Great Britain national Australian rules football team
|Denmark 93 – 25 Great Britain
The Great Britain National Australian Rules Football team is known as the British Bulldogs. The team is made up of the best British born players selected from the clubs of AFL Britain affiliated competitions in England, Wales and Scotland. Generally professional AFL players (such as in Brad Moran and Will Thursfield) are ineligible due to either learning the game in Australia or not being released by their respective clubs.
The Bulldogs are currently coach by Mark Pitura, former Richmond, Essendon and Collingwood player after former coach Charlie Kielty resigned in June 2009. Charlie took over from Matt Connell (Adelaide Crows) after the 2005 exhibition match at the Oval.
Although the team represents the island of Great Britain rather than the whole of the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland forming part of a cross-border Ireland Team), the Bulldogs wear the colours of the union flag.
In October 2006, the Great Britain vs Ireland fixture was repeated before the Geelong Football Club vs Port Adelaide Power match. Although defeated once more by an opposition primarily composed of seasoned gaelic football player, the development of the squad continues and there are many encouraging signs of improvement in the British game.
2007 saw the team travel to Ireland to take on the Irish side, on their home turf. The victory saw them dubbed as the unofficial European Champions.
In 2008 the highly improved team were considered by some to be a chance for the finals of the International Cup, however their defeat at the hands of Nauru (who they had beaten by a goal in 2005) put them out of contention.
The coaching role switched to ex-pro Mark Pitura and England Dragonslayers coach Rob Fielder as assistant in late 2009, after a defeat away in Ireland was the last match of Charlie Kielty's coaching. The first test was against a travelling Denmark Vikings squad, which resulted in a 76–63 win for the Bulldogs.
In 2010, the squad competed in the inaugural European Championships in Denmark and Sweden, but due to the tournament dates, were unable to field an experienced squad, fielding a team with only 1 player with Bulldogs caps (Captain, Adam Bennett). The squad achieved a credible 4th place, losing out to losing finalists Denmark in the group and co-hosts Sweden in the qualification final. This was the first time that many of the squad had played full oval footy and this development would be key in recruiting and developing a squad for the 2011 International Cup.
Great Britain's Best and Fairest player at the 2001 Atlantic Alliance cup was Tyrone Hallam. The Bulldog's Best and Fairest player at the 2005 International Cup was Vincent Carey. The squad was captained by Johnathan Boyle at the 2008 International Cup. 2010 saw three Great British players picked for Team Europe at the first European Championships, held in Denmark and Sweden. These players are Adam Bennett (Reading Kangaroos) and Martyn Hinchey (Southampton Titans) and Gareth Blackstaffe-Turner (Wimbledon Hawks). At the 2011 International Cup, Paul Harris from the Putney Magpies will captain the squad at the 2011 International Cup. Brendan McGeever (North London Lions), Ian Mitchell (Wolverhampton Wolves) and Paul Francis (Wimbledon Hawks) will be vice-captains.
- 2010: 4th
- 2013: 2nd
- Australian rules football in England
- Australian rules football in Scotland
- British Australian Rules Football League
- Scottish Australian Rules Football League
- Australian Football International Cup