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Champions League Team Previews

In the lead-up to the 3rd annual AFL Europe Champions League, hosted by AFL Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday 1st April, we’ll be taking a quick look at the teams who’ve qualified for the premier club tournament held in Europe.

First up we have reigning men’s champions and AFL London premiers, West London Wildcats, the Paris Cockerelles, last year’s beaten finalists, the Manchester Mozzies, the DAFL’s, Farum Cats, and Austria’s standalone side, the Styrian DownunderDogs.

 West London Wildcats

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season!

We qualified for the 2017 Champions League by winning the 2016 version and by winning the AFL London 2016 Premiership Division.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

It’s been a tough preparation with so much turnover once again but it’s been great to see those from last year stepping up a gear knowing there is no resting on our laurels and to see some fresh faces come into the group with endeavour to propel the club forward in 2017.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League? 

As with anything we participate in we look to come away with the chocolates at the end of the day but we expect to face strong competition from all teams like it has been in the past 2 tournaments

Player to watch?

Mike Gregson – One of our Kiwi contingency who has showed plenty of opposition Aussies how it’s done in 2016.

Paris Cockerelles

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We don’t have a women’s Championship in France yet. We organize friendly mixed games and few women’s games. So, the team that will be competing at the 2017 Champions League will be composed of girls from all over France (Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Paris) and will play under the Paris Cockerelles colours. Why the Cockerelles? Because it is the closest team to have a full team!

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We have been playing friendly mixed games in closing of the men’s championship matches. Also, we invited the North London Lions last weekend to launch the Coupe Gallia, the first only female French competition. The Cockerelles have ended it as the winners of this first edition.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We hope to do our best to go as far as possible, our goal would be to be in the Top 3, and why not even better!

Player to watch?

Coline Duquet, Camille Portal, Claire Pérez, Myriam Allali and Emilie Giancarli.

Manchester Mosquitoes

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We qualified for this year’s Champions League by winning the AFL CNE Premiership. We went through the season undefeated and it was also our 3rd premiership in a row, which capped off our tenth season anniversary celebrations nicely!

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We have been training together since late January. With a new coach at the helm, and new players joining the club it has been as much about welcoming everyone and getting to know each other’s game as it has been working on our fitness and match strategy.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Having been runners up last year, we, (like no doubt all other teams), want to win the tournament. The Wildcats will again be the team to beat but saying that, all other teams are there because they are high quality and on their day, capable of winning it. Playing in the tournament is a great challenge and provides our players with great experience to take back for our domestic season and also for our players picked for IC17 teams.

Player to watch?

Chris Britton, he has been training the house down. He has a big year coming up and and the champions league is his first stop. A seasoned campaigner now, expect him to be leading from the front when our first game kicks off.

Farum Cats

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

Well in 2016 we won our league (DAFL) with the Farum Cats, the team in Denmark with the most premierships in history. It was a good season, with a lot of victories and a few loses, all culminating in the grand finale against our arch rivals, The Copenhagen Barracudas.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

The training for the Champions League has been hard work from the moment we got the opportunity to play in it. We have spent a lot of time in the gym, getting in shape for the games as well as indoor training sessions with focus on skills. Players have been encouraged to look at some of the teams that compete in the tournament, trying to learn what they did, and to get a better understanding of the competition.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

We are a young team with only 2-3 players who have been in the Champions League before. But nevertheless, we’ve got at strong base, a high skill level and a lot of experience playing footy, so I thing we got a good chance of winning it.

Player to watch?

We’ve got a lot of stars on our team, like our unofficial captain Mathias Biron. He is one of the best back home, works so hard on and off the ball and always gives 100%. Another one to watch is William Andersen. He played for the Odense Lions last year, a fun player to watch with great skills. He may not be as physical as other players, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, ball handling and kicking. Our newest member of our club is Oliver De Stobbeleir, a young gun, with roots in soccer, is playing in the heart of the defense. He’s a strong guy in the backline, not shy for some physical football. The last player to watch would be Mikkel Kjøge, one of the many stars from the 95’ generation. He has recently returned from a stay down under, where he played a high level of footy. A complete player in my eyes. Great speed, great marks, great kicks.

