IC17 – Round 3 Preview

The Community Round is here! After a tough first two rounds of action the sides will be venturing out to community Aussie Rules clubs over the weekend to get a taste of what it’s like to put on the boots in AFL heartland.

Round two saw our sides travel to Schools throughout Victoria and proved a great experience. We saw a mixture of results on the day as four European sides remained undefeated after two rounds.

Special thanks to St Patrick’s (Ballarat), Peninsula Grammar (Mount Eliza), Eltham College (Research), Mentone Grammar (Keysborough) and St Francis Xavier (Officer) for hosting our teams and making them feel so welcome.

Click HERE for Round 2 match reports.

Saturday 12th August

French Coqs vs Nauru – 10am – Kew

The Coqs are coming off consecutive losses against Fiji and Ireland. They struggled in their first hit-out against the Fijians but showed significant improvement against the Irish at St Patrick’s College, Ballarat.

In that match they only went down by 65-points against their highly fancied opposition. Saturday will be tough again for the Coqs with IC stalwarts, Nauru, looking to claim their first victory after losing to NZ and PNG in the first two rounds.

The Coqs are bound to cause an upset at some stage over the two weeks. Could it be against Nauru in front of a boisterous crowd at Kew?

Sri Lanka vs Croatian Knights – 12pm – Lyndhurst

The Croatians responded to their 1-point opening round loss to China with a resounding victory over Indonesia in the Schools Round.

Big forward Ivan Ivos had a day out kicking 6 majors and will be ready to take it up to Sri Lanka at Lyndhurst on Saturday.

The Sri Lankan’s were narrowly defeated by China in the last round but lost to Indonesia on the opening day meaning the Knights should be confident going into their third round match.

Dropping that first game means they’re likely to finish 2nd in their pool and could face-off with European rivals, the German Eagles.

Showing up ready to play is key for the Knights. They’re two games in now and should be hitting their straps. Look out Sri Lanka!

GB Bulldogs vs Irish Warriors – 12:30pm – Caulfield

The match of the round. This one will have plenty of feeling and is the Bulldogs’ last chance to stay alive in the competition after dropping their last game against Canada.

The Irish have had a rock solid start to the tournament having knocked off IC14 Champions, PNG, before accounting for the French Coqs. Their big spine has been in solid form to start the tournament and will cause some headaches for the Bulldogs.

Despite their round 2 loss, the Brits will be confident having knocked over the Warriors in last year’s European Championship final. That’ll be in the back of the Warriors minds and no doubt they’ll be reminded of it during the game. The smaller ball-users of the Bulldogs will need to have huge games if they’re to get their desired result.

This one will be an absolute thriller and should have a big crowd watching out in Caulfield. It would surprise no one to have this be within a kick.

Japan vs German Eagles – 2pm – Box Hill North

A chance to top their pool awaits the German Eagles in this match up. They’ve been a real dominant force to start the tournament having easily accounted for Pakistan and India in the opening games.

The Eagles will be up for their toughest test so far against Japan and should be right up for it. They’re building into this tournament very nicely and have had their big names firing.

Japan will be no push overs after they put on 86-points against India before their 5 goal to 2 Schools Round victory. Expect the Germans to use their talls to their advantage and with some elite midfielders at their feet should prove too strong for the Japanese.

Sunday 13th August

Canada vs GB Swans – 12pm – Diamond Creek

IC14 Champions vs European Champions. This is the women’s match of the round and should be an absolute thriller.

Both sides are undefeated and are playing off for top spot in their pool. The Swans were dominant against Pakistan before holding on for a clinical victory against Fiji during Schools Round.

The Canadians won in additional time against Fiji before putting on a cricket score against Pakistan. The Canadians are notoriously tough but the speed and fitness of the Swans will trouble them. If the Swans can get it on the outside they’ll be hard to stop.

The Swans should go in very confident knowing they can mix it with the best in women’s footy. They’ll be physically ready after taking up to Fiji on Wednesday and won’t be taking a backward step against Canada.

This is the Swans biggest game to date in their short history and will take it right up to Canada for the full four quarters. The European Champions are on a roll.

USA vs European Crusaders – 12pm  Melbourne Uni

Another tough match-up for the Crusaders who’ve struggled in their opening two matches. They’re yet to register a point yet but played some great football against the Irish and showed that they can match the best sides for periods throughout the game.

They’ll be getting stronger with each game and could trouble a USA side that’s had mixed results so far with one win and one loss.

This won’t be easy for the Crusaders but they came into IC17 knowing they were up against it and thrive on the challenge. They’ve got some very handy players in their side and once they gel together will cause some real headaches. USA will be hoping they don’t find their mojo against them on Saturday.

Irish Banshees vs PNG – 2pm – Hallam

The Banshees are undefeated and will be looking to top their pool after only having 8-points put on them so far. They take on a PNG side who were very strong early on but lost to USA in their last round.

The Irish should be confident and having been playing solid football so far. They’ll be looking to build on their game further as the all important semi-finals follow on the Tuesday where they’ll play either Canada or GB Swans depending on the outcome of their match.

