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Tigers defeat Crusaders in close battle as Women’s footy marches on in England

by Ian Baxter

In sweltering conditions more Australia than Yorkshire another ladies game took place, this time in Sheffield, as the curtain raiser to the Central and Northern England League Men’s Grand Final.  The game was between the Tyne Tees Tigers and the Crusaders a team made up of ladies from the Wimbledon Hawks, Wolverhampton Wolverines and Nottingham.

In the first quarter the Tigers jumped out to an early lead kicking the first few goals with Lynn Mitchell winning the ruck taps and the Tigers midfield delivering the ball into the forward line. But the crusaders fought back into it with Laura Turner’s run and carry and Rania Ramadan accuracy in front of goal to bring it back to just 2 points at quarter time.

1Q Tigers 3.3.21 Crusaders 3.1.19

In the second quarter the Tigers using Michelle Healy to tag Turner nullified the Crusaders attack. And with Tigers midfielder Polly Moane, and forward Jordy Lane finding more of the ball they were able to kick three unanswered goals to take a 20 point lead into half time. Despite the heat and the hard running nature of the game the Crusaders managed to keep the pressure on the Tigers capping the quarter at 3 goals.

HT Tigers 6.3.39 Crusaders 3.1.19

Crusaders v Tigers

The third quarter, started in confusion as the Tigers switched Tanya Scully from defence to attack, Nicola McLaughlin did all the hard work winning the ball in the centre square then proceeded to kick the wrong way!

As the legs started to tire in the heat, the play became more open with more one on one contests. There was some tough tackling on display from both sides but in particular the Crusaders Sophie Morris.

With more run and carry on display from the Crusaders in particular the tireless Rachel ‘Killa’ Kilmartin and French pair Chloe Raso and Gaelle Hazimeh the crusaders came back strongly into the game. Tigers captain Lisa McHugh sweeping up in the back line allowed the Tigers to edge the quarter by a single point and the game remained in the balance going into the final break.

3Q Tigers 9.5.59 Crusaders 6.2.37

Crusaders v Tigers

In the final quarter as the Tigers tired the Crusaders pushed on reversing the 2nd quarter, with Jess Forster, Turner and Ramadan scoring 3 unanswered goals.

With the Tigers profligate in front of goal, managing 4 behinds, they hung on for a 7 point win.

Full time Tigers 9.9.63 Crusaders 9.2.56

 

Goals:

Tigers: Moane 4 Lane 3 Healy 1 McHugh 1

Crusaders: Ramadan 5 Turner 3 Forster 1

sheffieldd

 

Following this 4th successful women’s game this year the ladies are now looking forward to taking part in the Axios Euro Cup in October. With an AFL England women’s training session to occur in Chippenham in September the future of the women’s game in England has never looked so bright.

Gavin Ward’s experience as DAFL umpires coordinator

Picture Derek Clarke

By Gavin Ward, DAFL umpires coordinator

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

After moving to Denmark with my Danish wife in 2002, I came across Australian Football by accident and to my surprise. Being a retired player back home and out of the game for many years, I saw this as a great opportunity to firstly get involved with the Danish society and secondly to give back to the game the great experiences it gave me growing up.

As umpires are like hens teeth in a minority sport, being asked to umpire came quite quickly. I thought I would give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

My first game was bit hairy at the start with a few tense moments, but I pulled through unscathed. Looking back, you realise how challenging umpiring can be, due to the considerable amount of focus and concentration required.  From a playing perspective, the challenge of umpiring probably goes unrecognised as your focus is on yourself, your team and winning the game, and not much appreciation is given for the umpires’ efforts.

The past couple of years I have been umpiring on a regular basis.

I find that umpiring a good way to still be involved in the game, maintaining fitness and enjoying the social side afterwards. I started really enjoying learning another side to the game. I found you learn and understand the game from one perspective as a player; where umpiring has quite a different focus and a need to understand the rules on a much deeper level.

I’ve since been asked if I would like coordinate the umpires and help in trying to build an umpiring team.

Once I took on the role, I naturally found the need to dig deeper into umpiring, to improve myself as an umpire and help other umpires do the same. Last year’s AFL Europe Level 1 accreditation course was really helpful in moving forward in my role as coordinator. The preparation, coursework, drills and feedback were all beneficial to me both as an umpire and as a coordinator.

One of the highlights I have had in umpiring was umpiring the European Championships in Dublin.

