Waalitj Marawar will have to bounce back from a disappointing midfield performance against Collingwood and shut down star Christian Petracca to challenge Narrm (Melbourne) on Sunday, gun onballer Tim Kelly says.

Waalitj was convincingly beaten by the Magpies around the contest and the club hopes dual John Worsfold medallist Elliot Yeo (groin) returns to bolster the engine room.

“Optimistic about it (Yeo return). He’ll have a test later in the week. That would be massive for us if he can get back in the team, no doubt,” Kelly said.

However, the reigning Club Champion said learning lessons from the Collingwood defeat would be just as important for the team to regroup ahead of Sunday’s clash at Optus Stadium.

“Obviously touched up around the ball. Probably outworked once the ball left the area. Not good enough, it’s as simple as I can put it, but we’ll take a lot of learnings out of it,” Kelly said.

“Some of the areas of the game that we’ve actually been really good at we were very poor.

“It was one of those games where as a midfield group if you’re a little bit off they’d slice you. At times our pressure was pretty good, but they’d still get through.

“As I said, they taught us many lessons.”


Petracca inspired Narrm’s fightback after being jumped by Carlton last round, with his five-goal, 21-disposal performance almost dragging his team over the line in a one-point defeat.

“I watched a bit of that game the other night and he was unbelievable, looked really good. He’s one of those guys who can do a lot of damage in multiple areas of the ground,” Kelly said.

“He’s going to be a handful. So are many of their players. As a midfield group we’ve got to move on from the weekend, learn from it and get better, because it doesn’t get any easier this week.”

Kelly wore the stunning Loretta Egan-designed First Nations guernsey during Tuesday’s media conference, and was excited to represent his culture during the first week of Sir Doug Nicholls Round at home.

“Aunty Loretta Egan did an amazing job with this one. Also past player Chris Lewis helped influence this design as well,” Kelly said.

“It looks nice. I can’t wait to wear it on the weekend.

“It’s a pretty special round, I think for all people and especially for us Indigenous boys in the League.

“I think the AFL and all the clubs do a great job at buying into the concept and showcasing our culture. There’s many Indigenous players who have shaped the game into what it is today.

“It means a lot.”