The sun was shining bright, the mist slowly clearing on an October Saturday morning and the nerves tingling.. thats lies, we were aching to get out there and show them how it’s done!
In October 2016, the Welsh Dragons AFL team went to sunny Lisbon to take part in the Euro Cup. Pooled in Group A with Croatia, Italy and Austria, we were confident of making our mark. First up, Austria. Comfortable win at 32 points to 3, they were your stereotypical big Austrian lads but with experience and standing up tough, we played in the manner that we’re we are capable of.
Up next, the Croatians. Oof, tough. They’ve definitely been in the gym, add to that their slick skills and pin point kicking, we lost out at 40 points to our 28. Closer than we though at the end of play, with a nice comment about us having given the eventual winners a bloody good run for their money. Next year Knights… next year..
Italy in our last group game, and a comfortable 28 to 7 point lead. After the rough and tumble against the Croation Knights, we showed Italy how it was done. And on that note.. we finished just behind the eventual winners Croatia in the group stage final round.
Fourth match of the day. Tired legs, arms, heads.. we had Scotland. Established team, big squad.. we thrashed them 60-1. Nuff’ said. Bring on the Bowl Division Final.
After knocking Scotland off the pitch, we headed in to the second-tier Bowl Division final against France. Tiring… our relatively small squad of 11 started to show with some tired running and simple mistakes, a high wind keeping the easiest goal kicks into 1 point behinds. First half we held our own with just 5 points keeping us apart. The second half however fatigue was giving way to our skillset and the French with their superior squad numbers beginning to dominate. But we had fun. Final positioning was that we came in the top third of the rankings. A squad of 11 brave Welshman showed spirit, determination and bravery to show Europe that Australian Rules Football is well and truly breathing in Wales.
Big shout to all the teams involved – Croatia, Wales, Austria, Italy, Ireland, France, Russia, Germany, Scotland, Norway, Portugal, England, Crusaders & Netherlands.
You can read more about the Euro Cup in Lisbon at the official AFL Europe Review
Watch Us Play!
We play Scotland at around the 1 hour mark, and then France at the 2 hour 35 minute mark.
David Saunders (C)