A bright early start saw the nations start arriving outside the gates of Government House from around 8.30am. Some were more punctual than others. In a myriad of team colours, the buzz grew as the time to head in through the gates. Some started to sing, South Africa as usual sounding the sweetest, but others gave it a shot.
The new nations were there too looking like nervous schoolkids. Germany, European Crusaders and Sri Lanka all stepping out on the footy world stage in Melbourne for the first time. The GB Swans and Pakistani women new too, but had their experienced men's teams on hand to give confidence.
While the Papua New Guinea mens team - the Mosquitos - are the reigning champions the story is somewhat different for their female compatriots - the Flames - who are making a return to the International Cup after participating in the first ever women's division in 2011. In that competition the Flames were out gunned by the Irish, Canadian and US sides. The sole victory over the Australian Indigenous and Multicultural side. 6 years on and the Flames will be looking to make their presence more well known on the field.
All is set for grand final day in London with all matches set to be played this Saturday at Clapham Common. Whilst it is a great day for all clubs in all grades, most interest will centre on the Premiership Division decider between the Wandsworth Demons and the North London Lions.
The Demons were the first team into the Grand Final when they downed the West London Wildcats two weeks ago, but the Lions found their way into the decider when they downed the Wildcats in a low scoring Preliminary Final, running out 36 point winners: the Lions 6 15 51 defeating the Wildcats 2 3 15. It was a surprise straight sets exit for the Wildcats, a team which had for most of the season been neck and neck with flag favourites, the Demons.
The Fiji Vonu have the potential to go to the final dance in this years Womens division. The Vonu have been training and preparing for IC17 since the completion of IC14. After a disappointing IC14, the Vonu are out to prove that Fiji here to compete and win the division.
A vast number of players are returning to their second International Cup and therefore will have the experience to lead the team to the final. Ilisapeci Vateitei takes the Captaincy this year after a strong showing of leadership and development over the last three years. Ilisapeci is also the sister of Fiji Tribe superstar Jiuta Vateitei.
The 2017 international Cup will see Pakistan competing once again as the Shaheens, a team that was to be selected from across Pakistan and not so much as the 2014 Pakistan Shaheens who were largely Melbourne based Pakistani nationals.
Unfortunately though, only four of the players training in Pakistan were granted visas. Another five that as far as we know were not part of the training squad in Pakistan have also made the trip as part of the team.
2017 will see Pakistan competing as the Shaheens (though it was earlier suggested the Dragoons would be the name), a team selected from across Pakistan in the AFL Pakistan. The Pakistan women's team will definitely be developmental as it has been in operation for less than one year.
The team is made up of athletes that have variously competed in numerous sports before coming to the Australian game. While the team has been working towards the International Cup, confirmation of their attendance and obtaining visas came very close to tournament kickoff.
Hi !!! My name is Zuber Baig. Yes, I am from Mumbai, Maharashtra - that's in India - and my favourite club back in India is the Maharashtra Giants.
2. How many years have you been involved in Australian Rules football?
So I have started in 2012, then I represented my state team - Maharashtra Giants - in 2013 and in 2014 I was shortlisted for the AFL India team for IC14. I am glad again to be a part of team in IC17 as well.
3. What is your favourite or best playing position?
My favourite position is Full-Forward (because I love scoring goals) back in India but now I am playing as a back pocket this time in IC17.
Join Carlton legend Percy Jones (249 games and three premierships) and take in the atmosphere of a traditional Melbourne corner pub, with superb dining room, real fires, lots of Fitzroy Football Club and Carlton Football Club art and photos. This is a genuine, time-honoured Melbourne lunch experience.
Hosted by John Harms, writer and champion luncher.
Where: North Fitzroy Arms Hotel, 296 Rae St, North Fitzroy When: Friday, August 11 Time: 12.30pm
Three courses for $40
Drinks at bar prices
Sri Lanka is one of the newest footy nations on the world footy scene. There is no known history of the game being played in Sri Lanka on a regular or intermittent basis. Despite the fact that Sri Lanka is a top level competitor in modern day cricket, those cricket grounds in Sri Lanka have not had the sight of four white posts standing at either end. Now they not only have a footy team, but make their International Cup debut this Sunday.
The Country and Australian Football
The country is officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, historically called Ceylon, is an island country in South Asia. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.
The home and away season in the Scottish SARFL competition is now done with the Greater Glasgow Giants, Kingdom Kangaroos and Edinburgh Bloods to take part. An unlucky Glasgow Sharks will look on wondering what might have been.
The final match of the round matches took place last weekend with the Glasgow Sharks hammering the Edinburgh Bloods. The final score saw the Sharks 134 defeat the Bloods 63 to at least have a positive end to an otherwise frustrating season. In the end, the Sharks finished with two big wins for the season (they also hammered another finals aspirant – the Kingdom Kangaroos – by 73 points earlier in the season).
Of their four losses, three were by less than a goal. They lost both local Glasgow derbies against the Giants by less than a goal (98 to 94 and 66 to 63). They also lost their other encounter with the Bloods by just two points (75 to 73). It begs the question – what if the Sharks had had just an ounce more luck? They would almost certainly have played in the finals, and if all three results had gone their way they would have topped the ladder and likely been flag favourites. Sometimes footy can be cruel, and the Sharks can certainly attest to that.
Cam Holmes takes a look at the Rankings headed into IC17 and how they suggest the matches will pan out in Division 2
International Cup 2017 & World Footy News World Rankings
Division 2 WFN World Ranking Predictions Round 1
Round 1, Match 1: Indonesia Provisional (36.58) v. Sri Lanka Provisional (40.00 Starting Points). Indonesia contested IC14 with 1-4 record, the win being against India, and won the Inaugural All Asia Championships in 2016 with wins over China and Team IndoChina whereas Sri Lanka are making their debut in International footy. Although Sri Lanka is “higher” rated, Indonesia should prevail and will enter the Rankings in 14th place with 39.58 rating points. (no debutante nation has won first match on debut)
Round 1, Match 2: Pakistan Provisional (32.35) v. Germany 15th (37.44) rating gap 5.09, Germany has a 7-13 international record all matches against European nations, whilst Pakistan is 1-4 with the win over India at IC14.
The Ranking Scheme predicts that higher ranked nations will win more often than not, Germany will climb above France but stay at 15th place courtesy of Indonesia entering the ranks. A Pakistan win would push Germany down to 18th place and Pakistan one game away from Full Ranking.
Indonesia is a sovereign state in South East Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising some 17,000 islands with a population of over 238 million people, making it the world's fourth most populous country.
Indonesia lies between latitudes 11°S and 6°N, and longitudes 95°E and 141°E. It consists of 17,508 islands, about 6,000 of which are inhabited. These are scattered either side of the equator. The largest are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea), and Sulawesi. Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia on Borneo, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, and East Timor on the island of Timor. Indonesia shares maritime borders across narrow straits with Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Palau to the north, and with Australia to the south. The capital, Jakarta, is on Java and is the nation's largest city.