It’d be a major upset for the Irish to drop this game and they aren’t the type of side to go in complacent. Competition for spots will keep the Banshees on their toes and looking to further build on their impressive start to IC17.

Umpire Appointments

PNG vs USA – 12pm – Montrose Recreation Reserve

Oscar, Josh and Geoff have all be appointed to the Division 1 thriller between IC14 champions, PNG and undefeated side, USA. This is one of the biggest matches of the tournament so the boys should be proud to be allocated to such a big game.

After an impressive start to the tournament they’ll be raring to go come Saturday. They’ve been doing extra work with the Southern Umpiring Association which is great to see as advocates for umpiring upon their return to Europe.

Great start guys and good luck with the game on Saturday.

IC17 Round 2 Match Reports

Round 2 of the 2017 AFL International Cup saw our 8 European teams spread across Victoria as part of the IC’s School Round. Our teams were graciously hosted by St Patricks, Peninsula Grammar, Wesley College, Eltham College, Mentone Grammar, and St Francis Xavier for their second matches of the two-week IC Tournament.

This round also saw the first head-to-head Euro clashes with the European Crusaders taking on the Irish Banshees in the first match of the day. The Banshees continued their winning streak with a 62 point victory over the Crusaders, but the points were hard fought for and the Crusaders showed a dramatic improvement in just the few short days since they were defeated by PNG in Round 1.

The Great Britain Bulldogs suffered a disappointing loss to Canada today, which came as a surprise to many after their strong victory over South Africa in Round 1. The Bulldogs were off to a slow start and copped the worst of some difficult weather conditions, but turned things around and trailed by just five points when the siren blew at three-quarter time. The Bulldogs continued to fight hard in the final quarter but Canada ran out winners with a final score of 33-18.

Great Britain’s female counterparts, the GB Swans, scored their second victory of the competition today with a tough defeat over Fiji at Peninsula Grammar. The Swans managed to stay slightly ahead on the scoreboard throughout the entire match and after an extremely physical game, they celebrated a 33-24 win. With two wins under their belt, the Swans have now earned themselves a place in next week’s semi-finals.

The Croatian Knights earned their first win of the tournament today when they took on the Indonesia Garudas at Eltham College. The Knights put their best foot forward after a devastating one point loss to China on Sunday, and claimed control of the match from the first siren. The Garudas made a solid effort at a comeback in the third quarter but the Knights rose to the challenge and when the final siren blew, the scoreboard read 91-12 in favour of the Croatians.

In the second double Euro clash of the day, the French Coqs took on the Irish Warriors in Division 1 of the men’s competition. Both sides performed spectacularly well but it was the more experienced Irish side who took home the 65 point win. The Coqs put up a huge fight in the third quarter and will be looking to draw on that performance and get their first victory when they take on Nauru on Saturday.

The final match of the day saw the German Eagles take on India in Division 2 of the men’s competition. The Eagles were on a roll after starting the tournament off with a bang on Sunday with a big win against Pakistan, and continued their streak today with a 86-9 win over India. The Germans used their impressive collective height to their advantage and kicked 12 goals despite some temperamental weather conditions and the defence from India. They’ll aim to use this momentum to win their third match against Japan this weekend.

Click here for the full match reports:

Round 2 – European Crusaders vs Irish Banshees

Round 2 – Great Britain Bulldogs v Canada

Round 2- GB Swans vs Fiji

Round 2 – Croatian Knights vs Indonesia

Round 2 – Irish Warriors vs French Coqs

Round 2 – Germany vs India

 

 

IC17 – Round 2 Preview

Round 2 of the 2017 AFL International Cup will kick off tomorrow after a thrilling start to the tournament on Sunday. Round 1 saw all 8 of the European teams compete in their first matches of the two-week tournament, with the results ranging from narrow losses to victories that left their opponents without a single point on the board at the final siren.

Round 2 sees our teams scattered across Victoria as part of the AFL International Cup’s School Round, with matches hosted by local schools.

Click here for all the full Round 1 Match Reports.

European Crusaders v Irish Banshees – 10:45am – St Patricks:

The first match of the day is a huge one as it sees two of our women’s teams going head to head in the first European clash of the Cup. The Irish Banshees showed their strength on Sunday in their first match against the USA Freedom team, and came away with a win of 46-8 after playing a consistently strong match.

The European Crusaders unfortunately came away scoreless in their first match against PNG but left hungry to get a win in their next match after the disappointing loss. As a mixed team from all across Europe, the Crusaders biggest challenge was always set to be the lack of experience playing together – an issue that is sure to dissolve as the team gets plenty of playing time together over the next two weeks. The Crusaders are set to become fiercer competitors as the tournament goes on and will be a force to be reckoned with come finals time!

The Crusaders will be out to redeem themselves after their first match performance and the Irish Banshees will do their best to claim the top spot on the ladder in the women’s competition. After taking out the IC title in 2011 and being runners-up in 2014, the Banshees are back to reclaim their title from the Canada women’s team.

