Falcons Vs Dingoes 12 Nov 2010

by Russell Yule

The second round of the 2010-11 AFL-ME season kicked off with an early (10am) game between the Abu Dhabi Falcons and the Dubai Dingoes. The early start to avoid getting mixed up in the F1 World Title deciding event happening up the road and round the corner at Yas Island. (Any truth to the rumour that my meeting with Webber, M., earlier in the week led to his downfall on the day is categorically denied).

While definitely cooler than the first round, it was still closer to 30 than 20 even with the earlier start. The Sheikh Zayed Sports Centre was the venue for the game. This magnificent facility has welcomed the Falcons as our training and for the first home match of the season. And what a magnificent venue it is. The field is probably the only proper full size pitch used in the League, so did require a slight change in game plan to allow for the extra space.

The pitch is surrounded by a slightly rundown athletics track, however the surface is better than most suburban grounds back home. On the Western side the track is bordered by a wall with a row of 40-50 ft Eucalyptus trees, making it feel slightly more familiar. On the Eastern side there is a grandstand with seating for about 1000. Slightly more seats than were required on the day, but you never know, one day the Falcons might be selling the place out. At this stage the crowd comprised of about 5 leftovers from Auskick and the supportive WAGs. The grandstand, not being covered, made a somewhat warm setting for the spectators, so my wife rigged up a shade tent. A nice touch except for the design preventing viewing of much of the action on the field…

At this point I would like to pause and state that rather than being Chief Water Boy, I was playing for the Falcons due to there being a space on the bench. The weekend was the beginning of the Eid break, meaning that a few regulars were not available for selection. And I wasn’t the only old bloke having a run. Jason ‘Flippa’ Phillips also pulled on the boots as a backup back-man for the day against the team he previously represented a few years before. It’s funny how a few years between games can get you to over ride the most basic of rational thoughts.

The Dingoes started the game with a few spaces on the bench, however reinforcements were scheduled to arrive. The Falcons were also one short, as one of our blokes was called into work at the last moment. The Dingoes grabbed the first goal of the game kicking with the advantage of the wind. It looked like they were up and ready for the challenge and the Falcons were not quite on. While Coach Dan Brooke, (recovered from his thigh strain), was getting first hands to the ball in the ruck contest, getting away clean from the centre was easier said than done. The Dingoes picked up a good player in Jesse McGrew(?) who is coming off a season at a high level back in Victoria somewhere. He was getting into the right places at the right times and putting a lot of pressure on our mid-fielders Trigga and Stu.

Coach Brooke came off for a scheduled break and I lumbered on to the field to have a crack in the ruck for the first time in 2 years. Quite frankly I felt nervier than a horse in a glue factory. Managed to not make a complete fool of myself by getting a hand on the ball and directing it in the right direction, so that was good. It was a bit scrappy and a smother by yours truly got the ball out into space for us to run the ball forward and kick a goal. Pretty satisfying to be part of a team goal, not to mention the surge in confidence gained from that passage of play. The quarter ended with a 3 point lead to the Falcons 6 3 39 to 6 straight 36.

Dan called for a greater effort in the quarter time huddle. Maybe it was the early start, but the boys weren’t quite ‘on. Running with the wind and the words of the coach in our ears, the Falcons kicked a game breaking 7 goals to 1. The forwards played to the game plan of leading to different spaces to set up one on one contests, although more often than not were securely marking the hurried kicks coming out of the mid-field. The wind was definitely an influence on the game, however the Dingoes chances at goal were often thwarted by the backline of Jim H, Will, Jay and Jimmy C getting the ball to ground first, then running or kicking it up to the open spaces for the mid-fielders or forward line.

Half time arrived with the Falcons on 13 6 84 to the Dingoes 7 1 43.

The 3rd quarter saw the Dingoes come back and kick 6 goals to 4 to put scoreboard pressure on. They were incredibly accurate, only kicking 4 behinds for the game. In the main the game was played with the wind and it came down to which defence was able to repel the opposition. The highlight of this quarter, for the Falcons at least, was a mark going back with the flight by Will “Porridge” Hornidge up against three Dingoes. Had the ball spilt an easy goal was the likely outcome.

