Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Japanese have finished the Arafura Games with a stronger showing despite going down to the Northern Territory Indigenous Development Squad by 53 points in the Gold medal playoff. The Samurai return home with a Silver medal and invaluable match practice together as a team, against quality opposition, on a full sized oval.
Japan's best footballers hung in the game until the third quarter, trailing by just 11 points at half time. The Aboriginal side then pulled away to a comfortable win.
Japan 3.2 (20) NT Ind. Dev. Squad 10.13 (73) Japan Goalkickers - Mark Pearce 1, Yasuhiro Takamiya 1, Jun Oikawa 1 Best - Jun Sekiguchi, Yasuhiro Takamiya, Jun Oikawa, Michito Sakaki NT Ind. Dev. Squad Goalkickers - Kingsley Whitehurst 2, Cameron Stokes 2, Roy Farmer 1, Josh Talbot 1, Shayne Pollard 1, Albert Tipungwuti 1, Braedon Talbot 1, Joel Cubillo 1 Best - Pierce Liddle, Kingsley Whitehurst, Cameron Stokes
In the Bronze medal playoff, the NT Super Rules 9.9 (63) defeated the NT Crocodiles 5.6 (36).
A best and fairest was named for each competing team, and the respective winners were Shane Bushy Coleman (NT Crocodiles), Gary Lunnay (NT Superules), Pierce Liddle (NT Indigenous Development Squad), Michito Sakaki (Japan).
Japan now look towards the Australian Football International Cup in Victoria in August this year. In an earlier story, the combined tips of the World Footy News staff placed them 8th of 12, but they'll certainly push some of the better sides, especially with their intense training being suited to the harsh format of 6 games in 11 days (see International Cup 2005 - predictions).
World Footy News