League headquarters has today released the long awaited schedule for the 2017 AFL International Cup, which will begin in just under three weeks time in Melbourne.
The triennial tournament will feature players from 22 countries, including 8 women’s teams in two pools of four, who will battle it out over two weeks for the right to be crowned champion.
Most nations will be arriving one week in advance of their first game, with the tournament to be officially launched on Saturday, August 5 at Government House in Melbourne.
Victoria’s current State Governor is Linda Dessau, who was previously an AFL Commissioner, and is expected to host the event.
In previous years there had been a ‘parade of countries’ at an AFL match before the first matches of the tournament, and this is anticipated to happen again, most likely prior to the Essendon-Carlton match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The first round of the tournament begins at 8:45am on Sunday, August 6 at Ransford Oval, Royal Park, when the Great Britain Swans take on Pakistan in the opening women’s match.
On Wednesday, August 9, schools across Victoria will host the second round, with St Francis Xavier, St Patrick’s and Wesley Colleges hosting women’s matches.
Community football clubs take the spotlight on Sunday, August 13 when they host round three of the tournament as 12pm curtain-raisers to their local league matches.
Action returns to Royal Park for the semi-finals on Tuesday, August 15, and the 3rd to 8th placed ranking matches on Friday, August 18.
The AFL International Cup Gala Event will be held the evening prior to the Grand Finals, including the naming of the World Team.
Finally, the tournament comes to a close on Saturday, August 19 with the Men’s Grand Final played before the Collingwood-Geelong match at the MCG, and the Women’s Grand Final played before the Carlton-Hawthorn game at Etihad Stadium.
The AFL has confirmed it will be streaming all Round 1, 4 and 5 matches (including Grand Finals), with some countries looking to make arrangements for their Round 2 and 3 matches to be filmed/streamed.
Girls Play Footy Radio has also expressed an interest in helping to cover some matches.
Previews of all eight women’s teams competing in the AFL International Cup will appear on Girls Play Footy in the days leading up to the start of the tournament, while the Girls Play Footy Radio Show and Podcast will also feature interviews with players and coaches participating in the tournament.
Pool A: Canada Northern Lights, Fiji Vonu, Great Britain Swans and Pakistan
Pool B: European Crusaders, Ireland Banshees, Papua New Guinea Flames and USA Freedom
Fixture – All times are Australian Eastern Standard Time
Round One: Sunday, August 6th
8:45am – Great Britain Swans vs Pakistan @ Ransford Oval, Royal Park
10:30am – Canada Northern Lights vs Fiji Vonu @ Ransford Oval, Royal Park
12:15pm – Papua New Guinea Flames vs European Crusaders @ Ransford Oval, Royal Park
2:00pm – Ireland Banshees vs USA Freedom @ Ransford Oval, Royal Park
Round Two: Wednesday, August 9th
10:45am – Canada Northern Lights vs Pakistan @ St Francis Xavier College, Officer
10:45am – Fiji Vonu vs Great Britain Swans @ Venue TBC
10:45am – Ireland Banshees vs European Crusaders @ St Patrick’s College, Ballarat
10:45am – USA Freedom vs Papua New Guinea Flames @ Wesley College, Glen Waverley
Round Three: Sunday, August 13th
12:00pm – Canada Northern Lights vs Great Britain Swans @ Plenty War Memorial Park, Plenty
12:00pm – Fiji Vonu vs Pakistan @ Mulgrave Reserve, Wheelers Hill
12:00pm – Ireland Banshees vs Papua New Guinea Flames @ Hallam Reserve, Hallam
12:00pm – USA Freedom vs European Crusaders @ Main Oval, Melbourne University
Semi-Finals: Tuesday, August 15th
1:00pm – (SF1) 1st Place Pool A vs 2nd Place Pool B @ McAlister Oval, Royal Park
1:00pm – (SF3) 3rd Place Pool A vs 4th Place Pool B @ Western Oval, Royal Park
2:45pm – (SF2) 1st Place Pool B vs 2nd Place Pool A @ McAlister Oval, Royal Park
2:45pm – (SF4) 3rd Place Pool B vs 4th Place Pool A @ Western Oval, Royal Park
3rd – 8th Ranking Matches: Friday, August 18th
10:00am – 7th vs 8th Play-Off – Loser SF3 vs Loser SF4 @ Western Oval, Royal Park
10:45am – 5th vs 6th Play-Off – Winner SF3 vs Winner SF4 @ McAlister Oval, Royal Park
12:30pm – 3rd vs 4th Play-Off – Loser SF1 vs Loser SF2 @ McAlister Oval, Royal Park
Grand Final: Saturday, August 19th
4:30pm – Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2 @ Etihad Stadium, Docklands