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AFL Europe works with DFAT to empower Women and Girls through Aussie Rules.

The AFL footprint is extending beyond the shores of Australia at a rapid rate. Port Adelaide’s partnership in China, Europe’s continual growth in participation and the array of countries embracing Aussie Rules are increasing at a rapid rate. Countries as remote and varied as Palestine and Malta are jumping on board expanding the AFL bubble further outside of Australia.

On the 3rd of June in Palestine, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) hosted a ‘Young Women’s Sports Day’ in the capital of Ramallah. The Australian Representative Office (ARO) in Ramallah, in cooperation with the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Higher Council for Youth and Sport, organised the day which was attended by 11 to 16-year-old girls. AFL Europe collaborated with DFAT by sending every girl home with an Auskick pack and ball.

With expectations set at 100 girls attending, the organising committee was amazed to have 150 keen and excited participants. Girls from villages, refugee camps and sporting clubs in the West Bank area were in attendance; being even more impressive considering the mercury reached a top of 34 degrees.

Aussie Rules was a hit amongst all 150 Palestinian girls as they were put through the paces with some kicking and handballing drills before they went into a free-for-all match, with everyone joining in the fun.

The footies and Auskick packs were much appreciated souvenirs for the girls and will act as reminders of the amazing day they had learning Australia’s Game. No doubt they be making appearances around Ramallah in the near future.

Marcia Pius, Head of Office at the ARO, commented that they were “very proud to share our love of sport with the Palestinian girls, and hopes to build on our cooperation with Palestinian sports institutions and the broader community in future events”.

A enormous thank you goes to Marcia Pius, Lima Anfous, and Amani Hato in the Palestinian DFAT office for ensuring Australian Rules featured in such an amazing initiative. It was a pleasure to be able to assist in the delivery of such a special day for so many girls in Ramallah.

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Benjamin Durance

AFL Europe Match of the Round

CEAFL Tournament 4/6/16

This week’s ‘Match of the Round’ is changing it up a little. Due to a fixture change for the CEAFL tournament which was initially meant to be held this weekend we’re going to do a review of their first tournament from the 4th of June that was held in Croatia.

The CEAFL or Central European AFL is a series of tournaments amongst countries in that region to supplement their domestic competitions.

The first tournament was held in Croatia on the 4th of June and included the teams: Zagreb Hawks, Zagreb Dockers, Zaprude Giants, Ploče Eagles, Sesvete Double Blues, Styrian Downunderdogs and the Velika Gorica Bombers.

The Zagreb Hawks won this league in both 2014 and 2015, however, this year sees a new set of favourites with the Zagreb Dockers and Zaprude Giants pushing for early favouritism.

This tournament saw teams were split into two groups.

Group 1:

  • Zagreb Hawks
  • Zaprude Giants
  • Ploče Eagles
  • Velika Gorica Bombers

Group 2:

  • Sesvete Double Blues
  • Styrian Downunderdogs
  • Zagreb Dockers

Games Review

Group 1 saw the Hawks topple the Bombers in a tight affair before giving the Ploče Eagles a tough game, winning that one by a bigger margin. The Giants won all their games and stamped their authority on the competition by letting everyone know who the favourites were in the group. Ploče edged out the Bombers for another year and locked in third place.

Final Standings:

  1. Zaprude Giant
  2. Zagreb Hawks
  3. Ploče Eagles
  4. Velika Gorica Bombers

Best on Ground:

Lenić (Giants), Galez (Giants), Mamić (Giants), Diklić (Hawks), Prtenjača (Hawks), Nedić (Bombers), Kežić (Eagles).

 

Group 2 saw the Dockers and Double Blues head to head in an absolute thriller. The Dockers kicked 2 goals in 2 minutes to edge past the Blues and claim victory. The Dockers cruised through their game with the DownUnderdogs, as did the Double Blues.

Final Standings:

  1. Zagreb Dockers
  2. Sesvete Double Blues
  3. Styrian Downunderdogs

Best on Ground:

Cvetko (Dockers), Ivoš (Dockers), Motik (Blues), Pavković (Blues), Jud (Downunderdogs), Schittegg (Downuderdogs)

Following the group stages the final series was played out. The Zaprude Giants dominated the Zagreb Dockers in the Final and proved they’ll be tough to beat in the remaining tournaments.

