The Great Britain Bulldogs have named a 53-man training squad for 2019 featuring players from 16 Australian football teams in five leagues across Great Britain, as well as one from the London Gaelic Athletic Association.
The squad was compiled in consultation with coaching group members both here in the UK and in Australia. For the first time, senior players were also consulted for their input as to the squad make-up.
Head Coach Dean Thomas said there were some hard calls to be made in deciding the squad.
“Undoubtedly some players are unlucky to miss out, whilst for some others, the next two years offer perhaps their best opportunity to cement their legacies within the national team.”
“We made some hard calls on some players who we felt it was time to move on from,” said Thomas, “Whilst giving opportunities to a big batch of yet to be capped players, & players with only 1 or 2 caps, who we think can help drive this group forward in a very meaningful way.”
The squad is by no means set in stone, with more players expected to be added during the 2019 season.
“Inevitably someone will respond positively to their omission and stand up during the domestic season to demand inclusion, but for the most part the players named today are going to form the bulk of our tournament sides, certainly next year.”
The squad balances emerging talent with experienced heads full of international experience, and will no doubt have their sights set on defending their title at the 2019 AFL Europe Championship in London and competing at the 2020 AFL International Cup alongside the Bulldogs’ Australian-based representatives.
The AFL International Cup is contested every three years and is the largest international Australian rules football event in the world. In 2017, the GB Bulldogs finished an equal best ever sixth, and selectors hope that this squad will form the basis for one which will challenge the world’s very best teams in 2020.
12 players who competed at the 2017 International Cup are named in the squad, including Great Britain leading goalkicker Andy Walkden who has kicked 30 goals in just 12 appearances for the national side.
Four players from Walkden’s former side from the University of Birmingham have been named, something which club president Matti Darowksi says is the reward for the team’s efforts so far in the National University League’s inaugural season.
“It’s fantastic to see all of our hard work this season paying off,” said Darowski. “It’s a real statement from our players ahead of the second half of the NUL season!”
The Bulldogs’ last fixture game back in August when 14 players made their debut in a 36-point win over the Netherlands. All 14 players have made it into the squad, including Hugo Phillips, Adam Kelly, Paddy Lawson and Liam Dolling, all of whom kicked goals in that win.
FT: England Vixens 1.2 (8) def. by Irish Banshees 5.3 (33)
Second Half Irish Blitz Ends Vixens’ Hopes of Retaining Title
England Dragonslayers Fourth After Defeats to Eventual Winners Denmark, and Croatia
14th October 2018 – A repeat of their dual victories in 2017 was not to be as both England sides failed to retain their Euro Cup titles in Cork, Ireland, with the England Vixens losing out in the Grand Final against last year’s runner-up Ireland.
Meanwhile, the Dragonslayers finished fourth after losing in the third-place playoff to Croatia, after defeat in the semi-finals against eventual men’s division champions Denmark. Continue reading “Vixens Fall Just Short in Euro Cup Grand Final”
With the start of the 2018 AFL Euro Cup just one sleep away, the European footballing community’s eyes are on Cork. In total, 15 countries will compete for the title of European champions tomorrow at the Cork Institute of Technology, but in order to do so, they’ll have to take it from defending champions England…in both the men’s and women’s divisions!
With the combined England squads having made the trip across the Irish sea, they are preparing for a hard day’s competition tomorrow, starting with the pool stages and hopefully ending up in a repeat of their dual triumphs in Bordeaux twelve months ago.
Vixens open with matches against Denmark and Wales who are competing as independent nations after combining efforts in 2017. The England women’s team’s remaining pool matches area against Germany and Sweden.
Should the Vixens top their pool, they will face the runner-up of a pool including Ireland, France, Croatia and Scotland in the semi-final.
The Dragonslayers will come up against the relative unknown prospects of the Czech Republic, Russia and France in the group stages, and will also aim to top their pool. Depending on their position they will then face an opponent from Pool A (Ireland, Austria, Scotland and Sweden), knowing that should they avoid Ireland in the quarter-final, a Grand Final rematch may be on the cards.
Stay tuned to AFL England across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from updates live from Cork as the England teams aim to go back-to-back at the Euro Cup!
GB Swans player Frankie Hocking, who was named in the 2017 International Cup Team of the Tournament. says that she hopes the CrossCoders initiative and AFLW International Rookie Cup will open the eyes of AFLW teams to the wealth of international talent beyond its borders.