Styrian DownunderDogs

How did you qualify for the 2017 Champions League? Quick recap of your 2016 season…

We are the sole footy team in Austria so it was easy to win the Austrian title again 🙂

Actually, we’re playing in the CEAFL (Central European AFL) with teams from Croatia and a team from Prague and although we’re a quite small country in terms of footy history and background, we did quite well in this tournament. This reason together with the fact, that we’re celebrating the 10th birthday of our club this year made us ask for a wildcard in the Champions League so we can start our celebrations with this sportive highlight.

How has the preparation for the 2017 Champions League been going?

We started our training sessions about 1 month ago. Doing outside training sessions at this time of the year is not easy because all the soccer fields are closed and the parks were still covered with snow and ice in the first weeks. We also have a problem with injuries since some our most important players are injured since the last Euro Cup and some of them will not be able to attend at the CL.

What are your team’s expectations for the 2017 Champions League?

Since we will attend the first time, we don’t know if we have a chance to win a single game, but we hope that we can play against many teams, that we haven’t played so far and we can see new tactics, styles of playing and new approaches and that we can learn from them.

Player to watch?

Andreas Jauk played a fantastic tournament at the Euro Cup last year and he is again in pretty good shape. He will be our defensive rock in Amsterdam and I’m sure he will be in the center point of many game situations.

 

 

Umpire at the Champions League!

Stop watching from the sidelines… See the game from the middle of the pitch!

AFL Europe need Umpires for their upcoming Champions League event held in Amsterdam on Saturday the 1st of April.

Umpires will receive an umpiring uniform for the day, a packed lunch, payment & a great experience in a fantastic city!

If you are new to umpiring or interested in giving it a go for the first time, this is the event for you! AFL Europe will deliver a complementary umpire accreditation course in Amsterdam on Friday the 31st of March. New umpires will then umpire alongside experienced AFL Europe umpires to ensure you receive guidance and support from the middle of the field.

Please send your expression of interest to AFL Europe via umpires@afleurope.org by Friday the 10th of March for your chance to attend this incredible event.

 

AFL Europe Match of the Round

Match of the Round 30/7/16

DAFA 9s – Round Two | Sportpark De Eendracht, Amsterdam from 11:00

The DAFA 9s is the Dutch National 9-a-side footy competition, this year held solely in Amsterdam and is being contested by three teams, Amsterdam Devils (Black), Amsterdam Devils (White) and Den Haag Ooievaars.

Round One saw three very closely contested games with all matches finishing with seven points or less separating the teams at the final siren. Den Haag Ooievaars got the job done in Round One, walking away (or more accurately hobbling away) with two wins, with the White Devils beating the Black Devils to claim one win for the round. Both Amsterdam teams will be looking for revenge in Round Two, with the team top of the ladder after Round Two marching straight into the Grand Final on August 20.

This is the inaugural year of the DAFA 9s and each team is pushing hard to win their first flag and with the teams so evenly matched, we’re looking forward to another round of close and fiercely contested footy in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Devils (Black)

The Amsterdam Devils (Black) team is headed by their Captain Bill Johnstone and Coach Rick Hocking. Playing in the famous Amsterdam Devils kit the Black Devils have a strong outfit, however due to a few key players missing a week or two due to holidays this could hamper their campaign, one of these players being the key ruckman Reinier who is missing Round Two and the Prelim Final. Will the Black Devils make it through and have the chance to make use of Reinier in the Grand Final, only time will tell.

Amsterdam Devils (White)

The Amsterdam Devils (White) team is headed by their Captain (and DAFA President) Michel van Eijk and Coach Zach O’Neil. Touted as the bookies favourites prior to Round One, the White Devils have arguably the strongest team on paper however were hampered in Round One with two key players not taking the field and their Coach only making the second game as he rushed to the ground straight from the airport, after a well-deserved vacation in Greece. The White Devils will be looking to put out a stronger side in Round Two and try and force their way to top spot on the ladder.

