WITH only one undefeated team remaining and one side still looking for a win, Round 4 in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) could well herald some interesting contests.
TIWI BOMBERS v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 2pm
Tiwi Bombers will be looking to break its season duck when it faces Nightcliff at Tiwi Oval in the Round 4 opener. It will be no mean feat though, with the Bombers having to back up a tight loss to the reigning premiers with a strong showing against a strong Nightcliff side that will be breathing fire. The Tigers let a four-goal lead slip to Waratah in Round 3, handing them an improbable first defeat which they will be looking to rectify.
The Bombers’ winless run has not come without promise thus far, with two respectable losses and experienced heads seeing them through. The likes of Adam Tipungwuti, ex-Dee Austin Wonnaeamirri and Jason Puruntatameri will look to stand up once again in this game, while key man Dionysuis Munkara will have to continue his goalscoring form if the Bombers are to put up a big enough score. The forward threat of the Tigers is irresistible though, so you can expect the likes of Trent Melville, Mathew Bricknell, and Liam Holt-Fitz to trouble the scorers plenty if the Tigers get on top. Meanwhile, Kaine Riley, Jess Budarick, and TAC Cup graduate James Tsitas should prove to be key factors in the battle further up the ground.
There is certainly plenty on the line for both sides, and it will take a special performance from Tiwi to topple the Tigers if they can roar again.
WARATAH v. WANDERERS
Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 5pm
Waratah will be hoping to strengthen their position in the finals race with a win over Wanderers, who are coming off two-straight losses having only beat the bottom side. The Warriors had an outstanding victory last time out as they toppled the Tigers in an impressive last-quarter comeback, making it two consecutive wins after a shock loss to Palmerston in Round 1.
Waratah’s Lachlan Collihole will look to continue his consistent goalscoring form having bagged eight in his three games, with Raven Jollife and Cameron Barrett others who could follow suit and help the Warriors gain ascendency. For Wanderers, look for Marlon Motlop to provide some spark up forward alongside Patrick Fairhead, with exciting youngsters Joel Jeffrey and Tyrell Lui also showing glimpses of form.
There’s two ways of looking at this contest – the first being that it poises the bottom two finals sides against each other, and the second being that it pits the weakest top four side against the strongest bottom four side. Either way, it looks like it could be a tight tussle on paper and should play a key role in shaping the last couple of finals spots.
ST MARYS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 7:30pm
In the second game of Saturday night’s TIO Stadium double-header, St Marys will seek to continue its momentum when they tussle with the tough Darwin Buffaloes outfit. The Buffaloes are back to their best after dropping their opening game to the surging reigning premiers, holding the best percentage in the league thus far from second spot. The Saints possess an opposite form line, but have shown glimpses of promise across their three games which eventually culminated in a win and jump to sixth place.
The stacked Buffaloes lineup features stars on each line, with a particularly dangerous forward half. The likes of Christopher Williams and Adam Sambono hit the scoreboard well last week, while Jarrod Stokes has found himself in the best two of three times with a pair of two-goal hauls and 16 year-old prodigy Malcolm Rosas has been exciting. Unlike Darwin, St Marys has been far from prolific in from of goal, but will be confident of quelling their opposition’s forward threat with the AFL experience of Raphael Clarke down back. Anthony Wilson was best-on in his first game for the year last week, and the likes of Nathaniel Parades and Ben Taylor will hope to make a similar impact given their solid form.
While scoring power is the obvious difference between the sides here, competitiveness is not lost on the mighty St Marys side, so expect them to put up a good fight against the Buffaloes.
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Round 4 – Sunday October 28, 4pm
Sunday’s only fixture pits the irresistible force that is Southern Districts against second-bottom Palmerston Magpies. The Crocs have accounted for each of the three sides they’ve faced to remain as the only undefeated side for the year, but it hasn’t come without challenge. On the other hand, Palmerston face another tough ask having comfortably lost consecutive games to Darwin and Nightcliff after their stirring Round 1 win.
The key men for the Crocs include the likes of Bradley Vallance, who has two bags of three goals, fellow goalkicker William Farrer, and Samuel Smith. They will also hope to welcome ex-Bomber Leroy Jetta back to the fold. For the Magpies, Matthew Dennis will have to stand tall once again if they are to stand any chance, with Clarence Baird and Rodney Baird sure to provide assistance. Former AFL star Alwyn Davey will also hope to nab a goal or two alongside Ezekiel Frank.
It’s hard to ignore Southern Districts’ form, and the Magpies have slumped recently, but there is enough talent in their side to suggest they can put up a fight against the mighty Crocs.