Keep up with the AFL Finals with WatchAFL!

The 2017 Toyota AFL Finals Series kicks off tomorrow and the best way to keep up with all the finals action is with a WatchAFL pass! A WatchAFL pass means you can watch any match live on your mobile.

WatchAFL is offering a discount code to receive 10% off any pass until the Grand Final. Use the promo code AFLFINALS10 to take 10% off your pass at checkout.

The current pass types available are:

  • Whole finals series – access between now and the 30th November
  • Grand Final – Access from 26th September – 31st October
  • Season Pass – 12 months of access

To purchase your WatchAFL pass click here.

IC17 Tournament Review – Irish Banshees

2017 AFL International Cup 

Irish Banshees 

1st Place – Women’s Division 

 

BY RILEY BRETTELL

They came, they saw and they certainly conquered all.

Ireland’s road to International Cup glory took them from the parklands of Carlton, to Ballarat, to Hallam and most importantly to the big stage of Etihad Stadium, where their 2014 Grand Final defeat to Canada was cast aside as a distant memory as the Banshees claimed their revenge with one of the most exhilarating victories you could ever hope to see.

The side kicked off their campaign at a blustery Royal Park with a clash against the USA where many of the Banshees players took the field with their teammates for the first time. If there were any issues with team chemistry early on they certainly didn’t show, as Carol Breen, Sandra Ryan and Clara Fitzpatrick dominated and Linda Connolly bagged three goals in the 38-point win.

A trip down the highway to Ballarat followed for a clash against the European Crusaders, and in front of a crowd of hundreds of St Patricks schoolboys the Banshees overcame a slow start on the back of a brilliant performance from Molly Cullen to run out 61-point winners. While the final margin flattered the Banshees they importantly went into a big clash with Papua New Guinea undefeated.

That third matchup in Melbourne’s outer-eastern suburb of Hallam proved to be one of the most physical of the tournament, with the Banshees seeing off a fiery PNG side on the back of three goals to Christine McCutcheon and two to Olivia McCann, in another game where the final score did no justice to the quality of the Banshees opposition.

Finishing on top of Group B set the Banshees up for a crack at Group A runners up in the Great Britain Swans back at Royal Park. A hard-fought contest saw the underdog British side hold the edge over the Banshees for most the day, before Ireland threw caution to the wind with a fourth quarter assault that saw them run over the top of their rivals, with Colleen Quinn nailing the go-ahead goal before Gillian Behan slotted a magnificent major shortly after to add icing to the cake.

Through to their third straight International Cup final against the Canadians, the Irish faced their toughest test of the tournament and trailed at every break before a final quarter that no player, staff or supporter who witnessed it will ever forget. Clinging to a 4-point lead for the final ten minutes and under immense Canadian pressure, the Banshees heroically stood firm to claim a memorable and richly deserved victory.

The magnificent performances of Clara Fitzpatrick (ruck), Gillian Behan, Laura Corrigan-Duryea (half-forward), Carol Breen (midfield) and Colleen Quinn (interchange) were all recognised with team of the tournament selection.

Match Results: 

Round 1 – Irish Banshees 7.4.(46) defeated USA 1.2.(8)

Round 2 – Irish Banshees 8.13.(61) defeated Crusaders 0.0.(0)

Round 3 – Irish Banshees 9.6.(60) defeated PNG 0.3.(3)

Round 4 – Irish Banshees 3.5.(23) defeated GB Swans 2.3.(15)

Grand Final – Irish Banshees 4.1.(25) defeated Canada 3.3.(21)

Tournament Goalkickers:

Christine McCutcheon, Gillian Behan, Olivia McCann, Aisling Gillespie, Colleen Quinn, Fiona Roarty, Carol Breen, Linda Connolly, Aine Higgins, Molly Cullen, Maebh Moriarty, Emma Kelly, Marie Keating, Rachel McGee.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Carol Green, Clara Fitzpatrick, Gollian Behan, Colleen Quinn, Marie Keating.

World Team Selection: 

Clara Fitzpatrick (Ruck)

Gillian Behan (Half-Forward)

Laura Corrigan Duryea (Half-Forward)

Carol Breen (Midfield)

Colleen Quinn (Interchange)

The countdown is on to the 2017 Toyota AFL Grand Final Lunch in London!

