It is only 33 days away until the Berlin League kicks off for season 2016 and it is shaping up as one of the strongest for a long time. The South Berlin Giants celebrations have finally finished after their maiden premiership in the first year wearing the new colors. They dominated season 2015 and ended up winning the Grand Final by over 50 points against the Crows. The North Berlin Crows, the measuring stick for years in the Berlin League will not have to wait long for revenge however, with a grand final rematch to kick off the year. Both these teams have lost key personnel from last year and this coupled with low draft picks could make both teams very beatable.
The East Berlin Mariners have been likened to a ‘yo yo’, up one year down the next and they will be hoping that trend continues. Premiers in both seasons 2012 and 2014, could the Mariners become the first three time Premiers in 2016. The Mariners host the whipping boys of the competition the West Berlin Eagles who have never reached the finals in the history of the competition. They will however welcome back there number two draft pick from last year Steele Sexton who was drafted with a vision of the future. The Eagles also have the number one draft pick and this coupled with a solid albeit under performing team have the faithful fans up and about for a breakthrough year.
Berlin league Teams
South Berlin Giants:
Captain: Peter Neumann has been a part of the Giants (Demons from 2012-2014) since the inaugural season. His commitment and dedication is second to none. He is a German National player and this experience has helped him grow into a great leader. Peter although accepting a job out of Berlin this year will still be crucial for the Giants in 2016.
Key player: Trevor Meinecke has become somewhat of a cult hero since moving to Berlin at the start of 2015. His debut season didn’t get off to a great start being tagged out of his first game and kept to just 2 possessions. Trev grew into the season and became an influential member of the Giants off the field through his recruitment of mates which meant you never quite new how strong the Giants would be on any given day.
Draft Picks: 4, 8, 12
North Berlin Crows:
Captain: Bart Rijckaert is a no nonsense hardnosed captain both on and off the field. His attack on the ball is infectious and one of the main reasons the Crows have been at the top for so long. He demands respect from his squad and is as fair as they come and it surely cannot be long until he receives a call up to the Dutch National squad. It is hard to see the Crows dropping down the ladder this season under his guidance.
Key player: William Ackworth flourished in his first full season as a Crow. A season ending injury on debut in 2014 didn’t deter Will as he made sure he was fit and raring to go for the start of 2015. William just like his Captain Bart does not take a backward step and his pressure and tackling ability makes life tough for all opposition midfielders.
Draft Picks: 3, 7, 11
East Berlin Mariners:
Premierships: 2012, 2014
Captain: Lucas Buerschaper missed season 2015 through injury seeing Constantine Hoher step up in his absence. The Mariners will however be hoping that Lucas bounces back as they missed his toughness badly in 2016. He is a 2 time premiership Captain and the heart and soul of the Mariners and it’s hard to see the Mariners challenging without him.
Key Player: Matthew Menneke came to the Mariners in the mid-season draft in 2014 and became a valuable member of the premiership side. Unfortunately for the Mariners he went missing in 2015 and with him did the Mariners defense. Although rarely sited in the past months, it is believed with a new diet and fluid management regime Matt has got himself in superb shape for the upcoming season.
Draft Picks: 2, 6, 10
West Berlin Eagles:
Captain: Florian Drexler was for most of last year the only dedicated member of the Eagles. His commitment to the cause will hopefully rub off on the other members as the Eagles look to put four disappointing years behind them. A social leader around the club, Flo is always up for a spati beer and this is the environment that he thrives in.
Key Player: The key player for the Eagles in season 2016 is going to be their number one draft pick. The Eagles list is strong already and whoever gets drafted first on April 9th will need to bring some professionalism and commitment to the other members of the Eagles.
Draft Picks: 1, 5, 9
Berlin League Fixture Dates 2016
Round 1: April 9th
Round 2: April 30th
Round 3: May 28th
Round 4: June 25th
Round 5: July 23rd
Round 6: August 6th
Grand Final: August 20th