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Tuesday Around the Grounds

The sun shines in Norrtalje for Dockers and Blues

A cracking day of football in the beautiful sunshine in Norrtalje has seen the Norrtalje Dockers and Sodermalm Blues claim victory.  The final scores for the AFL Sweden games saw Norrtalje Dockers 15.11. 101 beat Arsta Swans 5.9. 39 and the Sodermalm Blues 21.8. 134 beating the Bromma Vikings 7.8. 50.

Continuing with the AFL Sweden league and with just over a week into their membership drive sees the clubs doing well so far.

The list of how the clubs are going is as follows:

  1. Norrtalje Dockers – 28 members
  2. Arsta Swans – 24 members
  3. Port Malmo Football Club – 36 members
  4. Sodermalm AFC – 27 members
  5. Solna Axemen – 22 members
  6. Bromma Vikings – 11 members
  7. Helsinborg Saints – 5 members
  8. Gothenburg, Falun, Uppsala – 0 members

Keep up the good work AFL Sweden!

 

Clapham Cubs want you!

The Clapham Cubs are looking for a male to assist with the running of their Sunday Auskick sessions. If you have a passion for growing the game in London, have a clear DBS check and are available on Sunday’s from 11-12pm then contact claphamcubs@gmail.com for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/Clapham-Cubs-861426217276768/?fref=ts

Clapham Cubs

 

ACL rules out Irish talent, Ciaran Byrne for the remainder of the season

Carlton’s Irish import, Ciaran Byrne, has been ruled out for the remainder of season 2016 after rupturing his ACL during Saturday night’s close loss to arch-rivals Collingwood.

It’s terrible news for the 21-year-old halfback who was having a consistent year for the Blues under first-year coach, Brendon Bolton.

Ciaran will undergo surgery in the weeks to come before undertaking an extensive rehabilitation program. All the best Ciaran and we wish you a speedy recovery.

http://www.carltonfc.com.au/news/2016-07-03/scans-confirm-byrne-injury

 

The Flying Dutchmen are back!

The national Australian Rules team for the Netherlands, the Flying Dutchmen, are back on social media and ready to take the AFL Europe community by storm. Not only did they host a game with the Scottish national team in mid-June but rumour has it that they’re trying to rally the troops and make an appearance at the Euro Cup in Lisbon later this year. Fingers crossed!

Jump over to their Facebook and give them a like when you get a chance.

https://www.facebook.com/theflyingdutchmen/?fref=ts

 

Bloods reassert dominance over arch-rivals the Glasgow Sharks in SARFL blockbuster

The Edinburgh Bloods claimed a three goal victory to jump to an early advantage in the SARFL Premiership at the weekend.

It started out as a beautiful day at Leith Park and the scene was set for an absolute thriller. But it was the Bloods who jumped out the blocks early kicking 5.6. 36 to 1.3. 9 to take the heat out of the contest in the first term.

The Sharks weren’t going down without a fight and clawed their way back slowly before a very heavy shower in the third quarter allowed the Bloods to shut up shop and take a close but comfortable three goal victory.

The final scorecard read 13.16. 94 to 10.16. 76 in favour of the Bloods in what was another great instalment of this fierce rivalry.

Bloods v Sharks

AFL Europe Match of the Round

Swedish Cup – Norrtälje Sportcentrum 11/6/16 8am

The Swedish Cup is AFL Sweden’s annual, one day tournament. The 2016 tournament will be hosted by Norrtälje Dockers and played in a 9-a-side, round robin format to determine the premiers of AFL Sweden.

The 2016 edition of the Swedish Cup this year is promising to be the biggest and best yet, with men, women and juniors all participating. The men will play 5 group games, all playing each other before a top of the table clash in the final. The women will play 4 matches throughout the day and combine for the final, while the Juniors will play one match to showcase the growth of the sport at a grass roots level.

