Danish Australian Football League
The Dansk Australsk Fodbold Liga (Eng: Danish Australian Football League) is the controlling body and main league for the sport of Australian rules football in Denmark. Founded in 1989, regular competition commenced in 1991. Despite being predominantly Danish, the league includes clubs in Scania (Swedish: Skåne, southern Sweden).
DAFL is often considered the largest and most successful Australian Rules football competition outside the English speaking world with 100,000 participants playing on tailor-made ovals each weekend across the country. In 2013 Aksel Bang, a product of the DAFL, accepted an international scholarship from AFL club Greater Western Sydney giants but later withdrew to play for Japanese AFL juggernaut, the Toshiba Ferry Boys, via a record-making transfer deal. In 2014, Denmark, tired of being held back by salary cap restrictions, controversially withdrew from the 2014 AFL International Cup to form a breakaway international league.
In 1989 Mick Sitch (cousin of Rob Sitch)and Peter Paras (Australian Citizen) placed an advertisement in a Danish newspaper asking if there were any interested parties who would like to meet him for an kick-to-kick in Fælledparken, a public park in Copenhagen. Three people attended the informal session, forming the basis for the future league. In 1990 regular training sessions were held, with numbers swelling to the point where the players split themselves into three groups with the intention of starting a competition the following year.
The foundation clubs of the league were the Amager Tigers, Copenhagen Crocodiles and North Copenhagen Barracudas. Official league play began on June 8, 1991 with North Copenhagen taking on Copenhagen. In 1993, the next team to join the league were the Aalborg Kangaroos, based in northern Jutland and around six hours' travel from Copenhagen, followed in 1994 by the Helsingborg Saints in southern Sweden.
1995 saw two new expansion sides, the Farum Lions forming in the Copenhagen suburbs and a group leaving the Helsingborg Saints to found Sweden's second team, the Lund Bulldogs. Lund folded during the 1995 season, the number of clubs remaining at six until the Århus Bombers join the league in 1997 as the second side in Jutland.
With no new teams since 1997 and player numbers decreasing for the first time, the DAFL restructured its competition in 2003. The concept was based on more games between more (and smaller) teams - with three conferences making up the league. These were to be the Jutland Conference and the Zealand Conference in Denmark and the Scania Conference in Sweden. Clubs would be split into smaller squads and representative sides from the three conferences would play a regional series. The champion sides of each conference would then play a Denmark/Scania wide finals series to determine DAFL premiers.
This format was then reinvented a second time in 2005. Instead of adding a new level above the regular league play, as had been the case in 2003, the new league replaced the regional series with the club-based DAFL Premier League. The Premier League teams in 2007 are the North Copenhagen Barracudas, Farum Cats, Copenhagen Crocodiles, Jutland Shinboners, Port Malmö Maulers and the South Sweden Saints. Sides in the Premier League draw their players from four local leagues, based on North Zealand, Copenhagen, Jutland and Scania.
In 2011, prior to the 2012 season, the DAFL constitution was rewritten, changing the way DAFL is run. DAFL now has a board and they put down a league committee to run the actual league. This is to free up time for the board to focus on spreading knowledge of Australian Rules Football. The committee has a member from each club in the league, while the board has four members; a president, a vice president, a casheer and an Elite Committee President, who as the title suggests is the president of the DAFL Elite Committee, who is responsible for the Danish national team as well as tryouts for European teams.
The current (2012) president is Niels Schjønneman. The vice president is Troels Ottesen, the casheer is Michael Jensen and the Elite Committee President is Jens Djernes.
Confirmed teams for the 2012 season is Jutland Shinboners, Helsingborg Saints, Port Malmö Mailers, North Copenhagen Barracudas and reigning premiers Farum Cats. This brings the total amount of teams to 5, 1 less than 2011 with the withdrawal of Copenhagen Crocs.
Current Premier League teams
Since 2005, the Jutland Shinboners have been the sole representative team from this region in the DAFL premier league. Feeding into the Shinboners is a local league based around clubs in Aalborg, Randers and Århus.
The Aalborg Kangaroos were formed in 1993, the first DAFL club outside Copenhagen and lasted until 2003, when with the DAFL league restructure, the Aalborg club created two squads, the Kangaroos and the Power for the newly formed Jutland Conference.
The Århus Bombers formed in 1997, as the DAFL's seventh club and the second in Jutland. When the league restructured in 2003, Århus competed in the 3-team Jutland Conference with the two squads from Aalborg, then in 2005 becoming a feeder side for the Shinboners in the DAFL premier league while continuing to play in the Jutland local league. Player numbers dwindled somewhat in the Aalborg and Århus camps, with the two playing the local league on an ad hoc basis.
In 2009, the Jutland Local League was boosted with the creation of the Randers Dockers, Denmark's first new club in over a decade. Aalborg, Århus and Randers then became a three-team league, with the 2009 season having the largest playing numbers and least number of forfeited matches since the regional competition started in 2003.