2017 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL LUNCH IN LONDON

in Partnership with the Office of the Agent General for South Australia & Adelaide Crows

WHEN: Friday, 29 September 2017
TIME:
1pm – 4:30pm
WHERE:
Australia House, London
WHAT:
Delicious three course lunch, 3.5 hour beer & wine beverage package & entertainment to fill your afternoon
TICKETS:
£120 per ticket or £1,100 for a table of 10 (Exclusive of VAT)
HOW:
Email events@afleurope.org (include name, company, and number of tickets)

As the AFL Finals Series is about to kick off, we’re counting down to this year’s 2017 Toyota AFL Grand Final Lunch in London! Join us at Australia House on the 29th of September as we preview the biggest match of the year while enjoying a delicious three course lunch and plenty of beer, wine and cider.

We are excited to announce that the Adelaide Crows will, once again, partner the event in conjunction with the Office of the Agent General for South Australia. If that wasn’t enough, we have some stellar entertainment lined up, including an Aussie comedian, unique and enviable auction items up for grabs, some up and coming AFL Talent and, to top off an epic afternoon, an AFLW panel including AFLW Premiership Coach, Bec Goddard from the Adelaide Crows.

With less than a month to go until the Grand Final Lunch, tickets are selling out fast so make sure to get in quick to secure your ticket by emailing events@afleurope.org.

We look forward to seeing you there for some great footy action!

PSS Around the Grounds

St. Petersburg Cats on a winning streak

Round 3 of AFL Russia took place this weekend at the MSU Stadium in Moscow, with the St. Petersburg Cats defeating the Moscow Koalas 81-51.

The Cats also had another victory  last month when they defeated the Tigers 77-24 in the 3rd round of the St. Petersburg league. Well done Cats!

Heatseekers take out FAFL

Congratulations are in order for the 2017 Finland AFL Grand Final winners – the Helsinki Heatseekers! The Heatseekers managed to defeat the Waasa Wombats and hold onto their premiership title for yet another season.

 

Devils visit Denmark

The Amsterdam Devils travelled to Denmark this weekend to take on the Odense Lions in a special farewell match for club stalwart, Stephen Dillon, who put on his boots for the Devils for the last time.

Meanwhile the Odense Lionesses were busy taking on the Port Malmo Lynx and getting a win under their belt! The Lionesses fought a tough game and ran out winners with a final score of 60-30. Lionesses goalkickers for the match included: Maria Falkesgaard, Sidsel Wraa, Amanda Teglhus, Nina Løvengreen, Michaela Saugstrup, Janie-Lou Green, and Mette Brøndserud.

Women wanted for AFL in Germany

AFLG and the German Eagles have set their sights on expanding their women’s footy and have hopes of developing both a women’s league in Germany and having a women’s national team. AFLG currently has 8 men’s teams across the country with regular matches and they have plenty of opportunities to create a regular women’s competition. Their aim is to send a women’s team to the AFL Europe Champions League next year as well as a women’s national team to the 2018 Euro Cup. If you’re interested in playing women’s footy in Germany check out the Facebook group here.

Giants take out the SARFL Grand Final

After their third attempt at a SARFL (Scotland Aussie Rules Football League) Grand Final, the Greater Glasgow Giants have finally come away with the 2017 SARFL Premiership after defeating the Kingdom Kangaroos in a thrilling grand final after a very strong season from all the SARFL teams. Although the Roos put up a good fight, the Giants managed to take them down with the scoreboard reading 117-79 at the final whistle. Well done Giants!

Recruiting umpires and volunteers for 2017 Euro Cup!

AFL Europe are still on the hunt for umpires and volunteers to join in at this year’s Euro Cup in Bordeaux. The Euro Cup takes place on the 7th of October and volunteers are needed to help out with the tournament with everything from pitch managing to goal umpiring. If you’re interested in volunteering or umpiring at Euro Cup please contact us at admin@afleurope.org.

