Full results of the recent Asian Championships are here, with points tables and scores.
Group A went much as expected. The China Reds' win over Jakarta Bintangs was somewhat of a surprise and Malaysia were desperately unlucky not to beat Bali, having the lead until the last few seconds.
As expected, Hong Kong and UAE dominated Group B, though it was evident from the first game they played that UAE had a very formidable and very fit team. In their initial outing in an Asian Games, Laos were very impressive. Thailand were disappointing given their strong lead-up form. Like Malaysia in Group A, Vietnam were competitive but could not convert chances in front of goal.
The semi finals went according to form in the preliminary matches and the two best teams met in the final. UAE were superb, their standard of play was excellent and ability to convert second to none, to kick 10 goals straight in any form of football is no mean effort, and they ran out deserved winners on the day. Singapore fought hard, but were outclassed in the final.
As is traditional, at the conclusion of the Asian Championships an Asian All Star team, now known as the Asian Lions is chosen. This year, in addition to the honour of selection, thanks to a donation from Big Rooster Footy, each player was presented with an all-star team jumper.
Geoff Blethyn played 84 games for Essendon between 1968-72 and 1976 kicking 216 goals, topping the 100 goals in 1972, was leading goal kicker twice with Claremont and played in the Port Adelaide premiership side in 1977. He played his last game for Malaysia in 1992. He has always maintained contact with the Warriors but had not seen a game in Asia since that date.
At the invitation of the Malaysian Warriors, Geoff attended the 9th Asian Championships held in Singapore on 6th September. His comments on the Championships make interesting reading and are reported verbatim below.
UAE Heat have won the 2009 Asian Championships held in Singapore on September 6th, comfortably defeating pre-tournament favourites Singapore in the final 10.0.60 to 3.6.24.
Played in good conditions before a very healthy crowd, the Heat were simply too good. Kicking with the aid of the breeze in the first half and with their midfielders well on top, the Heat were able to rattle on five goals before Singapore were able to reply. At half time, the Heat led 6.0 to 1.2, and the Wombats faced a mighty task.
Further salt was rubbed into the wounds when the Heat goaled early in the second half to put the game beyond doubt. To their credit the Wombats fought back, but it was clear the Heat had too much run, were too fit and too good around the ground. The Wombats goaled twice, but the boys from Dubai iced the game with the equivalent reply late in the half.
Pictures courtesy of Mark Stennett of the Malaysia Warriors.
With the Asian Championships hitting Singapore this weekend, we're previewing the teams on display. The first to be featured are the China Reds, UAE Heat, Bali Geckoes, Malaysia Warriors and Jakarta Bintangs.
The all-important draw for the Asian Championships was made on Monday, 1st September at the Australian International School in Singapore.
The process saw last year's Grand Finalists Hong Kong and Bali first allocated separately to groups A and B. The remaining 8 teams were then randomly allocated into Groups A or B depending on balls drawn from a barrel.
The pools are:
Each team will play all others members of their group, with the first game at 8.40am. Two ovals will be used with games being played concurrently, so for spectators and players alike there will be plenty of action. The top two teams in the respective groups will progress to the semi finals with the Grand Final to be played at approximately 5pm.
Saturday, September 6th sees the 9th edition of the Asian Championships, the holy grail of football in this part of the world. This year sees 10 teams competing in two groups under a lightning premiership type format. Whilst in the past the all-important draw has been random, this year sees the finalists of the 2007 Championship, Hong Kong and Bali deliberately drawn in opposing groups. A further innovation is the introduction of semi-finals where, in a cross-over manner, the top two teams of each group will meet, the winners to contest the Grand Final.
Because of the intense nature of the competition, being played over one day, often in extreme weather conditions, fitness and depth of squad are often major contributing factors in determining the outcome. So far, only 3 teams, Hong Kong (3), Singapore (3) and Indonesia (playing as a combined Jakarta-Bali side) have won the Asian Championships, though Bali have finished runner-up in the past 3 years.
The 2008 championships will be held on the grounds of the Singapore Polo Club and will offer a great venue for the Asian Champs including for the first time 5 star corporate and VIP entertainment plus a dedicated kids play area with jumping castle, face painters and more.
The Singapore Wombats proved to be too fit and too powerful for the Malaysian Warriors in a tough encounter played in wet conditions at Alice Smith ground in Kuala Lumpur on 23rd August.
After an even first quarter, the Wombats' resilience, superior teamwork and ability to run enabled them to eke out a comfortable 8.7.55 to 2.8.20 victory, thereby regaining the Changi Cup, a trophy they lost for the first time last year, and extending their dominance over traditional rivals Malaysia to 20 wins against just four losses since the year 2000.
Timor-Leste, better known to Australians as East Timor, is one of the newer sovereign nations in the world, becoming independent from Indonesia in 2002.
It also has one of the world's newest Australian football sides, with the Timor-Leste Crocs taking their name from a local legend about a crocodile who rescued a boy stranded in the ocean. When the crocodile stopped swimming, its body became the island of Timor, and the boy the first of the Timorese people.
While footy has had an on-and-off-again presence in the country since around 1999, the new-look Crocs look like being here to stay, with plans for a development officer and recruiting underway to send a team of Timorese nationals to the Northern Territory FL's indigenous footy carnival in Darwin in October.