It is not often that you get to represent your country at an international tournament but David Saunders (our Director) and our designer Mike Palmer (Director of mikedesigned.it) have both had the honour of playing for Wales during a recent European tournament in Lisbon. That is not the only interesting fact. The sport they play is quite unique, Australian Rules Football!
Australian Rules appears to be an unorthodox sport that we were interested in finding out more about so we caught up with David recently to ask a few questions
Q: What is Australian Rules Football?
Aussie Rules is a full contact sport played on a large oval pitch, with 18 players on each side, played with a leather oval “footie” and combines bouncing the ball, punching the ball out of your hand (handballing) and kicking the ball. The objective of the game is to score as many points, by kicking the ball between the four upright posts and restricting the opposition from doing the same at the other end of the pitch. At the European Championship tournament we play a 9 aside game played on a rugby sized pitch otherwise the rules are the same.
Q: How did you start playing the sport in “sunny” Wales ?
I was tricked. At least 10 years ago I was persuaded to ‘watch’ a friend trialling for the national squad and when I turned up my friend was on the side line but was holding playing kit and threw it at me with the passing words ‘I think you may like this sport’. Funnily enough I did and since then I have become the president of a local team, Cardiff Panthers, captained and represented Wales on numerous occasions and, the pinnacle of my career, represented GB at the International Cup in 2014.
Q: It’s a brutal contact sport, how do you stay injury free?
As a physio I am constantly moving and demonstrating rehabilitation exercises to my patients and incorporating daily healthy habits which includes movement time with my one year old daughter. This could include some balance work and trunk activation (core), which I feel it’s key to staying injury free and stable as well as integrating training with life.
Q: You played 5 games in one day during the European Championship with a depleted squad. How did you manage to recovery after each game?
- Refuel (high carb)
- Re energise (I like cat napping in the shade)
- Rehydrate (high quality H20 and an isotonic)
- Re coup (mentally)
- Recovery (plunge pool)
Q. How did you find captaining Wales?
The Welsh team, Cymru Dragons, have missed out on a few tournaments over the last 2 years therefore it was a great success just to have a team out in Lisbon, let alone captaining it! I adored taking on the captaincy as I have worked on my leadership qualities since taking my role as Director of Agile Therapy more seriously and I feel I embraced being captain with more confidence.
Q: Lastly, how did you get on in the tournament?
Our one loss in the group was against the eventual winners of the tournament Croatia. We battled hard but their skill and physical prowess was too much for us but it reminded us all that that was why we were there, to push ourselves to our limits and boy was it fun. The final of the plate, effectively the 5th/6th playoff was against France. We started strong but could not convert our chances. In the end the French took the second half comfortably by playing the conditions much more smartly than Wales but we didn’t let it go without a battle! It bodes well for European Championships 2017.
Now in true pre game tradition say it with me… UN…DAU…TRI…CYMRU!