Posts

Match of the Round

Tyne Tees Cup

The North of England is set to light it up when they host the Tyne Tees Cup, 9-a-side tournament tomorrow. Organisers and current title holders, the Tyne Tee Tigers will be hoping to put in a big performance on their home deck of Gosforth Park. They be up against a strong Glasgow Sharks outfit fresh from their Scottish AFL Premiership as well as the always impressive Kingdom Kangaroos.

On the women’s side of the draw the England Vixens will be using this tournament as a warm up for the upcoming Euro Cup in Lisbon. They be locking horns with the Glasgow Sharks and AFL London side, the Wandsworth Demons.

Both men’s and women’s teams will compete in a round robin format of 2 x 20 minute halves which will see the top two from each team progress to play off for the much coveted Cup.

No doubt the Northerners will put on a show for the teams competing in this year’s tournament with a big night out on the Toon to be enjoyed by all competitor’s following the main event.

Best of luck to all teams involved and congratulations to the Tyne Tee Tigers for getting this tournament up and running.

If you’re in the vicinity make sure you stop in and check out the action. I know we’ll be following this one closely.

Check out the full details on the tournament Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1342103975815403/

Schedule

Pitch 1 – Men’s Pool and Finals                           Pitch 2 – Women’s Pool

11:20am Tyne Tee Tigers v Kingdom Kangaroos        England Vixens v Glasgow Sharks

12:20pm Glasgow Sharks v Tyne Tee Tigers             Wandsworth Demons v England Vixens

1:20pm Kingdom Kangaroos v Glasgow Sharks         Glasgow Sharks v Wandsworth Demons

2:20pm Women’s Final

3:20pm Men’s Final

13532919_819998928135101_5640950897096790238_n

 

Player of the Week – Maria Falkesgaard

AFL Europe Player of the Week

Maria joined the Odense Lionesses in 2015 and with a background in rugby, cattle wrestling and as a floorball goalie, she came to the sport with the strength of bear and the reflexes of a cat. She quickly showed great awareness around the ball and tremendous power both in contest and disposals. Her first game was played less than a month after joining the team and she scored 3 goals on her debut.

A month later she was badly injured and started watching AFL intensely and spent the summer practicing ball handling skills in Copenhagen with the Copenhagen Barracudas. By Euro Cup in October that year, her understanding of the game and leadership qualities earned her the title of captain for both the Odense Lionesses and the Denmark Valkyries. The same year she became top goal scorer in the Womens’ Nordic AFL and for the Danish Valkyries at Euro Cup. Yeah bra!

Name:

Maria Falkesgaard

Club:

Odense Lionesses (Odense Australian Football)

Nationality:

Danish

What position do you play?

Forward Pocket and Ruck Rover

AFL team you support:

West Coast Eagles

Favourite AFL player:

Josh Kennedy and Matt Priddis

How did you find out about AFL?

There was a tryout day at the club and I was persuaded to give it a go by friends who were playing

How long have you been playing for?

A little more than a year

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Had a massive hangover and taking a hard tackle in the first quarter so I had to go out for a couple of minutes, and then kicking three goals when I came back in

Best AFL moment?

Without a doubt, the goal against England in the final of Euros 2015 – go watch the replay on the tube..!

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

I am in general a very boring person, but I’ve got mad knitting skills and I taught my dog “play dead”.

Around the Grounds

Around the Grounds 30/8/16

Helsinki go back-to-back in FAFL Grand Final

The 2016 season ended victoriously for the Helsinki Heatseekers as they beat off a valiant Turku Dockers in the capital on Saturday.

Congratulations to the Heatseekers and Dockers along with the Finland AFL for putting on another amazing season in 2016. We can’t wait for season 2017 in Finland.

150 of the best for Port Malmo’s, Gaeten Blonde

The Maulers celebrated in style for one of their most decorated players, Gaetan Blonde, as he played game 150 at the weekend. The Maulers convincingly beat the Helsingborg Saints on their home turf by 213 to nil in a big day out for the club.

Ben Polmear kicked 13 goals while Simon Ward bagged 10. Check out video highlights at the link below.

