A desperate Djarrak Football Club clawed to a comeback victory over a determined Gopu Football Club to earn victory over all Gove AFL opposition teams by Round 5 in testing conditions at Yirrkala Oval yesterday by 9.13 67 - 8.3 51. The heavens opened in the 2nd quarter and Djarrak FC knew they would be chasing after a clinical first half from Gopu FC saw them leading 6.1 37 over Djarrak FC 3.5 23.
The clean skills and willingness to put the body on the line that had been a feature of the past month of football had deserted the Brown and Gold Army and the major break could not come soon enough for the Djarrak FC faithful. It was a composed shed at halftime and solutions were offered from coaching staff and players alike to arrest the tide. A grinding third quarter laid the platform for the win and the experienced Michael 'Longy' Maymuru, Cameron Stokes and Luke Bath ensured the ball was punched forward to suit the conditions and move away from the cute handball game that had often got the side in trouble early in the match.
Down by 3 points at the end of the third quarter it was a clinical finish that saw Djarrak FC record a clean quarter shutout for the second time this season. Winston Yunupingu and Dale Dhamarrandji were active through the spine of the defensive zone and can be satisfied with keeping Gopu FC locked down in the last term.
Djayminy Marika returned to form in his early comeback from a finger tendon injury and kicked four majors in a pleasing display. Raven Marika and Bath were a handful up forward and on the ball in the last quarter. Murray Marika was on fire through the middle and his chase and tackle pressure was a beacon when the side struggled early, he was clearly in fine form.
Senior Coach Hayden Rickard was relieved when asked for his thoughts on the comeback win. He said "We really put ourselves in a pickle with our slow start. Credit to Gopu, they were fantastic in that first half. I think this will be a key moment in our season. We chased down a handy lead in testing conditions. We identified that we have the ability to change gears and we demonstrated that our group are willing to work for four quarters. He added "Bernie Price challenged our set-up and we made some changes to give some of our senior players more minutes. I'm really happy that our set-up encourages solution finding and we benefitted from that today".
Nelson Bara, Dhamarrandji and Raven Marika will attend Football Means Business this week in Melbourne and the Rirratjingu Football Program and Djarrak Football Club wish them all the best.
BEST: 5 Murray Marika, 4 Cameron Stokes, 3 Djayminy Marika, 2 Winston Yunupingu, 1 Luke Bath