in Sweden. Much of this success relates to an extremely competitive nation wide league over the past few years and 2019 showed exactly that.

After some thrilling matches and hard work to get to this point, the Hamburg Dockers will face the Berlin Crocodiles in this year’s AFLG Grand Final.

In a club first, the Hamburg Dockers have gone the entire season undefeated and go into this weekend as the team to beat, being in great form.

Being last years premiers, this Dockers side knows what it takes in the big games and have had some great encounters against the Crocs earlier this season.

The Dockers were able to get over the line on multiple occasions, with their ability to embrace pressure, looking to do the same this weekend.

With the new rule in AFLG for teams to have half international players and half Australians, the league has seen major growth in local talent and more players trying out the game for the first time.

Hamburg were pleased with this rule, with belief that depth is one of their main strengths, helping them towards potential back to back premierships.

Dockers Coach Peter Richter explains, “Having a great group of invested Australians willing to teach the international players, as well as the established internationals investing themselves into the brand new players, we have fast tracked their development. And then all of a sudden it snow-balls where everyone is comfortable to practice their skills and the improvement is infectious.”

The Hamburg Dockers pride themselves on a team first attitude and have built a culture that they believe has helped on and off the field.

A major piece to this culture is games record holder Daniel Minssen, his ability to be a leader for new players and create quick transitions out of defence with his game play is a great combination for his side and is definitely an important player for the Dockers this weekend.

Through to their fourth consecutive Grand Final, the Berlin Crocodiles are one of the most consistent German teams. With their depth and improvements each week this is a side that can beat anyone when playing at their best.

Already well equipped with experience, Berlin have also added many new players this year. They have had to adjust to a game plan that works for a new group and have done extremely well to gel quickly and make it to the big dance.

Using these new players as a real positive, Berlin have found new strengths and Coach Dean Gioutsos feels like if these strengths shine again on the weekend they will take out the AFLG Premiership.

“The men’s ball movement and competitiveness around the contest, have been two areas that they have seen great improvement over the course of this year, and when they are working well together we play good and enjoyable footy,” said Coach Gioutsos.

Improvement across the board has launched Berlin into another successful season and this comes down to the leadership and new skills that their international players have built in 2019.

These international players have set the tone each game for this Berlin side and has definitely been seen in the pressure acts and developed skills by Matondo Vita.

Vita has fit perfectly into this Crocodiles side and has developed his game, becoming one of their more reliable players, he will be one for the crowd to look out for.

The depth that both Grand Final sides have is impressive, not only relying on their Australian players but their many home grown talents, it will be an extremely exciting match up to watch.

With both teams having the ability to kick big scores and a big crowd expected in Cologne, this is an exciting time for AFL in Germany and will be a great day of footy.

Stay tuned to next week’s edition of Around the Grounds to see who came out on top!

 

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

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

 

 

 

 

2019 European Championships Squad Preview – Croatian Knights

The 2019 European Championships are just around the corner and as part of the build-up, AFL Europe will be previewing all nine teams involved in this year’s tournament. The European Championship is AFL Europe’s premier 18-a-side tournament, played every three years, and this year will see teams from across the continent travel to London to see who comes out on top.

Our opening preview looks at the Croatian Knights, who are competing in their first European Championships since the 2013 tournament in Dublin. During that tournament, they finished in fifth place after defeating Germany twice but losing to both Ireland and Sweden. That result was identical to their 2010 European Championships, where the Knights coach Josip Kravar recalls beating Germany and Iceland, but falling to defeat against Ireland and Sweden.

“It was (our) first time experience of playing real footy and we loved it,” Kravar said.

At both tournaments, the Knights had a large number of players competing for the first time, but the 2013 side saw “more than 90% of players playing for the first time on an oval.”

For a number of the national teams competing, this can be a challenge that they face during the European Championships, as it’s an 18-a-side format rather than 9-a-side which is played at other AFL Europe events and by nearly all of the leagues across the continent.

However, while it’s a challenge, it’s also a chance for teams to learn, adapt and develop new skills as well as tactics relevant to the 18-a-side game on a full-sized field rather than a modified 9-a-side ground.

