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AFL Europe Championship Finals – Sweden vs Denmark

Denmark has won the battle of the Scandinavian countries by beating Sweden 48 – 32 to claim 3rd place in the 2013 AFL Europe Championships.

In what was an entertaining battle between two of the most skilful midfields in Europe with Sweden’s talented trio of Johan Lantz, Eric Salin and Emil Aberg getting on top early, aided by some strong work in the ruck from David Wahlberg.  The Swede’s were up at quarter time thanks to goals to David Verngren who has had a great tournament.  Things started tightening up in the 2nd quarter and it was 3.2.20 apiece headed into the half time break.

It was Denmark who started getting the upper hand around the midfield in the 3rd quarter led by their brilliant midfielders in Christopher Campion, Mathias Biron, Aksel Bang, Mikkel Kjoge and William Anderson, who managed to kick 3 goals for himself in the match including a nomination for goal of the tournament from a running shot from outside 50 metres.

Denmark’s defence also started standing up to the challenge and led by Rene Toft Palsgaard and Troels Ottesden, were able to start turning defence into attack.  Sweden were missing the drive of Tony McLoughlin from their half back line with the solid defender not able to play this match.  They were well served however by lively contributions from Joel Sprang, Gaetan Blondeau and  Chris Martensson, but it was not enough to give them their second win of the tournament.

The Swedish team played some formidable football throughout the tournament and were unlucky not to have beaten the Irish in their earlier encounter.  They will be left to ruminate on what may have been before preparing themselves for their next international foray.

For Denmark, the signs are extremely positive that they are closer to winning an international trophy sooner rather than later and if they are able to keep the nucleus of their young, exciting, skilful midfield brigade they will become one of the most formidable teams in Europe.

Final Scores

Denmark: 7.6.48

Sweden: 5.2.32

Goals

Denmark: Andersen 3, Norlander 2, Nielsen, Ottesen

Sweden: Verngren 3, Sorenson, Sahlin

Best Players

Denmark: Palsgaard, Andersen, Bang, Rose

Sweden: Lantz, Verngren, Blondeau, Martensson

AFL Europe Championship – Day 2

For this second day of the AFL Europe Championship, all the teams had something to prove. Day 1 produced very tight results, the successful teams wanting to keep their positions at the top of the tables.

AFL Europe Media – Kieran Harte

Swedish Elks vs Croatia Knights

Sweden has kept their tournament hopes alive after overcoming Croatia in round 2 of the 2013 AFL Europe Championship at Dublin’s DCU Sportsground today.

The win leaves Sweden with one win and one loss to date, after succumbing to Ireland on Saturday.  This win was set up by Sweden’s skilful midfield, with Natis Johansson, Emil Aberg and Johan Lantz all putting in strong performances and winning much of the ball.

Sweden’s backline also held up well against a tall and physically strong Croatian forward line with Irish born Tony McLoughlin superbly marshalling the troops.  The sheer force of Croatian big men Tomislav Cvetko, Tomislav Marsic and Ivan Ivos threatened to tear the game open at stages, but Sweden were able to maintain their composure when Croatia came within a goal late in the last quarter.

There were chances for both teams at the end to win the match before Swedish ruckman David Wahlberg received a free kick for a push in the back inside his own 50 metre zone.  He coolly slotted through the goal from 45 metres out to give Sweden a nine point lead before the final siren sounded.

Final Score:

Sweden: 5.11.41

Croatia: 5.2.32

Goals:

Sweden: Verngren 2, Blondeau, Johansson, Wahlberg

Croatia: Cvetko 2, Molnar, Jospivic, Kravar

Best Players:

Sweden: Aberg, Johansson, Lantz

Croatia: Habljak, Lenic, Cvetko

 

GB Bulldogs vs Germany Black Eagles

Great Britain has announced itself as a team to be reckoned with in the 2013 AFL Europe Championships after a scintillating 51 point win over Germany.  The performance featured match winners all over the ground for the GB Bulldogs, with none better than Anthony Trigg and Sean Walton who worked together to win clearance after clearance.

Helping the dominant midfield convert the opportunities was Chris James who managed to kick a tournament high four goals in the match.  He was assisted by the other forwards in Sam Willatt, David Saunders and Mark Todd who made the most of their opportunities.