Croatian Knights v Indonesia – 11:45am – Eltham College:

After a heartbreaking one point loss to China in Round 1, the Croatian Knights will be out to claim their first victory of the competition in their match against Indonesia tomorrow. The Knight’s first match was off to a slow start and showed them trailing on the scoreboard at three-quarter time, but the Knights turned it around in the final quarter and looked to be the likely winners after a torrent of goals. Unfortunately for the Knights their final attempt at victory was thwarted right on the final siren and China won the match by a single point.

The Knights will have a chance to redeem themselves tomorrow when they play Indonesia. The Croatian’s performance will depend on whether or not their first loss shakes them or leaves them hungry for victory – but is likely to be the latter if the Knight’s track record is anything to go by. Although this is their first time competing at an IC, the Knights have a successful history at AFL Europe tournaments with a number of medals and titles under their belts.

The Knights will face a fierce competitor when they meet Indonesia tomorrow, who have the momentum of a win against Sri Lanka in Round 1 behind them. The Indonesian Garudas, whilst newcomers to the IC, are reigning champions of the AFL Asia All-Asian Cup and are looking to see how they shape up to the rest of the world after conquering AFL Asia. This is sure to be a tight match but Croatia should take the lead if they use their size to their advantage and perform they way they did in the final quarter on Sunday.

Great Britain Swans v Fiji – 12:15pm – Peninsula Grammar:

IC first timers, the GB Swans, will be out to claim their second victory against Fiji tomorrow at Peninsula Grammar. After leaving their opponent, Pakistan, scoreless on Sunday, the Swans are on a roll and will do their best to use this momentum to defeat a strong Fijian team.

The Fijians suffered a frustrating loss in Round 1 after being defeated by the Canadian team by a single point. Despite this being a loss, it shows the strength of the Fijians to be only 2 points short of a victory over IC14’s reigning champions. However impressive that may be, it can’t compete with the Swan’s 142 point victory over the Pakistan Sheheens, who couldn’t get a single point past the Swan’s defence.

Despite this being their first IC, the Swans have plenty of potential to go all the way in the competition – after all, they took out the 2016 European Championships in the same year that the team was formed. The Swans have plenty of speed on their side and will use this to their advantage to get anther victory under their belt against Fiji.

Irish Warriors v French Coqs – 12:30pm – St Patricks:

The second European clash of the day will see the mighty Irish Warriors face up against the fighting French Coqs at St Patricks in Ballarat. Fresh off a win against Papua New Guinea in Round 1, the Warriors will be looking to climb their way even further up the Men’s Division 1 ladder this round.

In contrast to the Warrior’s recent success, the French Coqs had an unfortunate defeat at the hands of Fiji on Sunday and will be looking to redeem both their ladder position and team spirit with a victory over the Irish tomorrow. As third time IC competitors the Coqs will be relishing the opportunity to play in Division 1 against the world’s best.

Coming off the back of a win against perhaps their biggest opponent in Round 1, the Irish will be full of confidence. Their match against PNG was a replay of last IC’s grand final and the Irish will be in a strong position to take out the title this year after defeating them comfortably this early on in the competition.

Great Britain Bulldogs v Canada – 12:30pm – St Francis Xavier:

The Bulldogs are in a strong position early on in the competition after defeating the South African Lions last round, and are out to turn their victory into a winning streak when they face up against Canada tomorrow. The Bulldogs were expected to have a tough match against South Africa, who were ranked well above the Bulldogs in this year’s IC, but soared above expectations when they defeated them 65-28.

Canada is off to a rocky start after a big loss against their North American neighbours, the USA, in Round 1. The Americans overpowered Canada to a 45-25 victory but Canada is sure to be out to claim their first win this round.

The Bulldogs definitely showed their team’s potential in their stellar performance against South Africa and will be looking to defend their current spot in the top three by claiming another win tomorrow and climb their way towards their first IC title.

German Eagles v India – 2:30pm – Mentone Grammar:

Germany was another AFL Europe success story on Sunday when they defeated Pakistan with a 68 point victory. Despite being ranked in Division 2, the Eagles have a strong, fit team who are already looking to be likely grand final contestants. Their 71-3 win over Pakistan showed their strength and they’ll be out to keep the ball rolling with another win tomorrow.

India’s Round 1 match had them face up against Japan on Sunday with a similar result to Germany’s match, with the final scoreboard reading 86-2. If Germany continues to play as they’ve shown they are capable of they should have the opportunity to get plenty of points on the board and cement themselves as one of the top teams in the second division.

Umpire appointments:

USA v PNG – 10:45am – Wesley College

AFL Europe Umpires Geoff Pascoe and Oscar Ayyadi will team up tomorrow when they umpire their second matches of the tournament at Wesley College. Both Oscar and Geoff are experienced umpires and are definitely well equipped to handle what’s sure to be a tough match between the USA and PNG women’s teams tomorrow.

South Africa v USA – 12:30pm – Wesley College 

Josh Davey will also be umpiring his second match of the tournament tomorrow as he officiates the match between South Africa and the USA at Wesley College. Josh will definitely have his hands full in whats sure to be a very fast and physical match between the two Men’s Division 1 teams.

