No matter what happens from here, Ahmed Jahangir from the Pakistan Shaheens can retire knowing he has been a part of history on a number of fronts. Along with anything else he has been a part of the inaugural Pakistan international Australian Rules team and a part of their first ever IC victory.
“I happen to live in Melbourne for some time and have extended family settled here for quite a long time and footy is in our blood.” “I had been kicking around socially for few years now but nothing serious.”
“Now this is my first World Cup together with rest of the team since this is the first time Pakistan is participating in the International Cup.”
Having a little chat with Adam Coxsell from the Great Britain team, a small sense of disappointment comes across. But like all other players who have come to Australia for the International Cup, Adam can hold his head high, having the honour of representing his country.
“I found Aussie Rules through Great Britain Bulldogs captain Sean Walton. I lived with him for three years and he dragged me down to a training session to make up numbers and I have not looked back since.”
“From the first training session I was hooked, mainly due to the enthusiasm and support of our then coach Dave Veale. When he left to go back to Oz I ended up becoming president of Birmingham Bears. A lot of hard work and disappointment later I have eventually got my chance in the Great Britain team. I was initially selected as an emergency but someone pulled out so I got called up.”
The Midnight Suns came into this game with one win against the lossless Banshees. They were certainly taking this game seriously.
Breaking into 3 player groups well before the obligatory warm-ups. The Irish were looking confident and targeting a good lead up performance for the finals.
The Banshees were immediately into attack for a minor score. The resulting kick out was marked and free kick on the point post resulted in a good goal from the angle.
The Irish were dominating, stringing together good passages of play with a free kick at the end producing another goal. They were unlucky not to repeat the result immediately after.
#20 Veronica Fernandez for the Suns was trying to slow the Banshees down and mount an attack. A mark to her and a pass to #18 Lisa Della Rosa resulted in a Suns goal.
The AFL have just announced fixture chages for the Division 2 competition after consulting all affected teams.
Teams will play out the remaining two matches, with points and percentage accumulated from all previous matches to taken into account. After the final round the team ranked the highest based points and percentage will become the winner of Division 2.
The Indonesia Garudas have made their debut at this year’s International Cup, and as a result Yossy Alberta Taehutta etches his name in history as the inaugural Indonesian captain. He took a few moments to answer our questions.
“I discovered Australian Rules football from the AFL development program via the Jakarta Bintangs Australia Football Club. This is my first International Cup as it's the first time Indonesia has played in the event.”
“I started playing Australian Rules footy in 2009. I have played for the Jakarta Bintangs and the Cilengsi tigers. I have travelled to Pattaya, Bangkok, to play in the AFL Asian championships and to Cambodia to play against the Cambodia Eagles.”
Second game of the day at the picturesque Montrose Recreation Reserve, in the foothills of the Dandenongs, was the international between the USA Revolution and the NZ Hawks. This game was sandwiched between the Reserves and Seniors for the Eastern Football League's (EFL) Montrose and Blackburn Football Clubs. With the oval ringed both by trees and cars it was a great venue for the two nations.
Quietly having a chat with members of the crowd I discovered that a lot of promotion had gone into the game with members of both clubs, and indeed with the wider EFL community. The program had both the cover and centre spread all about this game. This is in a League encompassing many thousands of footballers! A local from Montrose said that they were supporting the USA as they were their 'home' club whilst the Hawks were supported by Blackburn. Quietly nursing his can of VB he whispered "I know I'm supposed to be supporting the US but I just can't do it, the Kiwis are our mates and as an ex- digger it just isn't right!". Treasonous thoughts right there but certainly understandable!
When two teams come out to play in red and white, it is a challenge for the umpires, At times too for the large crowd which came to Box Hill to barrack for Japan or Tonga at Elgar Park Box at Elgar Park, Box Hill before the Box Hill seniors game.
It looked like it could be close: after a Tongan goal in the first few minutes, the Japanese reply came almost immediately.
Except, despite the similar red and white guernseys, the teams were very different. While Japanese marking skills have improved, they were sometimes unable to match the biggest Tongan players in the air (even aside from some statistical oddities in the IC Record – the ‘170 cm’ Tongan player who is said to be over 100 kgs!).
As Australian Rules football grows across the world it is inevitable that the game will benefit from players from other sports, coming over to try our game and bringing a whole new skill set to complement our game. An example of this is USA Liberty player, Alison Vorsatz.
“One of my friends and teammates in New York City and on the USA Team, Andrea Casillas, played in the first women's game at our National Tournament back in 2005. She fell in love with the game and started a team in Arizona with Christina Licata. Then they moved to New York and founded the New York Lady Pies in 2008.”
“ I have been an athlete my whole life and still play competitive sports a few nights a week, but I was looking for the opportunity to be a part of a serious team again, one that traveled and resembled the types of teams I played in when I played competitive basketball, volleyball and softball. When I moved to New York in 2012, Drea and Christina handed me a training schedule and said, "You're playing. You'll love it, trust us."