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Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup

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The International Cup should segregate. The women and men should play the next iteration of the International Cup separately. Just two years after the last International Cup was held, I firmly believe that the women’s International Cup should be played in 2016.


It is because 2017 will be year zero for the AFL Women’s National league. Because 2016 will be the time for the best women in footy to audition for the (assumed) historic draft that will fill the first teams of the league. And a women’s international tournament will allow the best women footballers from Oceania, North America and Europe to show their wares in Melbourne before the talent scouts from the new teams.

Already AFL clubs such as Adelaide, West Coast, Fremantle, Geelong as well as Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are likely to field teams. It is all falling into place relatively quickly since AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan came on board in April 2014 and moved the reality of a national Women’s League forward from a widely anticipated 2020 forward to 2017.

Sure most of that talent in the first year of the league will come from Victoria and the rest of Australia. But let’s make sure the competition starts with the best talent the world has to offer. We know there are at least some Irish, Canadian and American players that should be considered for the 2017 league. Bring the world along with the competition don't leave it behind and hope they can bridge the vast gap later on.

We would expect teams from PNG, Fiji, Tonga, NZ, USA, Canada, Ireland and England to attend a 2016 Women’s International Cup with possibly one or two other European teams or a combined European team (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France and Croatia all had teams at the 2015 Axios Cup). Perhaps they may even include the Australians (even if it is Under 18’s) in the tournament.

Sure it’s a short turn-around from IC14 and already an August tournament would be just 8 months away from now. But the chance to be part of the national league in 2017 should be a big carrot for players to be a part of it.

Even better for promotion of the women’s game leading into the 2017 league is the fact that the premier football grounds of Melbourne, Etihad Stadium and the MCG are free on the first weekend of September making the perfect venues for finals matches if the AFL saw fit to make them available.

This would take the Women’s Division out of the 2017 International Cup and given the continued growth of both the overall player numbers and number of countries competing at each successive tournament in both the men’s and women’s competition the split may have logistically become necessary before long at any rate.

The split year’s for men’s and women’s tournaments in future may make it easier for the countries to fund and organise their teams by spreading the cost over two years rather than one (it must however be acknowledged that some savings were made by countries with both men’s and women’s teams by larger group discounts and doubling up on staff assisting both teams).

So Gillon (or Grant) make it happen. Get on the phone to each of those countries tomorrow, or tonight and let’s bring all that talent to Melbourne in August/September for the 2016 Women’s International Cup.

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Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Harley Vague on Thursday, December 10 2015 @ 03:13 pm ACDT

Without doubt the biggest barrier to the development of Australian Football are Australians and the use of the yardstick "is it AFL".
It's a natural consequence of the AFL being so dominant that all other entities recede into it's shade.
Not alone, there is more interest in the EPL than national soccer and only international cricket and rugby evoke passion.

Now we have the emerging professionalism of women's team sports starting with national leagues.
The expectations for a women's national Australian football league are now quite a bit higher after successful matches.
There needs to be reasonable interest as we all know that running costs for AFCs are much higher than most other team sports.
There is a strong sense of De j'ai vue with memories of many a past discussion of AFL evolution verses creation.
With hindsight we can analyse he formation of many Australian national leagues and recognize one definite requirement, that is capitalisation.
There has to be adequate capitalisation from inception to produce a successful outcome.

The present outlook (based on competitiveness) is for multiple Victorian teams and a team from Perth and Brisbane.
The detail is still to be constructed with costs but there is a talk of a draft (and zones).
It is imperative, and I repeat, imperative, that there is a team from Sydney. Simply because Sydney is the polical news centre of Australia.
Troy has mentioned world players. IMO there should be a combined Sydney/World team. This would be the most effective use of world players and boost Sydney.
Flash forward for a second and compare the enthusiasm for "AFL creates national women's league", (ho hum it's-not-the-world-game Sydney) to
"World team plays out of Sydney in new national Australian Football league".