 

 

IC17 Round 1 Match Reports

It was a huge first day of the 2017 International Cup played at Royal Park to kick off the two-week tournament with a bang. In true Melbourne style, the playing conditions ranged from glorious sunshine to pouring rain and everything in between. All 8 of our AFL Europe teams played their first matches of IC17 with a mixed bag of results.

The GB Bulldogs took on last IC’s 4th place getter, South Africa, in a thrilling opening encounter for the Men’s Division 1 competition. Despite South Africa’s superior ranking, the Bulldogs managed to come away with a convincing win to kick off their IC17 journey with a win of 9.11.65 to 4.4.28.

Meanwhile, Great Britain’s women’s side, the GB Swans, were also off to a flying start as they kicked off the women’s comp with the opening match against the Pakistan Shaheens. The Swans dominated the match from early on left their opponent scoreless the entire match while they walked away with a 142 point victory.

Two time IC winners, the Irish Warriors, are looking to add a third title to their collection and certainly showed their intentions today when they took down one of this year’s strongest teams. The Warriors battled their way through a physical contest against the Papua New Guinea Mosquitoes and their efforts paid off at the final whistle, with the scoreboard reading 6.5.41 to 4.5.30 in favour of the Warriors.

It was a rocky start to this year’s IC for the women’s European Crusaders, as they enter their first International Cup with a mixed team of women from all across Europe. While the Crusaders were left scoreless against the skilled Papua New Guinea team, they gained the valuable experience of playing alongside their new teammates and will take today’s lessons with them into their next match against the Irish Banshees on Wednesday.

In another victory for the AFL Europe teams, the German Eagles came away form their first IC match with a win after defeating Pakistan in a windy Melbourne downpour. As newcomers to the International Cup, the Eagles will be looking to make their mark on the contest and earn their spot on the ladder with the hopes of being ranked in the 1st division at the next International Cup. The Germans certainly showed what they’ve come to play for when they took down Pakistan 71-3.

In a heartbreaking IC opener for the Knights, the Croatian team sadly lost out to the mighty Chinese Dragons by a single point this afternoon in the Men’s Division 2 competition. Despite falling behind early on in the match, the Knights were making a comeback before their potentially game-winning goal was thwarted at the final siren and the scores remained at 44-45.

After taking out the IC women’s competition in 2011 and losing out to Canada during the 2014 grand final, the ALFA Irish Banshees have returned to Melbourne this year with an appetite for victory and started out strong today with a victory over the USA Freedom team. The Banshees showed their showed off their impressive skills and showed all the teams they meant business when they took out the match with a 38 point victory over the USA.

In the final match of the day, the French Coqs took on the extremely tough Fijians in the Men’s Division 1 contest. Unfortunately the Fijians showed their strength and took control of the match, with the final score reading 10.20.80 to 2.3.15 in favour of Fiji. The Coqs will be looking to improve on today’s result when they take on fellow AFL Europe team the Irish Warriors this Wednesday.

All the Round 1 Matches were live streamed on the AFL International Cup Youtube channel and can be found here. 

Click here for the full match reports:

Great Britain vs South Africa

Great Britain vs Pakistan

Ireland vs PNG

European Crusaders vs PNG

Germany vs Pakistan

Croatia vs China

Ireland vs USA

France vs Fiji

 

Watch the International Cup LIVE!

The 2017 International Cup kicks off tomorrow for our 8 European sides and you can watch all the action LIVE!

Round 1, 4 & 5 will all be live streamed by the AFL on their YouTube Channel. Click HERE to go through to the streaming links.

The Round 1 Match-ups are:

Date Time Home Away Venue
Sunday 6th August 8:45am (11:45pm BST Saturday Night) GB Swans Pakistan Royal Park – Ransford Oval
Sunday 6th August 9:30am (12:30am BST) South Africa GB Bulldogs Royal Park – McAlister Oval
Sunday 6th August 11:15am (2:15am Ireland) PNG Irish Warriors Royal Park – McAlister Oval
Sunday 6th August 11:15am (3:15am Germany) Pakistan German Eagles Royal Park – Western Oval
Sunday 6th August 12:15pm (4:15am CET) PNG European Crusaders Royal Park – Ransford Oval – Oscar Ayyadi Umpiring
Sunday 6th August 1:00pm (5:00am CET) Croatian Knights China Royal Park – Western Oval – Geoff Pascoe Umpiring
Sunday 6th August 1:00pm (5:00am CET) Canada USA Royal Park – McAlister Oval – Josh Davey Umpiring
Sunday 6th August 2:00pm (5:00am Ireland) Irish Banshees USA Royal Park – Ransford Oval
Sunday 6th August 2:45pm (6:45am France) Fiji French Coqs Royal Park – McAlister Oval

IC17 – Round 1 Preview

The AFL International Cup is finally here!