Den Haag Ooievaars

The Den Haag Ooievaars team is headed by their Captain Maurice Verbakel and Coach Neil Cooke. The Ooievaars were not really fancied prior to Round One with their Captain and Vice-Captain both missing and a couple of key players carrying injuries. The Ooievaars got some luck however with Dan Lewis making one last appearance as he strengthened a weakened Ooievaars outfit. This was a vital plus to the Ooievaars as they took their chances and managed to hold off both Amsterdam teams to take out top spot after Round One. With both Captian and Vice-Captain back for Round Two, the Ooievaars will be looking to cement their place at the top of the ladder and book a place in the Grand Final at the same time.

 

 

Oxford Univesity take on Amsterdam.

Oxford University visited Amsterdam for their end of season tour, bringing with them 15 men and 6 ladies ready for some footy and lots of Amsterdam madness!

 

The main fixture saw a 10-a-side game of 20 minute quarters take place on the Grandstand pitch at SportPark De Eendracht. With a mixed bag of weather, from bitterly cold and windy to crack open the sunscreen. It was clear that the team who made best use of the conditions would be in pole position for the win. The first quarter was an even affair, with neither team really stamping their authority on the game and the Devils, kicking against the wind, taking a slender lead into the first break. In the second quarter things really started to open up for the Devils and they made sure they took advantage of the wind, kicking 7 goals in the quarter and taking a commanding 43 points lead into the main break. From there the game was the Devils to lose. Oxford fought hard in the third term and applied some good pressure in the middle but weren’t able to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard and the Devils lead by 51 points at the three quarter time. During the fourth quarter the Devils kicked with another 7 goals, however Oxford didn’t let them have it completely their own way with some big hits still being laid in the last term. The Devils came out victorious 20.19 (139) to 7.6 (48).

 

Next up was the Mixed Game, with three of the Oxford Ladies donning Devils jerseys for the chance to face off against their team mates. The format was 9-a-side non-contact footy, with each team being joined by six men from the main fixture. This was truly a game of two halves with Oxford racing to a half time lead of 15 points with some great footy on show by the ladies and accurate goal kicking. The Devils turned things around in the second half, showing off their silky skills and took the lead with less than two minutes left on the clock. Oxford then turned on the magic to kick a great team goal and the scores were level with 42 seconds remaining. The clock seemed to slow down (well, at least to the Devils fans on the sidelines) and Oxford were applying some great pressure, the Devils defence doing everything they could to keep Oxford at bay. As the clock ticked, 3, 2, 1 – Oxford couldn’t find a clean enough possession to get a shot on goal and the final siren sounded. The first draw of the season, and what a game it was. Frantic play at the end to get a winner, but to no avail. The final score ended up Amsterdam Devils Mixed 6.6 (42) to Oxford University Mixed 6.6 (42). 

 

After the game we hosted a BBQ with mouth watering burgers, hot dogs and potato salad on offer. This was devoured before a #nofilter photo could be taken unfortunately but the food was definitely enjoyed by one and all. Followed by a presentation for the Best On Ground and Hard Nut from each side in the Men’s fixture and the two Best On Grounds in the mixed fixture (see below for the winners). A mini boat race was the prize for the award winners, with Oxford showing their boat race experience winning by one person, in a three person race. Sensational viewing!  

 

Both teams then headed to Drovers Dog (Dog 3) for a social event that consisted of more drinking games than anyone could keep track of. It was at Dog 3 where Oxford challenged the Devils to an eight person boat race. Chests were puffed out and there were death stares across the table, but none of that mattered as Oxford continued their strong form with another victory by one person. The Devils were clearly gutted but couldn’t take anything away from what was clearly an experienced boat race team! 

 

A fantastic day of footy and socialising was had by all. Look out for the return fixture next season, and the Devils making improvements in their boat race form!

