The newest team in the AFL Middle East stable off talent enjoyed one of the most remarkable maiden seasons in any league for the 2014/15 season. To play their first game in the pre-season cup in October 2014 and go on to be grand finalists in March 2015 shows an incredible performance in just five months.
Club President, Andrew Campbell, was involved from day one and was happy to share the story of the Bulls’ rise – as much for storytelling as it is a blueprint for development and success that other clubs may be able to replicate.
It is a week since the 2014/15 season finished in the Middle East, largely due to rest, recovery, work commitments and various celebrations. But in the clear air a week onwards, rather than the heady air of celebration or commiseration, a look back at the day tells a story of the day.
Huwy Jones, president of the victorious Dubai Dragons, provided his insight into how the day panned out.
“The Dragons had the wind in the first quarter and didn't capitalise with both sides kicking goals. Quarter time saw the Dubai Dragons 4 2 26 lead the BM Bulls 3 2 20.”
“The game turned our way during the second quarter - our five goals to one into the wind helped set up a very handy lead at half-time. Dubai Dragons 9 4 58 leading the BM Bulls 4 4 28.”
The Dubai Dragons have won their third flag in four years today when they defeated the league's newest team, the BM Bulls, today in Dubai. In a match which would re-write the history books no matter what the result, it was the Dragons that made amends for their loss last year to the Doha Kangaroos by taking the 2014/15 flag.
The final score saw the Dubai Dragons 14 4 88 d BM Bulls 7 8 50.
This result in the ultimate decider brings to a fitting end an undefeated season for the Dubai Dragons. They took out the pre-season tournament back in October, also against the BM Bulls, going though undefeated, and backed that up with a perfect record in the home and away season before putting an exclamation mark on the season with their win in Dubai today.
World Footy News will have a match review in the near future.
The biggest day on the AFL Middle East calendar is about to arrive with Friday’s 2014/15 season Grand-Final. To be played at Seven’s Stadium in Dubai, this year’s event sets up another David and Goliath type scenario as the powerhouse of recent season’s (a fourth consecutive grand-final appearance for potentially three flags takes on the newest team, the BM Bulls, in their very first season.
The match will kick off at 1.30pm, Dubai time. A decent local crowd is hoped for and expected as this becomes the newest local rivalry with two Dubai teams facing off for glory.
The all-conquering Dragons are deserving red-hot favourites, going through the pre-season and home and away fixtures undefeated. But how can anyone dismiss the efforts of the Bulls after surpassing all expectations to date in their maiden season.
Late last year the AFL Middle East competition welcomed a new team to the league with the BM Bulls becoming the third Dubai based team and a sixth team for the league. Whilst people may have dreamed of great things at the time, most felt the Bulls might need a season or two to get their rhythm and challenge for a flag.
The pre-season competition was played back in October and to the surprise of many the Bulls reached the grand-final against the Dubai Dragons. Beginners luck? Getting ahead of themselves? Playing above their station? Maybe, maybe not.
But this weekend’s final competitive round of matches saw the BM Bulls take on the in-form Dubai Dingoes for a small chance of grabbing a grand final berth. The Bulls not only needed to win, but had to make up a big percentage to do so. But, that is exactly what they managed to do in their debut season.
Not unlike Smaug, the devilishly gold driven dragon from the J.R.R Tolkein novel, The Hobbit, the Dubai Dragons are becoming fiercely protective of their glittering jewels. Whilst other teams slog it out to challenge and steal the loot, not unlike so many dwarves and hobbits, it is the Dragons that, for now, sit above all others.
Undefeated so far this season, the Dubai Dragons have already qualified for their fourth consecutive AFL Middle East grand-final, and are a red-hot chance to make it three glittering trophies in four years – their only hiccup being the loss to the Doha Kangaroos last season.
Matt Burn, President of AFL Middle East, has given a brief rundown on where the 2014/15 season currently sits.
Despite the enormous efforts of the AFL Middle east and the Oman based Clann na hOman GAA and Muscat Magpies AFL, the team has announced it will not formally continue the current season. In a blow to the Middle East competition, the Magpies will bow out and work towards a stronger club for next season and beyond.
The president of AFL Middle East, Matt Burn, released the following statement:
Unfortunately the Muscat Magpies have withdrawn from the 2014/15 season. The Magpies have struggled for numbers since the beginning of the season and sadly the situation has only become worse over the year.
With the local Middle East competition enjoying its festive season break the opportunity to review the season to date presents itself. However, due to the postponement of the two games involving the Muscat Magpies, only four games have been completed to date. The scheduled nine games in 2015, as well as the two rescheduled Magpie games, will now hold the greatest clues to the season.
With that in mind, a very early guide to team's progress and chances has been put together ahead of the recommencement of matches on January 16th in both Abu Dhabi and Muscat.
Dubai Dragons - Started their season with an impressive 57 point win over last season’s premiers, Doha Kangaroos, in Doha. This was an emphatic message that the Dragon’s sought to exorcise their demons from last year. To drive home the point the Dragons then won the traditional local derby against the Dubai Dingoes by 26 points. After the break they play the Muscat Magpies, BM Bulls and Abu Dhabi Falcons. To lose any would be an upset of sorts, so the Dragons are well on the way to another grand-final, barring surprises.
Last weekend saw the long-awaited and much anticipated grand final rematch between last year’s AFL Middle East combatants, the Doha Kangaroos and the Dubai Dragons. A usual with these re-matches the reigning premiers would be keen to restamp their authority on the competition in a bid to set up a shot at back-to back titles. On the other hand, the vanquished from last season’s biggest day would be seeking their own shot at redemption.
The following is an extract from the Dubai Dragon’s club newsletter which gives an insight into one of the year’s biggest games for the Middle East competition. The big day started as a military style operation as a contingent of 35 Dragons (players and support) packed the plane to carry out their plans for a Doha heist. The club can take over the story…
Anyone who watched the Port Adelaide Power team in 2014 was left admiring their impressive ability to run out games. The Power were never dead in the water in any game, as their renowned ability to surge home left their rivals grasping at thin air.
Ask anyone why the club has improved so dramatically in just two years and two factors keep recurring: fitness coach Darren Burgess and their fitness camps to Dubai.
According to the Port Adelaide website “consolidation of the Power’s already strong fitness platform will be the focus of Darren Burgess and his high performance team this summer.
Port Adelaide will begin its preparations for season 2015 in earnest on Monday 17 November, when its 1-4 year playing group hits the track for a three-kilometre time trial. Among that group will be members of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 draft classes.