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.