Back in the 2013/14 season, the Doha Kangaroos were a team on the rise, and rose so far they toppled the Dubai Dragons to take their inaugural AFL Middle East premiership. In fact, the Kangaroos are the only team to have interrupted what might otherwise have been five straight Dragon flags. That in itself shows the magnitude of the Doha Kangaroos performance.
Since then, the Qatar-based Kangaroos have found life a little tougher. A series of injuries, player departures and access to training facilities have conspired to make things harder. But, according to the Kangaroos coach, Pitre Bourdon, things are set to change. “Things are looking up this year and we are hoping to be a more competitive unit this season”.
The Dubai Dragons have created an amazing dynasty in recent years. With four flags from the past five seasons there is an argument that maybe it’s time for a rebuild and maybe the new season will belong to fellow Dubai teams the rising Bulls or the rebuilding Dingoes, the Kangaroos from Doha or the Falcons from Abu Dhabi.
But the club, whilst losing some players, have also rebuilt their list for yet another flag tilt.
Former club president and now AFL Middle East President, Matt Burn, updated the Dragon’s progress. “The first session for the pre-season was August 16. [The team] have been training twice a week since then with numbers getting better each week.”
The new AFL Middle East 2016/17 season is now only weeks away and the Multiplex Bulls have already thrown down a gauntlet to make this season their own. After entering the competition just two seasons ago they have twice reached the AFL Middle East Grand Final and twice the pre-season tournament. Only last season did they taste victory in any of those grand finals, most recently going down to the Dubai Dragons in last season’s finale.
But, according to the club, that is all about to change.
It has been two weeks since the Dubai Dragons completed their fourth premiership win in five years. Most of the time has been spent either celebrating, recovering or returning to a balance of home and work life minus the demands of footy.
The Dragons won the grand final against the BM Bulls in comprehensive fashion despite the Bulls being first out of the blocks within seconds of the first bounce. The final scores saw a 72 point victory:
The Dubai Dragons have further etched their name into the history books of the AFL Middle East, downing the BM Bulls for the second year running to win the premiership.
The remarkable win sees the Dragons with four titles in the past five seasons, broken only by the Doha Kangaroos win against the Dragons in 2013/14. This if the fourt flag for the Dubai Dragons after winning back to back titles in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and now going back to back again with titles in 2014/15 and now 2015/16.
For the BM Bulls it is a tough pill to swallow, going down in consecutive grand finals, but they are sure to bounce back strongly next season based on their incredible growth and success in just two seasons.
With the final home and away match now completed in the AFL Middle East competition for the 2015/16 season, attention will now turn to the Grand Final, to be players at Seven’s Stadium in Dubai on March on Friday 11th March.
The final match saw the Abu Dhabi Falcons host the Dubai Dragons. The Falcons’ remote finals chances had been ended last round, so the game was about pride and building for next season. For the Dragons it was a chance to tune up ready for their premiership tilt in two weeks’ time.
The Dragons had little trouble in downing a game Falcon’s outfit, eventually running out winners by 51 points. The final score saw the Dubai Dragons 18 8 116 defeat the Abu Dhabi Falcons 9 11 65.
The AFL Middle East Grand Final will be a replay of last season’s clash between the Dubai Dragons and the BM Bulls. The Bulls had already secured their place when they secured a grand final berth downing the Doha Kangaroos for their third win for the season, enough for a guaranteed berth.
The Dubai Dragons needed to win this round’s game against the improved Dubai Dingoes in the local derby to claim the other grand final spot. For the Dingoes, they also needed victory to have a faint chance of reaching the final.
But the Dragons snuffed out the Dingoes chances with a solid win, downing the Dingoes by 50 points with the final scores: Dubai Dragons 11 14 80 d Dubai Dingoes 3 12 30.
The second half of the AFL Middle East competition got under way last Friday after the winter break. Whilst the scheduled Muscat Magpies versus BM Bulls match had long been cancelled, the other match went ahead with the Dubai Dingoes hosting fellow finals aspirant, the Abu Dhabi Falcons. The BM Bulls also played the Doha Kangaroos with their match being brought forward.
The final scores saw the Dubai Dingoes 9 14 68 defeat the Abu Dhabi Falcons 7 3 45.
The BM Bulls, however, defeated the Doha Kangaroos - 14 17 101 to 1 6 12 to secure the first grand final place with their third win for the season.
The Dingoes/Falcons match was like a mini final for both teams. Locked on a win apiece heading into the match, whichever team won would go into finals calculations whilst the other would almost certainly be out of the running. The result now sees the Falcons unlikely to reach the final as their final match is against the league leaders, the Dubai Dragons.
The AFL Middle East season has reached the mid-season, or winter, break with the Dubai Dragons having their say once again. In a shortened competition due to the withdrawal of the Muscat Magpies, the Dragons recorded their second win of the season in an eleven point thriller against the Doha Kangaroos.
The Dragons undertook a significant off-season rebuild with players departing, putting pressure on their claims to another flag. But the win against Doha sees them in the prime position to snare another minor premiership. They now have two wins, the same as the BM Bulls, but with two games to play compared to one for the Bulls.
The game in Doha was tight from the outset. The Dragons led most of the early stages, with a one goal half time lead. But the home side came back hard and jumped out to a ten point lead midway through the final quarter. But the Dragons newer players and last minute replacements stepped up to grab back the lead and hold on for a win.
The BM Bulls reacted in a most severe way to their last start loss to the Dubai Dragons with a huge win over the Abu Dhabi Falcons in the Round Four match on Friday. Whilst it was a dark day for the Falcons, playing on the picturesque grounds of the exquisite Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, for the Bulls it was a landmark day of records, including their highest club score and biggest win in their short history. The setting for the match at the Emirates Palace might well be the most opulent location ever produced for an Australian Rules football match anywhere in the world.
For the record, the BM Bulls, with astonishing accuracy, defeated the Abu Dhabi Falcons by a whopping 127 points with the Bulls kicking 27 6 168 to the Falcons 6 5 41.