Norwood could make its trip to Croatia a regular event as the Redlegs even eye a possible visit to London for their next overseas visit.
A travelling party of 53 journeyed to Europe, including a selection of Norwood’s men’s and women’s players, staff, volunteers and officials who made their base in the Croatian town of Biograd.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Norwood chief executive James Fantasia said it was a valuable experience for the club as it was able to spread its brand across the world while also helping foster the promotion of Australian Football overseas.
Norwood players were able to train in conjunction with the Croatian national team before having a nine-a-side clash for both the men and women towards the end of the visit.
Redlegs stars Cam Shenton and Lewis Johnston were not surprisingly dominant in the men’s match while running machine Monique Hollick and ball magnet Michele Reid were influential in the women’s victory.
Shenton and Hollick were presented with special Croatian jumpers for being named best afield in each match.
There was also time set aside for sight-seeing, with visits to the city of Split and the Krka National Park also on the agenda.
Will Taylor from AFL Europe also detailed the benefits from the Croatian perspective, with the Croatian national coach Ivan Molnar declaring it made his team ”very proud” to host the Redlegs.
”For me it crowns all the hard work that our association has been doing on development of Australian Football in Croatia in the last decade,” Molnar told the AFL Europe website.
“It is not often that you have the chance to play against the professional players. We also hope it will help in the promotion of the sport (in Croatia).”
Norwood’s connection with Croatia stems from the presence of Croatian star Tomislav Cvetko, who has been working at The Parade as a Project/Clinic Coordinator whilst also playing locally for the Unley Mercedes Jets.
Fantasia said while the Redlegs might not visit Croatia annually, he hoped it would become a regular occurrence while also flagging the possibility of visiting an English Premier League club in the future.
CHIEF SANFL WRITER