There were a few similar threads running through Werribee’s season-closing home clash with North Melbourne on Saturday and the 2018 Dosti Cup.
For one thing, with Werribee playing host to the cup for the first time, the two matches enjoyed joint billing at Avalon Airport Oval in what was a big afternoon of football.
For another, in pitting Bharat Football Club against Shaheens Sporting and Social Club, the Dosti Cup featured two teams representing not just Melbourne’s Indian and Pakistani communities respectively but also the Wyndham and North Melbourne regions.
Perhaps most remarkable, though, were the twin final scorelines, both Bharat’s breakthrough triumph over Shaheens – its first victory in four attempts – and Werribee’s rousing victory over the Kangaroos producing 50-point margins.
First held in 2014 as part of the AFL International Cup, the Dosti Cup has been used as an opportunity to help ease historic tensions between the two nations of its representative teams.
Friendship is a central theme of the cup, with “dosti” being the word for friendship in both Hindi and Urdu.
Bharat will continue to have a strong presence in Wyndham over the coming weeks through its involvement in Shaandar Auskick, a joint initiative between Werribee, North Melbourne, and AFL Victoria to help introduce children from an Indian background to Australian rules football.