Contributed by: Aaron Richard Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 07:54 am ACST
Back in 2007, Vietnamese-Australian Tri Thoi from the Box Hill North footy club founded a new side known as the Elgar Park Dragons, a project aimed at building the participation of Asian-Australians in the indigenous footy code.
Originally based largely around the Vietnamese team from the Multicultural Cup, but with increasing numbers of players from other nationalities, the Dragons played the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the Victorian Amateur Football Assocation's Club 18 division, as the third senior team associated with Box Hill North.
This year the Dragons have gone it alone, becoming a stand-alone club, joining the semi-professional Southern Football League and moving their home base from Elgar Park to the suburb of Clayton, around 10km south.
With the relocation, the club has been renamed the "Southern Dragons"[*1] . Their playing base still has a large Vietnamese contingent, but also now boasts a large number of players of Cambodian background, a few from nations such as Japan, China and Korea and a few non-Asians, including Greeks and New Zealanders.
From fielding just one senior side in 2007, the Dragons this year will have seniors, reserves and under 18s. Although their seniors have gone down in their first two matches, their entry into the league has created plenty of media interest, with reports including Fire in the belly as Dragons Awake[*2] in major Melbourne tabloid the Herald-Sun, and Enter the Dragon[*3] in the suburban Leader Group newspapers.