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The much vaunted midfield of the Narrm Football Club came crashing to the sodden earth of Adelaide Oval at the hands of Yartapuulti‘s young guns. The local youngsters were headed by three scintillating quarters of magic in the midfield from ZaK Butters and Connor Rozee and a few magical party tricks from the makeshift Yartapuulti forward line such as Sam Powell-Pepper‘s goal over the shoulder early in the game and Rozee’s late match winner. A controversial mark paid to Ollie Lord that appeared to have touched the grass helped, as did after-the-siren goals at the end of the first and third quarters. Together the grabbed the limelight on the AFL’s Friday Night stage. Narrm had just one quarter of glory when an uncharacteristically quiet Christian Petracca together with Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney restored life and clearance dominance to the team. They surged with seven goals from a game-high deficit of 25 points to a 17 point lead in the driving rain. It was also the only period of time in the game when their defence, led valiantly by Steven May (who can be proud of his Sir Doug Nicholls Round performance). Unfortunately, a couple of late frees that culminated in that last ditch goal gave succor to the home side. The Demons’ final term was weak, with some poor decision-making that let Yartapuulti back into the game and rewarded them with their ultimately well deserved victory. Overall, there were too many passengers among the Narrm small brigade up forward that went missing in the wet. The taller forwards were often caught behind during the first, second and last quarters when the game was won and lost. The ultimate four point final margin was flattering to say the least. Coach Simon Goodwin has some work to do as his team has a tough month ahead and if it doesn’t revert to a more desperate kind of play, they might well lose touch with a top four berth. NARRM 1.2.8 3.5.23 10.7.67 11.10.76 YARTAPUULTI 3.2.20 5.7.37 8.8.56 11.14.80 GOALS NARRM Fritsch McDonald 2 Chandler Hunter Grundy Petracca Pickett Spargo van Rooyen YARTAPUULTI Butters Finlayson Lord 2 Burton Horne-Francis Houston Powell-Pepper Rozee BEST NARRM Oliver Rivers May Hunter Viney YARTAPUULTI Butters Houston Rozee Bergman Burton Horne-Francis INJURIES NARRM J. Bowey (calf) YARTAPUULTI Boak (ribs) McKenzie (concussion) REPORTS NARRM L. Hunter for rough conduct on C. Rozee YARTAPUULTI Nil SUBSTITUTIONS NARRM J. Jordon (replaced J. Bowey in the third quarter) YARTAPUULTI J. Mead (replaced T. Boak in the third quarter) UMPIRES Curtis Deboy Hayden Gavine Jamie Broadbent Leigh Haussen CROWD 37,565 at Adelaide Oval
This week, two of the competition’s in-form teams, Naarm and Yartapuulti will temporarily grab the Friday night limelight from Carlton to mark the two-week long Sir Doug Nicholls Round. It’s fitting that both teams, which occupy places in the AFL’s top four, have been charged with opening one of the highlights of the football calendar named after one of its indigenous pioneers in Sir Doug Nicholls. The round allows us the opportunity to celebrate, acknowledge and thank Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, volunteers, administrators, umpires, and fans, past and present for their contributions to the game and the football community. We remember Naarm from last year as the name taken from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung language, spoken by the traditional custodians of the region on which the MCG sits. The team from Naarm has been victorious in its last four matches and is traveling across the border to Adelaide to take on Yartapuulti which has won six games on end in impressive fashion. The name has been adopted by Port Adelaide and it comes from the Kaurna language, ‘Yarta’ meaning place or land and ‘Puulti’ is the name the Kaurna people gave the land around the Port River. However, ominously for the home team, it means sleep or death. And given the importance to both sides of a victory on Friday night, Narrm will be happy if it can give its opponent an early night’s sleep. Both