 

Best on Ground:

Ignacije Valečić

 

Team Reviews

Zagreb Hawks

After winning back-to-back Croatian leagues and CEAFL the Hawks lost some of their key players. Josip Habljak went to play in Sturt FC and that story is well known, Tomislav Cvetko, Croatian Knights Captain and one of the best players of the league went to play for Dockers. In this CEAFL they played without captain and best player, Jan Doležal.

Josip Kravar started to play at full forward and some rookies emerged to the team. The

Hawks were not focusing on winning the CEAFL or Croatian league, but to rebuild team with rookies in order to bring back the flag one day with young forces.
Maybe not the strongest team, but for sure most dedicated workers.

 

Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers

After the arrival of Tomislav Cvetko, the Dockers team won the Croatian league in 2015. Despite Cvetko, the Dockers have Croatian Knights in forward line that cause headaches for all team’s. Lovre Čudina, Ivan Ivoš and Tomislav Cvetko are making a difference and combined with strong midfielders (Ivan Molnar, Luka Čudina and Zvonimir Marinovic). Their strong and determined defence is what holds this team together.

Hot favourites for the CEAFL and Croatian league.

 

Zapruđe Giants

Maybe the only rivals to Dockers this year. The Giants have best midfield in this league (Murković, Lazanin, Mamić) and probably best defence led by Lenić and Galez.

They have lost Nedić as a skilful HF but compensate that with Benčić (last year’s rookie and Knights player).

Giants are strong team that can win against any other team if they play to their ability.

 

Sesvete Double Blues
After last year debut in Croatian league and CEAFL, the Blues grew into team that can play side by side with stronger teams. They lost to the Giants and Dockers in Croatian league this year due to inexperience and some rookie mistakes, but they have potential to hurt top teams.

They have a strong midfield group lead by Motik and Pavković and reliable defence with Djuran, Pecikoza and Karamatić junior. As well as this, Karamatić senior is forever dangerous in the forward line.

 

Velika Gorica Bombers

Founded by young Giant, Tomislav Nedić and Hawk, Filip Martincevic, who have given their best to start up a completely new team. Josip Josipović joined in their back line as an experienced player and gave them some confidence.

Bombers in their first year are still learning but showing a promising future with young players that work hard on and off the field.

 

Ploče Eagles

Ploče also started to play in the Croatian League and CEAFL in 2016. Found by Johnny Ante Rončević who has given his life to this club.  Youngest team in competition where midfield is led by 15-year-old players like Hrvoje Kežić, who in his first year is picked to play for Croatian Knights which proves his talent and potential.

Their strength is their unity and ability to play as a team and that is what matters. They proved to be better than Bombers in the last game and we are looking forward to watching their next game.

 

Styrian DownUnderdogs

Apart from some experienced players such as, Michi Jud and Lukas Holzegger, they’re predominantly rookies that are keen to introduce themselves into this league. They will continue to develop with the increased exposure and will hopefully stick together despite a few tough games ahead.

They haven’t won a game in Croatia for a long time and they are hoping to change this.

 

Looking Forward

The next CEAFL Cup is on the 9th of July in Graz followed by another tournament in Prague on the 10th of September.

A special thanks to Josip Kravar for provding AFL Europe with such a thorough breakdown of the first CEAFL tournament. We look forward to hearing all things footy in the future.

 

Player of the Week – Rachel Campbell

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

This week’s player profile is on one of the first members of the Wimbledon Hawks in the inaugural year of the Women’s AFL London League. Rachel Campbell, more affectionately know by her teammates as ‘Bambi’ has become a big part of the side from Wimbledon in a short space of time. Bambi played every game for the Hawks last season and the team watched her grow into the game of Aussie Rules, resulting in Hawks Ladies ‘Most Improved’ award being named after her.

Coming into the 2016 season, Bambi was selected to play with the Great Britain Swans who competed in the AFL Europe ‘Champions League’ in Amsterdam. She has the bragging rights of being the first ever goal-scorer for the GB Swans and played a pivotal role in the Swans winning the women’s side of the draw.

Bambi is hoping to secure selection for team GB for the upcoming AFL Europe Championships in August and hopes to lock down a spot for the forthcoming International Cup in 2017.

Off the field, Bambi is a favourite around the Hawks with her homely Scottish accent and demeanour making her loved by all. Good luck for the rest of the 2016 Season Rachel.

Name:

Rachel Campbell

Club:

Wimbledon Hawks

Nationality:

Scottish

What position do you play?

