Contributed by: Aaron Richard Sunday, June 03 2007 @ 03:50 pm ACST
Asia’s biggest-ever Australian rules football tournament has been confirmed for Thailand in July as the sport continues to expand in the region with competition for the trophy sure to be intense. Ten teams in the China Reds, United Arab Emirates Heat, Hong Kong Dragons[*1] , Bali Geckos[*2] , Jakarta Bintangs[*3] , Tokyo Goannas[*4] , Malaysian Warriors[*5] , Singapore Wombats[*6] , Vietnam Swans[*7] and hosts the Thailand Tigers will compete for the coveted Asian Australian Rules Football Championship at the Patana International School on Saturday July 14, the Singapore Wombats aiming for their third-straight Asian title.
The UAE Heat, representing the clubs playing in Dubai and other cities, and Vietnam, combining the Saigon and Hanoi clubs, will be making their debuts in the tournament this year, with Dubai tipped to give regional powerhouses Bali, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Singapore a real push in the tournament.
Home team, the Thailand Tigers, also have the advantage of not travelling and will have a full squad to select from who have been in full training under the watchful eye of coach and former Fitzroy star Geoff Everett.
In what will be a super weekend for Australian sports fans, the Socceroos international soccer team play Iraq in Bangkok on Friday July 13 and Thailand on Monday July 16 in the group stages of the soccer Asian Cup Championship.
The Thailand Tigers have extended an invitation to the Socceroos and their travelling supporters to the Australian rules tournament where an official from the Australian Embassy will preside over the day.
The tournament will use a round robin format with the teams being drawn into two groups of five. The five teams will then play each other once with the results collated to form a ladder using standard methods. The two top group teams will then play off in the grand final.
"Many of the guys from within the Thailand Tigers club are putting in a lot of time and effort to ensure the tournament will be a success," added Steven Richards from the host club.
"And it will be a great weekend of sport with the Socceroos games sandwiching ours. I know many of the teams involved in our tournament are coming early to catch the Socceroos game on the Friday night and some are staying on for the Sunday night game as well.
"It’s a great weekend of sport and many people in the Australian community around Bangkok and Thailand are already very excited about it."
More information about the tournament and the clubs competing can be found on the Thailand Tigers website[*8] .