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2008 International Cup: one year to go

International Cup 2008

September has arrived for 2007 and Australia is gripped with AFL finals fever. For international footy fans it is also an exciting period as the countdown to the 2008 International Cup intensifies. Should the event be held on the proposed dates, round 1 will kick off on 27 August and the event will conclude with the finals being played on 6 September. Below we look at recent weather trends in Melbourne in order to get some idea of next year’s conditions. We also look at previous International Cup venues, and examine those which organisers may look to use for 2008. Adding to the excitement, the AFL have released the logo for next year's tournament. It is an adapted version of the 2002/05 logo and can be viewed in this story.

Weather conditions

Melbourne is renowned throughout Australia for having ‘four seasons in one day’. Visitors are often bemused by the fact that on a high thirty degree day (high ninety degrees Fahrenheit), locals will bring a jumper with them. What may begin as a gloomy day can be blue skies by the afternoon, and what may be considered ‘perfect conditions’ is often followed by a ‘late change’.

Despite this, Melbourne is still subject to the four seasons and being in the Southern hemisphere, this means that August is the final month of winter and September the beginning of spring. The two previous cups began in mid-August (2002) and early August (2005). At times conditions were not ideal and this has probably contributed to next year’s later start.

Should next year’s weather be typical of late August-early September in Melbourne, the days will average between 15-18 degrees Celsius (high fifties to mid sixties Fahrenheit). Expect to see sun most days with patches of rain in between. The weather is ideal for the players, although strong winds can make a day appear nicer than it actually is, and a warm jumper/coat (even as a precaution) is a must for spectators.

This period also marks the beginning of warmer weather in Melbourne. Parks and other outdoor areas begin to get busier, and football fever grips the city (with both the AFL and state/suburban leagues drawing to a close). For those that haven’t seen football in its Australian environment, this is one of the best times and cities to see a game. More information on Australian weather conditions is available at the Bureau of Meteorology.

International Cup venues

One of the greatest difficulties faced by those promoting the International Cup is that many people in Australia either aren’t aware that football is played overseas or they assume those competing are expatriates (and consequently aren’t interested). There are also a few people that aren’t aware of the inroads made by the game overseas and thus discredit the expansion, and even a few traditionalists who fear an identity loss and want the game to remain Australian (our international readers shouldn’t be disheartened at this, as not too long ago many Victorians didn’t want a national competition, something which helped elevate Australian football to the most supported status it enjoys in Australia now).

Another issue which has largely slipped under the radar has been the location of previous matches. Melbourne is a city home to 3.7 million residents, and has a large urban sprawl. Some residents in outer suburbs infrequently attend AFL matches due to their location in the very-inner Richmond (MCG) or Docklands (Telstra Dome). It's not hard to see why these residents will be even less inclined to see two countries they didn’t know played football play an amateur match against each other.

A solution to this may be holding games at suburban grounds. A game played in the suburbs can be promoted through community lines, such as local newspapers, radio and local football clubs. Furthermore, whilst Australia isn’t a divided society, there are regions with greater non-Anglo populations, a statistic that could be utilised by the AFL. Suburban matches offer similar advantages to 2005’s lauded country round, whilst remaining in Melbourne.

Such a proposal is not without its issues. Travel time between hotel and the ground for players could prove a problem. By holding a game in Melbourne’s outer south you risk discouraging someone from Melbourne’s far north from attending. Would they have attended anyway? There are numerous questions that can be asked, but it is definitely an avenue that the AFL should be exploring.

It's understood the AFL are considering playing some matches as curtain-raisers to AFL fixtures - again, this offers positives (quality grounds, larger crowds as people arrive for the subsequent match) and negatives (fans specific to the international match would presumably have to pay for the AFL match too).

Ultimately the International Cup is the major football competition for countries playing the game outside of Australia. It is however still an amateur competition, and whilst this remains the case perhaps the AFL and the countries themselves would find greater results promoting it as an amateur competition.

