Vikings back to claim Danish authority on European Footy
Thursday, September 20 2012 @ 03:36 am ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
One of Europe's oldest footy nations, the Danes are consistently in the top flight of teams alongside the Irish and British.
This year's DAFL Premier League had 5 teams competing - the Jutland Shinboners, Farum Cats, North Copenhagen Barracudas from Denmark, and the Helsingborg Saints and Malmø Maulers from southern Sweden. The competition was played with each team playing each other twice, and a final 4 - finals system.
Last weekend saw the Farum Cats take on the North Copenhagen Barracudas 2012 DAFL Premier League Grand Final. Farum went into the game as favorites, without fielding any Australians at all in their lineup. And Farum did impress, beating the Barracudas 60-35. This extraordinary feat was the first time in DAFL history (and possibly in the history of international football) that an ALL-local team, even coached by a local, won a GF again a side that included expat Australians.
With the GF and season at a close, Jens Djernes spoke to WFN about the national team's preparations for the Euro Cup.
Djernes' home club Jutland didn’t make the finals, but he says they have showed some great potential in some younger players, who have come into the team during the last couple of seasons.
Encouragingly, there was not a single forfeit in this year’s DAFL PL. 177 players played in matches; 114 players in the Danish teams. Only 21 of those were Australians. The competition is played as 16-a-side, but with a rule implemented for developmental reasons that allows teams to play down to 12-a-side if short on numbers.
Also, the first Danish 9´s Championship was held in Farum late June. Four teams attended the competition and Aalborg Kangaroos ran out winners. This will be an event that will continue to be held in years to come. It is played in a EuroCup format, and is only for the Danish teams - Australians can play, with a maximum of 3 Aussies on the field. "Next year we expect at least 6 teams to participate. Local casual 9-a-side games have been played in the Copenhagen-area and Jutland as well," says Djernes.
Players to watch from the Vikings will include:
Mikkel Kjøge, 17, a Farum Cats player who played for the European Legion in London against the AIS Team and for “World 18” at the U16 state championships in Australia. His impressive fitness and skill-level has earned him a spot on the national team as well as an important role on the Farum Cats premiership team.
Bjørn Westergaard, 23, is fairly new to the game but has developed rapidly during his first season in DAFL. He’s fast and strong, and plays with great passion. Bjørn will be a hard-working man to watch.
René Palsgaard, 23 years old, has only played one full season in the DAFL Premier League, but has proven to be a natural. His body-composition, running-pace and vertical leap is impressive; he’s been a key-player in the centre for the Jutland Shinboners. Palsgaard has adapted very fast to the game, improving his skills all season.
Djernes says "The Euro Cup 2012 is the starting point for our preparations for the European Championships in 2013 and the International Cup in 2014. Emphasis has therefore been put on giving some of our young, very talented players the opportunity to play for the Vikings, combined with younger players with a lot of experience from the international footy scene.
"This has resulted in a very interesting and skillful team that will lay the foundation for the team’s effort in the coming years. All our players have been playing a lot of footy this year, and have been training hard in their respective clubs. Our bench will be as strong as our starting lineup. We are A TEAM.
"The squad has 13 players with an average age of about 22.5 (Jonas Holstein 37, the rest is 16-23) but yet they still have played more than 800 games in all, with an average of about 65 games per player. 9 players were in the IC11 squad.
The side was picked during the course of the summer by newly assigned coach: Páll Tómas Finnsson. Páll decided along with our Talent- and Elite-committee that emphasis should be put on players developing in their own clubs during the season. Players were selected based on their performances in the DAFL Premier League, and the first Danish 9’s Championships also played an important role in the selection process, as it gave Páll an ideal opportunity to see the players play at a competitive level in 9-a-side format.
"Páll took on the job after Jim Campion. Jim Campion has done a tremendous amount of work for both DAFL and Farum Cats, and coached the national team at the International Cups in 2008 and 2011. After the latter, Jim decided to step back as coach and let fresh legs take over.
"Páll has played forever and is a much known face on the international stage. Páll will bring to the young group of players a coach who always shows great passion and sportsmanship. He’s got a great knowledge of the game, and his communication-skills and way of being will surely help the team a long way.
"Team manager Lars Samuelsen has played footy for many years in DAFL. He has a great passion for the game, and will be helping Páll and the players to reach their goals, managing the team and keeping track of match- and player statistics.
"The team will be expected to perform at a very high level, and show that Denmark is a force to be reckoned with in the coming years!"
Coach - Pall Finnsson
Team Manager - Lars Samuelsen