It’s been a long three years since the last International Cup which saw Papua New Guinea and Canada take out the men’s and women’s competitions. This year’s IC will see 8 European team’s take part across 2 men’s and a women’s division. The two-week competition kicks off tomorrow at Royal Park with a huge schedule of matches across three fields.

Round 1 matches will be live streamed by the AFL on their International Cup YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/2wllThW).

Prior to each round we’ll be taking a quick look at our European teams match-ups as well as our umpire’s appointments.

GB Swans vs Pakistan – 8:45am – Royal Park, Ransford Oval

The reigning European Champions will be competing in their first International Cup and they’ll be opening their tournament against fellow newcomers, Pakistan. The Swans will be confident going in after being super competitive in all matches they’ve taken part since they started on the International scene in early 2016.

Head Coach, Garth Nevin, will have his side in supreme condition with plenty of focus on their strength and conditioning program throughout 2017. Key players from their side have completed strong seasons in the AFL London league so match fitness and touch shouldn’t be an issue.

The Swans will  need to be ready for an arm-wrestle early but should have the speed and skill to run out this game the better.

South Africa vs GB Bulldogs – 9:30am – Royal Park, McAlister Oval

One of the matches of the round. The Bulldogs open their campaign against IC14 4th place finishers, South Africa, and will thrive at the challenge to knock-off a tournament heavyweight early. Bulldogs coach, Dean Thomas, has been working closely with his side and will believe that they can take the step into the top echelon on IC competitors after sitting mid-pack for a number of years.

Their performance at last year’s European Championships indicts they are due to improve on the world stage after they comprehensively defeated Ireland in the final.

South Africa are the perfect test to start IC17 and the Bulldogs will use their fitness and strength to control the contest. The Bulldogs will have some very handy Australian-based players to add to their squad and their experience will be invaluable.

The well-drilled and structured Bulldogs will be in for a very tough game but it would be no surprise to see them pull away late in the last quarter and claim victory. Accuracy for goal will be key as no doubt there will be a couple of kicks in it.

PNG vs Irish Warriors – 11:15am – Royal Park, McAlister Oval

The IC14 Grand Final replay. What a way to open the 2017 edition of the International Cup with the two powerhouses of the tournament reigniting their rivalry straight up. Both sides will have already spent a week in Australia getting used to the conditions and for the bulk of the Irish squad, getting over the jet-lag.

PNG have had two warm-up games in preparation for this tournament so they’ll be red-hot from the get-go. The Warriors have had a hit-out against the University Blacks at Gosch’s Paddock so they’ll have blown out the cobwebs before this thrilling Round 1 encounter.

How the Irish control the speed and skill of PNG will be key. If they try to play them at their own game they’ll get beaten but the Irish pride themselves on out-thinking teams. The Irish are coming off 2 losses in major tournaments and are hungrier than ever to reclaim their spot as the top International football side.

The Irish know how to win big games and big tournaments. They’ll have a well prepared game plan on how to take down the boys from PNG and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they continued their unbeaten IC first round record.

Pakistan vs German Eagles – 11:15am – Royal Park, Western Oval

The German Eagles kick-off their IC17 tournament against Pakistan who will be playing in their second IC after debuting in 2014. The Eagles will be a very tough opponent in Division 2 after being a competitive outfit at last years European Championships.

The Eagles will be making the IC debut and won’t be taking it lightly with their sights set firmly on going far in the second tier of the men’s competition. Pakistan struggled at the last IC but slipped into the top division after the grading rounds. No doubt they’ve improved over the past three years but the experience Germany gained from the European Championships will hold them in a good position to take it right up to the Pakistani’s.

Germany should have dominant ruckmen and with some very good midfielders at their feet this should prove too much for their round 1 opponents. Look for the Eagles to open their accounts with a ‘W’.

PNG vs European Crusaders – 12:15pm – Royal Park, Ransford Oval

If the PNG women play anything like their men then the Crusaders could be in some trouble. They’ll be making their return to the International stage after debuting in 2011.

The Crusaders are a mixed group of women from across Europe and their biggest battle will be how quickly they gel together as a team.

The bulk of the Crusaders squad comes from France and with some key personnel based in Australia they should be a very competitive team in the women’s division. The Crusaders will go into this one determined to show the competition that they aren’t here to make up the numbers which will spell trouble for the PNG women.

Expect the Crusaders to play quick, direct football that could play into the hands of PNG but they should come out on top in a close, low-scoring encounter.

Croatian Knights vs China – 1:00pm – Royal Park, Western Oval

The mighty Knights debut at the IC against three-time competitors, China. We all know how strong and powerful the Croatians are at the 9-a-side format so this game will be a real test to see how quickly they adapt to the large spaces of Western Oval.

The Chinese will be tough opponent first up especially with the recent focus of Aussie Rules this year with the first-ever AFL match played on their shores. No doubt they take some inspiration from this match and take it right up to the Croatians.

Croatia should out muscle most sides in the competition so they’ll need to play to this strength. If they allow China to play an outside game then they could be in trouble. Stoppage, contested football will be their best-friend over the next two weeks. Expect the Knights to push the ball forward all day and claim a historic first-round victory.

