Contributed by: Brett Northey
With the Grand Final completed we can now reveal the final finishing positions for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. Match reports for the final round games will follow over the next couple of days.
1. Papua New Guinea
2. New Zealand
3. South Africa
9. Great Britain
13. Peace Team
Here are some brief thoughts on the final rankings.
We'll no doubt have plenty to say about the finishing positions, but to give a snapshot of my personal opinion, the final positions remarkably well reflect the abilities of the teams that competed. The top two were the clear stand-outs, and obviously Ireland was a little unlucky to lose to South Africa, though the Lions had kicked poorly and could easily have won without the dramatic conclusion (more on that in the match report later).
Nauru were a deserved 5th. In fact by the last round the Chiefs were playing incredibly good footy and would have been very worthy semi-finalists; their running, adventurous footy was complimented by increasingly good decision making under pressure. Canada have clearly improved and have an exciting forward line, they just need a little more midfield depth. The US just couldn't put it together and really never threatened.
Japan had a great win over Samoa but were very inconsistent and head-to-head with the improved Great Britain I suspect the Bulldogs would have squeezed past them, but they deserved a spot around where they finished. Samoa have some good players but lack depth which was exploited by the better teams, and they could ill-afford to lose captain Fia Too-too, a three time IC World Team player (details of that later).
Denmark seemed to take a while to settle, but ended up spot on where their form merited. Their big win over an under-manned Sweden showed there's quite a gap between 11th and 12th, and then again to 13th with the Peace Team. To be fair, the Peace Team didn't quite look at the same level as the Finns, but the latter simply ran out of fit men and energy, and were crushed by the Peace Team who seemed to have a growing appetite for what is a new game to them. So their finish above Finland can't be denied - hopefully we'll see the Icebreakers again, with a few extra numbers. Next came China and India, and given the Red Demons' win over the Indians, both previously winless, that too seems correct.
So if I was set the task to rank all the teams, without injuries, the only changes would probably be to think about swapping South Africa and Ireland (maybe), Japan and Great Britain, and maybe the Peace Team and Finland. But all due respect to those sides - that's a subjective opinion and you certainly earned your spots.
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