“There is a lack of knowledge for 18-a-side, that is for sure for countries like us that only have two major tournaments behind us (playing that format). But with proper training and guidance, I have seen that players can adapt fast enough,” Kravar said.

One of the benefits for the Croatian side is that they have been able to adopt players from other sporting codes such as basketball, football and handball. What Josip has noticed with these players, particularly with the basketball players, is that it takes roughly one year to adapt to Australian football, but once they do, their other skills are incredibly valuable to the team.

So while it may seem like a long process, training and committing to the game in the long term is beneficial to not just an individual player, but also the team, and that leaves the Knights in a positive position heading into this tournament.

With the month of September being dedicated to training and tournament preparation, the Knights are certainly giving themselves a fantastic opportunity to compete highly in London.

“As every year, we have one-month preparation for the championship, starting on September 1st. The team will have three weeks to train,” Kravar said.

One of the players in their team to keep an eye on that will bring a bucket load of experience to the Knights line-up is ruckman Josip Habijak, who has been playing with Sturt Football Club and Unley Jets Football Culb for the last couple of years.

“We are always realistic with our expectations. This year we struggled with numbers in the Euro Cup… We are far away from our strongest team… But we will be there and play and will give our best,” Kravar said.

Despite not competing at the 2016 tournament, they know what is required and they will have spent that time helping players develop their skills with this year’s Championships in mind. Coming up against powerhouse nations in Ireland and Great Britain will be a challenge, but the Knights will back themselves regardless.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe

Umpire Spotlight – John Enright

A large number of umpires decide to take up a role in the field, boundary or goals after playing the game but have been struck down with an injury, or the demands of the sport have caught up with them.

For Ireland’s John Enright, his umpiring career coincided with his playing career and he balanced representing his country on top of umpiring footy across Europe until 2013, a feat that takes a lot of commitment to both causes and reflects his passion for the game of Australian football.

Now into his 19th year of being involved with the game, John is one of the leading umpires in the AFL Europe community who regularly travels around the continent to attend various tournaments.

However, his footballing journey began back in 2003 when started playing for the Toronto Dingos in Canada.

“With my GAA background it was easy enough to slot into an Aussie Rules team,” Enright said about the switch between one of Ireland’s main sports and one of Australia’s.

After winning an OAFL premiership with the Dingos, Enright then moved back to Ireland, joining the Leeside Lions and then the Dublin Demons where he had further success winning a premiership in 2008 and captaining them to another flag in 2009.

However, it was involving the former of those two Irish sides that he umpired his first game, in quite dramatic scenes considering the occasion.

Anyone’s first game as an umpire is an experience many people don’t forget quickly, but John’s was even more memorable as it was the 2007 ARFLI Grand Final between the Lions and the South Dublin Swans.

To be asked to be an umpire for the first time during a Grand Final is a big ask, but that didn’t bother John who was enjoying the experience on a big day of football in Ireland.

“I arrived as a spectator then was asked to be the umpire as the assigned umpire didn’t show up… It was a baptism of fire, but I did my best and halfway through the game I realised I was really enjoying myself,” Enright said.

So much so that he was hoping the originally assigned umpire wouldn’t show up as John thought he might have to give back the whistle.

From that day onwards, he started umpiring when available while still playing.

He went on to play at the 2011 International Cup, the 2010 and 2013 European Championships, and the 2012 Euro Cup, representing Ireland, but one of his most memorable moments is with the whistle.

John umpired at the 2016 European Championships in London, and as AFL Europe’s main 18-a-side tournament, it was a big opportunity for John and his fellow umpires.

During that week, AFL umpiring coach Adam Davies attended the event, which included coaching the umpires and John gained a lot from the experience.

“The coaching was brilliant. It was instantly transferable to the pitch where we took what we learned into a competitive environment,” Enright said.

That wasn’t John’s only valuable experience developing his umpiring skills with the best in the business, he was fortunate enough to run with AFL umpire Chris Donlon at the 2017 USAFL National Championships in San Diego, where he was also joined by a couple of other AFL Europe umpires.

Getting the opportunity to run with umpires from the top level of the game is very rare, and an opportunity where John took on as much advice as he could, as this was an opportunity to not just work on decision marking but to learn how to work on positioning, communication and running around the ground to be in the best positions.