Irish Banshees vs USA – 2:00pm – Royal Park, Ransford Oval

The IC14 women’s runners-up will be back with a vengeance at this year’s tournament. Expect them to come out firing on all cylinders against the USA and they’ll have a point to prove after coming up short at last year’s European Championships as well. They’ll be far better for the experience and with the added strength of their Australian-based players will see them want to flex their muscle on the competition from the beginning.

The Banshees have some very strong inside midfielders and once they get the ball moving forward they’ll be very difficult to stop. The USA could be up against it early as the Irish look to reassert their dominance as an International powerhouse.

Fiji vs French Coqs – 2:45pm – Royal Park, McAlister Oval

It’s a great first match up for the French Coqs. The Coqs will be competing in their third consecutive IC and each tournament they’ve shown improvement. The development of their domestic competition over the past three years should see a vastly improved French outfit come August 6 and they’ll need to be as they enter this year’s tournament in the top division from the get go.

Coach, Andrew Unsworth, will have the boys prepped with a well thought-out game plan that should see them competitive against all sides. The Fijians are tipped to show the most improvement since IC14 but that won’t rattle the Frenchmen.

The French have some very good forwards who will be a real handful for the Fijians. The key will be winning it out of the midfield and providing quick forward 50 entries. Winning in the middle holds the key to the French impacting the game and look out if they do.

Most would pencil Fiji for a first up victory but the French will surprise a few this tournament and it wouldn’t surprise anyone in Europe if they jump the Fijians early and took the ‘W’.

Umpire Appointments

Oscar Ayyadi – PNG vs European Crusaders – 12:15pm – Royal Park, Ransford Oval

Oscar will be the first of the European umpires to take the field in Melbourne when he officiates the PNG vs European Crusaders women’s game. He has been in good form in the AFL London season and finished with a very difficult preliminary final so he’ll be well and truly on the ball come August 6.

 

Geoff Pascoe – Croatian Knights vs China – 1:00pm – Royal Park, Western Oval

Geoff opens his IC17 campaign in a tough encounter between men’s division 2 contenders Croatia and China. He was awarded the golden whistle at last year’s European Championships and will be looking to continue his strong form at major tournaments with what will be a challenging first game.

 

Josh Davey – Canada vs USA – 1:00pm – Royal Park, McAlister Oval

Josh has been allocated a real blockbuster for round 1 when the Canadian and USA men lock horns in a brutal first up game. The two sides are both renowned for their physicality and hard-hits. No doubt he’ll be busy as the two evenly matched sides will be looking to assert their dominance early on.

 

Hayden Charles – South Africa vs GB Bulldogs – 9:30am – Royal Park, McAlister Oval

Haydos has been a late inclusion to the AFL Europe umpiring contingent after recently relocating back to Australia after many years based in London. The 2016 Euro Cup Golden Whistle winner has been appointed a huge match first up with South Africa and GB Bulldogs locking horns early on Sunday morning.

IC17 Tournament Preview – GB Bulldogs

The AFL International Cup is nearly upon us. It has been a huge few months for the teams finalising their preparations for the two week tournament held in Melbourne. In the lead up to the tournament kicking off on Sunday 6th August we’ll be taking a look at the eight European teams making the journey and competing for the title of IC Champions. In the last of our tournament previews we’ll take a look at last year’s European Champions, the Great Britain Bulldogs.

History of the Bulldogs

The Bulldogs formed in the early 1990s to compete in the Atlantic Alliance Cup against the likes of Denmark, Ireland and the USA. They have competed in all International Cups and European Championships since the tournaments inception.

The Bulldogs have played the most competitive 18-a-side matches of any side competing at this year’s IC with 59 matches. Their best International Cup resulted in a 6th place finish in both 2002 and 2005.

Last IC and European Championships

The Bulldogs entered IC14 as the 7th seeds and were optimistic to push for their first semi-final berth. They started their campaign with 83-point victory to European counterparts, France, but were beaten in a lower scoring hit-out against Nauru in the second-round game. Their third-round encounter was a make or break match against Fiji but it was the Fijians who ran out 16-point victors.

Following the opening rounds, the Bulldogs were coming from a long way back in 10th place and were scheduled for a rematch against Nauru. They didn’t get their revenge and were again beaten by just 16-points putting them into a 9th place playoff against another team they had played before in Fiji. They prevailed in that rematch in a low scoring 37 to 19-point final game.

The 2016 European Championships held in London pitted the Bulldogs against arch-rivals Ireland, Germany and Sweden. After dropping their group match against the Irish, they returned in the final to control the game from start to finish and claimed their first European Championships with a resounding 51 to 29-point win.

The confidence taken from this tournament has driven them over the past 12 months. They’ll be in the best shape of any GB side that has been out to an IC and big things will be expected both internally and externally.

