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Game Day 5 - Canada's Northern Lights top the US Freedom

International Cup 2011

As the traditional USA vs Canada footy rivalry continued, the Canadian women came out trumps at Auburn yesterday, the Northern Lights defeating the USA Freedom by 18 points.

Canada came out of the blocks early and before anyone could speak of which team had looked stronger in the Women’s Division so far, the Freedom were already two goals down. And that’s when everyone remembered that the Northern Lights have a lot of experience of playing the USA Freedom, and the last time the two sides met, the Canadians beat them. Neither team resembled those from previous games. After that shock opening, there was an almighty battle up and down the field, but neither team was able to put any points on the board.

With the game still wide open, it could have gone either way in the second quarter. The Canadians tried to get an early start, but this time the Freedom defence was wide awake. But the Northern Lights were winning in midfield and the ball kept coming back down the Freedom throats. Then the Freedom somehow cleared the ball, and surging forwards, they smashed it through the midfield, but the Canadian defence refused to let their lead slip. They cleared the ball, but the Americans came back again. Determined to get a foot on the scoreboard they were relentless, but the Northern Lights somehow held them to one point.

The Northern Lights were again looking dangerous after the half time break. They got a chance after a free kick was awarded for a tackle after the Canadian had released the ball. After it dropped in for a scrabble in the goal square, it was soccered at the posts on a tight angle, but bounced through the behind posts. Finally the Freedom got a chance with a brilliant kick into the Northern Lights’ 50m zone, followed by a perfect mark. The kick veered wide in the windy conditions though, hitting the post. But the Freedom fought to keep the ball in the Canadian 50, and got their goal. On the scoreboard, now would have been the time for the Americans to respond, but it was the Northern Lights who dazzled, the ball going straight back the other end, straight between the posts.

The Freedom came out after the break fighting desperately to retain the ball but the possession was all Canada in the midfield. The Freedom defence were doing a fantastic job, clearing the ball effectively, but the Northern Lights were winning it back and looking dangerous. They kept pushing but the Freedom back line held firm. After they eventually conceded a touched behind, the Northern Lights jumped into the kick out and got their fourth goal. As the Canadians came in for more, the clock was ticking down and it all looked over for the Freedom.

The final siren went, and with it, any predictability for the Women’s Division finalists. The competition now goes down to the wire when the Women’s Division resumes next week in Melbourne.

Final Score: Canadian Northern Lights 4.5 (29) def USA Freedom 1.5 (11)

Goals
Canada: Smith, Lanigan, Ennor, Zmurchuk
USA: Geoghegan

Best Players
Canada: Zmurchuk, Loughnane, Nanka, Waldock, Wynne, Peterson
USA: Kraft, Geoghegan, Ohle, Church, Stein, Rosocha

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Game Day 5 - Canada's Northern Lights top the US Freedom | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Game Day 5 - Canada\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Jake Anson on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 09:45 am ACST

Surprised to read on Jan Cooper's article on the AFL's website (and to some degree in this article), that so many are surprised that the Canadian women beating the USA.  Though biased in my opinion, the Northern Lights handily accounted for the Freedom in the two games played last summer, which I supposed would make them favourites going into the game.  Not only that, but the Lights have probably performed relatively better against their opponents so far in the tournament - having kept PNG scoreless for one.  Only Canada's loss to Ireland has given any reason to discount them as being among the favourites to win the cup.

Keep up the good writing Tobie - I'm just hoping that articles start to paint the Canadians as a leading team in women's footy, rather than as surprising underdogs that are winning when they aren't expected to.

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Game Day 5 - Canada\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Cam Homes on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 11:40 am ACST

Jake,

Were those matches between the Lights and Freedom 9-a-side or full 18-a-side matches that could be included in a World Ranking Scheme similar to the men. Were all the players Kanucks and Yanks? If not,what %age were nationals? 

Cam

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Game Day 5 - Canada\\\\\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Jake Anson on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 01:12 pm ACST

Both 18-a-side matches, Cam.  So were the two games played in 2007, though those were a bit mickey-mouse in that none of the Canadians had played footy prior and some were ring-ins on the day.

Percentage of nationals was very high - 1 player from the US was Aussie, and from Canada two were Aussies plus one Iranian national.  The agreement reached between the teams was that non-nationals needed to have learned their footy in North America an be permanent residents.  In effect, they had to have positively contributed to local development - no ring ins.

[ # ]
Game Day 5 - Canada\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Cam Homes on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 05:16 pm ACST

Thanks Jake,

If we could find the scores for all the games you metioned, those matches could be used to start off a Women's World Ranking along with the IC11 matches.

Brett wondering whether Tobietta might be(or a mate) interested in being the custodian of the women's ranks(getting ready to duck here). Not a lot of work, cos not a lot of matches played yet.

Cam 

[ # ]
Game Day 5 - Canada\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 05:58 pm ACST

We'll see - a few things on the plate right now!

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Game Day 5 - Canada\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 12:10 pm ACST

Hey Jake.  Yeah I think we under-estimated Canada due to a quirk of the way the games unfolded.  We actually had them above the USA in our initial consolidated tips for the tournament.

Then I think PNG blitzed the Aussie IM side and we already suspected PNG would be very good, so in most people's minds that cemented it, and Ireland beat Canada comfortably, so we thought right we have 2 main contenders, then the USA smashed Australia IM and we thought right there are 3 teams up there.

I think the reality is that Ireland are probably a notch ahead of everyone else, and obviously we now know PNG is at the bottom of the internationals, with the Aussie IM side below that.  Basically as we said at the start, we knew very little about the women's relative levels, and as a result we've kept changing our minds.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
[ # ]
Game Day 5 - Canada\\\\\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Jake Anson on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 01:42 pm ACST

Yeah, I understand the way it unfolded Brett.  There's probably also a tendency to assume that the men's pecking order somewhat unconsiously relates to the women's side too.  I simply felt the need to put it out there that those assumptions were a bit out of whack.  It's easy to forget that the Freedom and Northern Lights girls on average have more seasons of footy under their belts than the other teams combined.

Ireland may benefit from having some 'local' Australian-trained players in their side.  Marie Keating's (Sydney University) 7 goals versus AMI stands out among the women's goalkickers so far in the tournament.  Certainly Laura Corrigan (Diamond Creek), who features regularly in the VWFL bests, would be a handy addition to any team. 

That's not to take anything away from the Banshees' performance to date in the IC - they've got access to some terrific athletes and would be silly not to play them.  I'll be interested to see how they may go playing internationals in Europe or North America, including home-grown players only.  It could make for some really competitive footy between the Northern Hemisphere women. 

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Game Day 5 - Canada\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 22 2011 @ 02:04 pm ACST

I'm wondering whether all of the Banshees' players now based in Sydney will make it down to Melbourne.  If they do I have them as hot favourites, if they don't, then Canada are a real threat.... or maybe I'm doing it again and Canada are already a real threat!

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Game Day 5 - Canada\\\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Tobietta Rhyman on Tuesday, August 23 2011 @ 08:47 pm ACST

I originally ranked the Northern Lights higher than the Freedom because they beat the Freedom in last year's 49th Parallel Cup. However their performance in IC11 so far compared to the Freedom has been a little lower so that's why everyone was surprised when the Canadians came out so strongly. However, the Northern Lights played the Irish Banshees earlier, which the Freedom haven't yet. It'll be a true test of the Freedom's strength playing against a stronger team.

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Little Pommy Girl
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Game Day 5 - Canada\'s Northern Lights top the US Freedom
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:41 pm ACST

Photos added.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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