The men’s teams participating are the Port Malmö Maulers, Södermalm Blues, Oslo Crows, Årsta Swans, Norrtälje Dockers and a mixed team made up of players from Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Bromma and Solna. Whilst the women will have a two team format with the Port Malmö Lynx and a combined Stockholm/Oslo team.

The Port Malmö Mauler’s Jonas Lovén, is getting himself ready for a big day with the Maulers looking to keep a firm grip on the cup as reigning champions. “We’re all looking forward to a great tournament in Norrtälje and especially to defend last year’s title. After some tough games drinking beer from the cup is always the goal of the mighty Maulers”

The Maulers participate in the Danish league due to their location but are still very prominent in the Swedish competition. Coach of the Maulers and the national Swedish team, Brett Petersen is excited to coach the team in tomorrow’s tournament, “Coming off 2 big wins in the DAFL, Maulers are looking to be a strong force in this Swedish cup. Maulers leading goal kicker Ben Polmear is one to keep an eye on in this tournament”

Ben Polmear is ready to defend the title although, “we’re missing a few players from last year’s tournament the team of hungry beasts making the trip up to Norrtälje this year are more than capable of defending our title as Sweden’s top 9-a-side footy club.”

Södermalm Blues participated in this year’s AFL Europe Champions League coming 8th in the prestigious tournament. A few players to watch in the Blues would be Mick Larsson, Rob Njoku (better known as Mr T) and Dylan O’Keefe. The much anticipated return of Ivan Rexed will also add depth to the Blues as they fight for the title.

The Oslo Crows have frequented the Swedish Cup in the past years. Winning the Cup in 2013 and 2014, the Crows unfortunately displayed a disappointing performance in 2015 due to lack of inexperience and numbers. Back with a vengeance, Amund Lundesgaard is ready and bringing a fighting group to reclaim the Swedish Cup.

The Årsta Swans have a few guns to watch out for during this year’s tournament. Chris Murr, Che Ramirez, Rob Young, Mattis Kvarnström all add strength and well tuned skills to the Swans team making them strong contenders.

The mixed team will be made up of players from Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Bromma and Solna giving the team a great chance at a shot at the title. This mixed bag could well and truly take out the title with their pick from these 4 strong clubs. Experience will be the key here with the ageless Andreas Svensson, now in his 40’s, Svensson will be playing along side his young son.

The Norrtälje Dockers are proud to have the Swedish Cup tournament back in Norrtälje at the premier Australian Rules sporting facility in Sweden. Norrtälje have had their best start to a premiership season since their creation in 2012 and will be looking to continue that trend in the Swedish Cup. A strong showing of players will ensure that all matches against the Dockers will be hard fought and there is surely not to be a repeat of the 3 draws at last year’s tournament.

The Port Malmö Lynx are extremely happy that the Norrtälje women’s team, made up of Stockholm and Oslo, will be at the Sweden Cup. The anticipation is high regarding the new players they will get to come up against. It’s also exciting to see what new talent could be on offer for the national team. Ryan Davidson, coach for the Port Malmö Lynx and Swedish Ravens will have a keen eye out for what talent he can bring to Lisbon for the AFL Europe Euro Cup this October.

Good luck to all the men, women and juniors involved! We look forward to seeing who takes out the coveted title. #AFLinEurope

Tuesday Around the Grounds

Coyotes claim Minor Premiership of CNFA champs

The Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes have wrapped up the minor premiership of the CNFA Championship sitting 3 points clear of perennial top of the table side, the Paris Cockerels.

The Coyotes claimed top spot after final round opponents, the Toulouse Hawks forfeited, and are now in the box seat to claim the major premiership when season 2015/16 of the CNFA Championships comes to a conclusion in a few weeks’ time.

Wildcats school Lions on home turf in AFL London Grand Final rematch

The much anticipated Grand Final rematch unfortunately ended in a blow out with the Wildcats running over the Lions by 87 points.

Wildcat’s, Jared Risol and Andy Challis receive notable mentions for the tireless hard work and their combined 9 goals.

The Lions sit in a similar position as they did in 2015, however, they’ll need to put in the hard yards from Round 5 onwards to ensure they have a chance at defending their title.

