Team Profiles

FRANCE – the home side is looking stronger than ever with several full teams to select their players from. They have the potential to knock off the Irish and eliminate them from finals contention. Players to watch include Captain, Gregoire Patacq and hard running midfielder, Joevin L’Hotelier.

SPAIN: The Spaniards are looking to build on performances from previous Euro Cups and take it up to Italy, one of the favourites to take the Cup. Expect plenty of run, especially out of the back line from Daniel Ribas and some silky smooth skills on display.

ITALY: As one of the favourites of the competition, the Italians take the field in their initial matches against Spain and Austria. Expect aggression and physicality from players such as Filippo Alloisio in the forward line who can kick some very classy goals.

NORWAY: Norway have the most difficult path to a finals berth, having to overcome defending champions, Ireland and home favourites, France. It will be a hard ask of the Norwegians however their fighting spirit should see them at least be competitive.

FINLAND: The ferocious Finns are another side who are looking to build on their previous Euro Cup efforts having worked hard on their skills and fitness over the past year.

CROATIA: After making the long journey by road from Dubrovnik, the Croatian team will be looking to build on their winning form from the inaugural Euro Cup in 2010. Captain, Tomislav Cvetko heads a stellar lineup with the likes of Josip Kravar, the rock down back and forward pressure provided by Zvonimir Murkovic. Expect the Croatian Knights to be a force in today’s proceedings.

IRELAND: the defending champions are back and fielding a slightly weakened team to fight for a another Euro Cup title and another trophy to accompany their European Championships crown from earlier this year.

ENGLAND: Players from Great Britain who came heartbreakingly close to a breakthrough win in the European Championships this year, take the field in a strong England outfit. Expect England to be a main contender for this years title with the likes of Sean Walton in the centre looking to cut a hole in Ireland’s defence.

ICELAND: Having featured in a couple of Euro Cups now, Iceland will be looking for an upset or two. Stalwarts such as Pall Tomas Finnisson will lead the charge.

THE CRUSADERS: this combination of Europeans from various countries who don’t get the opportunity just yet to represent their own nation is shaping up to be a tricky team to pick. With a great mix of many cultures and languages, expect there to be some difficulties on the field but some serious, unexpectedness!

CATALUNYA: As complete underdogs, Catalunya are coming in to this year’s Euro Cup with nothing to lose. Expect competitiveness and a will to improve on past performances.

AUSTRIA: the Austrians have been a weak team in the past Euro Cup however they are looking to compete harder in this years competition. With a strengthened team, expect the Austrians to be competitive against the best.

Welcome ceremony launches Axios Euro Cup 2013

Once a year, European nations come together to battle it out on the football field, with the dream of holding aloft the finely polished piece of silverware, the Axios Euro Cup. This prestigious award that signifies a year’s worth of sweat, blood and tears, will be won and lost on Saturday in the picturesque, wine region of Bordeaux, France.

Proceedings were officially kicked off on Friday night at the opening ceremony, which was attended by captains and coaches of the twelve competing nations in the men’s competition, and the two women’s teams that will be competing for their own Euro Cup.

Madame Bouvier, President of the parent body of football in France, Leo Lagrange, addressed an eager crowd, welcoming them to Bordeaux and thanking all of the people who have made the event possible.

Bouvier stated that the event should focus on the “values of Leo Lagrange” and that all players must respect their opponent, the rules of the game and the umpires decisions.

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow then also welcomed the crowd and thanked Leo Lagrange and the other supporters of CNFA for their support.

Dow went on to express his delight with the venue and how well the event has been organised. He reminisced about the ANZAC Cup, which was held in France in April this year, and stated that he is “[looking] forward to France putting on a great show.”

In 2013, the twelve teams who will be vying to have their country’s name forever etched into AFL Europe history are; Finland, France, Croatia, Spain, Ireland, England, Iceland, Norway, Italy, the Crusaders, Catalunya and Austria. The two women’s teams who will contend the Championship match are France and the Crusaders.

Matches begin this morning with defending champions, Ireland running out against Norway in their first match. Croatia, who won the first Euro Cup in 2010, will play the Crusaders first up and the strong lineup of England will tackle Catalunya in their first round match.

You can stream all the matches on pitch 1 live here

 

 

Axios Euro Cup Schedule now available

Check out the draw for your nation right here. This promises to be an amazing day of Australian Football and accompanying events in the iconic French region, Bordeaux.

