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Maynooth University Team Preview – Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

In the lead up to the 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Cork, Ireland on the 4th February we’ll be taking a look at each side attending the annual universities tournament. Next up in the previews is Maynooth University, more affectionately known as the MU Power.

MU Power competed in their first Fitz last year and have experienced huge numbers on the track for both their men and women. They could be a real dark horse in this years Fitzpatrick Cup.

Fitzpatrick Cup History

MU Power located in Maynooth University participated in its first Fitzpatrick Cup last year in Birmingham.

Players to watch?

With a lot of the team being of equal standard there isn’t one stand out player to watch but a number of things that can been seen on the day is the influential Daragh Moran arriving late and jogging around the place doing stretches and listening to the latest playlist his girlfriend made for him. Lochlainn Garvey can be seen sporting a special extra small MU Power top, as a law student of Maynooth University it is a CRIME that a fully grown man fits into a top that small.

For the ladies the players to watch are every single member. They all raring to go and have been spotted on campus practicing kicking goals and celebrating with a cheeky “dab”.

So, who’s in charge?

In charge for the men’s team we have Ciaran O’Hara with last years injured captain Conor Dunne. This combination of a lost Mayo man and a former promising Laois Under 14 hurling prodigy has all the INGREDIENTS to cause a STIR in this competition.

For the ladies we have the main man Pat Leavy and his trusted side-kick, Dermot Ward. This combination of good cop, bad cop has made these girls into formidable opposition.

Aims for the tournament

For the men’s team the aim is to win this competition. Nothing can stop us only ourselves.

For the ladies team, it is lurking into the unknown. These girls are fired up and raring to go and won’t stop for anything in their way. Tough as nails and highly competitive the main aim for the tournament is to not hospitalize any opponents.

Who has the x-factor?

Dylan Lacey has the X-factor. He watches it every Saturday night with his girlfriend. If he hasn’t got the x-factor I don’t know who has.

How is the preparation going?

Preparation for the competition has been underway since September with the targets being crowned winners of this competition. With the resources of Ciaran O’Hara and Pat Leavy and their 80 years of AFL experience, the MU Power men and women have been tested to the max. Preparations have been hampered slightly with the January exam period but players have been under a strict program of watching inspirational movies and lifting random objects around the house in the air just so we don’t injure ourselves when we win.

What are the main attributes of your team?

The main attributes of our MU Power is that we are a complete team. We are tough in the back, in the centre we have the ultimate fielders and up front we have the flair to rip apart any team.

The most important attribute of our team is our ability to support our team mates. If a player is running up the touchline we will be there to shepherd him, if someone can’t tie their shoelaces we will be there and if someone can’t drink that last shot in Cork at the end of the bar we will be there at the end of the bar laughing because that’s not a MU Power player. More than likely to be an English University player who can’t drink like us Maynoothians.

Mixed Universities Team Preview – Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

In the lead up to the 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Cork, Ireland on the 4th February we’ll be taking a look at each side attending the annual universities tournament. Next up in the previews is the mixed universities side.

Mixed Uni’s have been involved in each year of the Fitz and gives players without a full university squad the chance to strap on the boots at the tournament.

Fitzpatrick Cup history

The Mixed Uni’s team itself, have always been present since the competition started. Sometimes bolstered by extra players from competing universities, sometimes even their management!

However, this year with several of the UCC Bombers alumni completing further education across the countries universities as well as several of the players in the league itself in colleges without a team, a proper effort has been taken to enter a well organised strong team.

Players to watch?

Quite hard to single out one individual player as a key player to watch as there are numerous players on their day are well able to stand up and be counted. With numerous premiership winners and players with international experience in the squad we can’t pick just one standout.

So, who’s in charge?

The legendary IC winning captain, Cian Quigley, has offered his services for the day to assist and offer his wealth of knowledge.

Aims for the Tournament

There’s no point entering something if you’re not aiming on winning and I’m pretty sure all other teams will be coming to Cork with the same attitude. As well as that we want to give any new lads and lads with no football in college a chance to play.

