AFL Europe Championships – Day 1 Review
Match Reviews 14/8/16
Ireland Warriors v Germany Eagles
The 2016 AFL Europe Championships kicked off in style with the highly fancied Ireland Warriors taking on the German Eagles. In steamy conditions at Motspur Park, the Warriors were looking to stamp their authority as top-dogs of Europe with a strong showing against their opponents.
It didn’t take long for the Irish to open proceedings with a goal after 2 minutes to steady the nerves in the Championship opener. Muinis Bartley was finding plenty of the footy across the wing for the Irish and delivering into the forward line at will.
The Germans found their rhythm midway through the first quarter and held the Warriors firm for the vast majority. Tristan Thormann was herculean for the Eagles asserting his physical presence around the contest and making his opponents think twice with ball in hand with his ferocious tackling pressure.
Key-forward, Kevin McSorley broke the deadlock with an amazing snap on his left foot from the boundary to give the Warriors a steady lead in the closing stages of the quarter.
After a contested start to the game the Irish found a way to get their run and carry going which broke the game open after quarter time. Gavin Murray was not only dominant in the ruck but was proving invaluable around the ground for the Irish. His battle with the Eagles, Johannes Orlowski was one of the highlights of the match as the two big men went blow for blow all day.
Heading into the second half the Irish had a firm hold on the game and were controlling the tempo for large periods of time. AFL London’s Irish superstar, Kevin O’Brien, was dictating play from the centre and topped the possession count by a long way.
The Germans never gave in though and credit must go to their resilient backline for repelling constant attacking forays from the Irish. Donning the boxing headgear, Rob Macher, lead the tackle count and showed real spirit against a wave of green jumpers.
The heat was taking its toll on some of the German players, most notably Karl Haigh, who came off with cramp late in the third. He must have been pulling the wool over his opponent’s eyes as he returned to the field to slot the Eagles second goal of the game after what must have been some miracle work from resident sports trainer, ‘magic hands’ Shanahan
Inaccuracy marred the final quarter for the Warriors who had gone in at halftime with a very precise 10 goals, 2 behinds. Jan Husker snagged his second goal late in the fourth for the Germans who showed real fight and determination. The Irish would be happy with how they gelled after having their first training session together on the Saturday and will go in confident against arch-rivals, the Great Britain Bulldogs, on Tuesday evening.
The final scorecard reading 17.11. 113 to 3.0. 18.
Ireland: P.O’Connell 4, K.McSorely 2, D. Joyce 2, R. McCloskey 2, G. Walls, E.O’Murchu, M. Bartley, C. Fitzgerald, C. O’Halloran, C. O’Lordian, L. Burns
Germany: J. Husker 2, K. Haigh
Ireland: K.O’Brien, G. Murray, R. McCloskey, P. O’Connell, L. Burns, L. Hickey
Germany: T. Thormann, J. Jung, F. Neumann, J. Orlowski, M. Priess, K. Haigh
Great Britain Bulldogs v Sweden Elks
Host nation, the GB Bulldogs, graced the field in the second game of the tournament against surprise packets the Swedish Elks. With the mercury peaking just prior to first bounce both sets of players knew they’d be in for a fair slog and the first 15 minutes of the quarter proved just that.
The Bulldogs were getting their hands on the footy first but poor skill execution and some silly free kicks were really hurting them.
Dave Jordan steadied the ship for GB with an intercept mark across the wing before delivering a lace out pass to Andrew Walkden who went back to slot the opener.
Inaccuracy was killing the Bulldogs early on and kept the Swedes in the game. Kaj Karlsson was a beast in the midfield for the Elks and was starting to swing the early momentum.
Enter Marc Cashman, the big centre half forward chalked up his first goal of the game following another bullet pass from Bulldogs midfielder Luke Booth. From here on the Bulldogs were dominant.
Jordan and Sharp were wreaking havoc on the wings for GB while David Hastie jagged two goals back to back to open the second quarter.
Despite not troubling the scorers the Elks were very much threatening the GB backline. Andreas Svensson was central to the cause and was one of the most influential players on the ground for the Elks in the midfield. Jacob Nilsson was doing his best to resist the Bulldogs attack and was continually bombing the ball out of the Swedes under pressure defence.
With three goals to Cashman to open the final quarter, taking his tally to six majors, the heat was well and truly out of the contest.
With some junk time goals stretching the score out to over 100-points the Bulldogs well and truly stamped their authority on their home tournament.
Final scorecards reading 18.17. 125 to 1.1. 7.
The result leaves a tantalising Tuesday evening game against old foes the Irish Warriors which will be a battle of strength vs. speed. This will be one of the games of the Championships with a lot of history adding to the theatre of this faceoff.
Let’s not forget the showdown between Germany and Sweden on Tuesday afternoon which is set to be one of the most bruising encounters of the tournament. Both sides love the rough stuff and will leave nothing in the tank.
Play starts from 4pm on Tuesday.
Bulldogs: M. Cashman 6, D. Hastie 3, J. Coughlan 2, C. Cooney 2, A. Walkden, M. Kilheeney, L. Booth, A. Cochran, L. Gedney
Elks: A. Olsson
Bulldogs: M. Cashman, L. Booth, J. Talbot, D. Jordan, M. Hinchey, M. Kilheeney
Elks: A. Svensson, H. Olsson, A. Olsson, T. Persson, A. Tellstrom, K. Karlsson