IC17 Tournament Review – Croatian Knights

2017 AFL International Cup 

Croatian Knights

1st Place – Men’s Division 2

 

BY CHRISTOPHER CHRYSOSTOMOU

A fairy tale ending to a brilliant tournament for the Croatian Knights, who claimed the Division 2 premiership in their first International Cup. The Knights were expected to be contending for the title, but few would have predicted they would clinch the crown in relative breeze.

The Knights didn’t get off to the best of starts at the International Cup, going down to China by a point in the opening match. The Knights were suffering from jet lag, after only arriving in Australia the day prior to the game. But Croatian coach Josip Kravar didn’t use the jet lag as an excuse for his side’s poor performance, instead criticising the players for not sticking to the game plan.

Needing a win in their second match, the Knights travelled to Eltham College to face Indonesia. The intensity of the Knights was prevalent from the opening bounce. The Knights midfielder’s gained the upper hand and helped Ivan Ivos kick six goals. Half back, Josip Habljak found his way forward and kicked three goals.

The Knights travelled to a windy Lyndhust for their third match against Sri Lanka. The Knights players found it difficult to adjust to the windy conditions and their kicking in front of goal was wayward. But their inaccuracy was not an issue, as their defence held Sri Lanka to only one goal for the match. Captain, Tomislav Cvetko, adjusted to the conditions better than most players and took plenty of marks, while player-coach Josip Kravar kicked three goals in only two quarters on the field.

The Knights finished second in pool 1 of division 2 and faced pool 2’s ladder leaders, Japan in the semi-final at Royal Park. The Japanese were favourites heading into the match, after clinching top spot ahead of Germany.

The Knights defence were rock solid in the previous two matches, with the pairing of Fran Tonkovic and Igor Galez stopping any opposition attacks. The Knights would save their best defensive performance for Japan, holding the Samurais to a sole behind, while scoring 66 points of their own.

Earlier in the tournament coach Kravar had said the Knights wanted to play the German’s on the Grand Final. Kravar got his wish and on a wet Friday afternoon, the Knights took the field to quash the highflying Eagles. Croatian fans watched on, as their side’s ferocious attack on the ball outmuscled the German’s.

The wet condition’s made marking difficult, but the forward pairing of Cvetko and Ivos showed their class by taking a total of 15 marks and kicking seven goals. Cvetko and Ivos were again supported by Habljak’s line breaking runs off half back. The midfield also worked in tandem and continued to supply the forwards with the ball.

As the siren sounded the Knights claimed a 66-point victory and celebrated by singing ‘The Mighty, Mighty Croats’ tune, that has become a fan favourite.

Tomislav Cvetko was named best on ground for his performance in the decider, while Josip Habljak was named in the World Team of the Tournament.

Kravar praised his team’s defence, which conceded a mere 27 points in their four victories. “We changed a few things in the backline after the first match and it has worked,” Kravar said.

The Knights will add the International Cup success to their trophy cabinet, which already includes two Euro Cups.

Best Forward:

Tomislav Cvetko proved to be a leader of the forwards throughout the tournament, with plenty of successful goals across all five rounds.

Best Midfielder: 

Dejan Pavkovic consistently earned his title as one of the Knights’ best players for his work in the midfield.

Best Defender:

Josip Habljak provided lots of run off half back and kicked plenty of goals.

Match Results: 

Round 1 – Croatian Knights 6.8.(44) defeated by China 7.3.(45)

Round 2 – Croatian Knights 14.7.(91) defeated Indonesia 2.0.(12)

Round 3 – Croatian Knights 9.5.(59) defeated Sri Lanka 1.0.(6)

Round 4 – Croatian Knights 9.12.(66) defeated Japan 0.1.(1)

Grand Final – Croatian Knights 11.8.(74) defeated Germany 1.2.(8)

Tournament Goalkickers: 

Ivan Ivos, Tomislav Cvetko, Josip Habljak, Josip Kravar, Tomislav Nedic, Bruno Bencic, Dejan Pavkoviv, Miro Jurmanovic, Viktor Kolcic, Josip Motik.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Tomislav Cvetko, Josip Habljak, Ivan Ivos, Dejan Pavkovic, Fran Tonkovic.

