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Independent News and Views from the International Aussie Rules Community

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    We welcome Hayley Williams, making her World Footy News debut.

    It was a cool but sunny morning at Wesley College, with very little breeze to kick off the match between USA Freedom and PNG Flames. With what was described as perfect conditions from the USA’s team manager Jess Whisney. Thirty minutes was spent by both teams warming up before it was time to show their national pride as they lined up for the national anthems.

    Captains; Hallie Kastanek (USA) and Prudence Sindriwen (PNG) were invited by the umpires to toss the coin, this saw PNG win the toss and electing to kick to the right of the ground.

    The first quarter nerves were evident from both sides, with previous weather conditions making the ground dewy and the ball proving to be a little slippery and hard to handle once on the deck. USA were dominating play and built a strong defensive wall resulting that ball spent most of first quarter predominately in their forward half. Efficient forward pressure from the USA team resulted in the first goal, an on the run 30m kick from midfielder Katie Klatt (#10).

    USA controlled the ball very well despite the dewy conditions, targets were nailed and link ups with handballs worked effectively for them. PNG’s style of play was to run and carry, their mentality was to play on at all cost, to try and break the defensive barrier of USA but to no avail, with managing just the one behind to USA’s one goal three behinds.

    USA 1.3 (9) PNG 0.1 (1)

    PNG’s game style coming into second quarter, had seen the team play with a lot more intensity, resulting in a free kick paid just outside the goal square, it was a slight angle for Bauwase Maureen (#16) giving her team the first. This was the fast start and lift the PNG team needed, it resulted in a better flow to their game and the confidence boost was obvious with the hit up of more targets.
    The physical side to their game was also intensified with several big tackles laid on the USA team, but the aggressive style of play also showed the undisciplined side of the PNG team with a free kick awarded to Emily Riehl (#26) and a 50m penalty tacked onto that bought Riehl within range and to which she made no mistake and slotted a 30m goal straight in front. USA had a number of chances in front of goal but unfortunately could not capitalise.

    USA 2.8 (20) PNG 1.1 (7)

    After the half time break USA came out in dominant form, holding PNG scoreless for the quarter. Similarly to the first quarter majority of the play was in the USA forward half, with glimpses of good play from PNG with good ball skills and great pick up of the loose ball off the turf.

    Katrina Scherer (#12) was awarded a free kick 30m out directly in front of goal, as PNG’s frustration showed in their play and became very undisciplined. Whilst Emily Riehl capitalised with her second goal on the run, USA’s captain Hallie Kastanek (#21) was commanding the ruck, leading the hit-out count and giving her midfielders the best opportunity to go forward.

    USA 4.12 (36) PNG 1.1 (7)

    Although USA were dominating, PNG never gave up and did not drop off in terms of intensity. The last quarter proved to be the most entertaining as players from both teams hit their stride with skills and execution, with goals to both Brette Brower (#3) USA and Fatima Sovara (#18) PNG. PNG were tackling with pride and force which in turn made USA muscle up as well, with Carly Smolak (#7) laying some of the biggest tackles of the match.

    Taiva Lavai (#15) turned the after burners on, on multiple occasions and took on three USA tacklers in the one play to deliver the ball into the forward line for PNG. This is when the ‘almost play of the day’ occurred with PNG’s Vanessa Pisep (#14) attempting a snap out of the pack, deep in the forward pocket and whilst it was curling back, it just shaved the inside of the goal post. Fans from both teams all let out sighs and groans of disappointment, as it would have been a truly remarkable goal at the end of the match.
    USA 5.12 (42) PNG 2.3 (15)

    Wesley College (Glen Waverley) 10:45am USA vs PNG

      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     USA  1.3  2.8  4.12  5.12 (42)
     PNG  0.1  1.1  1.1  2.3 (15)

    Papua New Guinea
    Goal Kickers: F. Sovara, B. Maureen
    Best Players: T. Lavai, F. Sovara, B. Maureen, I. Loreen, B. Gaur, A. Bai

    Goal Kickers: E. Riehl 2, K. Scherer, B. Brower, K. Klatt
    Best Players: C. Smolak, H. Kastanek, B. English, R. Kloh, K. Klatt, M. Armstrong ...

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    2017 International Cup Round #2. Saint Patrick’s Ballarat. Men’s Division 1. Ireland Warriors Vs France Coqs Wednesday 9th August. 12.30pm

    The Ireland Warriors were definite favourites going into this match and the final score was probably a true reflection of the game. The Ireland Warriors have won two out of three International Cup grand finals losing to the P.N.G. Mosquitos in 2014. France commenced in 2011 with a ranking of  14th  and improved in 2014 to 11th. Now they were  up against the 2nd ranked team  which had just previously defeated the world champions. In comparison France were overrun by 10th ranked Fiji Tribe.

    Previous Results.
    Round #1.   Mosquitos 4 goals 7 behinds =  31 points   Vs  Warriors 6 goals 6 behinds = 42 points  
    Round #1.   Fiji Tribe   10 goals 20 points = 80 points   vs   France Coqs 2 goals 3 behinds = 15 points 

    The ground was in immaculate condition and the breeze was blowing across ground and slightly favouring  the to which Ireland were kicking. The ball immediately went to the dead wing and play continuously gravitated back there Fiachra O’Dheasmhunaigh #7  was seen marking and putting the ball into attack.

    France was defending well and their tactics of short possession kicks was containing the Irish who were itching to open up. In the 11th minute a French player  courageously attempting a mark to was hit and taken off the ground by stretcher. The tall powerfully built Padraig Lucey #22 loomed dangerous as the French were caught out when the ball was brought quickly into the Irish scoring arc. It was Gavin Murray #11 who marked and passed to a good lead of Padraig Lucey #22 who for finished with the only goal for the quarter

    Quarter 1.  Ireland Warriors  1  g   2 b  =  8 pts    France Coqs  0 g  0 b =  0 pts

    In the second quarter play opened up and the Warriors began to assert their authority. Padraig Lucey #22 tapped cleverly over his head for Ireland to run on and kick a goal. It was a dominant quarter by him with many good leads for at least one goal and some misses. Liam Burns #8 slotted a magnificent goal on a sharp angle  about 40m out. Muiris Bartley #4 marked a juggling ball and passed back to Padraig Lucey #22 for another good goal

    Quarter 2.  Ireland Warriors   5 g   6 b  =   36 pts    France Coqs  0 g  0 b =  0 pts

    Ireland started the third quarter well. Padraig Lucey #22 dropped a mark only for another player swoop and soccer a goal. David Mc Elhone #6 marked and goaled. It was starting to look a little grim for the French when against the flow the Coqs pushed the ball into the open  and a French player managed to guide the ball through from near the 50m arc.