Melbourne venues used in 2002/05:

Warrawee Park, Oakleigh
Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick
Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham
TEAC Oval, Port Melbourne
Whitten Oval, West Footscray
Skilled Stadium, Geelong
Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne
MC Labour Park, Parkville

Our suggested venues worth considering for 2008:

Waverley Park
Capacity: 8,000
Seats: 2,000
Lights: No
About: Waverly Park is a former VFL/AFL venue that hosted the 1991 Grand Final. In 2001 it was sold to a property developer and underwent a transformation from a 72,000 capacity stadium to a housing estate. In its transformed state, the oval remains with one stand and it is the headquarters of former tenants the Hawthorn Football Club. Waverly Park is in Mulgrave, a suburb which falls in the City of Monash’s boundaries. Monash is home to more than 163,000 residents, with 36% born outside of Australia and is easily accessible to another population hub in the City of Knox (147,000 residents, 43,000 born outside of Australia and nearly 30,000 are under 15). Unfortunately there are no nearby train stations, although Glen Waverly station, and several stations on the Cranbourne-Pakenham train line are in the area. It is nearby to Monash University (Clayton Campus) which has 25,000 students. The ground can be easily accessed from the Monash Freeway.

Casey Fields
Capacity: 10,000
Seats: Unknown
Lights: Unknown
About: Casey Fields is a 30 million dollar sports development in the outer Southeastern suburb of Cranbourne. It includes three football ovals, the major of which is the home ground of VFL club, the Casey Scorpions. Casey Fields are in the City of Casey, one of Australia's top three fastest growing municipalities. It is home to more than 230,000 people, with 30 percent born outside of Australia. Cranbourne has its own train station, and Casey Fields can be easily accessed via the South Gippsland Highway.

Windy Hill
Capacity: 15,000
Seats: Unknown
Lights: No
About: Windy Hill is the current base and former home ground of the Essendon football club. The ground is no stranger to International competition, having played host to the Japan Samurais vs. Melbourne-Vietnam match in 2006. Windy Hill is in Essendon and lies between Essendon and Glenbervie stations on the Broadmeadows line.

Frankston Oval
Capacity: 8,000
Seats: 1,000
Lights: Yes
About: Frankston Oval is the home ground of the Frankston Dolphins in the VFL. Whilst being a small ground, it offers first class lighting. Frankston City has a population of close to 115,000 and whilst most were born in Australia, around 10% were born in the UK, a potential support base for the British Bulldogs side.

Box Hill City Oval
Capacity: 10,000
Seats: 500
Lights: No
About: Box Hill City Oval is the home of the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL. The suburb of Box Hill falls in the City of Whitehorse, which is home to 145,000 people, with over 35,000 born outside of Australia (many in Asia). The oval is within walking distance of Laburnum station and is nearby to Deakin University (Melbourne Campus) which has 13,500 students.

Shepley Oval
Capacity: Unknown
Seats: Unknown
Lights: Unknown
About: Shepley Oval is in Dandenong, a suburb and commercial hub in Southeast Melbourne. It is currently home to the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup, Victoria's premier under 18 football competition. The broader region of Greater Dandenong is home to 130,000 people, a staggering 56% of which were born outside of Australia. Shepley Oval has a more suburban feel than the previously mentioned venues, and could be the key to greater attendances at the International Cup, and a greater interest in Australian football amongst immigrants.

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2008 International Cup: one year to go | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: John Enright on Thursday, September 13 2007 @ 07:01 pm ACST

excitement is definitely beginning to build... bring it on!

Wherever the tournament is held this time - keep it out of Port Melbourne where we played a few rounds last time!! They were absolutely horrible ovals - too small and shoddy for a full 18-a-side competition !

move it all to Wangaratta !

John Enright

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 07:49 am ACST

Or Warrnambool. Like Wangaratta but with a beach!

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 08:49 am ACST

I'd love to see Coburg City Oval used, trains, trams, Sydney Rd and Bell St - and people can just wander over to/from the shopping precinct.


Somewhere like Marcellin College, or the wider precinct using the best ovals of Marcelllin, Carey etc down along Bulleen Road. Those grounds are always in great condition. And might help generate interest - amongst a multitude of schools and perhaps even amongst the patrons of the Veneto Club!! And may generate an outcry as to why, after the Italian Team of the Century was announced - that there is no Italian Team in the International Cup!!

