Irish Banshees are International Cup Champions!

Irish Banshees are International Cup Champions!

By Riley Brettell

The Irish Banshees have claimed the sweetest revenge imaginable to take out the 2017 International Cup, coming out on top of the Canadian Northern Lights in as thrilling a sporting contest as you would see anywhere in the world.

In a match fitting of top billing at the MCG on the last Saturday in September, the two sides played out an awe-inspiring contest that culminated in a heart stopping final quarter that saw Colleen Quinn’s late goal snatch victory for the Banshees.

With both sides entering the final game of the tournament undefeated, the tension around Etihad Stadium was palpable leading up to the first bounce and carried right through the contest.

After the scrappy and visibly nervy opening stages of the match, the effects of the big build-up were quickly shaken off and replaced by a brutal tenacity and attack on the ball that saw several bone crunching contests in the opening minutes.

Canada were the quickest to settle and managed to put the first goal on the board inside four minutes, but the Banshees responded with some strong tackling that arrested the momentum back in their favour as the quarter wore on.

Maebh Moriarty settled the Irish by producing one of the plays of the tournament, with a blind turn and goal in the ilk of Leon Bakers effort in the 1984 AFL Grand Final that would make the man himself blush, with the roar of the crowd to match the effort.

Neither side were able to grasp the momentum after the first break, with the ball pinging back and forth through the middle of the ground as Fields of Athenry was bellowed out by the large Irish contingent at the City End.

The resolute defence of the Banshees that had been a hallmark of their play throughout the tournament stood up gamely again amidst growing Northern Lights pressure, though after five minutes of repelling Canadian attacks the dam wall inevitably broke and the Northern Lights pinched two quick goals despite some huge last ditch defensive efforts from Carol Breen to create a 14-point buffer.

Just as it looked as though the Canadians would break the game open, momentum swung back the Banshees way in the blink of an eye. Aisling Gillespie snapped a goal to reduce the deficit before Carol Breen narrowly missed the chance to get on the end of a golden opportunity minutes after that would have had the Irish firmly on top.

With the 9-point margin favouring the Canadians at the main break, the second half began with ten hard fought minutes with the game on a knifes edge, before Linda Connolly finally made the big breakthrough ten minutes in with her running right foot check-side goal bringing the Banshees back within 3-points.

Ireland were inspired and Banshees star Gillian Behan once again showed why she had been one of the players of the tournament, producing some trademark dash off half-forward and almost replicating her stunning goal from the semi-final, only to fall agonisingly short.

The tables had turned and the Canadians were under immense Irish pressure when the siren went, setting up a thrilling final term that shaped as a fitting climax for the tournaments two dominant sides.

A pulsating final fifteen minutes’ saw Ireland once again see off the early Canadian onslaughts, before Linda Connolly again almost lifted the roof off the stadium, narrowly missing her shot after getting on the end of a stirring counter attack down the wing.

With nothing to lose the Irish pushed numbers forward in search for the goal that would put them in front, and with a ball up fifteen metres out from goal provided the perfect platform for Carol Quinn to be a hero. Sharking the loose ball, she calmly slotted her chance to ensure pandemonium ensued in the stands.

The Northern Lights responded by throwing everything they had at the Banshees, dominating a final five minutes where all thirty-six players filled the sixty-metre radius around the Canadian goals, but a heroic team defensive effort from Ireland kept their rivals at bay.

In the dying stages with Ireland clinging to a 4-point lead, the umpire threw the ball up directly in front of goal, with a swarm of green jumpers throwing themselves in to negate the contest before the siren bellowed and euphoria set in.

As the players celebrated in the crowd with the throng of Irish supporters, Carol Breen was named best on ground to cap off her magnificent tournament.

The title is Ireland’s second in the women’s division of the International Cup, having also beaten Canada back in 2011.

SCORES

Irish Banshees: 4.1. (25)

Canada: 3.3. (21)

 

GOALS

Irish Banshees: L. Connolly, A. Gillespie, M. Moriarty, C. Quinn

Canada: TBC

 

BEST

Irish Banshees: TBC

Canada: TBC

 

IC17 Round 5 Match Reports

The 2017 AFL International Cup returned to Royal Park for the last time this year yesterday as teams battled it out for their closing position on the ladder in the Finals round. With the Men’s Division 1 and Women’s Division grand finals taking place at the MCG and Etihad Stadium today, there was certainly plenty of excitement in the air as teams prepared for their final matches of the tournament.