Great Britain’s defence was also dominant, with strong efforts by Inti Arburo, Mark Ireland and Ollie Dilieto rebounding the ball time after time.  The strong defensive efforts of GB’s midfield were also noticeable, led by Mark Ireland, Owain Ryland and Mark Todd.

Germany now find themselves with two losses from two games and are no chance of reaching the Grand Final.  They had courageous performances from players Florian Naumann, Johannes Sartory and Matthias Klusemann, but were soundly beaten by Great Britain’s better use of the football and efficiency when going forward.

Final Score:

Great Britain: 9.12.66

Germany: 2.3.15

Goals:

Great Britain: James 4, Saunders 2, McNicholas, Todd, Harris

Germany:  Jung, Klusemann

Best Players:

Great Britain: Walton, Trigg, Ryland, Dilieto, James

Germany: Naumann, Sartory, Cordts

 

Irish Warriors vs Denmark Vikings

Ireland has secured a remarkable come from behind victory against Denmark in the second round of the 2013 AFL Europe Championship to have them one win away from the grand final.  Two freakish snap goals from Brian Roche and some heroics from James Flavin and John O’Regan in the last quarter saw Ireland overcome a four goal deficit.

Denmark had been the better team for much of the match and had managed to open up and maintain a handy lead against the Irish until late in the game.  Matthias Biron was everywhere for the losing side and couldn’t have done much more to drag his countrymen across the line.  He was well supported by Christopher Campion, Mikkel Kjoge and William Andersen who were all finding space and showing superior kicking skills to Ireland’s on ball brigade.

Up by 15 points at the last change, it looked like Denmark would be too poised to allow Ireland back into the game.  Campion had an opportunity to stretch the lead even further but missed and then suddenly Brian Roche had kicked two remarkable snap goals to have Ireland back in the game.

It was James Flavin who had been one of Ireland’s best players throughout the match who kicked the goal to put Ireland in front with less than a minute to go.  A goal on the siren to Paul O’Halloran flattered the final margin for Ireland who ran out eventual 10 point winners in the most entertaining match of the championship to date.

Thursday will now see Ireland play Croatia in the final round at 7pm, in a match that will send them directly through to the grand final if they win.

In the other games for the day, Sweden put their round one loss to Ireland behind them by defeating Croatia.  Great Britain overcame Germany to put them through to their first major international tournament final after other results from their group went their way.

If Ireland can overcome the Croatians this Thursday it will lead to a mouth-watering grand final with Great Britain.

Round 3 – 2013 AFL Europe Championship   –  Thursday August 8th

3pm:  Germany v Denmark

5pm: Sweden v Great Britain

7pm: Ireland v Croatia

 

Final Score:

Ireland: 7.7.49

Denmark: 6.3.39

Goals:

Ireland: Flavin 3, Roche 2, McCloskey, O’Halloran

Denmark:  Soerensen, Ottesen, Starbaek Nielsen, Andersen, C Campion, Mau Rose

 

Australian Football on The Emerald Island

Some call it the luck of the Irish, others say they were born to play but whatever your opinion, Irish footballers are becoming a solid fixture within the AFL for good reason. As well as being naturally adept to the game, the Irish have proven to be fierce competitors. The likes of the late and great Jim Stynes, Tadhg Kennely and current players such as Collingwood Magpies’ Marty Clarke and Brisbane Lions’ Pearce Hanley have all played big roles in their respective AFL teams as well as in building the game’s popularity in Ireland.

Back in their homeland, the Irish AFL league, the ARFLI, has attracted players from all over the country who are inspired by the success of their countrymen in Australia. Surprisingly the official history of AFL in Ireland only stretches back to 1999 when the league began, however the success of the local leagues and the national team in such a short time span speaks volumes for the advantage the Irish have growing up with sports such as gaelic football.

Over the years the game has developed however and according to national team half back flanker, Kevin McSorley, the Irish guys are now “playing footy the way footy should be played.” McSorley himself began playing gaelic and rugby before Australian football and admits that the success of the Irish teams has come from most of the players having a grounding in these traditional sports.

McSorley, who is part of an elite back line explained that the Irish national team, the Warriors, have a hard time with selection as there are so many players that could get picked. Managers from each region in Ireland select a core team of around forty players including older stalwarts and new talent. Players are picked and mixed from this initial group based on injuries, form and commitment to the team. McSorley went on to state that the team is blessed with a “good blend of youth and experience” and when asked if there were any players in particular to keep an eye on, he named over half the team as potential AFL prospects.

