Djarrak Football Club is reaping the rewards of the commitment to provide youth aged players with a pathway to football in Yirrkala and Darwin now producing a total of 6 junior aged participants that have won selection in Northern Territory teams in 2018. Shanita Garrawurra is the latest off the Djarrak FC production line and will represent NT Thunder Academy Under 18 Girls against South Australia in Darwin tonight and Sunday morning at TIO Stadium.
Djarrak FC Senior Coach Hayden Rickard was thrilled with the inclusion of Garrawurra in the Academy. He said "Shanita has been really resilient this year. She just went about her business after missing out on Academy selection in December and let her footy do the talking. Dangerous in front of goal and with really clean hands at ground level I'm excited that she has an opportunity to test herself against a quality SA Squad this weekend".
Rickard highlighted the development strategy when asked how the plan could impact results in the Gove AFL this season. He said "Our coaching staff have been brave to blood a number of junior boys and girls early in the piece as we see the Gove AFL being a real learning environment for our youth as they embark on Junior NTFL football duties later in the year. We also have juniors that are in preparation mode for School Nationals and the Youth Girls Diversity Championships coming up"
He added "We don't believe that this de-values the Senior Competition. We know that when the youth fold out into representative teams they return with knowledge of what it takes to compete on the national stage. The direct impact to the competition is that the youth players receive player education, they raise the bar in effect and the local competition takes on a different feel".
Talented Junior Under 15 Girl Kaya Mununggurr has taken the most of her opportunities in the 2017/18 NTFL Season to win a NT Thunder Junior Academy place and now selection in the NT Schoolgirls Under 15 Squad. Gawiya Mununggurr is another junior girl to have followed the Rirratjingu Football Program pathway to Darwin. She has another year at NTFL Youth Girls level and her growth so far in the Gove AFLW indicates a rapid upwards trend. Women's Coach Araluen Maymuru has been working tirelessly with the Women's squad to hold outright second on the local competition ladder.
Gundjarra 'Wamut' Mununggurr, BJ Mununggurr and Russell Munyaryun have won selection in the NT Kickstart or NT Schoolboys squads over the past month. Wamut has been selected in the Flying Boomerangs Squad, a talent AFL Indigenous Program that will later in the year travel to Fiji. Wamut and BJ Mununggurr are currently in Alice Springs competing in a Clontarf Academy Carnival.
Two Senior Men's players also have representative duties this weekend with Lee Mununggurr and Gapirri Burarrwanga both selected in the Top End Storm (Remote All Star Team) that play the Central Australia Redtails on Sunday at 11:30 am in Alice Springs as a curtain raiser to the Melbourne Demons versus Adelaide Crows AFL clash. Both games are televised live on the 7 Network. Check local TV guides for details. Fellow Djarrak FC 2017 Gove AFL Premiership players Winston Yunupingu and Nelson Bara are also selected for the Storm.
Gove AFLW Djarrak FC vs Nguykal FC 12:30pm at Hindle Oval on Saturday followed by Gove AFL Djarrak FC vs Nguykal FC at 2pm also at Hindle Oval.
Photo Credit: Celina Whan