Nambucca Strikers Football Club Commemorate Indigenous Round with a smoking ceremony Coffs Coast Sport News Of The Area by News Of The Area - Modern Media - June 2, 2021 Nambucca Strikers and Sawtell FC commemorate the RTC Group Indigenous Round with a smoking ceremony. NAMBUCCA Strikers Football Club commemorated the Northern NSW Football RTC Group Indigenous Round with a smoking ceremony prior to the kick off of the women’s division two match against Sawtell FC. Strikers Senior Women’s Coach Rhys Jones explained the significance of the event. “Our women’s senior team hosted fourth place Sawtell in the inaugural Indigenous round. “An incredibly significant round of football in our association and our valley, our strong ties with our Indigenous community through our very own indigenous players made this round a very emotional and revered event. “Special mention to the women’s senior team from Sawtell FC who participated and supported the pre-match ceremonies and made it an event to share with everyone,” said Rhys. In a game of end to end football the Nambucca Strikers went down 1-0, which Club President Jenna Welsh described as a “ripper of a game”. Coach Rhys Jones based his team talk around the significance of the Indigenous round. “The pre-match talk was centered around the significance of the Indigenous round, pride in yourselves, your team, your club, and community, giving it your all and leaving it all on the field. “After a disappointing game the previous week against Woolgoolga the girls had a lot to prove to themselves. “The game started well with the Nambucca midfield competing for every ball smothering Sawtell’s attacks and attempts to keep possession, fighting against a three goal advantage of a southerly breeze. “The Nambucca girls fought hard in midfield covering our back four and Deslie Townley working tirelessly as our lone striker. “It was not until the 30th minute that the Sawtell team scrambled a goal from a cross from the left hand side. “However, the steel and commitment that had disappeared in the previous week had returned, and the girls continued the fight until half time with Sawtell holding on grimly to a one goal lead. “Typically, as the day draws to an end the breeze starts to drop and the advantage Sawtell enjoyed in the first was not going to be shared. “The game ebbed and flowed, Sawtell pushing, Nambucca absorbing the pressure. “Both teams passing was a joy to watch, an extremely competitive game played in the right spirit was something to behold. Sawtell then had a chance to extend their lead in the 35th minute, when a foul in the Nambucca box resulted in a penalty for the away side. “Yet again, Nambucca Keeper Rhiannon Cooke Jones dived low to her left and yet again saved another penalty,” said Rhys. “This seemed to lift the Nambucca team who, playing with a midfield whose oldest player was 16 years of age, drove hard at the Sawtell team, throwing players forward the girls were finishing over the top of Sawtell. “The last ten minutes was a nail biting affair, every Sawtell counter attack was thwarted by Liz Smith, Jemma Burtonwood and Kiarra Cohen with everyone pushing forward there was always a chance of a late Sawtell goal.” Unfortunately for the home side, they were unlucky not to snatch a late equaliser. “With five minutes to go Lilly Woodward collected a ball from the left following great buildup work from Alex Habgood and Kyesha Cohen, Lilly beat two defenders only to see her shot from outside the box rattle the cross bar, never say die the girls still streamed forward and with no time left Kiarra Cohen hit a ball from all of 35 meters only to see it whiz passed the post,” Rhys said. The Coach was very proud of his players despite the tight loss. “Game over, one nil loss, disappointing? “No, in a very short time this very young and inexperienced team have proved they can mix it with the big guns, this group is growing together, developing and bonding to a very formidable unit for the future, we aren’t chasing trophies we aren’t chasing wins we are chasing improvement and the growth in women’s football within the Club and the Valley.” Rhys paid tribute to the effort of his young players, who performed well beyond their years. “Special mention to midfielders Toria Klete, Jewelle Nelson, Alex Habgood and Lilly Wood who are all no older than 16. “I could mention the whole 15 who gave it everything.” Rhys and Sawtell Coach Graham Shanahan agreed it was one of the finest games of football they have seen in the competition. “Both teams did not let up, played the game in a spirit connected to such a significant celebration of our indigenous people past and present. “This round will hold a significant place in future seasons in striving to help understand and grow with our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” said Rhys. By David WIGLEY Goalmouth action between the Nambucca Strikers and Sawtell FC.