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General Manager Position

AFL Europe is currently taking applications for the role of General Manager. Please find below further information regarding the role.

Job title: General Manager

Contract: Permanent

Location: London

Salary: £35k + additional commission opportunities available

The Australian Football League (AFL) is Australia’s premier sporting organisation, supporting a constantly evolving national competition which has experienced rapid growth over the past 10 years.  AFL Europe are the governing body of the sport in Europe and are currently seeking applicants for the role of General Manager – AFL Europe.  The General Manager will work with the AFL Europe Commission, Member and Affiliate Countries and the Australian Football League to deliver on the strategy of AFL Europe and drive the growth of the sport across Europe.  Specific duties and responsibilities will include:-

  • Manage the business affairs of AFL Europe including supporting the Commercial Manager in generating revenue outcomes and viable investment allocations in line with agreed business development initiatives;
  • Provide leadership and guidance to secure grants and funding;
  • Manage communications and generate content on the website, social media and e-newsletters;
  • Investigate broadcast opportunities across Europe to increase exposure and potential revenues;
  • Maintain relationships with Patron Prince Charles office to maximise publicity opportunities;
  • Create new and sustainable revenue streams;
  • Liaise with key stakeholders and other appropriate bodies to develop the global brand;
  • Prepare and manage the annual budget process;
  • Manage the AFL Europe Talent Program to recruit professionals to expand European operations;
  • Prepare reports and recommendations in relation to marketing and sales initiatives for senior management.

The successful candidate will have experience working in a Professional Sporting environment; particularly AFL is advantageous,with proven strategic planning and implementation capabilities, commercial business development skills and leadership qualities.  You will have knowledge and experience of sports participation or community programs and an understanding of current trends and strategies with the ability to build relationships, financial management expertise and strong operational and administrative attributes.

If you meet the necessary requirements and would like to find out more about how to become part of AFL Europe then please forward your CV with a cover letter addressing the following points to AFL Europe Chairman Chris Dow, chrisdow@live.com.au;

1. What appeals to you about this role

2. How would you deliver against the 5 key accountabilities per the PD; Member services, Commercial, Talent, Marketing and Business Operations; noting prior skills you offer?

3. If successful when could you commence this role?

Closing date for applications will be Sunday 23rd October 2016 at midnight GMT.

2016 AFL Europe Championships

Our wrap up of our AFL Europe Championship final day is now live. Congratulations to GB Swans and Great Britain Australian Rules Football on taking out the top prizes.

Exceptionally well fought ARFLI(Australian Rules Football League of Ireland)! Your lads were absolute gentlemen and we could not thank you enough for the amount of assistance you gave AFL Europe throughout the entire week, especially when you valiantly carried the posts off after your tough loss (and every other game day!).

Well done to German Eagles AFL for taking out the third place final and coming down to support the ladies on the Friday, running water and umpiring!! Congratulations to the Swedish Elks on their performance all week, we can’t wait to see you guys go strength to strength for ‪#‎IC17‬

Finally, a massive thank you to our incredible volunteers and those clubs/individuals that helped make the week happen! The Wandsworth Demons, your marquee was exceptionally well used! Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, what an amazing night you gave us on Saturday to cap off a great week! The Generator Hostel for your hospitality for most of our group! And the Wimbledon Hawks for your home ground!

We’ll see you all at #IC17 or ‪#‎EC19‬! ‪#‎AFLinEurope‬

Third Place Playoff – Germany Eagles vs Swedish Elks

The final day of play at the 2016 AFL Europe Championships started with the third place final between the two hardest hitters of the men’s competition, the German Eagles and Swedish Elks.

After a week of near perfect weather London saved its worst day for last with a howling wind running across the field and providing one end with a four to five goal advantage.

After a very physical encounter earlier in the week everyone was expecting this one to be to the same tune and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With the Eagles running with the wind in the first term you thought they would have had the better of the play. This wasn’t the case with a silly 50-meter penalty gifting Jacob Lantz Sweden’s opening goal.

Ruben Streicher was throwing his weight around for the Eagles crunching players left, right and centre. He started up forward but was switch down back early in the piece too sure up a rattle Eagles defence.

Sweden had the better of the first quarter as they went into the break with a 1-goal advantage after holding Germany scoreless.

The physicality went up a notch in the second term as neither side took a backward step. Ill-discipline cost the Elks as Germany got their first two goals of the match from 50-meter penalties.