Who has the X-factor?

Our sexy Buckfast sponsored jerseys are definitely going to go down a treat. John O’Heney himself will look the bomb in it (word has it he’s been flat in the gym all winter and has ordered a size small player fit jersey to impress the young women in Cork). Other than that, Dapper Dan (Former Player of the week), is known to possess the X-factor with his dance moves on the floors of Reardon’s on a Saturday night. Ladies beware!!!!

How is the preparation going?

Collectively we’ve nothing done, it’s hard due to us being a combination team but a lot of lads have been playing away in the ARFLI winter leagues as well as those training away with the Warriors squad. Other lads have been playing GAA/Rugby etc. over the winter.

What are the main attributes of your team?

Our sexy Jerseys, Dapper Dan’s Hand of God and Colin Lordan’s Booming Left Leg.
Mixed Unis photo

 

 

UCC Bombers Team Preview – Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

In the lead up to the 2017 Fitzpatrick Cup to be held in Cork, Ireland on the 4th February we’ll be taking a look at each side attending the annual universities tournament. We’re kicking off the team previews with the host University men’s side, the University College Cork Bombers.

The Bombers will be looking to impress in front of a home crowd and regain the ‘Fitz’ after missing out at the past two tournaments.

What has happened since the last Fitzpatrick Cup?
Another season, another Fitzpatrick Cup. Since last year’s competition the Bombers have had a successful year on the field, winning their first Rebel Shield and having players in their ranks selected for National Teams. This year, the Bombers kicked off the year in typical fashion, with a BLAST, beating the current ARFLI Premiership winners, the Leeside Lions, in the first round of the Rebel Shield. The Bombers have drawn high numbers of players to training this year, pushing one another to improve week on week. This year the Bombers have had a high turnover of players, and a whole host of new players are eager to go one step further than last year.

Fitzpatrick Cup history
– Inaugural winners of the Fitzpatrick Cup 2013.
– Runners-Up 2015 & 2016

Players to watch
With the Leeside Lions being the current ARFLI Premiership winners it’s safe to say footy has taken off on Leeside. The Bombers provided a number of players who went on to play for the Lions, with the likes of James “Enzo” O’Callaghan and Jack Kelleher having gained valuable experience competing against footballers who have been playing the game for a number of years.

A number of Bombers have gone on to represent the Irish Warriors over the past 12 months, with the likes of Peter Traynor, Rory O’Donnell, Paul Murphy, Matt Bell, Oisín Collins and Ronan Sheehan all given the opportunity to represent their country.

While the Bombers have an exciting crop of new players, providing the team with new and fresh ideas, players like Shane O’Sullivan, James Galvin, and Conor Beasley are just a few of the new players the Bombers have on board this year. You mix this in with the Bombers that have Fitzpatrick Cup experience like Evan O’Connor, Dean Johnson and Joe Maguire, and I think it’s safe to say the Bombers go into this year’s Fitzpatrick Cup full of hope and expectation.

So who’s in charge?
Yet again the Bombers are led by the Lions double act of Eoin O Súilleabháin and Chris O’Brien. Eoin has represented the Irish Warriors over a number of years and has won it all as a player. Now he hopes to replicate that success as a manger. Chris O’Brien was the figurehead behind the Leeside Lions’ march to an undefeated ARFLI season and Premiership crown, all in his first year in charge. He too will be hoping continue this success going forward with the college.

Interview with Eoin O Súilleabháin – Head Coach of UCC Bombers

Aims for the tournament?

“Our aims are to win it. No point in beating around the bush, it’s what we’re all aiming for. To be European Inter-varsities Champions.

On top of that, we also want to host a great tournament. The Fitzpatrick Cup is fast becoming one of the biggest events on the AFL Europe calendar, and we want to push on and make this year’s installment the best yet.”

Which players have the X-factor?

