Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Last weekend saw the inaugural AFL Switzerland tournament. It is the first time that an all-Swiss competition has been held and featured the established Winterthur Lions club as well as the two newly formed additions – the Basel Dragons and Geneva Jets.
As previously noted in an earlier story (see Swiss Sensations), the tournament was made possible through exciting growth in Switzerland. Basel, located in the north east almost at the border of Switzerland, France and Germany, have put together a team. Additionally, Geneva, in the south-east, have also gathered sufficient numbers to compete.
And compete they did. Over the three match round robin, each team played two games at Deutweg Stadium in Winterthur.
The opening match saw the host team, Winterthur, take on the Basel Dragons. The Lions were too good across the match, showing their experience to record a strong 55-point victory. The second game was an upset, especially given the Lions’ dominance in the opener. The Geneva Jets downed the Lions by 10 points to set up a dream final game – if the Jets could down the Dragons, they would take out their maiden tournament.
In a close game, the Geneva Jets did defeat the Basel Dragons in the final match, but not without a solid performance from the Dragons. The Jets hung on to win by just seven points to become the first Swiss champion team.
What was most impressive from the outside looking in was the enormous footwork put in by the AFL Switzerland body to reach out across the country and develop three competitive teams so quickly. Geneva may have won the tournament, but Australian football was probably the biggest winner. With three clubs now established, and the potential to tap into other Swiss markets such as Zurich, Lausanne, Bern or Lucerne, the tournament is the perfect proof that the game can be embraced and developed relatively quickly.
The proximity of the Swiss teams to clubs and leagues across Italy, Germany, Austria and France also holds great potential for future matches or small tournaments a cross borders.
Winterthur Lions 10 10 70 d Basel Dragons 2 3 15
Geneva Jets 7 8 50 d Winterthur Lions 6 4 40
Geneva Jets 9 10 64 d Basel Dragons 9 3 57
Picture: The Winterthur Lions donning their new outfits donated by the Coburg Lions in Victoria (AFL Switzerland)
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