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Scoreboard leans in favour of Milan Eagles in Pisa friendly

The Milan Eagles took the chocolates against the Roma Football Club in a demo match between the two Italian clubs in Pisa at the weekend.

A couple of accidents within the first 5 minutes had Roma on the backfoot and were unable to get back in the game eventually going down 120 to 23.

A special shoutout for Josip Kravar for his help and insight along with all involved in getting this great exhibition up and running.

Roma v Milan

Port Malmo’s big day out

A massive day of Aussie Rules was had by all out at Port Malmo at the weekend.

3 huge games of football were played. First up were the Mini Maulers side who had a great hit out in the lead up to the big show down between the Port Malmo Maulers and Odense Lions. The Maulers ran out convincing winners 172-9.

The final game of the day was played between the Port Malmo women’s side, the Lynx, and some of the Mauler’s who backed up from their game previously.

Great day out for all showing the amazing growth and development in of AFL in Sweden.

Port Malmo

Oslo East sweeps West and Ås aside in Kenguru Cup opener

Oslo’s Eastside squad proved it will be the team to beat in Kenguru Cup 2016 after scoring strong wins in a high quality round one under sunny skies at Voldslokka.

Playing with a mixture of new and old faces, the East shrugged off an indifferent start against Oslo West in the first game to run out convincing winners 61 to 18.

Game two saw the Easties teach an inexperienced Ås side the finer points of contested, skilled football, and another comfortable win, 53 to 13.

In the evening’s final fixture, West took on and conquered the Ås side, which was ably helped out with some extra players from East. The closest contest of the night saw Ås start brilliantly and head into the half-time break up by eight points. West responded however, and hit back with a flurry of second half goals to put the result beyond doubt. Final scores were West 51, Ås 28.

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Copenhagen Barracudas go pink to fight cancer

The Barracudas host the Odense Lions in their 2016 Ladies Day Picnic.

Its what’s set to be a great day of Aussie Rules so make sure you get on down and support the fight against cancer whilst sipping ‘champagne in the sun, watching sweaty guys in tight shorts and tucking into a lovely BBQ’. Can’t beat that on a spring Saturday afternoon.

Jump on over to the event page if you’re in the area.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1190549217645690/

 

Ben Durance

Denmark AFL 9s tournament

by Aksel Bang

While The International Cup in Melbourne reached its finals the summer heat cranked up in Europe and a new tournament saw the light of day in Denmark.

Aalborg was for a day the footy center of Europe with the new DAFL OPEN-9’s tournament being held at the Aalborg Kangaroos home ground. The Kangaroos hosted the tournament with help from the DAFL and volunteers from the community who believe in Aussie Rules footy abroad.

On the 16th of August 6 teams turned up to participated in the first DAFL OPEN-9’s which is a 9-a-side tournament played within the DAFL and AFL Europe laws. The 6 teams included the Oslo Crows, Odense Lions, Farum Cats, Aalborg Kangaroos and DAFL Outcasts which was a mixed team with players from Copenhagen and Aarhus. But even though Aalborg already had one team in the tournament the club still managed to pull together all the the old players who previously played for the club to participate on the Aalborg Old Boys team.

Despite the windy conditions in Aalborg on the 16th the tournament was a great success and every team showed great skills, wonderful team spirit and made sure every spectator gained great insight as to what footy is all about.  The tournament was played in pool stages and finals rounds, there were 2 groups with 3 teams in each of the groups and one cross-over game.

It was a great day in Aalborg and everyone had a great day and throughly enjoyed the footy. We hope that in the future the tournament will have more nationalities and teams participating.