You can really notice the different standard of the game – it gets the heart rate going and motivates you to perform! Umpiring in those games was really enjoyable because all involved wanted to do well. The Championships were quite exiting to umpire – it was nation up against nation every couple of days, which gave a feeling of being as part of something special. Another, more recent highlight, was umpiring the Scandinavia Cup in Malmo, Sweden. It felt like a local derby, as the intensity level was quite high.

As an umpire, these are the types of games that send chills down your spine!

Coordinating a team of umpires comes with its ups and downs. I knew it would be challenging trying to recruit more umpires as well as retain our existing guys and girls. Setting up a social media group helped with recruitment and engaging the team. A lot of questions the guys and girls had leading up to games could be discussed privately amongst the team, and I think everyone appreciated the support. Using the website for promotion and encouraging new umpires (or injured players) to try out goal and boundary umpiring as a taster seems has shown some positive signs.

The most rewarding part of my role as coordinator so far has been seeing new umpires pick up the whistle for the first time and love the part that they play in our great game. Takes me back to my first time in control of a match!

One of the biggest challenges is encouraging new umpires to umpire rather than play.

Umpiring is to an extent seen as something to do after your playing career has finished and the few regular umpires we do have are retired players. Keeping the young guys involved who have ambitions to play is an issue, so something we may try next year is “Play one day, Umpire the next.”

Ideally, we would also like to work with the clubs ahead of the season to identify three or four rounds where new umpires will officiate alongside an experienced umpire. This will boost interest in umpiring and help handle those first-game nerves. Also, some of our female club supporters have been helping with goal umpiring this year. Potentially we have our own Chelsea Roffey in our midst, or better still one will go on to become a regular field umpire.

The last few years in the DAFL have seen more neutral umpires, which is improving the culture around umpiring.

It’s really important to have a supportive environment around our umpiring group, as it has helped retain umpires. In addition, since AFL Europe introduced accredited training and support, the standard of umpiring in the league has improved, as it gives our guys and girls something to strive for. I am also hearing this from Umpires’ Coordinators in other leagues, who all seem to be doing well in developing their umpiring teams.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the 2014 season and am starting to plan for next year already. Reminds me of how it went my playing days, really!

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam

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

Updates on French Footy and French Cup now announced

By Alban Schieber

The 2013/2014 season is now officially over in France. Here is a quick overview of the season:

It all started back in September when the Bordeaux Bombers organised with AFL Europe and the CNFA the 2013 Axios Euro Cup. During this tournament the French Coqs made history by reaching the Grand Final and beating Ireland for the first time (34-33). Unfortunately the players were a little short during the final against England Dragonslayers with the end result being 92-15.

The Axios Euro Cup was also a big event for French Women’s footy with the first ever French national team competing for the European Crown against girls coming from all over Europe in the Crusaders team.

Once AFL Europe and all the other teams had left Bordeaux and its wineries, the CNFA went back to work and the clubs as well. When the championship started, the Aix Marseille Dockers were unable to join anymore and were replaced by the ALFA Lions (Lyon).

Here is a summary of the whole championship won by the Toulouse Hawks (see story about the CNFA Grand Final here).

Resultats_CNFA

(Click on picture to enlarge)

In February the Hawks organised another competition, the annual South Cup. Running on the same format as most European Cups, all the teams competed in a seeding round in the morning before playing the finals in the afternoon. This year 6 teams competed including the Toulouse Hawks 1 & 2, Bordeaux Bombers, Montpellier Firesharks, ALFA Lions and the returning Perpignan Tigers. The Bordeaux Bombers won the 2014 South Cup defeating the Montpellier Firesharks in the Grand Final.

In April, France also had the chance to host the annual Topdeck ANZAC Cup held in Villers-Bretonneux where AFL Europe were involved. This year the Aussies came back with the strongest team so far and defeated the French Coqs. We can for sure say that all the boys who played had an unforgettable experience.

Unfortunately, this season didn’t see any French Cup as the CNFA decided that the French Cup will be played in september. “We want the French Cup to become the big start of all our coming seasons. It will be a good opportunity to meet the new clubs and new players and give everyone a chance to show that they can compete in the Championship. This will also allow the national coach to see all the players before every Axios Euro Cup and help him to make his final decision on the team!” said Thomas Urban, CNFA President.

CNFA is also proud to announce that the 2014 French Cup will be held in Bordeaux on September 21st.