    The tempo lifted and it was Irish through the efforts of Patrick Brennan #16 that drove the ball low and hard splitting the big sticks. Ireland must have relaxed a little as the Coqs pushed the ball forward through a series of uncontested marks that resulted in a superb goal from about 40m out on the boundary

    Quarter 3.  Ireland Warriors  8 g   8 b  =  56 pts    France Coqs  2 g  1 b =  13 pts

    The French Coqs were pumped going into the last quarter having scored two goals through good play in the previous quarter but it didn’t take long for the Warriors to lock the ball into their forward line. Colin Lordan #19 took a handpass in the square for a goal. A collection of a rebound soccer kick allowed Irelend in for another goal. Declan Nannery #14 took a good diving mark and  goaled. Padraig Lucey #22 finished the day with another mark and goal.

    Quarter 4.  Ireland Warriors  11 g   13 b  =  79 pts    France Coqs  2 g  2 b =  14 pts

    Special mention to Patrick Brennen #16 who gave drive around the packs all day and threw himself into every contest. Also Vincent Monier #14 for the Coqs who led by example all day.

    Ireland continues to shape as a finalist but they weren't that impressive against a French side that keeps on playing with pride and vigor.

    St Patrick's - (Ballarat) 12:30pm - Ireland vs France
      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Ireland  1.2  5.6  8.8  11.13 (79)
     France  0.0  0.0  2.1  2.2 (14)
    Best Players: P. Brennan, P. Lucey, P. O'Halloran, S. O'Sullivan, D. Fogarty, M. Bartley
    Goal Kickers: P. Lucey 3, P. Brennan 2, L. Burns 2, M. Bartley, C. Lordan, D. Mcelhone, D. Nannery
    Goal Kickers: J. Sardin, J. Raiwalui
    Best Players: V. Monnier, A. Bernad, M. Ostorero, F. Floch, J. Sardin, C. Bouchet ...

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    The China Dragons maintained their unbeaten record at the IC17 today, with a 14-point win over Sri Lanka at the Mentone Grammar Keysborough Playing Fields.

    In sunny conditions, the Chinese controlled the first half of the match before the Sri Lankans piled on five unanswered goals in the third term. Whilst it looked like Sri Lanka were set to clinch the win at 3/4 time, the Dragons steadied in the final term, kicking 4 goals straight, whilst Sri Lanka could only manage a single point.

    The match opened with the Chinese dominating possession, but struggling to build a structure. Whilst the Chinese were taller and quicker, the Sri Lankans showed early that their plan was use their more imposing physiques to hit the Dragons hard physically.

    The first quarter saw Sri Lanka tackling hard and flooding their defence, frustrating China's chances to score. #25 Chen Ziwei opened the account for China, goalling after a free kick for a high tackle. Chen Shaoliang showed the class that he has accumulated while training at Port Adelaide, setting up numerous chances up forward.

    After Sri Lanka's first goal of the match was kicked by speedster Damian Ratwatke, the score stood China 2.1 to Sri Lanka 1.0 at quarter time.

    The second quarter saw the heat rise again, with tempers starting to fray. Chen Long marked and took a set shot on goal, but whilst his kick was fairly ordinary, Pi Jiaming roved the pack to kick China's first for the quarter. Chen Shaoliang followed this up with a strong mark and goal from 40 metres out.

    For Sri Lanka, Damian Rawatke continued to shine, adding his second goal to see the scoreline China 5.2 to Sri Lanka 2.0 at half time.

    The Sri Lankan coaches at the main break were encouraging their players to keep up the uncompromising physical challenge on the Chinese, whilst the Chinese coaches told their side to focus on the ball rather than the man and try to open up the match and play to space.

    Left: Chinese star Chen Shaoliang in the #88 jumper

    By the time the third quarter opened, the pressure being applied by the Sri Lankans was starting to show on the Dragons, who were starting to look tired. Despite giving away undisciplined free kicks for high tackles and stepping over the mark, the Sri Lankans were gaining the ascendancy. When Rawatke nailed his (and his side's) third goal for the match, the passion of the Sri Lankans started to really fire up. Buoyed by their vocal supporters on the sidelines, the Lions piled on five unanswered goals for the quarter, taking the lead after Ramanushan Gowriswaran goaled from a free kick. The Chinese looked like they had stopped in their tracks, with Sri Lanka leading by 9 points at the last change, 7.1 (43) to China 5.4 (34).

    The final term opened with China turning the tide through Pi Jiaming sharking the ball out of the centre and nailing Chen Shaoliang with a long and accurate pass. Chen goalled to bring the margin back to just 3 points.

    Sri Lanka pushed into attack, looking dangerous around goal multiple times, but the Chinese defenders stood tall and were able to hold off.

    Deng Xiaoyu goalled to retake the lead for China. The Sri Lankans started flooding their defence, crowding the packs in the defensive 50m arc. This held up the Chinese advances for a while, but left Qiu Xiaoshan open to receive the ball in space, goal and put the margin back to 9 point in China's favour.

    When the final siren sounded, the scoreboard showed the Chinese 14 point winners, 9.4 (58) to Sri Lanka 7.2 (44). Tempers flared again after the final siren, with the umpires intervening to try and stop the two sides piling on before it became an all-in melee.

    The Chinese national anthem rang out in full voice, with the Dragons happy (and probably a little relieved) to have weathered the storm and taken the win. The Sri Lankans for their part, whilst it will now be hard for them to make the 1st vs 2nd playoffs for the Division 2 final, showed they will be a force to reckon with in future as they develop as a squad.

    This Saturday sees China going in as favourites over Indonesia, whilst Sri Lanka will meet Croatia in what is sure to be an entertaining and bruising encounter.

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     China  2.1  5.2  5.4  9.4 (58)
     Sri Lanka  1.0  2.0  7.1  7.2 (44)

    China: TBC
    Sri Lanka: D. Rawatke 5, D. Vanderwert, R. Gowriswaran

    China: TBC
    Sri Lanka: D. Ratwatke, J. Kumaralingam, S. Peiris, C. Ranasinghe, P. Wickramasinghe, D. Vanderwert ...

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    The German Eagles firmed as serious contenders for the Division 2 title today, with a big win over India at the Keysborough Playing Fields in front of a crowd of Year 7 students from Mentone Grammar.

    The Germans were able to use their advantages in height and team structure to account for an improving Indian side.

    The Germans opened the scoring with a mark and goal to Constantin Pixa. However, India replied quickly, with Aashish Sharma kicking India's first goal of the tournament. The rest of the term remained a tight tussle, with the Germans not able to fully break free until Jan Hüsken crumbed a goal late in the term.

    At the first break, the Indian huddle was showing a lot of pride in their efforts, with coach Yasser Hussain instructing his charges to keep the ball out of the packs and use their leg speed in the open to their advantage.

    However, the second term opened with the Germans amping up the pressure, using their significant height advantage over the Indians to hit targets in the forward line, only their inaccurate kicking stopping them from getting even further in front.

    Johannes Orlowski booted a long kick forward which bounced through for a goal to the Eagles, the halftime scoreline at Germany 5.7 to India still on 1.0, with India's Zuber Baig stretchered off from a bump to the face in a pack.

    India came out hard in the third term and set up chances to peg back the margin, with Daman Beshra receiving a free kick close to goal but only managing to kick a behind.

