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It is with pride that my final Djarrak FC Coaches Corner for the 2017 Gove AFL season reports that the club is in a healthy state and also in possession of the Men's and Women's 2017 Premiership Trophies. The mens team won the first contested premiership in 1975 and 42 years later our womens team added their own slice of history as they won the first structured Gove AFL Women's Premiership Cup.

The womens team have had great support off the field with Araluen Maymuru a real go getter in terms of recruitment, mentoring of the school aged players and organisation to ensure training and game day went smoothly. Coach Corey Atkinson, and latterly the injured Timothy Blake, gave the ladies simple game instructions for the season and this approach resulted in real growth of the playing group.

It is no secret the Women's team had a great team spirit and the ladies had brought their own special contributions to the 'Djarrak Culture'. With a mixture of experience and novices, adult players and youth girls, the squad had an overall excellent work ethic and hunger to get better. Participation was the reason most ladies identified playing however the competitive juices began to flow especially coming into the finals series. And what a series it was. Losing the Qualifying Final against Gopu Football Club after a particularly wasteful third quarter in front of goals meant a tough assignment against a youthful Nguykal Football Club. Winning this game ensured a Grand Final against Gopu FC and looking back, the extra game allowed the team to really gel and have their planning for the big occasion ticked off in a number of areas.

There was no stopping the Miyalk Brown and Gold Army during the final and the aggressive attack combined with a really desperate defensive zone ensured history for the ladies and girls. The club is extremely proud of our Women's team.

This Men's season has been a culmination of strategic planning that was designed in February this year and was implemented following our 2016/17 NTFL commitments through a tailored 5 week preseason. Rirratjingu Football Program participants had the ability to switch off from football for a month period before the preseason. The structured content importantly brought our new players for 2017 the time to find their feet and understand the obligations a Djarrak man or woman has both on and off the field.

Personally I am thrilled for our dedicated coaching staff of Steven Raymond, Cameron Stokes and Bernie Price and our Manager Danny Beadman and his assistant Yama Banu to be a huge part of the growth of our mens program in 2017. We set out our stall to be a 'destination club', and if you want to attract quality people and players you need to deliver challenging content, have an over arching plan that is easy to understand and guide a quality leadership group that lives the team standards and drives the ship. We have had all this and more. Our development this year of the playing group has seen time-smart improvement and we were a improved two-way side with our defensive zone a real pillar in 2017.

We pride ourselves on being the hardest workers in the competition. We often go outside the square on content, to delve a little deeper into the well, so that in the back of our mind we have always done a little more than the opponent in the different coloured guernsey. This group of men can be proud that they have spent their time in a worthy cause. It is these cultural standards that have paved the way for our success this year.

I would like to congratulate Gopu Football Club for having also had both their sides in the ultra competitive finals series. It certainly had a traditional feel about Grand Final day with two old foes doing battle once again. Our men had played each other 4 times prior to the final with 2 wins a-peice and in the end a goal separated the two sides at the final siren.

Whilst the majority of punters will define our club by our Premiership results, I will let the future to decide how this group should be judged. What will our community and club look like in 20 years time? How many of our people will have tasted success on and off the field?How many have gone on to be responsible parents and raise quality children that are excelling at school? How many of our group are true leaders in the community and driving the vision for each of their respective clans?

Football is our vehicle at the Rirratjingu Football Program and the Djarrak Football Club. On-field success is an outcome of our wider goals and whilst we can demonstrate we take our football extremely seriously, the worth of the person far exceeds the worth of the player.

We have had 58 players suit up for the Mens team in the regular season and of that, 34 had qualified for the finals campaign. I congratulate the 24 players selected with the responsibility of navigating an extremely difficult opportunity. My heart goes out to those men whom have served the club this year, but supported from the sidelines, and wore the stress of the occasion without having the ability to directly impact the result on the field. All of these 58 men have contributed to our journey and no one contribution is bigger than the others.

With our Gove AFL Season review currently underway, we will be exploring new ways to have a improved 2018 Djarrak Football Club model. The Rirratjingu Football Program participants will gather on Tuesday for a heavy two week training block in order to prepare for Round 1 NTFL duties with Darwin Buffaloes. Buffaloes Senior Coach Matthew Campbell has indicated he will look at some participants to play a trial game in Darwin next week. The program will also be trailing the use of GPS technology for the next 12 months with the ability to measure the training and playing loads of individuals, with a view to keeping our participants healthy and on the playing field.

The club will announce its 2017 Club Presentation and Awards night in the coming weeks. Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation sponsor the football club and have committed to deliver the awards night.

We Are Djarrak


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