IC17 Fixtures

Round 1: vs South Africa

Round 2: vs Canada

Round 3: vs Ireland

Round 4: vs Fiji

Grand Finals: vs TBC

Player to Watch

Jack Coughlan

The high-leading forward is the leading goal-kicker for Bulldogs with 17 goals from his 7 games. The North London Lion and University of Birmingham product will be a difficult match-up for most sides and should extend his tally out in Australia.

If Coughlan can get the ball in his hands he’ll win games for GB. With some big key position players getting the attention from the opposition he should be able to work his man over and get on the end of a few.

IC17 Crystal Ball

The Bulldogs will be disappointed with anything less than a top 4 finish and rightly so after claiming their first European Championships crown in 2016. Some solid Australian-based Brit inclusions will only strengthen their chances and coupled with the high-pressure game plan instilled by coach Dean Thomas they should be the big movers come August.

The result of their round 1 match against South Africa will be their biggest match to date. If they win it signals that the Bulldogs are the real deal. Lose, and it could be a long two weeks knowing they’re up against the odds.

A physical Canadian outfit meets them in round 2 before they reignite their fierce rivalry with Ireland. They finish off the rounds with a game they will expect to win against Fiji. They won and lost against the Fijians in 2014 so the Bulldogs will be wanting to put the ledger in their favour.

IC17 is the chance for the GB Bulldogs to make a real impact in world footy. They are a fit, young squad who’ll be supremely well drilled. We’re expecting big things from the Brits!

 

Historic day for football in London!

Historic day for football in London!

The 2017 AFL London season comes to a climax this Saturday as a carnival atmosphere greets Clapham Common in what will be an historic day of Grand Finals for the league. In addition to the football action there will also be plenty happening off the field to keep the crowd entertained with a fully stocked bar, quality coffee, street food trucks, competitions, prizes and giveaways. Entry is free with the first match at 9:30am and the last starting 4:00pm, on Clapham Common north side – more information can be found via the Facebook event.

For the first time five Premiership Cups will be contested on the day due to the expansion of the women’s game to a second division this year. This represents an admirable achievement for a league that first introduced women’s football only in 2015. A stellar season from the Wandsworth Demons, which saw four of their five teams finish minor premiers, continued through the finals with all teams reaching the Grand Final on their home ground. However, in a league often prone to upsets at this stage of the season and the Demons depth set to be tested, there are no certainties come Saturday.

The day begins with the Men’s Social division, which sees two-time reigning premiers Wandsworth Demons up against the Bounds Green based club, North London Lions. Having finished third on the ladder the Lions had to take the long route to the final, although easily knocking out both the Wimbledon Hawks and Ealing Emus. This good form should help them against an experienced Wandsworth side looking to make history with the first ‘three-peat’ for the division.

In the second match it will be an age old battle for a brand new cup as West London Wildcats do battle with the Wandsworth Demons for the first ever AFL London Women’s Conference Premiership. For a club with such high footballing standards, it was little surprise West London’s inaugural women’s team proved to be a powerhouse of the division, going undefeated through the season. Wandsworth, having broken the hearts of the London Swans with a last minute goal to pinch a grand final berth, will need to try and nullify the strong run and carry game of the Wildcats to give themselves a chance.

Last year in the Men’s Conference Division the Demons were able to break a six year premiership run for West London’s Shepherds Bush Raiders in a three-point classic, and revenge will be on the Raiders minds as they line up once again this year. To say the Raiders have had a stranglehold on this division would be an understatement, having only lost the cup twice, both times to the Demons. This just adds even more spice to an already fiery rivalry between these two largest London football clubs.

Following this contest the South East London Giants will be forging new ground as they appear in their first ever AFL London Grand Final, in the Women’s Premiership match against the Demons. Whilst the Giants will be vying for their first ever silverware, the Demons will be looking to become the first club to win two women’s premierships, having won the inaugural cup back in 2015, and with a strong showing all season they will start as favourites.

In the final match of the day it’s another north vs south battle with the Lions taking on the Demons as they are in the Men’s Social. Also similarly to the Social grade, the Lions have had to fight their way from third place to have their chance of glory. However, this is not unfamiliar territory for the Lions having claimed the 2015 Men’s Premiership Cup from third place in a one point thriller. The Demons have had the stronger season having lost only once and possess depth and balance across the ground, so should feel they have the fire power to come away with the victory. Interestingly the last time these two teams met in the Grand Final was in 2012, when again the Lions were able to come away with a win by a solitary point, so the Demons won’t fancy a close game and will surely look to snuff out the Lions early.

AFL London 2017 Grand Finals on Clapham Common, from 9:30am to 6pm this Saturday 5th August.

IC17 Tournament Preview – ALFA Irish Banshees

The AFL International Cup is nearly upon us. It has been a huge few months for the teams finalising their preparations for the two week tournament held in Melbourne. In the lead up to the tournament kicking off on Sunday 6th August we’ll be taking a look at the eight European teams making the journey and competing for the title of IC Champions. Next up in our tournament previews is 2011 IC winners, the ALFA Irish Banshees. 

History of the Banshees

The Irish Banshees have been competing Internationally since 2010 when they played Italy at the Euro Cup in Milan. The team have an unbeaten record at the Euro Cup and were the winners of the inaugural International Cup for women in 2011.