    Left: Jakob Jung on the run for Germany

    From there, the Germans retook control, with Jakob Jung and Philip Evermann generating plenty of run out of the centre, and forward targets such as Jan Hüsken and Johannes Orlowski ready to receive and goal. Jan Korfmacher scored a crowd-pleasing rover's goal on the run out of the pack, and when the three quarter time siren sounded, the Eagles were 48 points ahead.

    India's lack of tall targets started to show, with the Indians holding possession in defence, but unable to to progress far beyond the centre square. The final term saw Indian full back Parveen Singh taking a number of strong marks on the last line of defence, and Sagar Ashoka gaining regular possession, but ultimately the Germans held sway, kicking another four goals to run out 77 point winners, 12.14 (86) to India 1.3 (9).

    Indian coach Yasser Hussain said post-match that he was happy of the four-quarter effort the Indian side put in, and that they need to continue working on eliminating basic skill errors and continue to improve throughout the tournament. Next opponent will be Pakistan, in Bendigo on Friday night, in what looks on paper to be a more even match-up.

    German coach Mark Woods was critical of his side's slow start to the match, but confident they can put in a good showing against Japan at Box Hill North this Saturday. Whilst some onlookers at the ground were tipping the Germans as favourites for the Div 2 title, Woods was more cautious, saying "We have to take it one game at a time. We've got to beat Japan first, and then you've got challenger in China - they beat Croatia first-up, who are a tough side, we've seen Croatia beat Ireland in 9-a-side footy at the Euro Cup."

    Either way, the Germans are looking good so far in their first IC campaign.

      1/4 1/2 3/4 Full Time
    Germany 2.1 5.7 8.9 12.14 (86)
    India 1.0 1.0 1.3 1.3 (9)

    Germany: J. Hüsken 3, M. Schüttoff 2, J. Orlowski 2, C. Pixa 2, T. Menzel, P. Evermann, J. Korfmacher
    India: A. Sharma

    Germany: J. Jung, M. Schüttoff, J. Hüsken, T. Menzel, F. Naumann, C. Odenthal India: M. Tirkey, S. Ashoka, P. Singh, A. Malhotra, A. Bara, M. Hemrom


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    Maybe it was that the ground was in such good condition, maybe it was that they had just played each other in a warm up match last week, or maybe there is some sort of Pacific pact?  But the big hard body clashes we come to expect particularly from Nauru, (and make no mistake PNG are always up to match the tough stuff when it comes) were just not there in the amount we come to expect.  

    Or maybe it is just that open play six goal opening quarter from PNG just took the sting out of Nauru? 


    PNG are very aware that if they can play well enough and finish with a 3-1 record next Tuesday then they are still a chance to play in the Grand Final if their percentage is good enough.  

    And so it was they burst out of the blocks at Sebastapol.  Big John Ikupu looked good to go from the start at full forward, his first score a behind though.  Kelly Kagula, not yet 17 got the ball rolling for PNG with a snap from the pocket.  Further goals to King, two to Amua Pirika looking like the dominant forward he should be, Siwee and Savere adding one each.  The delivery out of the middle was fast and accurate and the Nauru defenders were unable to focus on any particular target.

    Pirika kicked his third for the match early in the second quarter into a slight breeze after marking a high ball pretty much uncontested.  Bronco Deidenang kicked Nauru's first goal of the match and was working hard along with Shawn Kemp Maaki to give their midfielders a target.  Ikupu kicked his first as he was unmarked on a quick re-entry to the PNG 50.  Laurie Logo was busy all match and also kicked his first after floating back with the flight into the 50 and almost took out Pirika, both players appeared to grab the ball, but Logo got the umpire's nod.  Joeson Kanimea added a second goal for the Chiefs and they also kicked three behinds for the quarter which they could not really afford to miss. PNG's Ikupu added his second before half time, using his size to protect the space and after a good leap landed and took the mark in his lap and kicking truly to give his side an 8 goal lead.

    While Nauru never really recovered from the first quarter they definitely were more competitive in the second half.  Kenneth Oppenheimer, Devine Agir and Tian Waidabu all working hard to give the Chiefs some momentum even if it did not show on the scoreboard.  Pirika kicked his fourth for the match and Brendan Beno got reward for his hard work around the ground with a goal of his own from 55m out after being on the end of two 25m penalties initially at half back. The only Nauru score for the quarter came from Maaki whose kick into the breeze hit the post.

    Nauru won the final quarter, after another behind to Maaki his tag team partner up forwards in Deidenang kicked one with the breeze from 50.  Maaki kicked his second goal for the match late in the quarter.  In response PNG added a behind from Beno and Siwee kicked his second goal for the match.  The Mozzies running out 49-point winners.

    The battle between Nauru's Tatum and PNG's Clyde Puller was worth watching  while Goroga and Logo were real livewires around the ground all match and gave PNG much of their drive.  Oppenheimer worked hard through the middle of the ground all day for Nauru and won numerous contests.  Also mentioning was Oea for PNG, he is not even 16 yet, but he played with men and as a man today - one to keep an eye on.

    PNG now play the USA at Montrose on Saturday which will have big implications for both sides.  Nauru will look to get onto the winners list in their match against France.    

    Marty Busch Rec Reserve  (Sebastopol, Ballarat) 12:30pm - PNG vs Nauru
      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     PNG  6.3  10.3  12.5  13.6 (84)
     Nauru  0.0  3.3  3.4  5.5 (35)

    Papua New Guinea
    Best Players: A. Piprika, B. Beno, S. Agita, M. King, T. Goroga, L. Logo
    Goal Kickers: A. Piprika 4, J. Ikupu 2, K. Paulias Siwee 2, L. Savere, L. Logo, K. Kaugla, M. King, B. Beno
    Nauru Goal Kickers: B.Deidenang 2,T.Depaune,J.Kanimea,R.Spanner
    Best Players: D.Agir, K.Tatum, T.Waidabu, K.Oppenheimer, J.Uepa, J. Jeremiah


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    2017 International Cup Round #2. Saint Patrick’s Ballarat - Women’s Pool A, Ireland Banshees vs Europe Crusaders Wednesday 9th August. 10.30am

    It was a fine, sunny and cold morning in Ballarat with only dew making the surface of the immaculate ground a little slippery at first. The Banshees won as expected but by not by as much as expected. Not only did the crusaders play well as a team they were playing a team who had their coach on the ground for the entire game actively coaching. 



    The Ireland Banshees have played in both International Cups coming 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2014 plus victories in Europe. The Europe Crusaders are on their first visit to the international Cup and they are a different mix to that played in Europe earlier.
    Previous Results.

    Round #1.  Flames 6 goals 19 behinds = 55 points   Vs   Crusaders 0 goals 0 behinds = 0 points
    Round #1.   Banshees 7 goals 4 behinds = 46 points   Vs   Freedom 1 goal 2 points = 8 points.

