Umpiring at the Axios Euro Cup

Picture Derek Clarke

By Michael McCormick

The Axios Euro Cup is back again for the tenth installment of this annual fixture on the European footy calendar and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Formerly known as the EU Cup, the event will return to its inaugural location – London – for this milestone year.

The fast-paced action that the tournament is becoming renowned for will entice large crowds on the first Saturday in October. As it is just one week after the AFL Grand Final, footy fever is sure to be high and the best 9-a-side teams will be looking to wrestle the trophy away from the hosts.

Every great match of football requires exceptional umpiring and hence we will need a strong panel of local umpires to enforce the rules of the game.

Umpires are of upmost importance throughout these events as they encourage safe, fair and free flowing play. In previous years we have seen all-European umpiring panels take the big stage and exceed our expectations and we hope for much the same in 2014.

We are currently looking for field and goal umpires to umpire this lightning tournament across a number of fields and groups.

AFL Europe Umpire Development Manager, Shane Hill explained that the demand for local umpires at marquee events increases with each passing year.

“With the number of local players ever increasing, now is a great opportunity for our indigenous umpires to demonstrate their ability to competently and confidently conduct matches of Australian Football,” stated Hill. “With better umpires come better games.”

If you would like to register to umpire this event, then please click through to Eventbrite.

“Field and goal umpires involved at this tournament may one day go onto umpire a future International Cup in Australia or the Easter Series right here in Europe,” continued Hill.

If you will be in London for this great event, come down and support the third team – the umpiring team – as they seek to ensure safe, fair and flowing play throughout the tournament.

As a reward for excellence, the 2014 Golden whistle will also be awarded to the best all-round umpire of the tournament.

If you have further questions about getting involved in umpiring in Europe for this event or with your local competition, please contact umpires@afleurope.org. Alternatively, you will find additional information in the umpiring portal on our website.

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam

IC14 Men’s & Women’s Draw – Key Events

Following the announcement of the Women’s draw for the 2014 International Cup, see below information about Men’s & Women’s Teams and Draw as well as the Schedule of the 2 weeks.

IC14 Information – Teams, Men’s & Women’s Draw, Schedule

The University of Sydney is on the ball

In a landmark day for AFL Europe we can announce our inaugural Ball Sponsorship Partner as The University of Sydney. The partnership will see our two internationally growing organisations join forces to take Australia’s national game to schools and universities across the UK and Europe.  There are already a number of exciting joint initiatives in the pipeline and 2014 will also see the University of Sydney having a visual presence on all balls sold and distributed from AFL Europe.

“Having an iconic Australian higher education institution sign up like The University of Sydney is a real vote of confidence that we are heading in the right direction and shows that a world renowned establishment has seen the value of partnering with our vibrant and growing organisation” Ben MacCormack – AFL Europe CEO said.

“We are looking forward to developing some unique concepts to further grow both of our brands in Europe and in particular within high schools and universities. This provides both our members and the wider public the opportunity to discover more about living and studying in an amazing country and city whilst also learning more about our most Australian of sports” MacCormack continued.

The partnership will see ex state league footballer and The University of Sydney’s representative Jack Lawson travel around European schools promoting the university with a football in hand. There will also be a number of joint gala days showcasing the best of the University and AFL Europe.

“The University of Sydney is really excited about this partnership with AFL Europe.  As Australia’s oldest and largest University we pride ourselves on our international student body so it is exciting to team up with an exciting, international organisation that is taking our indigenous game to the world,” Jack Lawson – Recruitment Assistant (Europe) at The University of Sydney explained. “Together we feel we can use our respective strengths and networks to spread the word about the best sport in the world and Higher Education in Australia”, he added, showing no bias whatsoever.

“The synergies between what we are both looking to achieve in Europe were too great to ignore and we couldn’t be happier to have The University of Sydney on board” MacCormack concluded.

Regular joint promotions will be seen throughout 2014.

If you are a teacher or connected to a school and would like your students to experience Australian Football please contact us at john.lawson@sydney.edu.au or tia.bool@afleurope.org

Australian Football helps teens turn their lives around

The Students at Rastrick High School in West Yorkshire have won the Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards for Project of the Year with their Aussie Rules Football program. The students were awarded the honour by Sky ambassadors and Football superstar David Beckham and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis- Hill. The idea of the program is to use sports to transform the lives of young people in terms of behaviour, social skills and education.

Rastrick High School teacher and leading force of the program Dean Watson said “I was keen to choose a sport which the students would have no/little knowledge of, so that they did not approach the project with any preconceived ideas about the sport.”

As well as winning the award with their program the school also found the students behaviour and concentration improved across the student body.

