The inclusion of ex-AFL players Chris Tarrant and Alan Didak was not enough to get MDU over the line against Korumburra-Bena on Saturday. Despite the loss, the day was a success for the club with 1500 spectators at the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve.
MEENIYAN Dumbalk United senior team may have lost on the scoreboard, but overall the day was a great success for the footy club.
That is the view of senior coach, Mark Lafferty, who said the inclusion of ex-AFL players Alan Didak and Chris Tarrant was ‘well and truly worthwhile’.
“It was ridiculous how well it went,” he said.
“The bar and canteen takings were through the roof.
“The luncheon and dinner did 200 meals for the day.”
Despite the minimal impact of the imports on the field, the off field success made up for it.
A crowd of roughly 1500 poured through the gates at Meeniyan, in a great showcase of the league.
The auction on the Saturday night raised a whopping $20,000 profit and when you combine this with gate takings, it is easy to see how this was a success for the club.
Patrons enjoyed the luncheon where both Didak and Tarrant spoke about their careers and their off field lives.
Lafferty said the club didn’t recruit the two footballers purely to win a game of football.
“Exposure for the football club and the league with the Herald Sun/Weekly Times photographer there, as well as Win News, was fantastic,” he said.
The success off field could not be emulated on the field, with a fired-up Korumburra-Bena rising to the occasion to run out 36 point victors.
After returning from a two-week holiday in Brazil on Friday, Didak looked the shadow of the player who booted 274 goals for Collingwood.
He kicked a solitary goal but otherwise had little impact on the contest.
Tarrant presented well as a big target in the forward 50, but MDU’s delivery going forward did not help his cause.
He slotted two goals but was far from dominant.
According to Lafferty, both players enjoyed pulling on the Demon jumper.
“Speaking to the boys after the game, they said after playing in metro matches, country football is the best of the lot,” he said.
Lafferty is content with how his team is faring this year, having won five matches after only winning three last season.
But he gave credit to Korumburra-Bena.
“They played really good footy, the big crowd and everything got them going,” he said.
“They are one of the best we’ve faced this year.”
The success of the MDU experiment has paved the way for more clubs in the area to sign ex-AFL players on a one-off basis.
Lafferty said the opportunity is there, with the right people involved.
“I’m extremely proud of our volunteers and their organisation was really good,” he said.