AFL England

Dragonslayers Pipped at the Last Post

dragonslayers logo

The England Dragon Slayers are the national men’s team for Australian Rules Football. They are affiliated to AFL England who is the governing body in England and AFL Europe who oversee the game in Europe. The Dragon Slayers compete in two major competitions every year. The Tri Nations between England, Scotland and Wales and the Euro Cup competing against other teams in Europe. The Dragon slayers have had success in Europe coming first in 2008,2009 and 2013.

This year’s squad was made up from players who attended a training weekend at Sheffield Rugby Club in August. The group were tested for two days with various drills and tests before the tri nations squad was announced on the Sunday afternoon. This gave a couple of players one last chance to prove them self for Euro Cup. England went on to clean sweep the Tri nations winning every game.

2015 Squad

Alex Watson, Chris Cooney (Wandsworth Demons), Ashley Swift (Nottingham Scorpions), Anthony Brannigan (Tyne Tees Tigers) Alex Overton, Luke Booth, Matt Whiteley (Huddersfield Rams) Simon Vardy (Sheffield Thunder) Myles Hudson, Jason Hill, Ross Ashman (Wimbledon Hawks) Chris Britton, Matthew Kilheeny (Manchester Mosquitos) George Dibble (Chippenham Redbacks)Ross Denton, Andrew Walkden (Birmingham Bears)

Coach: Rob Fielder

This year’s Euro Cup was hosted in Umag by Croatia one of the most successful teams in the Euro Cup. 12 teams competed in the men’s including reigning champions Denmark, Ireland who always sent a strong team and playing for the first time, the combination Israeli and Palestinians known as the Peace Team, who have also contested the International Cup in the past.

On the 10th October 2016, a new look England Dragon Slayers squad, led by their new captain Matt Whiteley, set off to try and become the champions of Europe once again. The squad had a new feel about it with 6 of the 16 players playing in their 1st Euro Cup. The day started with two group games against Scotland and the European Crusader. England started well in both these games and came out with comprehensive victories. The skill levels where high and the commitment to the ball showed that England would be one of the teams to beat.

England 56 – European Crusaders 3
England 71 – Scotland 0

England topped there group and where drawn against one of the other favourites Ireland. The wind for the semi-final was really strong and blew across the ground. England adapted to the conditions quickly and limited the Irish scoring. Some excellent work from back men Myles Hudson and Ross Denton allowed the team to change defence into attack quickly. Once again the whole team effort around the ground was immense and this didn’t allow a speedy Irish to be able to play.

England 23 – Ireland 9

England then had chance to sit and watch who they would face in the Final. This was a very impressive Denmark side. With the game plan all worked out England set about the final in much the same way they had the Semi-final, with a high intensity game. England grabbed the 1st goal in the final through rookie Alex Overton, and this spurred them on to a half time lead. The second half however was a different story as England’s high intensity game tired slightly, Denmark’s impressive skill levels brought them back into the game and for most of this half it was one way traffic, with Denmark controlling the footy.

England 26 – Denmark 47

Overall this was a very impressive tournament by the new look England side. The performed well as a team. Captain Matthew Whiteley said after ‘I am really proud of all the players, we worked hard throughout the day. It was pleasing to see so many new faces stepping up and performing well for their country. The future looks good for English Aussie Rules’. One of the success stories from the squad was Youngster Alex Overton who said ‘It was a wonderful experience, as well a great learning curve for himself as a player.’

Please keep an eye out for up and coming England Dragon Slayers games and also the training weekend. The squad are also still looking for sponsorship for next year, for the training weekend, tri-nations and also the euro cup. If you are interested please contact peterjwoodall@hotmail.com