“It was a fascinating experience to see the lines [Chris] was running, his knowledge and reading of the game… He was very approachable and was coaching me during the game to help me improve,” Enright said.

Having gone from representing his nation to umpiring with some of the most experienced umpires in the game, John has created memories that he will remember for a long time to come, and hopefully, he will continue to use his experience when umpiring into the future around Europe and wherever else Australian football takes him.

AFL Europe – Angus Boyle

Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Stacey Hughes

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. 

Playing Australian football for seven years now, Stacey Hughes is an experienced campaigner of the sport and a real driving force behind women’s footy in Scotland.

From a friend inviting her down to a training session in 2012, Stacey who was an already passionate Gaelic football and soccer player, turned all of her attention to the Australian game and has never looked back.

“It is such an exciting, fast paced sport with many interesting skills to master,” said Stacey.

Since making Aussie Rules her priority sport, Stacey has helped the growth of women in the game as well as grown her own skills.

2019 has been an important year for the Scottish women’s players with the inaugural season getting underway and giving a chance for women to play the sport they love in an official competitive sense.

Captain of the Glasgow Sharks, Stacey had a great year reading the play from defence and her side after making it to the Grand Final last weekend, took out the trophy and were premiers in the first official season of the AFL Scotland Women’s competition.

“It is exciting times in Scotland that a number of women playing and the number of clubs which have a women contingent is increasing. There are now tournaments in Europe which are only for women’s team’s and the women’s competition is no longer playing second fiddle to the men’s competition.”

“Throughout Europe there are now more tournaments appearing for both the men’s and women’s teams. I think this shows the growth of the sport and gives more teams more opportunities to play Aussie Rules which can only be good for the future of the game,” said Stacey.

Stacey’s love for the game has grown exponentially and her efforts to play the game have been at an all time high in recent years.

Travelling from Glasgow to Wimbledon in London, Stacey has made this trip on countless occasions to play some matches in the AFL London league with the Wimbledon Hawks.

Now the Captain for the Glasgow and Scotland sides, Stacey is putting her teaching background into another use being able to relate to all types of people and teach people the skills she has been able to develop over the years.

Representing Great Britain at the 2016 European Championships and the 2017 International Cup are some of her biggest achievements, while personally Stacey sees the Champions League event as one of her favourite places to play the game.

“My favourite place to play would have to be Amsterdam where I’ve played in the Champions League in two occasions. The set up there is fantastic, with such a fun day and a great standard of footy,” said Stacey.

Through her efforts to reach out to women to grow the Scottish women’s league to her leadership of many teams, Stacey Hughes is an amazing ambassador of the game and any club would be lucky to have her around.

With a great year already, building the league and a successful year in defence for her respective sides Stacey will continue to have an exciting future in the sport.

 

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

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe

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.

ODENSE LIONS LEAP INTO SECOND IN DAFL

Round 12 of the DAFL saw a crucial match take place between the Odense Lions and Port Malmo Maulers. With just one round remaining in the season next weekend, this match could prove to be a key result for the winner, putting them in a prime position to secure a home semi-final as well as some momentum. It was a tense start, with just two goals kicked in the opening term with the Maulers leading by a point at the first break. The second quarter was just as tight but a bit more free-flowing as both sides kicked two goals each in the second term as the Maulers again held a one-point lead at the main break. It was another battle of the defences in the third quarter, with only three goals kicked between the two sides as Port Malmo managed to extend their lead to 10-points heading into the final break. The final quarter finally saw the shackles break for both attacks, as Odense kicked six goals in the quarter as their fitness and pace took over as Port Malmo could only put on two goals in the final term. When the final siren sounded, the Lions turned around their deficit as they finally got in front in the game and secured a key 17-point victory. Over in the women’s, the Odense Lionesses played the Port Malmo Lynx and just like the men’s, it was a tight, physical contest throughout the whole match. The first quarter saw the Lynx get on the board early with a goal but both defences stood strong as the visiting side led by seven points at the break. The second quarter was tight again, as Odense scored the only behind of the quarter to bring the margin back to a goal at the main break. The third quarter saw the Lynx hit the board with another goal and three behinds while keeping Odense scoreless as Port Malmo led by 15 points at the end of the third quarter. The last quarter saw Odense get a goal on the board to put the pressure on their opponents but the Lynx held strong to secure an impressive nine-point victory.