Official Results:

1st place: Farum Cats

2th place: DAFL Outcasts

3th place: Oslo Crows

4th place: Aalborg Old Boys

5th place: Aalborg Kangaroos

6th place: Odense Lions

Leading goal kicker: Mikkel Norlander, Farum Cats

Best and fairest: William Hedenskog Andersen, DAFL Outcasts

 

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Gavin Ward’s experience as DAFL umpires coordinator

Picture Derek Clarke

By Gavin Ward, DAFL umpires coordinator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam

AFL Europe Umpires’ Profile

Pictures: Derek Clarke

By Michael McCormick

JOSH DAVEY

What does Dr Karl Kennedy and a street party in Geelong have in common? They both played a significant role in introducing the game of AFL to WARFL Umpiring Coordinator and AFL Europe Umpire, Josh Davey.

Davey, a former player turned umpire, admitted that his first memory of AFL was seeing Dr Karl Kennedy playing it on Australian soap opera, ‘Neighbours.’

It wasn’t until recently however that he explored his interest further by becoming involved with a local club.

“I saw a video online of what seemed like the whole of Geelong out on the street partying after their Grand Final win,” stated Davey. “I then watched a couple of videos on YouTube, discovered I had a local club and went and had a go.”

Davey’s umpiring career began when he volunteered with his local league during weeks in which he was injured. He then took the opportunity to be involved in the 2013 European Championships in Dublin.

“I offered my services to AFL Europe as a volunteer,” explained Davey. “There I discovered they were holding a Level 1 Umpires course and decided to get involved with that.”

Davey continued to grow as an umpire and went from strength to strength after the European Championships.

Being selected as a field umpire for the AIS-AFL Academy vs European Legion Easter Series game stands out as one of his finest moments.

“Having played for the first Legion I knew the skill level of the players would be extremely high and to be considered good enough to umpire them was a huge honour.”

The dream for many European AFL aficionados is to travel to Australia and play the great game at a professional level. Davey however has slightly different endeavours.

“Whilst some players stay after the International Cup to try and work their way up to the very top as players, I’d love the chance to do the same as a whistle man.”

Davey described Australian Football as an exhilarating game to spectate due to its fluidity and the athleticism of the players.

“It is such a beautiful game to watch, and the very best place to watch it is from the middle of the park.”

For those who want to have the same seat on the ground as him, Davey offered these words of wisdom;

“Be confident in your actions and abilities and don’t be afraid to blow your whistle. Think about mistakes after the game, but on the ground, show presence and the players will respond positively.”

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NILSS LODE

Nilss

Taking marks on other players’ shoulders is what makes Australian Football the greatest game in the world, at least according to AFL Germany Umpiring Coordinator, Nilss Lode.

Melbourne born Lode, who grew up playing Australian Football in his lunch breaks at primary school, began his umpiring career as a result of an AFL Europe initiative to develop local umpires.

“I initially didn’t even consider attending or umpiring,” he said. “One of my team mates enjoyed umpiring more than playing, and that kind of sparked enough interest to see what it is all about.”

During his Level 0 course he was thrown in the deep end, being made to umpire a practice match for the German national team.

“There were so many decisions to be made quickly and I really enjoyed the challenge and decided that I wanted to pursue umpiring further.”

Since that initial experience, Lode has improved his skill and expertise to the point in which he is now sought out for major events across Europe.

A high level of commitment and an eagerness to learn at the highest level has enabled his steady improvement.

“Umpiring at three Euro Cup tournaments enabled me to work alongside more experienced umpires than myself and learn from their advice.”

Lode is currently working towards Level 2 accreditation to further develop his own skills and those of the umpires he coordinates.

He encourages aspiring umpires to go to a local match as a spectator and make the umpiring decisions in their head to compare with what the umpire decides.

“Know the actual official rules, rather than what commentators explain on TV as they are, in my opinion, often wrong.”

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NIELS SCHONNEMANN-ROSBERG

Niels

Combining a passion for travel and a love of the great game makes umpiring Australian Football more than just a hobby for Danish umpire, Niels Schønnemann-Rosberg.

He came across Australian Football after a chance meeting with his cousin at the ripe age of seventeen.

“I bumped into one of my cousins during the summer of ’99 and he invited me down to the local footy club,” he said. “The rest is history.”

