IC17 Preview: Matchday 2

Chapter 1 has been written.  It’s time to turn the page.

For the first time ever, the AFL International Cup will head to the schools of Victoria, both in and around Melbourne and the hinterlands.  It’s a great way for the youth of Australia to feast upon the cultural buffet that IC17 has to offer.

But at its heart, it’s business time.  And Round 2 of IC17 has different vibes and meanings for the Revos and Freedom.  The former is on course towards its goal of making it to their first Grand Final, while the latter finds itself with four must win games on its roadmap to coming home with that big trophy looking thing.  Both sides are hoping to be scholarly at historic Wesley College in Glen Waverly, and both look to avoid being schooled.

2017 AFL INTERNATIONAL CUP ROUND 2
WESLEY COLLEGE – GLEN WAVERLY CAMPUS
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2017
USA FREEDOM v PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 10:45am (Tuesday 8:45pm ET / 5:45 PT)
USA REVOLUTION v SOUTH AFRICA, 12:30pm (Tuesday, 10:30pm ET / 7:30pm PT)
YouTube Link: Watch Here

USA FREEDOM v PNG FLAMES

The Freedom were always going to have a challenge with Ireland in their opener, but Leigh Barnes had positivity regarding his team’s effort in trying to take down the two-time finalists and 2011 winners.  Despite falling by 38 points, there were several bright spots, including Sara Magallon having her best game for the National team out of the midfield, Katie Klatt being her dependable self, and Hallie Kastanek playing well outside of the ruck.

Yet, with one loss now, the situation lines up thusly: if the USA lose to PNG today, and if Ireland beats the European Crusaders, the Freedom cannot advance to the semi-finals, and instead can finish no better than fifth place.  Gulp.

It’s hard to read how the two teams will match up.  PNG easily handled the Crusaders 55-0, though they did so with the efficiency of a Hummer, posting six goals from 25 scoring shots.  Tonok Hedwick kicked half of that tally, and the Flames proved to be a skillful bunch.  That said, PNG are a young team; not as young as the side they brought in 2011, when the USA beat them twice, but there are a number of teenagers on this side.   The Freedom will have a distinct height advantage, as twelve Americans are taller than the Flames most vertically enhanced player, 175cm tall Elma Emil.

USA REVOLUTION v SOUTH AFRICA LIONS

It’s been six years since the Revos defeated the Lions in the teams’ last meeting at the IC.  It happened to be at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Tom Ellis was quite pleased with the fight his charges showed in the third quarter against Canada, after spraying kicks around like Oprah giving out bees in the first quarter and a half.  That third quarter, with David Restrepo banging home three, put the game away, and put the young Houstonian into third on the AFL IC scoring ladder.

Like the Freedom, the Revos will have a height advantage on their opponents, though the South Africans are a good tactical and athletic side.  They were humbled by Great Britain by 37 points in their opener which had a little sprinkle in the weather department.

Steven Matshane was able to wriggle loose for a couple of goals to lead the Lions against GB, but one would think that if the Bulldogs gave the Lions trouble, their big men may do the same thing at Glen Waverly.