The Irish are known for their speed, agility, strength and skills. They are also renowned for their fearlessness when attacking the ball. These attributes all make for the complete AFL footballer, however loyalty to sports in their homeland such as gaelic keep a lot of potential AFL superstars at bay. This hasn’t stopped the game growing in popularity over the past ten years however and it is now at a point where it has begun to be introduced in colleges and even some primary schools. McSorley, a College Lecturer in his off time from the game, has developed a college team called the NRC Eagles which he believes to have great potential to produce the next wave of world class Irish Australian footballers.

Regardless of the hype surrounding the home team, not to mention the strong competition, the Irish still uphold the title as the team to beat. And being the number one team in Europe with a history of competitiveness at both European and International competitions, the Warriors rightly carry high hopes and plenty of confidence heading into the 2013 AFL Europe Championships.

Michael McCormick

World XVIII’s triumphant trip to Australia shows Cope what it takes

The last Round of the NAB Under 16 National Championship were held on Saturday and we have the latest from GB Bulldogs player Cameron Cope and the World XVIII Team, in their quest to win the Division 3 title.

 

The day before our final game against the Boomerangs:

As a team we did an early training session in fresh conditions with the fog just above the pitch, meaning visibility was low and it was slippery underfoot. This was perfect preparation for an early game the next day. In the afternoon we attended the GWS training ground for a few photos and to meet the players so we could chat about our time and experiences playing AFL. I managed to get an interview with the head coach of the Giants and shared my experience of playing AFL back in England. I shared how I started playing AFL; it is thanks to Ian Mitchell, a PE teacher along with being a player and GB captain. He has shown me the skills I needed to make it in this sport. After an eventful day talking to the media we went to the cinema to watch Superman as a team before an early night’s rest for the final game.


It is game day and I have got my eyes set on the prize of being Division 3 winners. The early morning game suited my game a lot more as I am used to playing in wet conditions. After the first quarter we were ahead by a small margin meaning our efforts needed to be increased in the next quarter. At the end of the second quarter we were creating an impressive lead but we knew the game wasn’t over until the final siren sounded. At the end of the third quarter the gap between the World team and Boomerangs was finally too big for a comeback. We kept pushing and playing our footy until we knew the final goal would be kicked.  During the final quarter of my carnival there were hard tackles going in from both teams. Further goals were kicked to make the final score 163 -33 meaning World team won the division without having lost a single game. Celebrations at the end of the game were in high spirits belting out our team song with all staff for the final time.


The day after the carnival I was sitting on Coogee beach looking at the sunrise after a run along the beach. Diligence and commitment was a key for recovery after a long 10 days footy. A quick dip into the sea is what I needed to shock the system before heading off to the Sydney derby in the afternoon. Watching the AFL match showed me how committed you need to be to make it in this sport. Seeing all the hard tackles, awesome marks and amazing athletic skills this made me realise this is what I want for my future.

 

World XVIII 25.13 (163)

Boomerangs 5.3 (33)

 

Goal Kickers included 3 from David McGivney and 2 from Colin Kenny both out of Ireland. More to come on them in the next couple of days.

 

Congratulations to the World XVIII team, undefeated. They won the Division 3 of the NAB Under 16 National Championship 2013! AFL Europe are proud of you all.

 

Easter Series comes to exciting conclusion in Copenhagen

In the 2nd leg of the 2013 Easter Series there were some very unique challenges that a very long European winter decided to throw at us. With 48 hours until game-time there was the real prospect of the game being called off due the a recent 25cm snow fall and the frozen soil that was taking it’s time to thaw.

After the council ticked off the ground as safe for use only two days before the game, and AFL representatives Kevin Sheehan and Tony Woods checked the surface on Tuesday and announced the game would go ahead as planned in icy cold conditions on the outskirts of Copenhagen.

The Academy and European players were split into two teams coached by Sydney Swans premiership teammates Michael O’Loughlin and Tadhg Kennelly. Kennelly’s side held O’Loughlin’s goalless for the first half, before running out 22-point winners.

Of the Australians, Matt Crouch followed his strong performance against the European Legion last Saturday in Surrey with another excellent showing, along with South Australian Luke Dunstan and energetic midfielder Lewis Taylor.

Leading forward Darcy Hourigan chipped in with three goals and made things happen in his forward half and Kade Kolodjashnij was clever and calm with the ball tucked under his arm.

