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8th Annual Gurrung Sports Carnival

07 September 2017

It was a case of déjà vu for all the competition winners of the eighth annual Gurrung Sports Carnival held from August 25 – 27.
Hosted by West Arnhem Regional Council, Gurrung Sports Carnival is the largest regional sports event and is a highlight event on the West Arnhem sporting calendar. 
Exactly 23 teams competed in either the men’s AFL, men’s and women’s basketball and the mixed touch football over the three huge days in Jabiru, with participants representing Jabiru, Gunbalanya, Minjilang, Warruwi, Maningrida, Daly River and St John’s College. 
Each competition saw a battle of the best and winning teams put up a hard fight to come out on top. 
In the end, it was almost a repeat of 2016, with Jabiru Heat once again taking the men’s basketball competition for the sixth consecutive year and the Warruwi team taking out the women’s basketball competition on Saturday.
And for the fifth year in a row, the men’s AFL competition was won by the reigning champions Minjilang Eagles.
In the newest component of the competition, the mixed touch football, the Jabiru team took the lead over Maningrida, to take the Gurrung touch football trophy home.

West Arnhem Regional Council Sport and Recreation Coordinator Seide Ramadani said organisers are overjoyed with the success of Gurrung this year.  
“A huge turnout of competitors and supporters made it a wonderful weekend atmosphere. Gurrung is such a well-loved tournament and people travel far and wide to be part of it.  A lot of logistical planning goes into it to organise tournament draws, charter flights, tidal river crossings and vehicles. Council staff and community volunteers did a terrific job to ensure the competition was smoothly run.” 
Though there could only be one winner of each competition, there was certainly plenty of sportsmanship displayed over the weekend.
The ‘No More’ Campaign was also present throughout the carnival, with all teams in each of the grand finals linking arms together prior to each game. 
This year’s event carnival once again ran in conjunction with the Mahbilil Festival which is a regional celebration of local lifestyle and culture. 
West Arnhem Regional Council wishes to thank all players, spectators, coaches, referees, sponsors, volunteers and supporters of the Gurrung Sports Carnival, with a big ‘thank you’ to the Northern Territory Government, Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Starwin Shopfront, Kakadu Lodge, Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, Energy Resources of Australia, Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, Jabiru Area School, Jabiru Sports & Social Club, BP Jabiru, Maningrida Progress Association Inc, ALPA, Jabiru Foodland and Malabam Health Board.

The all-day AFL competition got under way on Brockman Oval on Saturday with plenty of supporters on the sideline, cheering the seven competing teams on.
All matches were played in 10 minute halves, with  16 games played throughout the day.  
When it got to the semi finals, Jabiru and Gunbalanya equalled in points, and battled it out to determine which team would take on Minjilang in the grand final. Not to be outdone on their home turf, Jabiru pulled ahead at the end to secure their grand final match position.
Before the big game, both teams ran through the official Gurrung Sports Carnival ‘game banner’ to show that all players, no matter where from, were united in the spirit of sportsmanship. This was followed by the players all linking arms in support of the ‘No More’ violence campaign.
During the deciding match, Minjilang led on the score board. However, the Bombers fought back in the second half to make the final minutes of the games very intense. In the end, the score was in favour of Minjilang leading 15 – 12, and was followed by plenty of celebrations from the players and the island supporters. The victory made it Minjilang Eagle’s fifth consecutive win.



They were always going to be a tough team to beat, and in the end it was Jabiru Heat which took out the men’s basketball competition on Friday night of the Gurrung Sports Carnival. 
There was plenty of skill displayed on the newly-resurfaced Jabiru courts, as six teams, representing St John’s College, Jabiru, Maningrida, Minjilang, Warruwi and Djagarna, battled it out.
Jabiru went on to win most of their games to secure their position in the grand final, with Djagarna and Maningrida All Stars battling it out to get the second spot in the deciding game.
Maningrida eventually got the upper hand and returned to court one to take on Jabiru in the grand final match.
It was intense on the sideline as Jabiru got a strong hold on the scoreboard to take the lead early against the All Stars, who put in a huge effort against the reigning champions. In the end Jabiru was too strong with the final score 22 - 12.


The heats of the women’s basketball competition got the carnival under way on Friday afternoon on the newly-resurfaced Jabiru Courts.
Decked in their team uniforms, there was a great line up of players representing a number of different teams including Maningrida, Minjilang, St Johns College, Warruwi, Girls Academy, Djagarna and Jabiru. 
Defending champions, Warruwi Storm came out strong, and with the change of venue on Saturday, the team continued their winning streak to take it into the grand final against the equally tough Jabiru Heat.
In a nail-biting performance at the Jabiru Area School courts, the win came down to the last second at 13-all. However Warruwi got the win with a lucky first foul shot after the siren. Despite losing the gold trophy by one point, Jabiru Heat displayed great sportsmanship, congratulating the reigning champions on their win.


The touch football took place on the Magela Oval on Sunday morning with Maningrida Blue and Maningrida Green taking on the local Jabiru team.
In the end, it was up to Maningrida Blue to go up against Jabiru on their home turf.
Jabiru started out very strong and got to the lead early. 
By the end of the first half Jabiru had extended their lead, but Maningrida put in a solid effort and continued the good fight.
Though they got a few tries in, it wasn’t meant to be with the Jabiru team too strong to beat.
At the end, the gold trophy went to Jabiru 10 – 2.
Both teams showed incredible sportsmanship, thanking each other for a good competition. Organisers hope interest in touch football will continue on in next year’s Gurrung Sports Carnival.

Women’s Basketball
Winner: Warruwi Storm 
Runner Up: Jabiru Heat
Most Valuable Player: Richelle Nangaraidj
Final Score: 14 -13

Men’s Basketball
Winner: Jabiru Heat 
Runner up: Maningrida All Stars 
Most Valuable Player: Anthony Reid
Final Score: 22 - 12

Men’s AFL
Winner: Minjilang Eagles 
Runner Up: Jabiru Bombers 
Most Valuable Player: Morris Rioli
Final Score: 15 – 12

Mixed Touch Football
Winner: Jabiru
Runner Up: Maningrida Blue
Most Valuable Player: Taris Nalkutjawuy
Final Score: 10 - 2

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