A determined and well organised Djarrak Football Club moved through to the Gove AFL Men's Grand Final that will be held at Yirrkala Oval on Saturday 2 September. The Brown and Gold Army turned last weeks result around by beating Gopu Football Club by 10.10 70 - 6.12 48 to advance through to contest the biggest prize in East Arnhem football by addressing a number of trends that had caused problems the previous two rounds.
The defensive zone was desperate throughout and Cameron Stokes highlighted his importance with his direction, although significantly pushing through the game with a hip-flexor issue. Gapirri Burarrwanga was immense during the first half and repelled a number of raids from the Gopu midfield by intercepting at will. Dale Dhamarrandji took a step up in quality and was a key when looking to release pressure.
Djarrak FC attacked the ball at the stoppages and Luke Bath was a revelation with the time he gave himself and others and his selfless delivery forward paid dividends on the scoreboard when the side built a handy 7.8 50 - 3.4 22 lead going into half time. Matthew Campbell played the perfect foil to Bath and played behind the contest with aplomb in the closing stages.
Djayminy Marika returned to action despite being under an injury cloud and worked well with Bernie Price to bring any high ball to ground for the crumbers to scavenge. Veteran Benji Maymuru defied father time to provide intelligent leading patterns and worked hard defensively as he demands a re-call for the all important encounter in two weeks.
Senior Coach Hayden Rickard was relieved post game when asked how he viewed the win. He said "Look, just really pleased for the club today. We presented a more balanced approach this week that paid off. Up and about early, making good use of our possession and really sticking to plan got us over the line. He added "Credit to Gopu. They really put the squeeze on us in the second half but our guys refused to waver. A number of our players carried significant injuries into this clash and we really hobbled over the line at the end. I'm just proud we stood tall when we were under pressure, thats the zone we measure ourselves on".
The side will look to rest it players that have soft tissue injuries whilst the remainder of the club can expect a heavy week on the training track. "We've achieved mini-milestones to date. This is an important week for us. A heavy load load followed by a sharpening up period next week. We wait and see who we have in the big show but our opposition review will require attention moving forward. Both sides have a similar style so that is a bonus" remarked Rickard.
Gopu FC take on Nguykal FC this weekend with the winner progressing through to the Final.
BEST: 5 L BATH, M CAMPBELL, 3 G BURARRWANGA, 2 L MUNUNGGURR, 1 R DHAMARRANDJI