Munich win through to AFL Germany Grand Final

Round 9 in the AFLG Premiership saw the Munich Kangaroos win through to the grand final with a comfortable win over the Berlin Crocodiles. The final score in that fixture was Munich 15.12. 102 to Berlin’s 8.4.52.

In the Championship Freiberg Taipains/Stuttgart Emus took the chocolates over the Frankfurt Redbacks with 20.11. 131 to 8.6. 54. The Hamburg Dockers defeated the Dresden Wolves via forfeit with the scores reading 80-0, giving the Dockers a healthy percentage booster.

Frankfurt and Hamburg will square off in the Championship decider on the 10th of September.

AFL SWEDEN wants you!

AFL Sweden is on the lookout for a new manager of the men’s national team along with a sponsorship manager for the entire association. For further details on both positions can be found by clicking through the link below.

http://www.aflsweden.se/2/index.php/sv/nyheter/32-two-positions-available-with-afl-sweden

Odense Lions knock of rivals Aalborg Kangaroos away from home

The Odense Lions travelled to Aalborg at the weekend to take on the Kangaroos and came away with a resounding victory, winning 118 to 44.

Christian Belling was awarded best on ground while Yossy Taihutto kicked 3 majors for the day.

Odense

Check out the video below of the Lions giving Birkir Gudmundsson a viking clap to celebrate him kicking his first goal in the Aussie Rules.

https://www.facebook.com/340565146058656/videos/1137188763062953/

 

 

 

Player of the Week – Stuart McKeating

AFL EUROPE PLAYER OF THE WEEK 

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.

Stuart McKeating has participated in the inaugural AFL Europe Champions League in March 2015 where the Redbacks placed 3rd. Since then Stuart has been in integral member of the Redbacks as well as being chosen for the Irish Warriors, participating in the AFL Europe Championships. Unfortunately the Warriors went down to the GB Bulldogs in the final but McKeating made an impact and cemented his position in the Warriors with his outstanding performance.

Name:

Stuart Mc Keating

 

Club:

Belfast Redbacks and Irish Warriors
Nationally:

Irish

 

What position do you play:

Midfield – On ball or Sweeper

 

AFL Team you support:

Belfast Redbacks

 

Favourite AFL player:

I’m torn with this one, for two different reasons.. I’m going to say David McElhone on the field because in possession he could find a sober Irish man on St. Patrick’s day. Then off the field I’m going for Conor O’Halloran from the Leeside because his flowery t-shirts are exceptional

 

How did you find out about AFL:

I work along side Gerard Walls and he had just returned from Australia after winning the World Cup with Ireland, so with the hype of the win I went along to a training session with the Belfast Redbacks and I never looked back!

 

How long have you been playing for:

About 4ish years now

 

What is your first memory of your first Aussie rules game:

My earliest memory is playing my first game, a preseason game against the London Wildcats in Belfast, I remember how slick, tough, and classy these guys were, we spent the majority of the time crashing into each other and picking each other up afterwards laughing. 3 years later we would meet the Wildcats again in the Champions League semi final in Amsterdam, a very close game ending in 2 points to the Wildcats (eventual winners) I remember thinking how much further on the Redbacks had came along with my own abilities.

 

Best AFL moment:

I’m not sure I could pick one moment out, I’ve scored some goals, produced big tackles, and even got to see first hand what the top level AFL players can do as I recently marked Marty Clarke in a league game, but if I had to pick I’d say it was witnessing Gerard Lenihan pull off the ‘specky’ of the season in Galway, although maybe after this coming week things could change!

 

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

I can confirm that Gerard Walls has indeed got a grizzly bear carpet in his living room, however the poor bear isn’t dead it’s just afraid to move

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

DSC_0172  

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

DSC_0655

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

DSC_0675

 

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

DSC_0718

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

 

DSC_0723

 

 

 

 

#EC16 Men’s Day 3 Match Reviews

Irish Warriors vs Swedish Elks

The third round of men’s games kicked off with the unbeaten Irish Warriors taking on a determined Sweden. Hot and muggy conditions met the players at Motspur Park with both sides struggling personnel-wise following the hard-fought opening rounds.

Buster Sund, fresh from the AFL Europe Coaching Course held on the Wednesday, was running around like a man possessed. Every chance possible he was battering the opposition with his physical presence. When asked what game plan Sweden followed at the coaching course the big Swede simply responded with the words, “we go and smash them”. The Irish will vouch that Buster was following his coach’s wishes on this day.