    The slight wind immediately pushed play to the dead wing and there it remained for long periods of the match. Most noticeable were the European players that were the backbone of defence for the entire game. Coline Duquet #4  had many different opponents as the Irish searched for a player to nullify her influence. #23for the Crusaders  took many fine marks to relieve pressure. The Banshees were playing as a team  and in contrast it was hard to pick individual stand-out players. After some constructive play  Ireland caught the Crusaders outnumbered  and Aine Higgins  #28 snapped  for the resulting goal. That seemed to be a signal to open up play and Ireland started to exert their dominance. Molly Cullen  #17 was active marking and passing  around the ground  She was rewarded later with a gather and a true snap for goal.

    Quarter 1.  Ireland Banshees      2 g    2 b  =  14  pts    Europe Crusaders   0 g  0  b =  0  pts

    The second quarter  was a rather even affair Linn Gardell #9 was holding her own in the ruck for the Crusaders and the Crusader defence was holding firm and able to rebound at least to the wing. They unfortunately couldn’t push forward and scramble a score but had held the Banshees  goal-less until a free kick gave Ireland a goal after the siren.

    Quarter 2.  Ireland Banshees     3  g   6  b  =  24  pts    Europe Crusaders 0  g  0  b =  0  pts

    The Banshees rebounded after the long break.  They grubber–kicked a goal through a busy pack just two minutes into the quarter. Players Molly Cullen #17 and # Carol Breen 12 were producing drive for the Banshees and when the Crusaders did manage to take the ball into the forward line this was an excuse for the Banshees to take the ball from fullback around the wing to threaten the forward line. Linda Connolly #14 marked a dropping ball and shot true for a goal. Soon after Ireland  scored another goal from a simple tap and snap. Coline Duquet  #4 had another opponent as if Ireland were trying to find a full forward who could diminish her influence however weight of numbers let another goal in from close in. 
     Quarter 3.  Ireland Banshees     6 g   11 b  =  47 pts    Europe Crusaders   g   b =   pts

    The last quarter again was a good display of defence by a number of Crusaders like #23. Banshee Marie Keating  #18  was moved to full forward and she did have an immediate effect marking and snapping. First missing then slotting one through for a goal. Linda Connolly #14 marked on the angle and goaled with a nicely judged kick.

    Quarter 4.  Ireland Banshees      8 g    13 b  =   61 pts    Europe Crusaders   g   b =   pts

    The Ireland Banshees will be looking for a finals spot. it was not an overly impressive display. The Europe Crusaders  have benefited from their first hit-out and now a more cohesive force.

    Crusaders Best Players: C. Duquet, S. Jat, A. Barisic, L. Gardell, C. Perez, R. Urquhart

    Ireland Best Players: M. Cullen, E. Kelly , C. Fitzpatrick, L. Flannery, C. Breen, A. Higgins

    IrelandGoal Kickers: A. Higgins 2, M. Keating , M. Cullen, F. Roarty, L. Connolly, C. McCutcheon, E. Kelly ...

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    We sent out roving reporter Polly Fletcher to speak to the people attending the AFL International Cup at Royal Park during Round 1. 

    Thanks to Polly for braving the conditions and thanks to Josh Pinn from Footy Gospel for editing the audio together (and taking out the wind).


    Listen to "WFN talks to the people at the AFL International Cup" on Spreaker.

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     Northern Lights Amass a Monster Score over Gallant Shaheens

    Current International Cup champion Canada predictably outclassed international footy newcomer Pakistan amassing a final score of 28 goals 18 behinds 186 points whilst the Shaheens were unable to worry the scoreboard operators.

    Although one might think that the losing side would be devastated and demoralised by such a defeat this was not so as the Pakistan team could still smile at the conclusion of the match.

     The team that had been training for only 4-5 months accepted that their inexperience and newly acquired footy “skills” were no match against the “World Champs” they could not hide their satisfaction when a kick was taken or a handball reached its intended target.

    The girl’s dedication and passion shone out when one lass who had wacked her head really hard on the cricket pitch was taken off ‘injured’ was later desperate to get back on the field was heard to plead “I have to get back, they need me”.

    The Shaheens will take much from the matches during this International Cup, despite the shellacking’s to date, we all hope that that at least they don’t go home scoreless. Welcome to the international footy community, “GO YOU Shaheens”


    St Francis Xavier (Officer) 10:45am Canada vs Pakistan
      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Canada  7.6  16.8  20.12  28.18 (186)
     Pakistan  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 (0)

    Canada Best; J Halliday, N Robertson, D Arnold, B Corrigan, A Robertson

    Goals: D Arnold 5, A Robertson 3, B Corrigan, J Halliday, C Beaudin, L Gurber, J Aulakh, E Regan, C Leduc 2, N Robertson, R Tong, C Kwan, T Rolfe, A Irwin, R Gomez 1.

    Pakistan Best: K Ali, S Bano, A Habib, A Amir, M Ahmad. ...

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    Playing in his sixth international cup veteran Michito Sakaki (pictured left after the match)  showed his experience leading his team to a 19-point win over the Pakistan Shaheens at Marty Busch Rec Reserve in Sebastopol.  The match was moved from Mt Clear College as the ground there was deemed not up to standard for this match.  

    Marty Busch Recreation Reserve was however in fantastic condition, outside of AFL venues one of the best prepared International Cup grounds I have personally seen.  Students from Mt Clear college were bussed to the ground and enjoyed the international footy experience.


    Played in sunny conditions with a light breeze conditions were very good for footy.  From the start Japan dominated play with good numbers at the contest and Sakaki was in everything. 

    Akita, Kuno and Sato were very mobile up forward and providing good targets but early on the delivery made it easy for the Pakistani defence to spoil and lock up play.  A one point return in the first quarter was a poor return given the amount of time the ball was in the Japanese half.  Big men Daneyal Khan and Chaudary for Pakistan were the most effective.

    Pakistan had the breeze in the second quarter and the play was more evenly spread with both teams breaking even at half time.

    The third term saw better ball use from the Japanese Oura and Koroda along with Sakaki worked well together and allowed the Japanese to keep their nose in front going into the last quarter. 

    In the final quarter Sakaki willed his team over the line continually getting to the contest and coming out with the ball or linking up with one-two hand offs and delivering to Akita and Kuno.  Daneyal Khan, Shah and Hussein at times looked like they could take the game up to Japan, but the staunch defence in the last quarter kept them out. 

    You can hear our full audio commentary of the match below (and also some AFL Japan video of the match further down).


    Marty Busch Rec Reserve (Sebastopol, Ballarat) 10:45am Pakistan vs Japan
      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Pakistan  0.0  1.1  2.1  2.2 (14)
     Japan  0.1  1.1  3.3  5.3 (33)
    Goal Kickers: Y. Akita 2, Y. Kuno, R. Sato, Y. Tosu
    Best Players: M. Sakaki, Y. Akita, K. Takahashi, J. Fujita, H. Oura, H. Kuroda
    Goal Kickers: N. Najafi, N. Mansoor
    Best Players: Z. Shah, Z. Hussain, H. Siddiqui, D. Khan, N. Najafi, J. Mehdi


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    With the IC17 the first edition to include a round hosted by schools, a number of Victorian schoolkids were treated to some international footy action, many getting to meet players and learn about the grassroots of Australian rules football outside Australia.

