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Footy In Croatia – The never-ending journey to success

  • Sunday, September 07 2014 @ 08:59 pm ACST
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Much has been happening in Croatia during a hectic 2014. Some of the reports, such as the arrival of the Slavonski Brod Tigers, have been accurately reported, whilst some reports have been the subject of whispers and opinions. It was time to contact our man in Zagreb – Josip Kravar, President of the AAFC (Association of Australian Football Croatia) - to give us the good word in a wide ranging set of interviews.

New Oval

“It is not true that we have deal with University. Unfortunately we have one year to move from that ground as there will be new gym for University games 2016 that will be held in Zagreb. But, we are just building a new oval in Slavonski Brod and are in negotiations with town council for a new ground in Zagreb. I think now it is just question of place of new oval in Zagreb.”

“We are also in negotiations to go with Croatian Rugby Association and be provided with one sport centre. We are hoping that this will be future for our association and we will play 18 per side next season.”
“We are amateurs and we are putting lot of our time and hard work to build future for footy in Croatia. I am sure that we are heading in right direction but we need to be patient and persistent, and results will be here.”

Netherlands Game

“The Netherlands game went really nicely. We had a crowd of 500 spectators. The Town of Drniš provided us with lovely dinner after the game and with a beautiful trip the next day to national park Krka. We were hosted like real stars and I think that our Association will from now on play in small communities because they can provide more resources and people are more interested in new things.”

“Regarding the game, we won 215-18. (see World Footy News story - http://www.worldfootynews.com/article...4134620234 )Our national team this year is in good shape. Young players from last year were raised to be leaders and experienced players now can take some burden from their shoulders. I think we have nice mix of experience and young blood. We are now looking forward for Axios Euro Cup this year in London.”

Slavonski Brod

“The Tigers are doing fine. They finished last but made some breakthroughs defeating Dockers and Dogs. They were amazing as only four to five months from entering our league they were competitive and hard match to beat for rest experienced teams. Also, two players played for our national team which proves their worth.”

“What makes me happy is that they are investing in community and raising new players, finding new ground (on one nice soccer field) and organizing games in league on a high level. They even won our prize for "Best Team of 2014" which is awarded to the team that is not only a good team on the ground but team that have best organisation, dedicated staff and good community spirit.”

“I think our own Hawks are equal with Tigers on that criteria, but taking into account the fact that Tigers were founded by the end of 2013, that was amazing. It is nice to have them now.”

Local Footy Season

“This year the Hawks won HLAN (Croatian League of Australian Football) and CEAFL (Central Australia Football League)

“Having been last year premiers, Zagreb Hawks showed again this year respectful footy, organisation and big commitment from players to the club. The Hawks finished season without losing a game. From the first period of season some of key players were injured for three games but that did not stop some courageous forwards and defenders to jump in the middle and take place of injured rovers (three of our four rovers were injured in first period of season).”

“With the return of the injured, and once the teamed were again warmed there was no doubt that Hawks would be champions second year in row. Zagreb Cvjetno Dockers were all the time at the back of the Hawks and in the game of the season they led first two quarters against the Hawks who came back in the great style. Zapruđe Giants were third and new club, Slavonski Brod Tigers, were last.”
“Slavonski Brod Tigers showed rapid progress in their first season thanks to their coach Luka Đukić (ex-Hawks player). Tigers managed in the HLAN competition to take down the Dockers and clear the way for the Hawks.”

“Best and Fairest of the HLAN was Josip Habljak the Hawks’ ruckman and best rookie was Lovre Čudina, Dockers forward. Also, we are keen to expand league next year with one new club that is in development process.”

“This competition is played with our friends from Austria, the Styrian Downunderdogs. Tigers and Hawks played finals, and Hawks were celebrating 137-50. The most important thing to note is the improvement of Tigers and Downunderdogs. “

“Tigers managed to beat Dogs and Dockers on their home ground and lost against Giants and Hawks on the away games. Downuderdogs this year finished last but there is big improvement in their style of play and also the results. They managed to shake Hawks, lost to the Tigers in a tight game after five hours of driving and lost by just seven points to Dockers in last game. There are some new young players that brought fresh blood and I think they will get better and better.”

“Also, we are hoping to expand CEAFL with new clubs from other countries. We are following development in Budapest, Hungary and Zenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are hoping that clubs will develop to the level so we can include them in our league.”

For more information about the Australian Rules footy scene in Croatia, you can make contact via the following links:

Association webpage: www.sanh.hr

Hawks Blog : www.zagrebhawks.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://hr-hr.facebook.com/zagrebhawks