ROUND 8 action has seen the race finals race blown wide open, with just four points separating third from seventh. The mid-table bottleneck sees the top two break away, Wanderers has been left on the bottom despite a huge upset win.
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 10.15 (75)
NIGHTCLIFF 14.10 (94)
Palmerston: K. Emery 3, S. Autio 2, J. Marshall , M. Perry, A. Diamond, A. Lonergan, E. Frank
Nightcliff: T. Melville 4, S. Wilson 3, M. Bricknell 2, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, B. Filo, J. Peris, F. James
Palmerston: S. Talbot, M. Stokes, N. Lockyer Jnr, S. Autio, M. Bunworth, M. Dennis
Nightcliff: F. James, N. Brown, M. Bricknell, G. Greenoff, P. Wills, D. Bowles
A lightning start from Nightcliff was enough to see them over the line against a rejuvenated Palmerston line-up by 19 points in the Round 8 opener. The Tigers stormed out of the blocks with 6.6 in the opening term while keeping the Magpies goalless, showcasing their near-unstoppable firepower forward of centre. In good form coming into the fixture, Palmerston duly hit back in the second and third terms but were somewhat wasteful, with their 6.10 over the two quarters still leaving them with a 14-point deficit to claw back. Nightcliff proved too strong though, continuing to tick the scoreboard over in the face of Palmerston’s onslaught and earning the four points despite registering one less scoring shot.
The usual suspects were again amongst the goals for the winners, with Trent Melville snaring his second bag of four in as many weeks, while Shaun Wilson and Mathew Bricknell were the other two multiple goalkickers with three and two respectively. Faron James was named their best, with Nathan Brown again amongst the votes and Cam Ilett and Liam Holt-Fitz dangerous going forward. Kyle Emery was a shining light up forward with three majors, but missed out on best-six honours. Samuel Talbot continued his good form to be judged their best, while ex-AFL star Mathew Stokes was thereabouts alongside the ever consistent figures of Matthew Dennis and Nigel Lockyer jnr.
The win sees Nightcliff strengthen its position in the top two, only one game off league-leaders Southern Districts. Meanwhile, the Magpie’s second-straight loss drops them to second bottom on percentage, but equal fifth with two other sides on three wins.
TIWI BOMBERS 11.15 (81)
WARATAH 9.8 (62)
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 3, D. Munkara 3, B. Palipuaminni, M. Cooper, P. Heenan, H. Puruntatameri, C. Burgess
Waratah: T. Toma 3, A. Ellis 2, T. Mosquito, C. Barrett, M. Blake, J. Neagle
Tiwi: C. Burgess, D. Munkara, J. Monigatti, M. Dunn, R. Tungatalum, J. Puruntatameri
Tiwi Bombers secured its third consecutive victory with a hard-fought 19-point win over Waratah in front of an adoring home crowd. The in form team of the competition, Tiwi maintained a consistent lead throughout the game despite a third quarter test where the margin came to within just over a goal. Having handed Southern Districts its first loss for the year in Round 7, Waratah were unlucky to come up against just as fierce opposition for a second-straight week, but brought it right to the Bombers for the entire contest.
Ross Tungatalum was amongst the goals for Tiwi, joining the in-form Dion Munkara with a bag of three to be named amongst the best as the only two multiple goalkickers. Christian Burgess was judged best afield in his first appearance for the season, with Jason Puruntatameri, Jack Monigatti and Michael Dunn also continuing their consistent form to feature in the votes. For the Warriors, Thomas Toma was their key goalkicker with three, while Andre Ellis was the only other to boot multiple majors. Amongst the goals again were also the likes of Jaxon Neagle, Cameron Barrett and Timothy Mosquito, providing spark and pace forward of centre in the absence of last week’s heroes Michael Newton and Abraham Ankers.
The Bombers’ run of form puts them into equal-fifth, just one game away from this week’s opponents and with a five per cent buffer on sixth place. Waratah hang on to fourth position to remain firmly within the finals race, but will now be sweating on good results coming its way with three contenders breathing down its neck.
ST MARYS 4.5 (29)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 11.10 (76)
St Marys: B. Rioli 2, J. Quinn, S. Dann.
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 4, W. Farrer 2, S. Thorne 2, J. Koopman 2, D. McLachlan.
St Marys: S. Richardson, M. Musgrove, B. Ah Mat, B. Rioli, T. Saunders, L. Stapleton
Southern Districts: S. Guilhaus, D. Staunton, D. McLachlan, S. Thorne, S. Smith, M. Pemberton
St Marys again failed to earn consecutive wins, falling to a resurgent Southern Districts side keen to prove last week’s shock loss was a mere one-off. It was a slow start, with both sides failing to find the big sticks in the opening term, while the Crocs eventually broke away with three goals to nil in the second quarter to open up a 23-point lead on their goalless opponents. The Saints finally broke their goal drought in the third with two of their own, but couldn’t stop Southern Districts from piling on eight second-half goals to run out comfortable 47-point winners.
Michael Mummery was the star for the Crocs, booting four majors after firing a blank in the previous week. Despite his haul, Mummery missed out on a best slot to the likes of Shane Thorne, who slotted two goals, recent addition Sebastion Guilhaus, and the ever-reliable Dean Staunton. Ben Rioli continues to provide a shining light for the Saints, this week claiming half of his side’s goals – albeit in a low total. Simon Richardson was judged best in the losing side, with Mitch Musgrove finding some form and Braxton Ah Mat putting in another shift alongside Tylah Saunders.
The win sees Southern Districts bounce back from its first loss of the season, maintaining a four-point lead over Nightcliff atop the table with an intimidating percentage of 175. Meanwhile, St Marys find themselves lodged between Tiwi and Palmerston in sixth as one of the three sides with three wins for season 2019.
DARWIN BUFFALOES 11.10 (76)
WANDERERS 13.8 (86)
Darwin: J. Anderson 3, C. Williams 3, J. Stokes 2, J. Anderson, J. Clark, S. Anderson.
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 4, T. Motlop 2, D. Ferreira 2, J. Priest 2, M. Mununggurritj, L. Patrick, A. Cook.
Darwin: J. Anderson, P. Boles, C. Williams, D. Williams, K. Maroney, J. Briston
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey, J. Cubillo, D. Ferreira, S. Gibson, A. Cook
Wanderers pulled off the upset of the round with a defiant 10-point win over third-placed Darwin. The Eagles came out firing with 10 goals to three in the first half setting the base for an impressive victory. The four points wouldn’t come without a challenge though, as the proud Buffaloes side fought back with eight goals to three in the second half, but fell just short of the Eagles’ established margin. Having been beaten resoundingly by Tiwi in the previous round, Darwin look to be in the midst of a surprising mid-season slump.
Sixteen year-old star Joel Jeffrey was outstanding, with his four goals earning him best afield honours. Thomas Motlop and Jobastin Priest were the other multiple goalkickers with two each, while Davin Ferreira produced a play of the round contender with one of his two majors. Ex-Roo and Crow Sam Gibson didn’t manage to hit the scoreboard, but was also named amongst the best alongside Joel Cubillo for Wanderers. Darwin’s best in the loss was Joe Anderson, while Javadd Anderson and Chris Williams both managed to claim bags of three goals to also be thereabouts.
While they picked up a huge result here, the Eagles remain stuck to the bottom of the ladder – one game behind Palmerston, St Marys and Tiwi. Darwin’s second consecutive loss puts them back in the pack somewhat, equal-third with Palmerston and just a game off dropping out of the top four despite their impressive percentage.