The journey isn’t over yet. The Multiplex Bulls’ victory over the Dubai Dragons yesterday does not win them the AFL Middle East premiership. But it goes a long way towards gaining the belief and commitment needed to claim their first flag.
Make no mistake, the Dubai Dragons would know that this match was a massive statement. If they won again, the Bulls would sink further into an inferiority complex, doubting their ability to ever beat the Dragons when it mattered. A Bulls’ win was going to set the Bulls into a momentum that might not be stopped.
By quarter time, the Dragons were a goal in front. Way too early to pick a winner, but they had played their hand again, inviting the Bulls to play theirs. They did, grabbing the half time lead by three points but knowing a battle still needed to be won.
This weekend the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes will host their second Coupe Du Nord. The tournament, build around the basic principles of sportsmanship, friendliness and a general coming together, will see four active CNFA teams, one past club building again and a team from the Netherlands.
The tournament welcomes in the 2019 calendar year, and a resumption of play for the CNFA competition after their winter break. Both Paris Cocks clubs – the Cockerels and the Cockatoos – will have teams involved, as will the ALFA Lions from Lyon and the Host club, the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes.
Joining them for the tournament will be the Strasbourg Kangourous from north-east France as part of their commitment to be involved and grow the club back to its’ past glory. The Amsterdam Devils will also be headed to the event, further developing the links between French footy and that played in the Netherlands.
North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos vs Western Bulldogs (UTAS)
Both teams are undefeated in AFLW 3.0 and are also in conference A.
With only percentage separating the two teams on the ladder, this top of the table clash is expected to be the match of the round.
North Melbourne have had big percentage boosting wins in the opening two rounds and the Western Bulldogs have had closer wins.
AFLW fans will see if the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos can continue to score heavily and remain unbeaten in their first AFLW season or will the reigning premiers be the first team to defeat the new kids on the block.
Just last week the Hawai’i Eagles held a small inner club match. The grey team defeated the blue team on a cold, wet and windy – almost Melbourne like day – in what the club thinks may be the first ever Australian Rules game played in Hawai’i.
However, the bigger picture is the club’s inclusion within the USAFL – to date the biggest vindication of their efforts and acknowledgement of their presence on the North American footy scene. To mark that event, Brian Barrish from the USAFL wrote the following article for the www.usafl.com website.
Dallas McCulloch arrived in Honolulu with a bit of an itch to scratch.
He had played Aussie Rules for the Austin Crows before heading to Australia, where he spent four months playing for the North Brunswick Bulls of the VAFA. Well, sort of.
It could turn out to be a season defining moment – or a few moments, really. The clash between the AFL Middle East heavyweights, the Dubai Dragons and the Multiplex Bulls. One team is on track to claim its fifth consecutive flag. The other is out to avoid the indignity of being runners-up for a fifth consecutive season.
It may sound harsh, but the time has passed for the Bulls to say they were gallant in defeat. That was true early, and possibly even extended to last season. But gallant isn’t enough now. Years of hard work and sacrifice by many people have to be rewarded with a maiden flag.
That is what makes this Friday’s battle in Dubai so important. The Bulls simply must prove that they can defeat the Dragons. They cannot rely on waiting and hoping for a crack on grand final day – it isn’t yet guaranteed they will get that far. The assertiveness that goes with premierships has to start Friday and then extend through the finals series.