Crows thank NLC for support
Arnhem Crows celebrate their Grand Final win before boarding the bus back to Barunga.
The coaching staff of Big Rivers Football League premiers the Arnhem Crows has thanked the Northern Land Council for helping get the club back on its feet in the lead-up to season 2012.
The Crows claimed their sixth premiership flag with a hard-fought win over Ngukurr Bulldogs at Katherine’s Nitmiluk Oval – running out winners 14 – 9 (92) to 12 – 6 (78).
With former Richmond Tiger directing traffic through the midfield and bobbing up regularly in attack, the Crows held off a desperate Bulldogs outfit which was still coming to terms with the deaths of two local personalities in a road accident on the Thursday before the big game.
It was the tenth time the Barunga-based team had played off in the season decider in 11 years, but assistant-coach Paul Amarant said in the weeks leading up to the season opener it appeared unlikely the Crows would even field a team.
“We didn’t even nominate a team at the start of the year,” he said.
Some late-minute recruiting, however, saw the Arnhem Crows playing list begin to take shape, while a much-needed financial injection from the NLC helped shore up the club’s coffers.
“This year was the first time we were able to get some money from the NLC, which was fantastic,” Amarant said.
The NLC sponsorship allowed the Crows to clear outstanding debts and to purchase striking club apparel, which is now the envy of other teams playing in the Big Rivers Football League.
In return for the sponsorship, Arnhem Crows players made a commitment to be either employed or undertaking some form of training, to campaign against domestic violence and to be involved in community events.
“We got singlets and bags made up and messages like ‘no more drink-driving’ and Arnhem Crows saying ‘no’ to domestic violence were added on to the singlets to give out that message,” Amarant said.
“We thank NLC very much, not only for the money they put into our club but also they’ve put in some money for the other clubs too.”
NLC Chairman Wali Wunungmurra was full of praise for the Arnhem Crows, who went down to arch-rival Beswick in the 2010 grand final.
“The Katherine region is famous for producing footballers of the finest order and for the Crows to dominate this competition for such a long time shows just how committed the players, coaches and supporters are to their club,” he said.
“The NLC is proud of its association with the club and looks forward to continuing and strengthening this relationship over coming seasons.”
Story and pictures: Guy McLean