1. The possible inclusion of  the Nancy Bobcats and the Pau Bears (new clubs in the process of formation)

2. The Perpignan Tigers will return before joining the 2014/2015 season

3. The ALFA Lions, Paris Cockerels, Strasbourg Kangaroos, Montpellier Firesharks, Toulouse Hawks, Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes and Bordeaux Bombers will once again be there to ensure one of the biggest French Cups.

French clubs

Last but not least, CNFA worked with a communication agency called Bleue Com Une Orange which was in charge of developing our sponsors programs and our social media. This also helped us to reorganise new processes and give a better picture of our sport in France.

Now we are focusing on the IC14 where we hope to offer a good image of our footy and show the world our improvement.

#coqsweek #IC14 #gofooty

Swedish Elks Player – Hampus Olsson

By Jeremy Darke

Five years ago, Australia Rules Football was unknown to Hampus Olsson, just like it still is for most Swedish people.  But after his first touch of that unusual oval-shaped ball, just after the 2009 season, he was then hooked for life.

Hampus has proven to be the biggest up-and-coming talent within Sweden, impressing so much when in the limelight that he was awarded a position in the European Legion in their recent contest with the Australian Institute of Sport AFL School Boys, in London in April.

At the age of just 21, Olsson has now become one of the key figures in the Swedish Elks team heading into the International Cup 2014, the young footy gun stepping up his game off the field to move into a leadership role with the team.

Olsson has come a long way since the first offseason between the 2009 and 2010 season, where he spent hours upon hours, watching Auskick videos on YouTube to learn correct technique in anticipation of taking the field for his debut.

After that nerve-wracking day he has never looked back, but it wasn’t just the hard-hitting physicality of AFL that he fell in-love with, it was the Aussie mateship and camaraderie that the sport embezzles within its roots.

“AFL is fast, hard and skilful, but what really made me continue was the sportsmanship between players, as well as the fans,” said Hampus Olsson. “It is the toughest sport on the field but everyone can shake hands, smile and have a chat afterwards.”

“In my first match, even though I was new, I was given chance after chance, my teammates really wanted me to have a crack while I was playing my first game, giving me a lot of easy goals.

“That particular day also scared me in a good way and made me fall in-love with the sport, making me want to do whatever it took to get better.

And got better he certainly did, working so hard in his early development years that he made the Swedish Elks squad that travelled to Australia for the International Cup in 2011, in just his second full season of AFL footy.

The International Cup 2011 experience only made the bond stronger between Olsson and the sport of Aussie Rules, the European Legion representative saying that it was his best footy experience yet.

“The two weeks we had in Sydney, living across the street from Manly beach in apartments with a view of the lot, and getting to play footy at the same time was the best ever.”

Three years on, the Swedish Elks and Hampus Olsson are now preparing for another International Cup, although this time the bustling midfielder will have more than just his own game on his mind as he takes the step up into the leadership group within the team.

Elks Coach Dan McClaer has recognised and developed the potential of Hampus Olsson whilst in the national team and now believes that the time is right to move him into a leadership role, an honour that doesn’t faze the mature, young gun.

“My on-field game will stay the same as always. It shouldn’t change for any given reason, because you should always play at your top level every game,” explained Olsson.

When asked how he will lead his team and guide his players, Olsson said he will just try to set the example for all of the younger players in the Elks.

“Talk, show and listen. Lead by example and have fun no matter what we are doing, it is easier to learn more if you have fun while you are learning.”

The Elks will be looking to improve on their 11th placing in IC11, when they head to Australia in August for IC14, but the important thing for the Swedish team will be to take in the whole experience and make sure that they all give it a good Aussie crack.

“My goals and expectations for the IC and the Elks are pretty high. We’re a good team coming down.”

“But the most important part for me and the team is that we all have a real crack at it.

“So when we all come home we can talk about our trip to Australia, and all the fun we had, for the next three years, as I still do about my last trip three years ago.”

#elksweek #IC14

AFL Europe Easter Series

Tigers beat Convicts in the wet

By Ian Baxter

On Saturday June 7th women from all over Great Britain and Ireland converged in Newcastle to play the Tyne Tees Tigers Women’s team at North Shields Rugby Club. The visiting team, the Convicts, were able to boast 2 Irish internationals, a French international, a couple of experienced Australians and no less than 4 of the always well drilled Glasgow Sharks side. It was clear that these girls would be no pushovers, especially for the Tigers side who were all playing in either their first or second game of Aussie Rules.

