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Around the Grounds

AFL Umpires stop in for a chat

Last night a handful of the AFL Umpiring squad gave up their time whilst on tour to sit down and have a chat about all things umpiring with several our current AFL Europe Umpiring team.

The boys shared stories of how they got into officiating the game and provided a great insight into some of the challenges they face in the recruitment and retention of high quality umpires. A massive thank you must go out to Shane Hill, Head of Umpiring, for arranging the get-together.

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L-R: Hayden Charles, Gary Gila, Matt Stevic, Chris Goodman, Shane Hill, Ian Kafka, Jordan Bannister, Steve McInerney, Shaun Ryan, Josh Davey

Stay tuned on the www.afleurope.org for information on umpiring courses being held here in England in the new year.

 

Can you top the TruChallenge?

I’m sure that by now you’ve noticed the GB Swans and their TruChallenge taking over social media. If you think you and your club can top the ‘flick and kick’ challenge, then follow the link and post your video on Facebook. Be sure to tag AFL Europe!

https://www.truchallenge.co.uk/v/bGPMLb

 

ARFLI 7s kicks off

The first ARFLI 7s session was held over the weekend with 3 teams contesting the reduced format game. The County Lions, City Lions and UCC Bombers took part in the inaugural tournament in what was a great success.

ARFLI will be running several sessions around the country throughout the winter months. The full results from the first session are as follows:

County Lions 6.6.6. 102 to UCC Bombers 3.10.7. 97

City Lions 6.8.5. 113 to UCC Bombers 2.6.6. 62

City Lions 5.12.7. 129 to County Lions 7.5.11. 111

 

UoB and Oxford battle it out in a thriller

The boys from the University of Birmingham clinched a thrilling 3-point victory over rivals, Oxford University, in an incredible display of Aussie Rules.

Testing conditions didn’t stop the intensity of the match with a supremely competitive contest experienced throughout. A strong Oxford side were unrelenting in their pressure and they’ve set the scene for a big year of university football.

In the women’s match, the Oxford girls proved too strong for their opponents. Both matches were played in great spirit with massive congratulations to all players involved. We’re looking forward to the return fixture between these two university football powerhouses.

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Talent Combine uncovers stars of the future

The 6th AFL Europe Talent Combine was held at the weekend under the watchful eye of the AFL’s International Talent Manager, Tadhg Kennelly. 23 boys from Ireland and France were selected to attend the combine and were put through a range of fitness and skills tests over the course of the weekend.

Massive congratulations to all the boys who tested as well as their parents for attending the information session on the Saturday afternoon. Tadhg and his team ran another smooth combine and will have a very tough decision to make when selecting the boys to take part in the AFL AIS Tour of Florida next year.

Read our full Combine review below:

http://afleurope.org/afl-europe-talent-combine-review/

 

AFL Europe Talent Combine Review

The 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was held in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of November. 21 athletes from Europe were selected to attend the event to further showcase their athleticism and skills to a panel of recruiters from the AFL community. From this, 5 players will be nominated to attend the US Combine held in Florida where there will be a scout from every AFL club overlooking the talent.

Players arrived the evening of Thursday 10th November to the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Dublin, where they attended a ‘Welcome Dinner’ followed by an informal presentation hosted by former Sydney Swans player and current International Talent Manager, Tadhg Kennelly, who welcomed all players and presented them with their combine apparel.

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Friday morning players completed a ‘Personality Profiling Assessment’, which will be used to gain a better understanding and insight into their mindsets.  After the testing, all athletes were taken to the University College Dublin (UCD), who hosted this year’s Combine.

All players’ height, weight, skinfolds, arm length and hand span was recorded to help form their sporting profile. The first fitness assessment was completed in three sections, the first section was a Speed Test comprising of a 20m Sprint which was tested in blocks of 5, 10, 20 meters. The second section was an AFL Agility Run and the third was a Running and Standing Vertical Jump.  All results were electronically recorded and generated for their sporting profile as well as for prospective clubs.

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The second fitness assessment was the Beep Test, which tested their aerobic capabilities.  All athletes pushed themselves remarkably, resulting in some fantastic outcomes.