    At Mentone Grammar, German coach Mark Woods and national team members Fabian Cordts and Timm Rohrssen dropped by the school for the morning to visit Year 7 and Year 11 German classes, giving the students a chance to practice some German language skills and learn about the Eagles' journey to the IC, before the school's Year 7s all came out to watch the afternoon's matches. Read about it on the school's website German AFL players visit MG.

    All across different parts of the Melbourne suburbs and in the regional city of Ballarat, other schools were making similar visits. The kids at Peninsula Grammar had made a banner for the GB vs Fiji Women's match, with one of the Peninsula students in the crowd having recently represented Victoria in the junior girl's Australian rules football championships.

    Even the match at Linen House oval in Seaford (the only match not directly hosted by a school) saw a number of local primary school kids came along to spectate, with the Year 6 kids from Belvedere Park Primary School especially enthused by the Haka and Fijian Bole. Read more at International Cup treats Vic students to Footy Feast.

    Thanks to all the schools involv ...

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    AFL International Cup Day: Dancing and smiling, wind and rain

    by Jack Banister at The Footy Almanac

    International footy is rare. The ovals of Royal Park lack the glamour you might find at a FIFA World Cup, but in the wind and the rain on Sunday, the visiting nations provided the sort of diversity of culture and style that befits a global event.

    My favourite game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup was between Japan and the Ivory Coast in the group stage. It summarised perfectly what you want from an international contest – a clash of styles, as well as a meeting of cultures.

    The Japanese side are an OCD sufferer’s dream. They are technically wonderful and superbly disciplined. Their defensive line moves in perfect sync, as if the players are actually on a foosball table, bound together by a cold steel rod. I imagine that their wardrobes are perfectly coloured coded.

    The Ivorians, on the other hand, are flamboyant and free, exuberant at times and exasperated at others. Their players often attack alone, arms and feet moving this way and that, luring their Japanese defenders into a merry dance. They would be comfortable playing anywhere, in any numbers, on the street or at the World Cup.

    When I arrive at Royal Park, the South African Lions and the GB Bulldogs are already warming up, ready to open the Division 1 Men’s tournament.

    The all-black South African side begins singing and dancing well before the national anthems. Their hips and arms move in sync, without music but with style and grace. Everything they do is enthusiastic. Even the windy Melbourne morning can’t dim their exuberance.

    Read the rest of Jack's write up here. ...

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    While much of the International Cup coverage here in the States has focused on the Freedom and Revolution - and rightfully so - the USA Liberty women’s side has been heavily involved as well, embarking on their third Australia tour.
    History of the USA Liberty
    In 2009, the Liberty were born as a women’s developmental squad in association with the USA Freedom. That year, the Liberty showed their skills against several different Aussie women’s teams in several different cities, from Melbourne to Cairns. Following the success of this inaugural tour, the Liberty returned in 2011 to go up against the Canada Northern Lights in the 49th Parallel Cup.
    In 2014, the Liberty joined the Freedom for the IC, returning the Melbourne and competing against several local sides. This was a very valuable experience for the players involved, many of whom use their experiences as a springboard for other representative spots, including on the Freedom Side for the IC and the 49th Parallel Cup. The team is currently coached by former Freedom star Judith Stein.
    Round 1 Recap (August 5th)
    The Liberty lost their opening match of the tour to an all-star Australian side composed of players from the Western Region Football League (WRFL) and the Essendon District Football League (EDFL). Erica Sacci and Amy Arundale -- both midfielders from the USAFL’s Philadelphia Hawks -- were both able to win some contested possessions and put some pressure on their Aussie opponents. Laure Kwoka was also a key presence defensively, while both Leilani Silvio and Karen Stablein were the Liberty’s goalkickers. While their defense held its ground during a number of passages of play, the Liberty weren’t able to overcome a slow start, falling by 32 points.
    Final score: EDFL/WRFL All-Stars 6.11 (47), USA Liberty 2.3 (15)
    Round 2 Recap (August 8th)
    The Liberty held their ground in a defensive struggle on the night of August 8th, securing their first-ever international win over the Bulleen-Templestowe Bullants by 14 points.
    It was a mild, clear night for footy down at Bulleen Park, and the two teams were a study in contrast. The Liberty boasted lots of experience, while the Bullants featured five players from their under-18 side.
    Kwoka, Arundale, and Silvio were very influential around the contest again, with precise handballs and quality tackling. Silvio and Kwoka’s on-ground chemistry was apparent; both women played for the Sacramento Suns in the USAFL before Silvio switched over to the Los Angeles Dragons last year.
    The Liberty backline held strong against the young talent on the Bullants’ side throughout the match. Rae Hale, Cailin Deal, and Valerie Barber-Axthelm were able to stave off the Bullants’ goalkickers.

    Both teams weren’t as precise with their kicking as they should have been in the opening half, with several scoring opportunities falling by the wayside. But the Liberty refocused in the second half and were able to slot one set shot to Silvio and one to fellow midfielder Robyn Leslie.

    The Liberty ultimately finished with a massive win, holding the Bullants goalless and prevailing 2.7 (19) to 0.5 (5). It’s the first-ever international win for the Liberty and they will carry significant momentum heading into an important clash on August 11th.

    Round 3/Round 4/Round 5 Preview
    The Liberty will have a few days to regroup before taking on Monash University’s women’s team on the 11th, West Brunswick Magpies on the 13th before finishing the tour against the against Oakleigh Krushers on Wed night.. You can find all the Liberty matches -- as well as the Freedom and Revolution games -- live streaming on the USAFL YouTube channel.


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    Beneath the benevolent, watchful gaze of the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid in Gordonvale, Far North Queensland, something is stirring in the sporting undergrowth. This is a sugar town with a proud heritage, and a heritage that has been heavily linked to Rugby League for decades. Other sport is played – the people of town and district thrive on it – but any town which makes roadside signs to honour their own League hero, Nate Myles, is a league town.

    But it hasn’t always been that way and from the late 50’s the early 70’s the Gordonvale/Aloomba area had Australian Rules football teams (under a variety of names and combinations) in the early AFL Cairns competitions. Those teams faded into history – not extinct, simply dormant.

    By 2005 a new presence arrived on the footy scene with Pyramid Power juniors entering the competitions and based in Gordonvale. Only last year they gained a reserve grade team, and that team will now play in their first finals series after just two seasons. It is a great example of how the game is returning to the area in a big way.

    Also this year, in the year of the inaugural AFL Women’s league, Power introduced their Under 14 girls team to a new completion – the first club to have a team ready, such has been the AFL renaissance in the district.

    But sneaking up and taking everyone by surprise has been another force – younger again but far more potent. The Gordonvale State School girls team – all aged between 10-12 years – won enough matches in May’s Queensland Schools Cup to advance as the Far North Queensland representative at the North Queensland Championships this week.

    Playing against the best primary school teams from Townville (Annandale State School) and Rockhampton (Taranganba State School) – Mackay did not field a team – the very worst that could happen was lose both matches on the day and be the third best team from Rockhampton to Torres Strait and west to the Northern territory border.

