Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

I stand in the middle – as is usual after a victory – of a circle with my other victorious first-timers and memorize the words to our club song. There is me in my first competitive game of any kind rubbing shoulders with players who have played this sport at its highest, professional level.

We do not know the words of the song; our more experienced teammates form the ring that surrounds us, keep it going and spray us with their drinking bottles. There may even be beer in there.

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Anchored and restarted
Moments earlier, Copenhagen Barracuda’s triumphant had made their return after a year break to the Danish Australian Football League with an opening day derby victory over the Copenhagen Giants. Australian football is back on the menu in Covid-era Denmark, and Copenhagen’s prominent club has increased.

That Cudas has returned to the stage is welcome news for fans of the game in Denmark and beyond. As a founding member of the DAFL, Barracudas (then named North Copenhagen Barracudas) won the first Prime Minister’s Office in 1991, which was contested by only three sides – all of which were based in the capital.

The competition now enjoys something of a cult feeling with clubs all over the country such as Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Farum. A Malmö outfit completes a league of seven teams consisting, perhaps surprisingly, of mostly local players peppered with Australian expatriates with a firm foothold in their country’s biggest sport.

League rules seek to limit excessive trust in Australian players using a quota system, which encourages clubs to look for local talent.

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Cudas to the coach
For myself – more of a longtime listener, first call – I have been welcomed into the fold by a diverse playing group and senior coach, Atiba Jackson, whose positivity and passion for coaching far surpasses previous experiences with cruel football coaches in rainy pitches in Scotland, barks orders at nervous youths, afraid of missing out on the crucial sliding attack.

Jackson, a Melbourne native who has been playing football for as long as he could go, has rediscovered his love of the game with Cudas. “Footy is the best part of my week,” he says. “We have such a large group around the club, and with 20-30 people training every week, it’s great to be able to introduce new players to the game.”

A typical Cudas training session sees players hone the sport’s unique skills. From learning to kick and catch the game’s often unpredictable oval ball, working on the art of handball and playing a variety of games, there is a strong focus on development and fun for players of all levels.

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Plans for sheila’s team
The need for a non-Australian core group is emphasized by club president Jason Nunn: “Being based in Copenhagen is a blessing as we inherit many players from Australia to study or work. The downside of this, however, is that they typically do not last long, so we are in a perpetual state of recruiting new players year after year. We really felt that last year when we withdrew from the DAFL season in 2019 because we could not field a team. ”

These challenges are known to amateur sports institutions around the world, but for a niche sport, the work of keeping a club going and getting players to training and in the park is never done. “We would very much like more Danes to come and learn the game: both for the life of the clubs and for the competition, but also to create greater awareness in Denmark for our favorite sport,” says Nunn.

This invitation certainly does not extend only to men. The club has big expansion plans in the women’s games. “We are building a strong base for a women’s team here,” claims Nunn. “There is a small but dedicated group training regularly, and it is our goal to get them to play some real matches and help with the club. We need to find more women to help realize that dream, start the team and really grow women’s foot in Denmark. ”

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Beaut social life
The foundation of Cudas’ 2020 revival is built on the club’s social efforts with weekly post-workout barbecues and regular social events on the calendar.

“We have been able to cultivate a good, inclusive social environment where everyone has a voice and working together is as important as footy,” adds Jackson.

For as much as the club has placed great emphasis on the social aspect, there is a serious and deep competitive advantage in the Danish game, as it is guaranteed to be the case this weekend, when Barracuda’s leader to Malmö to face the Maulers, followed by it short trip north to meet Premiers 2019, Farum Cats, a week later in round 3.

Cudas, high from their win last week, are ready to taste more success.

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Cobbers in the circle
Round 1 and back in the circle I have almost nailed the melody and words of the club song. The arm of a guy who as recently as a year ago was on the playlist of an AFL club is around my shoulder.

He plays at a level he has not seen since he was a boy; I hardly step water in a game I have been following eagerly for some time, but only shopped out in the backyards and locked living rooms. But we are one. We are right here, bound together in victory.

The journey begins for me and a few others. It reappears for a number of players who are frustrated at not having a team to show up to last year. And for this decorated club, in its navy blue, red and gold guernsey, a new history of the present crop is being written.

Not content with simply marking a team’s marking this year as a success, there is a buzz about the club and optimistic talk of a return to the glory days of the past revolves around the lush shed. The upcoming season will no doubt deliver many twists and turns, but ask someone in that circle if we can go all the way to the final this year and you will be greeted with the same answer, which just so happens – I have now learned – to have renounced the club’s anthem: “Cudas can!”

Barracudas back in business: inside the club that rules the Aussie footy

Source: The Nordic Page

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