“It’s always tough to pick out individual players from a list. In UCC we have a high turnover of players, through graduation, impact of other sports, etc. so we essentially have a new crop each September, boosted by a few players with a year or twos experience. It’s an exciting prospect, and when you see their natural talent on show, you just need to guide them along.

We have a few in our list that have had call ups to the National Team, and some GAA and rugby converts that have taken to the game well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform.”

How have the preparations been going?

“Preparations have been going well on the whole. ARFLI have introduced a Winter Championship that has us playing regular footy, and we had the first leg of The Rebel Shield recently which was another opportunity to get a run out. Although neither were a 9s format, we’ve been focusing on that at training. Numbers have been great, application and effort the same, so hopefully it will all come together.”

What are the main attributes of your team?

“It’s tough to pick specific attributes when we haven’t played fully as a team yet, but the intensity of some of our guys for the footy is amazing.  The boys go whole-heatedly for the ball, take knocks and bumps, and just get on with it.
That, coupled with a few good legs and big grabs, it helps to get a good footing in a game.”

Fitzpatrick Cup 2017

The 2017 AFL Europe calendar kicks off with a bang on Saturday 4th of February with the 4th edition of the Fitzpatrick Cup being hosted by University College Cork (UCC).

The ‘Fitz’ is a relatively new addition to the AFL Europe schedule with it first being run in 2013 to tie in with the International Rules Series held in Dublin between Australia and Ireland.

Four teams took to the field that day with Oxford, Dublin City University (DCU), UCC and Magherfelt College competing in the inaugural competition. The Chairman of the AFL Commission, Mike Fitzpatrick, was in Dublin for the event and attended the tournament named after him.

Since then the competition has boomed with each tournament growing stronger and stronger. The following year saw five teams compete in Birmingham, with six facing off the year after that. 2016 saw further growth with the introduction of the women’s competition enhancing the tournament profile.

This year sees the competition move to Cork, Ireland, and has eight men’s and three women’s teams pulling on the boots and competing to become the Intervarsity Champions of Europe.

Head organiser, Eoin O’Sullivan, along with the rest of the UCC organising committee have worked tirelessly putting together this year’s premier universities competition and are expecting it to be the biggest and most successful tournament yet.

In the men’s competition, it’ll be the University of Birmingham who’ll be looking to claim their third straight ‘Fitz’. They’ll be coming up against home side and runners up from 2016, the UCC Bombers, who’ll be looking to impress and go one better in front of a home crowd.

For the women, it’ll be a very close field with UCC, Maynooth and Oxford locked in to compete in the women’s second instalment of the competition. It’ll be the home-side, UCC, who’ll have the home crowd advantage and could prove the clincher in tight games.

The 2017 ‘Fitz’ is shaping up to a the biggest and best yet with the standard of football from the youthful university students sky rocketing each year.

Be sure to stay tuned into the AFL Europe website and social media for more details and previews over the next month.

https://www.facebook.com/events/369288496783296/

Teams:

UCC 1

UCC 2

University of Birmingham

Oxford University

Cambridge University

Maynooth 1

Maynooth 2

Irish Mixed Universities

Honour Roll:

2013/14 – UCC

2014/15 – University of Birmingham

2015/16 – University of Birmingham

Details:

Saturday 4th February 11am to 4pm

UCC Farm sports grounds, Curaheen, Cork City

After-Party at the Mardyke Complex

 

Around the Grounds

AFL Canada making the trip over the Atlantic in 2017!

AFL Europe and AFL Canada announced plans for the men’s and women’s Canadian Development teams to travel to London in May 2017. Both tournaments will be taking place from the 19th to 21st of May with a round robin fixture set in place.

To read more about the tournament click through the link below.

Coyotes sit atop the CNFA ladder

The CNFA ladder is starting to take shape. Following the weekends fixtures, the Cergy-Pointoise Coyotes are sitting on top for the 2016/17 season. The ASP Tigers have jumped into second position in front of the ALFA Lions who are in third with a game in hand. The Bordeaux Bombers have played 4 games and round out the top-four places. The two Parisian sides are yet to hit their straps but are in 5th and 6th  as the Toulouse Hawks and new-comers, the Blagnac Aviators, are battling it out for the wooden spoon.