Later that afternoon all players were taken through an introductory skills session indoors. It was the first time for some athletes to pick up an AFL football, however; after a matter of minutes they managed to become extremely familiar with the skill set required. Tadhg and his team hosted multiple skills activities and decision making drills.

After a huge day of testing, all players looked forward to jumping into the pool for a quick recovery session to enable them to pull up ready for the next day of testing.

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Later that night, players attended AFL Europe and AFL Club interviews. They were asked several questions based on their background, their inspirations and their aspirations for life. This permitted the testers to generate more contextual information for each of the player’s profile.

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An early start on day Three of the AFL Europe Combine saw all players transported to the UCD Sports Fields where they performed multiple skills activities and then finally competing in a game of AFL and Gaelic Football. From this, recruiters and staff members were able to see all athletes’ capabilities in game form and were extremely happy to witness some incredible performances.

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On Saturday afternoon all players, parents and AFL Representatives were invited to attend a casual lunch followed by a presentation from the AFL.  The presentation consisted of a short recap of Tadhg Kennelly’s journey to the Sydney Swans, a snapshot of how AFL recruitment works including the rules/the players welfare and lastly, an overview of living in Australia from the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard Andrews.

Overall, the 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was a major success; there were great results achieved and some amazing talent seen. We wish the best of luck to all 21 players and look forward to hearing about their future endeavors.

Article by Olivia Eason

 

 

AFL Europe Talent Combine

It’s that time of the year again!

This week is an important fixture on the AFL Europe event calendar. AFL Europe’s 2016 Talent combine will be held Friday and Saturday November 11th & 12th at University College Dublin. The talent combine brings 25 of the most talented football prospects from across Europe to profile them athletically, mentally and analyse their skills. From a fitness testing prospective we will be putting the athletes through the 20m sprint, AFL agility, vertical leap, running vertical leap and beep test. The boys will also put their problem solving skills to test their ability as they are scrutinized under pressure. Finally, we will be putting the athletes through full match simulation in order to evaluate their overall football capabilities. All of this testing and the entire event will be overseen by Irish ex-Sydney Swans  premiership player Tadhg Kennelly.

We are extremely excited for the event and are sure we will get some fantastic results!

Olivia Eason

Announcement – AFL Europe General Manager

The AFL Europe Commission is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan Davey as the new AFL Europe General Manager.

Having recently relocated to London, Ryan joins the AFL Europe team from the Gold Coast Suns Football Club where he was heavily involved with the club’s game development and administration. He was recognised for his services to the club with the 2015 Gold Coast Suns ‘Employee of the Year’.

Ryan’s passion for footy is unquestionable – he has lived and breathed the game as a fan, a player and an administrator. His passion for the game coupled with his strengths in community engagement, event delivery and sponsorship development make him a stand out to lead the AFL Europe team.

The AFL Europe Commission believe that Ryan is the perfect fit to support our members and community to drive the growth of Aussie Rules within Europe.

Ryan is looking forward to be starting the role. “I am very excited to find myself in this position. Sport, and more specifically, AFL has always been a passion of mine. In Australia, I have lived and breathed the game,” he said.

“In recent years, I have worked closely with AFL Queensland and the Gold Coast Suns Football Club to grow the game in the emerging market of Queensland, and now I look forward to the challenge of growing the game throughout Europe.”

“It is exciting to discover the passion for Aussie Rules that exists in Europe and I look forward to working closely with each of the member nations to strengthen their competitions even further.”

Ryan joins the AFL Europe team on 21 November 2016. Once on board you’ll be able to contact him on ryan.davey@afleurope.org.

 

 

 

Match of the Round

ALFA Lions v Paris Cockerels

It’s the Lions vs the Cockerels in the first of the Saturday showdown matches in the CNFA this weekend. Both sides are sitting on 4-points each on the ladder and will be desperately hoping to come away with the victory. The match is to be played on the Lions home turf and could be a tough one for a 10-man Cockerels side making the journey.

This weekend is going to be another hard-fought match for the Cocks. They’ll be going up against a strong, revamped Lyon team. They’re sending a 10-man side with smart substitutions going to play a factor in the match.

The Lions had a strong win against Toulouse in their last hit-out. They’ll be looking for more consistent performances throughout the year so they can become a serious finals contender.

Thibault for the Lions will be a handful in the middle while Boscart and Pierre will need to be on song for the visiting Cockerels.

