AFL ASIA NEWEST CLUB  | PHUKET POWER

AFL Asia’s newest club the Phuket Power made their official debut on Saturday December 5th when they took on the Thailand Tigers in the 2020 Thai Expat Club AFL Andaman Cup, which was held at the Alan Cooke Ground in Thalang. 

AFL Asia’s new club, the Phuket Power made their long-awaited debut against the Thailand Tigers on December 5th.

“This game was the first-ever match for the Phuket Power AFL team after the Phuket AFL Masters were cancelled in March due to the coronavirus. 

The Phuket squad featured 20 local expats and a few players from Bangkok with ties to the Island. The Phuket players come from all walks of life and range in age from a Thai in his teens to superfit Hash House Harrier in his sixties. 

A little more than half of the squad are Aussies with knowledge of the game. They were supported by players from Ireland, South Africa, the UK, New Zealand and two local Thais. 

The Thai Expat Club AFL Andaman Cup was a landmark event in the development of Australian Rules Football in the southern region and was attended by Matthew Barclay, the Australian Consul-General in Phuket.”

– Thailand Tigers

The Power will add another dimension to the growth of football in Thailand, particularly in the southern Thailand region.

If you’d like to follow the Phuket Power on Facebook please click on the link below or alternatively if you’d like to contact them feel free to contact via their Gmail address, which is also below.

https://www.facebook.com/PhuketPowerAFL/

Email: phuketpowerafl@gmail.com

 

HANOI AFL (HAFL) | DOMESTIC LEAGUE GRAND FINAL

Originally an annual season-ending AFLX mixed gender tournament, the HAFL was developed and improvised into a 4 team, 3 rounds + finals season based out of the Vietnam capital of Hanoi. 

The Vietnam Swans faithful have built a buzzing competition that has a culmination of banter and rivalry and even has a player retention and drafting system to formulate the team’s playing lists. 

At the end of the ‘home and away’ season, the top 3 teams landed a 2-1 record whilst the Ba Dinh Buffaloes went winless for season 2020 going into the do or die finals series.  

SEASON STANDINGS

  1. Long Bien Langurs 2-1
  2. Hoan Kiem Herons 2-1
  3. Cau Giay Crabs 2-1
  4. Ba Dinh Buffaloes 0-3

The Hoan Kiem Herons were the previous champions the past 2 years and were favourites going into the finals campaign, but in a shock to many a Swannies diehard the 3rd and 4th placed Cau Giay Crabs and Ba Dinh Buffaloes upstaged the Hoan Kiem Herons and the Long Bien Langurs respectively in their Semi-Finals. 

The HAFL Grand Final played on Saturday December 5th was noted as one of the best games of the season and went right down to the wire as the Crabs finally relieved the itch to beat the Buffalos by 5 points.

Best on ground for the ladies was Crabs young gun Josephine Schmitz, while for the men it was the Buffalos seasoned Irish campaigner Matt Bell.

AWARD WINNERS FROM THE FIRST HAFL SEASON

The Best and Fairest for the HAFL season for the ladies was Ashley Abraham’s from the Buffalos and for the men, James Worland from the Crabs.

Leading goalkickers for the HAFL season for the ladies was Jeeraporn Malawan (Nan) from the Long Bien Langurs and for the men, Jason Kane from the Hoan Kiem Herons.

Most Improved for the HAFL season for the ladies was Jardi Skein from the Herons and for the men, Long Nguyen from the Crabs.

 

The Hanoi AFL domestic mixed gender AFLX season in Vietnam has created a wonderful template for other clubs looking to develop a domestically structured competition, given travel tours are likely to be put on hold again in 2021.

AFL JAPAN | A LEAGUE SEASON GRAND FINAL

The AFL Japan A League domestic season was revamped this year due to COVID-19 with the 5 team competition only playing each other once in the season proper instead of twice. Many players from the Tokyo Bay Suns were unable to play because of their employees harsh stance towards the current pandemic, which spawned a season-only merger between the Suns and AFL Japan GO League team the R246 Lions, who were named the Echidna Blues. 

Amazingly at the end of the season the Echidna Blues newcomers ended up finishing the season in style, recording a draw against the university-based and 2nd placed Senshu Powers, whilst also defeating the league leaders Tokyo Goannas in their final game of the season. 

SEASON STANDINGS

Tokyo Goannas 3-1

Senshu Powers 2-1-1

Eastern Hawks 2-2

Echidna Blues 1-1-2

Komazawa Magpies 1-3

In the 2nd vs. 3rd Semi-Final it was a battle for the ages as the seasoned Eastern Hawks mustered all the had and turned around a 51 point loss in the final minor round game against the same Senshu Powers outfit into an inspiring 12 point victory, whilst also securing their first Grand Final berth since 2011. 

Leading into the 2020 AFL Japan A League Grand Final the Tokyo Goannas were gunning for back to back premierships and since 2004 the Goannas had accumulated an impressive 10 premiership flags, whilst the Hawks had featured in 4 previous Grand Finals and were yet to taste the ultimate glory, with their last appearance in the big dance back in 2011. 

The Grand Final was played on Saturday December 12th and was a one-sided affair from the get go with the Goannas setting up their victory with a blistering first half and went into the main break with a 53 point lead. The second half was a foregone conclusion with the Goannas hoisting their 11th premiership cup after running away easy victors 21.12 (138) to 10.11 (71). 

Ben Todd kicked 8 goals in a best on ground display and was well-supported by Yuji Yamamoto and Kota Fuchino, who kicked 2 goals each, whilst Yoshiharu Sasaki and Shota Horiguchi never gave up kicking 3 goals apiece for the Hawks. 

The Tokyo Goannas are one of the most successful domestic clubs in Asian football. The Goannas made it back to back A League premierships against the Eastern Hawks on the back of an impressive 67 point victory and in doing so hoisted their 11th premiership cup since 2004.

 

CHINA CLUBS | BUILD NEW SYNERGY

The Beijing Bombers bounced back from the brink during COVID-19 and in doing so have rejuvenated their club with a 72% increase in active participants! (Read more here) Whilst also resurrecting their club, the Bombers have been a key player in developing a more united China club-based synergy with the Bombers, Guangzhou Scorpions and Shanghai Tigers playing a mixed game in Nangjing in September and a tri-series tournament, which is to be played on December 19th in Guangzhou.

It is hoped that this will galvanize an improved partnership between the three Chinese clubs given they’ve only previously played against each other during the 2017-2019 Shanghai Cups, whilst the Guangzhou Scorpions have previously participated in the Southern China AFL League in conjunction with three Hong Kong Dragons based teams, as well as playing in their local Guangdong AFL domestic-season. 

The China-based clubs make up the China Reds team, who have been on the improve in recent times at the AFL Asia annual Asian Championships, whilst the China Dragons have participated in the AFL International Cup on four occasions from 2008-2017. 

The upcoming tri-series tournament in Guangzhou between the hosting Scorpions, Beijing Bombers and Shanghai Tigers is a fitting end to the season for the Chinese clubs as they’ve developed a club-based synergy that has spawned out of the COVID-19.