Despite their typical physical presence, the Swedish side’s ill-disciple cost them with back-to-back fifty meter penalties gifting the Irish the opening goal.

David McElhone was leading from the front in the Irish engine room. The wrecking ball was doing it all both on the inside and lacing out opponents with adept outside work.

Regular Ireland ruckmen, Gavin Murray, was given a reprieve from his usual role and switched up forward for the boys in green. The big man showed his versatility with a big pack mark and goal to register the first of his four goals.

The Swedes were best served by Hampus Olsson down back, who again took numerous intercept marks. His side were left reeling when he went down with a quad strain.

A second quarter surge put the game comfortably in Ireland’s favour as they dictated play at will. Chris Martensson was doing all he could in the Swedish midfield to stem the free-running Warriors.

A massive fire up from now playing coach, Ryan Tucker, had the Swedes raring to go after half time. The Elks dominated the early exchanges but were unable to convert their opportunities. Their defence pressure has been the benchmark for the tournament and they didn’t disappoint in the third term by only allowing two Irish goals.

The Swedes ran out of legs in the fourth term and the class of Ireland shone through. Most notably Muiris Bartley who was running hot with three consecutive goals to cement his spot as one of the star players of the tournament.

A long-bomb from Eoin O’Murchu put the nail in the coffin as the Irish claimed top spot and a place in the AFL Europe Grand Final this coming Saturday.

Their upcoming contest with Great Britain is one of the most highly anticipated matches in recent history especially following their 1-point thriller on Tuesday.

Final Scores: 19.14. 128 to 0.5. 5

Goals:

Ireland: G. Murray 4, P. O’Connell 3, M. Bartley 3, D. Joyce 2, K. McDonnell 2, E. O’Murchu 2, C. O’Halloran, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Lordian

Sweden:

Best:

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

Sweden: B. Sund, C. Martensson, J. Lantz, A. Svensson, A. Tellstrom, A. Olsson

DSC_0372    DSC_0370

GB Bulldogs vs German Eagles

After a mostly overcast and cloudy day the sunshine broke through for what was the final game out of five for day three of the AFL Europe Championships.

The GB Bulldogs had a point to prove after horrible kicking in front of goal against the Irish two days previously halted their chances of beating their arch-rivals.

The big hitting Germans were hoping to take it to one of the bigger AFL nations and wanted to impose their trademark strength at the contest.

Martin Schuttoff started the game strongly for the Eagles while Jason Hill was finding a heap of the pill after switching into the midfield.

David Jordan opened the scoring for the Bulldogs following a nice passage of play along the wing and into the forward flank. A further 3 goals and the Bulldogs went into the quarter time break in a comfortable position.

Jakob Jung of Germany was shown the ultimate respect from the Bulldogs coaching staff who smartly opted to tag the smooth moving midfielder. Despite amazing efforts from both James Talbot and Matt Goodman the classy midfielder worked his way into the game to provide Germany with some solid resistance despite the Bulldogs overall dominance.

A three goal second quarter to GB’s David Hastie allowed the home side to take full control of the match going into the main break.

Bulldog’s veteran, Owain Ryland, showed why he’s one of the most capped players in the squad with a very dominant showing across half-back and through the midfield to start the second half.

All heat was out of the match mid-way through the third term with both sides having one eye on the upcoming finals matches on Saturday.

Warwick continued to work hard in the ruck and gave his midfielders first use in what was a great contest with Germany’s Johannes Orlowski.

The Bulldogs ran out the final quarter with a further three majors.

The final scorecard reading: 18.14. 121 to 0.5. 5

Goals:

GB Bulldogs: J. Coughlan 3, D. Hastie 3, L. Gedney 2, A. Overton 2, D. Jordan, C. Cooney, M. Sharp, A. Walkden, J. Harvey, J. Hill, M. Kilheeney, M. Whiteley

German Eagles:

Best:

GB Bulldogs: M. Warwick, G. Dibble, O. Ryland, J. Coughlan, A. Walkden, M. Sharp

German Eagles: J. Jung, M. Preiss, T. Menzel, T. Thormann, M. Thormann, K. Haigh

 

DSC_0450      DSC_0457

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

 

 

AFL Europe Match of the Round

SARFL Grand Final – Greater Glasgow Giants v Glasgow Sharks

It’s an all Glasgow showdown in the Scottish Australian Rules Football League (SARFL) this weekend. Linlithgow Rugby Club is backing up to host the season finale with a 2pm bounce scheduled.