The French Coqs kicked things off once again with a bright and early match against the South African Lions. After a tough tournament for both teams, the French were eventually defeated after putting in a huge effort for their final game. The French showed how far they have come defensively and managed to whittle down their losing margin to 31 points. After being placed an the extremely competitive First Division, the French Coqs finished off the IC17 in 10th place.

The European Crusaders celebrated their first win of the tournament yesterday when they defeated Pakistan 64-6. After scoring only one point in their previous 4 matches, the Crusaders were elated to celebrate their first goal of the tournament, let alone the onslaught of goals that followed to result in them gaining their first victory. In a show of true sportsmanship, the Crusaders cheered alongside the Pakistan team when they too scored their first goal of the competition. The Crusaders finished off IC in 7th place on the Women’s Division ladder.

Next up was the match of the round – the Men’s Division 2 Grand Final, and all-Euro clash between the Croatian Knights and the German Eagles. After both having such successful results throughout IC17, this was always set to be a huge contest between two massive teams. With typical Melbourne weather conditions making playing almost impossible, it was the Croats who adapted better and dominated most of the match. The Croatians now have another trophy to add to their shelf after celebrating their 74-8 victory over a dejected Eagles side.

The GB Swans put on a show yesterday when they made a surprise comeback in the final minutes of the match to take out 3rd place in the Women’s Division. Their opponent, the USA side, looked likely to take home the victory before the a huge effort from the Swans saw them kick two goals in the final minutes and come out on top with a 32-25 win.

After narrowly missing out on making the Men’s Division 1 Grand Final when they were defeated by New Zealand in the semi finals, the Irish Warriors were never going to be content with fourth place and really put this to the test when they faced up to the USA yesterday. Despite being severely undermanned and injured, the Warriors left everything on the field to take out 3rd place on the ladder when they defeated the USA 48-16.

The closing match of the finals round saw the GB Bulldogs take on one of their toughest opponents, Nauru, in the fight for 5th place in the Men’s Division 1 competition. After a gruelling and physical match, the Nauru took things up a notch in the last half which saw them defeat the Bulldogs with a 21 point victory. The Bulldog’s have now finished in 6th place and are already looking to take out the Championship at the next IC.

Keep an eye out for the Women’s Grand Final match report, which sees the Irish Banshees taking on the Canadian Northern Lights this afternoon at Etihad Stadium as a curtain raiser for the Carlton and Hawthorn match in a rematch of the IC14 Grand Final.

Finals Round – French Coqs vs South Africa

Finals Round – European Crusaders vs Pakistan

Grand Final – Croatian Knights vs German Eagles

Finals Round – GB Swans vs USA

Finals Round – Irish Warriors vs USA

Finals Round – GB Bulldogs vs Nauru

IC17 – Round 5 Preview

After some huge Semi Finals matches in Round 4, IC17 will return to Royal Park tomorrow for the final time after a massive two weeks of footy. The Round 5 finals are sure to be the biggest yet as our teams compete for their final placing on the ladder across all three divisions.

Click here for all the Round 4 match reports.

Click here to access the AFL International Cup Livestream.

Friday, 18th August 2017 

French Coqs vs South Africa – 9:00am – Ransford Oval 

The first AFL Europe match of the final round sees the French Coqs going head to head with the South African Lions as they compete for the 9th place position in the final men’s division 1 competition. Both teams have struggled to play to their full potential throughout the tournament, with the French side suffering injuries to several of their crucial players early on in the competition.

The French are yet to get a win on the board and South Africa have been defeated in 3 of their 4 matches so far. The French side have showed improvement in each progressive round and fared the better of the two in the Round 4 matches, and will be looking to draw on this when they face South Africa. These two teams will both be determined to keep away from the bottom place on the division 1 ladder and will be giving it their absolute all tomorrow in their final match of IC17.

European Crusaders vs Pakistan – 10:00am – Western Oval 

The European Crusaders will also be looking to finish out the tournament by getting their first win on the board when they compete against the Pakistan Shaheens for 7th place in the Women’s Division tomorrow morning. Both teams are without a win so far this tournament but that’ll all have to change tomorrow, with both teams fighting to keep off the bottom of their ladder.