Wing and Midfield

AFL team you support:

Richmond Tigers

Favourite AFL player:

Trent Cotchin

How did you find out about AFL?

Family in Australia

How long have you been playing for?

1 year

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Getting hit in the face with the ball in the first minute and having to go on the bench

Best AFL moment?

Scoring the first ever goal for the Great Britain women’s team

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

Prior to getting into Aussie Rules Rachel did Irish dancing for 20 years

AFL Europe Match of the Round

Wimbledon Hawks vs Wandsworth Demons – Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Recreation Ground 5/6/16 2pm

There were two standout teams in last year’s inaugural AFL London women’s competition, the Wimbledon Hawks and the Wandsworth Demons. In last year’s four encounters the Demons won 3 out of 4 games including the all-important Grand Final. The final score in that game was 5.3. 33 to 1.2. 8 in favour of the Ladies from Wandsworth.

This Sunday sees the two rivals lock horns for the first time this year for competition points. The Hawks have cruised through the opening rounds of season 2016 winning both games convincingly and accumulating an astonishing percentage of 1625. The Demons, on the back of a large exodus of last year’s premiership side, have had an indifferent start. They lost a close game against the North London Lions in Round 1 and held on to beat a fast-finishing South East London Giants the following week.

Both clubs are doing great work for the growth of the women’s game and have had a huge number of players on the training track each week. On form, the Hawks will go into this game as favourites but with the Demons gelling well together of late it could be anyone’s game. Let’s not forget the added factor of the Epsom Derby taking place the day before and it’s hard not to get excited by the prospect of this game.

Here are the coaches’ thoughts on the big Grand Final Rematch.

Wimbledon Hawks Coach, Tara Lowther:

“I believe the game will be won by the team who can execute the basic skills the best and the team with the best fitness. Unfortunately, we have an extensive injury list but the remaining players are hardworking and hungry for revenge. We are looking forward to a great game.”

Wandsworth Demons Coach, Mitch Skelly:

“I’m really looking forward to the match and an opportunity to take on the Hawks, who are currently the benchmark for women’s footy in London. Their results have been very impressive throughout 2016, so it’s a chance for us Demons to see where we stand in the pecking order early in the season.

Whilst our form has been a little up and down, the excitement generated by some new players such as English Rose, Kiwi Katie, Tessa and Bianca have been the high points. Those four, along with the bulk of our team, are new to Australian Rules football and I can’t wait to see how well we perform as a team once they’ve had a season to catch up with some of our more experienced players like Kate Grabowski, Sarah Townsend and Lauren Coote – stalwarts and legends of AFL London!”

 

 

Ben Durance

Player of the Week – David Seymour

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of anyone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

This week’s player profile is on tall forward for the North London Lions, David Seymour.

New to both the Lions and the sport this year, David – better known as Rooney, decided to jump the fence from Soccer to the more physical and elite sport known as Australian Football.

After playing Varsity First XI, Rooney wanted a more social sport to play out his semi-professional career and was drawn to the Australian culture in more ways than one. Not only has the newbie slotted himself into the Premiers team but is also a key figure in the Boat Race team, swearing their losing streak is by no means his fault.

Primary School teacher by day and street dancer by night, all 6’5 of Rooney, as President Treloar puts it; is like a diamond in the rough, showing those North of the Thames plenty to be excited about! Welcome to the wonderful sport that is Australian Football Rooney!

Name:

David Seymour

Club:

North London Lions

Nationality:

English

What position do you play?

Forward

AFL team you support:

Richmond Tigers

Favourite player:

Nik Schoenmakers

How did you discover AFL?

I used to work in the lookalike circuit as Wayne Rooney. I met a few Aussie lads at a lookalike convention. Tim Fisher was a Borat lookalike, Jay Treloar was Brad Pitt and I can’t remember who Shuey was but I know it was someone really boring with no personality. Anyway, they got me involved.

How long have been playing? 

Have started this year but can’t get enough. I have an AFL pass to watch all the games and have a Sherrin to practice at home so I can be as good as Ben “The Difference” Quick.

What happened in your first game?

Ran through an opponent’s mark and tore a ligament in my thumb

Best AFL moment?

Being AFL Europe’s Player of the Week

Any other information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

I came joint second in the 2013 European Street Dance Finals.

 

 

 

Sarah Ongarello