The last quarter was again fairly even. Hard to go past the effort of Jay, who kicked two goals from the backline. One was a great effort that I feel I should take some small credit for. As the ball sailed over my head I called Jay in for the spoil where he got solid fist contact forcing the ball about 30m forward. It looked for all money like it was going over the boundary line, but bobbled about 30cm inside the line rather than over it. Who had been on the mark for the previous kick chased out to the ball, grabbed it under pressure and handballed to Jay who had continued forward after the punch. I believe he only did this because he knew I would man up on his opponent, thereby ending my part in this play. Jay received and goaled. Nice.

Less impressive was the goal Flippa jagged later on. An earlier effort fell short, but this one sailed through. The goal was less than impressive because he had just become the oldest Falcon to ever kick a goal in a game in the history of the club. I don’t like competition…

Post game comments from the coach were based on sticking to the game plan for the bigger ground, unselfish team footy, accuracy when kicking for goal, quality of skills and team play across all the lines, focus on the ball and not the decisions, the reaction to the slow start and the all round positive ‘vibe’ of the club. However post match festivities led to the player of the game award going to manager Steve Watson for securing a fantastic post match venue at Aloft. It was good to have the Dingo boys along for a lazy arvo brunch to enjoy our fine sponsor’s product. I would also like to recognise the effort of my wife in providing the WAGs with shade and allowing me time off for years of good behavior with an afternoon out with the boys.

Falcons 21 9 135                                                                                                                                                        Dingoes 17 4 106

About Russell Yule

Indogus is the alter ego of Russell Yule. He has retired more times than actually played games, although is completely retired now in order to live vicariously through his children's sporting proclivities. Given any available space in a conversation, he will regale you with boring stories about his exploits with the Bali Geckos or Abu Dhabi Falcons, of which he is extremely proud.


  1. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    On ya Gus!

    Jess McGirk is the name of the Dubai Dingoes goal-kicker – he booted 9.
    He’s not from “somewhere in Victoria” rather he’s a true blue New South Wales boy who played in Sydney Uni’s grand final team just this past season. He’s a recent Law graduate over here doing a three-month internship – hopefully (from an Abu Dhabi perspective) he’ll be gone before the finals start!

    What has been unbderstated in your report is your ruck work once you came off the bench. If footy fans reckon Harry Madden was a dinosaur well, they haven’t seen a cross between Carl Ditterich and Polly Farmer.
    While you look like The Shadow you palm the ball just like the Great Graham Vivian Farmer!

  2. Somewhat mysterious effort in the 3rd last paragraph there. (Editors, really?) Beg pardon, it was Plugga who didn’t give up on the ball and hand passed on to Jay.

    Ahhh Rocket, you made me blush. And not one comment about the matching head and sweat bands. Nicely combined with classy Movember effort to come up with a very tasty and loyal tribute to the seventies, I thought. (Photographic evidence on Facebook for those with a strong constitution).

    Typical of you to find a tenuous link to NSW AFL as well! McGirk eh? I’ve already thought of about seven nicknames…

  3. Editor’s note: Gus, I expected perfection from you – no editing required! Besides, how was I to know it was Plugga? He hadn’t even rated a mention before that…

  4. Curse my perfectionist reputation. Hang on, that’s my wife. I’m known as the laid back, carefree, take whatever life gives you type of guy. That’s why she chose me, and I chose her…

    Plugga had a solid game against an opponent, who to quote one of our senior players, “molested him the whole game”. He lead to that right places, but was probably let down by delivery and the fact that blokes were able to have shots from further out. Coincidentally his man was a former opponent of mine from Bali Vs Jakarta games. How’s that for an international rivalry? (I had to get that in, Plugga is a big unit!)

    Also forgot to mention a shocking incident where Matty Wood, who racked up 5 goals, actually centred the pill to an unmarked (and un-named) mid-fielder who had made his way into the goal square. Never before in the history of the Falcons has this occurred. Eyebrows were, and I’m sure will continue to, be raised…

  5. I’ll let the editors deal with that one. Sorry.

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