The Indonesia Garudas have won the first ever AFL All-Asian Cup, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in October. The AFL All-Asian Cup featured Asian national AFL players from across Asia, culminating in a 3-way tournament featuring Team Indochina, the China Reds, and the Indonesia Garudas.
The Garudas squad brought together the best Indonesian national AFL players from Balikpapan, Bali, and Jakarta, who had been training hard for months in the lead up to the tournament.
The Indonesia Garudas defeated Team IndoChina in the preliminary match on their way to the final. Coached by former AFL star Andrew Embley, and featuring players from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, Indochina couldn’t match the skills, fitness, and ferocious tackling of the Garudas.
Led strongly by vice captain Timbul Santoso (Balikpapan) and ruckman Markus Ria (Bali) – who was later named player of the tournament – the Garudas were fired up from the first bounce and immediately went to work, getting the jump on Indochina despite the hot and dry weather condition. Some wayward goal-kicking limited the damage in the second half, but the Garudas dominated for much of the match and had a well deserved win.
Final Score: Indonesia Garudas (8.19.67) def Indochina (2.0.12)
The tournament final saw the Garudas come up against the China Reds. Although the China Reds were clearly taller and bigger, the Garudas weren’t intimidated and took it up to their larger opponents from the outset of the match.
Vincent Hallim and Yossi Taihuttu (Jakarta) continually broke through tackles, delivering the ball forward with precision and leaving the China Reds scratching their heads for answers. Eventually the Garudas superior fitness saw them overpower the team from China in the second half, to run out two goal winners, and enjoy their first taste of AFL silverware.
Final Score: Indonesia Garudas (3.4.22) def China Reds (1.4.10)
Garudas coaches Boy Pasaribu and Barry Anderson said that while they are immensely proud of the team and the efforts of the players, their eyes are now firmly focused on continuing to build the successful AFL development program within Indonesia.
For the Garudas players, their attention now shifts to the AFL International Cup to be held in Melbourne in August 2017. Stay tuned…