Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 8

ROUND 8 of 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League action is set to be explosive, with a top three battle between Pint and Darwin headlining the round and a match-up between the rapidly improving Southern Districts and ever-competitive Nightcliff that could either further shake up the mid-table logjam or really begin to separate the top and bottom ends of the ladder. St Mary’s has the bye this week, while two of the bottom four teams are guaranteed a move up the ladder when all four go head-to-head. All that, and more, in our NTFLW weekend preview.

Wanderers vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, November 21

Wanderers will host a second straight opening match of the round when they take on Palmerston Magpies this week, and with both teams coming in off the back of mostly competitive losses, expect a tight battle here between the Wanderers and Magpies. Both sides boast the same 1-5 record to start the season, meaning that both teams will know a second win is within their grasp and potentially up the intensity on the field, although percentage-wise the Magpies stand head and shoulders above the Wanderers and would hope to use that to their advantage given their firepower across the field.

Just five Wanderers have played all six matches, with Djimila Totham, Kaitlyn Armstrong (12 goals) and Shekeine de Satge earning three best on ground appearances each, while the ever-consistent Morgan Johnston has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in every encounter, earning herself five bests from five outings. But while Armstrong has played every match, the Wanderers do not really have a reliable second target forward to take some of the heat, meaning another step up from the rest of the forward unit is warranted to get over the line against the Magpies. For the Pies, there is no doubt Tabitha MayIesha Ronberg and Arthurina Moreen are the go-to players around the ground, with the latter booting seven goals from her three appearances and named amongst the best on two of those occasions.

Waratah vs. Tracy Village
Saturday, November 21

A second lower ladder battle follows the first, as Waratah and Tracy Village go head-to-head this week. While Tracy Village are technically once again in with an upset chance here for a maiden win this season, realistically the Warriors have the winning attitude and defensive nous to keep the Razorbacks away from the scoreboard once more. Both sides have struggled up forward this season, coming in as the eighth (Waratah) and ninth (Tracy Village) ranked teams for points for, respectively, although the Warriors have put up competitive scorelines for the most part – bar the last two rounds – while the Razorbacks have now been rendered goalless four times from six outings.

For Waratah, Lisa Roberts was the lone goalkicker last week, adding another to her tally while Lisa Miceli and Jenna Singh have been fairly reliable firepower so far this season and will really hope to pile on the offensive pressure against the Razorbacks.For the Razorbacks, Meagan Wylie and Indianna Hughes are still the only goalkickers all season meaning the side will want to lift their forward output against a lower-ranked side and attempt to pile on the pressure. The likes of Kiri Marschall and Zhoe Clarke have both been named in the best three times, as has Hughes, so fans will hope to see these players step up to the plate once more.

Nightcliff vs. Southern Districts
Saturday, November 21

One of the matches of the round will see Nightcliff and Southern Districts go head-to-head, with neither side quite yet hitting the form they expect to but fortunately still sitting within top five calculations. Reigning premiers, Southern Districts had a shaky start to the season but are now sitting on three straight wins and a draw – including their huge confidence boosting, 137-point victory over Tracy Village last round – while Nightcliff have had a few bumps in the road but are ultimately enjoying an improved season and will hope to test the Districts and send them packing with a lower ladder position.

Emma-Lou Wolsey lost top spot on the goalkicking tally following last round, so the Nightcliff forward will be looking to amend that this round and pile on the scoreboard pressure to pull away once more past her current 12-goal count. Her consistency and backup around the ground is paramount to the Tigers’ success here, with the ever-impressive Mickayla Ward continuously offering a crucial second option with eight goals and four bests to her name, while Jacqueline Anyon-Smith is also well and truly up there not only supplying the firepower but also allowing Wolsey to stand strong up forward. For the Districts, a huge 10-goal effort from Tayla Thorn last round was exactly what the doctor ordered, but now it is about maintaining that intensity against a quality team and utilising additional options up forward, with Megan CraufurdEmma Forsyth and Grace Mulvahil all providing crucial targets with two goals apiece last round but not consistently showcasing that effort on the scoreboard otherwise.

Pint vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, November 21

The biggest match of the round will close out a huge Saturday of action, with ladder-leaders Pint hosting Darwin Buffettes in a battle for dominance at the top-end of the ladder. While Pint is realistically not at any chance of dropping from top of the ladder given the side’s excellent percentage, the Buffettes will want to assert dominance as the first side to topple the Queen Ants. For Pint, everything is at stake here given the Buffettes’ ability to not only control matches with extensive margins, but also maintain a lead in closer battles. The trick here for Darwin is to utilise Pint’s Round 7 bye and explode out of the gates, and with great matchups across the field there is no doubt this match will be a cracker.

Two of the most well-rounded sides are Pint and Darwin, both boasting plenty of firepower up forward and the defensive acumen to back it up and propel the footy forward once more. Both sides have proven more than capable of supplying consistent goalkickers, with Darwin’s Zoe Anderson taking over top spot last round to lead the tally with 14 goals, while amongst these two teams, Machaelia RobertsDelsey Ah Wang (both Darwin) and Jasmyn Hewett (Pint) have all booted seven goals, with Hewett backed up by Casey Morris and Jessie Baumer (both six). When it comes to consistency, Pint’s Cassie Henderson and Darwin’s Jemma Iacono rarely falter, both named amongst the bests for their respective teams on four occasions from six outings, while Dominique CarboneAmy Chittick and Morris are also more than capable of stepping up and leading the charge on three bests apiece.

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