World Team Selection:

Josip Habljak (Fullback)

IC17 Tournament Review – GB Bulldogs

2017 AFL International Cup 

Great Britain Bulldogs

6th Place – Men’s Division 1

 

BY ANGUS BOYLE

The Great Britain Bulldogs have finished their 2017 AFL International Cup campaign in sixth position after they were defeated by Nauru in the fifth-position playoff on Friday 18th of August. This is the equal-highest finish for the Great Britain Bulldogs side at an International Cup, as they also finished sixth in 2002 and 2005.

Bulldogs coach Dean Thomas felt that the final result was not a fair reflection on his side, and he did not doubt their application or effort. After the final game, he praised Nauru for their quick style of play as the Nauru side played some fantastic football to defeat the Bulldogs. It was not the way the Great Britain side wanted to finish the tournament, and their pre-tournament expectations in terms of win-loss ratio were not met. Yet, when talking post tournament, Thomas said, “with the aid of hindsight, we were probably one of the youngest and most inexperienced groups in the top division. To lose games by no more than three goals, and a couple of convincing wins, showed we were not far off the top sides.”

Out of the 29-man squad that the Bulldogs had, 21 of them had not had any previous experience in an International Cup and the emergence of those young players gives the Bulldogs a bright future ahead. There was a feeling within the group after their final game that they had underperformed and those young players who are aiming to be playing for Great Britain in the next International Cup will use that disappointment to motivate them next time around.

One of the standout players for the Bulldogs was key forward Andrew Walkden who kicked 15 goals for the tournament. Walkden started off by kicking five goals in the Bulldogs opening game, which they won against South Africa by 37 points at Royal Park to get their tournament off to a perfect start.

Unfortunately, they then lost to Canada Northwind who caused a major upset by winning by 15 points in tough, windy conditions in Round 2, a result that Thomas said, “will burn for a long time.”

It was always going to be hard from there for the Bulldogs to make the Grand Final, but if they could beat Ireland in Round 3, they would still have a chance. However, the Warriors were too slick and a dominant third quarter meant the Bulldogs couldn’t get close enough as their European rivals won by 15 points in one of the best matches of the tournament.

Up next for Great Britain was Fiji, back at Royal Park. The Bulldogs controlled most of the game and got back onto the winners list with a comfortable 29-point win over the Fijians.

In their final match of the tournament, playing for fifth place, the Bulldogs played the Nauru Chiefs at Royal Park. A back and forth match saw the game in the balance at three quarter time, but the skill and speed from the Chiefs was too much for the Bulldogs as Nauru claimed fifth place by securing a 21-point victory. In the last game, the Bulldogs struggled up front as they could only manage five goals, all through five different players, an uncommon sight in today’s game.

Throughout the tournament, Walkden was well supported in attack by fellow forwards David Hastie and Ryan Floyd who kicked five and four goals respectively. Jack Coughlan contributed with three, while Andrew Cochran and Seyonne Kidnapillai kicked two for the tournament. Marc Cashman also chipped in with one goal, but it was Walkden who dominated in the forward line for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs generally played quality football, except for their unexpected defeat against Canada, but as a whole weren’t quite good enough. A few numerous key moments in games against Ireland and Nauru cost them a chance to record their best ever finish at an International Cup.

The next tournament, to be held in 2020 seems like a long time away, but most of the players will already be setting their sights on bigger and better things for the next International Cup. Thomas said after the tournament, “I wouldn’t bet against this group getting a lot better over the next 3 years.” So, next time the International Cup is on, everyone will need to keep an eye on the Bulldogs as they will be back with plenty of bite, and ready to roar.

Best Forward:

Andrew Walkden lead the Bulldog’s Forwards pack with his consistency in impacting the scoreboard, forward tackling pressure and his ability to turn half chances into goal conversions. Special mention to David Hastie, who recovered from a slow start in the competition to have a meaningful impact in the mid to later stages.

Best Midfielder: 

Through his sheer weight of possession, use of the ball, and physical presence in contested situations, Luke Booth was the best midfielder of the tournament. Luke Matias deserves a mention, as do Luke Murchie and Andy Cochran who recovered from injury to have a hugely positive impact. George Dibble was also very impressive and one to keep an eye on, and Alex Watson was a stellar ruckman.

Best Defender: 

Ross Denton and Myles Hudson were both exceptional in their intercept marks and rebound possessions.