Hocking is no stranger to Australian rules football; playing every game for the Great Britain Swans in their inaugural International Cup campaign and currently plying her trade for the AFL Sydney side Newtown Breakaways, where she was named joint runner-up in their Best & Fairest competition. Continue reading “Hocking Hopes Rookie Camp “Opens the Eyes of AFLW Teams” to International Talent”
Nia Jones is no stranger to flying to Australia. Earlier this year she flew with her Welsh teammates to compete in the Netball competition at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. This time however, the ball will be a different shape, as she heads off to Melbourne to take part in the AFLW International Rookie Camp.
Alongside 17 other sportswomen from around the world, Jones was selected to take part in the Camp, which will be attended by several AFLW clubs.
Three Teams Will Battle for Champions League Qualification
Innovative Inter-League Format Takes Place This Autumn
10th September 2018 – With the women’s game continuing to grow in England and Wales, the Nottingham Scorpions, Sussex Swans and Cardiff Panthers will face each other to decide who will qualify for next year’s AFL Europe Champions League.
The three teams will play one another three times, with the best team after this round-robin format qualifying for the tournament, which will be held in Spring 2019.
AFL Europe Events & Communications Coordinator Lily Beck welcomed the news as the women’s game continues to develop further in Europe.
“We’ve seen some fantastic growth in the women’s division of the Champions League recently,” she said. “It’s great to see the UK clubs using the opportunity to compete at the Champions as an incentive to get more games played during the season, as well as becoming more and more competitive.”
This year’s Champions League had a record seven women’s teams competing, and Nottingham Scorpions; Laura Turner-Ramadan says that her side will be desperate to qualify again.
“The Champions League was an awesome experience last year,” she said. “The timing of the league means that our players can continue to practise their skills throughout the winter when ordinarily the season would go pretty quiet.
“We have lots of new players who are excited about playing the tournament style game days meaning they will get lots of experience and hopefully lots of goals!”
The competition will run over three rounds, in Cardiff (22nd September), Sussex (20th October) and Nottingham (10th November).
Mick Tierney says that the Sussex Swans are thrilled to be debuting their women’s team after just over 12 months of having women attending training.
“The whole club is excited at the prospect of Champions League qualification,” he said. “The players have been training hard all season, with many taking part in AFL London fixtures, and Niamh Polly, Becca Prevett, Bella Penny and Anita Butterley all playing for the AFL London All-Stars against the GB Swans last month.
“I know the whole club will be behind them. We’ll be heading to Cardiff with a strong and confident side.”
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Bulldogs Prepare to Face the Netherlands for the First Time Since September 2016
Injuries Force Five Changes to Matchday Squad
20th August 2018 – Head Coach Dean Thomas has told his debutants to show established players exactly what they can offer the team as the Principal Great Britain Bulldogs begin their journey to the AFL Europe Championship next year, and the AFL International Cup in 2020.
Thomas has named 14 debutants in the squad to face the Netherlands on Saturday at Motspur Park and says that he hopes the Bulldogs will be able to close out 2018 on a positive note. Continue reading “‘Show Us What You’ve Got’ – GB Head Coach Thomas to Bulldogs Debutants”
First Meeting Between the Sides Since May 2017
Squad Shows “Huge Potential” – Head Coach Ian Mitchell
19th August 2018 – The Principal Great Britain Swans take on the AFL London All-Stars this Saturday at Motspur Park, in the first meeting between the sides since May 2017.
Goals from Caroline Sellar, Danni Saulter, Laura Park and Lucy Kilheeney saw the Swans run 4.7 (31) to 0.1 (1) winners. But after a “year of development,“ according to GB captain Laura Turner-Ramadan, who captained the side in that 30-point win, this time around she is expecting a more demanding game. Continue reading “Great Britain Swans Ready for AFL London All-Stars Test”
Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham Named as Inaugural Participants
League Runs November 2018 – March 2019
17th August 2018 – AFL England are committed to growing the game of Australian rules football up and down the country; from grass-roots and junior projects, to major regional London, CNE and Southern leagues.
That is why we’re delighted to announce the launch of the National University League (NUL) featuring teams from Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham University, with a view to expanding to include sides from Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan and the University of South Wales.
The first season will start this autumn and run from November through until March. The league will use the same nine-a-side format used in major competitions such as the Euro Cup, AFL Europe Champions League and Fitzpatrick Cup, and will run on a home and away ‘carnival’ format, so as to give teams the chance to socialise and enjoy the game together. Continue reading “AFL England Launches National University League”