To the winners – congratulations! The Dubai Dragons are the deserved AFL Middle East Premiers for the 2016/17 season. They have built up across the season in preparation for the biggest day of all. In the process they have re-written history (again!) and set the bar for success to a height that may or may not be reached again. Nothing should take away the sheer joy of the Dragon’s success this year, and will not.
But, for a moment, spare a thought for the gallant Multiplex Bulls. For the third consecutive season they have been beaten in the grand final by the Dubai Dragons. Three times they have felt the heartache of a premiership defeat – more if you count their debut season loss to the Dragons in the pre-season cup. They will be hurting – all the more for the fact that the final margin was just six points. So near, yet so far. Justifiably, there will be some Bulls wondering if they can ever win a flag. But they can, and they will. Later.
The smallest island nation in the world, Nauru has a notable and sizable presence in the international Aussie rules community. With 680 registered junior and senior players out of a population of roughly 10,000, Nauru has the highest participation rate of any country in the world (30-35%).
That’s pretty impressive for a nation that is less than a century old and covers less than 10 square miles.
Nauru is a tiny phosphate rock island in the central Pacific, located just south of the Equator in the vicinity of several archipelago-nations, including the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati.
They have been the titans of the AFL Middle East competition for the past three seasons – the Dubai Dragons and the Multiplex Bulls. Since arriving to the competition for the 2014/15 season, the Bulls haven’t missed a grand final. The Dragons are after an extraordinary five flags in six seasons. They have truly been the gladiators of the competition and tomorrow they meet again in the AFL Middle East Grand Final.
For the record, here are some stats that will matter. The teams have met in two premiership season grand finals – both won by the Dragons. They also met in two pre-season grand finals, with a win apiece. The Dragons hold the edge in total win/loss results. But, significantly, it was the Bulls that reigned supreme last time the two teams met – downing the Dragons by 34 points after a huge eight goal to one second half.
The European Crusaders team is on a mission. Slava Belov, the founder of the St Petersburg Cats in Russia, is also part of the management team for the European Crusaders for the upcoming IC17 tournament in Melbourne later this year. He is seeking players for the team and is scouring the world in pursuit of those who want to be a part of the honour and excitement.
According to Slava, “we are now gathering players for the Crusaders team for IC17. We want to give a shout to Europeans in Australia or elsewhere in the world who could possibly join the squad with the question “[are you] interested in heading to the AFL International Cup with the European Crusaders IC17?”
The Irish Banshees women’s team has had its initial list of selected players announced. More players will be added to the list in coming months, but for now the squad as it stands has been announced. Following is a release from the ARFLI Facebook page detailing selections to date.
The management and coaching staff of the Banshees are delighted to announce the updated list of Irish and U.K. based players who have earned their seats on the plane to Melbourne for IC17.
Despite the dubious reference to a Seinfeld episode, the Cairns Stingers AFL Masters team certainly were masters of Watson’s Oval in Cairns today. Hosting a North Queensland carnival today, attended by players from the Cairns based team as well as players from arch-rivals Townsville, Whitsundays, Charters Towers, Port Douglas and even from Mt Isa, the Stingers held aloft the trophy at the end of a fun day for the more “elderly” or maybe “slightly age challenged” members of the playing fraternity across North Queensland.
Frankly, these guys put others to shame. With the threat of tropical downpours, and humidity you could probably swim in, the Masters players defied conditions and played some good, hard footy.
A tropical low to the north-east of Darwin has seen the postponement of the remaining NTFL games scheduled for this weekend. Prior to the rain and cyclone warning, the Nightcliff Tigers 3 13 31 had defeated the Southern District Crocs 2 7 19 in very wet conditions. But the second semi-final between St Mary’s and Wanderers, as well as other divisions across the weekend will be rescheduled, throwing the NTFL finals series into disarray.
The AFLNT released the following statement in response to the warning of the potential cyclone.
TIO NTFL Games Postponed
AFL Northern Territory wishes to advise the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a cyclone warning and therefore the following games have been postponed:
The VFL's Northern Blues today confirmed that American Alex Aurrichio has departed the club and joined Sydney University in the NEAFL.
The statement from the Blues said "Aurrichio arrived at the club at the end of the 2014 season from the New York Magpies, making great strides in his two years culminating in a leadership group position last year."
“Alex was such a popular player for two years, everyone really respected him and admired him for his efforts — he was a consummate team man. He goes with our blessing to Sydney University in the NEAFL… our loss is their gain,” Northern Blues GM Garry O’Sullivan said.
The North Queensland city of Mackay finally got to host its highly anticipated AFL match, almost a year after having had a scheduled match between St Kilda and Brisbane washed out. Instead, Harrup Park, Mackay’s AFL centrepiece, was bathed in sunshine and warm, tropical conditions to see the Gold Coast Suns take on the Essendon Bombers.
Local organisers would have been thrilled to bits to see a healthy crowd pour through the gates (official attendance not yet released) and get behind the game – an important clash in terms of keeping football of the highest level in northern parts of Queensland as well as helping grow the game at grassroots level through local clubs, schools and even just a kick in the park.
We welcome our newest writer Joe Woodyard to the site. Joe is based in the United States in the state of Georgia. We hope he will become a long term correspondent for us. His footy interests lie with the history of the AFL, it's stories, and the on-field play during the regular season.
I like that AFL clubs do a good job of remembering their roots and telling their entire story, even if the memories aren’t as pleasant.
St. Kilda matches don’t make it to the US, at least not through my cable TV package, so I’ve been watching a season 2016 tilt with Melbourne. On the back of the Saints uniforms is an “EST. 1873,” or established in 1873, which alludes to the first year of their existence.
They’ve never relocated and granted, the majority of their footy hasn’t been of the winning type, but remembering your history and knowing where you’ve come from are both good things.
Despite being very close geographically, Australia and Papua New Guinea might seem like being worlds apart in culture and lifestyle. But in the realm of sports, the two countries are very similar – Papua New Guinea’s national sport is rugby league, making it one of the few countries besides Australia to favor rugby league over rugby union.
But the country is also home to a very passionate footy community, which the locals typically refer to as “AFL” or just “Rules.”
Papua New Guinea was an Aussie territory for many years, establishing partially autonomous rule shortly after World War II, but not becoming a fully independent nation until 1975. Given these historic ties, it’s not surprising that the sport of Aussie rules has a well-established history in PNG.
Footy was first played in PNG in 1944 in the city of Lae, where a number of Australian schoolteachers and military personnel were located. Lae, the second-largest city in PNG, proved to be an ideal spot for an Aussie rules community to grow over the next few decades, as the game spread to other large cities, including the capital, Port Moresby.
The Bordeaux Bombers and Perpignan Tigers both fought gallantly in matches on the weekend as each were determined to keep their finals chances alive. The grim reality for both is that they are both in danger of missing the finals unless their fortunes change. Both Paris teams have made late charges for third and fourth spot, so wins for both the Bombers and Tigers were as close to essential as they can get.
The Perpignan Tigers played against this season’s biggest improvers, the ALFA Lions. Played in front of the Tigers’ home crowd, both teams fought like demons to the finish line. The Tigers needed a win to stay in finals contention, whilst the Lions still have eyes on a grand final. In the end the class of the Lions shone through and they won by 17 points. Final scores saw the Lions 92 defeat the Tigers 75.