At Holroyd on Wednesday PNG and Tonga both showed their passion pre-match with impressive displays. Hopefully the video below can convey some of that to those that haven't been able to make it to the matches so far.
Brendan Beno is a star young player for Papua New Guinea at the 2011 AFL International Cup. Having just turned 17 he has already kicked 7 goals in 3 games and remember these are shortened length, especially on the opening day. From Bougainville, at 173 cm and 62 kg he's lightly built but boldly wears the number 1 jumper. Now he's about to swap that for a Brisbane Lions Guernsey.
When we started to research Beno's involvement with Brisbane this evening we contacted AFL Asia Pacific Manager Andrew Cadzow for comment, only to have him point out that the Lions had just made the call on his services and even run an article on him, a remarkable coincidence in timing.
Beno (pictured at left shooting for goal) also starred for the South Pacific in the NAB AFL Under 16 Championships earlier this year, showing then that he knows where the goals are. Happily for the Brisbane Lions they had already snapped him up on an international scholarship and with their Reserves playing at Blacktown International Sportspark Sydney (BISS) this Saturday it occurred to all involved that it would be the perfect chance for the young Mozzie to play his first game for the Lions.
Ireland staked their claim at the top of Women's International Cup ladder alongside the United States after a crushing win over Australia's indigenous and multicultural team.
The Irish Banshees were looking confident coming onto the field today, the tournament’s strongest team certain to win against the weakest. The Australian girls on the other hand were looking tired from their previous games, and already with a few players out with injuries, there were no spare girls for the bench today.
Right from the start it was Ireland, one way. The ball never left the AMI’s half and it looked again as if it would be another game of constant defending from the inexperienced and under-prepared AMI team. By quarter time the Irish were already 6 goals up, the AMI team without so much as a behind to show for their efforts.
If anyone was doubting the perception that Ireland's men are a genuine Cup threat that was quickly put to bed in a savage first quarter against the improved Swedish Elks at the SCG Bus Loop ground in the 2pm slot on Game Day 3 (Wednesday 17th August).
Sweden are clearly better than their 2008 IC debut, with better structure, some very solid physiques and plenty of experience in international competition, such as the European Championships last year when they placed third. Yet Ireland came out in the first quarter and blew them away, 6.2 (38) to no score.
And although that was the worst of it as the Swedes gathered their defences, Ireland never showed mercy, with a 4 goal to 1 second quarter making it clear there would be no comeback.
The 2011 International Cup is not only the first time the women have competed but for many of these teams it's the first or second time they've played international matches. That making picking a winner difficult, and after Papua New Guinea thrashed the Australian Indigenous / Multicultural side we thought we'd found our tournament favourite. Not so! What a shock to have Canada's Northern Lights not only shine brighter than PNG's Flames but to completely eclipse them.
The match was in the 12pm timeslot as SCG Bus Loop - that's the oval by the bus loop outside the Sydney Cricket Ground, home to the AFL's Sydney Swans.
Canada burst out the blocks, kicking 2.3 to 0.0 in the first quarter, and we waited for PNG to respond. They did and held Canada to 2 points in the second quarter, but still couldn't trouble the scoreboard.
Just two matches this afternoon. 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 Friday.
One of the side issues that was always going to emerge at this International Cup is the pull of club versus country. And in many instances this is also career versus country.
As the standard of international footy continues to improve we're seeing more and more players head to Australia to hone their skills. This is great thing on many levels. It improves the standard of world footy overall, it exposes Australia to the game's growth which will help Australians and their footy leagues/clubs be more supportive, and it also provides careers for budding international talent.
In fact it is reaching the point that to push into the upper echelons of International Cup success teams really need to have quite a few players in Australia getting the benefit of weekly footy at a very high standard. But the drawback to all this is that when it comes to representing their country, will players skip games for their Aussie sides?
The top seed PNG Mosquitos and Tonga Tigers today battled it out at Holroyd in Sydney’s west (Gipps Rd Sporting Complex) in constant light rain making for cold and greasy conditions. The large crowd of schoolchildren were thrilled by the PNG war dance and the Tongan Sipi Tau, and the turn out made the atmosphere all the better despite the inclement conditions.
Having already met in the seeding round (a quirk of the draw) it might have been thought that wet weather may have evened up the contest, bringing favourites PNG back to Tonga’s level somewhat, but this was soon dispelled with PNG kicking 6 goals straight before being followed up with two points. Tonga could only manage one point for the quarter.
It was Game Day 3 of the 4th International Cup and Great Britain headed to Bruce Purser Reserve, Rouse Hill in northwestern Sydney to take on the might of number two seed New Zealand. The Kiwis were red hot favourites but after a great win over Canada the Bulldogs had ever right to attack this game with confidence.
It was a wet and cold day but the Kiwis came onto the field looking confident, and as the British Bulldogs lined up, the Hawks set up for the Haka. Though the Bulldogs stared back with unmoved faces, it appeared that the Haka may have had some effect on one side, as it all went New Zealand’s way. The Kiwis has superb aerial marking skills and the Bulldogs’ kicking game was playing straight into their hands. With the Bulldogs maybe still sore from their cracking win over Canada two days before, they were a little slow going into tackles and challenges, and the Hawks started to swoop all over them, kicking four goals and seven behinds before the siren sounded.
This was first game for the USA coming into the tournament, and a chance for the Australian Multicultural Indigenous team to show how much they’d come together and improved since their defeat by the PNG Flame. That match was widely interpreted as credit to the Flame, but now we would see with the AMI squad could match it with other international sides.
Both teams came out looking confident and sang out their national anthems proudly to the onlooking crowds. The first quarter however was a one way street for the USA Freedom. The AMI team were left looking down the barrel of a red white and blue gun as the Freedom came blasting in, kicking 5 goals before the siren sounded to relieve the Australians. Immediately we knew not to count the Americans out of 2011 International Cup calculations.