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Bayern League final caps successful first season

  • Thursday, September 09 2010 @ 08:44 am ACST
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The inaugural season of the Bayern League came to a thrilling end in Munich on August 5th as the top teams, the Sendling Blues and the Schwabing Saints, played off for the first ever Bavarian premiership. In a competition with no finals, the Saints needed to win the last minor round game by 38 points to overtake the Blues on the ladder and snatch the cup.

Both teams had spent the previous weeks rounding up as much local talent as possible for the 9-a-side contest, resulting in strong benches for each side as well as a bumper crowd at the Royal Hirschgarten park. The Saints started well, leading at the quarter time and half time breaks, with the Blues missing a couple of their star players who were on national duty at the European Championships. By three-quarter time the Saints were right on track for a boil-over, with a 29 point lead. Although players on both sides train together as part of the Munich Kangaroos AFLG squad, there was nothing held back in a frantic final term. The Blues scored a couple of steadying goals to stem the tide in the first few minutes, but the Saints came at them again, peppering the goals in the dying moments, only to fall 5 points short of their target. A solid 33 point win to the Saints, but the Blues became the first Bayern League premiers.

The Bayern League began this year as a way for the Munich Kangaroos AFLG club to expand their player numbers and, in the words of club president Julien Kann, "allow more guys to play more footy with less travel". As the Roos travel over 6000km each season for home and away AFLG games, travel costs and time can prevent newer players from getting enough experience, and other players from being able to continue playing at all due to competing commitments. The Roos split their list into three squads and let them grow from there. Sendling premiership coach Greg Langley explained the secret to the Blues' success: "Our guys all went out and recruited hard early in the season. Every new player a Blues player brought out to training also joined the Blues. That really helped us build our numbers and a few of those guys have gone on to play well for the Munich Roos too."

Kann sees the league as a huge success: "At the start of the year we didn't even know whether we would get teams together for all the games. We were also a bit unsure how it would affect the close club feeling we have at the Munich Roos. In the end, we had full teams and every game was a really tough contest. The guys loved it, and it was played in the right spirit. We have continued to train together as one club and the Roos team has benefited from having good numbers at training and a long list to choose from for AFLG games."

The league saw a total of 60 players take the field, 25 of whom were new to the Roos, with 15 of those trying footy for the first time. The second season of the Bayern League kicks off in April 2011.