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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.

eksjo

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.

cocks

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.

cocks-2

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

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

Paris Cockerels won Bordeaux Bombers in the French competition

In France, the national competition is ongoing. On Saturday 23rd, two of the best historical teams in France were facing each other in Saint Médard en Jalles (venue were was hosted the last Axios Euro Cup).

The ground wasn’t as nice as the Euro Cup ones as the Rugby and rain seasons restarted but it was a nice day to play footy.

The game was really nice to watch and both teams were evenly match. Each team had a lot of opportunities to win the game and the experience of the Paris Cockerels helped them to secure the win a couple of minutes before the final whistle. The final kick of the Bombers was touched by one of the Cockerels giving the Bombers a behind and a 5 points win to the visiting side.

Final Score: Bordeaux Bombers 12.10.82 – 13.9.87 Paris Cockerels

 

Will Maley, coach of the Bordeaux Bombers and Angus Makintosh, follower of the Paris Cockerels (one of the best on the ground that day) shared their feelings about the game :

 

Will Maley :

1/ How was the game?

The game was played in great spirit and intensity from both sides. Obviously for us it was disappointing to come away without the win, but to Paris’ credit they held their composure and were particularly strong defensively.

2/ What were for you the main moments of the game? Why did Bordeaux lose the game?

We had a great start to all the quarters which is a credit to the team. It shows they were switched on from the first minute which as a coach is fantastic to see as you know they are there to play. As the quarters played out we tended to have a few minutes where our intensity dropped or we couldn’t find a way to goal. When you are playing against a side like Paris that has a lot more experience in the sport this comes back to hurt you. I thought when we switched Clement (ruck) to defense and brought Alex in to ruck we started to control the game as we were able to dry up their forward movement, sadly Alex got injured which impacted us. Paris had a great match from their full back who marked anything that came in to the forward zone meaning that we had to attempt goals from too far out or scrap for opportunist goals from the ground. A few indiscipline acts and situations where our new players were uncertain on rules impacted us in terms of giving away free kicks which gives us more to work on. Against the best teams, these have dramatic impacts on the scoreboard. Overall, we gave ourselves every opportunity and it wasn’t through a lack of effort or desire that we weren’t able to win.

3/ What is your favorite memory of this game ?

I would have to say the tackle that Pascal put on in front of the Paris bench was fantastic! Beyond that, I thought when our play clicked we played some incredible footy and now our challenge is to do it more often.

4/ What does this loss mean for the Bombers ?

From an overall perspective it shows us where we are at. For me and the team we are getting more of an understanding on what we need to do to improve. For a team of French playing against a team with many Australians you learn a lot tactically and technically. To win the league, we now have a match against Toulouse which is a must win for us to stay in the hunt and we will work hard over the next 3 weeks to give ourselves every chance.

5/ What are your personal/team objectives for this new season ?

For me it is my first season coaching so there is many challenges in this. When you growing up watching the game from a young age you have different ideas and perceptions, so for me it is about understanding where the guys are at and how we can build their skills and understanding of a sport that has many subtleties. I also want to help the club build awareness in the community so that we get good crowds at home games, build our player numbers and hopefully one day a second Bordeaux side. For the viability of the competition, I am a big believer that 2 clubs in the bigger centres such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris, etc would greatly strengthen the competition. For the team, we are probably in a year of transition, we have had a number of long term players move on for travel & family reasons and we have some great guys who have joined the team and offer an incredible future for the club. We don’t want to have a dip in our performance and competitiveness so expect to see the Bombers there fighting for the league and the various cups on offer.

 

Angus Makintosh :

1/ How was the game?

The game was one of the most competitive I’ve played in. It was a real pleasure to have a physical match that was played in good spirits where both teams were very evenly matched too.

2/ What were for you the main moments of the game? What helped the Paris Cockerels to win the game?

I think some of the last ditch defending at the end from the likes of Mathieu and Gaz was probably what helped us. Nico managed to get a miraculous touch on a shot that would’ve been the goal that won Bordeaux the game so that had to be the key moment.

3/ What is your favorite memory of this game ?

Kicking a run-around banana goal with the left foot at the end felt pretty good! That or the final whistle.

4/ What does this win mean for the Cockerels ?

I’ve only been with the Cockerels for a couple of months but you could tell it meant a huge amount. It was such a tough match against good opposition that we were delighted to win.

5/ What do you do to involve new local players ?

We’ve held ‘bring a friend’ training sessions where every member of the team has to bring someone. We’re also holding a training session for a Parisian school next week to try to involve more youngsters.

6/ What are your personnal objectives for this new season ?

I’m not here for very long! But probably to try and help the Cocks as much in the league until I leave. And maybe come back if they reach the final!

