Steven Matshane is the Community Development Officer for AFL Footywild, based in Potchefstroom, South Africa. But his current job is being part of the South Africa Lions at this year’s International Cup. Steven has had a long relationship with the game, shared with us in this story.
“I discovered Aussie Rules footy in 2002 when I was 14 years old. I was recruited from my school by our teacher who was involved in AFL footy, Mr Mokotedi. At that time Aussie Rules was only played in the Northwest Province in three communities: Itsoseng, Ramatlabama and Mafikeng where I come from.”
Matching Papua New Guinea, a genuine contender to take out this year’s tournament, against India, recovering from a 166 point loss, was always going to produce a certain result; it was just a question of the margin.
Who will grab fourth spot and go through to the semi-finals of the 2014 AFL International Cup? It's almost impossible to call.
First up, who will the other 3 be? Our understanding of the AFL's rules for IC14 are that the top team in each pool at the end of Round 3 will go through. As you can see on the ladders (Ladders after Round 2) there's six nations still in contention. Ireland and Nauru, PNG and South Africa, New Zealand and USA are all on 2 wins 0 losses. Each pair are drawn to play each other in Round 3 (Community Round). This doesn't seem likely to be a coincidence. Unless there's a draw there will be one team sitting on top of each pool on 3 wins 0 losses. They go through.
If the matches go on historical form that means Ireland, New Zealand and PNG.
Then the pools are combined to determine 4th spot - the last semi-final position. We've crunched some numbers and come up with some fascinating possibilites, with Nauru, South Africa and the USA all obvious candidates, but Tonga, Fiji, Canada and Great Britain all in with big chances too. That's even tighter than the AFL's run to this year's finals.
The ladders are now taking shape after Round 2 of the 2014 AFL International Cup and with just 1 round remaining before breaking into divisions we can begin to see who is in contention for the coveted Men's semi-finals and a chance to play on the MCG in the Grand Final.
The Women's is straight forward but the Men are divided into 3 pools, with the complication being that the top 4 that go through to the semi-finals after 3 rounds are the top of each pool and then the next best based on combining all the teams - hence we've also shown a Combined ladder. That will also determine the teams that make what the AFL has called Division 1, i.e. teams 5 - 12, and Division 2, i.e. teams 13 to 18.
There are, as always, some bizarre percentages, due to lopsides matches and not in a small way because we've stuck to the AFL / Victorian way of calculating percentage, which is now spreading throughout Australian football throughout the world, namely points for divided by points against multipled by 100, rather than the conventional maths of for divided by (for plus against) multipled by 100. So the % means per 100 points scored by the opposition, not per 100 points of the total scores. As such New Zealand, on 355 for, 0 against, have a percentage that is infinite or undefined.
The Round 2 matches again played out as the Ranking Scheme predicted, that is, each higher ranked country prevailed over its lower ranked opponent. Three of the nine matches had a +/- 10.00 rating gap and although each of these matches resulted in 100+ point wins no advantage was gained by the higher ranked nation and no loss by the defeated nation.
The Banshees took on the the Tonga Thunder today on McAlister Oval. In cool but sunny conditions that would certainly be more familiar to the Irish girls than the Tongans it would always be a hard ask for the Pacific Islanders going up against the reigning champions.
Tonga as you would expect came out hard in both their attack on the ball and in tackling and at quarter time with a goal on the board and the Irish just the three goals. Folauhola.I.V.Timani kicking that goal for Tonga the first for the match.
The Canadian Northern Lights continued their march towards another Grand Final appearance, easily accounting for the United States reserves side; the Liberty.
The Canadians came in as heavy favourites to beat the Liberty after having just convincingly defeated the Freedom earlier in the week. The opening quarter showed that the favourites tag was definitely deserved, kicking six goals to none. The quarter time score showed Canada leading 6.2 (38) to 0.0 (0).
Despite this being the first match of the tournament for the Liberty, Canada did not show any mercy, adding on another three unanswered goals in the second quarter. The Lights went into the main break with a score of 9.6 (60) to 0.0 (0).
A chilly morning at Ransford Oval saw the United States Freedom redeem their loss to Canadian Northern Lights, coming out with a much stronger performance against the Canadian reserves side; the Midnight Suns.
The Freedom started the match strongly, dominating with #21 Hallie Lee winning all of the hit-outs in the centre. The Freedom capitalised on those hit-outs, going in to the first quarter break with three unreturned goals. The scoreboard read the United States leading 3.2 (20) to Canada 0.0 (0).
New Zealand played in another massive mismatch today against the China Dragons winning 28.26 (194) to 0.0 (0). Having also run up a cricket score against the Sweden Elks on Sunday whilst also holding their opposition to no score the Hawks defence has seen little work thus far.
Today's game was played at the Linen House Oval in Seaford, the training base for the St Kilda Saints. There was a crowd of over 250 there with many local schoolchildren.