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Local footy in Baden-Württemberg - Ludwigsburg Taipans hoping for opponents

  • Sunday, February 17 2013 @ 05:01 pm ACDT
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The German state of Baden-Württemberg, located in the country's south-west, has been represented in the AFLG by the Stuttgart Emus for a number of years now. Besides the Emus however, there are also a number of regional towns where interested German and Australian footy fanatics are working on the creation of new clubs, with the possibility that this year may see a local league start play.

The most active of the regional teams are the Taipans, founded in the medium-sized city of Ludwigsburg around 15km north of Stuttgart. Ludwigsburg has been home to a number of Stuttgart Emus players over the past few years, including local Kevin Kilger and Aussie expat Chris Robertson, a native of Williamstown in Melbourne's inner-west who has played with the Emus since 2009 and coached them in the second half of the 2011 season.

Chris Robertson, Kevin Kilger and Kevin's brother Robin started getting together for a regular kick in the park in Ludwigsburg in early 2011, in order to get some footy in without the trip into Stuttgart for training with the Emus.

From there, the Taipans grew almost unintentionally, with the Kilgers inviting friends, who in turn invited their friends and so on. "We have had well over 60 people to training, but we only have about 15 regulars. We have been pretty much 100% German the whole way, apart from myself and a Scottish guy," says Robertson.

"This became much more than a casual kick of the footy and by the 5th of June we had around 20 guys. This was followed by our first real game against the Emus in a friendly in July."

"This created the interest in Jakob Jung, who consequently started a team in Haslach (near Herrenberg), the Hawks. The Hawks and Taipans met for the first time on AFLG grand final day 2011, before the other games. The Hawks were the better team on the day and with the help from several experienced players from other AFLG teams ran out deserved winners."

"In early 2012 we organised the first 9-a-side Baden-Württemberg Cup, in order to give the new teams some real footy experience and the chance to show their improvement against the Emus, which were split into 2 teams. This proved to be a great day for the Taipans, who finally earned a well deserved first victory against the Hawks. The Taipans also showed improvement against the two Emu teams, but ended up third after beating the Hawks again in the game for third place."

"The Taipans also participated in a AFLG Cup in 2012 in Frankfurt and made many more friends through this experience, getting along really well with the Dresden Wolves. The highlights for the Taipans in Frankfurt were the win against the Wolves, as well as kicking the first 6 goals against the Emus who then rallied in the second half to snatch the win in the last few seconds of the game."

The Haslach Hawks have gone a bit quiet since last year, but reportedly are hopeful that they can be bounce back for 2013. Other clubs hoping to form are the Böblingen Pirates (counting Sttugart Emus stalwart Grant Walsh among their number) and a new side in Karlsruhe, as part of a multi-sports club who are interested in branching out into new sporting codes.

Robertson says the Taipans' are hopeful that the Hawks, Pirates and potential Karlsruhe team can develop enough to get a 9-a-side league off the ground this year, as the lack of games is making it hard to keep up enthusiasm of the Taipans' squad. Long-term they would even look at taking the step up into the AFLG, although that might be a while down the track.

"Regarding the AFLG we would love to join. This was the goal and dream of Kev Kilger, who has been there from day one and has an unbelievable understanding of the game for a German who was introduced to the game about 4 years ago."

At the moment though, the Taipans are a young squad, all between 16 and 24 and either doing an apprenticeship or studying. This makes it hard to commit to a full season, particularly if it involves travelling to the likes of Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. "But they just love having a kick, doesn't matter if it's snowing or sunny. They are a great bunch of blokes and I hope if the AFLG wants more clubs they will give the Taipans a go, because they will definitely bring some colour into the comp!"

The Baden-Württemberg Cup is scheduled for March 23rd again this year, and the number of sides who can make it along to the tournament will greatly influence whether the BWFL can take place this year.

Anyone wanting to get in touch with the Taipans can do so via their Facebook page.