Married, refreshed and itching for the season to begin, coach Brenton Sanderson has returned to West Lakes after a “perfect” European wedding and honeymoon.
Sanderson married partner Veronika Tammeova in her native Czech Republic on January 4. The ceremony, which was attended by Sanderson’s immediate family as well as the bride’s family and close friends, was a mix of Australian and Eastern European wedding traditions.
Sanderson said Veronika, who worked as a wedding planner when the pair lived in Victoria, had put together a beautiful day.
“It was perfect,” Sanderson told afc.com.au.
“We had an engagement party with lots of family and friends here in Adelaide before we left, but the wedding itself was a close-knit affair. It was really small, private and intimate with just family and close friends from Europe. It couldn’t have gone any better and we were really happy.”
Sanderson put his assistant coaches in charge during the first week of pre-season training this year, as he and Veronika enjoyed a honeymoon on the ski slopes of Austria.
Having grown up with the cold European winters, Veronika is a pro on skis but Sanderson admits he still has some work to do on his technique.
“I’m a snowboarder, but I’m not very good and I had an epic crash,” he said.
“I sometimes bite off a bit more than I can chew, and I had a nasty spill where I slid about 3km downhill on my face. I couldn’t stop until I hit the snow wall at the bottom, but fortunately I got out of it okay. Veronika is a gun skier … she puts me to shame.
“I didn’t see snow until I finished my footy career, but I absolutely love it. We were up in the Austrian Alps in Tyrol. We stayed in a place called Seefeld, which is about 20km out of Innsbruck, right on the Austrian/German border and the snow and the views were fantastic.”
Despite the near-miss on the slopes, Sanderson enjoyed some time out from the heavy demands of AFL coaching before returning to the Club on Monday.
“We had a great time. You don’t get many opportunities in this industry to catch your breath, so it was a great chance to have some time alone together,” he said.
“I feel great now. Last year wore me down. There was a lot of adrenalin and emotion that got me through a big 12 months, but it was nice to get a breather over Christmas. Now, it’s back to reality and the footy season.
“I can’t wait for season 2013. I know every coach and team has a positive message at this time of year, but our boys look really good and are training very well.”