Austrian Football League: New look Danube Dragons open season against Salzburg Ducks

This weekend, the Austrian Football League (AFL) will return to play with the Danube Dragons squaring off against the Salzburg Ducks.

The AFL’s power structure will not be what it was last year however, with the two top teams, the Vienna Vikings and Swarco Raiders (now Innsbruck Raiders Tirol), heading over to the European League of Football (ELF). The departure of the two powerhouses will likely make for a far closer competition this year.

To compensate for the departure of the Raiders and Vikings elite teams, the AFL has added six teams from the second league – two of which are the Raiders and Vikings second teams – making it a 10-team league.

A further development in the league has been the new import rules, increasing the number of imports on a team. This will undoubtedly help some of the newcomers with the ability to fill spots with Europeans.

This weekend’s one and only week 1 AFL match up will see one of the league’s now favorites, the Dragons, test out some new equipment at home. Quarterback Chad Jeffries has been the one and only true import in Danube (Vienna) for the last four years, but new head coach Brett Morgan has added a slew of imports, with two of the most notable being defensive back Brian Peavy (Iowa State, DI) and wideout Cam Lewis (Tarleton State, DII).

On the other side of the ball, the Ducks have also added some firepower with linebacker Sam Taylor (Lyon, NAIA) and defensive back Hunter Schmidt (Mary Hardin Baylor, DIII) joining fourth-year quarterback Kris Denton (Friends, NAIA).

The Dragons will be looking for a statement win coming into week 1 to cement themselves as one of the league’s favorites. And a midweek Covid-19 outbreak in the Ducks camp will help them achieve this as  Salzburg has been left without a number of key starters and coaches coming into the game.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.