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.
Football in Asia has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past 10 years. More teams, greater competitiveness, real Club spirit and now the introduction of Auskick and other development programmes. As the 9th Asian Championships approach, with each year becoming bigger and better, perhaps it is time the respective Clubs got together and created a unified body to move the game to the next level.
The first championships held in Bangkok in 2000 attracted 4 teams, no sponsorship, and offered very basic facilities. This year’s Asian Championships takes place in Singapore on 6th September and will feature at least 10 teams with current holders Hong Kong, hosts and likely favourites, Singapore, to be joined by an expected very strong team from the UAE along with perennial challengers Bali, Jakarta, Malaysia, Thailand, China (not the Red Demons who will be in Melbourne for the IC08) and Vietnam with first-timers Laos. With each team bringing an average of 25 players plus support staff, the Championships will host a gathering of some 300 plus participants, a very healthy turnout indeed.
The challenge in Asia is now to take the next step, where more clubs begin to undertake the challenge of getting the indigenous communities involved and participating in football, and look towards the creation of a regional body.
Round 2 of the this year's Changi Cup takes place at Alice Smith International School in Kuala Lumpur on 23rd August, 2008.
The Changi Cup is a best-of-three matches competition between Malaysia and Singapore and is one Asia's older football competitions having been played every year since 1997.
Historically Singapore have been dominant, winning every year until 2007 when the Malaysian Warriors triumphed over the Wombats on November 3rd, 10-7-67 to 6-4-40 to win the rubber 2-1 and take the Cup for the first time.
Round 1 2008 saw Singapore under new coach Ash Martin score a comfortable 10 goal win on home territory at Turf City on 26th April, 2008.
With the Changi Cup on the line and the Asian Championships looming on September 6th, no quarter will be asked or given in this upcoming encounter between traditional rivals.
The Warriors have been very hard to beat at home in recent years and coach Matty Black is sure to have his charges fired up for what promises to be a cracker of a game and we will bring you a full write up on worldfootynews.com