Playing with the breeze was proving more difficult than first expected as Germany went into halftime up 3 goals to 1 as they were able to keep their opponents scoreless.

The Germans gained the ascendancy in the third term and again kept the Swedes to their solitary first term goal. They were kept in the game through the sheer will power of Hampus Olsson who took a handful of intercept marks and bombed it long out of trouble countless times.

Andreas Svensson had another huge game in midfield for the Swedes and proved why he was later crowned ‘Player of the Tournament’ with another influential performance.

With a 3-goal lead going into the final quarter it appeared the Swedish side had run out of legs. They handled the wind better this time around and were peppering the goals early. 2 goals in quick succession to the Elks and it was game on. When Lantz bent one back from a tight angle they were well within reach and with only moments on the clock the crowd were on their feet.

The Elks were again bombing into their forward line and only needed a point to put the game into extra time. A long kick into the Swedes goal square saw the ball rush through for a behind. Unbeknown to the crowd a free-kick had been given for a push in the back with the Germans quickly kicking the ball well out of danger.

When the final siren sounded neither side knew of the result as the scoreboard displayed a draw. After a moment of discussion, the confusion was cleared and Germany were informed of their incredibly victory.

Full credit must go to coach’s Mark Woods and Ryan Tucker for their amazing efforts not only getting their sides to the tournament but for promoting a hard and tough style of football adopted by their respective sides.

In what turned out to be the match of the day the final scoreboard read Germany 4.6. 30 to Sweden’s 4.5 29.

Goals:

Germany: K. Haigh, J. Huesken, T. Menzel, J. Orlowski

Sweden: J. Lantz 2, K. Karlsson, C. Martensson

Best:

Germany: R. Streicher, F. Neumann, J. Jung, M. Schutoff, M. Thormann, T. Thormann

Sweden: A. Svensson, C. Martensson, H. Olsson, A. Olsson, B. Sund, T. Lindgran

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Women’s Final – GB Swans vs Irish Banshees

The much anticipated women’s final followed the third place playoff with only a draw and a 1-point victory to the Swans separating the two squads throughout their round matches.

The wind had picked up and was going to make a big difference in this game and whichever side was going to adapt quicker would come away with the much coveted title of ‘Champions of Europe’.

As expected it was an absolute dogfight to start the game. Stoppage after stoppage was created by both sides fierce attack on the football and their committed defensive pressure.

The crowd were in for a treat as the ruck dual between Clara Fitzpatrick of Ireland and Lea Cobham of GB was incredible to watch.

Onora Mulcahy was paid the utmost respect from the GB coaching panel as they opted to tag the ball magnet by employing her AFL London teammate, Rose Lewis, to do the job.

Despite it being a goalless first quarter the crowd were heavily invested in the game as the ferocity shown by both sides had passers by stopping in to see what all the fuss was about.

50-meter penalties seemed to be the flavour of the day as a GB centre-half forward, Rania Ramadan, was marched into the goal square to convert what turned out to be the match-winning and only goal of the game.

From here the game evolved into a scrap with nearly all 36 players on field descending on the Irish forward 50 to make sure nothing went through the Banshees goal.

The last quarter flew by as the Irish did everything they could to get within range to put through that much needed major. Full credit to the Swans defence who stood up when needed to repel anything and everything that came their way.

When the final siren sounded the home crowd erupted with jubilation and stormed the field to celebrate with the new champions of Europe, the GB Swans. The girls were out on their feet and should be proud of how they represented not only their countries but also the amazing development of women’s football in Europe.

The final scorecard reading 1.2. 8 to 0.2. 2.

Goals:

GB Swans: R. Ramadan

Irish Banshees:

Best:

GB Swans: L. Cobham, A. Saulter, D. Saulter, F. Blount, L. Smith, R. Ramadan

Irish Banshees: C. Fitzpatrick, O. Mulcahy, A. Payne, M. Walsh, M. Beaven, L. Connolly

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Men’s Final – Irish Warriors vs GB Bulldogs

The main event had finally arrived. The all-conquering Irish Warriors were against up-and-comers the GB Bulldogs in what was set to be one for the ages following their 1-point thriller only days beforehand.

Last time they had meet in the European Championships Final was in 2013 when a last second Irish snap gave the Warriors victory.

The Irish had been the form side all tournament, showing why they have been European and International Champions on numerous occasions.