The Pakistan side remains scoreless so far this tournament while the European Crusaders celebrated their first point in their match against Fiji on Tuesday. Defensively, the Crusaders have proved themselves to be the far superior team with 243 points scored against them so far across the four rounds, while Pakistan’s defeats have had much larger margins with 522 points against. The Crusaders should be confident in their ability to get a win over the Pakistan side tomorrow and end their IC experience on a high.

German Eagles vs Croatian Knights – 12:30pm – Ransford Oval 

Two of our European teams will go head to head in the Men’s Division 2 Grand Final on Ransford Oval tomorrow. Both teams are fresh off the back of big wins against China and Japan in the semi finals on Tuesday and will be confident in their respective sides for the double Euro face off. Ironically, both teams have only been defeated once during the tournament – by China and Japan, who were both beaten by each other’s grand final opponent in Round 4.

Germany and Croatia are two very evenly matched teams with similar playing styles, particularly with both teams usual technique being to rely on the sheer size and height of their players. It should prove for a very interesting match when these giant sides come up against each other with the incentive of taking out the Division 2 Championship. Both teams will certainly come prepared for a fierce and physical match and will leave their all on the field.

Great Britain Swans vs USA – 12:30pm – McAlister Oval 

The GB Swans will battle it out for third place in the women’s division against the USA in Round 5. After being narrowly defeated by the Irish Banshees in the semi finals, the Swans will be going into this match full of confidence after showing they have what it takes to push the grand finalists all the way to the end. The USA faced up to their North-American rivals, the Canadian Northern Lights, on Tuesday and came away with a disappointing loss of 44-8.

The Swans have really shown their strength this tournament as newcomers to the IC and have only been defeated by the two grand finalist teams, Ireland and Canada. If the Swans play up to their full potential, as they have throughout the IC, they should be able to take out third place – a fantastic effort for a team that only formed last year.

Great Britain Bulldogs vs Nauru – 2:15pm – McAlister Oval 

The Swans’ male counterparts, the GB Bulldogs, will play against a tough Nauru side tomorrow as they compete for fifth place in the men’s division 1 competition. The Bulldogs have played consistently well throughout the tournament, only going down to men’s grand finalists, the Irish Warriors and PNG. The Bulldogs have managed to defeat highly ranked teams Fiji and South Africa, and should be confident that they can defeat Nauru tomorrow to cement their 5th place spot on the final IC17 ladder.

It’s sure to be an exciting match between two quite evenly matched teams, with both teams sitting on equal points and the Bulldogs only pulling ahead through percentage. The two teams have different strengths and playing styles so it should be an interesting match at McAlister Oval tomorrow!

Irish Warriors vs USA – 2:15pm – Ransford Oval 

The Irish Warriors will certainly be hungry for a victory against the USA tomorrow to earn themselves third place in the men’s division 1 after narrowly missing out on going through to the grand final when they were beaten by New Zealand on Tuesday. The Warriors, despite their 4 point loss, showed that they came to take out the whole competition on Tuesday and they’ll draw on this for the 3rd position placing final at Ransford Oval tomorrow afternoon.

Both Ireland and the USA currently sit at 3 victories and 1 loss and are only separated by percentage on the ladder. Both teams have some giant players that they typically use to their advantage so it’ll be an interesting matchup in the final round. After their disappointing loss in the semis, Ireland is not going to want to settle for 4th place and will give it their all tomorrow.

Umpire Appointments: 

Our three AFL Europe umpires, Oscar, Josh, and Geoff, will umpire their final matches of IC17 tomorrow at Royal Park.

Oscar will be umpiring tomorrow morning’s match when the French Coqs take on South Africa, which is sure to be a big final match for the two men’s division 1 teams.

Josh has been appointed the men’s division 2 final, which will see Japan and China battle it out for 3rd place after losing out to Germany and Croatia in the semi finals.

Geoff will be umpiring the European Crusaders vs Pakistan match which will hopefully see the Crusaders earn their first win of the tournament in the women’s division.

Saturday, 19th August 2017 

Irish Banshees vs Canada – 4:30pm – Etihad Stadium 

The final match of the 2017 International Cup sees the Irish Banshees face up to the Canadian Northern Lights in a rematch of the 2014 IC Grand Final. These two teams consistently prove why they’re the best in the business and both remain undefeated so far this tournament. The Banshees conceded the Championship title to the Canadians in the last IC and will out to take it from them this year. The Banshees have a percentage advantage on the current ladder but when these two teams do battle it’s anyone’s game.