Dean Watson also noted that with the program now in completion “some of the students have continued with their Aussie Rules, training with a local Aussie Rules Club the Huddersfield Rams.”

A great result for the development of the Australian Rules Football.

Here is the link to the video and article about the program.

If you would like to get involved in being an Aussie Rules Ambassador at your school please contact Tia at tia.bool@afleurope.org

GB Bulldogs player’s profile: Luke Matias

By Michael McCormick

Great Britain Bulldog and adopted Australian, Luke Matias is a man who has embraced every opportunity that has arisen and epitomises the spirit of the International Cup. In this Q and A session, he reveals another side of the competition and the amazing impact that it has had on his life.

Q. What position do you play for GB?

A. Midfield, with rotations through the half-back line

Q. How long have you played for GB?

A. 10 years.  My first appearance for GB was in 2004, followed by Vice-Captaining the squad for the IC in 2005, IC’08 and IC’11.

Q. What’s your fondest memory of your time with the Bulldogs?

A. I love playing in the International Cups.  I remember back to my first IC in 2005, being in an environment during the ‘Country Round’ where I was listening to the Samoan team singing random Polynesian songs in perfect harmony, with the South African team and the Japanese team cheerleaders dancing around to it.  Never in my life would I have imagined the opportunity to see this!  The shear spectacle of seeing differing cultures at war on the field and then coming together off the field is something I will remember for my whole life.  I have made many friends from all corners of the world through the three IC’s I have been a part of, and this year I’m looking forward to making some more.

Q. What are your personal goals for the International Cup?

A. The 2011 IC was really injury-effected for me, so firstly I’m really looking at preparation/recovery to ensure I’m ready for the very hectic schedule as one of my personal goals.

Another is to show what opportunities Australia can present to internationals. I came to Australia in 2005 and had no plans to stay any longer than partying for a few months before heading back to the UK.  I don’t even remember the plan changing, all I remember is that more and more opportunities presented themselves and with a lot of hard work, Australia has provided me with the most wonderful of family, friends and lifestyle.  I will certainly ensure that everyone is aware of what a great place they are coming to visit.

But, without question the main goal for me is to provide a steady leadership and experienced mind to the rest of the squad from a football standpoint.  I know the emotional rollercoaster a lot of the boys will be on, so if I can help provide support for the squad, on and off the field, I know I will have accomplished plenty.

Q. What chance do GB have of taking the cup home?

A. Wow, taking the Cup home is a big ask.  GB has never finished higher than 6th, so talking suddenly about taking the Cup home is a bit disrespectful to the teams around us.  We do certainly have our strongest squad to date so I’d love to think we can have the best IC GB has ever partaken in.

#bulldogsweek #AFLIC14 #IC14

IC14 preview: GB Bulldogs

By Michael McCormick

The most improved team in Europe is also one of the most feared teams in the International Cup.

The Great Britain Bulldogs are shaping up as a smokey to take out the title having had their strongest season in 2013.

The 2013 European Championships Runners Up and 2013 Axios Euro Cup Premiers appear ready and eager to take on the world’s best and, according to AFL England President and Bulldogs Team Manager, Adam Bennett, will be giving their all to take home the cup.

“As the old adage says, you have to beat the best to be the best and we want to be the best,” stated Bennett.

Quite a few new faces have been introduced since the 2011 International Cup and with an injection of youth, the Bulldogs will be better placed to endure the intensity of the matches this year.

“We are seeing the next generation of footballers come through who have started their footy at a much younger age than previous Bulldogs squads and represent a very positive development for the sport in Britain.”

Stalwarts such as captain, Sean Walton and Anthony Trigg will be leading the young brigade as they aim to put Great Britain in the public eye and gain acknowledgement as a great footballing nation.

It hasn’t been an easy road however. The players from every club in Australia and Great Britain have dedicated years of hard work and thousands of pounds into developing their game in order to play in the International Cup.

“After all the hard work, it’s a shame that the funding available for footy in the UK is very limited, so players contribute a large proportion of their own costs for tours such as this,” said Bennett.

The time spent in Australia, also the first trip down under for many of the players, is not all about business. Bennett explained that the team will also have the opportunity to meet some of the game’s greats.

“The International Cup is also a great chance to meet the legends of the game, such as Ron Barrassi and Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico.”

Having secured a tour of the Western Bulldogs facilities and a meet and greet with the players in 2011, the Great Britain Bulldogs will be hoping for another opportunity of the like.

“With professional footy such a distant thing for most of the squad, the opportunity to meet and chat with any professional of this fantastic game is immense,” said Bennett.

