Two rounds of football have been played in the 2014 edition of the International Cup of Australian Football, and now the pecking order amongst the competing nations is starting to take shape. A notable absence from this year's cup is top-10 team Denmark, giving many of the team's a chance to improve on their 2011 ranking. Here's a rundown of where the Montreal contingent are placed and headed in the week ahead.
Note: Cup format explained in more detail below.
"Canada Northwind" 2011 overall placing: 10th (Reps: Ronan Shaughnessy)
After a strong first up victory over China, the Northwind went toe-to-toe with the USA for three and a half quarters before being overrun in the final ten minutes against their perennial nemesis. With a favourable group draw can still advance to the final four as a wildcard, but the flurry of late USA goals might come back to haunt the Northwind's final-four chances.
Outlook: Should comfortably account for Sweden next Saturday and possibly still secure 2nd in their pool with a 2-1 win-loss record. Trouble is if results go as planned, Nauru, Great Britain, South Africa, Tonga and the USA will all finish on 2-1 and all will be fighting for the wildcard (Ireland, PNG and New Zealand to advance undefeated). More realistically fighting to make the 5th v 6th final and a chance to equal or better 2008's best finishing position of 6th.
"Canada Northern Lights" 2011 overall placing: 2nd (Reps: Kelsey Martin, Margo Legault, Aimee Legault)
Two big victories first up, but none more important than the 9 goal demolition job of the USA Freedom. Basically (barring a disaster) guarantees the team a top two finish and a shot at redemption in the final.
Outlook: Should easily account for Fiji and Tonga in next two matches and finish top of women's table. Could conceivably even lose one game and still finish in top 2. Ireland most likely opponent for final.
"Canada Midnight Suns" 2011 overall placing: N/A (Reps: Emily Legault)
The team that was bolted together at the eleventh hour might have started as rank outsider, but "the other girls" have quickly established themselves as the competition dark horse. Hard fought first up win over Tonga and a gallant 56 point loss to the USA Freedom still has the team eyeing a possible 4th placed finish.
Outlook: Daunting task of Ireland next up then a very winnable shot at the USA's development squad the "Liberty". A win against the Liberty or even a narrow loss might see the team through to 4th place and a likely rematch against the USA Freedom in the 3rd v 4th final.
"France Les Coqs" 2011 overall placing: 14th (Reps: Clemente Coste, Kevin Barranco)
Brutal first up opponents in Great Britain and Ireland saw two heavy defeats and France sitting with an 0-2 record. A serious hit to the team's aspirations of finishing in the top 6 (as mentioned by team captain Gregoire Patacq). Coached by Richmond footballer Dan Jackson, Les Coqs should register a convincing victory this Saturday over a struggling Indonesia which will no doubt lift team spirits.
Outlook: Will finish with a 1-2 win-loss record, which for some teams will be enough to make the Super 8, but France's heavy defeats will see them play off in the 13th-18th ranked final series. If all goes well, should claim the Division 2 crown.
Women: 7 teams total, each play 4 randomly selected opponents before advancing to a 1 v 2 final, 3 v 4 playoff, 5 v 6 playoff, 7th ranked team eliminated.
Men: 18 men's teams divided into three pools, play 3 preliminary games within their pool, first placed in each pool and one overall next best "wildcard" advance to final four, teams ranked 5-12 move to a Super 8 stage (Division 1), teams ranked 13-18 contest a Division 2 finals round.