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Berlin kicks off Germany's 2nd Metro League

  • Saturday, April 09 2011 @ 06:41 am ACST
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The Berlin Crocs last week played the first matches of their new Berlin metro league, with the West Berlin Eagles defeating the East Berlin Mariners, and the North Berlin Crows defeating the South Berlin Demons.

The Crocs, who will celebrate the club's 10 year anniversary later this year, are the second German club to start a metro league, with the Munich Roos founding the three team Bayern Liga in 2010.

The four Berlin metro teams are playing 9-a-side, with 6 rounds to be held on Thursday evenings throughout the season, allowing for players to get more game time in between the Berlin Crocs fixtures in the AFLG National League, as well as offering an introduction to the sport for new recruits.

Crocs coach Troy Pedder says the Crocs currently have over 50 players on their list, with 35 playing in the first round of the Berlin league. The club is hoping to grow this to around 80 by the end of 2011, and add a fifth metro team next year.

Pedder says the previous set up made it hard to keep new recruits, as there simply wasn't enough chance to play footy. "We have over 50 players on out team list and only 20 spots in a short playing season. All players want to play and a lot don't or can't travel to the away games. And then is difficult to break into the 1st team. It was hard for me keep the new and developing players interest during the season."

"In the first round we had 35 players in two matches. The plan is to have 15 players on each team, so we need a consistent 60 players for each round. The senior players have been informed that new players are the key to this league. Winning is the goal in most sports but development is what I am driving for."

Each of the metro teams is linked to an AFL club, with gear either donated or sold at a reduced price. Pedder says "I contacted all 18 AFL clubs, including GWS Giants, starting over 7 months ago. Countless emails and phone calls and not a lot of help. Fremantle where the first to show interest in the league but due to already being affiliated with Hamburg they were not able to supply any of the gear to us, so we had to approach it from anther angle and contacts. We ended up paying for the Dockers jumpers, but without Freo showing interest in us, I think it would have been a lot harder to get the other 3 teams involved."

"Melbourne have provided jumpers and shorts, the WC Eagles provided jumpers and we are apart of their international support club. The Adelaide Crows have joined us into their linkage programme, unfortunately they didn't have jumpers but they heavily discounted them for us. The Fremantle Dockers also discounted their jumpers for us. They where the first of the AFL clubs to offer any help and got the ball rolling with the WC Eagles and then Adelaide. Melbourne was the last club on board."

"The help from the 4 clubs has made the league more desirable to new players and hopefully new sponsors."

Pedder believes the development of the Berlin metro league could see a bit of a shakeup in the AFLG, with the Crocs being able to challenge current powerhouses Munich and the Rheinland Lions. The Lions could be well-placed to create their own metro league in future, with Pedder saying "I have not heard if Rheinland are starting up a comp of their own, but it would be great if they can. They have a large number of good german players which will make drafting new players a lot easier."

For more information on the Berlin Crocs and the Berlin Metro League, visit berlin-crocodiles.de.