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Strasbourg Black Devils join the AFL Germany for 2006

  • Monday, February 20 2006 @ 12:59 am ACDT
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The Strasbourg Black Devils have officially signed onto the AFL Germany for 2006, with the young French side to be the first from their nation to experience regular league play. Having recently changed their nickname from the 'Kangaroos' to avoid clashing with the Munich side, the Strasbourgeois will play most of their season at home, though their first match is a tough road trip to Berlin on the 1st of April. Also on the schedule are friendly matches against the North London Lions and Brussels Saints.

The possibility of the Strasbourg club joining the AFLG had been discussed for some time before the announcement was made early this year, with Strasbourg located closer to most AFLG clubs than it is to the next nearest in France. The decision to change the club's name was tough, but the Strasbourgers are keen to get some regular footy beyond training and the occasional tournament - for which the AFLG presented their only realistic option.

The AFLG will have another 'new' team in the Rheinland Lions - a rebranding of the former Düsseldorf club to reflect its shared home between D'dorf and nearby Köln (Cologne) which became the side's de facto base last year. The league had received interest for a new club in Bielefeld in northwestern Germany, but these plans were unsuccessful for the 2006 season. The AFLG has however scheduled its annual Germans vs Aussies match to be held in Bielefeld, which may help raise some local support.

The weekend before the AFLG season opens will see Strasbourg take on a traditionally very strong (and very Australian) North London Lions side in Strasbourg, the latest in North London's traditional series of pre-season European tour matches. The Lions are always very tough to beat on their tours, but the hitout against the very experienced Lions should help the French immensely in their preparations for the new season.

Another traditionally strong European side, the Brussels Saints, will tour to Strasbourg in late May. The Saints won last year's 9-a-side EU Cup in London, but have not played many matches against outside opposition, despite a strong playing list composed largely from Australians (including at least one ex-AFL player) and British rugby converts.

The weekend of the 1st and 2nd of July has also been earmarked for the French Championships, to be held in Cergy, near Paris. Discussion remains as to whether the contest will only between French club sides, or whether the field will be opened to foreign teams in the interest of having a bigger event.

Provisional AFLG 2006 Draw:

Round 1 - 01.04.06
Berlin vs. Strasbourg
Rheinland vs. Hamburg
München vs. Frankfurt
Round 2 - 22.04.06
Rheinland vs. Frankfurt
München vs. Berlin
Strasbourg vs. Hamburg
Round 3 - 13.05.06
Hamburg vs. Rheinland
Strasbourg vs. München
Berlin vs. Frankfurt
Round 4 - 03.06.06
Frankfurt vs. Strasbourg
Berlin vs. Hamburg
Rheinland vs. München
24.06.06 at Bielefeld
AFLG German National Team vs. AFLG AllStars
Round 5 - 15.07.06
Frankfurt vs. Hamburg
München vs. Strasbourg
Rheinland vs. Berlin
Round 6 - 05.08.06
Frankfurt vs. München
Strasbourg vs. Rheinland
Hamburg vs. Berlin
Round 7 - 26.08.06
Strasbourg vs. Frankfurt
Hamburg vs. München
Berlin vs. Rheinland
09.09.06 at München
Grand Final Carnival