A composed Darwin Buffaloes Football Club emerged victorious against a spirited Nightcliff Football Club to win through to a Semi-Final appointment with top qualifier Southern Districts Football Club this coming Saturday at TIO Stadium at 7pm. The 15.12 102 - 13.10 88 win will be remembered as perhaps the game of the season. Nightcliff FC started well and earned a handy 17 point buffer going into the 1/4 time break.
The Buffaloes took a while to settle into their work and it was the Tigers that won the early contested exchanges to look dominant. The tussle between both on-ball divisions was frantic with bodies on the line and no quarter given. The double blues improved their contest method and the ball release on their terms set up a 2 point deficit at halftime.
Buffaloes coach Matt Campbell urged his troops to cover outlets to quell Nightcliff on the turnover and this facet played an important role in levelling the scores 11.9 75 a piece at 3/4 time. An inspired 15 minute period from Chris Atkinson, where he kicked a goal and impacted a number of key stoppages, allowed key threat Todd Miles to push forward and cause Nightcliff the nightmare scenario of matching up on two talls in Miles and Darren Shillabeer and also cover 6 goal hero Adam Sambono. Djarrak Football Club premiership player Gapirri Burarrwanga was composed throughout the game where his ability to win the ball on the edge of the contest quelled a number of dangerous situations.
The Darwin Buffaloes surge came late but what an effect it had on the game. Skipper Jared Stokes emerged from a number of contests to speed away from the pack and deliver into the forward zone. The 'Buffaloes" chant in the final minutes told the story and now the side carries real momentum as they go into this weeks game. Southern Districts have proved a bogey side this year but Buffaloes will enter the match knowing they had used vastly inexperienced squads in the regular season clashes.
In other news it was a composed Under 18 Buffettes that dominated a plucky Southern Districts Football Club by 10.8 68 - 4.2 28. Shanita Garrawurra was a handful around the ball and spent time in the ruck and as a high forward. Gawiya Mununggurr worked through a forward pocket and was particularly defensive halting a number of rebounding opportunities to keep the pressure on the Districts team. Buffettes play Tiwi Bombers on Saturday for a place in the Grand Final.
Kaya Mununggurr's Under 15 side had a disaster game against a red hot Palmerston Magpies as they fell 1.1 7 - 11.8. 74 in a game that produced a lot of learnings for the young side of which treasuring possession will be high on the agenda moving forward. A appointment with a evenly matched St Marys outfit awaits with a Grand Final spot also the prize.
Djarrak Football Club has welcomed newcomers to training as they look to prepare for the Gove AFL Season. It is anticipated the club will again use a 5 week build-up before the Sherrin is bounced in anger in mid-April. Senior Coach Hayden Rickard was comfortable with the short season build up. He said "Some other clubs are up and about early but we will back our content and specific delivery to be ready for the season. We know we will be the hunted this year and replicating what we did last season won't be good enough. There are some changes that we will be adding to our set-up in 2018 in order to keep learning and building".
Photo Credit: Celina Whan