Sunday, August 20 2017 @ 10:01 AM ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
At the completion of the 2017 AFL International Cup here are the final positions of all the competing nations across the Men's and Women's competitions.
In the Men's Papua New Guinea now level their ledger with 3 championships and 3 runners-up, an incredible run stretching over 15 years and 6 International Cups. Nauru's 5th spot was their equal best, as was Great Britain's 6th and France's 10th. Fiji's climb continues, finishing 8th after 13th (2011) and 10th (2014) previously. A lot of the improved rankings came at the expense of South Africa who crashed to 9th, their worst finish since the first Cup in 2002. Croatia (11th) and Germany (12th) impressed on IC debut. Keep an eye on China too, up to 13th after a previous best of 15th and more recently 17th, but went very close to a higher finish. Sri Lanka's 15th was a good debut.
In the Women's Ireland and Canada continued to keep the Grand Final to themselves, but Great Britain announced themselves as a genuine threat with 3rd on IC debut. PNG looked like their program is on track, being very competitive after a 6 year absence, and we welcomed the European Crusaders and Pakistan for the first time. Hopefully we see both again but if things go well perhaps we'll see some of the Crusaders return representing their own nations as standalone teams. And on that note we'd really hope to see New Zealand debut in 2020 and if so they might just jump up into the top echelon given they already have a significant program going.