Contributed by: Brendan Cunningham Saturday, June 18 2005 @ 12:32 am ACST
Australian Rules is alive and well in Asia with four international matches played in May. The results are a good form guide in the run up to the Asian Champs in September, with current title holder Hong Kong showing impressive form.
WARRIORS SPEARED BY WOMBATS
The Changi Cup is a best of 3 game competition played annually between the Malaysian Warriors and the Singapore Wombats. It started 10 years back and is fought gallantly by both teams so the winner can become the prestigious holder of the Changi Cup, for that particular year!
This year's 1st game was played at the marvellous facilities of the Alice Smith International School in Seri Kembangan and was won in the dying minutes of the last quarter by the Singapore Wombats by 4 points after the Warriors had led all day long.
The game started off with a blistering pace and hard hitting action was seen and heard all over the ground, the Warriors were the 1st team to score, their midfielders Flanagan, Bergweister and Brewster were on fire, winning the ball convincingly in many of the close, tightly knitted contests. The Wombats midfielders and defenders were tough, strong and ran well out of the backline setting up and delivering numerous opportunities for their forwards of Taylor and Hinch but like their counterparts the Warriors defenders in Murphy, Ballis, Hannah, Taso and McCalman resisted strongly the waves of attacks that continually belted into them. The Wombats, as usual, never gave up and through typical strong leadership from Boatman, Taylor (Ex Brisbane AFL Player) and Wiggs, their 3rd quarter performance was grinding and kept them nipping closely on the heals of the Warriors.
After leading all day and still looking impressive at the start of last quarter, The Warriors only had to keep playing their hard attacking style of football but they didn’t, they changed the game plan and started to be too defensive.
The Wombats starting to look fitter than The Warriors kept pounding away and then with about 2 minutes to go and The Warriors up by 2 points, our close friendly rivals from down South converted a goal which put them in front by 4 points.
|Singapore Wombats 6.8 (44)|
|Malaysian Warriors 5.10 (40)|
DRAGONS GET UP OVER SINGAPORE
On Saturday 28 May 2005 the Dragons took on the Singapore Wombats at Tin
Kwong Recreation Ground in Kowloon. It was the first time Singapore had visited Hong Kong this millennium and they brought a good squad with them to take on the reigning Asian champions who were close to full strength.
For the first 10 or so minutes of the game, no team was to score with both
teams rebounding out of defence well. Jamie Liddle and Tim Burbury for Hong Kong and Simon Walsh and Tony Boatman in particular for Singapore. After a few poor shots for goal, Hamish Stuart finally broke the deadlock with a running torpedo goal. However, Singapore was to respond with 2 goals and went into the first break with a slight lead.
The second quarter was also a very hard fought contest, with Hong Kong starting to make use of the large interchange bench, but unable to pull away from Singapore who still had plenty of run. Hong Kong did look the better side in the last few minutes, and a late goal gave them a 6 point lead at the main break.
Due to the large size of the interchange bench, the captain vowed to give
all players a run, and this proved to be a master stroke in the third
quarter as it was clear that Singapore had given their all in the first half
and were spent, whereas the fresh legs of the Dragons and the form of Hamish
in the centre resulting in a one-sided quarter. The Dragons took a 25 point
lead into the final quarter.
The final quarter was all one way traffic again, and only a few late goals
from Singapore pin-up Andrew Taylor making the score not quite a cricket
score at the home of Hong Kong cricket.
|Hong Kong Dragons 11.15 (81)|
|Singapore Wombats 6.3 (39)|
THAIGERS BEAT SHARKS IN THRILLER
On Saturday 28 May the Thailand Tigers hosted the Brunei Sharks at the Bangkok Patana School grounds for the Tigers' first International game of the year. In hard close contest the Tigers led all day to run out winners by 8 Points.
It was a predictable start by the Tigers with Smyth and Will getting important early touches and putting the Sharks defence under continual pressure. Everitt up forward provided numerous scoring opportunities and was well supported by McIntyre, Graham and Lane out of the centre. The Sharks applied plenty of pressure and continued to harass and move the ball forward. A good tussle was looming as both teams appeared to settle and adjust to the pace and intensity of the game. The second quarter was a real slog with neither team able to gain the ascendancy. The Tigers wasted a multitude of scoring opportunities into the wind which would have sealed the game, whilst the Sharks made the most of their possession and were able to close the gap at half time. The ‘premiership’ quarter was a better quarter for both sides as the game opened up allowing room for the receivers to get important and telling touches. Will, Dyke and Sheldon created space and options and used it well to set up numerous scoring opportunities. Both teams played a good standard of hard, fast country football with the highlight being the battle of the half back lines with ball locked between them for extended periods of time. The Sharks were the first to crack and allowed a couple of late goals to the Tigers.
Fitness and the wind were important factors and with rain looming the team in front had the advantage, it was the Tigers but the Sharks kept working and were rewarded with a couple of goals which kept them in the game. Some costly misses in front of goal proved to be the downfall of the Sharks. McIntyre took the mark of the day from nowhere, Everitt created options all day, Bedford was a rock in defence, Boreham was creative and resolute across half back.
It was a good solid workout for both teams and a great game overall.
|Thailand Tigers 4.0 (24) 5.2 (32) 8.4 (52) 9.5 (59)|
|Brunei Sharks 2.0 (12) 5.2 (32) 5.2 (32) 8.3 (51)|
WARRIORS ENJOY VICTORY OVER SWANS
The Malaysian Warriors bounced back from their defeat earlier in the month against Singapore to record a victory over the visiting Hanoi Swans. The win has left the Warriors in high spirits and should act as a springboard for a competitive Asian Cup campaign.