Djarrak Football Club has welcomed the addition of former Hawthorn Hawks player and current Darwin Buffaloes hard man Cameron Stokes back into a Brown and Gold guernsey for Gove AFL action late in season 2016. Stokes has been instrumental in adding communication and football nous to the side that has really developed a competitive edge with two rounds remaining.
Stokes was recruited by Hawthorn Football Club in the 2007 Rookie Draft at pick 54 and debuted in the opening round of 2008. He played 9 games in 2008 including a qualifying final before a hamstring injury ruled him out of the Grand Final.
A further 10 games in 2009 were followed by an ACL rupture that disrupted his AFL career and 2010 was spent mainly with rehabilitation before being delisted.
Stokes was an important cog in the Darwin Buffaloes leadership group that was so welcoming to participants of the 2015/16 Rirratjingu Football Program and his decision to pull on the Djarrak guernsey is seen as a big coup for the club.
It is hoped that Stokes will accept an offer to assist with the Rirratjingu Football Program in a formal capacity with his experience in a high performance sports program through Hawthorn FC allowing a real opportunity for future participants to develop and refine their skills under tutelage of a seasoned campaigner.
DFC: Hi Cameron. How are you settling in here on the Gove Peninsula?
CS: Its been great, I've loved it. The boys in the team have been great and welcomed me in and the whole area is really nice. I could settle here for sure.
DFC: How does it feel wearing your old Hawthorn colours, does it bring back memories for you?
CS: Yeah, obviously it does bring back some memories. I had a bit of a laugh with Daniel Motlop and Nathan Djerrkura when we played them and they bought it up. I enjoyed my time there and I'm really enjoying wearing them again.
DFC: Djarrak FC have a mixture of experience and youth and are in a rebuilding phase this season. How have you found your time with the club thus far?
CS: After four games there has been a big improvement. Two tough games were followed by a good performance against Baywarra. There has been big improvements the past fortnight so it has been good.
DFC: Darwin Buffaloes had their first taste of finals football for ten seasons earlier this year. Do you see any talent here at Djarrak FC that would add value to the Gatapanga this coming season that also celebrates the Darwin Buffaloes FC centenary celebrations?
CS: Definitely. Longy (Michael Maymuru) had a taste last year and could have a big role to play. His form over the last two weeks has been unreal. Brendan (Marika) has been good and in defence there is Carlos (Gurruwiwi) and Aaron (Dhamarrandji).
DFC: What advice would you pass on to some of our young school aged players that may wish to pursue football opportunities here in the Territory or in the AFL?
CS: Just to focus and work hard. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. You also need to sacrifice a little bit. Be that going to school or not hanging with your mates so much. So yeah, focus and hard work and a bit of sacrifice.
DFC: Thanks for speaking to Djarrak FC today. Good luck for tomorrows game and the upcoming NTFL season with our sister club the Darwin Buffaloes.