The Daly River Buffaloes are celebrating their first game in the Big Rivers Football League senior men's comp where they were narrowly beaten by 2021 grand finalists the Katherine Camels.
The Buffaloes only found out they had made it into the comp around three weeks before their first game of the season, with club President John Bonson saying the whole community got behind the team.
Bonson said the community raised $14,000 to help pay costs including club registration, transport to and from games and catering for the players.
"We had to come up with around $12,500 roughly...key stakeholders in the community came together," he said.
"It was big community teamwork and it's only picking up momentum."
He said the team was "over the moon" about being represented in the comp, but their first game of the season almost didn't go ahead.
"The bus carrying the football team had a flat tyre on Dorat Road and we had until 2.30pm to be on the football field otherwise we had to forfeit," Bonson said.
"I literally ran across the oval at 2.25 to give the umpires our team sheet.
"It's not about getting to the top of the mountain, it's the climb."
The Buffaloes ended up losing by just two points with a final score of 11.11 (77) to the Camels' 12.7 (79).
Best for the Buffaloes was defender Alistair Darcy, while Mathais Liddy kicked six goals at full forward despite his knee injury. Teenager William Cooper, who played in the ruck, was also named among the best.
Camels coach Mark Tyrrell said there was a lot of expectation on both the Camels and the Buffaloes ahead of the game, and that he was proud of the result from his team after an interrupted pre-season.
"It was amazing to get a lot of individuals onto the park at once and pull them together on the day," Tyrrell said.
Tyrrell said the Buffaloes were let down by penalties.
"They gave away a lot of 50m penalties with the new rules and I think if they hadn't done that they would have won the game."
Scores from round one:
Eastside women 10.7 (67) d Ngukurr women 1.1 (7)
Ngukurr men 18.9 (117) d Eastside men 7.11 (53)
NWS men 16. 13 (109) d Garrak Bombers men 8.13 (61)
Arnhem Crows women 20.18 (138) d Garrak Bombers women 1.6 (7)
Arnhem Crows men 17.16 (118) d Katherine South men 11.7 (73)
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