New Format For 2015 IFAF World Championships Brings New Confidence For Australia

[tps_title]Australia could win three games[/tps_title]

Prior to the 20th of December, you might not have been surprised if someone said that Australia was unlikely to win a game in the upcoming 2015 IFAF World Championship.

That in a tournament where perennial powerhouses USA, Canada, Japan and Mexico roam, a developing gridiron nation would obviously struggle.

Not anymore.

Australia - Gridiron_Australia_logoWith Sweden withdrawing as hosts just prior to Christmas, nations such Germany, Austria and African qualifier Morocco also pulled out. The brand new proposed 12-team format would no longer be functional, yet instead of returning to the traditional pooling system, IFAF released another design.


The two pool format has the top four ranked teams in Pool A, whilst the bottom four ranked sides will battle it out in Pool B. The winner of Pool B advances to the semi-finals against the three top teams of Pool A, and the last team in Pool A will fight for placing against the remaining sides.

In other words, the refined schedule and format of the World Championship has not only changed the game for the world’s best, but it’s also markedly improved the Outback’s chances of making an impact.

Pool A contains the USA, Canada, Japan and Mexico, meaning that Australia avoids the world’s elite in the group stages. They’ll be accompanied by France, South Korea and Brazil in Pool B.

Outback Head Coach John Leijten is optimistic about the new situation his team is entering into.

“It gives us an opportunity to actually play more opposition which we can play against. We have the four big teams in the world…they’re too good for our quality of our players, of our league, of our team. So it’s better to actually play France, Korea and Brazil,” Leijten said.


Veteran linebacker Brad Bennett, who played for the Outback in the 2011 World Championship in Austria, shares the same sentiment after enduring back-to-back 60-point defeats against USA and Mexico in the group stages.

“We’ve got a good chance to get some wins against the teams we play, so pretty excited about that,” Bennett said.

“Either way, you’re going to be playing tough competition. It’s the World Cup; you’re playing the best amateur football players in the world. So everyone we play will be a challenge.”

Australis - action pic

The Outback’s participation in the previous World Championship helped land them the 6th seed above South Korea and Brazil, yet there’s little attention being paid to that at the moment at camp.

“I don’t think we’re in a position where we are favourites, we want to work and build on what we’ve done in previous World Cups,” Leijten said. “I have hope and belief in our guys that we’re going to improve on what we did last time.”

“What we’ve got to do is play our best every game… and we have no control over how good our opponents are, as long as we play our best football, we have a chance against those other three teams.”

Written by Chris Guscott – @Chris_Guscott

Chris is an Australian gridiron journalist who has just started covering the sport at local, state and international levels within his home country. He's passionate about the growth of the sport in Australia as well as around the world.