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Lightning tournament opening and seedings

International Cup 2011

The Australian Football League has released the draw and details of the 2011 AFL International Cup. The fourth Cup will feature 18 men's sides and 5 women's sides. Here we will focus on the man, and detail the women's schedule in a later article.

The men's competition will see the teams seeded from 1 to 18 and then sorted into 6 approximately even pools for a lightning tournament in the style of the 2011 NAB AFL Cup (pre-season). On the opening day the teams will play each of the other two members of their pool in games of 2 x 15 minute halves (10 min half-time break). The result will be 6 pools of 3 sorted teams. The top 2 from each will go through to Division 1 and the bottom side from each will form Division 2. Hence there will be 12 in Div 1 and 6 in Div 2.

The seedings are:

Country Rank
PNG 1
New Zealand 2
South Africa 3
Ireland 4
Nauru 5
Canada 6
USA 7
Japan 8
GB 9
Denmark 10
Sweden 11
Tonga* 12
Peace 13
Fiji* 14
East Timor* 15
China 16
India 17
France* 18

* Did not compete IC08

In deciding the rankings AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods, in a memo to the competing countries, explained that, "The first 11 places were ranked on previous performance in 2008 while 12 to 18 were ranked at AFL discretion given they are either new teams or at the beginning of an in country development program."

Initial Ranking and Matches on Game Day 1 (Saturday August 13th)

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Group 6
1 v 12 2 v 11 3 v 10 4 v 9 5 v 8 6 v 7
1 v 18 2 v 17 3 v 16 4 v 15 5 v 14 6 v 13
12 v 18 11 v 17 10 v 16 9 v 15 8 v 14 7 v 13

Using the 2008 Cup as the starting point seems a fair basis. From there deciding the best order must have been difficult. Tonga was present at IC08 but as somewhat unexpected arrivals did not compete in the main draw. Fiji are new to senior footy but are expected to come with some impressive athletes, whilst East Timor are relatively unknown in international competition. China and India struggled at IC08 and are expected to field quite inexperienced sides. Perhaps France coming in at 18th could be argued against, given they have some European experience.

What happens after the opening day? That's where in the interests of trying to keep things fair the schedule gets somewhat complicated.

The top two from each pool form Div 1, and are re-ranked, based on their wins, losses and percentage from their first day's results. The 12 teams are then sorted into 4 pools of 3 based on those ranks.

Men’s Division 1 Ranking and Grouping after Seeding Round (Opening Day)

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
1 2 3 4
8 7 6 5
9 10 11 12

Over the next few days of the tournament (effectively Game Days 2, 3 and 4) they then play the other two members of their pool, on separate days, in longer matches as per past Cups (so each team playing on two of Monday 15th, Wednesday 17th, Friday 20th August). The 12 teams will then be sorted, again on their wins, losses and percentage in their pool, to form a new 1 to 12 rank. Based on that Match Day 4 will be allocated, with 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 as semi-finals, the winners through to the Division 1 Grand Final to be crowned 4th International Cup champions.

Men’s Division 1 Re-ranked after Pool Matches, Played on Game Day 4 (Wednesday 24th August)

Winner to play off in GF (Saturday 27th Aug) 1 v 4
Loser to play off for 3rd (Friday 26th Aug) 2 v 3
Winner to play off for 5th (Friday 26th Aug) 5 v 8
Loser to play off for 7th (Friday 26th Aug) 6 v 7
Winner to play off for 9th (Friday 26th Aug) 9 v 12
Loser to play off for 11th (Friday 26th Aug) 10 v 11


Now let's not forget Division 2. This consists of the 6 teams that finished bottom of each of the initial pools. They are effectively ranked 13th to 18th and are allocated into 2 new pools of 3 each. They play the other two teams once and one cross-over match against a team from the other pool.

