3rd European Championships in Australian Football - 13th to 20th August 2016. London, England.
DAY ONE – SUNDAY 14TH AUGUST
1pm Irish Warriors v German Eagles
3pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Swedish Elks
DAY TWO – TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST
4pm German Eagles v Swedish Elks
6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v Irish Warriors
DAY THREE – THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST
1.30pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees
2.15pm Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
3pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans
4pm Irish Warriors v Swedish Elks
6pm Great Britain Bulldogs v German Eagles
DAY FOUR – FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST
11.30am Irish Banshees v European Crusaders
12.15pm Great Britain Swans v Irish Banshees
1pm European Crusaders v Great Britain Swans
DAY FIVE – SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST
1pm Men’s Third Place PO
2.30pm Women’s Grand Final
3.30pm Men’s Grand Final
(The following team previews are based on those that appear on the AFL Europe website).
The team itself is coming together well, blending a mix of youth and experience. With multiple International medal winners like David McElhone, Eoin O’Suilebhain and Gerard Walls mixing with some really exciting prospects like Stuart McKeating, Paul Murphy and Luke Hickey this Warriors side looks pretty formidable.
The ruck duo of Gavin Murray and Dominic Joyce (Dominic back in Ireland after multiple seasons playing in rural NSW) will be ones to look out for and can be really dominate. They could dictate first use for their midfielders which is key to winning big games.
The improvement shown by players like Sean Paul Henry is going to be vital for the Warriors. His natural athleticism has always had him at the forefront of opposition discussions but not his foot skills have become a focal point of his game which makes him a really exciting prospect for the Irish side.
Great Britain Bulldogs
With a very young looking Bulldog’s squad, many of who are making their international debut, it’ll be very hard to pick who would potentially provide the difference in this tournament. The University of Birmingham keep producing high quality players and their link up with the North London Lions continues to be fruitful. Ross Denton, Jack Coughlan, Jonny Harvey, Andy Walkden, Chris Britton, George Dibble and Michael Sharp have all come through the pipeline and will be worth a watch at EC16.
The London league is seeing impressive performances from the Wimbledon newbies in Myles Hudson, David Hastie, Marc Cashman and Jason Hill, while Alex Watson and David Jordan at the Wandsworth Demons are putting in highly rated performances along with West London Wildcats defender, Lewis Brackstone.
The AFL CNE league continues to churn out new and young talent in Craig Degville, Andrew Cochran and Harry Duffield. More experienced players such as Owain Ryland, Andy Smith, Will Worthington and Luke Booth will be keys to bringing success, through their big tournament experience and years of service to the Bulldogs. All in all, X-Factor performances have the ability to come from the whole GB squad and we’re as excited as anyone to see who’ll shine at the AFL Europe Champs.
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 Denmark side that defeated Great Britain back in 1996 when the Helsingborg Saints were members of the Denmark AFL. 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.
German Black Eagles
The Germans are strong across the park and are blessed with the ability to play their players in any position. A few names to keep an eye out for are big bodied midfielder/defender, Florian Naumann, who can take a strong mark overhead and hits very hard. Ruben Streicher is a raw talent who plays as a tall forward or ruckman. He was named in the Euro Cup team of the tournament last year in Croatia and is only going to improve. Jakob Jung is one to watch for the opposition. He has all the attribute of a top-quality midfielder with his speed and skills, he’s also tough as nails so will be hard to stop in the Champs.
Players who have shown significant improvement for the Eagles are Jan Husken and Simon Assmus. Both will be hoping to continue their rapid develop and shake up competition.
World Rankings and 3rd European Championships in Australian Football
Probably not in the Men’s ranks, if the ranking scheme runs true to form (ie. higher ranked/rated nations win more often than not). As the current ranks stand, only two matches will see any change occur in the rating points. (Rating Gap less than 10.00) The current Ranks of the participating nations are: 3rd Ireland 56.68 rating points
9th Great Britain 44.69
15th Sweden 38.53
18th Germany 34.09
Rating point exchanges resulting from Great Britain defeating Sweden on day one and Sweden winning against Germany (day two) would be not enough to bring about any change in the Ranks.
However if Sweden can knock off Great Britain (they have done it before to take 3rd place at the 1st European Championships in 2010) then Great Britain would drop to 10th below Denmark and Sweden would climb above Croatia into 12th place.
To be fair to Germany we should also look at what would happen if Germany were to upset Sweden, +/- 2.08 rating points would be exchanged and Sweden would fall to 18th and Germany climbing one place to 17th.
History in the Making: Women’s European Championships in Australian Football.
Women have competed at the Euro Cup 9’s since 2010, but the 2016 edition of the European Championships showcases the continuing growth of Women’s Footy across Europe with Great Britain and European Crusaders* joining Ireland in full-field 18-a-side competition.
The Irish Banshees are currently ranked 4th of only four fully Ranked Nations (Played more than 8 International Matches) with 46.81 Rating Points. As Great Britain Swans and the Crusaders debut at this level they begin their international journey with 40.00 Rating Points. It is difficult to predict how the two new teams will measure up against each other and the seasoned campaigners, Ireland, winner of International Cup 2011and Runners-Up to Canada Northern Lights at IC14.
So if we assume the Higher ranked nation will win more often than not then we could expect to see the Banshees to gain enough rating points (over 2 rounds and final of this tournament) to enable them to climb above United States Freedom into third place behind Australia and Canada.
Great Britain and the European Crusaders will slot in amongst the other provisionally ranked nations possibly at P1 and P4 depending on which team is more successful. Congratulations must be extended to both debutante teams as they join the International Australian Football family of nations.
*European Crusaders: Team made up from players from other nations unable to field full 18-a-side teams. This team has players from France, Great Britain and Scandinavia.