With less than a year to go until the next International Cup in Melbourne, nations are already making provisions to assemble lists and support personnel ready for the event. The GB Bulldogs provisional first list has just been released. Whilst predominantly made up of players in the AFL London and AFL Central & Northern England competitions, the list is also represented by players from Wales and Scotland.
Also featured are players now playing overseas in the Netherlands and Australia. Included in the list is Sam Willatt who will bring his experience to the squad after having been a part of the AFL’s Western Bulldogs/Footscray (VFL) powerhouse, with both winning flags.
The fortunes of the Irish men’s and women’s squads for the upcoming IC17 tournament in Melbourne next August are already on the rise with their announcement last month of the men’s Warriors squad. Selectors and team officials will continue to fine tune the squad over coming months in preparation. The women’s Irish Banshees squad will be announced in due course.
The Irish Warriors management team have today named an extended Ireland based training squad for the 2017 AFL International Cup. More players may be added in the weeks ahead depending on performance in the Winter Championship and arrangements are also being made for UK and Australia based players to train and have trials and these will be announced in the coming weeks.
After debuts by India at IC08 and then Pakistan at IC14 their Sri Lankan neighbours could be next to make their International Cup debut. A talent search and fundraising effort to bring a team from Sri Lanka to compete in the 2017 AFL International Cup is underway.
The organisers were recently interviewed on Channel 31 in Melbourne on the Sri Lankan Morning Show. They have conducted clinics in Sri Lanka to find the talent to fill out their team and have been assisted by players from Essendon (Courtenay Dempsey) and Carlton (Ed Curnow, Harry McKay and Jesse Glass-McCasker).
France is already taking a positive approach to next year’s International Cup with the announcement of their initial squad for the showcase event in Melbourne next August. With a mix of players across CNFA teams, the group will now go through the stages of preparation and final selection over the coming months.
A true representative team, all clubs have players selected. Of particular note is that two players from the newest team, the Blagnac Aviators, have been selected – Anthony Girard and Sylvain Maylie creating new Toulouse/Blagnac history.
AFL Canada have named the women's team for the 2017 AFL International Cup in Melbourne. The squad of 30 to pull on the Northern Lights jumper and defend the title includes five members of the IC14 World Team and four players currently playing in Australia.
The will be the team to beat and will be competing for the title against 2014 runners up Ireland as well as the USA, a number of Pacific teams (likely Fiji, Tonga, NZ and PNG) as well as a combined European Crusaders team.
In 2014 a late decision was made to bring a second team to the International Cup but it appears that there will be no second Canadian team in 2017.
In just 365 days it will all be on again. Footy players from around the world will be in Melbourne, the months (and in some cases years) of preparations will be over. The tournament will be launched. Promotional shots will be done. New footy jumpers will be laid out. Everyone (most who have paid their own way) will be ready to play footy for their country in the city where the game was founded
It will be different for every nation. Some will have been working on their team since IC14 wound up, they will be at least partly funded by well organised sponsorship campaigns or alternate forms of funding. Some will have been scraping a squad and the funding to get them here together for the past few months. There are always some nations that are touch and go to attend up until the final week before the first bounce.
One thing is likely as with each of the previous tournaments it will be bigger and better than ever. In 2011 18 men's teams and 7 women's teams competed (with USA and Canada each sending a second women's team. In 2017 we may see the return of nations that couldn't make it in 2011. Two of these teams the "Peace Team" comprised of Israeli and Palestinian players and the Timor Leste Crocs have both shown positive signs in recent times that gives hope to their reprise.
Denmark finished fourth in 2002 but were unable to attend 2014. They were dearly missed and hopes are high that they will also return in 2011. The PNG men's team won the 2014 tournament but their women's team, the PNG Flames were unable to attend and they also seem likely to return in 2017.
Defending AFL International Cup champions PNG are gathering their best squad of players and drilling them but are also on the lookout for any new talent.
The PNG Games later in the year will be part of the selection process as it will provide a good opportunity for the AFL PNG officials to assess the players in selecting the final squad for the 2017 AFL International Cup.
AFL PNG are also working to see the women's team known as the Flames back to the International Cup (they failed to send a team to IC14 after previously playing in the IC11 tournament). AFL Development Manager in the South PacificBen Drew recently responded to us on Twitter that there was "every chance the PNG Flames will attend"
The following video interview with AFL PNG's Senior Operations Football Manager Rex Leka appeared on PNG's EM TV
The AFL today announced the details of the 2017 AFL International Cup to be held in Melbourne. Joining the 2014 champions PNG at the sixth iteration of the International Cup will hopefully be at least 20 mens teams. The women's competiton is expected to grow from the five nations that competed in 2014.
PNG are the most successful nation at the International Cup winning the competition in 2008 and 2014 as well as finishing runner up in 2002, 2005 and 2011 in the men's division. Ireland (2008) and Canada (2011) have each won the women's competition in the first two cup's that had female teams competing.
Recently it has emerged via social media that the dates for the AFL International Cup 2017 had been set. Today the AFL confirmed that these dates are proposed dates only and at this stage have not been locked in.
The dates were proposed by the AFL and sent to affiliates for feedback, and at this stage there has been no feedback opposed to these dates.
So again, this is not yet 100% confirmed, but it looks likely that IC17 will take place from Saturday August 5 to Sunday August 20, 2017 (inclusive) in Melbourne.
The AFL International Cup is the pinnacle event on the Australian Football international calendar and has grown steadily in stature and standard. Despite financial considerations limiting numbers, participation is greater than some other football world cups, yet the IC profile remains low.
With this in mind I have started an electronic petition for the SBS to broadcast the IC. It is an ideal event for the SBS as it fulfills all its charter points. The IC is multi-cultural, multi-lingual, entertaining, educational and advances the spirit of world friendship. Without jumping too far ahead, any lift in the profile of the IC will produce direct and indirect benefits for the competition. Those benefits in all probability will be small at first but it is the "foot-in-the-door" to leverage the future.
Currently there has great response from individuals at https://goo.gl/GwnmAK but I need organisations to promote this petition to achieve the "reach" simply by sharing WFN's facebook post.