The Glasgow Sharks won through to the grand final with an 11-point win over archrivals, the Edinburgh Bloods, in last weekend’s preliminary final. The Sharks finished in 3rd place with 4 wins from 6 games.

The Greater Glasgow Giants have been the benchmark of the SARFL in season 2016 and won automatic qualification for the grand final after claiming the minor premiership at the end of the regular season. They won’t need any extra motivation going into this game after going down in last year’s final.

The two sides have only met once so far this season which was at the start of June where the Giants got over the Sharks in a 6-point win. If this game is anything to go by then Saturdays final should be an absolute thriller.

Both sides will go in near full strength, however, the Giants were left shattered after key player and ruckmen, Mark Townsend, broke his leg in the last game of the season. His tap-work and presence in the middle of the park will be sorely missed by the minor premiers.

The Giants will be best served tomorrow by former Scotland captain, Ross Thomson, last year’s joint SARFL Best and Fairest winner, Dougie Smith and young Scottish half-forward Keir Wotherspoon

The Sharks will be looking for captain and fullback, Andy Butler to hold down the fort in the backline. Andrew McManus is a lively type in front of goals for the Sharks and he’ll need to be kept in check by the Giants if they want a chance to win this game. Also keep an eye out for James Hancock and Alexander Clark to have big games after running into some hot form at the business end of the season.

The all Glasgow final is going to take centre stage this weekend for Scottish AFL and the previous history between the two clubs bodes well for a spectacular culmination to what has been the hardest fought SARFL season to date.

Coach’s thoughts – Greater Glasgow Giants, Douglas Hunter

“It’s fantastic for Glasgow to have both teams in the Grand Final and shows the depth of talent in the city. Games against the Sharks are always tough and that Grand Final intensity will only add to that. Whoever comes out on top will have earned it and we believe we’re a great chance of being that team.”

Coach’s thoughts – Glasgow Sharks

“The grand final is the culmination of the work the club has put in over the last year. We are bolstered by a great semi-final win and will take great confidence into this game knowing that our best is capable of beating anyone.”

EC16 Team Preview – Irish Banshees

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Irish Banshees

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the Irish Banshees a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The Banshees last competed at International level in 2014 where we went down to Canada in the final of the International Cup in Melbourne but managed to bounce back from that disappointment to beat a very impressive England Vixens side in the final of the Euro Cup in London.

Since 2014 a number of our key players have moved on or are unable to travel to London due to other sporting commitments which mean the Banshees side that takes to the field in London will have only 5 players who have previously experienced international football.

On the flip side, the positives for the Banshees is that this year we have unearthed a lot of new talent and their enthusiasm and love of the game will be on display in London.

Brendan Kelly, who is the coach of the Ulster Kookaburras has joined the coaching staff for the 2016 tournaments. Shaun Saurin who previously coached the squad to Euro Cup success is unable to travel to London due to a family wedding but is doing some preparatory work with the team in advance of London.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

At the tournament there will be a joint coaching team of Pat Leavy and Brendan Kelly. The team are in safe hands as Pat, who managed the team at IC14 and EC14 has played with the Warriors from 2003 to 2013 which included two International Cup campaigns as well as numerous Euro Cups.

Brendan has also played in numerous Euro Cups and at IC14. He is currently a member of the Irish Warriors team competing at the Championships and he is hoping to retain the title he won in 2013.

The management team also have a number of support staff behind them, most notable Deirdre Ní Chearaill, former Banshee international and current lady president of ARFLI who has been one of the driving forces behind resurrecting the Banshees in 2016. She will be acting as team liaison.

The team is shaping up pretty well. We can see huge strides in each player’s development since the start of the summer. There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and some very exciting new players will be on show. On one hand you have multiple international medal winners like Emma Kelly, Fiona Roarty and Carolann Cassidy and on the other you have really exciting new prospects like Olivia McCann, Colleen Quinn, Claire Donnelly and Clara Fitzpatrick.

