On a purely win/loss basis, the final round of the AFL Middle East season won’t have too many surprises. Based on season form (and barring remarkable upsets), the Multiplex Bulls should be too good for the Dubai Dingoes and the Dubai Dragons are unlikely to drop their game against the Abu Dhabi Falcons despite a narrow result last meeting.
The devil is in the numbers. If the Dragons absolutely hammer the Falcons, and the Bulls only just get home against the Dingoes, it is possible for the Dragons to grab the minor premiership and avoid an elimination final ahead of a possible grand final.
The Bulls hold a 6.5% lead over the Dragons on for and against, and will be keep to retain that and take the minor premiership.
The Abu Dhabi Falcons need only put in a serviceable performance in their match and either score an upset win or at least mitigate the scoreboard damage to play finals. What they don’t need is to fall apart at this hurdle and be wiped off Sevens Stadium by a cricket score.
Club founder, Elliott Takolu, is proud of his footy team. The Salamander Power club is based in Lae, north of the Papua New Guinea capital city of Port Moresby, and operates within its own small league – AFL Lae - well out of the glare of the rest of the football world.
Whilst it is known to some that footy is played as far and wide as Iceland, Chile, Myanmar, Uganda and many other exotic, far flung nations, this club which is close to Australia’s doorstep is almost anonymous.
Elliott tells the story by saying that “the club had been formed in 2008, fielding only Under 12, 13 and 15 boys. In 2009 and 2010 we decided to field Under 16 girls. Seeing interest grow from kids and youths we decided to field our senior men team in 2012.”
(Picture: Elliott and his 2012 Salamander Power premiership team)
The following article from the AFLNT (AFL Northern Territory) summarises the growth of the game in the NT. The high points are the increase is higher than the national average – driven heavily by women’s footy – and in an extraordinary piece of data, the participation of people in the Northern Territory playing the game is around one in every five people, making the Northern Territory the highest per capita playing state/territory in Australia – an amazing achievement.
Irish sporting website The 42 reports that the programme that brought Irish players to AFLW will hold their first overseas camp in Ireland later this year. The article looks at the successes of the programme from last year and the benefits for the future, especially by holding the event close to a pool of Irish players for greater opportunity.
AFTER THE HUGE success of the 2018 programme, CrossCoders have announced that they will host their first-ever overseas AFLW camp in Ireland this May.
Last September, 11 Irish hopefuls went to Melbourne for an intensive week-long trial with Donegal’s Yvonne Bonner, Tipperary’s Aisling McCarthy and Clare native Ailish Considine all signing professional rookie contracts off the back of it.
The three Gaelic football stars have been successful products of the programme thus far, impressing with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide Crows respectively.
The two matches in the NTFL Premier League finals series on Saturday have again seen the agony and ecstasy of a season finished or a season on a roll. Waratah kept their flag hopes alive and the Tiwi Bombers continued to be the form team in the league. Last year’s grand finalists, the Darwin Buffaloes, had an early exit and end to their season whilst the Southern Districts Crocs lost but can fight another day.
The Nightcliff Tigers watched on and learned as the other teams battled before them.
The first match of the finals at TIO Stadium saw Waratah and Darwin battle for the second successive week. Last weekend it was jostling for finals positions – this weekend it was sudden death to the loser. Remarkably, the script was eerily similar. A tight first quarter was followed by a big Waratah second quarter. At half time, Waratah were five goals up, also similar to last week.