In a 9 –a-side game played over 4x 15 minute quarters, both teams showed skill, flair and commitment that at times belied the heavy rain and always slippery conditions. During the first quarter playing with the wind and some luck the Tigers took control of the game whilst the convicts got to grips with the conditions and their new team mates. Convicts ruck recruit Rachel ‘Killa’ Kilmartin used her height to dominate the ruck contest from the get go, but the hard running of Tigers midfielders Lucy Kavanagh, Polly Moane, and Michelle Healy coupled with the strong marking of forward Jordy Lane allowed the Tigers to take a 25 point lead into the first break.

1Q: Tyne Tees Tigers 4.2.26 Convicts 0.1.1

The second quarter saw the Convict Tia Bool work her way more into the game with her Australian experience and class on the ball evident to all, allied with the pacy running of Kirsty Gray saw Bool kick the convicts first goal of the game. But it wasn’t to be, as a stellar quarter by the Tigers midfielder Lynn Mitchell saw her kick 3 goals and attract the attention and chants of the growing crowd as the Tigers piled on 5 goals to take a 50 point lead into the half time break.

HT: Tyne Tees Tigers 9.3.57  Convicts 1.1.7

In the Third quarter again the convicts stepped it up with the run and carry of the Irish pair Carolann Cass and Fiona Roarty coming to the fore. Enabling French International Gaelle Hazimeh to double the vistors goal tally. But a comeback wasn’t to be as the Tigers defence of Grace Campbell and Tanya Scully marshalled by the majestic Lisa McHugh, were able to deal with the attack and rebound effectively allowing the hard working forwards of Jordy Lane, Karen Keane and Nicola McLaughlin to add another 5 goals to the Tiger tally.

3QT Tyne Tees Tigers 14.4.88 Convicts 2.1.13

The final quarter saw some tired legs continuing to compete over the rain sodden ground with Glasgow Sharks representatives Evelyn McGee, Kristi Jo Fawcett and Sarahmairead McLachlan standing their ground as they had all day, through the midfield and backline against a strong tigers attacking formation. The Tigers added another 2 goals to finish up the winners by 88 pts and not even the weather could dampen the spirits of the players and crowd who’d enjoyed themselves immensely that afternoon.

Final Tyne Tees Tigers 16.6.102 Convicts 2.2.14

The day was a great success and a positive step forward for the development of the game in Europe. The next planned ladies game in England will be held in London on the 21st of June as part of the Wimbledon Hawks Ladies Day. For more information contact Tia Bool tia.bool@afleurope.org

Goals

Tigers: Lane 5 Mitchell, Healy 3 Keane 2 Kavanagh, Moane, McHugh 1

Convicts:  Bool, Hazimeh 1

Teams

Tigers: Lucy Kavanagh (capt), Lisa McHugh, Jordy Lane, Lynn Mitchell, Nicola McLaughlin, Polly Moane, Michelle Healy, Tanya Scully, Karen Keane, Grace Campbell

Convicts: Tia Bool (Wimbledon Hawks), Gaelle Hazimeh (Wimbledon Hawks), Rachel Kilmartin (Wimbledon Hawks), Fiona Roarty (Belfast Kookaburras), Carolann Cass (Belfast Kookaburras), Kirsty Gray (Glasgow Sharks), Evelyn McGhee (Glasgow Sharks), Kristi Jo Fawcett (Glasgow Sharks), Sarah Mairead McLachlan (Glasgow Sharks)

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Finland Icebreakers Player Profile- Antti Nurmikoski

Name: Antti Nurmikoski
Team: Vaasa Wombats/Finland Icebreakers
Jersey number: 9
Position: midfield/offence
Why and when i started playing:
Mika (Kupila) and Kaj (Karlsson) were starting a team in Vaasa, I was working at the same place as they were, so after some Youtube videos and details asked they talked me in to it.
Expectations for IC:
Life-long memories and experience to share back in Finland
Best footy memory:
Probably this whole trip as a player. I never would have guessed where this sport would take me when I started. France, Scotland, Sweden and now finally, Australia!
Presidents Comments (Mika Kupila):
Never gives up, great goal kicking and understanding of the game. Best of all, an awesome team player on and off the field. He’s been a crucial part of getting the team up and running in Vaasa.
#icebreakersweek #IC14
Antti Nurmikoski

Finland Icebreakers prepare for International Cup

INTERNATIONAL CUP 2014

TEAM: FINLAND

by Michael McCormick

Since their disappointing 2008 International Cup campaign, the Finland Icebreakers have gone back to the training track and established themselves as an up and coming threat in the AFL Europe competition. They will compete in the International Cup in 2014 with a renewed ferocity towards the game.