Add in some full format experience from the AFL London league gained by Onóra Mulcahy and Linda Connolly and we think it’s a formidable team.

We have 16 players from the Ulster Kookaburras, 1 from the Galway Magpies, 2 players from London club, the Wandsworth Demons, with the remainder coming from the Dublin Angels.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus

We would have liked to have had more collective training sessions in the lead up to the tournament but to counteract that we have linked in with the men’s carnival rounds in the ARFLI premiership. This has allowed the girls learn the finer points of AFL from looking at the men’s game.

We’re looking forward to playing on a full oval as we rarely get the chance, so in particular we’ll be looking to add width and pace to our game, which will allow the players adapt their Gaelic football skills to a new game. The experience of 18 a side will be of huge benefit going into IC17.

Our strength is definitely the quality of our footballers. All the players have played Ladies Gaelic Football to a high level in Ireland. Our weakness is probably the lack of 18 a side football in Ireland and an inability for the team to train collectively on a regular basis.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Emma Kelly, Onóra Mulcahy and Fiona Roarty can really dominate, so it’s certainly worth watching out for them. As we are travelling with a relatively new squad, a number of players have really improved out of sight over the last few months so it would be unfair to single any one player out.

That is the exciting part of a tournament, you never know which player we will be all talking about by the end of it – hopefully it will be one wearing green!

 

Coach’s thoughts – Pat Leavy

“We’d expect to have a fair crack at getting to the final, but we know it will be difficult. The Crusaders will have the best players from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France, while the GB Swans are currently the benchmark in Europe. The GB women’s league is probably the best female league outside of Australia. The Vixens were excellent the last time we played them in 2014 and have improved since.

From a Banshee point of view, how the tournament unfolds will be determined by how our players react to full format and knowing the potential in our team, I’m excited at seeing how they will develop as the tournament progresses but expect a great team performance and hopefully we will get over the line”

 

Squad

  1. Claire Donnelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  2. Terri Kelly (Dublin Angels)
  3. Ciara Mone (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  4. Catherine Collins (Dublin Angels)
  5. Emma Kelly (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  6. Fiona Roarty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  7. Carolann Cassidy (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  8. Olivia McCann (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  9. Onóra Mulcahy (Wandsworth Demons)
  10. Naomi Curtis (Dublin Angels)
  11. Mairead Walsh (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  12. Marley Bevan (Dublin Angels)
  13. Ursula Murphy (Irish Exiles AFL)
  14. Linda Connolly (Wandsworth Demons)
  15. Leona Russell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  16. Claire Doherty (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  17. Clara Fitzpatrick (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  18. Aisling Gillespie (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  19. Edel Gray (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  20. Crea McAleer (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  21. Tracey Moloney (Irish Exiles AFL)
  22. Amy O’Donnell (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  23. Nuala O’Hagan (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  24. Colleen Quinn (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  25. Oonagh McAnespey (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  26. Niamh Mc Fadden (Ulster Kookaburra’s)
  27. Colleen Mallon (Irish Exiles AFL)
  28. Ashleigh Payne (Dublin Angels)

EC16 Team Preview – GB Swans

AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – GB Swans

Every three years the AFL Europe Championships take place for teams to assert their dominance and claim bragging rights against their European counterparts, as well as gain valuable 18-a-side match practice in the lead up to the International Cup the following year.

In the lead up to this year’s AFL Europe Championships in London we’ll be focusing on each team and previewing their chances of taking out the top prize.

In the first of our women’s team previews we are getting to know the GB Swans a bit better.

What’s happened since International Cup 2014?

The GB Swans were established earlier this year by two England Vixens players who wanted the opportunity to play in tournaments alongside the GB Bulldogs (men’s team), including the European Championships and the International Cup. Since the formation of the team, the GB Swans have attended two events, the Champions League in Amsterdam and the AFL London Preseason Cup in Peckham. In what couldn’t have been a better start for the team, they won both tournaments, making a name for themselves as a team to beat. Charlotte Eales and Lisa Wilson, who founded the team, have been working hard to schedule selection days, prepare the team for the upcoming tournament, arrange kits and are working hard to bring in sponsorship. The management team have hugely been helped out by Jason Hill, Team Manager for the GB Bulldogs.