Travelling with the team will be coach, Mark Pitura in his farewell event with the club after having served a very successful five year tenure.

He will be supported by a new Assistant Coach and Manager and the team physiotherapist, Claire Shapland, who put the squad through conditioning and fitness workshops in the months leading up to the event.

As well as these workshops, other training strategies were implemented such as allowing players from the 9’s competition in Britain to play in the London 18’s competition on weekends during the season.

Even though the Bulldogs are eager to play teams outside of Europe, they still have a point to prove.

“The Bulldogs would also relish another crack at International and European Champions Ireland, after a heart-breaking 1-point loss on the last kick of the 2013 European Championships,” said Bennett.

The Bulldogs have their sights firmly placed on a top four finish and with their recent form and developing youth, it appears a realistic expectation.

#bulldogsweek #IC14 #AFLIC14

GB3

Pictures by Derek Clarke

Ireland ready to retain their IC titles

By Michael McCormick

The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) is arguably the most successful league outside Australia, having produced players such as the late, great Jim Stynes, Tadhg Kennelly and more recently Pearce Hanley.

Heading the charge to retain their 2011 International Cup championship is ARFLI President, Paul Brogan.

Brogan, who initially became involved in coaching prior to the 2013 European Championships, was anointed President earlier this year and will be responsible for the Irish team in the International Cup.

“I will represent our league in Australia, and aid the rest of the management team in training and preparing the squad during the tournament,” stated Brogan.

As reigning premiers, the Irish will attempting a feat that has not previously been achieved in International Cup history.

“Our goals for the IC, are to retain both the mens and womens titles,” continued Brogan.

“We face an uphill task as no one has ever retained the trophy, but it is my belief that we have the quality in this squad to go all the way.”

Travelling with Brogan to Melbourne will be 14 players, including playing head coach, David Stynes. Stynes will replace Shaun McElhone who will not be attending the International Cup due to family reasons.

Once in Melbourne, the full twenty-eight man squad will resume training and preparations for the tournament.

“There are a lot of new faces notably among the Irish based contingent, none of whom have ever played in the IC before,” stated Brogan. “They can all draw from the experience of winning last years european championships however.”

Brogan is a big supporter of the International cup and the opportunities it provides for players all around the world.

“The IC is showcasing the worldwide talent, that exists in the sport, giving the opportunity for lads to aspire to play on the greatest stage of all, the MCG.”

The Irish squad was chosen via trials and on the back of scouting feedback in both Ireland and Australia.

The Australian based players play for clubs in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and will all be making the trip down for the two week tournament.

“Its tough for players as they are making a huge commitment,” stated Brogan.

“We have secured sponsorship for both the mens and ladies teams, but that will only cover a small portion of the costs involved. The players will be contributing the remainder themselves.”

The men’s and women’s squads will be landing in Melbourne on the 6th of August and will have regular training and recovery sessions in the St Kilda area where they will be staying throughout the tournament.

They will need to be on top of their game however if they are to defeat the might of Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

“They have a grassroots structure in place, so can develop players from a young age whereas we have to develop our lads from the skills they bring from sports like Gaelic Football and Rugby,” stated Brogan.

“History would dictate that PNG will be the main challengers for the title, considering that have been to every grand final since the inception of the tournament, however NZ had a very strong showing in nearly defeating the AIS Academy team in January.”

“We will certainly have to be at our best to beat these two sides.”

#warriorsweek #bansheesweek #IC14

warriorsb

Paul Brogan, ARFLI President

IC14 Pools and Fixture

The fixture for the IC14 Men’s competition has just been announced. The Men’s teams will be divided into three pools:

 

POOL APOOL BPOOL C
IRELANDPNGNEW-ZEALAND
NAURUSOUTH AFRICAUSA
GREAT BRITAINTONGACANADA
FIJIJAPANSWEDEN
FRANCEINDIACHINA
INDONESIAPAKISTANFINLAND

 

Day 1 – Sunday 10 August – Royal Park, Parkville

POOL A 
Ireland – Fiji
Nauru – Indonesia
Great Britain – France
POOL B
PNG – Japan
South Africa – Pakistan
Tonga – India
POOL C
New Zealand – Sweden
USA – Finland
Canada – China

 

Day 2 – Wednesday 13 August – Royal Park, Parkville

POOL A
Ireland – France
Nauru – Great Britain
Fiji – Indonesia
POOL B
PNG – India
South Africa – Tonga
Japan – Pakistan
POOL C
New Zealand – China
USA – Canada
Sweden – Finland

 

Day 3 (Community Round) – Saturday 16 August – Venue TBC

POOL A
Ireland – Nauru
Great Britain – Fiji
France – Indonesia
POOL B
PNG – South Africa
Tonga – Japan
India – Pakistan
POOL C
New Zealand – USA
Canada – Sweden
China – Finland

 

Day 4 – Tuesday 19 August – Semi Finals and Division matches – Royal Park

Day 5 – Friday 22 August – Third place play off & Division matches – Royal Park

Day 6 – Saturday 23 August – Grand Final – MCG

 

(Fixtures can be subject to change) Women’s fixtures will be announced soon.