    But these Gordonvale girls had other ideas. They downed Annandale by 23 points and then Taranganba by 32 points. Comprehensively, the girls won their way to the Queensland State Titles to be held in Maroochydore in October.

    They have achieved something Cairns region schools rarely do – in any sport. The school saw a girls team reach the NQ Championships in 2013, but they went down then (to Annandale). This year’s crop has gone further than any before it.

    They literally sit just two wins away from being the best primary school girls team in the state of Queensland. But that is two games against the highest level talent in the state. But even a worst case scenario of two losses would see them as one of the four best in the state…not a bad consolation prize.

    It is said, in a bedding parlance, that in Gordonvale the Rugby League and Australian Rules codes are strange bedfellows that get along OK. Granted that at times the Aussie Rules crew believe that the League crew hog the blankets a bit too much. But that’s OK, as when the League crew aren’t looking, the Aussie Rules crew run in and short-sheet the bed.

    Despite how well the Pyramid Power club is doing, the Gordonvale State School girls are now enjoying success on an even higher level – state level. They are really something special.

    Just at the moment, in the beautiful town of Gordonvale, those girls are doing more than their fair share of short-sheeting.

    And Walsh’s Pyramid looks down serenely, ever so slightly smiling over these girl ...

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    We invite anyone from the IC17 teams as well as friends, family and fans of International Footy.  Don't be shy. But please RSVP - details below.

    The Footy Almanac and World Footy News and the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel invite you to enjoy a classic Melbourne experience at the Odd Friday Lunch to celebrate the International Cup.

    Join Carlton legend Percy Jones (249 games and three premierships) and take in the atmosphere of a traditional Melbourne corner pub, with superb dining room, real fires, lots of Fitzroy Football Club and Carlton Football Club art and photos. This is a genuine, time-honoured Melbourne lunch experience.

    Hosted by John Harms, writer and champion luncher.

    Where: North Fitzroy Arms Hotel, 296 Rae St, North Fitzroy
    When: Friday, August 11
    Time:   12.30pm
    Three courses for $40
    Drinks at bar prices

    To RSVP please Email


    Get the tram:
    Tram 11, Stop 21 (Alfred Crescent) or Tram 96, Stop 20 (Richardson Street)

    Follow our International Cup coverage at: and ...

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    Harry Macdonald Sports Ground, Peninsula Grammar School Wednesday

    August 9, 12.15pm BYTIM MILLER for AFL Europe (Thanks Tim and AFL Europe for the report and pictures)

    The GB Swans have continued their winning ways in the International Cup, fending off a spirited fightback from Fiji to record a 9-­‐point victory, their second in a row.

    A goal to Caroline Sellar with just four minutes left steadied the Swans after the Vonu closed to within three points early in the last term, and some spirited defending, a staple of the game throughout, saw them hold on to win 5.3 (33) to 3.6 (24).

    The Swans’ toughness and ferocious attack on the ball in muddy conditions at the Harry Macdonald Sports Ground, cheered on by a large Peninsula Grammar crowd, proved the difference in the end, with Lisa Wilson’s grit and determination allowing the Swans to win crucial contests with the match on the line.

    It took only minutes to become clear that the Swans wouldn’t be allowed the sort of freedom afforded by Pakistan in their thumping win on Sunday, as the Fijians’ spirited attack on the ball and the player on display - but the Swans, led by Frankie Hocking and the tireless Wilson, matched them in the clinches.

    And with the Vonu hampered by inaccurate kicking for goal-­‐ with no fewer than five balls sailing out on the full in the first quarter and a half-­‐ the Swans only needed to take their own chances to forge an early lead.

    It seemed that they had left their goalkicking woes back in Melbourne as a trifecta of stunning majors from sharpshooter Danni Saulter  the first a sublime snap from a contest in the pocket, the second a clever soccer from close range, and the last a long­‐range snap that took a miraculous bounce through the big sticks ­‐ saw the Swans register the first four goals of the game.

    Assistant coach Ian Mitchell was full of praise for his charges’ improved effort in front of goal, citing a mid-­‐week goalkicking session as a catalyst for the ultimately match-­‐winning performance.

    “Seven or eight girls approached the staff early this week and asked for a kicking session,” Mitchell said.

    “To do that is a real credit to their commitment and enthusiasm, and their desire to improve.”

    In a snapshot of what was a tightly fought first half, Wilson was collected front-­‐on by a Fiji player on the wing, managing to not only bounce back to her feet, play on from the free kick and continue the match unimpeded, but continually throw herself at the contest time and time again, despite having her jaw checked on the sidelines immediately after.

    “I’ve always been told to put my head over the ball, keep putting my head over it,” a delighted Wilson said after the match.
    “If you don’t do that, that’s how you get injured.”

    It took until late in the second term for the Swans to concede their first goal of the tournament, a free kick in the goalsquare for #22, but from there, the Vonu surged back into the game, keeping the Swans goalless in the third quarter to draw the margin back to just four points at the final change.

    But with Beth Bailey a rock in defence after sneaking forward in the opening quarter for the match’s first goal, and Hocking’s delightful sidestep a highlight of an otherwise scrappy and close-­‐quartered contest, the Swans were able to hold off the charging Fijians, before Sellar’s ice ­‐cool conversion sealed the match for the Swans.

    Mitchell said the side’s forward pressure, which allowed the Swans to lock the ball inside attacking 50 for long stretches, was a key focus heading into the crucial match.

    “We felt that if we could keep the ball locked inside our forward 50 we’d be able to kick goals,” Mitchell said.

    “Caroline Sellar was really important for us in there; she was laying some big tackles that kept it locked up.”

    The Swans will next head to Diamond Creek to take on the in ‐form Canada, while Fiji have now lost two close games in a row (the first an extra time one ‐point defeat to the Northern Lights).

    GB Swans 5.3 (33) defeated Fiji 3.6 (24) by 9 points at Peninsula Grammar School.

    Peninsular Grammar (Mt Eliza) 11:45am Fiji vs Great Britain
      1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Fiji Vonu  0.3 1.3  3.4  3.6 (24)
     GB Swans  2.0  4.1  4.2  5.3 (33)

    GB Goalkickers: D Saulter 3, Sellar, Bailey.

    GB BEST: Wilson, D. Saulter, Hocking, Bailey, Ramadan, Sellar.

