21 Aug 2014

Sport: AFL International Cup field getting stronger

11:48 am on 21 August 2014

Papua New Guinea coach David Lake believes the quality of teams competing at the AFL International Cup is continuing to rise.

The Mosquitoes will contest a third consecutive men's final this Saturday against Ireland at the MCG, in a repeat of the 2011 International Cup decider.

Tonga will playoff for fifth place against Canada in the Division One final, while Pacific neighbours Nauru and Fiji are all ranked among the top half of teams competing in Melbourne.

David Lake says countries from all corners of the globe are starting to close the gap.

"I watched Fiji play American yesterday [Tuesday] and Fiji have come a long way. I look at Nauru - they're massive improvers - but for me Nauru and South Africa are the two that have really amazed me. Even watching the French play Canada. Canada are fairly organised and a strong country [while] the French, they hold on for half a game and I think as countries improve they hold on for longer and the stronger nations obviously in the end take over, but you really need to assess the whole game because there is longer periods where these countries are getting better and better."

Meanwhile Canada Northern Lights and Ireland will meet in the Women's Grand Final after closing round victories in group play.

The Canadians thrashed Tonga 144-12, keeping the Kingdom scoreless in the first two quarters.

The Fiji Vonu were also outclassed by USA Freedom, going down 79-1 with their solitary behind coming in the opening stanza.