Captain of the Finnish national team and Chairman of the board, 28-year-old Mika Kupila, believes that his team has the ability to improve upon their previous International Cup results.

“I’d love to see a couple of good wins and tough fights with stronger teams,” Kupila stated. “Our team has a lot of potential and if we can play on our own level, I’m sure we can cause an upset here and there.”

The local competition was shortened to allow for a focus on the Icebreakers’ bid to claim some upset victories.

“We play 9v9 here in Finland so going full field will require some extra sessions,” Kupila explained. “We’ll have training in July to focus on key points with transitioning to the big field,”

The pool of talent runs deep in FInland, but Kupila remains confident that senior players such as Fredrik Romar, Ville Saarinen and Kaj Karlsson will prove their worth and be amongst the Cup’s best players.

As with the other European teams attending the Melbourne based competition, Finland has struggled with their fundraising efforts.

“The players themselves will mostly fund the trip,” Kupila revealed. “We will however be getting some assistance with accommodation in Melbourne and are, at the moment, in talks to hopefully get flights sorted out as well.”

Being a long time Carlton Blues supporter, the Icebreakers’ captain is looking forward to the opportunity to watch a game live and hopefully witness a win.

“Being in Melbourne, I hope to catch one of their games and I wouldn’t mind meeting the guys either,” Kupila remarked.

As far as his own team’s chances of winning, Kupila admits that it will be a tough march to the finals, but the focus remains on improving on 2008’s efforts.

“Competitiveness is key, if we can match them, we can beat them.”

IMG_2574

 

#icebreakersweek

 

Stay tuned during the week for more updates on their progress.

Don’t Miss The Ultimate Footy Trip

2013 is proving to be a very busy year for European Footy, and we’re proud to announce yet another end of season event to cater for clubs, teams and players who will not be participating in the Axios EuroCup in Bordeaux. Conscious of the desire for a packaged end of season Footy trip, we’ve teamed up with one of Europe’s premier warm weather sports resorts in the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal to launch the AFL Europe Algarve 9s.

Fully Packaged

  • Tournament Registration.
  • 2 Nights Accommodation.
  • Complimentary Breakfasts.
  • Tournament Draw & BBQ.
  • Post Carnival Presentation & BBQ.
  • Use of select on site sports facilities.
  • Use of Jacuzzi, Sauna and Turkish Bath.
  • Photo Library DVD of Event.

The package cost is €140 per person, and extras such as additional nights, Airport transfers and fun activities such as Paintball, Go Karting, Crazy Golf, Boat/Fishing Trips and Golf can be arranged on request. There are resort images below and more details can be found at www.browns-club.com

The Tournament
The tournament which will take place on Saturday September 14th in a blitz format, is open to a limited number of club or composite teams, with a maximum squad size of 15 and a minimum of 12, there will be no limit on the participation of Australian players.
Getting There
Vilamoura is a short distance from Faro Airport, which is served by the following airlines and airports.

  • Aer Lingus – Belfast, Cork & Dublin
  • Air Berlin – Berlin-Tegel, Dusseldorf, Munich
  • ArkeFly – Amsterdam
  • British Airways – London Gatwick
  • Easyjet – Belfast International, Bristol, Glasgow International, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Southend, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Paris-Orly.
  • Jet2.com – East Midlands, Glasgow International, Leeds/Bradford, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
  • Lufthansa – Frankfurt, Munich.
  • Monarch Airlines – Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle – Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda
  • Ryanair – Beauvais, Bristol, Cherleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Dortmund, Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow-Prestwick.
  • TAP Portugal – Lisbon
  • Transavia.com – Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen

Booking
To secure your team’s place in the inaugural AFL Europe Algarve 9s, teams need to contact Stefan Uusitalo at the resort (E-Mail: stefan@browns-club.com). Payment is made by the team in stages with 30%(€42pp) due on June 16th, once your team’s participation is confirmed, 30%(€42pp) due on July 16th and the remaining 40%(€54) payable on August 24th. You must stay at the resort in order to participate.