Midfielders Dom Sheed and Lloyd Perris tried hard for Kennelly’s side, while the versatility of Northern Territory’s Errin Wasley-Black were also there to see off half-back and the wing.

Excitingly the Europeans didn’t look out of place playing amongst these future stars with some of the best passages of play being through the hands of the local boys. Mikkel Kjoege (Den) showed his continued improvement regularly putting his head over the ball and emerging to handball out to a teammate.

Martyn Hinchey (Eng) was great with his tap work while opposition ruckman and mobile utility Niccolo Di Giorgi (Ita) thrilled the big crowd and club recruiters with some soaring leaps and an on9 the run, left foot banana from 45m out directly in front. Other Europeans with impressive games were Kilheeny (Eng) and the Lauritzen (Den) brothers.

Niccolo Di Giorgi and Martyn Hinchey were respectively named the best players for the European contingent.

Tadhg Kennelly’s side 2.6 5.7 8.10 9.12  (66)
Michael O’Loughlin’s side 0.0 0.2 2.4 6.8 (44)

Goals
Kennelly: 
Hourigan 3, Campion 2 (Denmark), Tsitas 2, Cutler, Kolodjashnij
O’Loughlin: Boyd, J. Secher (Denmark), Sheed, Spina, Di Giorgi (Italy), Smith (Scotland)

Best
Kennelly:
 Crouch, Taylor, Hourigan, Dunstan, Kolodjashnij, Bontempelli, Robertson, Hinchey
O’Loughlin: Sheed, Perris, Dumont, Wasley-Black, Di Giorgi

Easter Series Highlights

View the videos below for all match highlights.

Talent Transfer – 5 Who Made It

With the upcoming Easter Series set to showcase the talents of not just the elite talent of our own leagues, but also eight prominent Gaelic Footballers, we look at five athletes who successfully made the transition to the AFL with European Connections.

Jim Stynes. Gaelic Football. Dublin, Ireland. No player overcame more obstacles to succeed in VFL/AFL football than the late Jim Stynes. The Dubliner, was among the first to accept an invitation to try out with the Melbourne Football club in 1983 and was to endure serial heartbreak on his route to Australian Football’s highest individual honour. He was dropped back to play with Prahran for a while in the VFA, suffered the indignity of costing the Demons a Grand Final place in 1989 when he ran across the mark of Gary Buckenara and was almost dropped at the start of his dominant Brownlow winning season in 1991. He would go on to demolish the record for consecutive games in the AFL, sometimes playing through extremely painful injuries and in his post football career would establish a groundbreaking youth outreach programme and become President of the Melbourne FC. He died tragically young last year after a four-year battle with cancer. His brother Brian also played for Melbourne, and their youngest brother David was a member of Ireland’s International Cup winning teams in 2002 and 2011.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/v1GP0CMmN00″]

Tadhg Kennelly. Gaelic Football. Kerry, Ireland. Now a very familiar figure in Europe in his role as an International talent manager with the AFL, but also in his coaching capacity with the European Legion and European Titans. Tadhg Kennelly joined the Sydney Swans and went on to play more than 200 games for the club in two spells divided by a return to Gaelic Football with his native Kerry. In winning an All Ireland with Kerry on his return, Tadhg joined his brother and legendary father in winning a celtic cross medal in the green and gold. More spectacularly he was also an essential member of the Sydney Swans Premiership winning team in 2005.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/whaIV4lZqeo”]

Mike Pyke. Rugby Union. British Columbia, Canada.  Okay we’re not trying to pinch glory from our Canadian brethren. Mike Pyke’s introduction to professional sport was in Europe. He joined the Edinburgh Rugby team in 2004 and made his debut for the Canadian national team the same year. He spent two years at the scottish club before moving to France to play for Montauban, it was during this time he scored a wonder try for Canada against the All Blacks. Having incurred some serious injuries at Montauban Pyke began looking at a career change and a friend suggested Aussie Rules, he put together a DVD of his highlights and an agent began to shop it around the AFL. Having had success with Tadhg Kennelly, Sydney were prepared to take a risk and it certainly paid off last September when a huge performance by Pyke helped the Swans to another Premiership.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/JQCy5gtnyY4″]