@AFLIC14 #AFLIC14

2014 International Cup fixture released

The AFL released the 2014 International Cup fixture today.

The 2014 International Cup will be played in Melbourne from August 9 to 23. There will be 18 men’s and seven women’s teams competing.

Men’s teams: Canada, China, Fiji, Finland, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Great Britain, India, Japan, Nauru, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Sweden, Tonga, USA.

New teams for IC14: Finland, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Women’s teams: Canada – Northern Lights, Canada – Midnight Suns, Ireland, Fiji, Tonga, USA – Freedom, USA – Liberty.

The majority of matches will be played at Royal Park in Parkville and for the first time a community round will be played as curtain-raisers to suburban, amateur and country matches.

The women’s grand final will be played at Punt Road Oval and the men’s grand final will be the curtain-raiser to the Round 22 AFL match between Hawthorn and the Geelong Cats at the MCG.

The men’s fixture is divided into three pools. Each team will play three pool matches and will then be ranked from one to 18. Teams will then be split into three groups for finals; top four, Division One and Division Two.

 

2014 International Cup fixture **

Saturday Aug 9           Official Launch at Federation Square & Parade of Nations at the MCG

Sunday Aug 10           Round One matches – Royal Park

Wednesday Aug 13    Round Two matches – Royal Park

Saturday Aug 16         Round Three matches – Community Round

Tuesday Aug 19          Round Finals & Division matches – Royal Park

Friday Aug 22             Third place play off & Division matches – Royal Park

Saturday Aug 23         Women’s Grand Final – Punt Road Oval, Richmond

Men’s Grand Final – MCG

The full fixture can be viewed at www.aflic14.com.au

** Fixtures are subject change.

 

AFL Head of Development Grant Williams said the International Cup celebrates the passion those outside of Australia have for the game.

“There are 100,000 international participants throughout the world who share our love of Australian football,” he said.

“IC14 will bring together the best 900 players from 18 countries. I look forward to the colour and excitement that the carnival will bring.”

The IC14 twitter and Instagram accounts were also launched today. Follow IC14 on @AFLIC14 and #AFLIC14

Expatriate Australians are ineligible to play in the International Cup. Teams are comprised solely of amateurs who must be nationals of the country they represent.  All players must have lived the majority of the years aged between 10 and 16 as a citizen of their nation.

The International Cup is played every three years. Previous International Cup winners are; Ireland (2002 & 2011), New Zealand (2005) and Papua New Guinea (2008).

Irish Banshees players’ profiles

The Banshees have listed four IC’11 world team players who will return to play in their second tournament, these are: Emma Kelly, Gillian Behan, Louise Loughlin and Laura Corrigan.

Name: Cáitlín Ní Chíanáin

Caitlin

From: Cavan, Ireland

Team: Dublin Angels

Jersey number: 33

Position: Centre

Why and when I started playing: In 2010/2011 I came back from a year in Australia and fancied a go at the game having not tried it there.

Expectations for IC: To grow as a player and ideally bring home some silver wear.

Best footy memory: Beating Switzerland in Euro Cup in Belfast, 2011.

 

 

Name: Laura Corrigan

Laura Corrigan

From: Cavan Ireland/Greensborough Vic

Team: Diamond Creek

Jersey number: 1

Position: Ruck/ wing

Why and when I started playing: 2008 as I had always been told I was to rough in Gaelic so I thought Aussie Rules was the game for me.

Expectations for IC: To go back to back.

Best footy memory: Winning the last IC and being named in the top 3 players of the tournament.

 

 

Name: Regina Curtin

Regina

From: Cork and currently in Koroit, Victoria

Team: Milford Senior Camoige Club and Donoughmore Senior Ladies Football Club

Jersey number: 10

Position: Midfield, forward

Why and when I started playing: Love sport, love playing ball, love the team spirit and friendships you make

Expectations for IC: Be competitive, train hard, win matches

Best sporting memory: Winning the All Ireland club camogie Championship with Milford (Cork).

Regina is a multiple ‘All Ireland Senior Football championship’ holder 2005 – 2007 and also achieved an ‘All Ireland Camogie League title’ in 2012.