The Bulldogs, in front of a home crowd, had other ideas and jumped out of the blocks early to register 5 first quarter goals to the Warriors 1 running with the wind. Andy Walkden contributed 2 of those majors and was looking dangerous whenever he went near the footy.

The GB side had come out with a plan and executed it to perfection in the opening exchanges. The big test for them was going to come in the second term when the Irish had the wind at their backs.

The second term didn’t go as expected for the Irish who were bombing away long whenever they got the football in their hands. This was exactly what the Bulldogs wanted as their spare man racked up a ton of the footy.

The Irish looked rattled and didn’t have an answer for what the Bulldogs were throwing at them. Their usual run and carry was non-existent and cracks were starting to show.

One of the best players all tournament, Kevin O’Brien from Ireland, was being tagged out of the game by GB’s, James Talbot. The little general from AFL London was quick to tell this reporter of his unsung efforts as a lock-down midfielder throughout the week at the tournament after-party on Saturday.

Likewise, the tournament’s equal leading goal scorer, Padraic O’Connell, was being well held by the dependable, Matty Goodman, whose added counterattack was immense for the home side.

The unthinkable had happened and the Irish had been kept goalless running with the breeze. The Bulldogs had their tails up going into halftime and with one hand on the trophy they weren’t going to let this slip.

A spirited halftime speech from the Irish coach had the boys in green raring to go after the main break. Two quick goals to Colin O’Lordian and Muiris Bartley gave the Warriors a sniff but to GB’s credit they absorbed the pressure and took control of the game.

A late goal to Andy Walkden calmed the nerves of the boisterous home crowd and gave the Bulldogs a 3 goal advantage going into the final term.

The Irish knew they could close the gap and with the wind coming over their shoulders the Bulldogs knew it was still anyone’s game.

The Warriors had the better of the final term but poor foot skills really hurt them going forward and they were unable to convert their chances. Time was getting away from them and when Walkden converted his fourth goal of the day it was all but over for the reigning champions.

A late goal to Kevin McDonnell left it too little, too late for the Irish and when the final siren sounded a new champion of Europe was crowned.

Andy Walkden was huge for the Bulldogs and became only the second player in the tournament to register a unanimous best on ground performance. A huge effort in a grand final by the GB half forward.

The final score read 7.9. 51 to 4.5. 29.

Both sides proved they be tough opponents when they play in next year’s International Cup in Melbourne and will do their Countries and AFL in Europe proud.

All sides should be proud of how they represented their countries and we can’t wait to see how everyone develops in the future.

A huge shout out to the umpiring squad for officiating an amazing week of football and to all volunteers who gave up their time to help in any way possible.

Hopefully we’ll see a few familiar faces at the upcoming Euro Cup in Lisbon.

Goals:

GB: A. Walkden 4, M. Cashman, D. Hastie, C. Britton

Ireland: M. Bartley, G. Murray, C. O’Lordian, K. Mccdonnell

Best:

GB: A. Walkden, L. Booth, J. Coughlan, M. Hudson, C. Britton, M. Goodman

Ireland: G. Walls, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Halloran, D. Joyce, D. McElhone, K. O’Brien

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The Top 10s

WOMEN

Player of the TournamentVotesTeam
Clara Fitzpatrick41Irish Banshees
Rania Ramadan28GB Swans
Claire Messent25Crusaders
Onora Mulcahy25Irish Banshees
Danni Saulter25GB Swans
Alex Saulter24GB Swans
Aisling Gillespie23Irish Banshees
Rebecca Dickson21Crusaders
Marley Beaven19Irish Banshees
Chloe Hall16GB Swans

 

Leading Goal KickerGoalsTeam
Aisling Gillespie6Irish Banshees
Caroline Sellar3GB Swans
Danni Saulter3GB Swans
Rania Ramadan3GB Swans
Ashleigh Payne2Irish Banshees
Lea Cobham2GB Swans
Chloe Hall2GB Swans
Naomi Curtis2Irish Banshees
Ciara Moane1Irish Banshees
Louise Darby1GB Swans

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MEN

Player of the TournamentVotesTeam
Andreas Svensson27Swedish Elks
Kevin O’Brien26Irish Warriors
Muiris Bartley24Irish Warriors
Gavin Murray24Irish Warriors
Jakob Jung22German Eagles
Hampus Olsson21Swedish Elks
Andrew Walkden16GB Bulldogs
Tristan Thormann14German Eagles
Buster Sund14Swedish Elks
Ruben Streicher14German Eagles

 

 