Edinburgh Bloods winners of the SARFL Grand Final

In the tenth anniversary year of the Scottish Australian Rules Football League (SARFL) the Grand Final saw reigning champions Edinburgh Bloods take on minor premiers Glasgow Sharks on the afternoon of 31st August. Each side had won on the other’s home ground during the regular season so this game at Linlithgow Rugby Club promised to provide a fitting climax.

Edinburgh began the game in impressive style, their experienced midfield dominating the first quarter as they quickly moved into a strong lead, kicking eight goals to lead 53-1 at the opening break. Glasgow came out much more strongly after the break, tightening up in the back line and midfield to take the second quarter by four goals to three and promise that a comeback could be on its way. Half time score: Edinburgh 11.7.73 Glasgow 4.3.27.

Glasgow’s momentum continued with two further goals in the third quarter but Edinburgh continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over in what had become an absorbing contest for the vocal crowd – hundreds enjoying the unusual Scottish summer sunshine.  Edinburgh maintained their leading margin as both teams continued to play quality football into the final quarter, kicking five goals to three in that term to secure the match.

Final score: Edinburgh 17.19.123 Glasgow 9.6.60

Goals:

Edinburgh: Thomas (3), Beaton (2), Coller (2), Hildebrandt (2), Goodall, McGarry, McGookin, McNicholas, McSparron, Stevens, Townsend, Vahey.

Glasgow: Jack (3), Thompson (3), Douglas (2), Ross Thomson.

This highly entertaining encounter delivered a fitting end to the SARFL season.  Scottish footy is by no means over for the year though.  The Clansmen host England and Wales in the Tri Nations on the 7th September and the Caledonian Australian Football League (CAFL) finals take place next month, with the Grand Final in Glasgow on 19th October.

Pictures of the game available at http://duncolm.smugmug.com/AustralianRulesFootball/SARFL-2013

Axios Euro Cup 2013

In what is shaping as the biggest Euro Cup in history with the addition of our naming rights sponsor Axios we hope you are all ready for September 21st in Bordeaux. The local organising committee from the Bordeaux Bomber has been hard at work securing deals at accommodation across the city. Please follow the link for the information booklet of all the options.

Axios Euro Cup 2013 – Hotels

Axios Euro Cup 2013 – Travel Information

Euro Cup – APPENDIX I – Team entry form – FINAL 2013

Euro Cup – APPENDIX II – Application for eligibility exemption – FINAL 2013

Player Eligibility
For Countries who have competed in the EU Cup/Euro Cup on any previous occasion, a player is eligible if he meets the following criteria.
1) The Player was predominantly resident in the country of the league between 10 and 16 years of age subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
2) The Player is a citizen of the country of the league at the time when the competition is conducted, subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
3) The Player is not under suspension in that Player’s local competition during the period of the competition.

Sub Clause A
AFL Europe may on a case by case basis, waive the eligibility requirements if it is satisfied that a player is a bona fide resident in the country of the league and his participation would be in the best interests of the competition. Submissions in this regard must be made by lodging a player Eligibility form, which are available on above. Any player who has previously obtained exemption must apply again in 2013.

Both the Team registration form and the Player exemption form have to be sent back before the 30th of August.

Everyone must register on Eventbrite before the 8th of September:
 
Eventbrite - Axios Euro Cup 2013
The registration fee includes the dinner at the post event function, the event T-shirt and the insurance for the players.

We are organizing a coach/bus from Paris to Bordeaux. Any team interested in the bus trip departing from Paris – either on Thursday 19th or Friday 20th – and returning on Sunday please let us know before the 30th of August about your preferred times for these dates so we can figure out the best option for everyone.

Any volunteer to help during the event can register on Eventbrite and contact the organization team in Bordeaux at this email address: benevole@bxbombers.fr.

More details to follow as the event gets closer.

AFL Europe Championship Grand Final – Ireland vs Great Britain

Ireland has won the 2013 AFL Europe Championship by kicking a goal with the last kick of the game to beat Great Britain by a point.  In a tight contest throughout the last quarter, Great Britain seemed to have it won before Mark Leavy kicked a snap goal to put Ireland in front, seconds before the final siren sounded.

Heroes for the Irish included late goal kicker Bobby Byrne and Kevin McSorley in defence who was pivotal in keeping Ireland within striking distance throughout the last quarter.   It was a heart breaking finale for the Great British team who went so close to winning their first major international trophy.

