With the emphatic victory of the USA Revolution over South Africa today, the draw for the semi-finals of Division 1 has been confirmed by the AFL, and might change. A full run down of the draw for Wednesday will be available shortly.
Playing off for a spot in the Division 1 Grand Final will be Ireland vs New Zealand and Papua New Guinea vs USA. With the NZ Hawks battling to get over Canada and the USA's strong display over South Africa, neither game looks easy to tip at this point, and all four sides will have their sights set firmly on a chance to battle it out at the MCG next weekend. The losers of those two games will play off for 3rd on Friday at Royal Park.
Also playing for a shot at 5th will be Great Britain vs South Africa and Denmark vs Nauru. The winners of those two games will meet on Friday to play off for 5th, the losers for 7th.
Finally, the last two playoffs see Canada vs Japan and Sweden vs Tonga, to determine who shoots for 9th and who for 11th.
The Men's Division 2 and Women's schedules remain as previous - these divisions having one more round of pool matches on Wednesday before their single round of playoffs on Friday.
As the traditional USA vs Canada footy rivalry continued, the Canadian women came out trumps at Auburn yesterday, the Northern Lights defeating the USA Freedom by 18 points.
Canada came out of the blocks early and before anyone could speak of which team had looked stronger in the Women’s Division so far, the Freedom were already two goals down. And that’s when everyone remembered that the Northern Lights have a lot of experience of playing the USA Freedom, and the last time the two sides met, the Canadians beat them. Neither team resembled those from previous games. After that shock opening, there was an almighty battle up and down the field, but neither team was able to put any points on the board.
Ireland's women came out today and showed why they were favourites going into the IC, the Banshees defeating the PNG Flame by 67 points.
Despite the coach’s warning not to take anything for granted, the favourites for the Women’s Division came onto the field looking like champions. The brave PNG Flame put up a brave fight, but they were no match for the mighty Banshees who collected 4 goals in the first quarter.
During the half time break the Flame’s coach told the girls to be more attacking, and that they did, hoping for an early counter, and got the goal they needed. But before they could make an impact, Ireland came smashing back. But a run of misfortune for the Banshees, their first attempt was deemed touched off the boot for a behind and the second hit the post. After the ball was finally cleared from the PNG 50, there was a tough midfield battle before Ireland got their break and got their goal. The Flame tried to counter, and the ball was locked in the Irish 50 until the siren went, but nothing to show for their efforts.
The final time slot at Blacktown on Saturday night saw China, fresh from a win over India, take on the improving Peace Team.
The match started fairly evenly, with both sides looking like they could make an impact. The Peace Team were bigger, but the Chinese Red Demons were pushing hard. It stayed that way until halfway through the first quarter when the Peace Team finally broke through and got the opening goal. From then on, it all seemed to go the Peace Team’s way, except for a controversial behind, just before the siren, which seemed like a great goal for the Peace Team’s Abualthon.
China came out fighting after the break, but the Peace Team looked more threatening and the ball ended up back inside the Chinese 50m. But the plucky Chinese refused to back down and despite their efforts, it took the Peace Team 13 minutes to add to their goal tally, after several forward thrusts resulted only in behinds. Finally the pressure paid off though, and they got another goal just before half time.
While there's been plenty of improvement across the board, the IC11 has shown again the gulf between the big 3 of PNG, New Zealand and Ireland and the rest of the field - the Big 3 having won one International Cup each to date, and always finishing top 4.
Number 4 at this point still looks likely to be South Africa, as was the case in 2008, although the Lions will be up against a USA side tomorrow who are eager to prove they can match it with the best of them.
Wednesday's matches will see the top four sides of Division 1 go into semi-finals, with the winners to play for the International Cup the following weekend. Those four will be PNG, New Zealand, Ireland and one of either South Africa or the USA.
The next group will be the teams finishing 5-8 on the table; Denmark, Great Britain and Nauru already being confirmed to be in this group, and the loser of South Africa vs USA to join them.