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 09:34 am ACST

Re Coburg City Oval - Last year I recall people complaing that Optus Oval was not central and hard to get to. In reality people will complain regardless of what grounds are used. We can only hope for the best overall fit.

There is no mention of venues with ovals side by side as per last IC, has this been ruled out?

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 10:44 am ACST

I don't think it's been rules out, more just that the feedback from teams was
that Murphy Reserve wasn't great and no "semi-pro" level suburban grounds
spring to mind with two grounds side-by-side.

Marcellin/Trinity playing field, while being an ok pitch, is a long way from any
kind of public transport and doesn't have the off-field facilities of somewhere
like Coburg City, Frankston, etc.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 09:14 pm ACST

All due respect to Port Melbourne and Murphy Reserve, and the side-by-side option allowed people to swap back and forth and see 4 teams, 2 games at once. A bit of rain and mud also can't really be helped, it was really just the size - they seemed a bit small and that led to cramped, pressure footy which didn't really showcase the players' talents.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Matt Morris on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 09:21 am ACST

Re: Casey Fields

The oval there is a tad far from the majority of the population out that way. It is essentially on farmland between Cranbourne and Berwick in that corner.

Living in that area, I'm not sure how many people are inclined to go that far backwards to see a game. Maybe with Dandenong closeby, and one of your options, that would be the better option for this region, if that AFL does go down that route.

That and players will get annoyed bythe hurricane that comes across the ground there.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, September 14 2007 @ 09:39 pm ACST

I guess one option (though probably less likely) could be Elgar Park. It's bit
of a way from the city and the nearest public transport is a bit a of a walk
(I'm estimating about 30 minutes on foot from Box Hill railway station), BUT
it has two grounds side-by-side and is the home ground of a club with strong
overseas and multicultural connections - Box Hill North - who tour semi-
regularly to Japan, have JAFL scholarship players and are the parent club for
the Vietnamese-based Elgar Park Dragons...

I saw a game between the touring Japan Samurai and Melbourne-Vietnam
there about four years ago. Watching the game were a few guys from
USFooty, a few guys from the JAFL, a guy from the Philippines Eagles, Brian
Clarke and Phil Porublev from Aussie Rules International, and about 45 Asian
footballers. One of the more "World Footy" moments I've seen in Melbourne
outside the IC.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: footyjules on Sunday, September 16 2007 @ 05:02 pm ACST

South africa is really looking forward to the International Cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does'nt matter where we play, its a great honor coming!!!

Go Buffalo's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Peter Armstrong on Wednesday, September 19 2007 @ 12:04 pm ACST

Aaron, I am glad you were able to experience the unique charactor of BHNFC and our partners at Elgar Park.
We at BHNFC have never had much outside support for our drive to multiculural football. Whitehorse Council have been obstuctive towards all our plans to expand our club and improve our facilities. Amazingly they have given no support for our attempt to get local children and adults, who come from an Asian background, involved in Aussie Rules football. The Box Hill area is densley populated with people of Asian ethnicity.
Despite this we have grown from just a seniors and reserves team four seasons ago to now have seniors, reserves, two club 18 teams with an asian theme, u/19 (all in the VAFA) and a Supers over 35 team.

We, as you said, have young players come to us from Japan to be hosted by our members for a whole season under a scholarship program.
We tour Japan every year and play in the Narita Cup. While there we attempt to learn about the culture and history of Japan by visiting sites such as Osaka Castle, Temples and Hiroshima Peace Park. We also conduct a footy clinic at an Osaka Elementary School.

At last we have started to garner some interest and assistance from big players in the world of Aussie Rules. Football Victoria has been very encouraging and assisted in obtaining grants to develop our Asian influenced teams. Essendon football club through their Community Affairs Manager, Russell James, are providing publicity give aways for our trip to Japan. Our governing league, the VAFA, have been getting more and more involved in our push to expand. They have pledged to assist in all dealings we have with outside bodies in the future.