It’ll certainly make for a thrilling match on Saturday as Etihad Stadium provides a fitting backdrop for the match. The Grand Final is a curtain raiser for the Carlton v Hawthorn game, but the Banshees and Lights may have an even fiercer rivalry!

 

 

IC17 Round 4 Match Reports

As we approach the final days of the 2017 International Cup, all the teams gathered in Royal Park today to compete in the semi-finals of Round 4. As usual, it was a mixed day of victories and defeats for our 8 European teams, with 3 teams progressing through to their respective Grand Finals.

The French Coqs kicked off Round 4 nice and early with their match on McAlister Oval against the USA. The Coqs fought hard to the end but couldn’t overcome a strong USA side, leading them to a 132-19 defeat at the hands of the Americans. France applied plenty of defensive pressure to the USA side in the first half of the game but fell short of earning their first victory of the tournament.

The Great Britain Bulldogs faced up to Fiji this morning in their final group stage match in the Men’s 1st Division. The Bulldogs got the ball rolling early in the first quarter with a strong wind blowing in their favour, but their performance didn’t slip when they had to face the other end of the pitch in the second quarter. The Bulldogs managed to keep their lead throughout the match in a fast flowing second half, before taking out the with a 56-27 win over Fiji.

The Irish Warriors have had their Grand Final hopes shattered today in a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of a highly fancied New Zealand side. The match had a grand final atmosphere to it and the two teams proved why they’ve earned the top two ladder positions in a game that was evenly matched from the first bounce. The Warriors played their hearts out but a kick after the siren saw New Zealand take out the match with a 4 point victory. Ireland will now have to face up against the USA on Friday in a battle for 3rd place in the IC17 Men’s Division 1 Competition.

The European Crusaders have accomplished a personal team goal today when they scored their first point of the tournament in their match against Fiji. The Crusaders were always expecting a tough match after seeing Fiji put the GB Swans to the test last week, but managed to hold their own and Fiji’s points were hard fought. Despite going down by 87 points the Crusaders showed plenty of improvement in working as a team and will use this to their advantage when they go up against Pakistan on Friday.

The German Eagles were back to their winning ways today when they took down the China Dragons in what was possibly their strongest match of the tournament so far. The Eagles were strong across the board from the get go and their Chinese opponents had plenty of trouble handling their on point marking and clean kicks. Germany held a 12 point lead at half time and were determined not to let anything slide, and after a stellar performance in the second half took home a 50-22 victory over China.

The Irish Banshees have once again earned themselves a place in the Women’s Division Grand Final at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, after a hard fought victory over the Great Britain Swans this afternoon. GB held the lead right up until the final quarter, when the Banshees kicked things up a notch and kicked a further two goals. When the final siren sounded the scoreboard read 23-15 in favour of the Banshees, meaning that they will now face off against Canada for the championship title while GB will take on the USA on Friday to battle it out for the 3rd place position.

The Croatian Knights have earned their spot in the Men’s Division 2 Final on Friday and will face up against fellow Euro team, the German Eagles, after a glorious win over Japan this afternoon. The Croatians expected to be tested by the speed and agility of the Japanese but used their size and strength to their advantage to take home a 66-1 win. The Knights powerful playing style kept their opponents goalless the entire match and allowed them to kick their way into Friday’s Grand Final.

For full match reports, click the links below.

The Irish Warriors vs New Zealand Semi Final match report will be published tomorrow.

Round 4 French Coqs vs USA

Round 4 GB Bulldogs vs Fiji

Round 4 European Crusaders vs Fiji

Round 4 German Eagles vs China

Round 4 Irish Banshees vs GB Swans

Round 4 Croatian Knights vs Japan

Round 4 Irish Warriors vs New Zealand

IC17 – Round 4 Preview

After two away rounds hosted by both Schools and Community Clubs across Victoria, the IC17 teams return to Royal Park tomorrow for Round 4 with matches being played across McAlister, Ransford, and Western Ovals for a massive day of Aussie Rules.

Round 3 saw our teams venture out to Kew, Lyndhurst, Caulfield, Box Hill, Diamond Creek, Hallam, and Melbourne University for the Community Round with some mixed results across the board.

Tomorrow’s draw certainly has some interesting matchups in store in what’s sure to be a huge day of footy at Royal Park.