The only Division 1 matches already set (unofficially) for Wednesday are those which will decide who plays for 9th and who for 11th - these will see Canada clash with Japan and Sweden against Tonga.
Men's Division 2
In Division 2, it looks likely that France will meet Fiji in the Grand Final on Friday, unless on Wednesday either China can pull off a major upset over the Fijians, or the Peace Team do the same over the French. A more even match-up should be India vs Timor-Leste, with both sides coming off a number of heavy losses compounded by major injuries, and eager to break through for their inaugural international win.
The French Coqs have continued on their winning way, destroying India by 91 points to take top spot in Division 2 today.
After an initial 10 minute filling-out period, the match got seriously underway, with the Coqs scoring the first two goals through Ludovic Galiana and Grégoire Patacq. Despite kicking with slight breeze, the French couldn't kick any further majors in the term, whilst the Tigers got one through Kaliasanthan to quarter time. Rakesh Ghosh was keeping the Indians in the match, working hard around the packs, and Jay Himat marking well in defence.
Today’s game between Fiji and Timor Leste was a Division 2 mismatch. The highly favoured Fiji were very close to making Division 1 last weekend, and showed their abilities tonight against the undermanned Timor Leste team winning by a massive 135 points at BISS Oval 2.
Although there was some moisture around from recent heavy rains conditions were much more favourable than the last round and allowed Fiji to shine. The Tribe set the scene with a goal in the first minute and another a minute later. Timor Leste tried to slow the game down but to no avail, as Fiji finished with 8.1 for the quarter and Tiimor Leste unable to score.
Ireland's Green Machine saw off Denmark by 63 points today, in a sometimes heated encounter that saw a number of players either get sent off or leave the ground injured. Denmark have impressed at the IC11 so far, looking well-drilled and exciting up forward, but today Ireland’s ball use around the ground and smart forward setup set them apart.
Ireland went into today’s game without squad listed o’hAilpin, Stynes and Meredith who are all likely playing club football in Melbourne. The game got off to a tough start and within minutes Joachim Secher went down with a dislocated shoulder. Ireland weren’t winning in the middle but McManus put the first goal on the board for Ireland.
Scores will be updated every quarter throughout the day. We suggest you refresh your browser regularly to see the latest. Match reports will follow later in the day and into Sunday. Please note that we are very stretched with simultaneous games across Sydney so may not have full match reports for all games.
Wednesday 17th August saw two games in Sydney's west at Auburn - not as far out as Blacktown, home of the GWS Giants, but still well away from the CBD. These are the final reports from Game Day 3, and with Game Day 4 squared away tomorrow it's on to the final group of matches in Sydney - Game Days 5 (Saturday) and 6 (Sunday). These reports thanks to Kym Kovan.
Fiji Tribe vs Peace Team
The first match at 12pm was a Division Two game with one of the favourites Fiji up against the inspirational and improved Peace Team. That was followed at 2pm by top four fancy South Africa against Japan who were brave in scraping into Division One but most likely out of their depth thereafter.
It was off to Mona Ovals, Auburn. Home of the Auburn District Cricket Club and straight from the English countryside, complete with white picket fences. An ideal venue for Footy. Unfortunately it also had the English weather, it rained, then it drizzled and then it rained again. But on the ground it was anything but "traditional" English, a truly multicultural space.
The Thursday night late game at Blacktown saw the impressive US Freedom women's side take on the very young Papua New Guinean Flame.
Clearly out to prove something after their defeat at the hands of the Northern Lights, the PNG Flame came out fighting today. Though young and slender, they showed no fear in the face of much bigger girls and played very tough football. The USA Freedom came back hard as well, smashing through the Flame’s midfield, but the PNG girls banded together, and the Freedom backed off with just two behinds to show for their efforts.
PNG were determined to get on the scoreboard early, and immediately countered, showing off their undeniable skill in moving the ball quickly up through the midfield, but were unable to make it through the Freedom’s tall back line. After a tough fight in midfield, the Americans finally managed to get a goal, and despite their efforts, the PNG girls looking threatening a few times, the Freedom defence held strong.