His history as a player is extensive however his umpiring career is still in its infancy.

“I started to umpire full time in 2010 as I needed a challenge other than playing football,” he stated.

“I wasnt quite ready to leave, so I thought that umpiring could be a way to stay in the game.”

As most local games in Denmark are umpired by players in their bye rounds, the professionalism of umpiring isn’t a major focus.

Because of this, Schønnemann-Rosberg had to make special efforts to progress his umpiring ambitions.

“Andrew Jones and Shane Hill helped me go through the AFL level 1 program via some travelling and a lot of skype sessions.”

After completing his Level 1 AFL Umpiring course, Schønnemann-Rosberg has been called upon for some of the biggest events in Europe and the world.

“My initial goal was to umpire at the 2011 International Cup, which I did,” he said. “I then got to umpire the Grand final of the 2013 Axios Euro Cup in Bordeaux.”

Despite being a rising star of the umpiring fraternity, Schønnemann-Rosberg remains humble about his ambitions.

“At the moment I like to umpire locally and then travel to the European tournaments where I receive feedback from other umpires on my performance.”

Despite having already accomplished a great amount, he doesn’t underestimate the importance of continuous learning and refining.

“Your performance will improve significantly if you learn and apply great positioning and communication to players and officials during a game,” he said.

“They will trust or at least respect your judgement, if you do this.”

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam

Copenhagen inaugurate their posts from the Goal Post Grant

The Copenhagen Australian Football club is the newest member to the Danish League. In 2013, they applied to the AFL Europe Start-Up Club Program and received balls to start training and launch the club. This year their application for a Goal Post Grant was also successful which enabled them to receive funding from AFL Europe to get new goal posts.

In April, their first game in the DAFL against the Farum Cats inaugurated their new posts and pitch. Scott O’Hara tells us about their experience.

“Copenhagen Australian Football played their first official DAFL against reining premiers Farum Cats. In a closely fought contest, they managed to take it up to the champs for the entire game, sadly falling just 5 points short at the final whistle. It was a great first game with new coach Stephen Stewart at the helm.

The match was played at our new ground at Festpladsen in Valby Park and marked the first outing of our brand new goal posts, which we were able to purchase thanks to the help of a Goal Post Grant from AFL Europe. We are very grateful for the posts and the benefits they will give to the club for many years to come. We look forward to kicking many more Goals through them.”

Also, Copenhagen Australian Football Club have recently launched a junior program to make the club grow at the youth level. This is very encouraging for their future.

If you think your club is eligible for the Goal Post Grant, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

The story of the new Odense Lions Danish club

In 2011, Daniel Petrolo and a few other players tried to start a team in Odense in Denmark. This is when the story of the club starts.

Due to the lack of players interested in joining the club, the project was even more difficult to build from nothing. Some of the players moved. So from 6 at the beginning the numbers were reduced to 3 and the club couldn’t really stay alive even though there was strong motivation from the main stakeholders. “The Odense Lions project was stopped before it really started” said Morten Merhøj.

In early 2013, Morten Merhøj moved to Odense to study. He used to play footy in Farum in Denmark from the age of 13 thanks to junior programs run there. He has been involved heavily in footy including representing Denmark at the last International Cup.

He decided to continue playing Australian Football in Odense so he tried to get in touch with potential players and learnt that the project was in stand-by. Daniel Petrolo and Morten Merhøj decided to trigger the project again with a more concrete approach.

The first step to develop the game and promote it to players was to get a field to train on. To do so, the club needed to be registered and well structured; they have been given a soccer ground with good facilities to train on.

They could then spread the world around. Morten recruited players from his university, resulting in a first training session attended by 11 players. Daniel involved his brother Peter Petrolo in the project who became a key player of the club. Three French players from Toulouse Hawks studying in Odense for the semester also contributed to the restart of the club.

The group formed with Morten, Daniel, his brother Peter and the 3 French players was very strong and built a good foundation for the club. Their high motivation ensured the training sessions to have increased attendance and to show the game to many new players.