The new competition needs to think outside of the square a bit and even fill in the "holes" left by AFL.
Unfortunately the overly long break preceeding AFL matches means that AFL curtain raisers will be sparsely attended.
The alternatives are playing under lights after AFL matches or playing in boutique stadia.
Playing at old VFL grounds would evoke sentiment and matches could be spread to nearby country population centres in the relative states.
The present planned season is a short one, early in winter thus competing other football and other football codes.
IMO it would be much better to have the competition play under lights in summer allowing the full football attention to be turned onto women.
New football followers will be joined by those who want to placate those needing the annual summer football fix.

With those thoughts I'd definitely be looking at some event, sooner rather than later.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, December 11 2015 @ 04:11 pm ACDT

Troy, a sure fire way to "bring along the world" now and not broaden the talent gap would be a stipulation that each of the teams must draft at least two (or three) overseas players. The Draft Pool would be need to be a separate one than the Aussies

If the competition is six teams then at least most of the regions where the women are now playing would be represented as well. Especially if the draft was rigged a bit so that players were coming from across the world rather than just from Ireland or Canada and USA.
How ambitious and inspirational would that be????

Remains to be seen whether the AFL has the''balls" to behave like the 'World Ruling Body' it claims to be and be truly "Ambitious and Inspirational" (Gillon McLachlan on Inter Rules in Ireland and New York) by including the rest of the world in this venture from the outset.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Mister Football on Friday, December 11 2015 @ 05:30 pm ACDT

Really good idea from Troy about having a women's international cup in 2016 as a lead in to what will be an historic year in 2017.

We already know that the talent will be line ball in being able to fill six teams (think good depth down to at least your 25th player - that's 150 players) - so it makes sense that you might want to attract the best from around the world, who are definitely going to be around the standard of your 150th best player at a minimum.

SBS ran a news story on the AFL High performance academy a couple of weeks ago and even interviewed a Canadian woman who was taking part. The video and news story is still up on the SBS site - and it would be well worth linking it.

Mister Football

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Harley Vague on Monday, December 14 2015 @ 12:09 pm ACDT

The Swans and Giants have said they wont be fielding a women's team in the new league, not just yet, despite them saying they have the talent (and a female football academy on the North coast). Both the Suns and the Lions are excited about having a team as women's football has blossomed there, yet one would imagine that the Swans are the only financially strong club of the Northern states. The good news is that S.A .is keen to field a team unlike first reports which alluded to the lesser development of women's football in that state. If that is the case, then I suggest that S.A be the recipient of world players. I believe it is more effective and less costly arrangement especially considering the short period of the competition..

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Cam Homes on Monday, December 14 2015 @ 03:16 pm ACDT

Have to agree with your sentiments Mr Football on the numbers here, which would guarantee the Internationals would mostly get a game or two at least (taking Injuries into account).

And being only a short season the internationals wouldn't be away from home for too long, and the promotional value for Aussie Rules when they returned home would be almost invaluable, like gold I reckon.

If we accept that the internationals are at the tail of the talent pool then having them spread across the competition assures a level-er playing field, than loading them all into one or two teams.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, December 15 2015 @ 10:12 pm ACDT

I like the idea of a split for the reasons stated, though it's probably considered too late now, and there is the critical mass reason for keeping it all together for now.

But definitely I agree with the sentiment that it's vital women's footy bring international along with it.

An issue will be that there's unlikely to be much money in it initially, so a state like SA that has neglected women's footy and is WAY behind the heavy hitters in women's footy can't expect to draft in talent from Victoria or WA or QLD because the players will need to keep their regular jobs. So the same issue applies to international players. But maybe the AFL clubs can use their vast supporter bases and business networks to find suitable employment.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Harley Vague on Saturday, December 19 2015 @ 12:46 pm ACDT

There is now a proposal that the Crows and the NT run a combined women's national team to overcome the widely accepted lack of talent in SA. Obviously that paralells my suggestion that world players should bolster SA. Today the Swans released a statement headlining that they made a profit for the fifth consecutive year. Despite this, they say they are not in a position to field a national women's team.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Jarren on Tuesday, December 22 2015 @ 03:27 am ACDT

Love womens footy, love international footy. Agree that if we are going to see a viable international component to Australian footy, it is going to probably happen in womens footy first. Having said all that, absolutely not to moving the timetable for the womens IC, and absolutely not to incorporating international players formerly into the first year or so of the league.

