A top four clash and some mid-table battles are among the games this weekend in Round 5 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League.
PINT vs. ST MARY’S
Saturday, November 2, 12.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2
In what could be a mid-table clash with ramifications for finals spots early in the season, the sixth placed Pint host the eighth placed St Mary’s at TIO Oval, No. 2. The sides are coming off very different results last week which makes up the one-win difference between the sides, following St Mary’s heavy 45-point loss at the hands of reigning premiers, Waratah, while Pint got up on the road with a 29-point victory over Nightcliff. The Saints’ Round 4 loss marked three consecutive defeats since their thrashing win over Big River Hawks in Round 1. Danielle Ponter is a key player for the Saints, having brought all of her experience from Adelaide’s AFL Women’s program, while Aailyah Bailey and Nikita Long have been among the able to get some consistency into the team. Pint has had a yo-yo start to the season, with two big wins, a heavy loss to Southern Districts, and a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Palmerston Magpies in Round 1. Adelaide’s Jasmyn Hewett let loose last week to boot three of her team’s seven goals in the victory, while Emma Greaves and Kristen Smits have also been sources of scoring in the opening rounds of the season. Pint goes in as favourite for this clash as it looks to stay in touch with the top four, while St Mary’s needs to win in order to maintain a place in the mid-table logjam and not fall too far behind.
DARWIN BUFFETTES vs. NIGHTCLIFF
Saturday, November 2, 12.30pm
The team to beat this season thus far is the Buffettes, with Darwin yet to lose in season 2019/20, sitting a win and a massive percentage clear of Waratah and Wanderers. The last two weeks have brought the Buffettes back to reality despite getting away with the points, defeating Palmerston Magpies (five points) and Southern Districts (10 points) after combined wins of 250 points in the opening two rounds against Tracy Village and Big River Hawks. Tikesa Docherty-Cole booted bags of four and three in her two games this season, while Machaelia Roberts was a massive talent but will be missed when she relocates to Victoria to play with Collingwood following being drafted into the AFL Women’s. Young talents, Dominique Carbone and Tayla Hart-Aluni have also been key to the Buffettes’ success thus far, booting three goals in four games each. On the other hand, Nightcliff has lost its past two games, smashed by Waratah (41 points) and then going down to Pint (29 points) after wins over Wanderers – the only team to do so thus far – and St Mary’s in the opening two rounds. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Laura De Hommel have been named among the best on every occasion, while Shantel Miskin-Ripia has only played a couple of games, but booted six goals, including four on one occasion. The Tigers will be keen to measure up against the ladder leaders in this game.
TRACY VILLAGE vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, November 2, 2.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2
Ninth placed Tracy Village will hope to bounce back from what has been an undesirable start to the season, losing three of the first four games by a combined 299 points. Luckily for the Razorbacks they managed to hold off newcomers, Big River Hawks by five points to grab a victory, but Southern Districts will be a tougher assignment in Round 5. The Razorbacks have had quite a number of players already pulling on the jumper this season, with the likes of Gabrielle Young, Tara Everett and Alexandra Biggs among the best, while Nickesha Jones is averaging a goal a game. The Crocs sit at 2-2, but one was a loss to Wanderers which was reversed after having an extra player on game day. Last week the Crocs took it right up to the Buffettes, going down by 10 points but showing they are every bit a finals contender. In 2019/20, Ebony Miller has booted eight goals in four games, with a game-high five goals to be a real influence up forward, while the youth of Mattea Breed and Bella Clarke has provided great enthusiasm throughout the season to-date. Southern Districts should win the game, but stranger things have happened.
PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. BIG RIVER HAWKS
Saturday, November 2, 3pm
Palmerston Magpies sit ahead of the bell curve in fourth, but are only marginally ahead of their nearest rivals, so a win here is non-negotiable against the struggling new side in Big River Hawks. The Magpies are competitive in every game, with the first three rounds decided by two, 10 and five points respectively, however the Magpies have gone down in two of those matches. The last time out in Round 4 was a different story, with a thumping 20-goal win over Tracy Village stamping the visiting side’s authority on the competition. A win here could also see them move to third with second placed Waratah and third placed Wanderers going head-to-head. Arthurina Moreen has been the hero up forward for the Magpies, booting seven goals in four games, five of which came last week. Janet Baird and Taylah Williams are among others who have enjoyed strong starts to the season thus far in the black and white. For the Big River Hawks, there has not been much joy this season, but one positive is the games are getting closer, with two smashings in the opening two rounds combining for a losing margin of 191 points. In the last two rounds, the losses totalled 25 points. Crystal Browne and Deanna Peckham have played every game this season and provided good support, while Jayde De La Couer has been strong in the forward half. Palmerston would be heavy favourites to take out this game.
WARATAH vs. WANDERERS
Sunday, November 3
After a shock loss in Round 1 to Southern Districts, reigning premiers Waratah have got back to business as usual in the past three weeks, notching up wins against Palmerston Magpies, Nightcliff and St Mary’s, with each win looking more impressive by the day. While their percentage is nowhere near that of Darwin’s, Waratah still has a gap on Wanderers, who they need to beat to ensure they stay in the top three. With Palmerston likely to win its match, Waratah could slide to fourth, or even fifth if Southern Districts can have a big upset win over Darwin. The Warriors have shared the ball around this season and in front of goal, with Julieanna Kerinaiua and Monet Hunter both slotting three goals, while Lisa Roberts has been an important source of leadership for the club. For Wanderers, they also bounced back from a disappointing loss to Nightcliff in Round 1, but their formline may be one to be wary with given they had a reversed win against Southern Districts in Round 2, and narrow wins over St Mary’s and Big River Hawks who are bottom four sides. This will be the biggest test in a few weeks, and the likes of Shekeine De Satge and Morgan Johnston will need to be at their best to get up. The likes of Sophie Armitstead and Kayliah Motlop could do some damage through the midfield and up forward, but will have to really step up in this game if the Eagles are to cause an upset against what has been the benchmark team over the past few years.