They competed in the first women’s European Championship held in London last year and were winners of the first women’s London Footy Carnival held in May this year.

Last IC and European Championships

The Banshees went into IC14 as reigning champions and kicked off their campaign with a huge 61-point win. It was much of the same against Tonga, USA Liberty and Canadian Midnight Suns for the remainder of their round robin games amassing a total of 278-points for and only 33-points against.

Stunningly this wasn’t good even to secure top spot with Canada’s first team, the Northern Lights, claiming the podium with a percentage of 1890. It meant the two were to face-off in another IC final after the Banshees won the previous edition 39 to 8.

Unfortunately for the Banshees is was the Canadians who proved too strong in this encounter with the score line reading 5.8 (38) to 2.0 (12).

It was a similar story at last year’s European Championships as the Banshees fell short by a kick to new-comers the GB Swans. It was a testing couple of days in London but the Swans held on for a memorable victory in tough conditions.

IC Fixtures

Round 1: vs USA

Round 2: vs European Crusaders

Round 3: vs PNG

Semi-Finals: vs TBC

Grand Finals: vs TBC

Player to Watch

Onora Mulcahy

The in-and-under midfielder must have a huge tournament if the Irish are to reclaim their title. Her work on the inside contest is imperative to the Irish moving the ball forward. This coupled with her tackle pressure mean she’ll have a big say in how the tournament pans out for the Banshees.

IC17 Crystal Ball

It’s set to be a huge tournament for the Banshees. They’ll be out to claim revenge and take back their crown as IC champions. Many regard the Irish and Canadians as a level above the rest at the IC and they’ll both be expected to square off again in the final.

But they’ll have to knock off a host of teams looking to take it to them first with USA, European Crusaders and PNG opponents in the opening rounds. If the draw plays true to form this should have them playing against the GB Swans in the semi-final and will be a huge game for European footy.

The Irish come to International tournaments to win and if they fall short they’ll be shattered with the result. Expect them to feature heavily at the pointy end of the competition.

IC17 Tournament Preview – GB Swans

The AFL International Cup is nearly upon us. It has been a huge few months for the teams finalising their preparations for the two week tournament held in Melbourne. In the lead up to the tournament kicking off on Sunday 6th August we’ll be taking a look at the eight European teams making the journey and competing for the title of IC Champions. Next up in our tournament previews are European Champions and IC first-timers, the Great Britain Swans. 

History of the Swans

The Swans will be just over a year old when they compete at IC17. 2016 saw the launch of the Swans as they prepared to compete at the first-ever European Championships in August that year.

They competed in the AFL Europe Champions League and AFL London Preseason Cup, winning both, before going on to knock off arch-rivals, the Irish Banshees, in a low-scoring European Championship final.

Women’s footy in the UK has seen massive growth in recent years. In London especially, there are 8 women’s teams across 2 divisions. Player numbers are growing in Scotland, Wales, and the Central North England which is unearthing new talent for the Swans on a weekly basis.

Last IC and European Championships

This will be the first International Cup for the Swans but that won’t stop them being a big player in this year’s competition. They’ve won just about every tournament they’ve entered since their inception and will be hoping for similar success come August.

They have a fierce rivalry with previous IC winners, the Irish Banshees, and after knocking them off in last year European Championships will be confident that they can make an impression on the competition. The Swans and Banshees traded wins throughout that tournament but it was the Swans who played the tricky conditions better and claimed victory in the final.

They’ll take a lot of confidence from this and have kept working tirelessly on their fitness base and skills in the lead up to this tournament.

IC17 Fixtures

Round 1: vs Pakistan

Round 2: vs Fiji

Round 3: vs Canada

Semi-Finals: vs TBC

Grand Finals: vs TBC

Player to Watch

Caroline Sellar

The Glasgow Sharks product was honored with the Swans vice captaincy earlier this year after strong performances in the London Footy Carnival against the Irish Banshees, Canada Midnight Suns and London All-Stars.

The strong power-forward has been travelling down to London throughout the season to increase her 18-a-side experience with the South East London Giants where she has played a crucial role in their lead up to the finals. Sellar will be a key member in the Swans forward line and should trouble most opposition defenders. She has played in all 8 Swans games to date and will need to draw on the tournament experience gained at European Championships and London Footy Carnival to propel the Swans into the semi-finals.

IC17 Crystal Ball

Head Coach, Garth Nevin, has the Swans finely tuned for the August tournament and despite an unfortunate run of injuries will be disappointed if they are not in contention when the semi-finals are played on the second Tuesday.

A rigorous training program should see the Swans as one of the fittest sides in the competition and if they use this to their advantage should find them overpowering sides deep in matches and during the latter part of the tournament.

They take on Pakistan and Fiji in their opening two encounters and will be expected to win both of those. This will set up a huge match against reigning champions, Canada, in the community round.

To win they’ll have to run the Canadians off their feet. If the games played in close the strength and aggression of the Canadians could prove too much.