Men’s Division 2 Ranking and Grouping after Seeding Round

Group 1 Group 2
13 14
15 16
17 18

Men’s Division 2 Schedule after Seeding Round

Round 2
Wed 17th August 13 v 17
14 v 18
cross over match 15 v 16
Round 3
Saturday 20th August 15 v 17
14 v 16
cross over match 13 v 18
Round 4
Wed 24th August 13 v 15
16 v 18
cross over match 14 v 17

The two highest ranked teams after all Division two round matches, based on pts and % qualify for Division 2 Grand Final.

There's no doubt the fixture is very complicated. It appears to be the product of extensive attempts to ensure a fair system giving each team a chance to win based on their ability. At the end of the day for fans and players alike the message is fairly clear - Day One has been set (we'll publish that in detail separately), and stay tuned at the end of that to see when and where the remaining matches will be played.

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Rog on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 10:16 am ACST

Japan are ranked way too high, they look like the only team from the top 12 at risk of missing out on a Division 1 spot. Nauru should dispose of them pretty easily and Fiji sound like they could give Japan a fair run for their money. France vs Tonga is an unknown but you would think Tonga will get through based on the decent showings against NZ and they have some IC experience. Anyone have any ideas on the strength of Timor Leste? Will they push GB?

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 11:09 am ACST

 I reckon Tonga will be too strong for France, and GB well ahead of East Timor.

BUT - you could be correct about Fiji and Nauru being too good for Japan.

My tips for Div 2 - China, India, Timor-Leste, Japan, Peace Team, France.

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Cam Homes on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 04:22 pm ACST

Question 1. Can PNG score 30 goals to zip against France, only a goal a minute?

Question 2. What did India do wrong to cop New Zealand first up again? Can New Zealand hit the goal a minute rate in this one too?

Question 3. Why do Canada and USA have to play off again first up?

Question 4. Why Great Britain v Ireland again, already played 2 matches agin each other this year?

Couldn't the organisers use their discretion more intelligently to avoid those match ups?????????

Cam

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 05:27 pm ACST

Actually, on points 3 and 4 I don't think it's a problem - reason being that if they play the first seeding match against each other, then there's zero chance that they could meet in any of the full-length matches after that.

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Cam Homes on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 05:52 pm ACST

Actually Ireland could end up 4th and Great Britain 5th after the first round and USA 3rd and Canada 6th which would mean the each play each other again in round 2. 

I bet none of the 4 teams would be overjoyed about playing these matches first up either.

Cam

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 06:57 pm ACST

Another funny group is SA, DK and China. In 2008 they were in the same group, but with the USA. I noticed the match-ups as odd, but if I played and had to choose, Id rather meet them early in a half game.

The organizers clearly made them groups from the rankings (solely), trying to make the pools as even as possible in combined strength. By adding the rankings, you will see that Pool 1 = 31, Pool 2 = 30, Pool 3 = 29 etc. etc. But I wonder if they could have been divided also on region.

Anyways, its safe to say, that any draw would have its disadvantages and the only true fair way would be to have them all play each other, which cant happen in a two week span.

Its gonna be great. Cant wait to be there.

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, July 02 2011 @ 08:53 pm ACST

I spoke with Tony Woods about some of the vagaries of the draw and he said their focus was on sticking to the seedings as much as possible.  So as Niels says, primarily it's about being fair with balanced pools, which I think they have achieved.

It is exciting to finally be able to start thinking about the match-ups isn't it.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: cyril on Monday, July 04 2011 @ 09:48 pm ACST

Answer 1. Thank you for the ONLY one goal a minute I notice a very good spirit. It will be probably 30 goals a minute.

Cheers and see you on the field.

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, July 04 2011 @ 10:08 pm ACST

It was a less than tactful comment from Cam wasn't it!