 

Devils BOG: Julian Poole

Devils Hard Nut: Reinier Jacco Maarten Vriend

 

Oxford BOG: Sean Morris

Oxford Hard Nut: Wande McCunn

 

Ladies BOGs: Liz Murray (Devils) & Emma Coulson (Oxford)

 

Written by Neil Cooke for AFL Europe

AFL Europe Champions League Review – Amsterdam

The weekend saw AFL Europe and DAFA play host to the Inaugural Champions League tournament which brought ten teams to Amsterdam to face off for the title. Teams qualified for the event after finishing as premiers in their local leagues allowing for 17 of the top teams in Europe to receive an invite and 10 to make their way to the Netherlands.

The round robin style tournament, with the ten teams split into two groups, kicked off at 9am with some players really feeling the cold donning thermal gear under their kits. The red group was tightly contested with many games able to go either way. The exception was the West London Wildcats, who went through the group stage undefeated. It came down to the percentage, the Amsterdam Devils scraped through to the finals over the Edinburgh Bloods and Solna Axemen after they ended on the same amount of wins with a straight kick deciding who went through. The black group had the Rheinland Lions storm through to finals undefeated, with Belfast Red Backs only nursing their Lions loss to play the Wildcats.

The semi-finals kicked off with the West London Wildcats barely holding off a valiant Belfast Red Backs by 2 points with a late goal to make it into the all important final, whilst the Manchester Mosquitoes managed to avoid the wooden spoon by defeating the Zagreb Hawks. Shortly after, the Rheinland Lions and Amsterdam Devils kept the crowd on their feet by drawing at the final siren. In a nail biter, the game went into overtime (first score wins) and saw the Lions steal a quick goal to seal their place in the finals. Malmo Redeyes had a comfortable win over the Solna Axemen to take out 7th place in the all Sweden contest whilst the Toulouse Hawks finished in 5th overall ahead of the Edinburgh Bloods who had tired from the long day at that point.

The Belfast Red Backs overpowered the Amsterdam Devils, on their home turf, to take 3rd place by a healthy 10 goal margin before the inaugural final took place. After both the West London Wildcats and Rheinland Lions dominated their collective groups, they faced off for the title of the AFL Europe Champions League. With the crowd at its highest capacity all day, rugged up, with Coopers in hand, the West London Wildcats took out the crown finishing 8.6.54 to the Lions 1.1.7.

 

1stWest London Wildcats
2ndRheinland Lions
3rdBelfast Red Backs
4thAmsterdam Devils
5thToulouse Hawks
6thEdinburgh Bloods
7thMalmo Redeyes
8thSolna Axemen
9thManchester Mosquitoes
10thZagreb Hawks

 

Post tournament festivities ran far into the night only pausing to allow AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack, to announce the team of the tournament. The best player from each team, as voted by their own teams, was also revealed and presented with an AFL Europe Champions League guernsey making them part of the 10 man Champions League squad.

A big congratulations to the West London Wildcats for taking home the cup and well done to those players who made the team of the tournament:

 

Nicholas MoranAmsterdam Devils
Gerard WallsBelfast Red Backs
Ewen PicklesEdinburgh Bloods
Daniel ScotfordMalmo Redeyes
Jake NorrisManchester Mosquitoes
Kristopher MarshRheinland Lions
Adam CubbageSolna Axemen
Emilien MartinezToulouse Hawks
Todd PfeifferWest London Wildcats
Josip HabljakZagreb Hawks

Sarah Ongarello

What do the Axemen, Bloods, Devils, Hawks and Lions have in common?

 The Solna Axemen, Edinburgh Bloods, Toulouse Hawks and Rhienland Lions will land in Amsterdam this coming Saturday to join us, and co-hosts Amsterdam Devils, for the Inaugural AFL Europe Champions League. With the tournament looming and the need to take home the cup becoming stronger, AFL Europe headquarters caught up for a chat with five of the ten teams hitting the turf this Saturday.

 

Alan “Sparro” McSparron and the Bloods are making their way from Edinburgh to Amsterdam to test the standards of football around Europe. With great excitement and a constantly growing Scottish League, the Bloods are looking forward to measuring themselves against these top European Teams.