It’s a 3pm bounce for this match with the result of the game going to be very interesting in shaping the CNFA season.

Paris Cockatoos v Bordeaux Bombers

The other match up today sees the Paris Cockatoos hosting the Bordeaux Bombers in a scintillating encounter. The Bombers are sitting equal second on the ladder while the defending premiers are sitting in 7th after only having the one hit-out so far.

The Bombers started their 2016/17 season with a win against the Blagnac Aviators and wanted to continue this strong start against the second-round opponents, the Paris Cockerels. Unfortunately, they went down to Cockerels in a tight tussle. This weekend’s game provides the Bombers a great chance for redemption for their last loss.

The Cockatoos started their season against their grand final opponents from last season, the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. That match ended in a Coyotes victory and today’s game gives them a great chance to get their 2016/17 season going.

AFL Europe talent prospect, Jacob Raiwalui, is a massive inclusion for the Cockatoos ruck stocks. The key for the Parisian side will be winning the contested ball and maintaining their well renowned high work rate.

This one is going to be an exciting game and, much like the Cocks v Lions, will go a long way in shaping the CNFA season. The Cockatoos will be doing everything they can to get their first win of the season while the Bombers will be hoping to maintain their spot in the top half of the ladder after an impressive 2016/17 campaign thus far.

Good luck to everyone involved in all games across the weekend.

 

Player of the Week

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

William Leysen is this week’s ‘Player of the Week’. William plays for the reigning Premiers of the CNFA, the Paris Cockatoos. He has been playing Aussie Rules for 2 years and rates his best AFL moment as the return of Ben Cousins.

Name:

William Leysen

Club:

Paris Cockatoos

Nationality:

French

What position do you play?

Midfielder

AFL team you support:

Fremantle

Favourite AFL player:

Nathan Fyfe

How did you find out about AFL?

I watched it on TV

How long have you been playing for?

2 years

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Laying my first big tackle

Best AFL moment?

The comeback of Ben Cousins – inspirational!

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

Much like Ben Cousins my favourite time is the fifth quarter. This is the time after a game and what we often refer to in France as the fifth quarter.

 

Around the Grounds

Taylor Duryea in Prague

Hawthorn Hawks dual premiership player, Taylor Duryea, gave up his limited holiday time overseas to give back to the AFL Europe community. Last week, Duryea put the Prague Dragons through their paces at session out on their training track before heading indoors for the main session at a local watering hole.

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The assistance we’ve received from several ex and current AFL players this year has been amazing and something our community really appreciates. Thanks very much to the Prague Dragons for being amazing hosts and to Taylor for giving up his time to give back to the Aussie Rules community outside of Australia.

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Coyotes too strong for Tigers in CNFA round 2 fixture

The Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes have sent a message to the rest of the CNFA with a huge 152-point victory over the Perpignan Tigers. The Tigers fought valiantly but were no match for a fierce Coyotes outfit that has its sights firmly set on the 2016/17 title.

The Coyotes sit atop the CNFA championship table and will enjoy a week off while the ALFA Lions battle the Cockerels while the Cockatoos face the Bordeaux Bombers this weekend in the next round of championship games.

Movember Cup registrations

The Nathan Blakey Movember Cup is just around the corner. The 9-a-side tournament is hosted by the Manchester Mosquitoes and is open to teams from all over. The tournament is taking place on Sunday 27th of November and raises fund for men’s health charities.

If your team is interested, please jump over to the Facebook event copied in below to find out further information.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/1816303571988164/

 

Norrtalje’s dream season continues

The Norrtalje Dockers dream 2016 season continued at the weekend at the SAFF awards night. The premiers came away with their players Matt Schulte and Buster Sund being crowned the Best and Fairest Australian and Swedish players for the competition. Schulte also came away from the evening as the Golden Boot winner with an impressive 31 majors for the season.

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Congratulations Dockers on an impressive season, you’re well and truly on the radar of the other teams competing at next year’s Champions League


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Player of the Week

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

This week we’re taking a look at the man behind the CNFA’s newest club, the Blagnac Aviators, Anthony Girard.

Name:

Anthony Girard

Club:

BLAGNAC AVIATORS

Nationality:  

Française

What position do you play?

