AFL 2014: Key Players

With the AFL season kicking off this weekend with the Vikings taking on the Raiders and the Dragons battling the Giants, we thought it was about time to give you a little insight into some of the big names you’ll be hearing in Europe’s premiere domestic competition. Naturally, the players to watch are the latest and greatest imports from the States, but don’t be surprised if you see a home grown name on the list, as the competitiveness of the league has fostered some budding domestic talent who are also making waves. Let’s kick things off with last year’s champions, the Raiffeisen Vikings.

Emmanuel Moody – Running Back, Raiffeisen Vikings

EM+TebowMaybe you recognise the uniform that Moody is wearing, maybe you recognise who he’s hugging, whatever you take from this picture, you know that at some point in his career Emmanuel Moody was a talent at the top level of college football.

Coming out of Texas, he was listed by Rivals as the 9th best back of the 2006 class, behind names such as C.J. Spiller and LeSean McCoy and committed to USC. From thereon however, Moody has had a somewhat checkered career, who after being named as the Pac-10s freshman of the year for USC, transferred to Florida having suffered through a series of injuries and facing the prospect of returning to a somewhat crowded Trojan backfield.

Having sat out the 2007 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Moody struggled somewhat in Meyer’s spread offence, and after the ’09 and ’10 season, finished his college career having carried the ball 124 times for 624 yards for the Gators. However, if you check out the video below, it is clear to see that Moody is a explosive and powerful runner (look out for the broken ankles at 3:48).

However, for all this apparent talent Moody could not stick in the NFL and after signing for the Bills as a free agent in 2011, he lasted only 10 days before being cut.

As far as European experience goes, Moody spent three games with the Dresden Monarchs of Germany at the tail end of the 2013 season, rushing 11 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, stats which leave me a little unsure as to how his game truly translates to the European scene.

Whatever the case, in Vienna, he is directly replacing one of the stars of last year’s AFL season, Jesse Lewis. The way I look at things, his role in the Viking backfield next to Christopher Gross does not have to be much different from what the powerful Lewis brought to the table, do enough damage with your feet to open up the Vikings spread passing attack. From what I’ve seen and read, Moody is going to be a very capable replacement and then some. Having heard from a source that at practice “Moody is just jogging and still is quicker then all the DBs”, I for one am looking forward to seeing him on the pitch for the first matchup of the year against the Raiders.