His Excellency, Terry Daniher, Ambassador for Football in the Middle East

By Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket

Bounding up the steps of the Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai last week to attend the Middle East AFL Sportsman’s Night the bloke in front of me kindly held the door open for me, “Thanks T.D.”, I said. ” Rocket, old son, what you are doing here?” exclaimed Terry Daniher.

I had come up from Abu Dhabi, a couple of hours away, to attend the night with the coach of the Abu Dhabi Falcons Peter Free and his wife Rhonda, and an old mate from the East Sydney footy club Steve Watson, who has become the club’s football operations manager.

Peter had come along to catch up with his former coach from Glenorchy in the old Tasmanian Football League, Hawthorn great Peter Hudson, who was on the bill with son, Paul, along with T.D., Ang Christou and a few other ex AFL players on their way to Ireland to play Masters International Rules.

Over 150 players and supporters attended the night which was quintessentially Australian. There was plenty of the major sponsor’s product on tap and it included Aussie beef for main course, auctions, a lucky door prize, and a few yarns about their time in the big league from TD, Huddo & Co.

Over a few beers Terry told me that he was now a VCFL Ambassador which involved going around the country clubs in Victoria to watch footy, talk to people, and have a few beers. It’s almost as if they had Terry in mind when they wrote the job description. His brief has been extended to Ireland, where, of course, he had toured twice in the 80’s when the International Rules series was reinstated.

We nostalgically recalled the NSW state-of-origin victories over WA, Queensland, and Victoria, and the narrow loss to SA. The win over the Vics. on a soggy SCG in 1990 was especially sweet, made even more so by the presence in the victorious team of his brothers, Neale, Anthony and Chris- the first time that they had all played together. Terry was captain in all those campaigns; I was in charge of the players’ valuables.

Many delighted in that famous victory, none more so than Terry’s father, Jim. A true Blue, Jim has been a great supporter and promoter of the Australian game in NSW over many years working tirelessly to keep the game going in the northern Riverina. I had first become associated with Jim when we both involved in the NSW Country AFL just over thirty years ago.

Terry told me that Jim is going well but that he has “slowed down a bit”. We recalled how he had played rugby league for Riverina against Great Britain in 1954 and scored two tries, Terry proudly told me how he had salvaged some old footage of the game left out in one of the sheds on the family farm and had it put onto a DVD, “The old man had said not to bother, it was only a film of some old League game”. Great Britain beat Australia in that series; we think Riverina may have beaten the Poms that day in Wagga. Terry made a note to self to check the result with his father and to let me know.

Meanwhile, in round two of the Middle East AFL, new entrant the Bahrain Blues will host their first game when they play last year’s runner-up the Muscat Magpies on Thursday evening at the Bahrain Rugby Club.

The other two games will be played on Friday in Doha and Dubai respectively. The Doha Kangaroos will be out to have their first win of the season against the Dubai Dragons at the Doha Rugby Club. While at The Sevens rugby complex in Dubai the all-conquering Dubai Heat will take on close rivals the Dubai Dingoes.

The Dubai game will be preceded by Auskick’s first games of the year. The first of these games will be the under 8’s which will kick off at 2.30pm, followed by the under 11’s at 3.30pm and then the under 14’s at 4.30pm.


  1. Rod Gillett says


    Bahrain Blues 12.14.86 d Muscat Magpies 11.9.75
    Dubai Dragons 16.13.109 d Doha Kangaroos 6.11.47
    Dubai Heat 21.13.139 d Dubai Dingoes 6.6.42

  2. Keiran Croker says

    Hey Rocket,
    Just finished reading the very enjoyable book on the Danihers by Adam McNicol. Though of course for any Swans supporter it reads like a Greek tragedy. Thirty years on I still can’t understand how we traded him (& Neale) away. I also had the pleasure of attending one of Daff’s Almanac lunches in August at the All Nations where both the author and Anthony Daniher spoke beautifully.
    Hope you are keeping well over there mate.
    Cheers, Keiran.

  3. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Onya Keiran – great to hear from you.

    Agree with you totally on Adam’s book on The Danihers – its a great read about a great family.

    I believe Ants was at his best at the Almanac lunch at the All Nations in August.

    Of course, the clearance of Terry & Neale to Essendon was equalled by the wonderful deals that took Wayne Carey and John Longmire to North Melbourne…

    Cheer, cheer, the red & the white,

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