There are currently two teams from Zealand in the DAFL Premier League, the Farum Cats and theNorth Copenhagen Barracudas .
The club in Farum, originally dubbed the Lions, formed in late 1994, joining the DAFL for the 1995 season. They reached the grand final in every one of their first four seasons, although they only won the premiership in 1996. Farum have had an active junior department program since 1998, with half of the current senior players originally coming to the club as juniors. A partnership arrangement with the Geelong Football Club of the Australian Football League saw the club change its name and playing strip to match that of the Geelong club, and send senior and regular junior sides on tours of Australia.
The North Copenhagen Barracudas were a foundation club of the DAFL, playing in every season since the league started in 1991. After the 2003 league restructure, the club fielded two senior sides, the Barras and the Cudas. After the 2005 restructure, the club fields the Barracudas team in the DAFL Premier League and two squads in the Copenhagen local league.
The Copenhagen Crocs were also a foundation club of the Danish Australian Football League and have played (in some form) in every season of the DAFL since it began in 1991. With the league restructure in 2005, the Crocs fielded a combined side with the Amager Tigers in the DAFL Premier League, dubbed the Copenhagen Hawks. The Crocs traditionally wore the colours of the Carlton Blues from the AFL. The Crocodiles returned to the Premier League in 2006. As of 2012 Crocs are not a Premier League team, but will continue to play in the DAFL Sjælland 9's.
The Amager Tigers, based in Amager in the southern Copenhagen urban area, were formed as the third foundation club of the DAFL, competing in every season (in some form) from 1991 to 2005. The Tigers had the most successful premiership record of any club in the DAFL, however they often struggled for year-to-year consistency, with premiership years followed by a finish near the bottom of the ladder. After the 2005 DAFL restructure, Amager fielded a combined side with the Copenhagen Crocodiles for play in the DAFL Premier League, to be named the Copenhagen Hawks. In early 2006 they announced that they would not field any teams that season, but may do so again in future.
East Coast Bulldogs is a newer team in the DAFL, and has not yet entered the Premier League, but plays in the DAFL Sjælland 9's.
Due to its proximity to Denmark, the region of Scania in southern Sweden currently fields two teams in the DAFL Premier League, the Helsingborg Saints and Port Malmö Maulers. These two sides draw from a feeder league which is part of the Swedish Australian Football League.
Denmark's national representative team are known as the Vikings. They have played a number of international fixtures dating back to the 1990s.
They competed in the Australian Football International Cup in Melbourne, finishing a respectable fourth behind Ireland, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. The Vikings withdrew from the 2005 International Cup due to lack of funds, although they returned to the 2008 International Cup.
- 1991 North Copenhagen
- 1992 Amager
- 1993 Amager
- 1994 Copenhagen
- 1995 Amager
- 1996 Farum Lions (now Cats)
- 1997 Amager
- 1998 Copenhagen
- 1999 Copenhagen
- 2000 North Copenhagen
- 2001 North Copenhagen
- 2002 Amager
- 2003 Amager
- 2004 North Copenhagen Cudas
- 2005 Farum Cats
- 2006 Farum Cats
- 2007 Farum Cats
- 2008 North Copenhagen Barracudas
- 2009 Port Malmö Maulers
- 2010 North Copenhagen Barracudas
- 2011 Farum Cats
- 2012 Farum Cats
- 2013 Farum Cats
Sitch Medallists (Best & Fairests)
- 1991 Kim Madsen (Amager)
- 1992 Aaron Ravenarki (Copenhagen)
- 1993 Ian Moore (North Copenhagen)
- 1994 Rick Ellis (Amager)
- 1995 Jesper Gjørup (Aalborg)
- 1996 Jesper Gjørup (Aalborg)
- 1997 Shaun Hawking (Amager)
- 1998 Mogens Hansen (North Copenhagen)
- 1999 Duncan Milward (Aalborg)
- 2000 Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
- 2001 Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
- 2002 Andreas Svensson (Helsingborg)
- 2003 Pàll Finnsson (Aalborg Kangaroos)
- 2004 Mogens Hansen (North Copenhagen Cudas)
- 2005 Frederik Schulin (Jutland)
- 2006 Christian Rose (Farum)
- 2007 Tim Feldtmann (North Copenhagen)
- 2008 Tim Feldtmann (North Copenhagen)
- 2009 Steve Wood (North Copenhagen)
- 2010 Nick Ingall (North Copenhagen)
- 2011 James Coumans (Farum)
- 2012 Mathias Biron (Farum)
- 2013 Troels Ottesen (Farum)
- Official DAFL website
- Miscellaneous records
- Aalborg Kangaroos and Power
- Århus Bombers
- Farum Cats
- North Copenhagen Barracudas
- Copenhagen Crocodiles
- Port Malmö Maulers