Contributed by: Stephen Alomes
When two light guernsey coloured teams go out to play, it looks like the Finns in white have too many tall players, a visual distortion caused by their white jumpers and shorts and by their lesser ground skills than the Swedish Elks.
Except, the hand International Cup football record demonstrated that both teams had few players over 190 cms, a contrast to the British Bulldogs. They just looked tall. From the beginning, the Swedes dominated and went to a big lead of 4.5 (29) to a scoreless opposition by quarter time.
By half time it was Sweden eight goals up over a struggling Finland.
That pattern of most of the play in the Swedish half of the ground developed. Like many IC teams, both sides followed the AFL tendency to play what some critics (me) have called Tackleball, Smotherball or compared to a running maul or ‘Ugby’ (Ted Hopkins)
However, like better AFL matches, it had elements of the running game as well as fierce struggles to keep the ball in. More positively, there were occasional stacks on the mill but not quite running mauls.
In the second half, the Finns came back. They ran the ball forward better, used handball and long passes more, and marked with more confidence. While they put two majors on the scoreboard as in many of the two opening rounds, the weaker team had trouble finishing.
The Finns fought hard, and ran hard – and aerobic ability and fitness will be a big determinant of which teams succeed in this tournament – but they could not ‘finish’. They lacked strong marking forwards supported by good small crumbing players.
Except, as in every match I have seen so far, a one-sided scoreboard only partly reflected the play – the Finns had the ball about 40% of the time in this hard fought, and tough, physical scrap, with its running and marking moments.
Final Score: Sweden 13.3 (91) def Finland 2.2 (13)
National Anthems among the Gum Trees
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