For the IC, firstly the womens portion of the cup is not big enough to have the `gravitas` by itself, I think it would make it feel much smaller for the participants. Second, amateurs with careers and limited holiday time cannot be expected to come twice in 3 years, and the absence of a lot of players will further lessen it. Third, it becomes more expensive with loss of scale. Fourth, I have read the organisation and preparation for one IC starts as soon as the proceeding IC is done, asking amateur volunteer sports admins to get this done and financed in the timeframe is just unreasonable. Fifth, I do not think they should or will be selecting overseas players based on the IC anyway. Sixth, 3 (or more?) of Canadas best players, and a whole bunch of Irelands best players, were either already playing here, or had played here.

As for a process of selecting international players for the inaugural clubs, not remotely feasible. If they are here, eg Aimee Legault or Kendra Heil, then they can be selected as per normal, and maybe there can be a provision, or extra spot for that. You cannot play even a short season in a two week holiday period, so they would have to quit work, or be not working, move overseas, get visas allowing them to work in Australia, get a job within that time period to support themselves. Lets not forget families, If 1 women in 10 playing footy overseas was in a position in life where they could do this I will eat my hat, so to find 2 players per team would take a pool of 120 (min) who were good enough and enthusiastic enough about the sport. I have watched a lot of international womens footy, there is nothing like 120 who are good enough, there may not be 20.

AFL mens teams had an established structure and list size that had international rookie spots added to it. This was clearly established as an addition, the international took no ones spot unless they were good enough to be promoted. Womens lists will be much shorter, there will be no additional spots for the internationals, every international is an Australian girl who misses a spot, and she will almost certainly be better than the international. How do you explain to a 17 year old she may have missed out on her dream because of an overseas player who she is likely to be much better than.

Finally, the establishment of a successful womens league as a foundation for the future (including international womens footy) should be first priority, second priority and only priority. Worry about everything else after that is secure, not while it is still in doubt.

Would love, love, love for a successful womens comp to incorporate international players as a way of spreading and promoting the game and improving play elsewhere, but just because I love it, doesn't make it the right thing to do. Idea is at least 5 years too early.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Harley Vague on Wednesday, December 23 2015 @ 05:41 pm ACDT

Jarren, you have articulated the problems very well and it is probably fair to say that women's football is still "piggybacking" the men's involvement to a large degree and separation could cause more than just logistical problems. The main point, IMO is that this is a one-off opportunity. Nobody will dispute that women have the smallest differential in international football but that gap is already widening. We need to get world players on board quickly and we cannot expect them to foot the bill.

Opinion: 2016 -Time is right for Women's International Cup
Authored by: Cam Homes on Wednesday, January 06 2016 @ 05:45 pm ACDT

Yeah! you're so right, Harley, the differential between the Aussie women and the international women is no where near as wide as the men. In fact I believe that the best dozen or so international women would fit comfortably if there are about 150 to 180 women drafted into this competition (obviously not too many would be classed in the top 100 or so).

Jarren suggests that the idea is five years too early because it might push a few 17 year old Aussie girls out of the competition (he assumes that there are no women outside Oz good enough) and so there is no merit in getting the world "on board" from the outset.

Just think if there were a dozen or so internationals playing each year for the the next five years what that would do for the women's game back in the home countries (the expansion internationally in the women's footy almost mirrors what is happening in Aussie at the present.

Fifty to sixty women over the next five years boosting the standard of the game outside Aussie almost as quickly as here when they return home.

Bite the bullet now, and five to ten years down the track and even the Aussie women could be playing "International" matches as are the other nations at the moment. What an ambition that is for the women (playing for your country) that are starting to take up the game now.

Have to agree with ol' round ball Les Murray, that is something that the men can't and wont be able to do in the next fifty years, if ever.

Blow the opportunity now and it will never be regained. Brutal that might be for those ten to twelve Aussie 17 year old girls each year that 'MAY' be left out.

If they are really good enough then they will get drafted next year and if the whole exercise does succeed there will also be more opportunities as new teams enter the competition.

Also we must keep in mind the reality that this competition will be SEMI- professional for a good many years yet even if it does succeed.