Man of the match was GB captain Ian Mitchell who was tireless on the ball and across half back for the Bulldogs, yet unable to drag his team across the line.  Sam Boyd, David Saunders and Ollie Dilieto were also strong contributors to a team that had glory snatched from them at the very end.

In a hard and bruising match, John O’Regan was subdued after a heavy collision with Britain’s Chris James in the second quarter.  The Irish captain had been dominating the match up to that point and it looked like that moment might have swung the match in favour of the Bulldogs.  However it inspired a greater effort from the Irish team and players James Flavin, Ger Walls and Tom Browne started winning more of the ball.

The last quarter saw the lead change a number of times and when GB’s Luke Booth kicked a goal to put his team up by 5 points close to the end, it looked like it would be a fairy tale win for the visitors.  With only seconds on the clock the ball swept down to the Irish forward line where it bounced off the hands of the pack and into the arms of the unlikely Irish defender Mark Leavy who snapped the goal and sent the Irish crowd into a frenzy as the final siren sounded.

Final Score:

Ireland: 7.3.45

Great Britain: 6.8.44

Goals:
Ireland: Byrne 2, Bartley, Flavin, Manning, O’Connell, Leavy
Great Britain: Saunders 2, Kilheeny, Booth, Ryland, James

Best Players:
Ireland: McSorley, O’Regan, Roche
Great Britain: Mitchell, Boyd, Dilieto, Saunders

AFL Europe Championship Finals – Sweden vs Denmark

Denmark has won the battle of the Scandinavian countries by beating Sweden 48 – 32 to claim 3rd place in the 2013 AFL Europe Championships.

In what was an entertaining battle between two of the most skilful midfields in Europe with Sweden’s talented trio of Johan Lantz, Eric Salin and Emil Aberg getting on top early, aided by some strong work in the ruck from David Wahlberg.  The Swede’s were up at quarter time thanks to goals to David Verngren who has had a great tournament.  Things started tightening up in the 2nd quarter and it was 3.2.20 apiece headed into the half time break.

It was Denmark who started getting the upper hand around the midfield in the 3rd quarter led by their brilliant midfielders in Christopher Campion, Mathias Biron, Aksel Bang, Mikkel Kjoge and William Anderson, who managed to kick 3 goals for himself in the match including a nomination for goal of the tournament from a running shot from outside 50 metres.

Denmark’s defence also started standing up to the challenge and led by Rene Toft Palsgaard and Troels Ottesden, were able to start turning defence into attack.  Sweden were missing the drive of Tony McLoughlin from their half back line with the solid defender not able to play this match.  They were well served however by lively contributions from Joel Sprang, Gaetan Blondeau and  Chris Martensson, but it was not enough to give them their second win of the tournament.

The Swedish team played some formidable football throughout the tournament and were unlucky not to have beaten the Irish in their earlier encounter.  They will be left to ruminate on what may have been before preparing themselves for their next international foray.

For Denmark, the signs are extremely positive that they are closer to winning an international trophy sooner rather than later and if they are able to keep the nucleus of their young, exciting, skilful midfield brigade they will become one of the most formidable teams in Europe.

Final Scores

Denmark: 7.6.48

Sweden: 5.2.32

Goals

Denmark: Andersen 3, Norlander 2, Nielsen, Ottesen

Sweden: Verngren 3, Sorenson, Sahlin

Best Players

Denmark: Palsgaard, Andersen, Bang, Rose

Sweden: Lantz, Verngren, Blondeau, Martensson

AFL Europe Championships Finals – Croatia vs Germany

Croatia vs Germany

Croatia have beaten Germany 59-29 to finish 5th in the 2013 AFL Europe Championship.  The loss leaves a gallant Germany without a victory for the tournament which saw them suffer a large number of injuries to their team which they were never able to recover from.

It was a successful first tournament for the Croatians who have excited crowds with their power forward combination of Tomislav Cvetko, Ivan Ivos and Josip Josipovic.  Ruckman Josip Habljak also had a tremendous tournament, and again today, gave his smaller midfielders first use of the ball. Tomislav Nedic, Josip Kravar and Filip Lenic were strong runners for the Croatians and managed to give distribution to the dominant Croatian forward line.

The German team battled it out to the end and managed to stay in the game for long periods of time.  They were well served by full forward and vice captain Matthias Klusemann who made the most of his opportunities to kick 3 goals.  Captain Sebastian Esche also gave his all in the back half and was aided by Kevin Hopf and Fabian Cordts.