The next few rounds before Christmas are incredibly important for setting up sides 2nd half of the year and will go a long way to determining the make-up of the top 4.

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AFL Europe Footy Show kicks off! AFL Europe Footy Show kicks off! AFL Europe Footy Show kicks off!

Monday night was the first instalment of the AFL Europe Footy Show after a 2-year hiatus. Despite a few technical issues and an annoying echo, we were able to put together a 45-minute show full of entertainment. Special guest, Oliver Howard, discussed his aims and objectives as the new Chairman along with general discussions on all things footy.

Improvements to the quality of the stream (and the general presenting) will occur over the course of the first few shows. Massive thanks to everyone who tuned in. We’ll announce when the next show is scheduled well in advance.

If you’d like to listen to the recording from the first show, click through the link below.

 

Old vs New: Alumni take the win over the Students at UoB

It was a battle between old and new at the weekend for the University of Birmingham Aussie Rules Football Club. And it was the old boys who had the last laugh against the current students in their annual hit-out. A great initiative by the team at UoB keeping their alumni in the mix with all things Aussie Rules at the Uni. The final score in the match was 137 to 95 in favour of the Alumni.

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New President in the DAFL

The Danish Australian Football League (DAFL) will be under the guidance of a new president in 2017. Thore Lauritzen was elected to take over the job from Simon Malone after his 2 years of great service. Thore has been an integral member in the DAFL community over a number of years. He is the captain of the national side, coach of the Farum Cats as well as being crowned best afield in this year’s DAFL Grand Final.

Congratulations on the appointment Thore and all the best in your new role.

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1st Round of the Rebel Shield goes to the Bombers

The first leg of the Rebel Shield took place on Friday evening at Mardyke Arena in Cork. It was the students, the UCC Bombers, who claimed the spoils over their cousins, the Leeside Lions. The hit-out was great prep for the Bombers who are gearing up for the upcoming Fitzpatrick Cup in early 2017.

The Lions will also take valuable match practice from the game as they look for a serious assault on the 2017 Champions League in April next year.

The return fixture should be hotly contested between these two clubs with the difference not too great to overcome for the Lions.

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International Rules set for two-test hit out in 2017

After a year off, the International Rules series between the AFL and GAA has been set for November 2017. Following the two one-off tests in 2014 and 2015, the 2017 instalment will feature a two-test series at yet to be determined venues.

Australia will play host to the series and will present a side made up entirely of All-Australian players, as has been the case in the previous two series.

Check out the full press release from the Official AFL website.

http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-11-22/international-rules-series-returns-with-australia-to-host-two-tests

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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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Around the Grounds

Fielder and Bennett awarded AFL England Lifetime Achievement Awards

Two legends of AFL England were presented Lifetime Achievements Awards at the conclusion of the Masters game in Reading at the weekend. Rob Fielder and Adam Bennett have been integral to the game here in the UK and Europe over the past decade. Rob finished up his tenure as England Dragonslayers coach at the Euro Cup in Lisbon after 10 years in charge while Adam recently stepped down as AFL England President after providing years of service.

Congratulations on your recognition Rob and Adam, the game here in the UK and Europe is certainly in a better place because of both your tireless efforts.

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CNFA round 1 kicks off

A beautiful weekend in France set the scene for round 1 of the CNFA season at the weekend. Reigning Premiers, the Paris Cockatoos went down at home to grand final opponents, the Cergy Pontoise Coyotes 104 to 87.

The Bordeaux Bombers proved too strong for CNFA newcomers the Blagnac Aviators in their first hit-out as they cruised to a 40-point victory.

The final match of the round turned out to be a thriller with Perpignan Tigers pipping the Toulouse Hawks by 4-points.

The Paris Cockerels and ALFA Lions didn’t play in the first round of matches but will be raring to go next weekend for the next instalment of the CNFA season.

