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AFL ponders lightning carnival to kick off Cup
Authored by: Cam Homes on Sunday, February 20 2011 @ 10:48 pm ACDT

I have to agree with Rod. Bite the bullet and go for Divisions. Use the WFN World Rankings as a guide to form the Divisions. A Lightning Carnival is not necessary and almost all people agree that short games are not a real guide. It also has all the teams work load increased and the only purpose is to give minnows a chance to play against far superior teams.  (See below idea to acheive same)

At this stage it seems there are still 24 teams in the mix. 3 divisions of 8 teams is ideal. If each division is played as was played in the 2010 European Championships(ie. 2 pools of 4 teams in each division) it means that each team will only play 4 matches to decide the winner in each Div.(down from 5 in past IC's)

WFN World Ranking 2nd to 9th(current ranking) in Div 1.  Is there anyone who really believes that any of these teams don't deserve to be there?

GB, Sweden and Canada could argue that they should be in that division, BUT, who are they going to replace? GB has defeated Samoa in an IC but so have Japan. Take Samoa out and put in GB !!! BUT Sweden have defeated GB as recently as the EC10. Canada has not ever beaten GB or Samoa.

Let's accept 10th to 14th in the rankings, ie. GB, Sweden, Canada and Japan as the best outside Div 1. and therefore must be in Div.2 Any one of these could conceivably win Div 2.  (Germany not playing)

Who else could be in this division? Finland is 15th but they are probably in reality the full 4.31 rating points below Japan that the ranks suggest. (if we take the article in WFN a while back, about Finland's chances of being at IC11, they would probably rather be in Div 3 where they have a good chance of winning a few games than spending up big to get here and going home winless again).

Many pundits have suggested that Tonga and Fiji would give a couple the top 4 in the 2nd div a run for their money. So let's include them. That leaves 2 spots.

Let's rule out France, Switzerland, Indonesia, and Vanuatu as they have never played International matches before. That leaves Croatia(5th at EC10), Iceland(6th at EC10), Israel/Palestine(Peace Team)(13th at IC08), China(15th at IC08) and India(16th at IC08). Croatia and Iceland have played Internationals as recently as EC10 ( a couple of pre-tournament matches could be played between them and Peace Team and China, IF all of them WANT to be in Div 2.) 

So three divisions looking like:

DIV 1. PNG, NZ, Ireland, Nauru, USA, SA, Denmark and Samoa.

DIV 2. GB, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Tonga*, Fiji, Croatia* and Iceland*.

Div 3. Finland, Israel/Palestine*, China*, Switzerland, France, India*, Indonesia and Vanuatu.

*provisional ranking only.

France knocking off Germany in their planned match in July could suggest that they could seriously knock on the Div 2. door. 

Players and teams have expressed the desire to play at least one game against an obviously superior team for the learning experience gained in such a contest, but a pre-tournament lightning carnival only affords that advantage to the lower rated teams. An extra match or matches that for the higher rated teams, is merely a match practice.

A pre-tournament warm-up match(for those nations that desire one) against an Australian suburban or near-city country club(matched in standard to each national team) with players seasoned and experienced in our game giving ALL the visiting teams that chance to go up against higher quality players. This would still have the IC nations only playing 5 matches whilst in Australia.

For the hosting club the match would be more than just a practice match but an "International" Friendly.  (See earlier comments about advantages to hosting clubs in "Ireland recruiting Exiles" article).

The Balmain Dockers, East Coast Eagles and/or Tuggeranong for instance could be matched with visiting nations to enable them to gain that extra experience without copping a flogging trying to match Croatia with NZ or Nauru with France. Even NZ and PNG could be matched against an Aussie team to give them more than a run for their money. And India or Iceland could be matched with teams that would also give them the pre-tournament work out the players desire.(I believe Balmain have played these type of games in the past) 

Six months should be time enough to get such a series of matches organised.

 

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