The Croatian fans will be happy with the end to this tournament which became a highlights reel in the last quarter with booming goals by Cvetko, amazing triple flip celebrations by Nedic and high flying from Josipovic.  They will certainly be a team to watch in the next twelve months.

Final Score:

Croatia: 9.5.59

Germany: 4.5.29

Goals:

Croatia: Cvetko 3, Ivos 2, Josipovic 2, Obad, Valecic

Germany: Klusemann 3, Macher

Best Players:

Croatia: Kravar, Cvetko, Josipovic

Germany: Jung, Beyer, Cordts

Oldest Football Club in Australia’s Capital – With a European Connection

Image: Current EastlakeFC Ruckman Chad Gibson with Hall of Fame Member Alex Jesaulenko

In terms of depth of history, Australia doesn’t come close to European countries.  Where Australian’s talk in hundreds of years, European’s talk in thousands.

Despite Australia’s brief history, their population is extremely proud of what it has achieved and their sporting culture has been a huge part of building beliefs and values.  Australian Rules Football has been around for 155 years and there have been a number of Europeans and European descendants who have mastered our game in that time.

Before I moving to London to work as AFL Europe’s General Manager, Ben MacCormack lived in the nation’s capital for five years.  During this time he was involved as a coach at Canberra’s oldest club, Eastlake.

This year marks Canberra’s 100th Birthday and today AFL Canberra Hall of Fame member and Ben’s former Football Manager, Keith Miller, launched the book “Kick It Long”, which celebrates the rich history of the Eastlake Football Club.

Eastlake provided one of the game’s all-time greatest players in Alex Jesaulenko, born in Salzburg, Austria.  He is regarded as one of the game’s greatest-ever players and is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.  He immortalised his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final.

Son of a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother, Alex and his family emigrated to Australia in 1949.  According to Jesaulenko, the family name should have been spelt ‘Esaulenko’, but the immigration officials listed it with a ‘J’ in front thinking that is what they heard.  As Australians tend to do, they shortened it and nicknamed him ‘Jezza’ from a young age.

A young Jesaulenko played soccer (football for you Europeans) and rugby union before taking up Australian Rules when he was 14.  He starred for the Eastlake Football Club helping them to win three consecutive Premierships from 1964-1966.

“[Eastlake] certainly provided a winning culture.  I was lucky to play at a footy club that was on the way up that just had a new regime put in, with [former Carlton president] George Harris and his mob, appointed a new coach in Ronald Dale Barassi, they had experienced players and they recruited young guns… and I just fitted into the mix,” said Jesaulenko.

One thing Jesaulenko remembers was the culture at the club – it was a great place to be.

”I think we got paid $2 each or two pound each [per game], at the end of the year – we’d played 18 games – and we just put our $36 on the bar and drank it out, so we gave our money straight back to the club,” he said.

Jezza was then drafted into the AFL, playing 256 games for Carlton and 23 games for St Kilda.  In all of his 279 AFL appearances he kicked 444 goals and took many of the all-time great marks. To immortalise his ability, the annual AFL ‘Mark of the Year’ is known at the Jesaulenko Medal.

Miller’s book explores the history of Canberra’s oldest Australian Rules Football club, which was founded in 1926, as well as that of Manuka Football Club, which merged with Eastlake in 1991.

Miller’s extensive experience with the club included time as a captain, coach and player between 1978 and 1985.

“The book maps out the path of two clubs who created a rich tradition of fierce neighbourhood rivalry for over half a century then found themselves joining forces to survive,” said Miller.

“It is a history that has its origins in the formation of Canberra and parallels the changing economic, social, sporting and demographic development of Canberra.”

Manuka Football Club was formed in 1928 and was a long-time rival of Eastlake before they merged in 1991.

The two clubs were only separated by Manuka Oval and battled each other for six decades, playing 17 Grand Finals against each other and establishing one of the code’s strongest rivalries.

The two clubs shared 32 premierships between them, with Eastlake winning 17 and Manuka 15.

Miller said the book was a tribute to everyone who had contributed to the success of both clubs.

“The book is dedicated to every player, coach, committee member, volunteer and supporter who has travelled that journey and created our history,” Miller said.

“Canberra is 100 years old and these people have played an important part in 86 of those years.”

We look forward to many more Europeans playing their part in the history of our great game.

For those interested in buying a copy of the book please contact jamie.bradnam@contentgroup.com.au .