Match Results: 

Round 1 – GB Bulldogs 9.11.(65) defeated South Africa 4.4.(28)

Round 2 – GB Bulldogs 2.6.(18) defeated by Canada 5.3.(33)

Round 3 – GB Bulldogs 8.7.(55) defeated by Ireland 9.16.(70)

Round 4 – GB Bulldogs 8.8.(56) defeated Fiji 3.9.(27)

Round 5 – GB Bulldogs 5.2.(32) defeated by Nauru 8.5.(53)

Tournament Goalkickers: 

Andrew Walkden, David Hastie, Ryan Floyd, Jack Coughlan, Andrew Cochran, Seyonne Kidnapillai, and Marc Cashman.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Andrew Walkden, Luke Booth, Ross Denton, Alexander Watson, and Myles Hudson.

World Team Selection:

Andrew Walkden (Forward Pocket)

IC17 Tournament Review – European Crusaders

2017 AFL International Cup 

European Crusaders 

7th Place – Women’s Division 

 

BY TARA COSOLETO

While the European Crusaders’ 2017 International Cup was not as victorious as they would have liked, their spirit, determination and improvement as the tournament went on was an incredible achievement.

The group of women representing Europe had only met each other a few days before the tournament started and this was evident in the early rounds. Consecutive losses to Papua New Guinea, the Irish Banshees, USA, and Fiji could have been demoralising. But the Europeans had tremendous fight and kept fronting up for each game with only more grit and enthusiasm.

The Crusaders did not hit the scoreboard in their losses to PNG, Ireland, and the USA. But in these games where they couldn’t get the ball forward, their defence stood up impressively. Crusaders’ full-back Coline Duquet starred in this period and throughout the entire tournament, intercept marking and proving to be a clean rebounder of the ball. Her fantastic form was rewarded with a spot in the IC17 World Team, selected as a full-back.

In the last two rounds of the International Cup, the Crusaders were more offensive and were able to hit the scoreboard in both matches. In the loss to Fiji in round four, the Europeans achieved their first score of the tournament in the form of a rushed behind off the boot of forward Bérengère Portal.

But in the last match of the Cup, the Crusaders were able to notch up a much-awaited first win and first goal of the tournament. Once again, B. Portal was able to hit the scoreboard, drilling through the Crusaders first goal, alongside another three for the match in a best-on-ground performance.

Crusaders’ coach Graham Andrews said IC17 has been a “great experience” for the Crusaders, especially considering they had such little time to train as a team before the competition started.

“We had to try and gel pretty quickly,” he said. “I thought we did quite well on the defensive side throughout the first part of the tournament against some pretty hard teams, including Ireland who won the Grand Final.”

“But I think we got better as the tournament went on, which is the main thing with football,” he said. “And the spirit of the team has been tremendous regardless of the results.”

Match Results:

Round 1 – European Crusaders 0.0. (0) defeated by Papua New Guinea 6.19. (55) at Royal Park

Round 2 – European Crusaders 0.0. (0) defeated by Irish Banshees 8. 13. (61) at St Patrick’s College

Round 3 – European Crusaders 0.0. (0) defeated by USA 19.13. (127) at Melbourne University

Round 4 – European Crusaders 0.1. (1) defeated by Fiji 12.16. (88) at Royal Park

Round 5 – European Crusaders 8.16. (64) defeated Pakistan 1.0. (6) at Royal Park

Tournament Goalkickers:

Berengere Portal lead the Crusader’s goalkicking efforts with 4 goals, followed by Mathilde Combes, Naima Ait El Mouden, Marine Assemat, and Ana Barisic with one goal each.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Coline Duquet, Ana Barisic, Camille Portal, Sandra Janjetovic, Lin Gardell, and Amanda King.

World Team Selection:

Coline Duquet (Full Back)

IC17 Tournament Review – French Coqs

2017 AFL International Cup 

French Coqs 

10th Place – Men’s Division 1

 

BY EDWARD BOURKE

France fought valiantly throughout their entire IC17 campaign, but were unable to record a victory against their tough and experienced Division 1 opponents. Relentless defensive pressure was the hallmark of Les Coqs’ playing style during the tournament and this meant that their opponents were rarely comfortable despite the scorecards suggesting otherwise.

