Round 3 produced several upsets and rating points were exchanged in all nine games with 16 rises and falls in the rankings. A very dynamic round could best describe it. There were even rises and falls amongst the provisional nations.
Read on for WFN World Rankings 16th August 2014 after Round 3 IC14.
The AFL has once again done a wonderful job coordinating around 1000 players and officials from all over the world at the International Cup. With the upset win of South Africa over Papua New Guinea we also have 4 genuine contenders for the overall championship in the Men's, and in the Women's it looks like the Canadians may have bridged the gap to Ireland, so the race is open there.
However... there's a ticking timebomb that has already caused some damage to the image of the Cup and the AFL and could get worse.
The fixture has major issues. There's no doubt it's a difficult task trying to meet all the needs of the tournament - flexibility in the number of teams that will turn up, trying to ensure everyone gets a mix of games against the best and the lowest ranked, making sure the top teams have a fair chance to win it, and certainty for the Community Round so that the hosts could prepare for known countries in advance.
But in any sporting competition the key requirement must be that it is as fair as possible. A primary tool in achieving that is having reasonable seedings (the previous Cup positions making that straight forward) and ensuring a draw that, if matches go according to the seedings, results in the top teams facing off in the semi-finals and grand final. It also needs to avoid, if possible, teams playing each other more than once, unless they work their way back to a grand final playoff. This is especially so when players are spending small fortunes to travel around the world wanting to play against countries they've never encountered before or rarely.
The inaugural Dosti Cup was contested on Saturday at Highgate Reserve in Cragieburn, an outer northern suburb of Melbourne. Dosti is the Hindi and Urdu word for Friendship, the spirit in which India and Pakistan would play this game of football.
The home of the Manningham (formerly Bulleen) Cobras at Koonung Reserve in Bulleen was the scene for a Pool of Death (Pool A) match between the Great Britain Bulldogs and the ever improving Fiji Tribe. With the local team in the VAFA, their reserves kicked off the early morning dew and by the time the IC match was ready to go the ground was bathed in weak morning sun glowing through the low clearing cloud and in fine firm condition to allow the players to showcase their wares to the local crowd.
Great Britain sitting 1 and 1 after a first up win against the French followed by a tough and bruising loss against an impressive Nauru. Fiji first up showed a bit going down to the Irish and then had a percentage booster against the hapless Garudas. In the battle to sneak into the Division one 4th place this would be a tough ask – as neither side would give an inch.
With cool and calm conditions prevailing and an overcast sky – the USA Liberty (the ‘B’ team) had a tough task in taking on the inaugural IC women’s champions in Ireland (the Banshees). Perhaps to the chagrin of the ‘A’ team (the Freedom) who would love to take on the Irish – the goal for the Liberty would be more about limiting the damage and seeing if with an ounce of luck and a ton of pluck that they might just sneak a goal. They had the first round bye and on Wednesday had been given a trouncing by the Northern Lights. The Banshees on the other hand undefeated thus far with a tough opener against the debutant Fiji Vonu and a round 2 victory over the other debutant nation Tonga.
Canada put on a slick display of football at Mordialloc on Saturday, winning 20.10 (130) to Sweden no score.
Whilst both sides impressed the enthusiastic local crowd with fast, tough, physical footy, it was the Canadians who entertained with their precision hand and foot skills.
The match potentially could have awarded the Canadians fourth spot after the pool matches and a shot at lifting the International Cup, and the Northwind players knew they wanted to hit the ground running.
Aimee Legault has proudly led her team, the Canada Northern Lights, onto the fields of battle in this year’s International Cup. Aimee has taken the time to share her footy journey with us.
“I first discovered footy in 2009. After a long soccer career I wanted to take a small break from the semi-pro soccer life and I found myself on an open ground with strange looking balls after my sister’s boyfriend, Ronan Shaughnessy, got my sister Margo and myself out to just come for a "kick". The first time I played my hands on a Sherrin, I fell in love. I engulfed myself with learning everything and anything about the sport. I think people were getting annoyed with all of my questions but I just wanted to learn as much as I could.”
“I began playing in late summer of 2009. At this point in time there was only a men's 9 aside league in Montreal, ECAFL (Eastern Canadian Australian football league). Margo and I competed with the men at club level and we also travelled to play in the Ontario men's division 2 league, OAFL (Ontario AFL). Along with our men's provincial team, the Quebec Saints, we played in various 18 aside tournaments with the men. After much recruitment, we finally gathered enough ladies to create our female provincial team, the Montreal Angels. With this team, we would have to travel to Toronto, a six hour drive in order to play against other females.”
The Canadian Northern Lights defeated a much improved Fiji Vonu on a foggy morning at Mulgrave Reserve, hosted by the Eastern Devils for Community Round.
Fiji were winning the early knockouts, with #14 Cathy Bale dominating in the centre, but the Canadians still read the play and took to early lead with #10 Aimee Legault opening up the scoring. The Lights kicked the only three goals of the quarter and kept the Vonu scoreless. To make matters worse #14 Bale received a concussion and had to sit out the rest of the match. Canada led Fiji 3.2.20 to 0.0.0.
After a pleasant Saturday afternoon drive and a coffee next to the busy Irish pub in downtown Bendigo I made my way over the QEO. Maybe I should go in and tell them the real Irish show was up the road I thought? I have driven past the QEO hundreds of times in my life on my way to/from Melbourne but never watched a game there.
I watched the end of the Bendigo Football League match where hosts South Bendigo went down to Castlemaine. Before the end of the third quarter I wandered through the Nauru change room under the old grandstand (the word grand is right there in the title and here it is apt). They were in various stages of preparation, more than an hour out from their match. The pump up music was going. And already the balls were being flipped around by hand, and the tackle pads were out with Chiefs players receiving the ball and cannoning into the pads.
Round 3 - International Cup China v Finlandby Andrew Sawitsch
Foggy & windy conditions greeted the Finnish & Chinese teams as their buses arrived at Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat.
On paper, This was likely to be a pretty close one, the wide expanses of the oval, combined with the wind, made it seem a certainty.
Match began at 11:10, first quarter saw China doing a lot of the attacking, but unable to capitalise, kicking several attempts at goal out of bounds. In fact the ball spent most of its time this quarter in their forward half, with lots of stoppages & crowded packs. It seemed to go by in a flash & a totally scoreless first quarter seemed a surprise. China's Ruckman GaoPeng was starting to take some marks inside 50 & present as a good target.