As the 2013 DAFL season already started and the Odense Lions club couldn’t play in the competition yet, they made a deal with Randers Dockers, allowing players to join them during the season which gave them the opportunity to start playing and gaining field experience. Then the DAFL gave the Odense Lions the permission to host the Danish 9-a side Championship (taking place during one day) as a step for their development. The Odense Lions lost their 3 games and kicked their first goal in the second game “but every Lion needs to learn how to walk before it can run and kill”.

The goals set by the Odense Lions for the 2013 season have been achieved: having a sustainable group to count on, playing their first games and to be part of the DAFL competition for the next season.

“The next chapter in the story of the rebirth of the Lions is to try and get more committed players” to make the squad grow for their first season. The footballs and jumpers received from the AFL Europe Start-up Club Program and the indoor area they have for the winter will allow the club to train during the winter coming and keep improving the skills and the team development.

Congratulations to the Odense Lions for their encouraging story and all the best for their next season to come.

 

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“Big Daddy” and the Vikings

AFL Europe’s new resident writer, Michael McCormick writes his first exclusive for afleruope.org.

The Danish Australian Football League (DAFL) is one of the oldest and most successful leagues in Europe and with team names like the Copenhagen X-Men playing in the local leagues, the national team, the Denmark Vikings, are sure to bring plenty of entertainment to the European Championships this year.

 

Australian football in Denmark originally began in 1989 with a newspaper advertisement placed by a couple of Australian guys who missed kicking the ball around. They asked for expressions of interest and had very few replies. Those who did reply however formed the basis for the initial competition which began in 1991. From there the competition grew and most years saw at least one new team join the competition. After a few structural changes over many years of recruiting, training and playing, the league today stands as one of the strongest in Europe and is arguably the largest in the non English speaking world.

 

One of the men at the forefront of the Vikings’ pursuit to become European Champions in 2013 is their Centre Half Back and DAFL board member, Jens Djernes aka Big Daddy.  Djernes first experienced Australian football as a high school student on exchange in Western Australia. During his exchange from July 2005 till July 2006, the Western Australian teams were quite successful in the AFL competition and in turn the atmosphere in the state was electric. Because of this Djernes discovered a liking for the game and began to play with his school mates. Soon after discovering the game, he came to support the Fremantle Dockers largely due to the influence of his initial host family who liked to support the “underdog”. When Djernes returned to Denmark he founded the Randers Dockers who are now a strong fixture in the Jutland local league.

 

As the game has developed somewhat of a following over the years in Denmark, recruitment for the league is not as difficult as it is for some other European nations. Schools and Universities are heavily targeted as recruiting grounds which is proving to be very successful for the league. The decelerator for the next level of development of the sport however is the lack of commercial television coverage. According to Djernes, American Football and Rugby gain exposure through sometimes peak hour free to air television whereas AFL games are only accessible through the pay TV channel, Euro Sport. This being the case, recruitment efforts are initially slow as the teams have to “start from scratch” when trying to explain the game to prospective players. Thanks to a strong leadership group however, the efforts don’t go unnoticed with the numbers playing the sport steadily increasing year to year.

 

The league’s strength hasn’t ever really transferred to sponsorship from or links to any AFL clubs however. In fact, the league hasn’t got any real connection to Australia despite its efforts. The DAFL had approached the Australian born and raised, Danish Crowned Princess Mary with a request of ambassadorship but to no avail. Strangely enough though the players get plenty of attention from AFL clubs.  Vikings midfielder, Aksel Bang is the perfect example of this. After being recognised as one of the best players in Europe, Bang was offered an international scholarship by AFL side Greater Western Sydney which allowed him to train with the team and play a game with their reserves side. This has set a precedent for AFL clubs to now look to Europe as a wealth of potential talent.

 

Denmark is on the cusp of earning the title of European Champions and with potential future AFL stars building the foundation of a very strong team, the Vikings are looking very likely to achieve their dream and take home the trophy.

 

Join an Australian football club in Denmark today.