    Fiji Goal Kickers: M. Lawebuka, P.Korowaqa, M.Tuilevuka
    Best Players: I.Ratudina, M. Tuilevuka, S.Matakibau, S.Kaukiono, T.Tuilomani, S.Fong


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    Name Josip Habljak
    Nation/Side Croatia
    Division Mens Div 2
    …would you WANT to kick for goal to win after the siren? David LAZANIN (Dice)
    ...would NOT WANT to tackle you at training? Igor GALEZ (Bulbasaur)
    ...would you NOT WANT to eat their cooking? Tomislav NEDIC (Buscemi)
    ...spends MOST TIME getting their hair just right? Ivan IVOŠ (Deda)
    Favourite AFL team? Hawthorn Hawks
    Favourite AFL Player? Tony Lockett
    Mirko Cro Cop (MMA)
    Your best other sport? Kriglanje (Beer pong)
      DO YOU...
    …Bounce the ball or tap on the ground Bounce
    …wear footy socks up or down Up mate!
    ...prefer AFL Grand Final? Day/Twilight/Night? Day (more beers)
    Most Embarrassing Footy Moment I $h@t my pants while tackling a bloke ($h!t happens)
    Any Footy Superstitions? Have to listen to Marko Perkovic [Thompson] (singer)
    How did you end up playing this game? Saw poster on Uni – got involved – loved it.
    Best Footy moment? Winning gold at European Cup in Lisbon (2016)
    Mens Div 1 Ireland
    Womens Crusaders
    Mens Div 2 Croatia

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    WFNWorldRankings (Women) Post Round Two IC17

     Great Britain Swans have consolidated their 3rd Rank position and United States Freedom have crept a little closer to Ireland in the second round of IC17. There were no actual changes in Rank as a consequence of Round Two Matches.

                      WFN World Rankings (Women) at 10th August 2017.

    1.    Australia                                   1

    2.    Canada                 53.38           2        16

    3.    Great Britain        48.26           3        9

    4.    Ireland                  46.67           4        19

    5.    United States        44.81           5        16

    6.    Canada “B”          42.60           6        8


    Provisional Nations

    P1. Fiji                            39.54           P1      7

    P2. PNG                          35.78           P2      7

    P3. Europe Crusaders   33.45           P3      6

    P4. Tonga                       32.50           P4      5

    P5. United States “B”    31.93           P5      5

    P6. Pakistan                   37.93           P6      2



    AIM            33.29           4


    Note: Round Three of IC17 will see two more nations become Fully Ranked in WFN World Rankings, both Fiji and Papua New Guinea play their 8th Qualifying match on Saturday 12th August. If both matches go the way, the ranking scheme predicts, they will become the Seventh and Eighth Fully Ranked nationsand hold those Ranks respectively.

    Further note that European Crusaders will also join the fully ranked when they play in Round 4.


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     WFNWorld Rankings After Round Two IC17

    The conclusion of Round two of IC17 sees plenty of movement in the Ranks, twelve nations saw a rise or fall in their Ranks. China is the biggest riser, climbing from 18th to 15th, whilst Croatia climbed from 15th to 13th rank.

    Indonesia has fallen three places from 14th to 17th place and South Africa has slipped another two places to 10th Rank.

    WorldRankings as at 10th August 2017.

    1.    Australia

    2.    New Zealand        58.09           2        40      -

    3.    PNG                      57.20           4        36      +1

    4.    Ireland                  56.98           3        56      -1

    5.    United States        53.33           6        45      +1

    6.    Great Britain        48.38           5        62      -1

    7.    Nauru                   47.76           7        29      -

    8.    Canada                 46.97           9        45      +1

    9.    Denmark              43.67           10      47      +1

    10.  South Africa        43.63           8        29      -2

    11.  Fiji                       43.18           11      16      -

    12.  Tonga                  41.93           12      14      -

    13.  Croatia                40.35           15      10      +2

    14.  Germany             39.65           13      22      +1

    15.  China                   39.32           18      19      +3

    16.  Japan                   38.06           16      31      -

    17.  Indonesia             36.58           14      9        -3

    18.  Peace Team         36.46           17      11      -1

    19.  France                  36.09           19      15      -

    20.  Sweden                34.18           20      39      -

    21.  Finland                27.45           21      18      -

    22.  India                    23.01           22      18      -


    Provisional Nations

    P1. Pakistan                   29.25           7       

    P2. Indo China               34.00           2

    P3. Sri Lanka                 34.00           2

    P4. Canada Nth. Stars   40.00           1

    P5. Asia Lions                37.59           1


    Dormant Nations

    Iceland                  38.53           6

    Timor Leste          27.40           4


    Note: Pakistan will play their 8th Qualifying Match when they meet India in Round Three on Saturday 12th August. The Shaheens have a 1-0 record against India winning in the only other clash between these nations at IC14. If they can repeat the win they will become the 23rd Fully Ranked nation. ...

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  • 08/11/17--00:05: IC17 Round 3 Live Scores
  • Live scores updated 1/4 by 1/4 across Round 3 "Community Round", Friday 11th to Sunday 13th August, 2017 International Cup hosted at community ovals across Melbourne, Australia.

    The round features 2 men's matches on Friday night, 7 men's matches on Saturday and 4 women's matches on Sunday.

    See the schedules for more detailed venue locations (table headings are linked).



    Diamond Creek
    Sunday 13th 12:00pm
    Canada vs Great Britain
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Great Britain        
    Eastern Devils
    Sunday 13th 12:00pm
    Fiji vs Pakistan
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final

    Melbourne University
    Sunday 13th 12:00pm

    USA vs European Crusaders

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final

    Sunday 13th 2:00pm

    Ireland vs PNG

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final


    St Mary's
    Friday 11th 7:00pm
    South Africa vs Fiji
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     South Africa  0.0  0.2  3.2  4.5 (29)
     Fiji  0.2  2.3  3.7  3.8 (26)
    Saturday 12th 10:00am
    France vs Nauru
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final

    Saturday 12th 12:00pm
    USA vs PNG

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final

    Saturday 12th 12:30pm
    Great Britain vs Ireland

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Great Britain        

    Waverley Blues
    Saturday 12th 12:30pm
    Canada vs New Zealand

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     New Zealand        


    Golden Square
    Friday 11th 7:00pm
    India vs Pakistan

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     India  1.2  1.3  2.3  3.3 (21)
     Pakistan  1.0  2.2  3.4 4.6 (30)

    Digger's Rest
    Saturday 12th 12:00pm
    Indonesia vs China

    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
    Saturday 12th 12:00pm
    Sri Lanka vs Croatia
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
     Sri Lanka        
    Box Hill North
    Saturday 12th 2:00pm
    Japan vs Germany
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final



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    The trek down the highway to Geelong – once upon a time this WAS the big away trip for the old VFL. For South Africa and Fiji, the distances travelled to come to the International Cup means it’s just an aside to the importance of this match up. South Africa lost first up to the Brits while Fiji reprised their 2011 Div 2 Grand Final success with a stirring win over the French. The Schools round was tough for both sides with Fiji getting thumped by the rampant New Zealand side and South Africa likewise going down to the US Revolution.

    The venue for this match has only this year been named the Anthony Costa Oval – home ground to St Marys footy club. Costa, brother of Frank, was an institution at St Marys, from early days playing as a junior to massively supporting the club from off the field. Anthony Costa died earlier this year.

    The St Marys Football Club has a proud history of interaction with South Africa. The bi-annual cultural trips – in partnership with the AFL and support from local sponsors - provides the opportunity for every boy who goes through the junior program to embark on a trip – top age U16 and first year U18 boys. The St Marys club had previously travelled to Ireland, Cape York and Weipa and 2012, 14 and 16 have been to South Africa. The 2016 tour included 3 games of footy against AFL South Africa U18 teams in different provinces. Amongst the crowd tonight – there were not just supporters but international mates.

