The Samoan Kangaroos are one of nine teams that will contest their third International Cup in 2008, although at the past two cups they were known as the Bulldogs. Adopting the Kangaroo was deemed to fit nicely with North Melbourne supporting them at the tournament, and going forward as something distinctly marketable as Australian within Samoa. Previously the Samoans have finished seventh (2002) and fifth (2005). With no senior competition currently in place the Samoans enter the IC08 as somewhat of a wildcard. At the 2005 tournament for example, they initially easily accounted for the eighth-finishing British side (70 point victory) and yet nearly dropped a match against the ninth-place Canada (4 point victory).
The final list of nations competing for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup has been finalised. Here they are:
Papua New Guinea
Israel/Palestine Peace Team (debut)
Tonga was unable to make the final commitment due to issues such as player availability for the full duration of the tournament; we hope to have a chat to TAFA staff later. They are however expected to make an appearance outside the main draw as well as there being some practice matches for a few of the main combatants and teams representing some of Melbourne's ethnic communities.
The draw has now been provisionally released to the participating countries, and will be officially released on Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll respect those wishes as the AFL want to promote the Cup as best as possible through various media, so any early release can affect this and so is presumably against the best interests of the tournament.
We'll have the full details here as soon as the embargo is lifted (standard media practice). There will be plenty of debate, but it does look balanced and should ensure the best teams rise to the top.
Nauru is well known amongst Australian football fans as the one other country, besides Australia, to fully embrace the Aussie code of football. An attendee at the Arafura Games in 1995 and one of eleven nations at the inaugural International Cup in 2002, the tiny island nation was absent in 2005, a late withdrawal, and has suffered a ban on the game at home. Footy fans will be happy to see the team return in 2008 as the Our Airline Nauru Chiefs and plans to re-launch the sport. With 17 players currently guest participants in the VCFL (most of them pictured below in their club jumpers), could they be a dark-horse when the Cup gets under-way next month? We talk to coach Wes Illig on the nation's expectations.
As part of an ongoing series worldfootynews.com will preview, in no particular order, each of the competing nations in the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. First up, the men from the Emerald Isle. Later, as the Cup draws nearer, we'll put together all the tips from the WFN staff to get a consolidated view of how we think the teams will go.
The Irish return for their third International Cup and the Warriors are planning a fierce onslaught to return to the Grand Final after bowing out in the semis in 2005. Although the coaching staff are a fresh set of faces they still regard 2005 as leaving behind unfinished business.
The AFL has confirmed their intention to finalise and next week release the official draw for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. The tentative plan is to go public on Monday 7th July, however that is not guaranteed as the final adjustments are made.
We can reveal that one of the listed likely competing nations unfortunately looks like pulling out this week, due as much to difficulties securing the availability of enough of their players as the financial burden.
This would leave the AFL with a difficult task to satisfy all desired outcomes for the draw, and we think readers will find the final schedule very interesting if it plays out the way we expect. But that is yet to be finalised. Sit tight until next week.
2002 International Cup Champions Ireland have received a makeover for this year's tournament.
ARFLI held a jumper design competition earlier in the year which was won by Aine Hasson. Entries were received from Australia and America, but a design by the girlfriend of Irish player Daire Ó hAodhagáin was deemed the best.
The jumper features a Celtic Dragon (representing Ireland) and the Southern Cross (representing Australia).
USFootyNews recently caught up with USFooty's Revolution squad member, Jay Levesque, after the Baltimore Washington Eagles training run on Thursday June 12 2008. The next day Revolution Head Coach Robert Oliver, visited the elementary school where Levesque is a PE Teacher to present his Revolution jumper. You can view the video clip right here on World Footy News below.
The Hawthorn Football Club will be the New Zealand Falcon's host club for the 2008 International Cup.
This is an alliance where there is a natural link, at present, in Kiwi born backman Trent Croad who plays with the silver fern tattooed onto his upper arm. Trent's grandfather was an All Black and although Trent left NZ as a four year old he has obviously retained strong links to the country.
Trent was one of the people sent over earlier this decade to Wellington as a promotional player for an Ansett Cup clash with the Western Bulldogs and may be able to renew some old acquaintances at the IC08.
The opportunity for NZ to have access to the Waverley Park facilities of the Hawks, and to such a currently successful club as Hawthorn, is one that the Kiwis are very happy with.
As preparations continue for the third Australian Football International Cup (also often referred to as the AFL International Cup) it is pleasing to note that V-Line and the Victorian Country Football League have joined forces to provide transport for the competing nations as they head down to Warrnambool for two rounds of the tournament. The deal had been known about for some months but details have now been confirmed.
The VCFL's marketing and communications manager Graeme Allen told worldfootynews.com that the package is worth around AUD$25,000 which will certainly ease the load on teams. "V/Line will provide one train which will have most of the teams on it and the remainder will be on a normal scheduled service to Warrnambool". A working group has been in place since October making sure the town will turn it on for the visitors. It includes representatives of council, football leagues, umpires and schools.
A few more details are now also available about the events for players attending the Cup, including local attractions, filming of games and possible night matches. It also looks certain that Spain will not attend, leaving 17 teams as the likely number, dramatically up from 11 in 2002 and 10 in 2005.
Minnesota Freeze's Ryan Marx featured this week in a story on the Bellevue Leader's site. Marx along with three of his Freeze teammates were named in the USAFL's Revolution squad to compete at this years International Cup in Melbourne. Marx descibes himself in the article as "I'm tall, but I'm also pretty skinny, so I can move fairly quick," and at 6 feet 5 inches will be hard to match up on for his international opponents.