In one of the closest ever battles to reach finals in AFL Middle east history, the Multiplex Bulls are the first team guaranteed to play in this season’s decider. The competition returned from its winter break with a double header with the top four teams in battles which would possibly decide their 2016/17 fate.
The first match saw a rampant Dubai Dragons go within an ace of guaranteeing their grand final spot when they downed the Abu Dhabi Falcons. Going into the match, both teams were in the mix, but the falcons are now out of contention with just one win from three matches and a poor percentage. The Dragons would have to be incredibly unlucky to fall from second place with a big percentage boost making them very nearly safe.
Final score: Dubai Dragons 17 10 112 d Abu Dhabi Falcons 4 8 32
The battle for top spot in the AFL Middle east competition was decided when the Multiplex Bulls journeyed to Abu Dhabi to play the Falcons at Zayed Sports City. Going into the game, the Bulls, Falcons, Dingoes and Dragons were all locked on one win each. The Bulls won the Round Four match in windy conditions and after a titanic struggle.
Final Score: Multiplex Bulls 9 15 69 d Abu Dhabi Falcons 9 7 61
The Falcons put up enormous resistance, with the Bulls conceding they were a very strong outfit. They are a much improved side and still have two games to play to make a play for a grand final place.
The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes have righted their ship with a solid win over the Doha Kangaroos in their Round 3 clash in Qatar. After taking out the pre-season cup, much was expected of the Dingoes this season, but a first round slip to the Abu Dhabi Falcons put them on the back foot.
The win on the weekend, however, places the Dingoes right back in the finals frame, with four teams – Bulls, Dragons, Falcons and Dingoes – locked on one win apiece. Only the Kangaroos are yet to record a win, despite being highly competitive.
Final Score: Entertainer Dingoes 13 7 85 d Doha Kangaroos 10 9 69.
The Dubai Dragons have righted their ship somewhat after their clash with the Doha Kangaroos. After going down last start to the Multiplex Bulls in their opening clash of the season, the Dragons were determined to bounce back hard, and did.The final score saw the Dubai Dragons winning 15 13 103 to the Doha Kangaroos 6 4 40, increasing their lead at every change.
The Dragons got away well in the first quarter with four unanswered goals to set up a solid 23 point lead. By half time they had effectively closed out the game kicking another six goals to two. An inaccurate third quarter still saw them advance their lead. The Kangaroos put up a spirited fight in the final quarter, but to no avail as the Dragons ran out 63 point victors.
The AFL Middle East season opened with the double-header draw at Sevens Stadium in Dubai yesterday. The local footy community was treated to two games, both hotly contested and exciting, though for very different reasons.
The match between last year’s grand finalists, the Dubai Dragons and the Multiplex Bulls, was tight at half time. Both teams were out to make statements and locked horns, if you will, in a territorial fight where neither was prepared to concede. However, after the main break it was the Bulls that hammered home eight goals to one to run out convincing 34 point victors 11 11 77 to 6 7 43.
The new 2016/17 AFL Middle East season gets under way at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai with a double-header on Friday, 21st October. In the opening match of the fixture the Entertainer (Dubai) Dingoes will take on the Abu Dhabi Falcons. This will be followed by the grand final rematch between the Multiplex Bulls and title holders the Dubai Dragons.
The Doha Kangaroos will start their season in coming weeks once all future fixtures are finalised.
The new season brings all sorts of possibilities, and each team playing on Friday will have the belief that a new season brings.
The Entertainer Dingoes won their first trophy two weeks ago when they claimed the pre-season cup. It heralds a new era for the Dingoes and they go into Friday night’s match against the Falcons with their own bar raised and a second cup on the horizon for this season.
The Entertainer Dubai Dingoes have kept part one of their 2016/17 season promise by taking out the Pre-Season Cup last night, downing reigning premiers, the Dubai Dragons, and claiming new silverware for the trophy cabinet.
In an interview last week (see Dingoes Hoping To Revamp History) Myles Lynch stated that “off the back of an extremely inconsistent year last year we are once again desperate to secure the silverware for the oldest club in the AFLME and the focus and mission for the year is to bring everyone together as a tight-knit club - as a champion team will beat a team of individual champions every time.”
With that first task done, the Dingoes now have the momentum and belief to push further into the season proper and seek to win the AFL Middle East premiership for the first time.
According to Dubai Dingoes boss, Myles Lynch, the Dubai Dingoes are set to enter the new season tomorrow with a new mindset and a desire to rewrite the history books for AFL Middle East’s oldest club. The Pre-Season Cup tournament in Dubai tomorrow is as good a place to start as any.
Myles stated that “off the back of an extremely inconsistent year last year we are once again desperate to secure the silverware for the oldest club in the AFLME and the focus and mission for the year is to bring everyone together as a tight-knit club - as a champion team will beat a team of individual champions every time.”
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.”