AFL England

IC17 Mens Round 3- Valiant Bulldogs defeated in close contest with Ireland

Round 3 saw the popular International Cup community round return with GB taking on old foes Ireland at the home of the Caulfield Bears.

The match was wedged between Caulfield’s Seniors and Reserves, and they were happy hosts, running out winners

Throw back to 2011 and Adam Ballard (R) being presented the England captaincy by current GB Swans coach Ian Mitchell.

Throw back to 2011 and Adam Ballard (R) being presented the England captaincy by current GB Swans coach Ian Mitchell.

in both their matches. Ex-England Dragonslayers captain and IC11 & IC14 GB player Adam Ballard had the honour of playing his 100th game for the Bears.

Ireland, one of the hot tournament favourites, were undefeated going into this match narrowly beating PNG, before comprehensively defeating France. Great Britain sat equal wins and losses, upsetting South Africa, but falling to Canada. Unlike Men’s Division 2 and the Women’s Division, the Men’s Division 1 do not go to semi-finals. Instead, their fourth round of matches are regular scheduled games, with the top two nations after that going through to the MCG Grand Final. This therefore was a GB must win but with key players already sidelined- Sean Walton (Hand), James Talbot (Hamstring), gameplans had to be adjusted. However, with a win against Ireland in the European Cup in August 2016 GB knew Ireland were not invincible.

Ireland were first to register a score in Q1, albeit a behind. In fact, despite Ireland controlling the ball they were wasteful in front of goal registering 7 minors before their first major. The Bulldogs managed just a few Inside 50s but no meaningful shots on goal and could not register a score in Q1- Ireland looked in ominous form leading by 27 points at the first break.

The second quarter commenced similarly to the first, with Ireland scoring first- once again, luckily for the Bulldogs it was a behind. However, the breeze was now favouring GB who, after a rousing quarter time team talk by Head Coach Dean Thomas, had their tails up. They found their form and their flow to dominate the 2nd quarter, adding five majors from both set shots and on the run- Andy Walkden once again the major goaler in the GB side. The tide had shifted and it was the Bulldogs who led by 2 points at half time – Great Britain 5.2 (32) vs Ireland 3.12 (30)

Photo Credit: AFL Europe/WFN

Photo Credit: AFL Europe/WFN

Ireland once again kicking with the breeze, but it was an Irish tackle close to goal that resulted in a free kick for dropping the ball, sparking them into life after a slow start. After converting the free they went on to kick four more majors for the quarter to lead by 29 at the final break, the biggest margin of the match. GB scored a single behind in the quarter and had a mountain to climb in the last.

The margin proved just a little too much and though the margin was reduced to 15 points at the final whistle it was the Bulldogs that rued their inconsistency in this match.

Post-match, five time International Cup veteran Luke Matias said: ‘The feeling inside the group at 3/4 time was that we definitely had a genuine chance of coming from behind and winning. Our best performance to date by a mile- a really good team performance and probably the best I’ve been part of’- they [Ireland] just had a little too much class in the end.

Great Britain 8.7 (55) defeated by Ireland 9.16 (70)

GB will now look to finish strongly in Mens Division one with their next match against Fiji who GB beat in the 9th/10th place play off in 2014.

2017 AFL International Cup Ladders – completion of Round 3 (Saturday August 12th)
Men’s Division 1
Pos Team W L %
1 New Zealand 3 0 476
2 Ireland 3 0 192
3 PNG 2 1 157
4 USA 2 1 122
5 Great Britain 1 2 105
6 Nauru 1 2 98
7 Fiji 1 2 94
8 Canada 1 2 51
9 South Africa 1 2 48
10 France 0 3 16

 

Full match stats:

Q1 GB 0.0 (0) IRE 3.9.27
Q2- GB 5.2 (32) IRE 3.12.30
Q3- GB 5.3 (33) IRE 8.14 (62)
FT- GB 8.7 (55) Def by IRE 9.16 (70)

Goals: (GB) Walkden 6, Hastie 2;

(Ire) Lucey 3, Finn 2, O’Dheashmunaigh, Nannery, O’Connell, Burns

Best: (GB) Watson, Denton, Walkden, Hastie, Mudson, Booth;

(Ire) O’Dheashmunaigh, Finn, Burns, Murray, Fogarty, O’Connell.