JUST four teams remain in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League division with Nightcliff and Tiwi Bombers fighting for a spot in the decider. In the other game, Southern Districts takes on Waratah to remain in contention for the 2018/19 premiership.
NIGHTCLIFF (1st, 15-3) v. TIWI BOMBERS (3rd, 9-9)
Semi Final – Saturday, March 2, 4:30pm
Nightcliff 2, Tiwi 1
Rd 4: Tiwi 14.13 (97) defeated by Nightcliff 22.12 (144)
Rd 9: Nightcliff 12.11 (83) defeated Tiwi 10.16 (76)
Rd 15: Nightcliff 10.12 (72) defeated by Tiwi 12.7 (73)
Tiwi: 4-1, 1-0 in finals
The two form sides of the competition are set to do battle in a mouth watering semi final clash to open a super Saturday of NTFL post-season action. After a week off, minor premiers Nightcliff play host to a red-hot Tiwi outfit that knocked off reigning premiers, Southern Districts last week. The Tigers have looked almost invincible at times this year, earning a double-chance having beaten every other side and crushing Southern Districts in the final regular-season round. Their 4-1 form line is identical to the Bombers though, and if they have showed any sign of weakness over the back half of the year, it was in their Round 15 loss against this weekend’s opponents. Having only gone down to teams still in finals contention, not much has stood in the way of Nightcliff to this point. That could all chance at the hands of Tiwi this week though, with the Bombers chomping at the bit to build on last week’s big win over the Crocs. A team which rises for the big occasions, Tiwi has built its remarkable late-season run on a lethal forward line and some ex-AFL experience through the midfield. Nightcliff boasts answers in both facets, with the competition’s leading goal kicker in Trent Melville and a midfield mix of experience and youthful exuberance making for an evenly poised match-up. With a spot in the grand final up for grabs, expect some free-flowing action and a show of fireworks inside both forward 50s as these two deadly sides throw down the gauntlet as the point end of the season approaches.
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (2nd, 13-5) v. WARATAH (4th, 9-9)
Semi Final – Saturday, March 2, 7pm
Southern Districts 1, Waratah 1
Rd 7: Southern Districts 9.15 (69) defeated by Waratah 14.7 (91)
Rd 17: Waratah 10.3 (63) defeated by Southern Districts 14.15 (99)
Southern Districts: 3-2, 0-1 in finals
Waratah: 4-1, 1-0 in finals
Southern Districts faces a tough task in its attempt to bounce back from consecutive losses, with a surging Waratah side standing in the way of a possible preliminary final berth. Second place in the regular season, the Crocs backed up from a strong 2018 season where they dropped just one game and deservedly lifted the cup. While season 2019 has painted a different story, Southern Districts has remains a team to beat and has a wealth of valuable finals experience. Waratah has been just as consistent as a top-five feature this season, and lays claim to wins over fellow finals contenders in the last five weeks – including its most recent double demolition of Darwin. The two sides also have an interesting bit of history between them this season, as the Warriors handed the Crocs their first loss for the season back in Round 7 – a loss which the reigning premiers managed to rectify in the penultimate home and away round. Despite the overall scene set in 2019, Waratah could well be considered favourites coming into this clash, but its most recent loss came at the hands of Southern Districts, and that has to play on the Warriors’ minds. A typically robust side, Waratah’s usual even spread of goal kickers has expanded in recent weeks, but will be tested against the might of a dangerous Crocs attack that has produced the second-best total score this year. Either way this battle falls, it is set to be another entertaining one, with one side hitting form at the right time and another looking to replicate what they produced earlier in the year.