The International Cup is played every three years. No expatriate Australians are eligible to play. Teams are comprised solely of amateurs who must be nationals of the countries they represent. This year’s International Cup is taking place from the 5th-19th August in Melbourne.
In 2014, there were 25 teams (18 men’s and seven women’s) that represented 18 different nations. Papua New Guinea won the men’s final while Canada won the women’s final.
For the IC17 AFL Europe will be supporting 9 teams from Europe. Two of those teams will be a men’s and women’s European Crusaders.
The European Crusaders are team’s made up of players whose home nations are unable to send a team of their own. It provides players from Europe with the opportunity to experience the International Cup and compete against the best teams from around the world.
The women’s European Crusaders team is taking shape nicely with Thomas Urban and Berengere Portal of France heading up the organisation of the trip. They currently have 15 women confirmed to attend the tournament.
The men’s European Crusaders team has had a slow start with multiple nations initially trying to compete as individual teams. Brett Peterson of Sweden and Slava Belov of Russia has been herculean in his efforts to get the ball rolling and now it is time to formalise the process.
The next stage is formalising expressions of interest from players. I have copied links for expression of interest forms if you wish to play for the European Crusaders.
Players who experience the International Cup will return to their country as ‘champions’ of the sport and act as the driving force to get their national team to future European Championships and International Cups.
Players need to be self-funded for the trip with potential sponsorship and fundraising initiatives being organised by the respective management teams. For more information on the estimated cost breakdowns please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 2017 brings a whole new exciting event to the already bursting AFL Europe Women’s Calendar. We are excited to announce that the Midnight Suns, the Canadian National AFL Women’s development squad will be flying over the Atlantic to play against the Great Britain Swans, the Irish Banshees and an AFL London All-Stars team.
AFL Canada decided that in 2017 they will only be sending one representative side, the Northern Lights, to the International Cup in Melbourne, unlike 2014 where they, and the USA, sent two teams each. This decision therefore meant that AFL Canada wanted to present an opportunity of progression to their development team, the Midnight Suns. With the Great Britain Swans heading to the International Cup for their debut along with veterans of the competition, the Irish Banshees, having Canada’s development squad as a warm up game will be extremely beneficial for the two teams, and vital 18-a-side practice. The London All Stars team will be made up of the best players from the four women’s teams in the capital, to bring strong and experienced players together to present a tough challenge to the three national teams.
On the back of this decision the male representative sides of AFL Canada, Great Britain and Ireland have come to a similar arrangement with Great Britain hosting a 4-way tournament between the three sides, and a yet to be named 4th side. With the male game also bursting in Canada, and the European nations looking for more competition in the months leading up to IC17, the Canadians, like their female counterparts, were looking for a place to send their development squad. The decision was made for their male team to follow their Women’s lead and the European nations followed suit.
AFL Canada’s President Lachlan Griffiths had this to say, “We are very grateful to AFL Europe, AFL England and the Great British and Irish National Teams for coming together for this tournament next year. We have been looking to provide our players with more high quality games, and are excited by the opportunity to play against two very strong football nations. It is going to provide our development squad players with a first-hand look at the level of football required to compete at the International level, with the hope that these players will go on to represent Canada in future international games and press for selection at IC20”.
The Canadian teams will touch down in London on Wednesday 17th May for 5 days; with games being played on the Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. The Women’s games will simulate International Cup formats as close as possible, and each team will play one other only once with the winner being the one coming out with the most points, with percentage taking account if required. The Men’s tournament will follow the same format with each team playing each other once.
On the back of early conversations between the team managers of Great Britain and AFL Canada there is talk of a desire to reinvigorate a yearly competition (going forward outside of International Cup years), like that of the old Atlantic Alliance Cup. While AFL England Head of Performance and GB Team Manager, Jason Hill, didn’t confirm exactly how the competition would take place or when, he did confirm that there had been talks and that GB did plan to travel to Canada in 2018.
Further details of game locations & times will be released in due course.
Euro Cup 2016 is nearly upon us. With 15 men’s and 7 women’s teams on display tomorrow it’s sure to be a jam-packed day of Aussie rules action.
This year’s Euro Cup sees the biggest turn out of women’s teams to date. Players from Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Sweden will be making their way to Lisbon this weekend with hopes of getting their hands on some silverware.
The reigning champions; the England Vixens, will be returning with a new three-man coaching team on board and with a few new faces in the line-up they will be looking to retain their title. Joining the Vixens in group A are the 2014 Champions, the Irish Banshees. After being absent at the 2015 Cup in Croatia and narrowly losing to the GB Swans in the European Championships this August, the Irish will be fired up and no doubt will be coming out in full force. The French Cockerelles face a tough competition in what is likely to be the tougher of the two groups, however; this season has seen the French being involved in a number of tournaments including the Champions League and ANZAC Cup so will be hoping their practice as a team will aid their chances. Finalising group A is another 2015 absentee in the Scottish Sirens. After struggling in the 2014 Euro Cup, the Sirens have been secretly strengthening and with the majority of the squad fresh from playing for the GB Swans this summer, they will be one to watch.
