It took longer than they had hoped, and arguably longer than they deserved, but after four consecutive grand final losses the Multiplex Bulls have won their maiden AFL Middle East premiership. In the process they brought to an end a Dubai Dragons reign of four consecutive flags.
Since joining the league for the 2014/15 season, the Bulls have not missed playing in a grand final, including reaching the big dance in their first season.. However, until today their only silverware was multiple pre-season cup trophies.
But after an excellent season which saw just one defeat – by three points – the Bulls knew this was their best chance, and they took it.
Irishwoman Ailish Considine will play in her first AFLW final for the Adelaide Crows this Sunday afternoon at the Adelaide Oval.
Considine says that her preparation leading up to preliminary final has been pretty much the same.
“It’s been pretty good this week so far, we had our first training session last night (Tuesday) and we will have our second one tomorrow (Thursday),” Considine said.
“It’s been pretty much the same as every other week we have prepared, same training days and the same way we do every week, because at the end of the day that’s what it is another game and we have to do our best to hopefully win and get the result.”
It cannot be understated how important tomorrow’s AFL Middle East grand final is. On the one hand you have an incredible club chasing what would be a seventh flag in eight seasons and a fifth in a row. On the other hand, a club that has performed so well since they first came into the league, but four premiership defeats later are waiting to break a drought.
Sceptics might take the view that another Dragons flag would be fine for them but have a downside to the competition as a whole as other clubs might question their ability to rise and ever challenge them.
But the Multiplex Bulls hold the antidote to a sceptical viewpoint. A Bulls victory will send a clear message to all present and future clubs that things change the Dragons are nothing more or less than a raised bar to be jumped over. The Dragons will not lay down, but the Bulls are ready to bring them down - rise to the challenge.
The following extract is from an excellent story by Ellie Honeybone at ABC Great Southern looking in depth at the popularity of Australian Rules football in Europe, driven heavily by the uptake of the game by women across Europe.
A growing number of women and men are signing up to play Australian Rules in Europe and there are hopes a women-only league will be established in Switzerland in the next few years.
Katherine Dellar spent her childhood playing AusKick with the boys, and played Australian Rules for the Australian National University in Canberra.
When the 30-year-old moved to Switzerland 18 months ago she had no idea the sport would once again become part of her life.
"Geneva has a large expat population, a lot of those are Australians, and I heard via word-of-mouth about people who were trying to get an AFL team together," Ms Dellar said.
Matelita Tuilevuka left her home in Suva, Fiji, to chase a dream of her own. As soon as she heard about the CrossCoders Program last year, ‘Martz’ was inspired after cutting her teeth in the game of Australian Rules football playing for the local Suva Cats.
Before getting into her own story, Matelita addressed the nickname, ‘Martz’. “I think owing to the fact that some Fijian names are often laborious to pronounce, my family and friends settled on that because it was easier to scream, ‘Maaaaaaaaartzzz!’ Screaming like that happened quite often because I was always running off somewhere!”
Matelita, like most Fijian kids, loved her sport. “Originally, I was a long and medium distance athlete in Fiji high school athletics. I got a few gold medals from there but I did not think of pursuing athletics further.”
(Picture: Matelita with her CrossCoders coach, Michael Gallus)
The Round Seven NAB AFL Women's Rising Star Nominees are Collingwood's Jordyn Allen, 18 and the GWS Giants Haneen Zreika.
Allen has been vital in the Magpies backline all season and over the weekend on Sunday against the Lions she collected 10 disposals and six marks in her team's first breakthrough win of the season at Victoria Park.
The Magpies selected Allen at pick number 5 in the 2018 NAB AFL Women's Draft.
Allen made her debut in Round One this season and has played every game in her first season at the Magpies.
Allen played for the Dandenong Stingrays and Casey Demons as a defender.
Image Source: Matt King/Getty Images & Collingwood FC
For the first time since 1965, the Nightcliff Tigers have help aloft the NTFL Premier League premiership cup after downing the Southern Districts Crocs at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The result breaks the longest premiership drought in the Premier League and is the club’s fourth flag adding to their triumphs in 1956/57, 1960/61 and their previous most recent in 1964/65.
Since their wooden spoon in the 2010/11 season, the Tigers have been in a build to a flag, initially backing youth to build a future and more recently recruiting star players from recent years, Cameron Ilett (St Mary’s) and Phillip Wills (Darwin), winners of the past two Nichols Medals, to give the youth an experienced and highly talented leadership team.
The blending paid dividends on Saturday night when emotional scenes broke out all over TIO Stadium, and across Darwin, as the Tigers reigned supreme.
The Dubai Dragons have made their way into yet another AFL Middle East grand final after downing the Abu Dhabi Falcons at Sevens Stadium on Friday. The club has won six of the past seven premierships and now have a unique chance to add yet another in a golden dynasty. Currently they have four flags in a row and eyes on a fifth after winning their Preliminary Final against the Falcons.
Waiting for them ahead of next week’s Grand Final are the Multiplex Bulls. After four successive premiership defeats they will be a formidable opponent, especially after having enjoyed a week’s extra rest as the Dragons and Falcons battled things out.
The Falcons kicked the first goal of the Preliminary Final, getting off to a useful start, however the Dragons kicked five of the next six goals to take an 18-point lead to the first break. The Falcons stayed in touch in the second term, kicking one goal to the Dragon’s two to trail by just over four goals at half time.
Weekend results in France have certainly fallen in favour of the ALFA Lions. Locked in a battle for a place in this season’s finals, the Lions needed a couple of things to fall in their favour with just three rounds remaining of the season. First of all, they gained the points after the Stade Toulousain team forfeited their match.
The club are on a mission to recapture their premiership form from two seasons ago and stated, “we [have] got strong ambition this season as the last one [2017/18] was very disappointing for us.”
Certainly the points for the forfeit help, but so do other results from the weekend.
The Paris derby saw the Paris Cockerels further enhance their premiership credentials by downing their siblings the Paris Cockatoos. The Cockatoos are also deep in the hunt for a finals spot, and their defeat to the Cockerels will hurt, putting them back with the pack fighting for finals spots.