Six teams are set to contest the 2010-11 AFL Middle East season, which will kick off in October. In surprising news the Dubai Heat, who have been Premiers in the league’s only two seasons are apparently not taking part. This season will consist of five Home and Away matches, plus a Grand Final and playoff for Third and Fourth position.
Read on for the complete fixture and club previews.
The Dubai Heat have again been crowned AFL Middle East Premiers, cementing their position as the most successful Australian Football club in the region. Whilst their competitor in the Grand Final, the Abu Dhabi Falcons, were missing a few star players due to injury and other commitments, ultimately it was a solid effort from the Heat that won them the match.
In the AFL Middle East season proper, each team plays each other once and the Falcons-Heat contest was scheduled for the final round. This match had gone down to the wire; the Heat edging out the Falcons by a slender two points. Whilst the victor remained the same in the Grand Final, the score line didn’t - Dubai this time registering a 54 point victory.
The second AFL Middle East season is drawing to a close. The last round is still to be completed, but the Grand Finalists have already been determined. Ironically these two clubs, reigning champions the Dubai Heat and their neighbours the Abu Dhabi Falcons, will also face off in the final round.
It has only taken two matches for the new boys of AFL Middle East, the Bahrain Blues, to join the winners list. They defeated last year’s Grand Finalists, the Muscat Magpies 12.14 (86) to 11.9 (75) in front of a home crowd.
AFL Middle East will this Friday begin its second season. All teams from the very successful inaugural season return, joined by the newly formed Bahrain Blues.
The additional team creates a bye in the fixture each week. This season is comprised of seven rounds plus the Grand Final, and will conclude in March 2010. No doubt the Dubai Heat will be keen to continue their dominance of Middle Eastern football and again take home the silverware. The eagerly awaited rematch between last year’s two Grand Finalists is due in Round 3.
Attempts are currently being made to establish a football team in Jordan's capital, Amman. So far the most that has been achieved is the occasional "kick-to-kick", but Nick Gibson, the man behind the idea, remains hopeful of securing the numbers required for a club. If successful, this club would be a potential starter in the next AFL Middle East season.
Unfortunately for Gibson, whilst he's, "been putting the word out to expats," there are limited Aussies in the country, "and the majority are rugby fans." In his own words, "it's tough to find anyone, let alone get a team together."
If you wish to get involved or can be of assistance to Nick email him at n_m_gibson [at] hotmail [dot] com
The Dubai Heat, who recently secured the AFL Middle East silverware, have won the 2009 Dubai 9s tournament. The tournament is now in its third year and featured a record eight teams, but quite remarkably, the Heat remain its only victors.
The below summary is courtesy of Dubai Dingoes Club President Phil Temple.
This year’s event saw the return of the Dubai Celts Gaelic Football Club and the arrival of the Bahrain Blues, a likely starter in the next AFL Middle East season. Abu Dhabi Falcons split into two sides, whilst the Dubai Dragons, Dubai Heat, Doha Kangaroos and tournament hosts the Dubai Dingoes also took part. Eight teams in total was the tournament’s largest to date.
The bulk of the sides in this year’s tournament are members of AFL Middle East. The Dubai Heat, Dubai Dragons and Doha Kangaroos are all attending. Abu Dhabi will split into two teams for the event. Noticeable absentees are runners-up the Muscat Magpies. Dubai’s Gaelic club the Celts will take part, as they have done in the past. Rounding out the group are the Bahrain Bombers, a potential precursor to a Bahraini side in next year’s AFL Middle East season.
For those interested in attending, the day begins at 8.30am with a draw to determine scheduling. Qualifying matches run until 1.05pm followed by finals which will conclude by 4pm. Each team will be involved in a minimum of four matches.
Food is available all day, the venue is fully licensed and there will be a bouncing castle for the kids. A gala dinner at Le Meridian Dubai will follow the event. This will include a memorabilia auction supporting the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.