AFL England

IC17 Women’s Round 3- Swans struggle against classy Northern Lights.

Community Round and the venue was the Plenty Oval, home of the Victorian Womens club Diamond Creek. This was a top of the table Women’s Pool 1 match between tournament debutants the GB Swans and reigning champions the Canada Northern Lights.

The winner would ensure the advantage in the semi-finals on Tuesday 15th August with the loser likely to face up to Ireland in the other semi.

Winning the toss, the match favourites Canada opted to kick with the stiffening breeze that favoured the city or southern end of the ground. The first quarter was largely dominated by the Canadians and played predominantly in their forward half. The Brits were finding it a tough ask to work the ball into the breeze. However the Canadians were getting caught out wide around the boundary where the Brits were more than happy to see the ball but were instantly quashed by a strong Canadian defence. Instead

Ramadan (#14) working hard in the ruck for GB (Photo Credit: AFL Europe)

Ramadan (#14) working hard in the ruck for GB (Photo Credit: AFL Europe)

of long kicks to marking forwards – the ground ball was proving the key.

For the Swans it was a scrappy affair but across the board the pressure and tackling was limiting the Lights effectiveness. Hocking (#8) was competing strongly and Rania Ramadan (#14) in the ruck was working hard.

The big question for the 2nd term was what GB could do with their turn with the breeze. An early mark and shot at goal from Alex Saulter (#71) fell short and was cleared by the Lights – however Swans #8 Frankie Hocking intercept marked the clearance between wing and half forward – and with the benefit of a 25m penalty – sent the ball long but just off line but the Swans were on the board. The Canadians were still able to transition well across the ground scoring valuable points against the wind with GB failing to capitalise.
The Swans were showing positive signs, managing to get their hands on the ball more– Melanie McDevitt (#19), Kirsty Gray (#81) amongst them but every disposal was pressured by the tireless Canadian defence– the tackling of Denah Arnold (#13) and Chantal Beaudin (#14)  creating numerous stoppages.  A final chance after siren saw Bennett (#3) taking a long shot but despite the breeze at her back the ball fell short with GB facing a 21 point deficit at HT.

GB Vs Canada (Photo Credit: AFL Europe)

GB Vs Canada (Photo Credit: AFL Europe)

With the breeze seeming to die down a little during the break the second half offered an opportunity for the GB girls. However, an early goal against play for Canada would prove a bridge too far for the brave Swans. A couple more behinds to the Canadians saw out the scoring for the afternoon and it was them that ran out 31 point winners.

This leaves the Swans a tough assignment against the Irish Banshees in the semi finals to realise their dream of playing at the Etihad in the IC17 final. They know the Irish are not invincible having beaten them in the final of the European Cup 2016 last August but it is a much changed Irish side they will come up against after a much tougher 10 days.

#SupporttheSwans and watch them take on the Irish Banshees LIVE on Tuesday 15th August 2017 5.45am GMT here.

Match Details:

Plenty War Memorial Oval
Canada vs GB Swans
Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
Canada 2.5.(17) 3.6.(24) 3.8.(26) 4.10.(34)
GB Swans 0.0.(0) 0.3.(3) 0.3.(3) 0.3.(3)

Goal Kickers:
N.Kirwan 2, A.Legault, H.Perry
Great Britain :