Following on from a huge Week One win, taking apart Premiership new boys the Manchester Titans, today the Tamworth Phoenix touch down in Denmark, ready to take on the Danish National Champions, the Copenhagen Towers.
It’s Tamworth’s first foray into European, entering the North European Football League (NEFL) that was established last summer, previously featuring the London Warriors entering on behalf of the UK.
The game kicks off at 15:00 UK time and will be live streamed by the Towers at http://zibrasport.dk/daff/live with full English commentary!
However, ahead of the game, DC caught up with Tamworth’s new Head Honcho coming into this exciting season, Head Coach Jason Scott:
You guys continue to drive yourselves forwards. First Northern title. First National title. And now your first adventure into European balling – how’s the Phoenix Phamily pheeling heading into this new venture?
It’s an incredible opportunity for us – not just the players and coaches, but also the extended phamily. Our alumni are excited about us playing in Europe, and there’s a real buzz around the programme.
Pack Meadow, our new venue for this year providing us with a facility worthy of hosting these teams, have been incredibly supportive and made us feel really welcome.
At the moment, all eyes are on Copenhagen, and we’re just focused on being the best we can be at practice. If we work hard tonight, prepare like I know we can, and do the little things, we’ll put ourselves in a great position on Saturday.
The committee and support staff – particularly James Hossack – have been stellar in getting everything right and organised for the game. We’ve not had to worry about too much, and it’s allowed the players and coaches to focus on the game.
So, things are a little different for the NEFL compared to your typical Prem North matchup – and we’re not just talking about the fact that for at least a fair chunk of the team, it’s going to be their first time playing overseas. You’ve also had to slim your roster down to meet with NEFL’s roster regulations, is that right?
Selecting the 45 man dress squad for the game in Copenhagen was extremely tough – we have an extremely deep and talented roster of 60+ athletes, so to narrow them down to this group was one of the most challenging things I’ve done as a coach.
We feel that the squad we have selected has a great blend of experience and youth; with veterans like Stephen Gregory, Chris Thacker and Adam Hope being complemented by first-year players such as Dan Raeburn, Finley Old and Araan Mohandass.
We have explosive playmakers on offence, as Sam Huxtable and Marc Bonazebi join Ben Burslem, Will Hussey and Elliot Walters; whilst the defence are bolstered by French U19 International Chris Miyouma, along with veterans Rich Hie and Josh Cooper.
We’re confident that this squad can compete with anyone in Europe, and we’re looking forward to taking on a very talented Copenhagen team this weekend.
And therefore looking to Copenhagen this Saturday – it’s the Phoenix’s first time mixing it up in Europe, whereas the Towers have already gotten their feet wet with some international balling. What are your thoughts on your first NEFL opposition?
They have an explosive offence; Dayton Winn is a huge talent at running back who can change the game in an instant. We’ve seen tape where he turns a 5 yard loss into an 80 yard gain – we need to make sure we bottle him up to make sure he doesn’t hurt us with his legs. They’re no slouches in the passing game, with Philip Thue being a significant target with his frame.
Defensively, they match up to us very well. They are sound schematically, and very well drilled. They have the speed and technical ability to take away some of the things we do. They have an athletic set of Linebackers, and we have to be on our game to compete. Bitcsh at safety looks like a ball hawk, so we have to be mindful of him.
Overall, this will be a challenge for us, but that’s exactly what we want. We are an ambitious team, and we want to be tested against the best of the best. I do know that they won’t have seen anything like us before though!
Sounds like it should be a great game a real challenge for both teams!
Thank you very much for your time coach, and best of luck for Saturday – fly the flag for the #BritballNation!
Remember Nation, you can watch the Phoenix’s first foray (phoray?) into European balling this Saturday via the Towers’ live stream at http://zibrasport.dk/daff/live