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.
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