Attacker

AFL team you support:

Sydney Swans

Favourite AFL player:

Gregoire Patacq at Rostrevor Old Collegians. I’m so sorry, it’s only man I know who plays in Australia.

How did you find out about AFL?

Honeymoon in Australia

How long have you been playing for?

I’m playing a year in Toulouse Hawks and I started this season with the Blagnac Aviators

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

It’s a playful game and fun. I feel like a kid when playing!

Best AFL moment?

AFL Grand final SWANS vs BULLDOGS, my first final on TV

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

For my first training, I take a big shepherd on my hip… I realized that this sport was made for me but I had to quickly assimilate all the rules.

At the end of my first year, I was proud to receive from my team the title of best rookie.

BUT MOST PROUD when my friend always, Robin AZIZA, asked me to create a new Australian Football Team in the city of Blagnac. It is a very rewarding experience from a personal point of view to create everything but it’s not easy.

Around the Grounds

Welcome to Aussie Rules, Eksjo Bulldogs!

AFL Sweden has a new member in its footy family. The Eksjo Bulldogs were officially welcomed to the AFL Sweden competition when they took part in their first intra-club game at the weekend. The Port Malmo Maulers travelled to Eksjo to help with numbers for the session.

Congratulations on playing your first intra-club match Bulldogs, we’ll follow your progress closely and wish you all the best going forward.

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CNFA Wrap up

The second day of the CNFA Championships took place at the weekend. The ALFA Lyon took on the Toulouse Hawks and dominated from start to finish. They ended up amassing a huge 175-points to the Hawks 40.

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In the other match the Bordeaux Bombers hosted the Paris Cockerels in picture perfect conditions. In what was a close game the Cockerels came away with the all-important four points with a 90 to 59 final score.

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The final game of round 2 takes places this weekend with the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes taking on the Perpignan Tigers. Stay tuned for more news on that game later in the week.

Euro Cup flashback – Rob Fielder assists Russia

It’s been a few weeks since the Euro Cup but we’ve come across this gem of a photo from the tournament:

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That’s England Dragonslayers coach, Rob Fielder, giving up his time following his teams game to help a coach-less Russian side during one of their hit-outs. What an absolute legend! No surprises that he was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to AFL England.

Simple gestures like that are what footy in Europe is all about. Great stuff Rob.

Ireland hold on to beat a fast finishing Bulldogs

The highly-anticipated AFL Europe Championships final rematch took place at the weekend in Dublin. The GB Bulldogs, with a host of changes, were hoping to further develop their talent pool prior to the International Cup in 2017. For the Irish, along with a lot of changes themselves, were seeking some redemption following a terrible performance on the mainstage at EC16.

The Warriors jumped out of the blocks early to dominant possession. Coupled with their frantic pressure they registered the first three goals of the match. Going into the first change 15-points up was a great start for the Irish boys and they continued this in the second to go into the main break with an 8.5. 53 to 4.4. 28 scoreboard advantage.

It took a half of football for the Bulldogs to finally switch on and it was the ever-dependable Myles Hudson and Alex Overton that led the charge from the backline. For the Warriors, Roch Hanmore and David McElhone were influencing the play from midfield.

Despite the improved efforts of the Bulldogs the third term ended with the Warriors registering three goals to the Bulldogs two, leaving a 27-point margin going into the final quarter.

The five-goal margin didn’t deter the reigning European Champions and they started the last term with a bang. A yellow card to an Irish player further aided the GB charge as they closed the gap to within 7-points late in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that’s as close as they came as the final siren gave the Irish Warriors a little bit of redemption for their loss two months earlier. Final scores reading 12.6. 78 to 10.11. 71.

Goals:

Ireland: R. McCloskey 4, C. Lordan 3, P. O’Connell 2, L. Burns, S. Guing, M. Bell

GB: A. Walkden 4, J. Hill 3, J. Coughlan 2, C. Britton

Match of the Round

Irish Warriors v GB Bulldogs

It’s been just over 2 months since the Great Britain Bulldogs held aloft the European Championship trophy. It’s a day their opponents, the Irish Warriors, won’t forget too quickly as they were completely outclassed at a game they’ve dominated for years.

