Jordan Roughead, Liam Picken and Lachie Hunter were three of the younger and less experienced players at the Western Bulldogs back in 2014. On their first visit to Cairns for the annual match against the Gold Coast Suns at Cazalys Stadium, the three were sent down to Gordonvale – 25 kilometres south of Cairns – to meet with the kids at the Pyramid Power club. After a kicking session and a frenetic handpassing match with the locals, the three returned to their hotels.
Returning in 2017 the three are now premiership players and three of the first picked in a strong, talented Bulldogs team. Today in Cairns they all helped the Bulldogs to down the Gold Coast Suns by 54 points and keep their finals hopes on track.
Yesterday, Jordan opened up about his personal love of Cairns and that of his Western Bulldogs team mates.
“We love being up in Cairns as a playing group and as a club.”
One of three teams making their debut in the women's competition at IC17 we welcome the GB Swans.
Women’s footy in Great Britain
The first Great Britain Women’s team was formed in January 2016 for the AFL Europe Championship tournament held in London. Following the success of winning the three way tournament comprising of the Irish Banshees and the European Crusaders the GB Swans are looking to stamp their mark on world footy at their first International Cup in 2017.
Women’s Australian Rules football has grown significantly in the last few years with the AFL London Women’s League, formed in 2015, now operating a 4 team 18-a-side premier and further four team conference division. In other areas of Great Britain there has been a big push on growing the game with 9 a side women’s teams formed in cities such as Nottingham, Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and Cardiff.
Jen is a long way from home. She hails from Melbourne’s northern suburbs and has been a life-long Western Bulldogs supporter – a daughter of the “Scray” and an avid fan since their days at the Whitten Oval (or Western Oval as it was called then) and they were known as Footscray.
Today she is sitting in the Cairns warmth – a tropical 25 degrees – watching her Western Bulldogs players train in the lead-up to tomorrows clash at Cazalys Stadium against the Gold Coast Suns. The temperature I a far cry from the 6 degrees which greeted Melbourne this morning. “That’s the great thing about Cairns,” Jen says. “We can sit here watching the footy in t-shirts, it’s so beautiful here.” After the game is done tomorrow she plans to possibly visit Green Island. She travelled to Kuranda on the scenic railway last year when she was in Cairns for the previous Bulldogs match in 2016.
But Jen adds that the flight itself was a highlight. “When we got on the plane in Melbourne there were people everywhere in their Western Bulldogs colours. We were all going to Cairns together. It was fantastic.”
The Manchester Mozzies, Nottingham Scorpions, Wolverhampton Wolverines and Huddersfield Rams have reached the finals of the AFLCNE competition in England after last weekend’s final round – the Lightning Premiership played in Nottingham. The Mozzies were minor premiers again and will be favourites for yet another flag, but the other teams can also smell glory and will most certainly reach for the stars from here.
The Tyne Tees Tigers were unlucky not to reach the finals. They needed to effectively win two more matches than the Rams on the day to pass them, and started well by downing the Rams in their first match of the day to draw level on the season’s ladder. But from there both teams struggled to match the league’s big guns, with the Tigers missing finals action by percentage only.
The South African team has been announced for the upcoming International Cup (IC17) in Melbourne next month. The national team has been a consistently well performed team at past International Cups, finishing 4th at the last event in 2014, 5th in 2011 and an all-time best performance of 3rd back in 2008. This new squad will be going all out to better those results and set a new benchmark for South African footy.
The team has a tough draw in the Division 1 pool. They open their tournament against Great Britain, then meet the USA and Fiji before a blockbuster clash against reigning champions Papua New Guinea before the finals.
The US Revolution squad has officially been named for the 2017 edition of the Australian Football International Cup, which will be held August 5-19 in Melbourne.
'Revos' head coach Tom Ellis selected the starting squad after months of deliberation, which included a notable camp in Dallas, Texas within the past two months.
The Revos’ list is deliberately a “mix of old and new” according to Ellis, and many other players who didn’t make the list for the IC will be able to represent the US during their 2018 tour of Europe. Some of the talented newcomers include Donald Lee (Los Angeles Dragons) and John Freeman (Nashville Kangaroos), who will be looking to make big impacts in their IC debuts.
Conor Glass is set to become the first Irish International rookie to play for Hawthorn. Following on from New Zealander Kurt Heatherley becoming the Hawk's first International recruit to play in the AFL, Glass will run out for the Hawks against Fremantle on Saturday night Melbourne time (Live on ESPN - BT Sport Saturday @ 10:00am BST).
Canada's Northern Lights are currently the women’s Australian Football International Cup champions having defeated Ireland in the 2014 International Cup.. They are ranked 2nd outright behind Australia and must be considered favourites for the IC17 title.
The Northern Lights won in 2014 Melbourne when Canada, like the U.S.A, took two women's teams to the International Cup. Canada’s second team the Midnight Suns finished 4th behind the U.S.A.’s first team, the Freedom. That shows the depth of talent in Canadian women’s football.
Round 18 of the 2017 AFL Season kicks off tomorrow night at the Adelaide Oval with the Adelaide Crows hosting Geelong. The full international broadcast schedule can be seen below.
In addition to the TV networks you can also subscribe to the Watch AFL service that will give you live access to all the matches and more (outside Australia only). You can access that service by clicking on the link here or the Watch AFL banner below and paying the subscription fee.
China returns for their fourth consecutive International Cup with a mix of youth and experience that reflects their progress across the past decade of the Chinese national team’s existence. With several players with Australian experience and momentum building amongst a core group of players who’ve recently played competitive international matches, China are a chance to be a major competitor in the Men’s Division 2 of this year’s International Cup.
In the first of our 2017 International Cup previews we welcome the European Crusaders women's team who will make their International Cup debut. A combine of players from across Europe they will have their work cut out for them. The Crusader's concept is a great vehicle to allow players that otherwise might never get to experience the International Cup for their own nation be part of this great tournament.
Europe and Australia Football
Australian football has been played regularly in many parts of Europe since the late 1980s when leagues formed in England and Denmark. These first leagues led to the first international game between two European teams was played in 1994 between Great Britain and Denmark. Football matches have been played much earlier by Australian troops during war time and also between students at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. As more cities and countries formed teams and leagues precursor bodies to today's AFL Europe formed and a number of tournaments held.