Afterglow – A look back at the Axios Euro Cup in Bordeaux (2/2)

Wesley Hull

In this second part of the interviews arranged by the Bordeaux Bombers and the CNFA after the recent tournament in France, the focus is on women’s footy. Vanessa Degrave, a player for the French team – Les Inattendues – looks at how she became involved in Australian Rules football – in France.

How did you get involved in Aussie rules here in Europe?

Vanessa Degrave: “Our rugby coach was friend with the coaching team of the Bordeaux Bombers. One year ago, they came to see us as they wanted to create a French female footy team. Eight of us were more than happy to be part of this project so we started to train with the boys and got a chance to be part of the Axios Euro Cup.

How did you discover the game?

“I heard about the game in St Médard en Jalles where the Bordeaux Bombers are playing and also during my Rotary exchange student year in Australia in 2010. However, I never showed any interest in the sport before I got the chance to try it.”

What team do you play in, what position, and from what country?

“I played the Axios Euro Cup with the French team (Les Inattendues). During that game I was a follower.”

Are there many girls who play it where you are living?

“One year ago, only 2 girls were playing with the Bombers: Gaelle Hazimeh who moved to Toulouse and Chloé Tabountchikoff. One year later we are nine at training. Paris and Toulouse have the same story. This gives us a real chance to play more games in the future.”

Why do you enjoy the game?

“I think footy is a mix of many sports. You need to keep on running and have good physical skills. Also I love the fact that I can kick and hand pass the ball; in rugby my role doesn’t allow me to play with my feet.  All this made me really happy on the field.”

What is appealing about it?

“The welcoming spirit of the boys, the atmosphere around the ground and the game itself were really appealing to me. Also the fact that your teammates are always supportive and cheer you up, no matter what is really different from rugby.

How many girl teams competed at the event?

“I think we were between 30 and 35 girls playing for two different teams.”

How do you see the growth of Aussie Rules as a sport for females in Europe?

“I think the growth has a good potential as it is a good mix of many sports.”

How does it compare to say soccer which traditionally attracts more girls?

“I think it takes the good part of rugby and soccer and gives more freedom to each of the girls on the field.”

 

Women willing to play please feel free to contact your country’s coordinator for more information (http://afleurope.org/female-football/how-to-join/)

Afterglow – A look back at the Axios Euro Cup in Bordeaux

Wesley Hull

The following is a series of questions and answers discussing the recent Axios Euro Cup in France. Locally, Alban Schieber and Frederic Zohar worked tirelessly with their team to put together the event in Bordeaux. In the afterglow of the event, here is their take on what the Euro Cup was, how it came together and how successful it was. These answers are provided by Alban Schieber, unless otherwise indicated.

How many teams and from what countries?

“There were 14 teams in total from 13 different European countries. Unlike the previous events, most of the teams came from the continent.” (Norway, Finland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Croatia, Cataluña, Iceland, Ireland, England and Crusaders + France and Crusaders women teams).

“England won their third Euro Cup defeating France in the Grand Final 92 – 15 while in the women game the Crusaders defeated France and won their first title. “

How many players or participants were there in total?

“We had in around 320 players in Bordeaux, comprised of 280 boys and 40 girls.”

What was the format for the competition?

“During the morning we had the seeding round. Groups were made with a favourite and two challengers. The base for the games was two 15 minute quarters. The only favourite who lost in the morning was Ireland, defeated 34 – 33 by France.”

“At lunch time each team had a break of an hour and a half to rest or have a look at the women’s game, which France lost to the Crusaders 26 – 45.”

“In the afternoon, we had the classification games and the finals. The games were two halves of 20 minutes. The plate winner was Austria who won their first game in the competition. Ireland was the bowl champion. England, France and Croatia were on the podium.”

For anyone unfamiliar with the tournament, how many matches and how long each match is played?

“There were 25 games, 12 of them were made of two halves of 15 minutes and 12 were made of two halves of 20 minutes. The last one was the women’s game made of four 20 minutes quarters.”

How many Australians are involved?

“The only Australians involved were umpires or members of the AFL Europe committee. No Australians were allowed to play with the national teams.”

How did you promote the event on the day?

“To promote the event we had over 2 500 posters and 8 000 flyers given in all the local shops in Bordeaux and Saint Médard en Jalles. We also had bigger posters in Saint Médard en Jalles set up by the city council. Finally we had a few articles in the press thanks to our press release sent all over the sport media a few months before the event. We even hit Youtube with a fun clip to generate interest.”

What were your overall impressions of the event, was it a success?

Frederic Zohar (co-organizer and president of the Bordeaux Bombers):

“It was a success because everybody was where they were supposed to be at the right time. We had over 100 volunteers on the day and it was crucial that everyone knew what they had to do and that they were autonomous.

