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Building Trust and Unity: Ottawa Swans Prepare for Canada Day Cup Showdown

Building Trust and Unity: Ottawa Swans Prepare for Canada Day Cup Showdown

The Canada Day Cup has returned!

This weekend, July 8th, the Ottawa Swans take on the Grand River Gargoyles in the return of the Canada Day Cup. The Cup’s inaugural game was played on July 1, 2007, with the Swans taking the win in that encounter against the Gargoyles and they hope to end the game with the same result. Coach Jordan Harcombe is looking forward to the match, saying “The Canada Day Cup is a big one, regardless of where the teams sit in the table. We have a great relationship with the Gargs on and off the field. It makes for really hard-hitting games because you hate to let your buddies have bragging rights.” 

On June 17, 2023, the Swans were forced to forfeit their match against the Hamilton Wildcats due to the long list of injuries. Harcombe was not happy to forfeit the match, however he recognizes that the safety and recovery of his players is the top priority. He said, “In my 10 seasons with the Ottawa Swans, we had never forfeited a match before and it was a very tough pill to swallow. The coaches, leadership group, and executives did not make the decision lightly. Quite a few of the guys have really started to move a lot better with the extra rest and we’ve been focusing on mobility and recovery post-training to get our bodies right for what will be an uphill battle in the back half of the season.” 

Moving forward, Harcombe and the coaching staff have been focused on building the trust and understanding between players. He found there to be a disconnect between the new players and veterans of the team and to bridge the gap, they have focused on building chemistry within the small squad in recent weeks. “I think that our biggest improvement has been having faith in each other out on the field to do the job. With so many new players, veterans, and, sometimes, myself included, we try to do too much on our own instead of having faith in the new guys to do their job. We can compete for a premiership if we all buy in and do the work but it’s going to be very difficult to climb that hill without everyone contributing to the process,” says Harcombe.

The Canada Day Cup tie will be played in Ottawa on July 8th at 3:30PM.

The women’s Ottawa Swans team will be participating in an exhibition match against the Quebec Saints. Organized jointly by AFL Ontario and AFL Quebec, this 16-a-side exhibition match will also showcase the talents of nine players from the Etobicoke Kangaroos, High Park Demons, and Hamilton Wildcats.

Charlotte Biot, Ottawa Swans and Team Canada player, shared her excitement about the exhibition and outlined the team’s objectives. Biot emphasized the opportunity for newer players to enhance their skills and game experience, both individually and as a team, without any significant pressure. She explained, “This is the perfect opportunity to learn by either watching or getting feedback from some of the best players we have in Canada. Since it’s an exhibition game, there’s less pressure and way more room to try new skills they want to get better at, or have more game time on the field for a rookie.” 

The exhibition holds significant importance in promoting Aussie rules in Canada. “This game is a perfect way to grow the sport. There’s a few rookies coming down to play, even one that I know of that it’s their first game ever!” says Biot. With a focus on equal competition, the teams will be evenly divided, fostering a challenging and closely contested match. The relaxed atmosphere of the exhibition allows players to experiment with new techniques and rookies to gain valuable game time. It is also good practice for some Swans players, as they will be participating in the 16-a-side Montreal Women’s tournament taking place on July 15, 2023. 

The collaboration between AFL Ontario and AFL Quebec highlights the unity and passion within the Canadian Aussie Rules Football community. The event not only showcases talent but also contributes to the growth and camaraderie among players.

The exhibition will take place on July 8, in Ottawa at 2PM.

– Ali Boty

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