AFL England

Talking IC with GB Swans Coach Ian Mitchell

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After catching up with Swans Captain, Laura Turner, and Bulldogs Coach, Dean Thomas, it’s now the turn of former GB Bulldog and GB Swans Assistant Coach, Ian Mitchell, to give his thoughts on how things are shaping up for IC17. Team Manager, Jason Hill, caught up with Ian to get his thoughts about the upcoming AFL International Cup. Here’s what he had to say:

1. As a debutant nation to IC what are you looking forward to most?

I know the girls are spending so much time preparing both physically and mentally, as individuals and as a team and that’s what excites me most – seeing the culmination of all this in August. Having the whole group together and taking in the experience together will be phenomenal.

2. For you what is the key to bringing success to the Swans at IC17?

Being prepared with a plan A, B and C if necessary. The variety of opponents most likely means we will need to be adaptable in order to compete at the latter stages of the competition. This is why it’s vital for the group to live and breathe football for the next six months.

3. What do you plan to bring to the team being a previous IC competitor?

In Garth and Sparky we are so lucky to have two people who have been around the game all their lives so their experience of the game is vast and so crucial. I’m hoping to bring experience of this tournament and the knowledge of the stresses, the strains and how to get the most out of the group across the period of the whole tournament. Playing in the competition was amazing so if I can give the girls some insight into getting the most out of their experiences then I hope this will add something to it for them.

4. Who would be your ideal match in Round 1? And Why?

I’m not sure it matters who we face – the adrenaline will be pumping, the girls will be ready and they would run through brick walls for each other. Having said that, playing someone we’ve never played before would be a great experience to begin the tournament.

5. What have you enjoyed most from the AFL Women’s league? And where you backing to take the first flag?

I’m a staunch Crows fan when following the men’s game so I’m not going to look past them. I’m tipping them to learn from mistakes against Brisbane in the regular rounds and pip them to the post.

The AFLW has been a pleasure to watch – the intensity and forward pressure that the women bring to the game is something I hope the Swans will replicate in the build up to the IC and in Melbourne.

6. How do you think the Bulldogs and the Swans will fair in Melbourne?

I can see the Bulldogs building on an excellent first year under Dean (Thomas) and upsetting one or two big names on the way to a top six finish which would be great if you look at who else will most likely make up that group. With a bit of luck on their side I think the top 4 could be in reach. They are well-drilled, focused and improving with every session. I love their squad to date, it has a bit of everything you’d want in a competitive side.

As for the Swans, I think we have a real shot at making waves in the women’s game. If their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm is matched by the implementation of game plans and execution of skills then I think we have every chance to be successful and go all the way in Melbourne. We are certainly preparing with every intention of making the final and bringing the trophy home.

We look forward to hearing more from Ian, the Swans and the Bulldogs in the build up to IC17

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