During the day, when we had everything on track, I felt on the top of the world.”

Alban Schieber:  “After three weeks of rain we had a really nice weather on the day which was great to get some crowds over. We believe that there were 1 200 people, unrelated to footy, who watched the Grand Final. The biggest success was to see everybody with a smile on their faces. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the crowd during the final cheering and laughing.

On the next day we received text messages from many coaches and captains saying that it was the best Euro Cup organized so far. Which made both Frederic and I really proud.”

What were the biggest successes of the tournament?

Frederic  Zohar : “There are two major success in this tournament: the first one is a sport success with the French team getting to the Grand Final (best performance ever) and the organization of a French women’s footy team ; the second success is that thanks to the city council we had a great venue with four real ovals and posts which gave us the best venue the Euro Cup ever had !”

What were the drawbacks or areas that could have been better?

Frederic Zohar : “The only missing thing from a media point of view was TV.  Unfortunately no TV journalists showed up. Apart from that we had some issues with the protocol as some of the presentations didn’t go with the scheduled time. Last thing was we were hoping for more sponsors. The overall budget on the day was 76 000 €. With more sponsors we could have ensured wider media coverage and a better promotion of the game.”

“Looking back, it was the first time we organized such an event and we had some things we could have done earlier to prevent the last week of hard work under pressure.”

What kind of sponsorship/support did you have?

“On one hand, we had about 10 000 € sponsors in cash. Most of them were local and the two major ones were l’Ombrière, a vegetable farm, and the Regional council.  On the other hand, we had loads of sponsors exchanging merchandise or staff members for advertisements. For example, we had security and physiotherapists for free.”

How many volunteers and what did they do?

“We had about 100 volunteers on the day. Most of them were doing the boundary and goal umpiring or working in the bars. But we also had volunteers welcoming the crowd, taking pictures, co-ordinating  the food services, recording the game to have a full streaming coverage of ground 1 and taking care of the teams.  All of them were professionals coming as volunteers on the day. It was definitively a great day thanks to all of them. The Bordeaux Bombers, our local club, was looking after the logistic and had a really tough day.”

How much local business support?

“The whole budget was secured thanks to local businesses or institutions. The budget of 76 000€ came from Bordeaux’ businesses and institutions or from the revenue raised on the day.”

What level of international support did you receive?

Frederic Zohar: “Our ambassador in Australia, Daniel Jackson, couldn’t come on the day as he was playing in the AFL finals the weekend before. But he sent us a jumper signed by the whole Richmond Tigers team for the raffle we organized. We also had our brother club the Boxwood Hills Football Club on site which was a great way for me to thank them. “

How difficult was it to organise logistically and financially?

Frederic Zohar:

“To set up real ovals wasn’t a piece of cake as no one had ever done that in France before. But our grounds were definitively looking like Australian ones thanks to the public services of Saint Médard en Jalles.  Also with more money we would have had less problems to organize it.”

Alban Schieber:

“We did everything we had in mind in September 2012 and even a bit more. We had an ecological event and we managed to have the first Euro Cup making a profit!”

Welcome ceremony launches Axios Euro Cup 2013

Once a year, European nations come together to battle it out on the football field, with the dream of holding aloft the finely polished piece of silverware, the Axios Euro Cup. This prestigious award that signifies a year’s worth of sweat, blood and tears, will be won and lost on Saturday in the picturesque, wine region of Bordeaux, France.

Proceedings were officially kicked off on Friday night at the opening ceremony, which was attended by captains and coaches of the twelve competing nations in the men’s competition, and the two women’s teams that will be competing for their own Euro Cup.

Madame Bouvier, President of the parent body of football in France, Leo Lagrange, addressed an eager crowd, welcoming them to Bordeaux and thanking all of the people who have made the event possible.

Bouvier stated that the event should focus on the “values of Leo Lagrange” and that all players must respect their opponent, the rules of the game and the umpires decisions.

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow then also welcomed the crowd and thanked Leo Lagrange and the other supporters of CNFA for their support.

Dow went on to express his delight with the venue and how well the event has been organised. He reminisced about the ANZAC Cup, which was held in France in April this year, and stated that he is “[looking] forward to France putting on a great show.”

In 2013, the twelve teams who will be vying to have their country’s name forever etched into AFL Europe history are; Finland, France, Croatia, Spain, Ireland, England, Iceland, Norway, Italy, the Crusaders, Catalunya and Austria. The two women’s teams who will contend the Championship match are France and the Crusaders.

Matches begin this morning with defending champions, Ireland running out against Norway in their first match. Croatia, who won the first Euro Cup in 2010, will play the Crusaders first up and the strong lineup of England will tackle Catalunya in their first round match.

You can stream all the matches on pitch 1 live here