Check out the full review below:

http://cms.football-australien.fr/index.php/80-1ere-journee-du-championnat-de-france-leo-lagrange-2016-2017

DAFA say goodbye (for now) to stalwart

Euro Cup in Lisbon was the last time DAFA stalwart, Nick Bennett, will pull on the orange and blue jumper for a while. Nick has been a core member of the DAFA over the past few years by sitting on the board, coaching and playing. He has been a huge part of getting the Champions League up and running in Amsterdam as well as the continued development of Aussie Rules in the Netherlands.

Thanks for all your efforts Nicko, taking out the Plate final in Lisbon was a great send-off.

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Max Rooke visits AFL London Women’s players

2 x Geelong Premiership Player and current Gold Coast Suns Development Coach, Max Rooke, stopped in to run an AFL London Women’s session on his recent visit to the English capital. Max took the girls through the basics of kicking and handballing before letting the girls in on his famous tackling technique.

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Special thanks to Mitch Skelly of the Wandsworth Demons for organising the session and Max for giving up his time to give back to the women’s game.

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Australian Wombats hold on against AFL England Masters

On Saturday the Australian Wombats took on our AFL England All-Stars in the first ever International Masters Test between the two nations. The game took place at the home of the Reading Roos, King’s Meadow, in picturesque conditions on Saturday afternoon.

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The Wombats are coached by former West Coast and Brisbane player, Brent Staker, who pulled the boots on for the occasion. Our All-Stars led at every change but were unable to hold onto their lead late in the final term when the Wombats stepped up a gear. The final scorecard reading 54-52 in favour of the Australians.

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The Wombats are now on their way to Ireland for a two-test series of International Rules against the Irish. We’re hopeful of accommodating the Australian Masters in the years to come and hopefully even getting to a point where we can send a touring side over of our own.

Good luck in Ireland boys!

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AFL Europe Umpires take the next step

Three of AFL Europe’s umpires have been selected to take part in next year’s International Cup in Melbourne. Geoff Pascoe, Josh Davey and Oscar Ayyadi earned selection to IC17 following stellar performances with the whistle at our recent AFL Europe Championships held in London during August.

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Check out the full article on their achievements below:

http://www.aflcommunityclub.com.au/index.php?id=47&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=3701&cHash=b82881277e72ccb938a9df86eaf33456

Euro Cup 2016 – Review

The 2016 edition of the Euro Cup was held in sunny Lisbon on the 8th October. With 374 players in action across 22 teams from 16 countries it was always going to be a huge day of Aussie Rules.

The National Stadium Jamor in Lisbon played host to the tournament with three pitches in perfect condition being used for the 9-a-side competition. Games kicked off bright and early at 9am with the pool stages allowing teams to jostle for position and qualify for the divisional finals.

The Pool Stages

Croatia and Germany were the early standouts with some dominant displays of Aussie Rules. The usual powerhouses of Ireland and England were clinical as ever and cruised through their initial exchanges. The final standings were as follows:

Pool A:

  1. Croatia
  2. Wales
  3. Austria
  4. Italy

Pool B:

  1. Ireland
  2. France
  3. Jerusalem Peace Team Lions
  4. Russia

Pool C:

  1. Germany
  2. Scotland
  3. Norway
  4. Portugal

Pool D:

  1. England
  2. Crusaders
  3. Netherlands

First place in each pool went through to the Cup semi-finals and were in with a shot to be crowned Euro Cup Champions. Second place in each pool qualified for the Bowl finals and third and fourth place battled it out for the right to be crowned Plate winners.

On the women’s side of the draw it was a two pool competition. Fierce rivals, England and Ireland were drawn into same pool and reignited their recent battles early on with a hard fought group stage victory going in favour of the girls in green. A three team Pool B had another big clash as the Swedish and Danish locked horns in what was a thriller. The final group standings were as follows:

Pool A:

  1. Ireland
  2. England
  3. Scotland
  4. France

Pool B:

  1. Sweden
  2. Croatia
  3. Denmark

The top two teams from each Pool went through to the semi-finals while third place qualified for the 5th place playoff.

