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.

Croatian league continues to grow – Slavonski Brod Tigers

Michael McCormick

There are many passionate Australian footballing nations in Europe, but none seemingly more so than Croatia. The addition of a new team, the Slavonski Brod Tigers, greatly strengthens the nation’s pursuit to have the strongest AFL national team in Europe, and the first full sized football field in Eastern Europe.

Current Tigers President and passionate AFL supporter, Tomislav Vlaović explained that he was ecstatic when a co-worker told him about the new club’s establishment in January, 2014.

“I actually thought he was kidding as all of them know how I love this game and go on and on how it’s by far the best game in the world,” stated Vlaović.

Born and raised in Melbourne,  Vlaović and his family left for Croatia 19 years ago and settled in Staro Petrovo Selo where he currently works as a Junior Sportsbook Manager at Sport-bet.  Along with the founding members, Luka Đukić and Zvonimir Marinović, have already made exceptional progress with the club, even securing a partnership with their namesake, the Richmond Tigers.

“We named the club after the Richmond Tigers in honor of Ivan Maric becoming the Croatian Ambassador for Aussie rules in 2013,” explained Vlaović.

“We tried to contact Richmond to see if they would accept us a brother club. They responded almost instantly, accepting the partnership and even offering to send us a full set of Richmond jumpers.”

Albeit a strong start, the club has already felt the pinch of financial pressure, having to self fund all of their endeavours so far.

“Times are tough in Croatia, we are getting no financial assistance from the town council of Slavonski Brod, stated Vlaović. The boys are showing unbelievable enthusiasm and will and we are moving forwards step by step.”

The club is taking huge steps having recently received permission to build their own dedicated oval and are currently in the grant application process with AFL Europe to attain goal posts. This would allow the club of around 20 players to hone their skills in front of goal.

“Our league starts on the 5th of April and the first round will be played on our home ground so we want the advantage.”

The Slavonski Brod Tigers will fit into the well established HLAN league which already consists of three clubs from Zagreb and one from Graz, Austria, and will be looking to expand by two more in 2015.

The founders of the club are both representatives of the national team, the Croatian Knights who are currently trying to raise funds to bring their team to Australia for the International Cup in August.

“They simple can’t afford to carry the costs themselves and also get very little support from governing bodies as Aussie rules is not a recognized sport in Croatia,” stated Vlaović.

If you can contribute or sponsor the Croatian Knights to enable them to get to Australia, get in contact with them via their website, or contact AFL Europe.

Seeds sprouting across Europe

Image : Portuguese side Lisbon Dockers during the Algarve 9’s

Wesley Hull – WFN

A quick look at the list of clubs receiving start up grants from AFL Europe is a reasonable indicator of the slow but steady growth of Australian Rules football across the continent. Some might argue that the true growth is only seen in the number of players listed with clubs. Others might argue that not all of these clubs will see the distance. But one thing that is true is that the line-up of people seeking grants on behalf of fledgling clubs continues.

For some the journey is just beginning. Some are well into their journey, whilst others are little more than a name on an application. But a projection looking forward might see a landscape with more teams, more players and more opportunities than ever before if all goes well.

World Footy News first reported the possibility of a new club in Portugal in our article about the recent Algarve 9’s tournament played in Vilamoura, north of Lisbon (see: This group, in Averio, has received a grant from the AFL Europe Start-Up Club Program to kickstart a new club. In Hungary, another group in Budapest has applied for and received a grant. According to Ben MacCormack, the General Manager of AFL Europe, “We have supplied start-up grants to two groups in Budapest and Averio, Portugal however they aren’t at new club stage yet.” We will monitor the progress of these parties in the new year and report any further growth.

There has been much movement on this front in Denmark. The Copenhagen X-Men also received a grant and have recently finished their first full season in the DAFL. Whilst they only managed one victory, fittingly against the North Copenhagen Barracudas, their presence has expanded the playing options in Denmark and contributed to the future growth of the game there. Additionally, as we reported earlier this year, the Odense Lions returned as a determined force. Whilst they did not play in the DAFL Premier League this year, their goal is to be there in 2014 and beyond (see:

Another Nordic country, Finland, has seen an increased level of interest in Australian Rules football, resulting in grants being approved for both the Tampere Bobcats and the Lappeenranta Wildmen (see: Whilst both groups are making the transition to clubs by recruiting and developing localised programs for a future playing in the FAFL, the mere fact that multiple clubs are developing in Finland speaks a great deal about growth of the game in the country.

Similarly, a grant was approved for the development of another Icelandic team, with the Drekarnir Dragons listed as the name of the new team in the north of Iceland in the town of Akureyri (see: As stated by AFL Iceland General Manager Solvi Fannar Sigmarsson, “I contacted AFL Europe and applied for the [grant] because we’re starting the club up here in Akureyri. They sent us two leather balls and four plastic ones. It was a great help. Our main focus continues to be on recruitment and growing the sport here.”

In Scotland, the Kingdom Kangaroos have undergone a transformation from the Central Magpies to be a new force in years to come representing central Scotland and Fife. They are due to join the SARFL in 2014 (see:

Over in Ireland the UCC Bombers in Cork also received a grant which has seen them develop into a side capable of joining the ARFLI competition sooner rather than later. College or university based teams are also growing across Ireland with UCC, the NRC Eagles in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland and a team from the Dublin City University.

Even aside from the issuing of grants by AFL Europe, the growth can be seen across Europe. In Germany the Dresden Wolves will join the CAAFL (Czech league) based in Prague. There is also movement across Germany with teams forming or developing in Boblingen (Pirates), Ludwigsburg (Taipans) and Haslach (Hawks) (see: ).

Russian teams are in their infancy in Yaroslavl and Novokuznetsk, and France has already seen the addition to the CNFA of the ALFA Lions, with the possibility of future teams from Pau, St Nazaire and Toulon having been discussed in the past year. Even in Austria the Styrian DownUnderDogs have given birth to a litter of small nine per side clubs named the Murtal Mountain Goats, Gradec Earthmovers and Castle Rock Mammoths.

There are many unknowns here. Some teams will prosper, whilst others may fall away through lack of interest, funding or both. Some teams may progress to 18 a side and others may remain forever at nine per side. But whatever happens, many clubs are benefitting from the assistance of AFL Europe. At the same time other clubs are springing up with the assistance of local leagues and dedicated individuals.

This is the kind of epidemic I approve of.