It'll be interesting to see what tactics teams use.  I think we all accept a new footy nation like France will struggle in their first day of matches.  Should they flood and go ultra defensive?  Or should they just attack hard and see if they can score a few goals?  I'd think that playing "normal" footy would be best, so that they are preparing the best they can for the later matches.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Cam Homes on Tuesday, July 05 2011 @ 04:44 pm ACST

Sorry Guy's, the ONLY a goal a minute is not a criticism of the playing standards of France & India but a criticism of the AFL organisers actually matching the very best teams against  a newcomer like France and sticking it into India again by pitting them against New Zealand (poor buggers are still probably shell shocked from the 200- zip shellacking they got last time).

The IC is supposed to be showcasing International Footy but to have matchups like that do absolutely squat. They used "discretion" in deciding who was gunna play who for some matches, why in the hell not for these? I sincerely hope these guys go well in the comp, and they can hold their heads up high at the end of the day, but jees, it's hard to do that when you have been completely smashed like India was last time around.

200 points is 33 goals in 4x15min quarters, ONLY a goal every two minutes!

Last time they really didn't have any idea of the relative standards of the newcomers so that could be used as an excuse. They can't use that as an excuse this time. Sorry, I still believe it is dumb to have match ups like that!!!!!!

Cam

 

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Cam Homes on Thursday, July 07 2011 @ 03:21 pm ACST

Howdy All

I have crunched some numbers and if there are no upsets and no 40 point win matches then after the seeding rounds the world ranks would look like this.

NO IC BONUS applied as these are all shortened matches.

I have South Africa defeating Denmark, Japan defeating Fiji and Ireland and USA being triumphant  over Great Britain and Canada again respectively. I think all would expect that the rest of the matches will go the way of the higher ranked nation.

Obviously there will be some 40 pt wins so the winners will recieve slightly higher rates.

  1. Australia
  2. PNG  53.89
  3. NZ    53.84
  4. Ireland  48.89
  5. Nauru  47.50
  6. USA  46.95
  7. South Africa  45.46
  8. Denmark  42.87
  9. Samoa  41.85
  10. Great Britain  40.66
  11. Canada  39.60
  12. Sweden  39.06
  13. Germany  37.37
  14. Japan  35.76
  15. Finland  29.02
  • Tonga  41.06
  • Croatia  40.60
  • Israel/Palestine  37.87
  • Fiji  37.12
  • France  35.95
  • Iceland  35.64
  • Timor Leste  34.76
  • China  33.80
  • India  28.33

 

  • Spain 28.00

Only changes are SA climbing above Denmark and Canada rising above Sweden and Fiji, France and Timor Leste joining the Provisional Ranks.

Matches that could see a different outcome are Japan v Fiji, Canada v USA, Ireland v GB or a real dark horse Timor Leste v GB.(Timor Leste have been learning the ropes for the last several years from Aussie Peace Keeping forces, so could well be a surprise packet).

The odds are stacked up against any other upsets but we pundits could all be wrong.

Please! remember there are a number of big ifs and the ranks are no means set in stone.

Cam

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, July 07 2011 @ 04:21 pm ACST

And remember, these are our unofficial rankings.

I would be very surprised if Timor Leste beat GB.  They have only been playing for a short time and I'd expect a team very small in stature, whereas obviously it's better to have a good mix with key position players.  In fact if they won I'd say it would be the biggest upset in IC history.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Cam Homes on Thursday, July 07 2011 @ 04:43 pm ACST

I did say a real Dark Horse! But they could surprise a few teams, considering the set up in East Timor, playing against and coached by a large expat force over there for about 3 or 4 years now.  A small stature would work against them tho'.

I reckon they might do quite well in the  2nd half of the comp.

Cam

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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, July 08 2011 @ 10:06 am ACST

I reckon they'll properly try to follow the fast running style of PNG, but PNG has a much bigger and longer established program.  Always interesting to see what style a brand new team brings to the competition.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Lightning tournament opening and seedings
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 05 2011 @ 01:33 pm ACST

Hi there ... any chance of finding out where the Blacktown NZ Hawk games will be played? We are wanting to arrange accom for my husband to come and support his son in the NZ Hawks and thought we would try and get something close to where they are playing.  Many thanks Jo Howison

 

 

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