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2004 Review: Aussie Rules Kicking Goals in Stockholm!


The SAFF Mission Statement: ‘To contribute to the development of Australian Rules football in Sweden, through promotion and interaction attuned to Swedish society.’

Earlier this year, WFN caught up with Philip Porublev about the trials and tribulations of founding the Stockholm Dynamite. Now, Stockholm's Damien Waldron gives a post-season review of the progress of a side where 90% of the playing list had never kicked a footy prior to this year.

During the winter months of 2004, Australian Rules Football began kicking goals in Stockholm, Sweden. With early training sessions either indoors or on ice or snow clad fields; Aussie Rules diehards began preparing for their inaugural year.

Over the next 8 months a combination of rookies and AFL wannabies battled through 19 games: 2 practice matches, 9 home and away matches 2 regional games, 1 International Rules Football Match, and the DAFL Sheepstations cup.

Throughout the year over 50 people played in a SAFF jumper, representing many backgrounds and nationalities. More than 90% of the players had never kicked a ball in anger prior to this year. Supporters flocked in their droves to the ’Blockbuster' matches: Anzac Day, the inaugural SAFF Grand Final and the International Rules Match.

In addition to the many on-field contributions a special thanks must be said to everyone behind the jumper who contributed to the success of the SAFF. You people know who you are and without their contributions the year would not have been successful. In addition a special mention must be made to our two major sponsors, who helped us get our jumpers and t-shirts sorted this year.

Check out their websites for all your beer and building needs.

Dancing Dingo

BJ Byggteknik AB

A year in review:

Early in April the Stockholm Dynamite traveled to Malmö and won a resounding victory in their premier game. However, it must be said it was against a rather depleted Southern Saints side. Six weeks later the 'Miters' accepted an invitation to play a full strength team in Helsingborg for the well-coined 'E4' Cup. (For those of you outside of Sweden, the E4 is the major freeway between Stockholm and the south). The match resulted in a four-point loss to the Miters under controversial conditions.

In Stockholm, Aussie Rules went from strength to strength with the establishment of a 3-team league: North, South and Central. After completing 9 home and away games, the season ended with all three teams on 12 points, however percentage (goal difference) ensured that North met Central in the 2004 Grand Final.

The game was in the balance until 3-quarter time when the fitness and experience of the boys from the North paid dividends. A final quarter push saw North take out the game and the glory of the 2004 Premiership Cup.

With two weeks recuperation the Miters went forth once more, chasing the illustrious Sheepstations Cup. With victories in the first two matches, a finals birth was assured, however end-of-season injuries took their toll and the Miters had to settle for a credible 4th place.

Closing out the season a Stockholm representative team met the Irish in an International Rules game. Similar to the first test in Dublin the Irish were just too good, need we say more.

Looking ahead:

Although 2004 was a highly successful year, 2005 will be a definitive moment in the history of the SAFF with a number of key objectives on the horizon:

·The development of an Australian Rules Oval in Stockholm
·A consolidation of senior members
·A focus on Swedish Recruitment, targeting younger adult players to the game
·Establishment of a non contact indoor tournament for girls and guys
·The development of a Junior Development program for Sweden
·The First International Aussie Rules match in Stockholm

A full round up of results, and news is available at the SAFF site.

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