IC17 Preview: Northern Lights to defend their IC title.
Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 05:38 AM ACST
Contributed by: Harley Vague
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.
|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.
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.