Ben Collins writes exclusively for AFL Asia tracking the progress of the Asian 5 at the IC14 which kicked off today.

Below is his first report.

The AFL International cup kicked off on a wintery Sunday morning at Melbourne’s Royal Park.

The games were split across three ovals, giving the tournament a real carnival atmosphere with a blend of different cultures.

All five of AFL Asia’s teams; China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan were in the action on the first day of competition.

For these five teams success was never going to be measured by the scoreboard, with many of them new to the game and the International Cup experience.

The first match of the day saw India struggle against the powerful Tongans. Tonga used their massive size advantage to intimidate the Indians and they thoroughly outclassed them throughout the match. India was determined to hit the scoreboard, though, and managed a loan goal in the last quarter to give them some confidence for their next game.

  • Tonga: 4.5 10.10 19.14 25.22 (172) def. India: 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 (6)

The next match saw Pakistan lose to a pacey South African side whilst Indonesia faced a reality check after being thrashed by Nauru in their International Cup debut.

  • South Africa: 4.6 11.11 14.17 23.22 (160) def. Pakistan: 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.2 (14)
  • Nauru: 7.1 16.5 24.14 35.17 (227) def. Indonesia: 0.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 (7)

In the later games China and Japan also suffered heavy defeats against Canada and Papua New Guinea respectively.

  • PNG: 5.4 11.9 17.16 24.19 (163) def. Japan: 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 (6)
  • Canada 3.2 8.2 13.5 19.5 (119) def. China 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 (1)

AFL Asia’s teams were always going to face a steep learning curve going up against some experienced International Cup opponents, but there were enough signs to suggest improvement in the next round of matches as the draw opens up.

Pakistan looked the strongest of the five Asian sides and were clean with the ball early before being blown away after quarter time. They will go in confident to their next match against fellow Asian team Japan in the first all-Asian game of the tournament on Wednesday.

Full time score and stats can be viewed by clicking onto the AFL’s website by clicking here.

For ladder after Round 1, check World Footy News by clicking here.