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Monday, August 21 2017 @ 07:54 PM ACST

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IC17 Preview: Irish Warriors

International Cup 2017

Ireland were runners up in the 2014 International Cup and will be looking to return to Australia and retake the title. 

History of Irish footy

 The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded in 2000, but Aussie Rules actually came to Ireland in 1999 when squads in Belfast and Dublin recruited through the off season. The new Dublin Demons traveled to London in April, 2000 to take part in preseason matches with the British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL), and finished third out of 12 teams. The Demons then won a best-of-three series with the Belfast Redbacks to be crowned the first Irish footy premiers.

Michael Currane and Ciaran O hEeadhra both have their fingerprints all over Irish footy, as does Michael’s younger brother Brian, who is the Warriors head coach for IC17. Brian (along with Diarmuid Griffin) helped form the Leeside Lions over 15 years ago. Michael founded the European Australian Rules Football Council (EARFC) in early 2001 with the goal of developing the sport of Aussie Rules across the continent and strengthening ties between the already established leagues.

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Women's competition - who wins?

International Cup 2017

The following is a quick review of this author's thoughts on who might win the Women's Division at the 2017 International Cup.

Let's be honest, no one can really be confident about who will win this competition.  Sure we can (and will) assume that Canada will play off against Ireland again, but with new teams and women's international footy still so young and vibrant it's hard to be confident.  And that makes this event all the more exciting.

One expects the European Crusaders to struggle, with players drawn from very small leagues or one off teams across Europe.  But who can be sure they won't bond and forge something special on this trip?  And there's no history to tell us what the Pakistan Dragoons may produce, and we don't yet know how many of their players have experience in Aussie leagues.

The PNG Flames struggled last time they competed but that was 6 years ago, and with large numbers of men playing maybe the women have taken the game up in numbers too.

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IC17 Preview: Papua New Guinea Mosquitos

International Cup 2017

The Papua New Guinea mens team - the Mosquitos - are the reigning champions and return to Melbourne hoping to go back to back. With a proud history having competed in the tournament since its inception in 2002 - the Mosquitos have twice taken out the top prize. Their arch rivals have been Ireland and New Zealand. The Mozzies went down to Ireland in the first tournament. 2005 saw the Mozzies go down to New Zealand before revenge was gained with a win in 2008. 2011 again saw the Mozzies contest the final but falling short to Ireland.
And then there was 2014 - and a relatively young Mozzies squad where able to take on and overcome the Irish Warriors in a classic International Cup finale held under lights at the MCG. There were important moments and star performances - most notably from under size ruck John Ikupu whose late screamer and goal put the Mozzies 'nose' in front and from there a memorable win.

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Men's Division 1 - who wins?

International Cup 2017

The following is a quick review of this author's thoughts on who might win the Men's Division 1 at the 2017 International Cup.

In terms of realistic prospects let's face it, there's the big 3 of PNG, Ireland and New Zealand, and then there's the rest.  That's probably a bit harsh, and South Africa and the United States probably deserve a nod too.  Between them, those 5 nations have filled the top 4 spots at all 5 international cups thus far.  Are there any new challengers?  I'm afraid not.

France and Fiji were first timers in Div 1 in 2014 and put up some good contests but were no match for the top sides.  They should be increasingly competitive against the middle Div 1 sides but the matches against the top teams may still expose a large gap. Aussie Rules is high scoring and merciless in exposing a difference.  Grabbing 1 or 2 wins each would be a great achievement.

Looking to the middle ranks of Div1 and Canada (juniors maturing), Great Britain (more regional teams) and the USA (metro leagues) have growing numbers to draw on and steady improvement is expected but probably not a major leap. Great Britain has a tough draw, while Canada and the USA face off in round 1 so probably only one will remain a Grand Final chance after that and will have to knock off one of the big 3 (PNG, Ireland, NZ) to make it.

Nauru are always dangerous but are probably limited by population size, I'm not expecting significant improvement.  But take them lightly and you'll get a scare on the scoreboard to go with a physical battering on the field.

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IC17 Preview: Irish Banshees

International Cup 2017

Australian Rules Football has a brief history in Ireland. However in the years following, the level of interest, participation, and quality of play have all taken leaps forward.

