10 September, 2010
Iceland vs Norway, 1st ever international Aussie Rules football game played in Iceland. This should be fun! The Icelandic team had competed in various international games abroad over the last couple of years, since it's founding, and with practices twice a week, was really no team to underestimate. More importantly, it's an Icelandic team. They call the game Andspyrna, (Icelanders like making up new words for things, to help protect the language. Andspyrna is a play on words with being on the opposite side of the world) and they talk Icelandic to themselves and use Icelandic words for plays and moves. The Norwegian team on the other hand, spoke english amongst themselves, and sounded like they'd just stepped off the plane from Australia.
It was a superb day for mid september, especially after the week before, and I was quite hot wearing a t-shirt and pants. Kata and Ásta and I went out to enjoy the day and the game, though I think the girls were more interested in looking at fit young men in tight shorts :)
Iceland was only down a goal at halftime, and it really could have gone either way. Unfortunately, a few too many basic errors resulted into handovers, which the norwegian/australians punished quite heavily. By the fourth quarter, it seemed that fitness was a bit of an issue as well, the Icelanders were starting to slow down quite visibly compared to their earlier selves, and especially the opposition.
It would have been nice to have more fans there, I think it was probably mostly just family of players, with one or two extra. Not surprisingly, this created a bit of a shortage of people to do things like score and keep time, or at least, a shortage of people who had any experience with the game, so I ended up managing the scoreboard for a lot of the game :)
The ref was pretty good though, apparently an AFL employee, tasked with, "developing aussie rules in europe" he seemed to cover both refereering, as well as coaching both teams throughout the game.
The final score of 61:28 I don't think showed how close it could have been, but at the end of the day, everyone had a good time, they got a lot of experience, and they all went out for dinner and drinks all night afterwards.