Click here for all the Round 3 Match Reports.

Click here to access the AFL International Cup Livestream.

 

French Coqs vs USA – 9:30am – McAlister Oval 

The Coqs will be facing up against the USA at Royal Park tomorrow off the back of their third consecutive loss and without a victory so far this IC. The USA side have been playing very well by taking out two of their three matches against South Africa and Canada, but fell short against PNG over the weekend.

The French will be desperate to get a win on the board after going down to a very strong Nauru side on Saturday. They’ve been placed in a tough pool with fierce competitors but will be looking to climb their way up the Division 1 ladder in these final rounds of the 2017 International Cup.

Great Britain Bulldogs vs Fiji – 11:15am – McAlister Oval 

The GB Bulldogs will take on Fiji tomorrow, fresh off the back of their first loss in the tournament so far when they were defeated by the Irish Warriors in Round 3. The Bulldogs had a solid start to the tournament before their narrow 15 point loss to IC veterans the Irish Warriors, and should be able to get a win over Fiji on Tuesday.

Fiji had their second loss in Round 3 when they took on the Bulldogs’ Round 1 opponent, the South African Lions. The bulldogs won comfortably over the Lions and should be confident and ready for tomorrow’s match against Fiji. The Fijians are certainly hard hitters but the Bulldogs have been on fire this IC and should be able to handle them if they continue their current form.

Irish Warriors vs New Zealand – 12:15pm – Ransford Oval 

The top two men’s division 1 teams going head to head will certainly make for the match of the round at Ransford Oval tomorrow. Ireland and New Zealand are both currently undefeated, and separated only by percentage with New Zealand holding the number 1 spot on the ladder.

Both teams have completely dominated most of their opponents so far in this year’s IC and tomorrow’s match should be one of the most thrilling so far as they compete for a place in Saturday’s Grand Final at the MCG. The Warriors have shown that they’re in superb form this year and have already defeated IC14 Champions, PNG, in their first match before taking down fellow Euros the GB Bulldogs in the last round.

European Crusaders vs Fiji – 1:00pm – Western Oval 

The European Crusaders will take on another tough opponent in their match against Fiji tomorrow afternoon. The Crusaders have had a rough time this IC with plenty of matches against very strong teams, but are beginning to gel together as a team and their defensive side has improved massively since Round 1.

Fiji have regained their team spirit after being taken down by the GB Swans in Round 2, and got their first win on Sunday when they left the Pakistan Shaheens scoreless. The Fijians always put up a huge match and will be a real test of how far the Crusaders have come over the two weeks.

German Eagles vs China – 2:00pm – Ransford Oval 

The German Eagles will have their work cut out for them in their match against China this round. The Eagles have performed well this tournament, taking out victories in their first two rounds before falling short of a win over Japan in the last round. The Germans certainly have a height advantage but struggled with the speed of the Japanese side in their last round and will be expecting a similar playing style from China tomorrow.

China have topped their pool in the men’s division 2 with a currently undefeated reign, despite very narrowly avoiding being taken down by the big Croatian Knights in Round 1. If Germany uses their size to their advantage and takes lessons from Saturday’s match against Japan, they should be able to handle China and earn their third victory so far this IC.

Irish Banshees vs Great Britain Swans – 2:45pm – McAlister Oval 

The Banshees have certainly held up to everyone’s high expectations so far this IC as they continue their undefeated streak and currently top their pool in the women’s division. The GB Swans will prove to be a tough opponent for the Banshees as they took out their first two matches and gave reigning IC14 Champions, Canada, a hard time in their Round 3 matchup.

At this stage the Banshees look likely to take on Canada in a rematch of the IC14 Grand Final at Etihad Stadium, but first they’ll have to get past the Swans who have really proved just how enthusiastic and physical they can be, and have caused a stir despite this being their first IC. Tomorrow’s match should be a real highlight of IC and is sure to be a close one between two very determined teams.

Croatian Knights vs Japan – 3:45pm – Ransford Oval 

The final match of Round 4 will see the Croatian Knights facing up to Japan in the men’s second division. The Knights have been on fire this IC with two victories and only a single point loss back in Round 1. The Croatians have really stepped up since then and shown that they’ve come to take out their division.

Japan is topping out their pool at the moment with 3 wins from 3, and will be attempting to use their speed and agility against the big Croatian side in Round 4 tomorrow. If the Croats use their size to their advantage and get the game off to a solid start they should be able to take out their third victory over Japan, but it will certainly be a tight match between these two strong teams.

