Ballarat schools to host AFL International Cup games

Two Ballarat schools will host games of the AFL International Cup later this year.

Mount Clear College and St Patrick’s College have been successful in their respective bids, which will see matches played in the city as part of the series during August.

Melbourne is the centerpiece of the carnival, which will run between August 5-19.

In what is the sixth staging of the AFL International Cup, this year’s tournament will again include both men’s and women’s competitions.

The event is played every three years and doesn’t allow expatriate Australians to compete. Teams comprise of amateurs, who must be nationals of the country they represent.

In 2014, there were 25 teams from 18 different nations.

This year, Papua New Guinea will defend the men’s crown, with Canada returning to Australia as the defending champions in the women’s division.

Grand finals will be curtain-raisers to round 22 AFL matches. The men's decider is scheduled to be played prior to the Collingwood versus Geelong match at the MCG and the women's grand final is booked as a lead-in to the Carlton and Hawthorn encounter at Etihad Stadium. Both games are on August 19.

AFL’s head of community and international development Grant Williams said for the first time in 2017, the carnival will include a school round, where matches will be played at venues across Victoria.

“We’re excited about the opportunity this presents for both the competing countries and the host schools to share more about their respective cultural backgrounds,” Williams said.

While fixtures for the 2017 championships are yet to be confirmed, Mount Clear College’s sports director Cameron Dole said the school was hoping to host two games and had requested a men’s match between China and Japan because of its strong connection to those countries through intern students and language classes.

Meanwhile, St Patrick’s College director of community development Paul Nolan said the school would be happy to host any of the competing nations, but would like a game involving Ireland given its strong association with the country.