Ivan Maric. Basketball. Melbourne, Australia. The mighty mullet and current Croatian Footy ambassador may have been raised in Australia, but he did not take up footy until he was 16, having been a basketball player prior to this. Maric honed his skills at the Calder Canons, but nearly quit football in his second year having become frustrated with the technical aspects of the sport. He persisted thankfully and has now played more than a hundred games for Adelaide and Richmond. Maric’s generosity has been obvious in recent months as he has provided support to the Croatian Knights national team.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/pebFHhsEYQA”]

Pearce Hanley. Gaelic Football. Mayo, Ireland. In at 5, but a man who is certainly carving a great career for himself in the AFL. Last season was a breakthrough one for the Irishman who hails from Mayo on the country’s western seaboard. Hanley, was a prodigious talent in Gaelic Football playing for his county’s senior team at 17. The following year he joined the Brisbane Lions and he made his debut for the club late in the 2008 season. In the last two seasons he has been an ever present for the Lions and last year finished third in the club’s best and fairest, a massive achievement at a club with superstars such as Simon Black, Jonathan Brown, Joel Patfull and Tom Rockliff.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/sI5QhdD8JMk”]

AFL International Combine – Dublin

Results (top 3):

Standing Vertical Jump:

C. Cope – 70cm

D. Cahalane – 64cm

S. Walsh – 64cm

Running Vertical Jump:

C. Cope – 84cm

E. Lowndes – 84cm

D. Cahalane – 82cm

Agility Run:

D. Flynn – 8.09sec

S. Carthy – 8.11sec

C. Cope – 8.17sec

20m Sprint Test:

C. Cope – 2.94sec

P. Brophy – 2.97sec

D. Cahalane – 2.99sec

Beep Test:

P. Brophy – 14.7

E. Lowndes – 14.2

N. Scully – 14.2

 

AFL Draft Combine Records:

Standing Vertical Jump: 85cm – Dean Towers – 2012

Running Vertical Jump: 102cm – Jared Brennan and Nic Naitanui – 2002 & 2008

Agility Run: 7.77sec – Stephen Hill – 2008

20m Sprint: 2.75sec – Joel Wilkinson – 2010

Beep Test: 16.01 – Bradley Hill – 2011

 

 

2013 Calendar

The dates you need to know for 2013

26th Jan – Australia Day

9th Feb – Under 21 trial day – Wolverhampton, England

12th – 13th Feb – AFL Europe Combine – Dublin, Ireland

16th Feb – South Cup – Marseille, France

9th Mar – Cambridge v Oxford – Cambridge, England

31st Mar – 6th April – Easter Series – London, England

6th April – European Legion v AIS-AFL Academy – Guildford, London

6th April – International Friendly (GB Bulldogs v Irish Warriors) – Guildford, London

7th Apr – Level 1 AFL Coaching Course – Peter Schwab – London, England

10th Apr – Easter Series – Copenhagen, Denmark

13th Apr – Haggis Cup – Edinburgh, Scotland

14th Apr – Oxford Uni v Zagreb Uni – Zagreb, Croatia

20th Apr – ANZAC Cup – Villers Bretonneux, France

20th Apr – Pre-season Tour (Nth London Lions v Croatia) – Zagreb, Croatia

20th Apr – International Friendly (Irish Warriors v GB Bulldogs) – Dublin, Ireland

11th May – AFLG 9’s Cup – Frankfurt, Germany

18th May – International Friendly (Germany v Denmark) – TBC

1st Jun – CNFA Grand Final – Montpellier, France

Jun – International Friendly (Croatia v Austria) – TBC

22nd Jun – French Cup – Cergy, France

29th Jun – International Friendly (France v Germany) – Berlin, Germany

Jul – International Friendly (Croatia v Italy) – TBC

3rd Aug – 10th Aug – AFL European Championships (16-a-side) – Dublin, Ireland

14th Sept – AFLG Grand Final – Munich/Hamburg, Germany

21st Sept – Axios Euro Cup (9-a-side) – Bordeaux, France

22nd Sept – 23rd Sept – AFL Europe AGM – Bordeaux, France

28th Sept – AFL Grand Final – Melbourne, Australia

19th Oct – International Rules Series (Match 1) – Ulster, Ireland

19th Oct – Croatian Cup – Zagreb, Croatia

26th Oct – International Rules Series (Match 2) – Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

Nov – AFL European Challenge – TBC

 

If your league has dates to add please get in touch at info@afleurope.org