World Team member Julien Dagois and fellow midfielder Clement Bouchet led the strong tackling efforts of the French side, and were well-supported by others including Nicholas Boché and Benoit Treuillet. France’s defence were under siege for much of the tournament but performed admirably, with key defenders Sylvain Maylie, Fabian Floch and Pierre Lechasles excellent at cutting off opposition attacks in the air.

Anthony Bernad and Sam Rat were often undersized against their opponents but also took some excellent intercept marks, while Mathieu Ostorero provided strong rebound from defence. Thomas Depondt was sensational in the ruck for the duration of IC17, leading from the front, while France’s forward line functioned superbly considering their limited opportunities to score.

Pierre Boscart and Vincent Monnier provided excellent targets, impressing France Coach Andrew Unsworth with their consistent presenting, working well with dynamic medium forwards Jérémy Sardin and Ludo Barrat. France’s ball use also improved as the tournament went on, with Pierre Napoleon and Cyrille Gandolfo noted for their precision kicking and decision-making.

The French side are likely to improve significantly before the next International Cup, with 12 players from this campaign to still be under 30 years old for the 2020 instalment.

Despite the taxing run of losses, the chance to play some of the strongest teams in Division 1- including 3rd placed Ireland and 4th placed USA- would have presented a valuable learning opportunity for Les Coqs, and a French side that brings the same passion and intensity to their next international tournament could achieve great things.

Match Results:

Round 1 – France 2.3.(15) defeated by Fiji 10.20.(80) at Royal Park

Round 2 – France 2.3.(15) defeated by Ireland 11.13.(79) at St Patrick’s College

Round 3 – France 2.2.(14) defeated by Nauru 15.16.(106) at Victoria Park

Semi Finals  – France 3.1.(19) defeated by USA 19.18.(132) at Royal Park

Finals – France 3.3.(21) defeated by South Africa 7.9.(51) at Royal Park

Tournament Goalkickers:

Ludo Barrat, Pierre Boscart and Jeremy Sardin lead the Coq’s goal kickers with three goals each, followed by Nicholas Boche, Jacob Raiwalui, and Benoit Treuillet with one goal each for IC17.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Julien Dagois, Jeremy Sardin, Pierre Lechasles, Thomas Depondt, Anthony Bernard, and Clement Bouchet.

World Team Selection:

Julien Dagois (Interchange)

 

 

IC17 Tournament Review – German Eagles

2017 AFL International Cup 

German Eagles 

2nd Place – Men’s Division 2

 

BY BONNIE BARKMEYER

The German Eagles finished off their 2017 International Cup campaign in the same conditions as they started: cold, wet and windy. The miserable Melbourne weather didn’t seem to dampen their spirits as they headed into their very first Grand Final in an international competition. Even though the Eagles went down by 66 points to an unforgiving Croatia, their final score was not a reflection of the dedication and hard work they displayed throughout the whole competition.

Although they didn’t quite finish with the fairy tale ending they hoped for, coach Mark Woods was more than satisfied with his team’s efforts. “We came into the tournament with less than one full training together and our first game against Pakistan was our first game all together as a team,” he said. “With this in mind I cannot be any prouder of the team.”

Woods named 22-year-old Phillip Evermann as the best forward player of the tournament, who racked up 5 goals for the Eagles. “Although Jan Huesken was our leading goal scorer, I would have to say that Phillip Evermann was our best forward, leading hard and attacking the ball at every chance,” Woods said.

In the midfield, Jakob Jung had a stellar tournament performance, getting better and better with each game. He was selected as a half forward in the World Team of the Tournament. He was well supported by his fellow Stuttgart teammate Martin Schuettoff, who got the most best on ground votes for Germany.

Sebastian Esche was uncompromising in the back line, holding down the position and rarely being beaten. However, the coach named the Eagle’s skipper as the best defensive player for the tournament. “I would give the best player in our defence to captain Florian Naumann who was always willing to put his body on the line for all his teammates,” Woods said.

In their first tournament, Germany’s semi final against China was a clear highlight for the team. The Eagle’s executed their kicks, marks and handballs effectively and played a really clean game. Coach Mark Woods was happy with his team’s performance in that match.

