The 2019 Euro Cup, held in Norrtalje, Sweden on the weekend, crowned the England Dragonslayers as the men’s champions and once again the Irish Banshees as women’s champions. The tournament is the showcase of European Aussie Rules, and the standard of matches across the day upheld that status.
For the Dragonslayers, this was their fifth Euro Cup win after back to back titles in Prague (2008) and Samobor (2009, Croatia), Bordeaux in 2013 and 2017. This was also the fourth title for the Irish Banshees, including a back-to-back performance after winning last year in Cork.
The men’s draw saw the traditional powerbrokers – England, Ireland, Croatia and Germany – joined by France, Wales, Scotland, Netherlands and host nation Sweden. But the most compelling aspect of the draw was the growing number of developing nations with Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic and Israel each sending teams.
Legendary former Hawthorn superstar, Cyril Rioli, will return to the game in an assistant coaching role for the Tiwi Bombers in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL). After his seemingly sudden retirement from the highest level of footy during the 2018 season.
Since then there has been wide speculation as to whether Rioli would return to Hawthorn, return to footy in Darwin or simply remain retired and use his experience behind the scenes. The Tiwi Bombers are delighted that Rioli has chosen to link with the club that hails from his home islands – the Tiwi Islands – north of Darwin.
Rioli, who remained on the islands until he was eight years old, moved to Darwin and then by age 14 was boarding at Scotch College in Melbourne until being drafted by Hawthorn in 2008. Since then, a legend grew – four premierships, a Norm Smith medal, three All-Australian selections, 189 games and 275 goals (some the most memorable in AFL history).
The following story by Hamish McLachlan, printed in the NT News this week, highlights the incredibly difficult journey of indigenous footballers, as recently as just 25 years ago.
In fact, in my own position coaching here in Cairns, North Queensland, I can say with certainty that the racism highlighted by former St Kilda star and media personality Gilbert McAdam, still exists amongst sections of communities. This story is important reading for the focus it brings to a topic that is too often treated with lip service, and at worst, ignored.
I was listening to David Letterman and Barack Obama talking about racism recently. Letterman said, “We can define racism. But we can’t explain it”.
The former US President responded with something like, “People come up with all sorts of reasons to try and put themselves over others, but biologically, there is no reality to racism — we made it up — but over time it manifests itself in very concrete ways and becomes a social reality, with very real impacts”.
Last year, World Footy News reported on a young woman who was defying the odds of gender, culture, religion, economics, geography, climate and other challenges to take the game of Australian Rules football to the mountain villages of northern Pakistan.
Saliha Baig Jaturi inspired many with her determination to take the game she learned to love, by virtue of being a part of the inaugural Pakistan Shaheens women's team at the IC17 in Melbourne. Now her story has caught fire with many other stories in print and television, as well as across social media.
Like many young Samoans growing up in Queensland, 15-year-old Lamont Kalolo grew up playing rugby league, even making it to the Under-14 junior representative level. But unlike many of his Polynesian cohorts, he’s chosen to give Aussie rules a go instead.
“(AFL) really boosted my confidence. It made me think that maybe there’s something more if I keep doing this,” Kalolo said in a recent interview with the Courier-Mail.
A natural athlete who plays at both full-forward and centre half-forward, Kalolo’s hard work is getting him places -- specifically, a spot at the Brisbane Lions AFL Academy program.
Since the early days of the USAFL, American players have travelled to Australia to bathe in the full experience of being at an Aussie rules football club in Australia. Most come to play the game at the highest level they can, some are happy just to play a game anywhere, while others will consult a USAFL team mate from Australia to hook them up with their old club.
Probably the most successful of those players (on a long term playing basis at state level) who came to Australia on their own initiative is Alex Aurrichio. Originally Aurrichio attended an AFL combine in LA before playing footy with the New York Magpies. He then came to Australia, worked around a number of clubs before ending up at Carlton’s VFL affiliate the Northern Blues where he played multiple seasons before moving to the SANFL and NEAFL leagues.
The AFLW season may be over in Australia, but the competition is just kicking off in Germany.
While other neighboring countries like France and Switzerland have long been a key part of women's footy in Europe, the Berlin Crocodiles and the Rhein-Main Redcats are leading the charge in the inaugural season for AFLW Germany.
The Redcats recently formed as a merger of Rheinland and Frankfurt women's teams; a combined ten players from the Frankfurt and Berlin sides have represented their country internationally, including at last year's AFL Euro Cup in Cork, Ireland.
I had watched some AFL highlights on YouTube at that point and was instantly intrigued by Aussie rules: the pace of the game, the unique skills, and the all-around athleticism required to play it were all extremely appealing to me. I didn’t know much at the time, but I knew I wanted to get involved.
Angus Boyle from www.afleurope.org has compiled the following review of the 2019 ANZAC Cup played in Villers-Bretonneux as well as a look at the pre and post events connected with the occasion. To read the original article, go to: https://afleurope.org/2019-anzac-cup-week-review-2/
Another fantastic ANZAC Cup took place on Saturday afternoon thanks to Major Partner National Australia Bank. The 11th edition of the tournament saw two fast, contested matches highlight the quality of both sides and the connection between the two countries.
After arriving on Wednesday to be part of the ANZAC Day commemorations and spend time in Villers-Bretonneux, the Australian Spirit team played the French Gauloises in the women’s at 12 pm before the French Coqs battled the Australian Spirit in the men’s at 2 pm.