teams are coming off comfortable wins against lowly opponents and it’s easy to get carried away with such victories. Their respective coaches would have spent plenty of time after their games simply bringing them back to earth. This is an eight-point game of enormous magnitude with significant consequences and nothing can be left to chance. Some of Narrm’s detractors point to the fact that its seven wins have come against sides that are currently sitting 6th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th on the ladder but you can only beat whoever you’re pitted against. Friday night’s game will of course be a decent indicator. Narm has been hard hit this week by injury and suspension which have prevented two players from a triumphant homecoming. The absence of South Australians Harry Petty and Tom Sparrow will leave a gaping hole that threatens to become a chasm if Christian Petracca fails to come up by Friday night. This game will most certainly test the club’s much vaunted depth as question marks remain on the fitness and form of Petty’s logical key forward replacements in Ben Brown and Tom McDonald. Yartapuulti coach, Ken Hinkley’s charges put North Melbourne to the sword without Charlie Dixon (quad), Junior Rioli (suspension) and late withdrawal Darcy Byrne-Jones (illness) along with Todd Marshall who was subbed out with concussion early in the second quarter. They even managed more goal scorers (14) than the Demons did later in the day with their 12 goalkickers. There’s little doubt that Hinkley would understand despite the incredible ability of the individual members who make up Narrm to accumulate possessions, they are not translating that dominance into a significant advantage of clean clearances from stoppages. He has the perfect combination to address this positively for Yartapuulti with its midfield group led by Butters, Rozee and Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines. Narrm usually plays well at this venue, but Yartapuulti has been tough to beat on its own turf so If they want to win this one, the Demons must dig deep into what Angus Brayshaw described this week as “its DNA of contest and defence” which it applies all over the ground. This should be a tough close contest and I have a feeling that Narrm’s indigenous heroes in Steven May and Kozzie Pickett are primed to epitomise their teams DNA and rise to this very special occasion. Narrm by 2 points. THE GAME Yartapuulti v Narrm on Friday 19 May 2023 at 7.50pm at Adelaide Oval. HEAD TO HEAD Overall Yartapuulti 21 wins Narrm 16 wins At Adelaide Oval Yartapuulti 3 wins Narrm 3 wins Past five meetings Yartapuulti 1 win, Narrm 4 wins The Coaches Hinkley 3 wins Goodwin 4 wins THE LAST TIME THEY MET Narrm 12.10.82 defeated Yartapuulti 10.9.69 in Round 18, 2022 at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs Kozzie Pickett lit up the red heart of the country with a sizzling six goal effort that snuffed out a spirited resistance on from Ken Hinkley’s warriors. He did everything but take the hanger that he’s been threatening to take for the past two or three seasons. THE TEAMS YARTAPUULTI B A. Aliir T. McKenzie T. Jonas HB R. Bonner R. Burton D. Houston C T. Boak J. Horne-Francis M. Bergman HF J. McEntee C. Rozee S. Powell-Pepper F D. Byrne-Jones J. Finlayson O. Lord FOLL S. Lycett O. Wines Z. Butters I/C W. Drew F. Evans K. Farrell D. Williams SUB J. Mead EMG J. Burgoyne T. Clurey L. Jones IN D. Byrne-Jones S. Lycett OUT T. Marshall (concussion) B. Teakle (omitted) NARRM B J. Bowey S. May M. Hibberd HB C. Salem J. Lever A. Brayshaw C T. Rivers C. Oliver K. Pickett HF E. Langdon T. McDonald J. Viney F C. Spargo B. Grundy B. Fritsch FOLL M. Gawn C. Petracca L. Hunter I/C K. Chandler J. McVee A. Neal-Bullen J. van Rooyen SUB J. Jordon EMG B. Laurie J. Smith T Woewodin IN T. McDonald C. Salem OUT H. Petty (foot) T. Sparrow (suspended) Injury and Suspension List: Round 10 Christian Petracca - Knee | Test Tom Sparrow - Suspension | One Week Luke Dunstan - Knee | 2 - 4 Weeks Kye Turner - Groin | 4 - 5 Weeks Will Verrall - Pelvis | 4 - 5 Weeks Harry Petty - Foot | 4 - 6 Weeks