Box Hill North are completely committed to making the International Cup as successful as possible.
We would love nothing more than to host games for the 2008 IC.
There are some limitations we would need to overcome first.
Transport I don't think is a problem. Our ground is right alongside the Elgar Rd exit from the Eastern Freeway. This is at peak hour 20 mins from the centre of the city. At non peak times it is about 15 mins at worst. Several bus services run directly past our door from the city and two routes run past from Box Hill rail station. As most visiting teams travel by coach to their games this is not an issue.
At present, none of the FOUR ovals at Elgar Park are any bigger than Murphy Res.
The two ovals (S/E and S/W) situated side by side could be made suitable by just moving th goal posts. S/E ground could be made 6 mtrs longer than the Vermont FC ground (EFL), while the S/W ground has the potential to be made as wide as Box Hill City Oval and up to 15 mtr longer. So grounds could be made more than suitable.

There are 2 sets of change rooms for football at present. 2 teams could be housed in each, as was designed originally. However one set of rooms is presently serving exclusively as BHNFC social room. Showers rooms in this area are used as treatment and selection/board rooms.
Given our increase in teams we already are in desperate need of extra change rooms. We have on as our major drive, the building of new recreation facilities including bar and canteen areas.
If a miracle was to occur, and these improvements were all approved by the council and funding gained, we would love to host as many games of the International Cup as we could.
Our long term goal is not only to be a successful local football team and club. We wish to become the centre of International Football. We have long believed that Elgar Park is an ideal place to develop into something special for multicultural sport and health. We just have to convince a few more to see our vision.
We have a meeting planned for early November, with several representatives from AFL, Football Victoria, City of Whitehorse, VAFA and local polititions.
Hope springs eternal.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Wednesday, September 19 2007 @ 02:12 pm ACST

I'd forgotten about the space between the driveway and the freeway, that
does indeed make four grounds next to each other - stick up your hand to
host a some games and you never know what'll happen.

Good to hear the drive the club is pushing to make itself a Melbourne base
for international footy. BHN has done a lot for spreading the word about
international footy in suburban circles with the matches against Japan and
New Zealand and the Vietnamese connection.

With a bit of luck, BHN, the Vietnam Swans and the Elgar Park Dragons can
get together to start some serious development with Vietnamese in Vietnam,
as has been mooted in the past.

Let us know how developments continue this year.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, September 19 2007 @ 02:34 pm ACST

We've mentioned BHN several times before for their great work, but that post on BHN's development work and plans fills the details in much more and was worthy of a story in itself! Great to see an Australian footy club with such vision.

Don't forget to add worldfootynews.com to your links section (or even better one of our smaller logos on your front page, logos found here: Downloads & Multimedia.... just a thought).

Certainly sounds like BHN should be considered for at least some games to showcase international footy in the area - would be great potential to get a community turn out, giving the matches the crowds they deserve and furthering the push of footy into "non-traditional" markets.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Ash Nugent on Wednesday, September 19 2007 @ 03:45 pm ACST

My main reason for selecting Box Hill City Oval was to reach the Asian population, perhaps Elgar Park is better suited though.

Whilst Elgar Road is next to the Freeway, it doesn't offer an exit/entry ramp for those driving from the outer east! No huge issue as Tram road is close but a slight inconvenience nonetheless.

I'm not sure about the other two grounds, but when Japan played there a few weeks back the surface seemed to be suffering a little (water restrictions?)

The other potential issue I think there is with Elgar Park is the atmosphere. From a players perspective I think they would be used to playing on large grassed areas like Elgar Park and probably look forward to playing at an oval with permanent seating (the huge advantage of VFL and ex-AFL venues) come International Cup time.

Worth looking at anyway.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Thursday, September 20 2007 @ 07:49 am ACST

From memory the games being in Port Melbourne last time were part of a deal with the City of Port Phillip - while I do not know the details such a deal probably would have saved the AFL a lot of dollars. If such deals are done again, it may also determine where most of the games are held, regardless of all the factors noted here. On the positive side last time the side by side grounds at Port Melbourne did hold up well in the wet weather as they had a sandy base, and the side by side worked well. The change rooms there seemed to be suitable.