 

Who’s in for AFL Europe Championships in 2016?

The GB Swans are lucky to have 3 excellent coaches; Garth Nevin as Head Coach and Lauren Spark & Ian Mitchell as Assistant Coaches who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. On announcement of the GB Swans forming a few months ago, the Swans received nearly 50 registrations of interest from girls across the country. After two selection days in Birmingham and Glasgow, a squad of 26 was selected for the European Championships. The girls come from a number of different teams representing England, Scotland and Wales. Unfortunately, we are yet to have a Northern Ireland girl register, but we hope to get them engaged soon! Clubs that are represented by the GB Swans are: Glasgow Sharks, Wimbledon Hawks, University of Birmingham, Greater Glasgow Giants, Wandsworth Demons, South East London Giants and North London Lions.

 

AFL Europe Championships focus 

The two selection days we had in Birmingham and Glasgow were doubled up as training camps to give the coaches an idea of the skill and fitness level of the girls in order to give feedback to aid improvement before the tournament. Alongside these, many of the players selected for the EC16 team played in the AFL London Preseason Cup back in April. Many of the girls have played together before for the England Vixens and Scottish Sirens, or within their clubs, however this will be the first time for many of the girls playing together.

With many of the girls coming from the AFL London league, there is a wealth of 18 aside experience which will be one of our strengths. However, fitness is always an issue when playing on an Oval as large as the one at Motspur Park. The girls will be looking to neaten up their skills, clean hands and kicks whilst ensuring constant pressure on and off the ball.

 

Who has the X-Factor?

Sisters Alex and Danni Saulter have had a bout of injury this season with the latter being out all season with a fractured elbow, sustained in the AFL London Preseason Cup. With both girls nearly back at full fitness they will be a force to be reckoned with; Alex in the half-back line and Danni strong in the midfield. They will both be hoping to replicate their fantastic performances in the 2015 Euro Cup where they both played for the England Vixens who took out the title.

One of our youngest, Chloe Hall, recently moved from playing at the University of Birmingham to the South East London Giants. She has rapidly adapted to the 18 aside format and her knowledge, skill and commitment to the game has been outstanding. She will be one to watch at this tournament and in the future for GB Swans. She also stands out as she has a tomato blush as she exerts herself into the contest. A real leader and hard ball getter!

 

Coaches thoughts – Garth Nevin 

“I’m not going to lie, I have set high expectations. I believe the talent we have in our team we should push very hard for the No 1 European spot. I hope that the girls send a message to the other countries competing in the International cup in 2017. We mean business. Another aim is to open the doors for the upcoming inaugural year of Women’s AFL in Australia for all GB women. The commitment these women have shown inspires me to pass on every bit of AFL knowledge I have. Whatever the result, I will be extremely proud of these ladies and honoured to be the first ever coach of the GB Swans.”

 

Squad

  1. Beth Bailey
  2. Carolyn Baker (Glasgow Sharks)
  3. Jen Bennett (Wimbledon Hawks)
  4. Freya Blount (University of Birmingham)
  5. Lea Cobham (North London Lions)
  6. Louise Darby (Wimbledon Hawks)
  7. Charlie Eales (Wimbledon Hawks)
  8. Chloe Hall (University of Birmingham)
  9. Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks)
  10. Kirsty Gray (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  11. Rose Lewis (Wandsworth Demons)
  12. Laura Mackay (University of Birmingham)
  13. Jess Milford (Wimbledon Hawks)
  14. Sophie Morris (Wolverhampton Wolverines)
  15. Rania Ramadan (North London Lions)
  16. Zoe Rowe (Greater Glasgow Giants)
  17. Alex Saulter (North London Lions)
  18. Danni Saulter (North London Lions)
  19. Caroline Sellar (Glasgow Sharks)
  20. Louise Smith (Glasgow Sharks)
  21. Ellie Sutherland (Glasgow Sharks)
  22. Lynsey Torrance (Glasgow Sharks)
  23. Laura Turner (North London Lions)
  24. Lisa Wilson (Wimbledon Hawks)
  25. Lucy Jones
  26. Laura Park (Greater Glasgow Giants)