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Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors

International Cup 2017
NZ and Ire went into today’s clash undefeated. PNG who had won against South Africa were watching on anxiously, knowing if Ireland were to lose, they would likely be playing in the Grand Final at the MCG.  If Ireland were to win then these two teams would likely replay for the 'Cup.
Rain that had been promised today did not eventuate but the breeze was blowing to the city end (2-3 goal breeze). The Irish captain David McElhone won the toss and kicked with it.   
Christensen marked early in the pocket and went back and goaled from outside 35m out and into that breeze. 
Misifili Jr Faimalo and Tipene-Thomas were in everything early for NZ.
Two early behinds to Ireland was not the start they needed. At halfback they were able to hold up the Hawks advances with Paul Murphy the best of them early.
Ireland’s first goal was kicked by Padraig Lucey after a high kick into the square bounce high and he had first hands to it and snapped the goal (making up for his earlier out of bounds on the full from the set shot).
O’Dheasmhunaigh kicked Ireland’s second with a flying snap from the pocket as he was being tackled.
Barclay Miller should have kicked NZ’s second goal but hit the post from his set shot after marking strongly on the lead in front of the pack.
At quarter time the Irish had the lead 2.2 to NZ’s 1.1.
Kusel for NZ kicked one of the better goals of the day when he marked 15m on the goal side of the centre, and his long kick with the breeze carried over the leading pack and the ball bounced and rolled through the middle of the big sticks to bring the scores level.
Lucey and Nannery kicked behinds for Ireland into the breeze.
NZ once again took the lead when Ben Hick converted the goal from his free kick for high contact in the pocket. Howison added another one for the Hawks from 25m out straight in front getting on the end of a quick coast to coast transition.
The attack on the ball by both sides was intense but NZ looked to get more numbers to the contest and used the ball to their own advantage more often.
But still Ireland kept coming and Declan Nannery finally broke through and Declan Nannery made no mistake with his set shot for goal.
At half time it was a slender 3-point lead to NZ.
The third quarter was a tale of two halves. NZ looked like they had taken the game away from the Warriors when Shane Leat’s long kick came off the pack and Andy Christensen roved the ball at pace and ran straight in to kick the goal and then Sam McKenzie marked and goaled from 20m out after a push in the back. And that was into the breeze.
But big Padraig Lucey (who to that stage had kicked 1.2 and one out of bounds on the full) added two more quick goals for Ireland. The first off the ground from the pack on the goal line and the next from 45m out after the mark.
So a 4 point lead to NZ going into the last quarter with the breeze looked handy.
But that lead was quickly wiped out in the fourth quarter when Lucey again marked and goaled for Ireland. The Irish captain David McElhone hit Lucey shortly after for yet another to the big forward Lucey to put the Warriors 8-points up with 11 minutes to play.
NZ’s Andy Christensen made the most of a 25m penalty to peg six points back for NZ from 40m out, Rattenbury’s miss pegging one more.
Tipene-Thomas first marked a kick at goal on the line and then one high ball within range as Ireland tried desperately to put and extra goal between them and NZ.
A free kick for a tackle off the ball to Domhnall Fogarty for NZ yielded just a behind after coming off defenders hands. This gave Ireland a 2-point lead with less than three minutes to play.
NZ did their best to work the ball forward through desperate Irish defence as they brought it down the ground. In the end, with seconds to play Will Gregson’s long flat kick to the pack at the top of the square was spoiled but the umpire’s whistle had blown. 
The free kick for what looked like high contact while attempting to spoil NZ’s Barclay Miller left the St Kilda scholarship listed 18 year old with the set shot from straight in front 20m out. He went back and the siren sounded. He came in and kicked the goal truly (remembering he missed an easy one at the other end earlier).
That kick for the win, and the scoreline meant that Ireland had not only lost but missed out on the Grand Final at the MCG on Saturday. NZ will once again play PNG in the International Cup Grand Final as they did in 2005 and 2008 (with a one-all tally).

Ransford Oval 12:15pm - Round 4 - Ireland vs New Zealand

Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
 Ireland  2.2  3.4  5.6  7.7 (49)
 New Zealand  1.1  4.3  6.4  8.5 (53)



Goal Kickers: P. Lucey 5, F. O''Dheashmunaigh, D. Nannery
Best Players: F. O''Dheashmunaigh, P. Lucey, D. Joyce, P. O''Halloran, M. Finn, B. Browne


New Zealand
Goal Kickers: A. Christensen 3, S. McKenzie, J. Kusel, B. Miller, A. Howison, B. Hick
Best Players: A. Christensen, T. Tipene-Thomas, S. Leat, L. Beattie, A. Sucu, P. Halstead


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Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: hopandsolo on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 06:01 am ACST

Terrible decision that last free kick, kiwi number 6 clear push in back on Irish defender just look at the video. Very bad format this year with Irish playing 1 and 3 seeds but no other team having equivalent draw. Would be ok if semi finals but deciding Grand Final on percentage completely unfair when teams play different opponents. Are the best two teams in the Grand Final?