 

Along with the Bloods come the Rhienland Lions heading west from Germany to show Europe why they won AFLG Championship. Being named after the region of Rhienland due to rivalry between the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, the team boasts players from both these cities. With friendly game experience against teams from the UK, Netherlands, France and Denmark the Lions are raring to show they’re a force to reckon with.

 

It was an easy decision for the Solna Axemen to head to Amsterdam for the first ever AFL Europe Champions League. The excitement has been building since receiving the invitation. The Stockholm Australian Rules Football Federation (SAFF) began in 2007 and the Solna Axemen have cemented their invite after winning 6 from 8 premierships, including back to back in 2013 and 2014. Not only are the Axemen excited to play against new teams and test their skills, they’re ready to meet other players from around Europe and a few, hopefully celebratory, beers after the Tournament.

 

Being founded in 2008 by only 5 French players, the Toulouse Hawks quickly moved up the French Championship ladder and managed to snag a few key players from the French National Team. Winning the French Championship and being undefeated in the both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the Toulouse Hawks are definitely one of the teams to watch in the Champions League. They are excited to participate in the Inaugural Champions League and looking forward to some international exposure all the while hoping to take home the cup!

 

The host of the first inaugural Champions League, the Amsterdam Devils were founded in 2010 and proudly took out the Dutch league in their first year and every year since! With a combination of Dutch and Australian at the heart and soul of the Devils, and strong British and South African legs the home team is ready to put up a good fight to keep the Cup on home soil. New star recruit, Nick Moran and the team and ready to compete with the best teams from Europe.

Follow the Tournament at @AFL_Europe, #AFL_Europe and #ChampionsLeague

 

Sarah Ongarello

AFL Europe Champions League – Amsterdam 2015

It’s with great pleasure that we announce the details for the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League – 2015 – Amsterdam. Following a number of years with the majority of our major events being held in the UK and Ireland we are pleased the Amsterdam Devils have taken on the challenge to co-host the Champions League with AFL Europe. It’s a great chance for them to further develop the sport in a market with huge potential.

Date: 21st – 22nd March, 2015

Location: Amsterdam (venue TBC)

Accommodation: We will shortly announce our accommodation partner with special rates for teams

Transport: Make sure you book your flights/trains ASAP in order to keep costs low

Format: Club not country. Winning Club of each major league in our member nations invited (defer to runner-up if premier decline’s invite). If member country only has one club they automatically qualify if not part of another major league e.g. Madrid Bulls. Euro Cup format and rules. 9-a-side. One day competition with group stage and finals (team numbers dependant). Winner to be crowned Club Champions of Europe.

Player Eligibility: As this is a club based competition and there are a variety of different rules regarding Australian playing numbers across Europe we have decided on the following. Maximum of 4 Australian’s on the field at any one time. Players must have played at your club in the premiership year or be signed up to play in 2015. Maximum squad of 16 players (cannot be added to/swapped once the days play has begun).

Registration: Clubs need to confirm their attendance with info@afleurope.org before January 9th, 2015. A registration fee will be charged per participant to help cover costs of the competition. This fee will be announced once all costs are confirmed and we have a clearer indication of the number of teams attending.

Qualified Clubs:

Belfast Redbacks
Toulouse Hawks
Manchester Mosquitoes
West London Wildcats
Zagreb Hawks
Amsterdam Devils
Llops Del Pla
Madrid Bulls
Farum Cats
Rheinland Lions
Turku Dockers
Solna Axemen
Port Malmo Maulers
Edinburgh Bloods
Roma Blues
Oslo East
Bristol Dockers

We are happy to also accommodate women’s teams if there is interest, e.g. Paris, Dublin, Toulouse, Newcastle, Wimbledon.

If you have any queries please contact us at info@afleurope.org

Looking for a gift this Christmas. Why not buy yourself or a loved one access to watch every game live of AFL in season 2015? Just £79. Click here for further details.