“The whole team played as a unit, every single player did their part, putting everything on the line to win in trying conditions,” he said. There is no doubt the German Eagles will return to their next competition bigger and better than ever.

 

Match Results:

Round 1 – Germany 11.5.(71) defeated Pakistan 0.3.(3) at Royal Park

Round 2 – Germany 12.14.(86) defeated India 1.3.(9) at Mentone Grammar

Round 3 – Japan 5.5.(35) defeated Germany: 3.5.(23) at Box Hill North

Round 4 – Semi Final: Germany 8.2.(50) defeated China 3.3.(22) at Royal Park

Round 5 – Grand Final: Croatia 11.8.(74) defeated Germany 1.3.(8) at Royal Park

 

Tournament Goal kickers:

Jan Heusken came away as the Eagle’s leading scorer with 8 goals for the tournament, followed by Phillip Evermann with 5 goals. Other goalkickers included Florian Naumann, Tobias Menzel, Martin Shuettoff, Jakob Jung, Fabian Cordts, Johannes Binniger, Jan Orlowski, and Constantin Pixa.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Martin Schuettoff, Jakob Jung, Tobias Menzel, Sebastian Esche, Phillip Evermann, Florian Naumann.

World Team Selection:

Jakob Jung (Half-Forward Flank)

IC17 Tournament Review – GB Swans

2017 AFL International Cup 

Great Britain Swans 

3rd Place – Women’s Division 

 

BY TIM MILLER

Having come together as a team just eighteen months before the tournament, it was an excellent effort from the Swans to come within a few points of a Grand Final berth. Their ferocity and determination at the contest stood out all tournament, and while they lacked composure at crucial stages in losses to Canada and Ireland, that will come in time. Tournament-ending injuries to Rachel Hunt (knee) and Lucy Jones (ankle) threatened to derail their campaign, but the Swans’ depth and spirit held them in good stead to combat these blows.

A dominant 142-point win over Pakistan in Round 1 got the Swans off to a flyer, and a gritty 9-point victory over Fiji in the mud at Peninsula Grammar secured the Brits a semi-final berth. And while a 31-point loss to reigning champions Canada ended their undefeated run, the Swans were still full of confidence heading into a do-or-die clash with Ireland.

Despite leading for much of the day, a late Irish flurry saw the eventual champions deny the Swans a fairytale Grand Final berth, but it was nonetheless a supremely courageous effort to take the match down to the wire. As had been the case all tournament, it was the Swans’ attack on player and ball alike, as well as their fierce tackling pressure, that very nearly brought about a major upset.

Those same traits were on display in the third-place final, as the Swans recovered from a sluggish start to farewell coach Garth Nevin in the best possible fashion with a backs-to-the-wall triumph over the USA. The Freedom held the ascendancy for most of the game, but the Swans whittled the margin down to under a goal midway through the final term, before a magnificent final five minutes from midfield talisman Frankie Hocking tipped the scales their way.

Ultimately, it was a stunningly successful maiden International Cup from the Swans, who, having not only finished third, but have proven they can match it with the best sides in the world, are well placed to not only continue to soar at next month’s Euro Cup, but to finally break the Canada-Ireland duopoly in Melbourne in the years to come.

 

Best forward:

The Swans didn’t have a major focal point inside 50, with plenty of players chipping in here and there for goals in a fluid forward line. But Rania Ramadan’s silky skills and penetrating kicking was a highlight for the Swans all tournament. Beginning with a three-goal haul against Pakistan, Ramadan may not have added to her goalkicking tally until the final minute of the Swans’ thrilling win over the USA, but her athleticism and imposing figure allowed her to influence the game further up the ground as well. Was particularly influential in defeat against Canada, where she never failed to provide a contest and roamed all over the ground as she pleased. An honourable mention must go to Danni Saulter, whose smarts around goal were on display throughout the tournament as she finished with nine majors to lead the way for the Swans.

