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Osaka make the GF in first year of JAFL Top League, but go down to Goannas

Asia

The Japan AFL's Top League expanded to outside the Tokyo area this year with the arrival of the Osaka Dingoes bringing the numer of clubs to six.

The 2006 season saw the number of JAFL clubs grow to five, with the "Samurai" club of University students splitting into the Senshu Uni Powers, Komazawa Magpies and Tokyo Leopards and joining the expat-based Tokyo Goannas and Uni Graduate Eastern Hawks.

The Osaka Dingoes formed a few years ago, but didn't join with the Tokyo clubs until 2007, having a big first season and only narrowly missing the premiership.

This report courtesy of afl.com.au and Hideki Miyasaka from Japan AFL.

The Tokyo Goannas and the Osaka Dingos played off in the 2007 Japan AFL Grand Final and it turned out to be one of the games of the year. It was a tremendous achievement by the Osaka team to make the GF in their first year in the Japan Top League.

The game began with some vigorous attack by the Goannas who were well supported through the backline and midfield. The Goannas full forward, Mitchell, had an early impact with 4 first quarter goals which overwhelmed the Dingos. Half way through the first quarter the Dingos counter attacked with 2 goals from set shots and medium range from their full forward, Currie.

The second quarter continued on from the first with early goals to the Goannas and strong performances from Huddleston, Rice and Flanagan in the backline. However the Dingos again showed conviction to fight back with goals to Currie, Thompson, and Freijah, and it was an even three goal apiece quarter.

The start of the third quarter was exhilarating and the Dingos threatened early with 2 early goals to close the gap to less than 15 points. However, the Goannas clicked in to gear led strongly through the middle by McGrath, Rowe, Huberts, Thursfield and Wilson. Phillips in the backline played strong attacking football and the ball was driven forward in thrusts. Quick ball movement by the Goannas and excellent use of handball again saw Mitchell cap off the good work with 3 goals for the quarter. The premiership quarter was dominated by the Goannas who broke out to a 48 point lead at the last change, with the game almost decided.



The Osaka Dingoes face off against the Tokyo Goannas in the Grand Final

The Goannas team took the foot off the pedal in the last and all players contributed in an even, attacking and damaging grand final performance. The Dingos finished the game with Currie starring up forward to finish with 6 goals. However it was the Goannas who hung on to take out the Champions Trophy for the second consecutive year to win by an impressive 24 points, 15.18 – 108 to 12.12 - 84.

In addition to the Japan AFL season just finished, the Nippon AFL kicked off on October 26th, with teams from Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nagoya competing in their 2007-08 season.

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