UQAFC players head to IC14
Thursday, July 31 2014 @ 09:05 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
While a number of players from University of Queensland may have come to Australia to study and live it up in the Sunshine state they will be heading to chilly Melbourne next week to represent their countries in Australian football. Thanks to UQAFC Red Lions and author Mike Swann for the following article.
The UQAFC will have a number of people involved in this year’s international showcase event IC14, to be played across Melbourne during August.
Canadian recruit Chantal Beaudin will be playing for her country
in the women’s competition, a side which Red Lioness captain Kate Harvey was also selected for but recently had to withdraw from due to an ankle injury. A number of UQAFC ladies were also set to represent a combined European team, which was ultimately forced to withdraw from the competition.
In the men’s competition all of UQ’s focus will be on the Great Britain side, coached by Red Lion QAFL/Colts assistant Mark Pitura. Mark (a former AFL and SANFL player) has now coached the side for 6 years and this year introduced a couple of Red Lions into the playing fold. Olly Smith and Neil “Biscuit” Cooke will don the Union Jack as part of the British Bulldogs side hoping to claim their first International Cup.
Both boys were only recently introduced to the sport. Olly played mostly rugby union growing up, but had watched some AFL on television and found that “it always appealed to me as it didn’t look like it had many rules!” Olly began playing three years ago upon moving to Australia from the UK where he was almost immediately introduced to the Red Lions by a friend. Biscuit, also having played rugby union until his late teens, joined the club at around the same time as Olly after finding us online and wanting to try out a new sport. The boys are both eager for the chance to represent their country in their new sport.
Neil believes that “to get the opportunity to play against the best players from around the world (excluding Australia) is going to be the biggest experience of my life. Representing my country was a childhood dream and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the squad and make it a dream come true.”
Olly will miss the first two games of the competition due to a long-planned trip home to visit family, but will be a key player upon his return to the side for the business end of the cup: “For me being part of the Great Britain squad at IC14 is a dream come true. To be able to represent your country at a sport was always a childhood dream of mine.”
The GB team will tackle France, Nauru and Fiji in the first stage in what should be a very competitive pool. Reigning champions Ireland will be early favourites as they look to take out their third cup, but coach Pitura believes that his boys are quietly building a side which will be ready to surprise the Irish team who denied GB victory at the 2013 European Champions in a last-second two point thriller.
Round 1 kicks off on Sunday week, 10 August 2014 at Royal Park, Parkville, with round two following on our Ekka-holiday Wednesday. The third round will be a highlight for all teams with cup matches aligned to local community competitions the next Saturday. Semi Finals will then be played mid-week, before the Grand Finals on Saturday 23 August. The women’s pinnacle will be played at Punt Road Oval, with the men’s match next door as a curtain-raiser to the Hawthorn vs Geelong clash at the MCG.
The UQAFC would like to wish all involved in this fantastic spectacle all the best for what will be a brilliant event!
A mid-sized defender who is strong over the ball at ground level but can also play tall on opposition key forwards. His rugby background translates into unrelenting attack at the Sherrin. Can break games open with run off the half-back line.
“How I got into footy: Just over 3 years ago I moved from the UK to Brisbane and in an effort to make some good mates and keep healthy I thought I would try my hand at Aussie rules. Previously I had played Rugby Union most of my life, but as a kid I had watched the odd bit of Aussie rules on TV. It always appealed to me as it didn’t look like it had many rules!
A Red Lions legend called Justin Long happened to be good friends with my partner and so he introduced me to UQAFL.
I instantly fell in love with the game, as it was physical yet fast paced and it helped that I was no longer playing in ridiculously rubbish weather!
After almost 3 years of playing the sport I was recently playing for the QAFL reserves side when Mark Pitura (The GB Bulldogs Coach) approached me after the game and asked I I was interested in representing my country at IC14. At first I thought it was a practical joke, but after checking it all out I was firmly committed to doing anything I could to assist the squad in August this year.
For me being part of the Great Britain squad at IC14 is a dream come true. To be able to represent your country at a sport was always a childhood dream of mine.
I will be joining up with the squad for the second week of the tournament as I will be travelling back from visiting my family in the UK during the first week. However once I am there, I will be doing anything I can to ensure we as a squad maximize our potential and aim for the ultimate win in International AFL competitions.”
Pint-sized mid-fielder/half-forward with dazzling footwork. Very elusive around the contest and will find ways to escape from packs with the ball in hand. Set to jag a number of goals across half-forward for the Bulldogs during IC14.
“How I got in to Aussie Rules: I was chatting with a mate about getting back in to competitive sport after deciding to stay in Australia long-term but having played Rugby Union until I was 17 I wanted to try something new. He suggested giving Aussie Rules a go and I came across the University of Queensland Red Lions on the internet. I went to an early pre-season training session having never touched an AFL ball before, let alone tried to understand the game, but it didn’t take long before I had fallen in love with the game. I am in my third season of Aussie Rules now and wish that I had discovered the sport earlier in my life.
It was Friday June the 6th and I had just come out of a meeting after accepting a new job offer when I saw a message on my phone from Mark Pitura (GB Bulldogs Senior Coach). In short, someone had pulled out of the squad and the position had been offered to me. My first thought was that someone was having a laugh but after checking the information I was straight on the phone to Mark to accept being part of the squad. I can’t say I’ve had many days like this in my life; it is one that I won’t forget.
To get the opportunity to play against the best players from around the world (excluding Australia) is going to be the biggest experience of my life. Representing my country was a childhood dream and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the squad and make it a dream come true.
Everyone in the Bulldogs squad is putting in the hard yards and looking forward to the tournament launch and first game against France. Back the Bulldogs!”
The original article appeared here.
The University of Queensland Australian Football Club (est 1956) is one of the largest sporting clubs based on the UQ campus. Recognised by AFL athletes as the preferred club at which to develop their professional and sporting careers, the UQAFC is a professional organisation based on amateur values where the UQ AFL community can enjoy competitive success, personal and professional development and life enriching social experiences in a safe, engaging and respectful environment. The club offers UQ Sports Achievement Scholarships specifically for AFL athletes studying and playing at the University of Queensland. With teams in the QAFL, QAFA and QWAFL, the UQAFC plays matches throughout south east Queensland each season. If you would like to contact the UQAFC about our media releases please contact our Media Manager, to enquire about sponsorship opportunities please contact our Sponsorship manager, or to find out more about playing with the club please click here.
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