Djarrak Football Club responded to calls their season was on the wane with a relentless display of attacking football and desperate defence in blustery but fine conditions at Hindle Oval on Saturday with a 20.21 141 - 6.5 41 over Nhulunbuy Saints Football Club. The Brown and Gold Army had 24 players put their hands up for hard work through infectious energy across the park and Senior Coach Hayden Rickard was resolute when asked if this victory places the club on track for the finals campaign.
"I'm just thrilled for the group really. We were really honest with ourselves in the build up to this game and we have ticked a box for a few goals we have set ourselves over the next month prior to elimination football". He added "We are on track in some respects. We are still too generous as a side. 41 scoring opportunities out there today and we leave 21 to ponder. Its not good enough. We need to develop a ruthless streak in the next month. Our charge is to get better. Our charge is to get ruthless".
When asked who stood out for him he said "We had contributions across the park but a number of players really demonstrated they want to be a part of the team going forward. I thought Joseph Smith played his best game in a Djarrak guernsey to date as a defensive forward. His shut down and harassment at the contest was all I could ask for. Gapirri Burarrwanga stepped up in my view and his chase pressure was bloody determined really. Tim Blake in his second game back added some smarts to our ruck division and he should be happy with the hit-out".
The game was played at a pace that suited the running style of the Yirrkala side and although a significant amount of damage was done on the outside break, it was the hard inside work of the followers that paved the way for the result. Raven Marika, Luke Bath and Matthew Campbell were constantly winning the front spot and then Che McGorm and Rhys Mulholland complemented that work with their uncompromising physicality against the bigger bodied Saints midfield. Lee Mununggurr and Longy Maymuru added their clean skills to the centre with rotations later in the piece to continue the approach to win the ball at the source.
It was a clinical display from the defensive zone. Winston Yunupingu and Joel Ikupu rotated on the dangerous Kevin Vercombe, but the focus on the centre ball limited his damage for the day. Dale Dhamarrandji blew out the cobwebs on his return and despite a few occasions where his hands overhead let him down, he will be pleased with his outing. Bradley Bara worked tirelessly to remind the coaching staff of his class and Cameron Stokes directed the match-ups with aplomb.
The forward zone was active under the guidance of coach Bernie Price and a small forward set up looked dangerous throughout. Maymuru and Robbie Wunaragun roamed across goals at will and the pressure increased when the the rotations worked Campbell and Bath forward in the second half.
Djarrak FC have a bye round this week before the Yirrkala Derby against Nguykal FC on July 29. Training will ramp up this week and the playing group will be jostling for position on the selection table moving forward.
BEST: 5 Luke Bath, 4 Joseph Smith, 3 Gapirri Burarrwanga, 2 Lee Mununggurr, 1 Tim Blake