Finals Time

In the Plate Division it was the Dutch and Austrians who won through to the much coveted final. The Dutch had a fiery hit-out against the Italians to give themselves a chance to retain their 2015 title while the Austrians accounted for the Norway Trolls to show how much they’ve improved in recent years.

It was a tight contest early with neither side hitting the scoreboard until the 6-minute mark of the first half when the Flying Dutchmen opened their account. They slotted back-to-back goals and jumped out to a 16 to zip lead at half-time. When the Dutch opened the scoring in the second half it was always going to be a tough ask for the Austrians. The Avalanches could only manage the solitary goal as the Dutch proved too strong in a game highlighted by its tight and physical clashes amongst players. For the second year in a row the Dutch were crowned Plate winners at the Euro Cup. The final score 35-8.

The second-tier Bowl Division final was contested between Wales and France. Both sides were incredibly exciting to watch in the Pool stages and were hoping to add some silverware to the trophy cabinet after a long, hot day of footy.

Wales jumped out of the blocks early to score the first goal of the game into what was a growing breeze. It didn’t take long for France to counter and they got back-to-back goals to take a 5-point lead into half-time. The French were elite with their foot skills and made the Welsh pay kicking out to a handy lead early in the second half. The lead proved enough for France as they held on for a memorable victory in a fast paced game. The final score 27-16.

It was two old foes going head-to-head again in the Women’s Final. England and Ireland had proved that they were the two best teams throughout the day and were pumped up for another highly anticipated encounter on the main stage.

In typical fashion it was a hard-fought first half between the two sides, neither giving an inch or taking a backward step with their attack on the football. This was reflected in the 1-0 score line in favour of the English at half-time.

The second half opened up with England capitalising on their chances when attacking into the breeze to go 7-points up. The Irish didn’t take long to reply and again we were in for another thriller. From nowhere the Irish grabbed another goal in what proved to be the match winner with the crowd erupting. The final few minutes can only be described as complete mayhem. When the final siren sounded three players were laying on the ground injured and seeking medical attention as the remaining Irish players were embracing in jubilation. Full credit to both sides for again putting an amazing display of women’s footy. The final score 16-7.

The Men’s Final pitted a massive Croatian side against a quick and agile Irish team. Under a setting sun and a growing crowd this was going to be one to remember, and it didn’t disappoint.

The breeze had picked up and the big kicking Croatians used it perfectly in the first half. They kicked two goals back-to-back within the couple of minutes to jump out to an early lead. The first half went all in the Croatians favour and some big hits highlighted their intent on claiming their second Euro Cup title. They went into the main break with a 20-point lead. The Irish opened scoring after the break but the Croatians were quick to reply. Neither side were giving up an inch but it was the Irish who were making their mark on the scoreboard. A frantic final few minutes’ left everyone at the ground perplexed as neither side celebrated as the final siren sounded. It was a draw, 35-points apiece, you couldn’t write a better script.

Extra-time was to be played with 5-minutes each way. The Croatians clicked into another gear and didn’t give the Irish a chance. Their bigger bodies had worn down the Irish and when Croatian Captain, Tomislav Cvetko, went back and goaled late in the second half of extra time it was all but over. The Croatian bench stormed the field in celebration as they were crowned Euro Cup Champions of 2016. The final score was 53-39.

A massive thank you needs to go out to Antonio da Cunha and his team at Move Sports for helping us make Euro Cup in Lisbon come together. Thank you to the umpire squad led by Shane Hill, our volunteers led by pitch managers Fanny Maillett, Laura Pinckney and Hayley Canton, as well as BarTV Sports for providing a first-class live stream of the tournament.

The tournament was played in the right spirit and showcased the amazing footballing community Europe has on offer. Thank you to everyone involved in making this great event so special and we’ll see you all again at the 2017 edition of the Euro Cup.

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