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Mon 11 Feb 2008 10:29 AM

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First AFL in UAE a success

The first professional Australian Rules Football match in the Middle East has been hailed as a success.

The first Australian Rules football match played in the Middle East has been hailed as a success, as a crowd of more than 6000 watched the Adelaide Crows humiliate the Collingwood Magpies.

The Magpies, who had just completed a tour of South Africa and had several team members affected by illness, were overrun by the Crows in the second quarter, with a final scoreline of 4.15.10 (136) to 0.7.13 (55).

With the crowd made up of many expatriate Australians to form a largely neutral crowd, it was the best result anyone could ask for - Collingwood is a team most other fans love to hate.

Crows captain Simon Goodwin revelled in his new role in the forward line, booting several big goals, while for the Pies the usual suspects of Swan, Thomas and Maxwell stood up in an otherwise disappointing display.

The Australian Football League would have been well pleased with the match, with the newly constructed ground at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club looking in immaculate condition under the guidance of curator Tony Hemming, and corporate packages to the event sold out.

League bosses have signalled their intent to trial more matches overseas, with Hong Kong mooted as another possible destination.

Overall the local crowd's reception of the match was equally enthusiastic, with the only gripe being the incredibly long queues to purchase food.

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