Contributed by: Wesley Hull
When the brilliant Chrissie Amphlett sang these words back in 1985, she wasn’t singing about footy – as least we don’t think she was. Yet those words adequately sum up the result of the AFL Middle East Grand-Final played in Dubai yesterday when the Dubai Dragons won their fourth straight premiership (and sixth in seven seasons) by defeating the tragic heroes, the Multiplex Bulls.
The difference between the pleasure of premiership heaven and runners-up despair and pain was just 23 points. Ten minutes into the last quarter it was just ten points. Two goals to either side would turn the result…it was the Dragons that turned.
Four flags in a row is an incredible effort at any level of the game. The consistency to bring together a squad of players over that length of time and keep them hungry enough, as well as talented enough, to hold off every other challenge is remarkable. The Dragons deserve their glory and deserve to go down in history as one of the most extraordinary teams to play the game outside of Australia. Pleasure.
Pain. The Multiplex Bulls have been magnificent and consistent over four seasons. Reaching a grand final in their first season was amazing, yet over the next three seasons they have yet to cross that final frontier and win a premiership. It now marks four years of heartache – compounded to greater heights with each grand final loss. One day they will revel in that glory, but today their collective hearts ache again. Post-game analysis could point to the last few minutes of the second quarter and first half of the third as the turning point where the Dragons kicked four unanswered goals.
The Bulls started well enough. Two first quarter goals to each team saw the Bulls get away to a narrow lead at the first break. Riley Perkins kicked the opener for the Dragons before Holly and Stobart goaled for the Bulls. Another Dragon goal to Daniel Gribbin saw the lead just three points to the Bulls at the first beak. Much of the momentum was largely going the Bulls’ way and the Dragons knew they had a challenge. Injury to Bull’s player, Ted Stobart, saw the game halted. Perhaps, in hindsight, that was a critical stoppage, as the Dragons were able to recalibrate and nabbed the next two goals for a narrow half time lead. At the main break, the Dragons 5 5 35 led the Bulls 3 6 24.
The third quarter saw the Dragons kick vital goals through Perkins and Kane. Bull’s player Jack Egan kicked a goal after the three-quarter time siren to keep them in the match, but the Bulls had a mountain to climb going into the last quarter if they wanted that premiership.
Bull players Tubridy and Burchell kicked back-to-back goals and the margin was reined in to just 10 points half way through the final quarter, but then the Dragons found that extra kick. It was that critical moment – the pleasure and pain moment - where the Dragons just had that last ace up their sleeve and kicked a goal through Perkins. Then Nancarrow kicked the sealer and the Dragons knew they had their four-peat completed.
The Divinyls, with Chrissie Amphlett, would later sing on their next album, “Better Days” and “Backs To The Wall”. Perhaps these could be the mantras that the Multiplex Bulls take into their next twelve months as they build again and try to turn pain to pleasure. The Dragons, on the other hand, will be partying too hard to care for the time being.
They are too busy singing Queen’s “We Are The Champions”…again.
Pleasure And Pain lyrics – written by Mike Chapman/Holly Knight – Chrysalis, 1985
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