The Bulldogs used their home tournament as a platform to launch towards their ultimate prize of claiming the International Cup next year. Since their EC16 victory they’ve played Holland, in what was their opponents first ever 18-a-side international, and had players involved in the 9-a-side Euro Cup with England, Scotland and Wales.

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The Irish were hurt badly by their final performance at EC16, it stung a lot. If anything its provided them with the perfect wake up call for their International Cup preparations. They bounced back at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon but ultimately fell short in extra time of the final against a strong Croatian outfit.

This weekend sees the two sides meet again for the first time since that EC16 final, this time on the Warriors home turf in Dublin. The National Sports Campus plays host to the next epic chapter of this fierce rivalry and with a traditional 2pm bounce scheduled its sure to attract a large crowd of vocal Irishmen and women.

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Both teams are coming in with numerous changes to when they last met.  Alex Watson, Charlie Steel, Anthony Brannigan, Jordan Wynne and Tomos Wyn-Jones enter the mix for the Bulldogs.

The Irish welcome Oisin Collins, Roch Hanmore and Peter Traynor into the side. They’ll sorely miss playmakers Kevin O’Brien and Muiris Bartley in this hit-out but it provides an opportunity for some others to take the next step up.

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Neither side will be taking a backward step in this encounter as it provides all 44 players an opportunity to stake their claim for a place on the plane next August. Good luck to everyone involved in this one, hopefully matches like this become a regular fixture throughout the season.

Player to watch….

GB Bulldogs

Andy Walkden was the difference between the two sides in the EC16 final in what was a man of the match performance. His form hasn’t dropped off as he earned team of the tournament honours at the recent Euro Cup in Lisbon. The Warriors will have to keep a close eye on the crafty half-forward if they are to be any chance.

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Ryan McCloskey was unstoppable at EC16 before a shoulder injury interrupted his campaign. His absence in the forward line was sorely missed in the later stages of that competition. The small forward doesn’t need many possessions to hurt his opposition so whichever Bulldog marks up on him will have to be switched on at all times.

A word from….

GB Bulldogs – Team Manager Jason Hill:

“This gives GB more vital preparation going in to International Cup 2017. It was great winning against the Irish in London but this will be a totally different game in their home conditions and if we want to compete at IC17 we will need to be able to take the game to teams in uncomfortable places. A lot of thanks goes to Ciaran from Ireland for setting up the game and we are excited to bring a GB side across the Irish Sea in what we hope will be a more regular fixture.”

Team Lists

GB BulldogsIrish Warriors
Luke Booth (Captain) (Huddersfield Rams)Gareth Baird
Michael Sharp (VC) (North London Lions)Liam Burns
Chris Britton (VC) (Manchester Mosquitoes)Stephen Guing
Anthony Brannigan (Tyne-Tees Tigers)Sean Paul Henry
Lewis Gedney (Wolverhampton Wolverines)Brendan Kelly
David Hastie (Wimbledon Hawks)Colin Lordan
Myles Hudson (Wimbledon Hawks)Kevin McDonnell
Alex Overton (Huddersfield Rams)Sean McGlinchey
Ryan Spivey (Sussex Swans)Tom McKenna
James Talbot (North London Lions)Gavin Murray
Matthew Warwick (West London Wildcats)Conor O’Halloran
Jordan Wynne (Wimbledon Hawks)Peter Traynor
Andrew Cochran (Manchester Mosquitoes)Matt Bell
Marc Cashman (Wimbledon Hawks)Oisin Collins
Jack Coughlan (North London Lions)Roch Hanmore
George Dibble (Wolverhampton Wolverines)Luke Hickey
Tim Gower (Manchester Mosquitoes)David Lally
Jason Hill (Wimbledon Hawks)Ryan McCloskey
Michael “Spike” Kilheeney (Manchester Mosquitoes)David McElhone
Owain Ryland (London Swans)Stuart McKeating
Charlie Steel (Wandsworth Demons)Paul Murphy
Andy Walkden (Manchester Mosquitoes)Padraic O’Connell
Alex Watson (Wandsworth Demons)Seamus Owens
Tomos Wyn-Jones (University of Birmingham)Coach: Brian Currane
Coach: Dean Thomas
Support Staff: Hilary Wilson, Charley Dakin, Millie Morgan