In the late time slot of the first day of the 2005 Cup, at Aanenson Oval, one of the fancied chances Papua New Guinea found themselves in a titanic struggle against the pride of Samoa. It wasn't until the closing minutes that Australia's northern neighbour pulled away to a narrow win as the rain came down.
The US Revolution team keen to show their improvement from 2002 came out hard against the South African Buffaloes team. While winning convincingly they found a fast dedicated opposition also showing improvement and a more balanced side than in the past.
Three years after the inaugural International Cup, ten nations have gathered in Melbourne Australia for the second such tournament. After the late withdrawal of Nauru the draw was re-done and five matches scheduled for the first day's play, at Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne. The day also featured an official opening ceremony.
In the first round of matches played in the Australian Football International Cup, a very quick Japanese side defeated Spain 88-17, PNG overcame a very tough Samoa 59-36, Ireland trailed Canada at three-quarter time but came home to win 31-23, the USA beat a much-improved South Africa 62-34 and New Zealand accounted for Great Britain.
Match reports and photos coming soon, for updated scores as they come to hand throughout the International Cup, click here.
In the lead-up to the second International Cup the British Bulldogs have been training hard under the guidance of former Adelaide Crows premiership player Matt Connell. The Brits are quietly confident of their chances over the next few weeks. World Footy News (WFN) spoke with Connell about his career and Aussie footy in the UK.
Fiatupu To’oto’o, most valuable player at the 2002 International Cup, will be lining up again for the Samoan Bulldogs this August. Internet news source eventpolynesia.com profiled the star and Australian football generally in the island nation.
The AFL have again amended the draw for the International Cup 2005 following the withdrawal of Denmark and at very late notice Nauru (both mainly due to financial problems). The Pool system has been eliminated, and all sides play 4 games, after which the top 4 sides play off in semi-finals for the right to play in the MCG Grand Final. The lower 6 teams play off amongst themselves. As disappointng as this is for the countries that were unable to attend, it does ensure a more exciting competition, with the semi-finals guaranteed to be top matches.
With the International Cup starting this Wednesday we're starting to see numerous articles appearing in the mainstream Melbourne media. In the Herald Sun Jordan Chong spoke with US Revolution players Chris Carroll and Jay Mueller, and Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, who along with Ron Barassi is the highest profile AFL advocate for spreading the great Australian game.