AFL England

BREAKING NEWS: AFL International Cup Finals Venues Confirmed!

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The AFL confirmed today that the 2017 AFL International Cup men’s and women’s grand finals will be played as curtain-raisers to Round 22 AFL matches.

The men’s grand final will be played prior to the CollingwoodGeelong Cats match at the MCG while the women’s grand final will be prior to the CarltonHawthorn match at Etihad Stadium.

AFL Head of Community & International Development Grant Williams said playing both grand finals at AFL venues would give greater exposure to the competition.

“We are so pleased to have secured both the MCG and Etihad Stadium to conclude this year’s International Cup,” he said.

“Planning is in full-swing at AFL House and amongst the international football community.

“We anticipate the fixtures will be released in early July.”

The men’s AFL IC17 Grand Final will be a curtain raiser prior to Collingwood v Geelong @ the MCG on Saturday 19th August

o   The curtain raiser will likely commence at 11.20am with the Collingwood v Geelong match set to commence at 2.10pm.

·         The women’s AFL IC17 Grand Final will be a curtain raiser prior to Carlton v Hawthorn @ Etihad Stadium on Saturday 19th August

o   The curtain raiser will likely commence at 4.35pm with the Carlton v Hawthorn match set to commence at 7.25pm.

AFL England President, Claire Shapland, had this to say “What a fantastic opportunity for International Australian Rules teams to showcase their skills and passion on the big stage! With the Men’s game having this honour for the last few International Cups it is great to say the Women’s game being treated with the same respect given its exponential growth over the last few years.

The GB Bulldogs and GB Swans players and back room staff have been putting in the hard yards in preparing for IC17 and it is no exaggeration to say they are better prepared for this tournament than ever before. I’m sure I speak for the whole AFL England community which I wish them all the very best in Melbourne in August.”

GB Swans Head Coach, Garth Nevin, said “The news is amazing and well deserved! It’s a credit to all the women who play and drive this game forward. The fans have spoken and it’s about time the Women’s game is recognised.. gives us even more motivation to be at our best.. the boost this should give is unreal, as a kid you grow up and dream you can play in these famous stadiums and now that is also a reality growing up anywhere in the world!” and Bulldogs Head Coach, Dean Thomas added “What an opportunity for the two teams that make that final. To not only play at the MCG, but be the curtain raiser to two of the most heavily supported teams in the league, will make for quite the atmosphere. If any further motivation was needed for our boys to leave no stone unturned, there it is.”

The AFL also revealed the IC17 artwork today on the competition website (http://aflic17.com.au), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

The sixth International Cup will be held in Melbourne from Saturday August 5 to Saturday August 19, 2017. The carnival will include both men’s and women’s competitions.

The AFL International Cup is played every three years. No expatriate Australians are eligible to play. Teams comprise solely of amateurs who must be nationals of the country they represent.

In 2014 there were 25 teams (18 men’s and seven women’s teams) that represented 18 different nations. Papua New Guinea won the men’s final while Canada won the women’s final.

Western Bulldog’s AFL Women’s player and GB Swans Assistant Coach, Lauren Spark, spoke with us on the news “Absolutely thrilled to hear of the women’s IC grand final getting a run on the big stage. As assistant coach of the GB Swans last year, I know how hard these girls are preparing and spreading the love of the game all over the UK and the world. It’s so great have the AFL supporting the growth of the game not only in the AFLW but now also internationally.” While Swans other Assistant Coach, and former GB Bulldog, Ian Mitchell added this “It’s fantastic that the AFL are recognising the growth of the women’s game internationally by moving the grand final to Etihad. It’s nothing less than the dedication and commitment of the girls deserves. I’m guessing that a lot of this can be attributed to the success of AFLW so on behalf of all the GB Swans can we thank everybody who supported that fantastic couple of months as we feel it’s lead to a bigger and better debut International Cup experience for us.”

Finally we caught up with AFL Europe‘s Head of Women’s Development and GB Swan, Lisa Wilson, to get her views on the news “It is overwhelming for the women to be invited to play at this well-known (and huge) ground and especially as a curtain raiser to such a huge game as Carlton vs Hawthorn. We are grateful to the AFLW for raising the profile and paving the way for women’s footy. The increased excitement in the GB camp this morning is evident and this is an even bigger driver for the girls to want to reach the Grand Final.”

We’re all very excited here at AFL England and GB HQ and look forward to being able to share our journey as get closer to August!

#BackTheBulldogs #SupportTheSwans #RoadToIC17

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