Umpire Appointments: 

It’s a big round for our AFL Europe umpires who all have games allocated for tomorrow’s matches at Royal Park.

Oscar will be umpiring for a huge women’s semi final between the North American rivals, the USA and Canada, at McAlister Oval tomorrow afternoon. These two teams are sure to keep Oscar on his toes as they battle it out for a place in the women’s division grand final at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Josh has been appointed a men’s division 1 match tomorrow morning when Canada, currently in 8th place on the men’s Divison 1 ladder, take on the 6th place Nauru side in what’s sure to be a fast and physical match at Ransford Oval.

AFL Europe Umpire, Geoff, will round out the team with what’s sure to be the biggest women’s division semi-final match of the round, when the Irish Banshees face up to the GB Swans tomorrow afternoon. The two Euro teams will be competing for a place in the grand final against the winner of the Canada vs USA match in the race to Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

IC17 Round 3 Match Reports

The AFL International Cup continued for Round 3 this weekend as the ‘Community Round’ saw the national teams spread across Victoria with the matches hosted by local community clubs. With the men’s matches taking place on Saturday and the women’s division competing on Sunday, it’s been a massive weekend of footy for all the IC17 teams.

It was a double Euro clash in the Men’s Division 1 with the Great Britain Bulldogs taking on the Irish Warriors in a rematch of last year’s European Championships final. With some wayward kicks preventing the Irish from completely dominating the scoreboard early on, it was the Bulldogs who took the lead at half time. The Warriors stepped things up a notch in the final two quarters and came away with 15-point win with the scoreboard reading 70-55. With this win under their belt, Ireland now need to defeat New Zealand on Tuesday to guarantee their place in the grand final.

Croatia have well and truly turned things around after their disappointing one-point loss in Round one, and took out their second consecutive win on Saturday when they managed to hold their opponents to a single goal. Despite the windy conditions, the Knights were hungry for goals and managed to finish the match with a 59-6 win over Sri Lanka. The Knights have taken out second place in their pool, and will face up against Japan on Tuesday in the semi-final.

The French Coqs were unfortunately taken down by a powerful Nauru side. Despite the French picking up some momentum in the second quarter, Nauru went into the half-time break with a 55-point lead and continued their reign to take a 106-14 win at the final siren. France will take on a tough opponent in the USA side on Tuesday, but are confident that their team has what it takes to match up to them and get a victory on the board.

The German Eagles suffered their first loss on Saturday when they lost out to an extremely quick and agile Japan in the men’s division 2 comp. The Germans certainly had the height advantage in this match, which served them well in the first two rounds with victories over Pakistan and India. They’ll be looking for another win on Tuesday when they face China in the semi-final.

The Great Britain Swans were also taken down for the first time in Round 3, by reigning IC14 Champions, the Canada Northern Lights. Canada were always going to be the team to beat in the women’s division and their experience got the better of the Swans today when they defeated them 34-3 in a fast and physical match at Diamond Creek. IC newcomers, the GB Swans, have already earned themselves a place in the semi-final and will have to face IC14 runners-up, the Irish Banshees.

The Banshees, also a little battered and bruised, will be ready to face the Swans on Tuesday after claiming their third consecutive win against Papua New Guinea earlier this afternoon. The Banshees started the game off with a bang and couldn’t be stopped, despite a best effort from a tough PNG side. The undefeated Banshees will be looking to claim this year’s IC title after being thwarted by Canada in last IC’s Grand Final, but first they will have to defeat an enthusiastic GB side in the race to compete at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The European Crusaders suffered another defeat today after going up against a very strong USA side. The Crusaders, while left scoreless on the board, were praised for their strong defensive efforts in the final quarters of the game, and were able to thwart many of their opponents shots at goal. The Crusaders are expecting another tough match on Tuesday against the very physical Fiji team, who have been on point with only narrow defeats by both reigning champions Canada and the GB Swans.

For full match reports, click the links below.

Round 3 Great Britain Bulldogs v Ireland

Round 3 Croatian Knights vs Sri Lanka

Round 3 French Coqs vs Nauru

Round 3 German Eagles vs Japan

Round 3 GB Swans vs Canada

Round 3 Ireland Banshees vs PNG

Round 3 European Crusaders vs USA

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