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Sunday, June 24 2018 @ 01:11 pm ACST

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AFL International Cup Grand Final 2017: Why did the Mozzies win?
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, August 22 2017 @ 10:46 am ACST

I realise you're looking at the cultural and economic reasons behind the win as much as on field, but here are my on field reasons.

Luck and speed.

Any team that wins by less than a kick can consider themselves lucky (just as NZ would've been if they had won). But for an umpiring decision either way (or NZ's Sucu not doing a hamstring) the result can swap around.

And speed was the other factor. When NZ got any space at all they used the ball much better than PNG (in general) and set up some nice chains of passing to score goals through key forwards.

But it was rare to get that space, as every time the ball hit the ground it was swarmed by Mozzies. So often it was 3 on 1, and even if the Kiwi player got there first and remained composed they didn't seem to have any support and eventually turned it over, either at the contest or with a rushed kick.

As well as speed to get to the contest perhaps there was extra fitness and gut running. Certainly PNG's intensity was amazing for the entire match. They also had some very fast chains where the ball whizzed around to set up inside 50s. Having said that, when they did slow down a little and look for team mates with short and medium passes they looked quite skilful and even more effective.

I know their speed is seen as a strength, but I'd love to see PNG learn a bit of controlled, tempo footy. I suspect they would be even more dangerous. That and some cleaner hands when trying to take possession, so often they were clear, especially the first quarter, and didn't take the ball with them they were in such a hurry. No doubt greasy conditions didn't help.

I was a little disappointed in NZ. As I said they looked good in space but didn't seem to have the running capacity to get enough numbers to the ball, and they didn't have quite the size in key positions that you might expect (think Padaig Lucey and Mike Finn at Ireland) to exploit PNG's lack of size (on that note, though I haven't checked, I think PNG was bigger than past ICs).

If that sounds a little critical it's just that I love international footy and I'm impatient for it to improve as quickly as possible - I have a medium term dream of an AFL club being based in Auckland. Speaking of improving standards...

I loved "Ace" Hewago Paul Oea's class, he was very busy and clean, his 2nd quarter especially. Good to see that he worked the full length of the ground too, including helping foil an NZ goal from the goalsquare. For influence I had him only slightly behind Gideon Simon, who was prolific and classy for 4 quarters. If Ace doesn't get ahead of himself and gets the right support then I think we may have found our first born and bred PNG player who will play senior footy for an AFL club (there's been a few near misses, and Brisbane Lions star Mal Michael was mostly raised in Australia).

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

AFL International Cup Grand Final 2017: Why did the Mozzies win?
Authored by: Harley Vague on Tuesday, August 22 2017 @ 11:21 pm ACST

N.Z. play a lot more structured style of football. They controlled the centre corridor and used the open spaces well when allowed. The PNG certainly mixed things up. They seem to have been coached to a higher level but still lack the talls that would seal the deal. The ball was rebounding around a lot but generally the Mosquitoes had the better of the ground play. They should have sealed the deal when running into an open goal from close in. The Mosquitoes should have also looked at the clock and known all they had to do was to kick the ball out to the wing as there wasn't enough time to bring it back even if uncontested.