Unfortunately, due to a late drop out, there will only be 3 teams making up Group B. 2015 runners up, the Danish Valkyries, will be looking for an easy run through to the semi-finals however their neighbours, the Swedish Ravens, will surely have something to say about this. The Ravens displayed a strong performance at the Champions League tournament earlier this year and they look to have recruited well this season with a huge social media campaign displaying their many new faces. The battle of the Scandinavians is sure to be a tight contest and one not to be missed. Finally, the youngest team, in both years established and in average player age, are the Croatian Queens. The Queens debuted in their home country last year with a team made up of school students. Little has been heard from the team in the last year but considering the strength of their brothers, the Croatian Knights, they cannot be ruled out.
The men’s side of the draw is being contested by 15 teams each divided into four groups. We’ve taken a look at each team’s prospects leading into tomorrow’s tournament.
England – 2015 placing Runners-Up – The English return looking to go one step further in 2016 after losing in the final to Denmark in Croatia. A lot of the squad returns for 2016 with some new faces from previous Dragonslayers squads. After the GB side won EC16 expect a strong challenge from the Dragonslayers who boast 14 of their side being 18-a-side European champions. Expect a quick and physical game from the Dragonslayers in coach, Rob Fielders, last tour in charge. Can they do the double in 2016 and send Rob out on a high note?
Croatia – 2015 placing 3rd – The Croatians come into the tournament on the back of a strong Euro Cup 15 beating Ireland in the 3rd place playoff after losing to tournament winners Denmark in the semi-finals. Expect a bruising style of football from the Southern-Europeans looking to make the finals in 2016. Without Denmark, Ireland or England in their side of the draw they have to be considered strong contenders.
Ireland – 2015 placing 4th – The Irish have long been the powerhouse in European footy but 2015 and 2016 so far haven’t gone to script. Expect the Irish to come back hard at Euro Cup 16 and set the record straight. The Irish still consider themselves the best team outside of Australia and will be bringing their fast, running style to Portugal to right the wrongs of Euro Cup 15 and EC16. A mouth-watering potential semi-final between England and Ireland could make an interesting encounter.
Germany – 2015 placing 5th – The Germans have been gathering steam since finishing 5th in Croatia. A strong performance at EC16, where they finished 3rd, will look to be built on when the Germans return to their usual 9-a-side format. Expect the Germans to bring a powerful team full of industry who will be well drilled and ready to go come Saturday.
France – 2015 placing 6th – The French come into Euro Cup ’16 after a disappointing Euro Cup ’15 where they expected better. The French will be looking to improve on that performance with their free-flowing game. In a tough draw with Ireland expect them to be challenging for the title in that group and a showdown with the winners of Pool D.
Austria – 2015 placing 7th – The Austrians had a tough Euro Cup ’15 being drawn with eventual champions Denmark before a tough game against France but recovered well to beat the Scottish to 7th place. The Austrians will continue to bring serious fight and endeavour to the tournament and should go well in a group with returning sides Italy and Wales.
Scotland – 2015 placing 8th – The Scottish are coming they say. A belief from the north of the UK is that Scotland should be placing higher than 8th within Europe and they plan to use Euro Cup ’16 to prove this. With a number of GB hopefuls looking to push a claim towards the GB International Cup ’17 side expect them to come hard in a group they will look to win.
The Netherlands – 2015 placing 9th – The Dutch continue to improve and rise their standing within Europe. The boys from Holland have continued to improve their league and recently played their first full international against GB. The Dutch have plenty of skilled players and a return to the usual 9-a-side format should give them a good chance against England and the Crusaders.
The Crusaders – 2015 placing 10th – The Crusaders are something of an unknown entity. Made up of European players who don’t have a national team to play for, or weren’t selected, they could be anything. The biggest challenge for the Crusaders is always a mix of languages that have never played together before. Can they overcome this in 2016?
Norway – 2015 placing 11th – The Norwegians come into the tournament looking to replicate their neighbours in Sweden and Denmark and bring a stylish game to the field. A team looking to improve are in a tough group but don’t count them out now
Peace Team – 2015 placing 12th – The Jerusalem Peace Team Lions are back in for Euro Cup 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Lions team manager, Avraham Benvenisty has provided us with an insight into their preparations leading up to this year’s tournament. The Jerusalem Peace Team Lions are taking part in their 2nd European Championship! The team was founded again a few months ago, with only 3 players that knew how to play the game (or that have even watched a game before), but recruitment brought us to the point of having 14 lads that know the rules, learned the game, and accomplished the goal of playing in the upcoming Euro Cup!
