Contributed by: Shane Hendrickson
The 14th annual Asian Championships have taken place in Thailand, with the Hong Kong Dragons taking out the coveted title for the second consecutive year. The Dragons went through undefeated and beat the Philippines Eagles in the final 4.5 (29) to 2.3 (15) at Royal Polo and Equestrian Grounds outside of Pattaya.
This is the Dragons’ fifth title since the tournament began in 2000. The team is now tied with the Singapore Wombats for the record of most Championships.
The first Asian Championships to be held under the AFL Asia banner proved to be a success with a record 13 teams from across the continent competing for the prize, up from nine teams the previous year.
Other than the Dragons, Eagles and the hosting Thailand Tigers, the competing teams were the Singapore Wombats, Macau Lightning, China Reds, Jakarta Bintangs, Bali Geckos, Cambodia Eagles, Laos Elephants, Malaysian Warriors, Vietnam Swans and Japan Goannas.
This year’s tournament shows how the game continues to grow in the region, not only with the record number of participating clubs, but with the strength from within these clubs too. The Philippines Eagles finished at the bottom of the Championship table last year with no wins, but improved to go through almost undefeated this year only to fall at the last hurdle.
The tournament has become the pinnacle of Australian Rules football in Asia. With new structural organisation, an ever increasing number of teams and the depth within those teams, it will continue to grow as the pinnacle of Asian footy.
World Footy News