Are we dreaming? A Polish national side playing Aussie rules football? Well, it’s not a dream apparently. In fact, Poland’s debut in this relatively unknown sport in Poland begins this weekend in the AFL European Cup in Sweden.
Its the European ‘Aussie rules football version’ of the UEFA European Cup for footballers. We met up with a couple of the founders of the Polish national side who surprisingly are not Polish but Australian and American.
Hi guys. So why create a Polish Aussie rules football team?
Well, we all live in Poland and have a passion for the game. It all started playing in the park for fun. A lot of locals were interested in the game and joined in and it grew from there!
You dont play in the national team though, do you?
Actually yes, because its Poland’s first tournament there is a one-year exemption so foreigners are allowed. We helped also to get all the formalities done and establish an official national side.
And the 2nd year?
It was never our intention to play in the national side but just to help them at the beginning and get them to a level where they can compete at a decent level. Next year it will be 100% Polish ?
What are your expectations at this European tournament?
If we win a game that will be a huge achievement. Remember that most teams in the tournament have been playing for years! Our team was still playing for fun on weekends not long ago!
Who are the favorites to win the tournament?
The UK and Croatia are strong. Also the Irish are a force to be reckoned with!
Who are your first opponents?
The Netherlands, England and Israel.
The Netherlands is fast. I think if we are physical and play smart keeping possession we have a chance. Isreal plays the game more like soccer and doesn’t like contact so I predict 33-8 to Poland ? bearing in mind it’s 6 points for a goal and 1 point for a behind. England game will probably be a loss. We want to show polish strength and leave the field proud though.
Can we watch the games on the internet?
You can watch Poland vs England on the AFL FB page at 11 am tomorrow (29.06.2019)
Is there an Aussie rules football league in Poland?
Not yet but we are hoping to get a league between cities started next year. That would be amazing and make us very proud!
Its a tough game! Are the Poles up for it?
Definitely. Poles are not used to physical sports but they won’t back down. That’s for sure.
Reliable if a fight breaks out?
hahaha. Hopefuly that wont happen but I know we all have each others backs if need be.
How long is a game?
4 quarters of 30 mins a time, so 2 hours but the games in the euro cup are 2 10 minute halfs. The final is 2 x 12-minute halfs.
How many players?
18 a side back in Australia but in Europe its 9 a side.
In Europe the pitches are a lot smaller.
Finally, whats the dream?
The dream is to set up this Polish national side to be competitive and see it grow and next is to establish a national league in Poland.
How about being the Polish national side manager?
Hahaha. Never say never!
It has been a real pleasure meeting you guys. I will be watching the match tomorrow and good luck. If you win against England I’m guessing there’s gonna be a lot of drinking!
Drinking. Us? No way ?