Leading Goal KickerGoalsTeam
Paudric O’Connell9Irish Warriors
Marc Cashman9GB Bulldogs
David Hastie7GB Bulldogs
Andrew Walkden7GB Bulldogs
Jan Huesken6German Eagles
Dominic Joyce5Irish Warriors
Jack Coughlan5GB Bulldogs
Muiris Bartley5Irish Warriors
Gavin Murray5Irish Warriors
Eoin O’Murchu4Irish Warriors

 

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#EC16 Day 2 Review

German Eagles vs Swedish Elks

The 2nd day of matches at the AFL Europe Championships was again graced with beautiful sunshine. The German Eagles and Swedish Elks kicked off proceedings with what many pundits predicted to be the most bruising and physical encounter of the tournament.

Both sides were eager for the contest and this showed when they both started warming up at full intensity 45 minutes prior to the first bounce.

With the breeze at their backs in the first quarter, the German side, took the ascendancy early in the match. The footy was camped in the Eagles forward 50 with only their accuracy for goal proving costly. Tristan Thormann backed up his performance from Sunday to again assert a physical presence to every stoppage or contest he took part in.

Buster Sund picked up the slack for the Elks and did his best to swing the momentum in his sides favour. Despite the Eagles having the better of the game early, the Elks got a goal against the run of play to open the scoring for the day. A quick reply from Germany and this match was all level going into the 2nd term.

The 2nd quarter was a see-sawing affair with the Swedes and Germans trading goals to start the quarter. Andreas Svensson racked up a ton of the footy in the midfield for Sweden while their backline was being well served by Hampus Olsson who had a handful of last ditch intercept marks in the Elks defensive 50.

Jakob Jung showed his class in the midfield and displayed why he was one of the most talked about talents in Europe, while teammate Ruben Streicher was getting off the leash for the Germans up forward and when he marked and goaled from deep in the forward pocket the momentum well and truly shifted in the Eagles favour.

With a two goal lead to the Germans at halftime and kicking with the breeze in the third term meant the boys from Sweden had to muster something special to get back in the game. Some inspirational words from coach, Ryan Tucker, had the Elks come out from the main break like men possessed.

The intensity went up a notch in this game and the Swedish side did everything they could to get themselves back into the match. Spot fires were opening up after each contest with neither side taking a back foot.

Two goals in quick succession for Sweden to Phillip Nilsson and Chris Martensson to open the 4th quarter and the Elks opened the door for a come-from-behind victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be with Germany’s, Jan Huesken, kicking his third goal of the game and sealing what proved to be Germany’s first win in a full 18-a-side match in over 3 years, a great achievement for coach Mark Woods and his chargers.

Final scores: 7.14. 56 to 4.4. 28

Goals:

Germany: J. Huesken 3, R. Streicher 2, M. Herthum, H. Van de Stay

Sweden: K. Karlsson, A. Olsson, P. Nilsson, C. Martensson

Best:

Germany: J. Jung, T. Thormann, J. Huesken, M. Schutoff, M. Preiss, R. Streicher

Sweden: A. Svensson, H. Olsson, B. Sund, A. Tellstrom, T. Persson, J. Nilsson

 

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GB Bulldogs vs Irish Warriors

The much anticipated game against these two old rivals was set to be an absolute thriller and it didn’t disappoint. With a twilight bounce, a growing crowd joined the boundary at Motspur Park to catch a glimpse of these two European powerhouses go head-to-head.

With a few injuries, a no-show and a dip in the Serpentine taking its toll on the home side they had to utilise their full squad for this game. The Irish weren’t without their troubles with a few knocks from their first hit out against the Germans ruling out some of their players.

Squad issues aside both teams were fired up for what was most likely a dress rehearsal for the Championship match in a few days’ time. The match opened with the footy whizzing from end-to-end. Neither side could string together more than a handful of clean possession, with a mixture of nerves and intense opposition pressure forcing simple skill errors.

Muiris Bartley was collecting a heap of the footy across the halfback line for Ireland and was launching the Warriors into attack with his raking left boot. Similarly, for GB was Luke Booth who was everywhere for the home side.

The 1st quarter deadlock was eventually broken by Irish forward pocket, Ryan McCloskey, whose nous around the goals was second to none. Another goal to Padraic O’Connell and the Irish had the better of the opening exchanges.

The 2nd term was a complete scrap. The footy was hot and neither side took a backward step. The Bulldogs were again hampered by their inability to covert forward entries. They finished the first half with 10 behinds and no goals in what proved a goalless term for both sides.