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: Mister Football on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:12 am ACST

Agreed hop, a completely unfair format. Without semis, it becomes stupid that PNG can make the grand final despite losing to Ireland, and the only reason Ireland are not there is because they had to play two of the top three teams.

It's a stupid format, and one which must never be repeated.

The Div 2 and womens format of two equal groups of four is the ideal format to follow.

If the numbers are a bit uneven, make sure it's the top division which has the even 8 teams split into two groups of four! Leave it to the lower teams to stuff around with uneven games.

Also, it's clear that the top division only needs 8 teams, allowing any more just means more 100 point thrashings.

Mister Football

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:28 am ACST

I think part of the problem is that in terms of standard, they were assuming that the teams realistically split 9 vs 9, with France probably on a par with Germany or Croatia, but as they'd gone ok in 2014 promoted to Div 1 to give an even number of teams in each.

However, I think we'd now probably say you could have had South Africa and France both in Div 2, leaving Div 1 with 8 sides to play two pools of 4 with semis. Sth Africa would probably then have won Div 2, but not by much - it will be interesting to see if France can topple them on Friday.

...Having said that though, I don't know if the AFL would have wanted SAf to have slipped so much, given the investment over the years.

Either way - I'd agree that Div 1 needs to have a semi finals system.

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: Rog on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:35 am ACST

In the end it was Ireland's inability to really smash France that cost them a spot in the final.
Ireland only beat France by 65, they same as Fiji did.
Nauru beat France by 92 and the USA beat them by 113.

Ireland may have played seed 1 & 3, but they also played 8 &10.
PNG played 2, 4, 6 & 7.

Although I agree that the format for this year wasn't very good. They could have even played 3 rounds then semis. The top 4 were already the top 4 after 3 rounds. And with a properly constructed fixture we it would have been easy to engineer a fair draw and also avoiding regional neighbours.

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:43 am ACST

It's a debate every 3 years. Why? Sometimes the AFL have been at fault with not particularly well constructed fixtures. Sometimes there's teams bob up that are unexpectedly good. Sometimes there's just bad luck with how things fall.

But the biggest issue is that it's damn hard to squeeze a lot of games (to make the journey worthwhile and get a fair gauge) into a short period (players can't afford to stay longer in terms of money, leave from work, family or study), with many unknowns about team quality each cycle (e.g. I was suspicious that South Africa would struggle but never imagined the fall to be so dramatic) and so much uncertainty about which teams would show up (the public rarely hears just how late some teams commit, and how close to no shows some are) plus historically nations have complained bitterly if they are excluded from Div 1, even if they were no real show of winning it.

Remember this is the first time there's been 2 men's divs right from the start. I think this year was a good step towards acceptance that this will always be the case going forward.

I agree there should be a top 8 and semi-finals. But who goes out? Ideally there would be pre-IC qualifying to determine that. The obvious answer in hindsight is Fiji and France, but Fiji are improving and need some way of demonstrating they deserve a slot in Div 1. And they pushed SA so by 2020 it may be that Fiji are more deserving. But what if Tonga are back, they were pretty good. I wouldn't want them penalised just because they didn't come this time, each country has their own challenges and reasons.

And what about Germany and Croatia? Surely if they want to play Div 1 next time they deserve some way of achieving that having made the Div 2 GF.

There's no clear option as far as I see unless we go to mid-cycle regional qualifying, which I would love to be explored but very difficult if some nations agree and some don't or can't,

Certainly Ireland were desperately unlucky and done no favours by the fixture.

Sadly not the first time the Irish have been in a controversial finish. I'm sure they will want to avoid this link but for others:

IC08 Flashback - International football's most controversial moment

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 12:53 pm ACST

Dream land - all the nations (not counting peace team) turn up - (AFL pumped money into it):
Div 1 based on ranks:
PNG, NZ, Ire, US, GB, Nauru, Canada, SthAf
Div 2 based on ranks
Dnmrk, China, Croatia, Tonga, Japan, Fiji, Germany, France
Div 3
Sweden, Indonesia, Pak, Finland, India, SL, ... Iceland,...Timor Leste,....Spain....

Doubt it would ever happen - however - imagine that with P&R for the subsequent tournament? Try to pick a winner in Div 2 from that??

Miller's after the siren thriller brings heartbreak for Warriors
Authored by: hopandsolo on Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 12:15 am ACST

It's also a really bad format if you have to smash teams to make Grand Final. NZ smashed teams at IC14 but on this current format, the winners PNG would not have made final. However PNG easily beat NZ in 2014 semi.

Smashing teams puts management under pressure to play their best players and the fringe players lose out even for what are meant to be easier games such as Ire v Fra. It's a very long and expensive journey to the IC so it's only fair players get a reasonable amount of game time, it's an amateur comp after all.