History

The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded in 2000, but Aussie Rules actually came to Ireland in 1999 when squads in Belfast and Dublin recruited through the off season.

 

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IC17 Preview: New Zealand Hawks

International Cup 2017

Vince Serci, Steve Froggatt and Mike Seversinsen may not be the biggest names in world footy – however they share a common link. All were members of the inaugural AFL International Cup World Team from the first tournament back in 2002 and all were members of the New Zealand Falcons side that officially placed 3rd (defeating Denmark into 4th).

The Kiwi Falcons are now Hawks; and while their team moniker has changed the New Zealand team has been a permanent fixture in all previous International Cup tournaments (1 of 8 nations to do so). And they will enter IC17 determined to reclaim the title.

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Mozzies and Chiefs warm up in Beenleigh

International Cup 2017

The PNG Mosquitos and the Nauru Chiefs will play a warm up match on their way to Melbourne to compete for the 2017 International Cup. The two nations will meet again with a little more on the line on the 9th of August in the "Schools Round" at Mt Clear in Ballarat.

On the AFL South Pacific Nations page the following announcement was made today.

Both the Nauru Chiefs & PNG Mozzies are excited to invite the South Pacific Community & all footy people in Brisbane & the Gold Coast to the Beenleigh Buffalo's... AFC on Monday 31st July for a 6:15pm match between the 2 countries. FREE ENTRY! The battle of the Tribes - Tribal v Tribal #jointhetribe

 

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IC17 Fixture changes and updates

International Cup 2017

The AFL has released details of updated venue and changed match times.  These affect the matches in Round 2, the Schools Round and Round 3 the Community Round.

The NZ vs Fiji match will be played at St Kilda's home training base, Linen Park in Seaford.  St Kilda have an ongoing relationship with AFLNZ.

The India vs Pakistan match has been confirmed to be played at Golden Square (in Bendigo) on the Friday evening 11th of August at 7pm.

Please see the updated fixtures below.

 

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IC17 Preview: USA Freedom

International Cup 2017
Introduction to the Freedom
The USA Freedom will be competing at their third International Cup in 2017 from August 5-19 after posting consecutive third-place finishes in the past two editions of the IC.
 
The playing squad for 2017 has a number of well-regarded veterans, including star forward Kim Hemenway, the former Sacramento Sun 5’8” utility Katie Klatt  and the versatile Lindsay Kastanek.  Hemenway and Klatt were selected to the AFL Women’s Academy last year after impressing at the league’s talent search in Sydney and both played in the GWS vs Sydney AFLW exhibition match.  Klatt has spent the 2017 season playing with Melbourne Uni and represented North Melbourne agasint the Darebin Falcons in an exhibition match at Arden St earlier in the season. 
 
Midfielder Melissa Armstrong is one of the most experienced Freedom players around and fought her way back from a knee injury to make the side again.
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IC17 Preview: Great Britain Bulldogs

International Cup 2017

Men’s Footy in Great Britain

The game has seen a steady increase in activity since the last tournament and expanded markedly in central England and Scotland. The quality of the game has increased, with more youngsters getting involved and staying with the game, many of whom travel into London to get increased exposure to the full 18’s game, as well as the 9’s they play regularly with their regional clubs.

The number of British eligible players across clubs has improved dramatically with numerous clubs now having strength in depth of their “rest of world” players, which local league rules stipulate must be in match day squads. The mix of high-level Australian players and talented British rookies has created one of the strongest leagues outside of Australia and bought those rookies up to speed and a good level of play quickly.

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South Africa Lions prepare for IC17

International Cup 2017

South Africa's Lions have been in camp preparing for IC17. Check out this great news story from CGTN Africa.

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Interchanger game management App IC17 free offer

International Cup 2017

Interchanger is the game management App currently used by more than 400 teams around Australia.  Interchanger are providing software for 11 of the 18 AFL clubs in 2017. 

The creator and owner of Interchanger Murray Bird has offered the App free (including the stats feature) to all of the International Cup teams to manage their team and stats during the tournament. 

Additionally Murray has offered to meet team coaches prior to the event to run them through functionality of the App.

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