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Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:13 AM ACST

IC17 Preview: Northern Lights to defend their IC title.

International Cup 2017

Canada's Northern Lights are currently the women’s Australian Football International Cup champions having defeated Ireland in the 2014 International Cup.. They are ranked 2nd outright behind Australia and must be considered favourites for the IC17 title.

The Northern Lights won in 2014 Melbourne when Canada, like the U.S.A, took two women's teams to the International Cup. Canada’s second team the Midnight Suns finished 4th behind the U.S.A.’s first team, the Freedom. That shows the depth of talent in Canadian women’s football.

Canada boasts 9 women's football clubs nationwide. Youth girls development programs operate in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The national team, formed in 2007, is known as the "Northern Lights" but they were formerly known as the "Eagles". The Eagles first competed in women's international football matches during 2007, when they lost twice to the USA Freedom.

In 2011 the national women's team competed in the inaugural women's division of the Australian Football International Cup, where they came second to Ireland.

In 2014 the Northern lights became International Cup champions when they reversed the result and defeated the Irish Banshees at the AFL International Cup.

In 2015 the Northern Lights continued their dominance and defeated the USA Freedom to win the annual 49th Parallel Cup. (Ed. Not without controversy which may or may not be forgotten going into this tournament)

 

 The Country and Australian Football.

One of the world's largest countries by area, Canada in many ways shares a lot in common with Australia. Both are a mixture of productive and sparse inhospitable lands and both have a relatively small population living around the their country’s extremities.  Even climates are similar in being extreme in places if in opposite temperature directions. Both countries have moved on from events of original European colonization over indigenous populations and whilst both have strong friendship with the USA and are both heavily influenced by the U.S.A., both countries would consider themselves more attuned to the modern Commonwealth in outlook.

In 2008 Edmonton formed the Emu’s women’s team with the men’s team, the Wombats, being formed in the following year of 2009. The Emus compete against two teams from Calgary in the AFWL, the Alberta Women’s Football league. Calgary’s singular women’s football team is known as the Kookaburras. In B.C., Vancouver has two women’s teams in the Vixens and the Wildcats.

AFL Quebec has three 18-a-side women’s teams. These teams are known as the Quebec Saints, Montreal Angels and Ottawa Lady Swans respectively whilst the women’s league consists of four clubs, the NDG Devils and the Plateau Eagles from Montreal and the Carleton Warriors and Rideau Shamrocks from Ottawa.
 

2012 saw the AFL Ontario women's division double in size to 6 teams competing, Broadview, Grand River, High Park, Hamilton, Etobicoke and Central Blues. More recent expansion has been out West.

Strengths and Weaknesses.

The Northern Lights are preparing solidly in defence of the world title. At the end of   2016 Team Canada had an inter-provincial tournament  with players representing either Western or Eastern Canada with a view to national selection.


In May 2017 The Midnight Suns sent a development team to the U.K. to play against the Great Britain Swans, Irish Banshees and London All-stars. Aimee Legault went along as a playing assistant coach.
 

In June 2017 in the annual Kelowna Cup, a combined Vancouver Vixen/Wildcat team contested a combined Alberta Calgary/Edmonton team in women’s football.

It would be hard to find any weaknesses to the Canadian team that is better prepared than their 2014 championship team. The time gap of three years is arguably too big for a “premiership hangover” and complacency is the only possibility. Other teams have improved greatly but probably not so much at the top.