    Winning the toss the South African skipper Tshoboko Moagi (#20) opted to kick (left of screen!!) to the Geelong city end. With no breeze the conditions were pretty well perfect. However as the game got underway, one theme for the night kicked in – many players were losing their footing. Adapting to the yellow ball under lights as well was clearly a challenge. The first term was a largely scrappy affair – the defensive pressure thwarting open play. South Africa tended to defend and transition wide – in the Malthouse style of play. Fiji looked most dangerous and the first real chance came via a mark and shot on goal by WFN’s own Dylan Wolfgramm (#15) – however the ball went behind the stick. By quarter time – it was hard to find clear winners, there were players who looked more likely – such as Vateitei (#6), Valesu (#() and skipper Navuso (#12) for Fiji while for South Africa it was largely the backline who were keeping them in the game.

    The third quarter was a tale of two halves – which is perhaps best reduced to eighths. Fiji looked to be starting where they left off. A set shot from Qio Nawaqatabu (#20) was touched on the line while a hurried snap from Valesu went right. Fiji now 2.5 and South Africa struggling to transition out of defence and still tending to go wide. Trying to hold back the tide – skipper Moagi was a clear standout – impressing with his left foot across half back – much in the style of the South African Luke Hodge. A big tackle on Vateitei drew the ‘oohs’ of the crowd in appreciation. The game was hotting up. However – in the 6th minute of the term it was Fiji who looked to be about to break the game open. The breeze was picking up to the Barwon River end (the south) – and Fiji had it at their backs. Valesu one suspects was trying to book a ride on the breeze with a long shot, tugged it left but Koroi (#26) showed the greater anticipation to lead the defenders to the ball and mark in the forward pocket. Kicking truly – the Tribe were 21 points clear and it was all one way traffic.

    This was the point of no return – but for the next 5 minutes it was played largely between the arcs. South Africa managed to penetrate forward and out of no where it was Banini Sekori (#8) who snapped the opportunist goal from the right forward pocket to get raise the Lions spirits. Back to 15 points. Fiji looked to respond and in perhaps a match defining moment – Wolfgramm went down near the point post – rolling an ankle. Without his presence up forward Fiji started to lose their way - with him, we were seeing perhaps the one on one battle of the night between he and Zwane (#26). The Lions had a sniff and in 5 minutes of mayhem they pulled themselves right back into the contest. As more and more of the Lions players started holding their marks, they became more adventurous – coming back into the corridor and taking the game on. The transition of play with kicks spotting up marking targets - from Baloyi (#3) to Velele (#6), then onto Mlonyeni (#17), centred to Sokoyi (#1) and finally chipped out to the skipper – sneaking deep forward - resulted in the Lions 2nd in perhaps the play of the day. Shortly after a flying snap by Molohlanyi (#23) under extreme pressure had narrowed the margin to just 3 point – closing in on ¾ time. South Africa were most certainly B.I.T. (Back in Town). Fiji responded – as the quarter ticked to a close – an increased urgency at the contest resulted in a free to Salavou (#19). A quick chip inboard to Vateitei and as the siren sounded he would line up with a kick from the 50 – breeze blowing from his right to left – he tried to launch goalward but alas tugged it left and that was the quarter. 5 points to the good for Fiji but with the South Africans coming home with the breeze – the task was very much ahead of the Tribe to hold onto a game that had even half through that term looked close to in the bag.

    The last quarter was hard fought and at times wherever you looked you could find a play taking their time to lift themselves from the turf. This was too – the 3rd game for most of these players in just 6 days. Tournament play is mighty hard work. South Africa were creating the cleanest opportunities early in the term. A boundary throw-in infringement saw big Mlamli (#28) just miss from the left forward pocket (with the stands of Simmonds Stadium as the back drop). The kick in was mangled – and Lions skipper Moagi marked – kicking from about 40m out I suspected he would rubber stamp his nomination as BOG by drilling this one with his trusty left - - alas the ball slid left of the big stick. Wolfgramm was back on the ground for the Tribe – trying to have an impact – but in a wide open forward line and on one leg, the Tribe would have to be efficient and that wasn’t happening – Baloyi and Zwane (#26) were marking everything up down back and repelling but the Tribe weren’t lying down and created a chance as Wilson (#7) fired a quick snap at goal that fell just short and was forced through by the Lions backs. 4 pts to the good but still too much time. South Africa transitioned in the blink of an eye – suddenly the ball was inside 50 – rolling clear, pressure, Molohlanyi threw his boot at the bouncing ball to send it forward but it slewed off left of the behind post for a throw in. From there a rushed behind. The Tribe defending desperately – the Lions attacking but who would grasp the moment. Lungile (#22), hard on the boundary in front of the St Marys faithful – managed to find Molohlanyi who marked tremendously – but the shot from tight on the boundary didn’t connect well on the left foot and no score. 6 minutes to go – a free deep in defence to the Tribe. Could they hold out. Again – the Lions would intercept and when the chip kick back into the corridor – back into dangerous territory – paid dividends for the Lions as the skipper Moagi accepted the mark. Kicking from outside the 50 – some say as far as 75 – or at least that’s how the story was evolving in the rooms post-match – Moagi, on his trusty left foot that Luke Hodge would be proud of – connected sweetly and with the aid of the breeze the ball sailed through the middle and suddenly the Lions were in front. With just over 4 and half minutes to play jubilation was muted – there was a job to be finished. The Tribe pushed but couldn’t – the siren went with the ball on their half forward flank and that was the sign for the Lions to celebrate. Both sides had left nothing on the field and can be proud of their effort. Playing night footy is something few would be accustomed to – and as a contest this was a fierce one. The Lions finally get a win on the board to join the Tribe on 1-2. Both sides will be counting the cost – post game ice and recovery were the order of the day. Then it will be back to Royal park for Tuesdays round 4. At least they will have an extra nights recovery versus their opponents.

    Squad Stats
    South Africa Fiji
    Avg Ht cm 175 181.9
    Avg Wt kg 71.1 83.4
    Avg age 23.2 23.7

    Match Details:

    Anthony Costa Oval 7:00pm
    South Africa vs Fiji
    Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
    South Africa 0.0.(0) 0.2.(2) 3.2.(20) 4.5.(29)
    Fiji 0.2.(2) 2.3.(15) 3.7.(25) 3.8.(26)

    Goal Kickers: South Africa: Moagi 2, Molohlanyi, Banini Fiji: Wolfgramm, ValesuBest Players: South Africa: Moagi, Baloyi, Funda, Zwane Fiji: tbc

    The night went off well – bringing international footy to Geelong. With the fine weather – there were wanderers by who perched themselves against the fence and watched and wondered just who these teams were. Chloe and Mia among them – having wondered over after netball – for many it is still a surprise that footy is played so broadly. The volunteers making the tournament happen are doing a great job and that includes the umpires. Goal umpire Jayson Killick from the Geelong region will be backing up at Box Hill North (Japan v Germany) with his goal umpiring mate Caleb Millard from Hamilton who had come down early to watch this game. ...

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