Wednesday 18 August 2010

The Northern Territory have lost important big man Cameron Roberts for most likely the season and have doubts over talented young key position player Steven May as they approach a likely inaugural QAFL finals appearance.

The Thunder only need beat Broadbeach at the Gardens Oval to claim fifth place, although they could be stretched at finals time.

Roberts was heroic in playing on with a torn quadricep muscle against Labrador on Saturday, kicking the sealer for a Thunder side wracked by injury.

“The fact that we were challenged with five minutes to go in the game and they (Labrador) looked like they had the run, we had a number of guys that were severely carrying injuries,” coach Murray Davis said.

“Cameron Roberts, in particular, for him to fight on and be rewarded with the last goal of the game I thought it was a credit to him and typified his performance.”

The talented May was named to play but did not appear, with Darwin sources adamant that he was told not to play by the Gold Coast Suns, apparently to protect their investment for next year.

May, who was listed by the NT at the start of the year and has played two games around school commitments in Melbourne and the Thunder Under 18 program, would be a huge asset at finals time.

The move to the Gardens Oval for the last two games might prove a blessing for the Thunder, who attracted their biggest crowd of the season against Labrador.

The administrative staff did a superb job in promoting the game against Labrador, which centred around the return to the spiritual home of football in Darwin.

A fleet of past heroes formed a guard of honour for the players, who were wearing a traditional NT guernsey,  to run onto the ground.

“I want to make a big ‘thank you’ to Mark Motlop, Russell Jeffrey and John Stokes, who spoke to the players with such passion for the jumper and what it meant to represent the territory,” Davis said of the three major identities addressing the team before the game.

Photo courtesy NT News

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