Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Back in 2014, the Doha Kangaroos were set to be “the next big thing”. Fresh from taking the 2013/13 season premiership after downing the Dubai Dragons, the ‘Roos had the Middle East football world at their feet. Dreams of going “back to back” were tempered by a greater ideal – a dynasty growing with sustained success.
However, the script changed. Off and on field changes occurred which made it difficult for the Kangaroos to maintain momentum.
Then along came the Qatar Blockade in June 2017 – ostensibly seeing other nearby Middle East nations cutting links (across many fronts, including travel) with the nation. The political arguments can be discussed elsewhere, but the impact saw the Doha Kangaroos having to pull out of the AFL Middle East competition and effectively losing much of the traction built around their maiden premiership.
Scratch matches, Gaelic matches and even local Auskick clinics have continued in Doha, keeping the flame alive. However, without a foreseeable end to the blockade the Doha Kangaroos future has been in limbo.
But bubbling away in the background are the conversations that may see an end to the blockade, and the return of the Kangaroos to the AFL Middle East competition.
To that end, a recent local tournament was held in Doha to kick-start the future on field in anticipation of political change off field.
The Kangaroos found the talent and numbers to field three teams in a tri-team competition. With around 40 players from the Kangaroos, Qatar GAA (Gaelic) and possibly other sources, the three teams went into battle.
The Doha Kangaroos took the field against the Paddyroos and the Cold Coast (yes, that is spelled correctly). It marked the first time a Doha Kangaroos team took the field since the blockade began.
For the record, the scores were as follows:
Game 1: Doha Kangaroos v Paddyroos 3.2.20 to 3.2.20 - Drawn game
Game 2: Paddyroos v Cold Coast 0.4.4 to 1.2.8 - CC win
Game 3: Doha Kangaroos v Cold Coast 3.2.20 to 6.3.33 - CC win
Premiers - Cold Coast
More important that the scores is the realisation that the Doha Kangaroos have taken the initiative to prepare for the end of the blockade – possibly very soon – and have a team (and possibly strong numbers) to re-enter the AFL Middle East competition in 2020.
The club has been very patient in a situation they could not control. It would be a great story if they could return to the field and possibly finish their task of winning more premierships to add to their flag in 2014.
The Kangaroos are extremely grateful to the Qatar GAA club, without which this event could not have gone ahead.
Exciting times are ahead for both the Doha Kangaroos and the entire AFL Middle East community.
World Footy News