x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Falcons and Heat aim for the upper hand

Dubai Heat and Abu Dhabi Falcons meet in the penultimate match of the AFL Middle East season ahead on their grand final clash next week.

DUBAI // A clash between the top-of-the-table Dubai Heat and the Abu Dhabi Falcons marks the penultimate weekend of action for the AFL Middle East League tomorrow. The two sides, who will also meet in the season's grand final on March 19, are both undefeated and will be treating the game as an opportunity to gain the upper hand ahead of the season-ender. The Dubai Dragons and the Dubai Dingoes, third and fifth in the table, will also be at The Sevens with the Dingoes hoping to go fourth and earn a place in the third-place playoff, also held on March 19. The Dingoes' fate is not all in their own hands however as the Bahrain Blues, who play the Doha Kangaroos away today, could seal fourth position. "It's a big day," said Cameron Hooton, the AFL Middle East's director of football. "We have three Aus Kick games before the minor premiership and the senior teams have a lot to play for." The Falcons go into the match with an almost full-strength side and will call on the services on 15-year-old Ashley Dusting who joins fellow teenager, Alex Barker, 18, on the bench. Dubai Heat are missing a few players, with James Hope preparing for Saturday's Abu Dhabi International Triathlon and Chris Smith, Stuart Dobbs and Luke Batterly out through injury. "The Falcons look to have a very strong team, but it seems they may have some players missing for the March 19 final, so there is every chance they will be treating this game like their final and go all out," said Hooton, a former Collingwood listed player, who will be taking to the field for Dubai Heat. "We will be taking this as an opportunity to put one on Dubai Heat," confirmed Steve Watson, the football operations manager with the Falcons.

stregoning@thenational.ae