The clock is ticking to down to the start of the AFL International Cup Women’s Grand Final at Etihad Stadium, where two teams will enter the field of play, but only one will walk away with the cup.
In a tournament that seen three new teams debut in the women’s division, and a number of upsets almost occur, old rivals Ireland and Canada will again face off in their third International Cup Grand Final appearance in a row.
For the Canada Northern Lights, they go into today’s battle with an extra morale boost, after their own Valerie Moreau was awarded Best Player for the Women’s Division at the AFL’s International Cup gala in Melbourne last night.
Along with Moreau, players such as Lara Hilmi, Hilary Perry and Aimee Legault have been consistently brilliant, while Nicola Kirwan and Lia Vansevenant have popped up to create headaches for the opposition.
On the Irish Banshees side of the equation, AFLW footballer Laura Duryea has been a rock for the Banshees to build their defence around. This frees up players like Gillian Behan, Carol Breen, Linda Connolly and Laura Flannery to constantly attack and put their opponent’s backline under pressure.
Duryea was named in the World Team in 2014 based on her ruck work; however, she’s happily handed over those duties this tournament to fellow Diamond Creek (VFLW) teammate Clara Fitzpatrick, who has excelled in the ruck role.
The key question to decide who will win between these two sides is, what team is best suited to Etihad Stadium.
Although the Canadians would appreciate the space for their precision passing, the fast indoor field would be a dream for the quick Irish team, when considering their Gaelic football background.