It was a low scoring first half with the scorecard not reflecting the excitement the game was providing its spectators. Jack Coughlan and Chris Britton were doing all they could to get the home side up-and-about while Gavin Murray was proving pivotal for the Irish in the ruck.

The match resumed similar to how it left off. Turnovers were again hurting both sides. Dominic Joyce got off the chain and opened the scoring for Ireland. Ill-discipline crept into the Bulldogs game and coupled with their inaccuracy in front of goal was putting the game out of reach.

With 3 goals to GB’s 0 in the third term the Irish looked like they had this game on ice. Injuries took their toll on the Warriors with a handful of players finishing their day early.

The Bulldogs started the 4th term still without a goal to their name. Cashman finally broke through for the hosts to breath some life into his Bulldogs teammates. Cashman goaled again and before you knew the game was alive. Andrew Walkden jagged another for GB and the game was well and truly turning into a nail biter. A mercurial tap on to an open Liam Burns steadied the ship for Ireland and gave them a 7-point lead with 5 minutes to play.

The footy was locked in the GB forward line with conversion again proving costly for the Bulldogs. They couldn’t buy a goal. It took a left-foot snap deep in the forward pocket from Vice-Captain, Michael Sharp to get the Bulldogs within a solitary point of the Irish with 2 minutes on the clock.

That was all she wrote in this blockbuster with the Irish able to hold on for what was a thrilling 1-point victory. Inaccuracy was the achilles heel for Great Britain and will be something they will look to rectify in their final pool game on Thursday.

Final Scores: 6.5. 41 to 4.16. 40

Goals:

Ireland: R. McCloskey 2, P. O’Connell, D. Joyce, E. O’Murchu, L. Burns

GB: M. Cashman 2, M. Sharp, A. Walkden

Best:

Ireland: M. Bartley, G. Murray, K. O’Brien, D. McElhone, P. O’Connell, D. Joyce

GB: M. Sharp, A. Cochrane, L. Booth, A. Overton, C. Britton, J. Coughlan

 

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1 DAY TO GO!

AFL Europe Championships Preview

14th -20th August

The pinnacle of full format AFL in Europe has arrived. National teams from around Europe have landed in London to compete for the title of best national team in Europe. Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Germany will contest the men’s division while Great Britain, Ireland and a combination of players from France, Denmark and Britain will form a European Crusaders side to compete in the women’s side of the draw.

The week long tournament will be held at the home of Aussie Rules in London, Motspur Park, and runs from Sunday 14th to Saturday 20th of August. The first round of men’s matches takes place tomorrow with the Irish Warriors taking on the German Eagles at 1pm. This will be followed by the host nation, the Great Britain Bulldogs going head-to-head with the Swedish Elks at 3pm.

The men’s draw has each team play one another once before they contest the finals on the Saturday. The host nation, the Great Britain Bulldogs, along with the Irish Warriors are tipped to be the strongest sides at the triennial competition. The Bulldogs are renowned for their hard and tough style of football while the Warriors like to take the game on and use the space utilising their run-and-carry.

The Swedes and Germans are harder to get a gauge on and they’ll be real surprise packets at this tournament. Both countries have thriving domestic competitions and on their day can cause upsets to their more fancied opponents. The Elks and Eagles won’t mind the underdog tag and will work it in their favour come game day.

The women’s tournament kicks off on the Thursday with three consecutive days of fixtures culminating in the final on the Saturday. The GB Swans have set the benchmark early in 2016 with a host of victories at shorter format tournaments. The Irish girls will do their best to get the ball on the outside where they are most dangerous with their speed and skill. The biggest unknown in the women’s tournament is the European Crusaders. They’re a side made up of the most footy-mad girls from France, Scandinavia and Britain who were desperate to get a game when their countries were unable to fill a full squad. They’ll be a real unknown force in this tournament and depending on how they gel as a side could seriously contend for the top prize.

With games taking place on every other day from Sunday London will be brimming with Aussie rules action. Keep an eye out on the AFL Europe social media and website for updates and match reviews daily.

