Contributed by: Ben Leahy
The weekend of June 10th 2006 found more Asian locals than usual startled by the spectacle of International Aussie Rules in full flight in their backyards as the Asian Footy calendar heats up in the lead-up to the big one - the Asian Championships 06.
This year the Championships are hosted by the Bintangs in Jakarta over the weekend of August 26th. Following the successful 2005 Championships hosted by the Eagles in Manilla and contested by nine teams from across Asia - the Hong Kong Dragons, Singapore Wombats, Malaysian Warriors, Thailand Tigers, Jakarta Bintangs, Bali Geckos, China/Shanghai Tigers, Japan Goannas and the Philippine Eagles – the scene is set for an exciting competition in 2006.
All the teams from the 2005 Championships have bounced back with busy International schedules in 06. The June 10th "Awesome Asian Footy Weekend", in particular, saw three separate "International Cups" up for grabs in tough contests across three Asian countries. Among the teams contesting were the three top teams from the 2005 Championships – the Wombats, Geckos and Goannas.
In Japan, the Narita Cup was held across Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th of June. At the end of a tough round robin competition, it was the Tokyo Goannas excelling in wet conditions to raise the Cup victoriously. They held off a strong finishing Box Hill North Football Club by three goals to keep the cup safely in Japanese hands and ensure that the Australian raiders were, yet again, denied in the Grand Final. The in-form Goannas, after success in an earlier tri-nations series against the Shanghai Tigers and Eastern Hawks, will look ahead with renewed confidence. Stay tuned for full Narita Cup results soon.
Another intriguing International fixture was the return-leg of the Changi Cup. After losing the first match at home in March, the Malaysian Warriors travelled to Singapore on June 10th to tackle the Wombats on their home burrow, Turf City. Keen to make a name for themselves in Asian Footy by laying hands on the Changi Cup, the Warriors met a Wombats outfit that, by their own lofty standards, was down on form. 2005 Asian Champions, the Wombats had posted only one win in International and Domestic competition for 2006. However, it was not to be for the Warriors. In the end, the Wombats claimed the 2006 Changi Cup by a comfortable eight goal margin. The Warriors will need to regroup ahead of the Asian Champs and a July 8th clash with the Jakarta Bintangs, while the Wombats will look to build on the win heading into a tri-nations series in Hong Kong against the Dragons and the Shanghai Tigers, also on July 8th.
The third cup of the ‘Awesome Asian Footy Weekend’, the Java Cup, saw the established might of the Jakarta Bintangs at home against the emerging Asian force, the Bali Geckos. With both teams expected to feature prominently in the August Championships, WFN takes a closer look at the match.
This match report courtesy of Peter Muir of the Bali Geckos.
2006 Bali-Java Cup
The Digital 1 Jakarta Bintangs went down to rivals, the Bali Geckos, in a spirited and highly-physical clash at Cibubur on June 10. Final scores were 8-7-55 to 7-11-53 following a thrilling last quarter.
Early on, the Bintangs got the jump on the Geckos and had a three-goal quarter time lead that extended to almost 30 points by the early stages of the second quarter. From there on, the visitors played more consistent football, while the Bintangs dropped their intensity, kicking only three goals for the remainder of the match.
Poor kicking contributed to the home side’s narrow loss with the Bintangs wasting a number of simple chances in front of goal, including a free kick from 25 metres out in the final minutes.
Geckos coach Peter Muir praised his players efforts in what some described as the club’s best win ever. “We were disadvantaged by having a small squad and playing in front of the Bintangs home crowd, but we showed a lot of spirit to come back and hold onto the lead” Muir said.
Bintang coach Grant Dooley put the loss down to poor kicking for goal. “We had enough chances to win the match comfortably, but lacked composure in front of goals. We will need to work a lot harder on the training track so that we can better convert our chances” said Dooley.
The loss to Bali was a disappointing way for Bintang forward Jack McNoughton to end his stint with the club, ahead of a mid-season transfer to Canberra. He was closely followed as Best on Ground for the home side by lively fellow forward Chris Tarrant (4 goals), with both marking brilliantly under pressure to provide much-needed direction up front.
Veteran mid-fielder Mark Chadwick continued his strong return from knee surgery, while Matt Stephens and Ryan Wilson again excelled in midfield. Defenders Reece Ordner and Jon Palmer were other Bintangs to play outstanding games in front of a vocal but disappointed home crowd.
For the Geckos, on-ballers Sammy Gosling and Mark Parthezius consistently won plenty of the ball, while full forward Stewart Henderson finished the game with six goals. Big man Peter Frobose continued his form in the ruck and David Eagles performed well on the wing, while Peter Muir was a fine contributor in defense.
The win means the Geckos retain the Bali-Java Cup and gain confidence for the upcoming Asian Championships to be held in Jakarta late August. The Bintangs next game will be a tour to Kuala Lumpur to take on the Malaysia Warriors on July 8.
Bali Geckos: 1.3 5.4 6.5 8.7(55)
Jakarta Bintangs: 4.4 5.6 7.8 7.11(53)
GOALS – Geckos: Stewart Henderson 6, Greg Hinchliffe 1, Sammy Gosling 1
Bintangs: Chris Tarrant 4, Craig Telfer 2, Jack McNoughton 1
BEST – Geckos: Sammy Gosling, Peter Muir, Mark Parthezius, Dave Eagles,
Bintangs: Jack McNoughton, Ryan Wilson, Matt Stephens, Jon Palmer, Mark Chadwick
World Footy News