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Wednesday, November 22 2017 @ 06:07 am ACDT

GB Swans skipper reviews IC17

International Cup 2017

GB Swans captain Laura Turner shares her thoughts in review of the IC17 tournament

And that's a wrap! IC17 is over and true to form it culminated in two nail biting finals which both went down to the wire. PNG survived late surges from New Zealand to win by one point at the MCG and later at Etihad Arena the Irish Banshees swarmed the ball in the dying minutes to stop Canada from capitalising on their late possession inside the forward 50.

You might be concerned that with the women's finals showcasing the same teams as in 2014 that the tournament had been a predictable affair. Quite the contrary, as the landscape of Australian Football outside its homeland is shifting and this is most prominent within the women's tournament.

 

With an additional four teams entered into the competition this year there were some exciting debuts for Pakistan, European Crusaders and Great Britain and a welcome return from PNG who were absent during IC14. The AFL must have high hopes for IC20 of even more female teams entering using the success of AFLW as a springboard to showcase the women's game and inspire women to take part.

It was incredibly motivating for the women participating to meet a number of AFLW players who came to watch games and support the teams over the fortnight. Western Bulldogs marquee player Katie Brennan opened the doors to her performance centre and welcomed the USA, Great Britain and Ireland squads who benefitted greatly from her expertise and can now use this when training in their home countries. The interest shown by these ladies and the relatively smaller gap in playing standards in the women's game gives hope that the International Cup can be used as an event to cherry pick the best international talent to enhance the AFLW league.

The phenomenal support lead by the PNG female squad during the grand final at the MCG must have left the Kiwis wondering if this gave their opponents the edge in that game. There certainly is huge merit in the team spirit and passion provided by doubling your squad when your country is competing so far away from home.

Pakistan and PNG fought valiantly but the their lack of playing experience was evident. One thing is for sure, these women are hooked on the sport and will be back stronger in three years. The European Crusaders team allowed many European women to experience the tournament for the first time and with the support of AFL Europe this will hopefully be the groundwork to an additional European nation entering a women's team in three years time.

Fiji came and did what Fiji do best, they played hard and physical and they played with passion. Their gift for shutting teams down lead to some close results against the higher placing teams but their goal kicking must improve for the team to turn possession and territory into score line results. USA will be disappointed to drop a place in the world rankings and will have some work to do over the next three years to break back into the top 4. Katie Klatt's experience playing at Melbourne University in the VFL made her a standout in the squad.

Great Britain's first entry to the tournament threw a cat amongst the pigeons with most nations unsure what to expect. Many were surprised with the ferocity the traditionally 'reserved' nation played with. With the significant growth of the 18 a side London League which now boasts 2 women's tiers in a 12 week competition one would expect that Great Britain will be a team to watch out for in the next IC.

Canada are another team to have benefitted greatly from having women playing in the VFL and Collingwood draftee Kendra Heil's input into the squad has also buoyed the team. They can take consolation in that their loss to Ireland in the grand final was a very close affair with the pendulum of victory swinging throughout the game.

The luck of the Irish some might say but during the last two weeks they really have managed to produce the goods to get themselves out of trouble in the final quarter of both the semi final and the grand final. With the most Australian based players the Irish squad has strength, depth and experience.

The challenge faced by all countries now is how to build on the successes of 2017 and provide opportunities for players to compete in the 18 a side version of the game in international fixtures to avoid the common 2 year quiet spell frequently seen post-IC.

The Canadians and Irish were in the grand final but as anyone who witnessed the fixtures during these last two weeks will tell you, it won't look this way forever. The other nations are out to get you and they are closing in fast...

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GB Swans skipper reviews IC17 | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
GB Swans skipper reviews IC17
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, August 22 2017 @ 10:57 pm ACST

Good review thanks Laura and congratulations on your success with the Swans, the tournament was richer for having you here.

Yes let's hope the AFLW scouts are prepared to take a punt on some of the talent. As I've said elsewhere I really think the AFL should allow 1 international rookie spot to each AFLW club in the same way the men have it. I put it to them directly and was knocked back, but would love to see a campaign pushed by the international women, by AFL Europe, by the people behind girlsplayfooty, by the AFL Players Association. The cost would be minimal, the opportunity, experience and motivation would be huge, and it could only enrich the AFLW.

I also note that quite a few of the AFLW players that were poached back from other sports said the reason they left was the lack of a pro league (now being addressed by the AFLW) and lack of opportunity to represent Australia... the AFL needs to act now to fast track the women's international game so that Australia vs The World might be something possible in future. I should've written all this up as an article and may still do.

I'm also interested on your thoughts about 18 vs 16 a side. I've been a strong advocate for years that it reduce to 16 a side. The game in general is far too congested due to tactics and player size and athleticism and fitness. Everyone agrees with this yet people say leave the game alone, but the game itself has changed and not for the better in this aspect.

All sorts of radical changes have been suggested to address this yet 16 a side appeared taboo until the AFL chose to go that way with the AFLW. As a spectator you don't notice it (except less congestion).
I suspect as a player it would be barely noticeable. And teams never line up with 2 forward pockets so dropping one and the backpocket makes little difference.

I think 16s was a great success for the AFLW and has other advantages. So off my soapbox and over to Laura - I'm interested in your opinion (and anyone else's) as to whether you think the IC should be 16s for women (I assume it was 18s, I didn't actually count). There was a lot of congestion and I think the game would have been better at 16. And if IC20 was to be 16s do you think the women's league back home would go to 16s happily enough?

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

GB Swans skipper reviews IC17
Authored by: Laura Turner on Monday, September 04 2017 @ 12:37 am ACST

Regarding the number of on field players I would welcome the change to 16 a side as a player the game certainly does feel very congested at times. I personally know that many of my teammates posses very accurate and composed kicking and hand passing skills that were difficult to showcase during the International Cup because of the number of players swarming the ball. In Europe we play a lot of 9 a side games due to a lack of ovals (9 a side games are played on a Rugby pitch) which are brilliant for allowing players the time on the ball to run and carry and play more exciting, positive and impressive football. I agree that with two less players on the pitch it is a practically undetectable difference to notice, take the AFLW for example, there has been little or no criticism of the reduced numbers and it has allowed the game to be a more open and exciting affair. Some might argue that these changes to the rules are changing the game and taking it away from its historic form but there is nothing to say that in a few years time the decision might be reviewed and a return to 18 a side could happen. If it is good enough for AFLW it is good enough for me!

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@lozzy_afl

GB Swans skipper reviews IC17
Authored by: Cam Homes on Monday, September 04 2017 @ 10:10 pm ACST

Back in the 1950's - 1970's the Victorian Football Association (VFA) played at 16-a-side for who knows for how many years. The VFA contested the AFL/AFC night tournament(the VFL considered the contest beneath themselves) along with SANFL, WAFL and I think teams from Tasmania if I recall correctly, So playing 16-a-side is not new.