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VAFA V London Allstars

The Big V representative side wrapped up their 2015 Ireland/England tour with a comprehensive 74-point victory against the London All Stars at Battersea Park this morning.

After a stellar 2-2 performance from their four tour matches in the Emerald Isle, the Big V attained their goal of finishing on a high, with Spirit of the Big V recipient, Jeremy Mugavin, and six-goal star, Matt Handley, leading the way.

Tom Sullivan, Marshall Rippon and Josh Cowan lit London alight in the first term as they collected disposals at will, with Sam Barnett controlling the ruck and giving his midfielders first use of the ball.

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After a two-week stint with the round ball, the entire playing squad looked far more comfortable with the oval-shaped sherrin in hand and used their sublime skill set to open up a comfortable buffer at the first break.

Sam Williams, Tom O’Donnell and Mugavin continued to drive from half back in the second and allowed power forwards, Jamie Mugavin and Handley, to do the damage on the scoreboard and open up a 47-point margin at the half.

The second half played out similarly to the first, with Michael Barnes, Ash Viney and Stu Grigg causing multiple skill errors from their opponents through consistent pressure and tackling.

Jack Hunt repelled numerous London forward thrusts, while Tom and Simon Caven stood tall in defence in the same vein as they have done all tour.

While the 20 goal target set by coach Roberts was not quite met, the Big V can be proud of the four quarter effort they produced in their final match as they ran out out 74-point winners, 100-26.

The win in London gives the Big V a respectable 3-2 winning record from their 2015 tour.

The VAFA would like to thank AFL Europe and AFL London for their hospitality and look forward to going Round 2 in 2017.

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Originally posted on: http://www.vafa.com.au/latest-news/big-v-finish-2015-tour-with-comprehensive-win-in-london/

ANZAC Cup Sponsor Announcement

AFL Europe is excited to announce this year’s sponsor for the 7th ANZAC Cup held in Villers-Bretonneux is Slater + Gordon.

The Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup will be held on ANZAC Day this year, Saturday 25th April 2015 at Stadium Timmerman, Villers-Bretonneux France.

Coming into the 7th year running, the Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup tally holds 3 wins to France and 3 wins to Australia, making this year an opportunity for a front runner. With the connection to the area and the history being just as, if not more, important than the quality of the football, the game is always played in high spirit and in reverence to fallen soldiers in mind.

The spirit of the day helps the town remember the history of nearly 100 years ago, with this year being the 97th anniversary of the battle that saw Australian troops help reclaim Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans. “This is a very special event on the AFL Europe calendar and should be an event that every Australian attends at some stage in their life,” states AFL Europe’s CEO Ben MacCormack.

This year will see the Australian team come from places such as Poland, Germany, Australia, England and Ireland. The men’s match kicks off at 12pm, followed by the women’s game and is free for anyone wishing to attend this special day.

 

 

Sarah Ongarello

Australia Spirit take home the Topdeck ANZAC Cup

ANZAC day holds a special place in the heart of every Australian – that we already know. What the 2014 Topdeck ANZAC Cup taught all of the players lucky enough to pull on the Australian Spirit jumper against the French national team – spending several days in majestical Villers-Bretonneux in the process – is that its locals hold it just as dear.

The locals had hosted the Australian players, family and friends in their homes for three nights to further strengthen the ties between the two countries. Reflecting on the experience, many of the players considered it one of the most memorable experiences of their young lives. Tom Rischbieth, a player who has experienced AFL at the highest level, described it as “truly one of the best experiences of my life“. Matt Hook, the elder statesman of the team and a veteran of two ANZAC Cup showdowns, made his feelings on the experience clear: “I feel incredibly privileged to have taken part in such a special few days,” he said.

 

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Images: Jacob McFadden & David Higgs

The local ABA (the association responsible for the on-ground organisation) again put in a tremendous amount of work, and its volunteers were recognised by both national teams via a town parade that took all involved in the occasion past the local school and through many of the streets to thank the town for the event. Now in its sixth year, the event is reliant on this group and the local council to ensure its longevity for generations to come.

The game got underway following the anthems of both teams and a minute’s silence. To say that the Australians were excited and focused is an understatement; it was easy to see in the players’ eyes that they were ready to represent Australia with all they had. The French had come with a slightly weakened team due to a couple of injuries and travel commitments, but once each player pulled on the national jumper they were more than ready.

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The first quarter set the tone for the whole match and, with the ball coming into Australia’s forward line so efficiently, bustling Jack Lawson banged through goal after goal, kicking seven in the opening term alone. He proved just as difficult to stop in the second quarter, adding another four majors before a shuffle to defence cooled him off. France lost captain and onballer Alban Schieber with a knee injury in the first two minutes of play, not helping their cause. With a solid Australian backline and Sam Higgs (one of the three Higgs brothers) and Rischbieth everywhere in the middle, the French found it very difficult to get the ball forward with any consistency.

A head clash between Australians Hook and Ben Rogers in the third quarter highlighted the physicality of the match and left blood dripping from both. As it turns out, Hook’s companion and secret weapon was also a plastic surgeon, and both were stitched up post-game. France slammed on two goals in their best period of the match and started to grow in confidence with some great passages of play. Their ruckman Thomas Depondt battled hard all day long.

The last quarter saw Australia pile on more goals courtesy of some slick ball movement. Rangy ruckman-turned-forward Phil Clegget started to hold his marks and did not look like missing from any distance, while the Higgs brothers shared the ball between them.

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While the Australians proved too strong on the day, the match was played in high spirits, with the crowd getting a great exhibition of high-class football skills.

“The national team will learn a lot from today and can take those lessons into the remainder of our preparations for IC14 in Australia this August,” France coach,Thomas Urban said.

Of his side Ben MacCormack, CEO of AFL Europe said: “The team is picked on their individual connection to the area and the ANZAC spirit. The level can be varied throughout the team. However, this year, it was an exceptional group.

“More pleasing was the respect, understanding and enthusiasm the whole group showed towards the event, commemoration and the people of Villers Bretonneux.”

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“This is a very special event on the AFL Europe calendar and should be an event that every Australian attends at some stage in their life,” MacCormack concluded.

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Whilst it is the spirit of the event that is most important the Australian’s where thrilled to even the series at 3-3 with this years victory.

Score:

Australia 10.5 (65)     22.7 (139)     30.11 (191)     39.14 (248)

France        0.0 (0)         0.2 (2)              2.3 (15)            2.7 (19)

Goals:

Australia: Lawson 11, S. Higgs 7, Clegget 5, MacCormack 3, Price 3, P. Higgs 3, McGrath 2, Rischbieth 2, D. Higgs, Hook, Howard

France: Debet, Cassavetti

Australian Embassy – France, Best on ground:

Australia: Sam Higgs

France: Thomas Depondt

See you next year in VB for the 7th edition

ANZAC Cup 2014

2014 sees the 6th edition of the ANZAC Cup on the battlefields of Villers Bretonneux in France. Thanks to the work of previous organisers and the CNFA this event continues to grow into a real highlight on the European calendar. This years event will be held on the 25th and 26thApril with accommodation for 2 nights, dinner and 2 breakfast’s for under €60. If you want to represent Australia and are an ex-pat currently living or travelling through Europe please send us through an email explaining why this would be a special match for you to play in. Playing abilities are not the focus, we are more interested in personal connections to the area or the armed forces and the ANZAC’s special history. In the tradition of the ANZAC spirit kiwi’s are more than welcome to apply. Please send through your applications to play in a short email to info@afleurope.org by Feb 14th.