Best midfielder:

The Swans’ midfield stocks stood up superbly throughout the Cup, with their fierce pressure and appetite for the tough stuff allowing them to take control of the coalface more often than not. And in that regard, Frankie Hocking was a standout. Her role as the Swans’ designated “Ms Fixit” became more pronounced as the tournament went on, spending time up forward, in defence and even in the ruck. But it was as a pure midfielder that Hocking did most of her damage. She saved her best for when it mattered most, colossal in the Swans’ gallant loss to Ireland and even more influential against the USA. Trailing by 5 points with just minutes remaining against the Freedom, it was Hocking who stepped up with a sublime finish to a memorable match, first marking strongly and converting an ice-cool set shot to give the Swans the lead, before following up with a fierce chasedown tackle and yet another strong contested mark. All within a minute. She will take some beating for the Swans’ tournament MVP.

Best defender:

The Swans’ defence didn’t have much to do in their first contest, but that changed as the tournament progressed. And while it was a combined team and coaching effort that enabled the Swans to concede just 14 goals for the tournament, Louise Smith deserves some praise. Her calmness and composure when under siege during losses to Canada and Ireland was eye-catching, and the loss to the Northern Lights in particular would have been much greater but for her efforts on the last line of defence. She wasn’t afraid to stand under a high ball or two, either, while her cleanness when it hit the deck was just as impressive. Honourable mentions must also go to Melanie McDevitt and Beth Bailey, who improved as the tournament went on to become pillars in the Swans’ defence, though an injured hand saw McDevitt miss the third-place final.

Match of the tournament:  

Their chances of winning the International Cup may have already been over, but there was no chance of the Swans easing up in their third-place final clash with the USA. But midway through the third term, it appeared as if the Freedom were on course to finish their campaign with a victory, kicking three goals out of four to move out to a game-high 12-point lead. To their credit, the Swans never relented, drawing the margin back to under a goal before Frankie Hocking’s five glorious minutes saw the Swans grab a remarkable come-from-behind win in what proved to be Garth Nevin’s final game as coach.

The Coach’s Take:

Garth Nevin on the team: “They were brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The girls are first to the ball, they’re strong at it. We’ve been building up to this for about two years. To come back from a goal down [against the USA] to win, I’m very proud. They all played together like I knew they would.”

On the support: “We’ve got friends and family that have come across from all over the world [to support the team]. We’ve got a parent who has come all the way from Scotland. Everybody has come, and we can’t thank the public and all the other teams for getting around us. It’s wicked, and we’re very appreciative.”

On retirement: “I’ve absolutely loved it, the women are amazing, they’re a great group. It’s just that I’ve got two kids at home, and leaving the wife for three weeks is a bit hard. It’s a bit of happy wife, happy life. I’ll still help out, and I’m happy to assist and make sure that the Swans keep going forward. I’ll still be a part of it, but officially I just can’t give it as much time.”

On the future: “In terms of the Euro Cup, I’d be very confident from this lesson that, should the group all stay together, I’m pretty confident we can demand to be the top European team. We’re introducing a quarterback-style game, so we’ll get that going. The girls will try and play on a bit quicker, and more clinical as well- if we catch it above our head, we’re moving forward quite easily.”

Match results:

Round 1 – Swans 20.22.(142) defeated Pakistan 0.0.(0) at Ransford Oval, Royal Park

Round 2 – Swans 5.3.(33) defeated Fiji 3.6.(24) at Peninsula Grammar

Round 3 – Swans 0.3.(3) defeated by Canada .10.(34) at Plenty War Memorial Reserve

Semi Finals – Swans 2.3.(15) defeated by Ireland 3.5.(23) at McAlister Oval, Royal Park

Finals – Swans 5.2.(32) defeated USA 4.1.(25) at McAlister Oval, Royal Park

 

Tournament Goal kickers:

Danni Saulter leading the pack with 9 goals. Other goal kickers from the Swans were Rania Ramadan, Stacey Hughes, Frankie Hocking, Caroline Sellar, Laura Turner, Charlotte-Ellen Eales, Alex Saulter, Rachel Hunt, Jessica Milford, Louise Darby, Beth Bailey, Lisa Wilson.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Frankie Hocking, Rania Ramadan, Danni Saulter, Laura Turner, and Lisa Wilson.

World Team Selection:

Beth Bailey (Centre Half-Back)

Lucy Jones (Half-Forward Flank)

Danni Saulter (Forward Pocket)

Frankie Hocking (Interchange)