The Team

No Name DOB HT
cm
WT
kg
Home club
1 Nicole ROBERTSON 12/07/1993 167 75 Calgary Kookaburras
2 Lyndsay SMITH 9/10/1983 163 71 Calgary Kookaburras
3 Leslie GURBA 25/10/1984 160 52 Calgary Kookaburras
5 Valerie MOREAU 24/11/1991 155 59 Montreal Angels (Eastern Devils)
6 Margo LEGAULT 26/10/1978 167 80 Montreal Angels/NDG Giants
7 Brandie CORRIGAN 17/04/1990 167 76 Edmonton Emus
8 Nicola KIRWAN 29/10/1987 176 66 Etobicoke Kangaroos
9 Renee TONG 9/04/1990 157 56 Vancouver Vixens
10 Aimee LEGAULT 22/04/1985 165 60 Montreal Angels/NDG Giants
11 Amanda IRWIN 17/03/1984 172 73 Etobicoke Kangaroos
12 Hilary PERRY 13/08/1986 168 68 Calgary Kookaburras
13 Danah ARNOLD 14/09/1974 168 75 Edmonton Emus
14 Chantal BEAUDIN 13/12/1986 158 58 University of Queensland
16 Tricia ROLFE 17/10/1978 172 62 Calgary Kookaburras
17 Erin REGAN 25/08/1986 170 75 Vancouver Vixens
19 Jaya AULAKH 9/02/1997 172 54 Westcoast Wildcats
20 Jaclyn HALLIDAY 7/03/1990 173 68 Hamilton Wildcats (Eastern Devils)
22 Candace KWAN 1/06/1985 155 77 Hamilton Wildcats
24 Lara HILMI 2/12/1986 168 75 Etobicoke Roos
25 Lia VANSEVENANT 25/08/1992 168 81 Hamilton Wildcats (Eastern Devils)
26 Alanna ROBERTSON 14/10/1990 167 66 Calgary Kookaburras
27 Lise KIEFER 17/07/1989 158 56 Hamilton Wildcats
29 Caroline IRELAND 29/05/1988 166 61 Calgary Kookaburras
31 Vivian NGUYEN 6/03/1986 165 58 Ottawa Swans
32 Sarah ENNOR 14/02/1979 172 70 High Park Demons
33 Rebecca GOMEZ 17/02/1984 177 70 Ottawa Swans
34 Kirsti OJA 27/05/1988 176 66 Calgary Kookaburras
35 Caroline LEDUC 10/07/1990 165 56 Montreal Angels/NDG Giants
37 Charnelle WILLIS 20/04/1991 167 57 Edmonton Emus (Nth Cairns)
38 Patricia JAWORSKI 22/12/1978 180 82 Calgary Kookaburras

Players to Watch

Vivian Nguyen - 2016 Best & Fairest, Ottawa Swans and  Runner Up, AFL Quebec. Former rugby player.
Caroline Ireland – dangerous forward for the Calgary Kookaburras.
Charnelle Willis - Since 2014, Charnelle has stayed in Australia to travel and play. Last season, she played with the UTS Shamrocks in Sydney and they the division 1 Grand Final. Currently with the North Cairns Tigers.
Erin Regan – strong ex-rugby player from the Vancouver Vixens.

Caroline Leduc 

All players and full profiles can be seen here http://websites.sportstg.com/club_info.cgi?c=1-7259-119893-0-0&sID=394692

Form Guide and Bottom Line.

Canada has a proven team in the Northern Lights and depth in the Midnight Suns (who recently competed in London). They have experience joined by an influx of new competitive players  provided by the boom in women’s football in Western Canada. They have been preparing well for a long time and they should be improved upon 2014 and all the better for 2017.

Who is Canada’s main opposition ?

2. Ireland will again be the main opposition with strong performances in Europe.
3. The USA will be a definite improver but probably not enough to close the gap.
4. PNG could be a surprise (with a big increase in participation) in their return to women’s international football.
5. Fiji is another country that has had a large increase in participation and should be an improver.
6. Britain have prepared well and they also could be a surprise if they make it to international competition.

 

 
CANADA Womens Division Round 1-3 match schedules with Eastern/Pacific Timezones
Sun 6/8 vs Fiji (Ransford Oval) 10:30am/8:30pm(Sat) Eastern/5:30pm(Sat) Pac
Wed 9/8 vs Pakistan (St Francis,Officer) 10:45am/8:45pm(Sat) Eastern/5:45pm(Sat) Pac
Sun 13/8 vs Great Britain (Diamond Creek) 12pm/10pm(Sat) Eastern/7pm(Sat) Pac
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