IT was a huge day at Johnny Martin Oval when Manning Valley Junior Australian Football Club hosted Port Macquarie in 2 grades. This was the first time the club hosted home games for both teams.
Club president Jeremy Thornton was thrilled with the turnout and response from the players.
“Our club had our round one gala day rained out which impacted our recruitment and final numbers for the year. With an under 13s team entering the competition the need for good support at home games was paramount, to have both teams together meant we could utilise our full playing list and they showed how strong the club is going to be in the future.”
Mustangs under 11s played first in an epic struggle that went down to the wire. Inaccurate kicking costs Mustangs a more comfortable position but the pressure they placed on Port Macquarie was a site to see. Sierra Griffis showed why she is being looked at for a future in AFL with strong tackling and a no fear attitude. Cooper Daniel also tackled Port out of the game then followed this up with a good run and kick game. The whole team stood up but there were also top performances from Brodie Weekes and Riley Lane. Riley was injured during the game but bravely returned and had an influence in the tense last quarter. Mustangs took the win 2 – 9 – 21 to Port 1 – 0 – 6.
The under 13s took on league heavyweights Port Macquarie afterwards in heavy rain. Port were well coached and showed their class jumping out of the blocks to a big half time lead with the 60 point mercy rule imposed just prior to the main break. This didn’t stop both teams who gave it their all in the second half. Mustangs in particular stood up and showed strength and a half full of promise.
“The under 13s were always going to struggle in its first year,” continued Jeremy.
“With lower numbers and other clubs having more depth this was a point to the future and we are proud of the development of the players who are now becoming stronger and confident with wins sure to follow.”
Jacobi Shaw was a standout and a number of the under 11s stepped up a grade and showed what a force this club is becoming. With Auskick also on Johnny Martin Oval it gave a real festival feel to a dreary day.
“More than 100 people attended and the old grandstand looked fantastic with a crowd keeping out of the rain watching the action. It was a real shot in the arm for the club and we thank all parents and supporters plus the visiting Port Macquarie teams for getting behind our growth initiatives in the Manning Valley for AFL.” Mustang under 11s are back at Johnny Martin Oval next Sunday from 9.30 taking on Camden Haven Bombers, while the under 13s travel to Bellingen. For more club information go to their Facebook Page or phone Jeremy Thornton on 0417 8747 717.