As the first half of 2015 draws to a close, the Hong Kong Dragons can reflect positively on what has been an active period both on and off the field.
The end of May saw the team travel to the Philippines for the annual Manila Cup. Touring internationally provides Dragons players with the opportunity to represent their adopted country of residence and play against some of Asia’s most competitive outfits. Having won four out of the last six tournaments, there was an air of optimism amongst the touring party. While the early rounds provided a limited amount of success, that optimism was ultimately unfounded as the Dragons found themselves knocked out of the competition by the hosts, the Philippines Eagles, in the Semi-Finals. Despite a lack of on-field success, the Dragons continued to refine their status within Asian football circles as consistent “5th Quarter” performers and the social aspect of the tour was enjoyed by all.
The SCAFL season of 2015 concluded with a spectacular finals day hosted by Macau on the second Saturday of June. With the general manager of Port Adelaide Football Club, Matthew Richardson, and injured AFL superstar Jared Polec travelling up to Hong Kong and Macau for the main event, the levels of interest in the SCAFL have never been higher. While the strongly touted and equally talented Lantau Lizards finished as Premiers, it was a highlight to see native mainland Chinese rising star, Chen, win the league Best and Fairest Players Award for 2015.
At the end of June, the Hong Kong Dragons will travel to the United States in the first non-Asian tour in the club’s 26-year history. Here is a word from our captain, Dom Dunn:
As a trailblazing football club and founders of the great game in Asia, the Hong Kong Dragons carry an unrivalled reputation as one of the great touring teams. As we push into our 26th year as a Club, it felt appropriate to harness this momentum and spread our wings beyond our dominant realm of Asia and explore other parts of the global football landscape. The Dragons are extremely honoured and excited to have been invited by the USAFL to be part of the Western Regionals to be held in Sacramento on 27th June 2015.
The Western Regionals tournament is into its 11th year and boasts a rich history which will only be enhanced by the Dragons’ participation in 2015. The tournament will be hotly contested by ten teams in pursuit of USAFL glory. The confirmed teams are the Portland Steelheads, Sacramento Suns, Seattle Grizzlies, Orange County Bombers, Golden Gate Roos, LA Dragons, Denver Bulldogs, San Diego Lions and the Las Vegas Outlaws.
The grueling round robin format (2 x 20-minute halves) means an arduous 2.5 hours of footy if we are to make the final. With an undoubtedly rambunctious group of touring Dragons, the team will give its utmost in pursuit of Trans-Pacific success.
Be sure to catch all the news from AusKick, The Vikings as well as the Hong Kong Dragons in the Q2 Edition of the FireBreather – coming July 2015.