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HMAS ANZAC take on the Dockers in Hamburg

  • Tuesday, June 14 2005 @ 11:53 pm ACST
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On the 26th of May AFL Germany club the Hamburg Dockers played a friendly exhibition match against the HMAS ANZAC Slayers football team. The game was played hard and tough, but in a friendly spirit, with the ANZAC Slayers running out eventual winners, 6.15.51 to 4.6.30.

The HMAS ANZAC arrived in Hamburg on the Sunday before the match as part of their Northern Trident Deployment. It had left Australia two months previously, during which time it attended the ANZAC day ceremony at Gallipoli and was on its way to the United Kingdom to take part in the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar. On their way to the Hamburg stopover the crew of the HMAS ANZAC had contacted Fabian Cordts, the captain of the Hamburg Dockers after finding the AFLG website. They enquired if it was possible for their ships team, the ANZAC Slayers, to play a friendly game of football against the Hamburg team. The Hamburg Dockers were more than willing to take them up on this request, since it is not every day that an Australian Navy ship comes to Hamburg, giving them the chance to play a game of football against a Navy football team.

Fabian Cordts had formed the Hamburg Dockers football team in 2003 after returning from a 3-month student exchange program in Australia. He had gone to see an AFL football game while in Australia and found the game so exciting that upon his return he began organising a local team. Three years later, the Hamburg team is now part of a five team AFL Germany league including teams from Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and of course Hamburg. This year the Hamburg team has finally come of age, winning their first match in the AFLG competition and currently sitting on top of the 2005 AFLG ladder, with three wins and one loss.

The Hamburg Dockers' home ground is the Stadtpark, the largest park in Hamburg and the only venue large and flat enough to play a game of football on. Games are usually played on a field marked out with plastic hats and goals made of PVC pipe, temporarily staked into the ground. On the evening of the 26th it had been a beautiful day and many Germans had shown up in Stadtpark to soak up the sun or go to see Silbermond, a popular German rock band who were playing in the park that evening. Going to a park to lie on the grass and enjoy the sun is a popular German past time, so Stadtpark was particularly crowded that evening. A field was eventually cleared large enough to play football on, with many Germans moving once they realised what was about to happen. The prospect of inadvertently being tackled by a bunch of burly Australians was enough incentive to make a lot of them move.

The Hamburg Dockers and ANZAC Slayers played a 17 per side game, with the HMAS ANZAC giving the Hamburg team some extra players to enable everyone to play. Many of the Slayers were eager to put on a Dockers Guernsey, as they were Fremantle supporters and Fremantle is the homeport of the HMAS ANZAC.

The match was a tight game for the first half thanks to some inaccurate Slayers kicking, but the match was put beyond doubt in the third team when the Slayers kicked three quick goals in succession. The Hamburg Dockers were ably assisted by their best on field for the day, Simon Jacombs, who kicked three goals two for the Hamburg team. However, even these heroics could not stop the ANZAC slayers registering a 21 point win at the final siren.

Following the game the players got together to enjoy a much-needed VB, brought all the way from Australia by the HMAS ANZAC. The two teams then retired to Hamburg’s local Aussie bar called the Downunder, to enjoy some more beers and listen to the HMAS ANZAC’s band who played at the bar that evening.