There are lots of options around Melbourne and I would recommend the grounds near Princes Park in Parkville - McAlister Oval, Western Oval, Ransford Oval and Ryder Oval - with new multiple change room facilities, close to train and tram etc. But again it may all come down to deals with local councils! Things may also continue to be overshadowed by Melbourne's ongoing lack of rain determining what grounds will allow the extra use for the IC.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, September 20 2007 @ 10:08 am ACST

True. A lot of councils and clubs may be nervous about releasing grounds when they don't know what condition they will be in.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Peter Armstrong on Thursday, September 20 2007 @ 10:32 am ACST

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement guys. If councils and other bodies we have to deal with had the ability to look to the benifits as we do, International Football would be a lot further advanced than it is.

I have spoken to our webmaster and he should have the World Footy News logo up as a link by early next week if not before.
The freeway has exit to Elgar Rd from city and entrance for city bound traffic. This was more to suit teams travelling by coach from city bases. I'll agree it is a pain there are not ramps for the traffic going or coming from the East; especially as I come from that way myself.
We have our AGM this Saturday and are making some structural changes to our administration, but support for International footy in all forms will always be a main focus for the club. This includes trying to build a strong working relationship with Phil and the Hanoi Swans.
The two southern grounds are in a bad way at present, this is true. We were not granted any priority status for watering and they suffered from the drought. Councils answer was to drop truckloads of sand in a few places. This just made it worse. As part of any redevelopment we would hope the grounds were relaid or at least top dressed with the proper soil. The drainage is great and sand based. Unfortunately there has been little joy out of having good drainage in recent times.
I agree the atmosphere is hampered by the open plan viewing set up. Again, part of our wish list for redevelopment would include seating as part of the new change and social rooms. Ideally we would like to have a green banking surrounding large areas of both grounds as well. This was done on the small oval (N/W) out the back.
Realisticly, Elgar Park IS not fit to host at this stage. It is highly unlikely that all the things we are trying to get done would be ready by this time next year. Anyone who travelled to the Wangaratta games knows what a great success the International Cup can be with the right venue. Our present aim is to be perfectly set up by the time IC 2111 comes around. And to be able to make facilities of a high standard available to all visiting teams whenever they tour. So any person or group trying to organise an intinery for a touring side knows they only have to make a call and the facilities would be made available. The more we show our friends overseas how much we value them the more they will enjoy the experience of Australian Rules. A good memory of a trip is passed on over and over again. This is the best form of advertising we can spread around the world.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, September 20 2007 @ 11:14 am ACST

Thanks Gaffa.

No doubt you mean 2011 not 2111 (although councils can move very slowly!). Just note though that the Cups will switch to 4 years after this, so next is in 2012.

Personally I think even if the facilities aren't perfect in time it would still be worth trying to stage a couple of matches there on one day, if the club is confident it could really push it to the local community and get people out to watch. But yes, this is all hypothetical. We'll try to speak to the AFL's IC event organisers again in the next month or so and see how their plans are progressing.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Seth McElvaney on Friday, October 26 2007 @ 03:02 pm ACST

I dunno...Looking at the recently released 2008 AFL fixture, I can't help but think that the better time might be during the split round in early July. The IC would have less competition for footy fans. You could have the GF as a curtain raiser in the Telstra Dome before the Collingwood - Sydney match. I would think that in the last round of the season fans would be too into the finals chase to pay much attention to the IC.

2008 International Cup: one year to go
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, October 26 2007 @ 03:19 pm ACST

In terms of getting media / fan attention, I agree, even more so because the Beijing Olympics will be on too. AFL finals and Olympics will wipe just about everything else out of the papers and TV screens.

The down side is that if AFL games are not on then the international players may miss what for some would be a once in a lifetime chance to see several matches. Personally I think as long as they see 1 or 2 that should be enough. But the other downside is that the July weather would probably be worse than late August / early September.

May would be better, but that's now too soon for countries to organise I would think, and before many countries have begun their season (not necessarily a show stopper in my opinion).

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN