AFL Europe Championships Team Preview – Swedish Elks
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.
What’s happened since the International Cup in 2014?
The Elks have remained relatively quiet since the International Cup in 2014. The team participated in the 2014 Euro Cup with mixed results. They also hosted the 2015 Nordic Challenge beating Norway and Denmark (for the very first time) to claim the title.
2016 has seen the Elks host regional training sessions as well as a combined session following the Swedish Cup tournament in Norrtalje in June this year.
Who’s in for the AFL Europe Championships?
Head coach Daniel McClaer resigned in 2015 and the board spent a lot of time finding a new coach before finally settling on Brett Petersen based in Malmo. Unfortunately, Brett will not be attending the Championships in August so the team will be coached by manager and AFL Sweden President, Ryan Tucker.
There are a few new faces in the team but the majority of players have played in the Elks squad for a number of years. They hope to mix the older generation with the youth coming through but finding the right balance will be key.
Players are spread all across the country with all but one active team not having a player represented. Sweden have also taken advantage of neighbouring countries not entering a team with players from Norway, Finland and Lithuania.
The lead up to this tournament has not been perfect having only recently secured a new head coach the team has not received the desired amount of attention moving into the Championships. Unfortunately, combined training sessions and team meetings have not been able to happen as planned which puts the Elks behind the eight-ball in terms of preparation. In saying this, the group of players play with and against one another at club level week in, week out which provides a level of familiarity.
The biggest hurdle will be the adjustment of newer players to the 18-a-side format after playing at 9-a-side format for their respective clubs. The Elks are renowned for their fitness, determination and voice on the field which will more than make up for any other areas they may be lacking.
Who has the X-Factor?
You can never go past veteran Andy Svensson. The oldest player in the team seems to get younger when he plays footy. Having played since the early 2000s he is a valued member of the team. Andy was a member of the combined Denmark and Sweden side that took out the championships 20 years ago in 1996.
New Elks, Alex Olsson and Calle Wrang have proved in domestic footy that they can produce, whilst stalwarts Chris Martensson and Hampus Olsson will lead the team with bravado.
One of the most improved players is Buster Sund from Norrtalje. He was just 17 years old at International Cup in 2014 and gained valuably from that experience to become one of the most dominant players in the Stockholm league in the past two years.
Coach’s thoughts – Ryan Tucker
“For me this tournament will serve as a great learning tool for the players looking to play in IC17. A bunch of new guys have never played 18-a-side footy and I am excited to see what can happen when the game widens. I am happy with the team we have put together and I think we have some great strengths in our fitness and passion for the game. our size will also be a factor during the tournament which we can hopefully exploit. Even though we have a few new players to the team our experienced players have a number of years behind them which will be very useful in tight games.”
- Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
- Anton Tellström (Helsingborg)
- Jacob Lantz (Helsingborg)
- Hampus Olsson (Helsingborg)
- Jacob Nilsson (Helsingborg)
- Philip Nilsson (Helsingborg)
- Robin Nilsson (Helsingborg)
- Niklas Jonsson (Norrtälje)
- Martynas Alijosius (Norrtälje)
- Erik Lindqvist (Norrtälje)
- Gustav Svensson (Norrtälje)
- Buster Sund (Norrtälje)
- Tim Lindgren (Port Malmö)
- Tobias Gogu (Port Malmö)
- Tony Persson (Port Malmö)
- Jonas Lovén (Port Malmö)
- Christopher Mårtensson (Port Malmö)
- Jonas Birgén (Årsta)
- Mattis Kvarnström (Årsta)
- Oscar Magnusson (Solna)
- Pekka Tångström (Göteborg)
- Kaj Karlsson (Södermalm)