AFL England

IC17 Mens Round 1: Bulldogs thrive on being the underdogs!

In Round One of the International Cup 2017, the Principal GB Bulldogs were considered underdogs against a South African team who have been consistently impressive in International Cup competitions… they had other ideas! 

1/4 1/2 3/4
 South Africa  0.1  (1)  2.3 (15)  3.3  (21) 4.4 (28) 
 Great Britain  2.7 (19)  2.10 (22)  5.10 (40) 9.11 (65) 


The GB Bulldogs are one of the ever present teams in International Cups and come to the 2017 edition with a new look playing and coaching team alongside a visibly renewed confidence. After a disappointing 2014 International Cup campaign, finishing 9th, the Bulldogs are striving for nothing less than a top 4 finish but have been handed a tough draw in Division One to realize this ambition. Like their female counterparts the Swans, the Bulldogs have been buoyed by their victory in the European Cup back just under a year ago alongside a recent victory against a Canadian Development team in London (May 2017) .

The last time South Africa and Great Britain met was at IC11 where South Africa ran out victorious by 36 points- 7.9(51) vs 2.3(15). In this match GB struggled to cope with South Africa’s running style of footy. At IC14 the teams did not meet but the two teams fortunes were very different with South Africa narrowly losing to NZ in the 3rd/4th place playoff and Great Britain finishing ninth. Based on historic IC performances South Africa were considered favourites for this contest- that is everywhere outside of the Bulldogs camp who clearly had other ideas.

Right from the start both teams were ready to play with passion, hit and run hard but also impressively stick to agreed gameplans. The pace was frenetic, with GB having the wind in the first

GBs Luke Matias roars his delight at a huge Bulldogs win (Photo Credit: World Footy News)

GBs Luke Matias roars his delight at a huge Bulldogs win (Photo Credit: World Footy News)

quarter. In the first term Manchester Mosquitoes’ Andrew Walkden was the only goal scorer, goalling twice with the Bulldogs otherwise wasteful kicking 7 behinds which could have cost them. South Africa to ran the ball into the breeze, but up forward could not make their marks stick with impressive Bulldogs defenders Sean Walton and Myles Hudson cleaning up every sniff of an opportunity.

With the breeze the Lions found the going a little easier with Steven Matshane kicking their first goal quickly in the second.  Walkden has chance for his third at the other end but his snap missed- again a theme for the quarter was the Bulldogs inaccuracy, kicking just three behinds in the quarter. Another goal by South Africa left them down by just 7 points at half time.
GB 2.10 (22); SA 2.3(15).
With the breeze again, it was the prolific Walkden capitalised twice early in the third quarter. The South African team fought hard  and converted a chance at the death leaving them just 15 points down and with the breeze behind them going into the last quarter. The margin was reduced to just 3 points early on in the last quarter when Matshane made no mistake from in front of the posts but for the rest of the quarter it was the Bulldogs who would finish strongest.  Jack Coughlan kicked two for GB and GB debutant Ryan Floyd also got in on the act and marked the ball over the back of the contest in the goal square and converted truly despite the commentators claiming to ‘never trust a ruckman’! The impressive Walkden put the final nail in the coffin of South Africa when gathered the ball in the pocket on the run, side stepped the South African defender and drilled it through the middle for his fifth and GBs 9th goal.
Jubilation for the Bulldogs who took a well deserved victory despite their initial inaccuracy in front of goal. This is something they will need to address in time for their second round match against Canada who will be looking for their first win of IC17 after going down to the USA in round 1. Playing with the same structures and intensity, the Bulldogs will prove a very difficult team to beat and after this Round 1 performance they will have turned the heads of some of the leading nations in the sport.
The GB Bulldogs International Cup 2017 squad and staff

The GB Bulldogs International Cup 2017 squad and staff

Full match stats:

1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
 South Africa  0.1  (1)  2.3 (15)  3.3  (21) 4.4 (28) 
 Great Britain  2.7 (19)  2.10 (22)  5.10 (40) 9.11 (65) 
Great Britain
Goal Kickers: A. Walkden 5, J. Coughlan 2, R. Floyd 2
Best Players: S. Walton, A. Walkden, C. Britton, S. Kadnapillai, M. Hudson, L. Matias
South Africa
Goal Kickers: S. Matshane 2, V. Sokoyi, K. Mmasa
Best Players: B. Sekori, T. Moagi, S. Matshane, M. Mlamli, N. Tywaku, T. Bartman

Thanks go to all GB sponsors for their continued support


Principal Limited are the headline partners of the Great Britain representative teams

Mouthguard Provider:  – Our Mouthguard provider for AFL International Cup 2017 – Opro

Travel Partner: LOGO_LOCKUP_NEW_STA – Our Travel Provider for AFL International Cup 2017 – STA Travel

Training Kit Sponsor: lwc-logo-2– Our Training Kit Sponsor – LWC Drinks

Australian Rehabilitation Partner: urban – Our Rehabilitation Partner while in Australia – Urban Leopard