The Cambodian Eagles are heading to Thailand’s beach town of Pattaya in quest of the Indochina Cup – the symbol of Australian Rules Football supremacy in the region – which plays out tomorrow.
The one-day event is shaping up to be one of the biggest in the tournament’s eight-year history, with new entrants the Myanmar Fighting Cocks joining regulars the Thailand Tigers, the Laos Elephants, the Cambodian Eagles and the title-holding Vietnam Swans.
The Eagles are well prepped this year, with the bench considerably reinforced both in quantity and quality to meet the stiffest footy challenge there is in this part of the world.
Having gone close but not close enough to lift the cup in previous years, the Eagles are all the wiser for those close calls and are ready to strike it rich at Horseshoe Point, where the event runs its exciting daylong course.
Away from the animal planet of tigers, elephants and eagles, a unique new introduction is likely to change the face of Aussie rules footy – not just in this region but across the continent.
The competition will extend a warm welcome to the IndoChina Indigenous All Stars – made up of seven Thais, as many Laotians, six Cambodians and four Vietnamese. The All Stars will play an exhibition game against a combined Kangaroos team to wind down a fiercely competitive day.
Even before they launch themselves into competition, the All Stars are already looking far ahead to the 2017 Melbourne Cup, while seeking approval from the AFL to field a combined team in this prestigious tournament.
The star tag goes well beyond the team to superstar coach Andrew Embley, the former West Coast Eagles wingman and winner of the 2006 Norm Smith Medal.
Embley lost no time in signing on after learning how strongly the game was growing in the Indochina region, and he will be at Horseshoe Point to guide his new team.
The West Eagles premiership player will also bring cheer to players from the Bangkok Tigers and the Pattaya Pirates, who can train with him in a short Auskick session during the lunch break.