Final Scores (DAFL)

Men’s: Odense Lions (10. 8. 68) defeated Port Malmo Maulers (7. 9. 51).
Women’s: Odense Lionesses (1. 2. 8) defeated by Port Malmo Lynx (2. 5. 17).

 

SOFIA TRAVEL TO DENMARK IN THEIR FIRST GAME ABROAD

On Saturday, the Sofia Magpies played their first-ever game abroad as the team look to continue growing Australian football in Bulgaria. The Magpies travelled to Denmark, which coincided with round 12 of the DAFL, so the Odense Lions put out a team to play against the travelling team. In sunny conditions in Odense, both teams got off to an attacking start in the first quarter, playing in the 9-a-side format. The Odense Lions took advantage of the opportunities they had in front of goal, kicking three goals from their four scoring shots as they took an 11-point lead into the first break but the Magpies were still within distance after kicking a key goal in the opening term. The class of the Lions showed in the second quarter, as they kicked five goals and despite the Magpies’ best effort, the away team only managed a behind. At half-time, the margin was 44 points, but the Magpies gained back some control in the third and even won the quarter, as they kicked three goals from six scoring shots thanks to some more free-flowing, attacking footy. The Lions finished the stronger of the two sides as they kicked two goals in the final quarter to run out 58 point winners. But this game was more than just about the result, it was about two upcoming sides playing each other, continuing to grow the sport in Europe and building a relationship into the future.

Final Scores 

Men’s: Odense Lions (13. 10. 88) defeated Sofia Magpies (4. 6. 30).

 

CORK VIKINGS VANQUISH OPPONENTS

The AFL Ireland’s Women’s Premiership started for the 2019 season this weekend, with the West Clare Waves, Cork Vikings, Dublin Angels and West Dublin Garrissons all competing in Round 1. In the standout game for the day, it was last year’s Grand Finalists, the Cork Vikings, who played against the Dublin Angels. This was Cork’s first competitive game back after last season, but despite such a long break, they came into Round One ready to go. For the Angels, they were down a couple of key players but still took it up to the Vikings, with the game only being settled in the final couple of minutes. From the start, it was a close game, and both teams created plenty of scoring opportunities in the sunny conditions, showing how closely matched these two sides are. By the end of the game, both sides had the same amount of scoring shots, but it was the Viking’s accuracy which was one key factor in them getting an important win early in the season as they won by 10 points, a margin which kept the Angels in the game right until the end, but wasn’t to be as the Vikings secured the win.

Final Scores (AFL Ireland)

Women’s: Cork Vikings (3. 2. 20) defeated Dublin Angels (1. 4. 10).

JETS TESTED BY LIONS AHEAD OF GRAND FINAL

The final round of the AFL Switzerland season took place on the weekend in warm and sunny conditions probably more likely to be witnessed at the beach than a football match, but even in the 29-degree weather, it was another successful day in the leagues first season. The pick of the matches was the game between minor premiers, the Geneva Jets, and hosts, the Winterthur Lions. Going into the final round, the Jets and Basel Dragons had already confirmed their places in the Grand Final but there was still plenty to play for in the final round. The Jets were looking to keep their momentum going, while the Lions wanted to show everyone that not only could they host a great day of footy but could also go toe-for-toe with the top side. The Lions did that for most of the game, as they matched the Jets around the ground for physicality and pace, wherein previous rounds they have struggled to keep up. With both teams opting to play on whenever possible, the game was free-flowing and played at a high intensity. The Jets responded to the battle thrown at them and their experience helped them get over the line in the end by 23 points in a high-scoring affair that highlighted the quality of football on offer in Switzerland. In the other games, the Lions defeated the Dragons by 29 points for their second win of the season, while in a Grand Final preview, the Jets defeated the Dragons by 45 points.

Final Scores (AFL Switzerland)

Mixed: Geneva Jets (12. 12. 84) defeated Winterthur Lions (9. 7. 61).
Winterthur Lions (11. 7. 73) defeated Basel Dragons (6. 8. 44).
Geneva Jets (14. 2. 86) defeated Basel Dragons (6. 5. 41).

 

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