The annual Bali9s tournament hosted by the Bali Geckoes at the Canggu Club will be played on November 1st. This year’s tournament will see four teams from the Indonesian region competing, Bali Geckos, their fierce rivals the Jakarta Bintangs and newly formed clubs the Borneo Bears and Timor-Leste Crocs.
Played in a 9-a-side, lightning premiership type format, each team will play the others with the two top teams playing off in a grand final.
Whilst the far more experienced Bali and Jakarta sides would be favoured to win through to the final, both Borneo and Timor Leste could take heart from the efforts of debutants Laos in the recently concluded Asian Championships, who proved that novice teams could cause upsets.
The Bali9s has been a prestigious trophy since its inception in 2002, the inaugural winners being the Bintangs. That year’s tournament took place just a week before the tragic Bali bombings in which 202 people lost their lives, 88 of them Australian. The 2003 edition which marked the one year anniversary of that event was particularly poignant, being attended by luminaries such as the then Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, and for the football fanatics, Ron Barassi, Mick Martin and Dermott Brereton. Jason McCartney played for the Geckoes on that day, but even he could not stop Bateman’s Bay from annexing the trophy.
The tournament has a lost some of its lustre in recent years, being usurped by its sister contest, the Bali9s Masters, a similar event for teams comprising the over 35’s. However, this year's competition, involving teams from the same geographic area, should be hotly contested and may become a fore-runner of an annual competition involving the same four teams.
The boldest innovation of the 9th Asian Championships in Singapore on September 6th was the first Under 16s Championship involving teams from the Jakarta Bulldogs, Singapore Wombats, Singapore Gaelic Cubs and Hong Kong Dragons. Anyone who was present could not have been anything but uplifted to watch these young lads, the vast majority of whom were non-Australians, show the levels of passion, excitement and commitment that we have come to expect with our game.
In recognition of the great strides made in the development of Aussie Rules in Beijing over the last few years, the Beijing Bombers have warmly welcomed an approach by its namesake, the AFL's Essendon Football Club, to make BARFC an affiliate club.
While in Melbourne in early September to see the China Red Demons compete in the International Cup, BARFC President Mic Mittasch met with Essendon's new Multicultural Development Officer to establish the relationship between the two Bomber clubs.
The Essendon Football Club multicultural program was established to develop opportunities to engage people from diverse cultural backgrounds in the game of Australian football with the view to broaden both the participation and supporter base in the game. Jieh-Yung, an Australian born Chinese recently took over as Essendon's Multicultural Development officer and was keen to see the two Bomber clubs work together to continue the development of the game in Beijing.
President Mittasch was excited about the potential for the relationship following his meeting with Jieh-Yung. "This will be a great opportunity for the Beijing Bombers to establish some important relationships and enable us to continue to develop as a club in Beijing" Mic said.
"Essendon has already provided the club with several signed items of merchandise which we will be auctioning off at the Grand Final Day. They have also committed to provide us with training and playing kits once their new sponsor is finalised and they are open to further suggestions on how the two clubs can work together. We look forward to developing the relationship with this great club over the coming years."
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.