The International Cup Draw announced
The 2011 International Cup draw has been made. The Irish Warriors will kick off with a carnival round against Great Britain and East Timor on Saturday August 13th. Depending on how we do in these games we should play two more games in Sydney. The tournament then moves on mass to Melbourne for a semi final round on the second Wednesday of the tournament and fingers crossed a Grand Final in the MCG on August 27th.
It’s funny that we have been drawn against Great Britain in the shorter duration carnival round. They are our closest neighbours and most frequent opponents. We’ve already played them twice this year winning on both occasions. However in the first of this year’s games in Dublin at the end of March we left it very late only hitting the front in the final quarter, so we know it will be a challenge. I actually played with some of the Great Britain team last Thursday in the Wildcats game and even slept over in the house of a GB squad member, but I’ll now have to save any friendliness until after the game in Sydney!
In contrast the other opposition on the first day, East Timor are complete unknowns to me but just the type of exotic opposition you’d expect at a global tournament. I’m not sure exactly where it is without checking the map but I thinks it’s near Indonesia?
A quick check on Wikipedia reveals I’m correct, it is between Australia and Indonesia and it’s correct name it Timor-Leste. They have a population of 1 million people and have fought for their territory with Indonesia, only being recognised as a soverign state in 2002. It is only 400 miles north of Darwin so I’d imagine they must have some footy culture. Legend has it that a giant crocodile was transformed into the island of Timor, hopefully they don’t have too much bite on the footy field! They haven’t competed in the International Cup before so they are a bit of an unknown quantity. Here’s their website http://www.afltl.com
Looking at other carnival round groups the Fiji, Japan, Nauru group could be a tight one and we were probably lucky to avoid Fiji when you look at the athleticism of their rugby players and the quality of current AFL player Nic Naitanui. Naitanui is a real star of AFL and if the team came over with more like him it would be both exciting and scary. See some amazing footage of Naitanui below.
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