The full tournament schedule:

Sunday 14th August

  • 1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles
  • 3pm GB Bulldogs v Swedish Elks

Tuesday 16th August

  • 4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks
  • 6pm GB Bulldogs v Irish Warriors

Thursday 18th August

  • 1:30pm GB Swans v Irish Banshees
  • 2:15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
  • 3pm European Crusaders v GB Swans
  • 4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks
  • 6pm GB Bulldogs v German Eagles

Friday 19th August

  • 11:30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
  • 12:15pm GB Swans v Irish Banshees
  • 1pm European Crusaders v GB Swans

Saturday 20th August

  • 12:40pm Men’s third place P/O
  • 2:30pm Women’s final
  • 4pm Men’s final

 

 

 

Ben Durance

 

 

2016 AFL EUROPE CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2016 AFL Europe Championship Schedule taking place in London from August 13-20th.  AFL Europe’s triennial 18-a-side tournament is a warm up for the AFL International Cup in August 2017. With match days falling on, Sunday 14th, Tuesday 16th, Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th at Motspur Park (Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Ground, KT3 6NE) this year’s competitors are:

 

MEN

German Eagles

Great Britain Bulldogs

Irish Warriors

Swedish Elks

 

WOMEN

European Crusaders (Made up from France, GB and Scandinavia)

Great Britain Swans

Irish Banshees

 

SCHEDULE

DAY ONE – SUNDAY 14TH AUGUST

1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles

3pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Swedish Elks

 

DAY TWO – TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST

4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Irish Warriors

 

DAY THREE – THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST

1.30pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

2.15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

3pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks

6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v German Eagles

 

DAY FOUR – FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST

11.30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders

12.15pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees

1pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans

 

DAY FIVE – SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST

1pm Men’s Third Place PO

2.30pm Women’s Grand Final

3.30pm Men’s Grand Final

 

Good luck to all involved, we can’t wait to host you in London from 13th-20th August 2016.

 

For volunteering, physiotherapists, or umpires please email admin@afleurope.org

IC14 preview: GB Bulldogs

By Michael McCormick

The most improved team in Europe is also one of the most feared teams in the International Cup.

The Great Britain Bulldogs are shaping up as a smokey to take out the title having had their strongest season in 2013.

The 2013 European Championships Runners Up and 2013 Axios Euro Cup Premiers appear ready and eager to take on the world’s best and, according to AFL England President and Bulldogs Team Manager, Adam Bennett, will be giving their all to take home the cup.

“As the old adage says, you have to beat the best to be the best and we want to be the best,” stated Bennett.

Quite a few new faces have been introduced since the 2011 International Cup and with an injection of youth, the Bulldogs will be better placed to endure the intensity of the matches this year.

“We are seeing the next generation of footballers come through who have started their footy at a much younger age than previous Bulldogs squads and represent a very positive development for the sport in Britain.”

Stalwarts such as captain, Sean Walton and Anthony Trigg will be leading the young brigade as they aim to put Great Britain in the public eye and gain acknowledgement as a great footballing nation.

It hasn’t been an easy road however. The players from every club in Australia and Great Britain have dedicated years of hard work and thousands of pounds into developing their game in order to play in the International Cup.

“After all the hard work, it’s a shame that the funding available for footy in the UK is very limited, so players contribute a large proportion of their own costs for tours such as this,” said Bennett.

The time spent in Australia, also the first trip down under for many of the players, is not all about business. Bennett explained that the team will also have the opportunity to meet some of the game’s greats.

“The International Cup is also a great chance to meet the legends of the game, such as Ron Barrassi and Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico.”

Having secured a tour of the Western Bulldogs facilities and a meet and greet with the players in 2011, the Great Britain Bulldogs will be hoping for another opportunity of the like.

“With professional footy such a distant thing for most of the squad, the opportunity to meet and chat with any professional of this fantastic game is immense,” said Bennett.

Travelling with the team will be coach, Mark Pitura in his farewell event with the club after having served a very successful five year tenure.

He will be supported by a new Assistant Coach and Manager and the team physiotherapist, Claire Shapland, who put the squad through conditioning and fitness workshops in the months leading up to the event.

As well as these workshops, other training strategies were implemented such as allowing players from the 9’s competition in Britain to play in the London 18’s competition on weekends during the season.

Even though the Bulldogs are eager to play teams outside of Europe, they still have a point to prove.

“The Bulldogs would also relish another crack at International and European Champions Ireland, after a heart-breaking 1-point loss on the last kick of the 2013 European Championships,” said Bennett.

The Bulldogs have their sights firmly placed on a top four finish and with their recent form and developing youth, it appears a realistic expectation.

#bulldogsweek #IC14 #AFLIC14

GB3

Pictures by Derek Clarke