Wales – 2015 placing DNP – The Welsh return to the International fold to give us a full complement of the British Isles. An unknown entity with a lot of new faces, and some old, returning to the Euro Cup fold. The Welsh will be looking to create some upsets in their group and believe they have the team to be the story of the tournament.
Russia – 2015 placing DNP – The Russians are will relish the Portuguese sunshine although the heat could prove a factor for them. They play a tough and uncomprising style of football and could surprise a few early tomorrow.
Portugal – 2015 placing DNP – The host nation. They’ve managed to pull together side and will seriously consider themselves a chance to impress on their home turf. The recruitment of former Portugal Rugby champion, Antonio da Cunha, could prove a real coup. His 52 games of international rugby experience could see some sore bodies from the Roosters opponents.
Italy – 2015 placing DNP – the Italians are back and they’ll be putting everything they’ve got into jostling for a good finals place. With a total travelling party of 25 they’ll be sure to have the sidelines filled fans. Could really surprise a few tomorrow.
Tournament previews by Lisa Wilson and Jason Hill.
For those who can’t make it to Lisbon be sure to tune into our live stream of all Pitch 1 match’s
This year’s edition of the Women’s Axios Euro Cup was a breakthrough success. It was headlined by a hard-fought final game between the England Vixens and Ireland Banshees, who stayed undefeated throughout the tournaments five matches shutting out both the Denmark Valkyries and Les Gauloises early in their campaign.
The Vixens knew they were up for a fight as they had lost by 16 points earlier in the tournament. They managed to keep the final game to a one goal spread but under the leadership of Marie Keating’s three goals, The Banshees seized their fourth Euro Cup win.
But some of the tournament’s most important highlights were not made during match play, but rather before it all even started. 2014 had the highest participation for the Women’s tournament since its conception. Newcomers to the tournament included the Denmark Valkyries, Scotland Sirens and finalist Vixens. With 5 teams participating, each team saw action at least four times. Due to low participation, in the past the Women’s tournament was limited to only one game, usually including a Crusaders team (2012 and 2013), which was disbanded and expanded into the three new participating teams.
An Italian player, Federica Robbiano joined the Sirens team, in order to top off their numbers. The same situation arose with a few Swedish athletes who played for the Valkyries. Hopefully, Robbiano and the Swedes will help the growth and development of the sport in their countries and return to next years Euro cup with full teams of their own, as did those Ex –Crusaders.
Ireland Banshees 4.7 (31) – Denmark Valkyries 0.0 (0) Goals: Ireland: Rachel McGee 2, Carolann Cassidy 2, Paula Keatley Best: Denmark: Elizabeth Nielson, Maria Mose, Anne Sofie Friedberg Ireland: Rachel McCann, Aimee Hazley, Paula Keatley
Scotland Sirens 7.1 (43) – France Les Gauloises 1.0 (6) Goals: France: Berengere Portal Scotland: Erin Walter 3, Kristy Gray, Hazel Stevenson Best: France: Camille Portal, Chloe Raso, Berenger Portal Scotland: Eve Shao,Helen Cameron, Carolyn Baker
England Vixens 1.1 (7) – Ireland Banshees 3.5 (23) Goals: England: Rania Ramadan Ireland: Marie Keating 2, Emma Kelly Best: England: Lisa Mchugh, Vanessa Temple, Rania Ramadan Ireland: Marie Keating, Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley
France Les Gauloises 0.0 (0) – Ireland Banshees 9.11 (65) Goals: Ireland: Aimee Hazley 4, Marie Keating 2, Emma Kelly 2, Carolann Cassidy 2, Rachel McGee Best: France: Charlene Charmale, Camille Portal, Anne Pille Ireland: Marie Keating, Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley
England Vixens 11.7 (73) – Denmark Valkyries 0.0 (0) Goals: England: Laura Turner 5, Rania Ramadan 2, Vanessa Temple 2, Polly Moane Best: England: N/A Denmark: Anne Sophie Friedberg, Katharina Wittenberg, Stine Magnussen
Ireland Banshees 3.5 (23) – Scotland Sirens 1.3 (9) Goals: Ireland: Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley, Aimee Hazley Scotland: Eve Shao Best: Ireland: Emma Kelly, Marie Keating, Fiona Roarty Scotland: Helen Cameron, Kristy Gray, Eileen Myles
France Les Gauloises 1.0 (6) – Denmark Valkyries 1.2 (8) Goals: France: Berengere Portal Denmark: N/A Best: France: Charlene Charnal, Berengere Portal, Camille Portal Denmark: Anne Sophie Friedberg, Kathie Aepkers, Mettle Haurum