EXPECT a tight round of NTFL Women’s Premier League action, with the competition well and truly heating up now as we enter Round 11. The penultimate round before the Christmas break, Saturday’s fixtures will either set teams in motion heading into the latter rounds of the season, or separate the top sides even further from the bottom. Wanderers have the bye this week, and will look to recuperate after a tough match last round.
Southern Districts v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, December 12
Expect an interesting matchup here between the Districts and Magpies, with the two sides opening the round and never failing to put on a show. While it was the Districts who got the chocolates in their first encounter of the season – their second straight win, which effectively sparked their better form to sit in fourth now – the Magpies have been putting up competitive scorelines for much of the season proving the side is capable of great things, they just need the extra polish and consistency around the ground to push it all the way. With two wins on the board to the Crocs’ five and two draws, the Magpies are certainly capable of pulling another solid effort out here, but will need to really come out flying against the Districts to get the job done.
Districts’ Tayla Thorn is currently leading the overall goalkicker tally, so will hope to continue her excellent form over the past few rounds, as will Emma Forsyth who sits even on four bests alongside Thorn. Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock have been a couple of other major targets up forward, while there is no denying the impact of the likes of Bella Clarke, Ebony Miller, Malory Nankervis and Megan Craufurd. When it comes to consistency, there is no doubting the workrate of Magpies’ Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May, with the duo named amongst the best on seven of their nine respective matches, showcasing just how impactful they are. Billie Byers is also high up for the Magpies with five bests, while Crystal Browne (nine goals) and Arthurina Moreen (seven) have proved crucial up forward, but have only played four and three games respectively, showcasing the Magpies’ requirement for more players to step up in their absence.
Nightcliff v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, December 12
Another intriguing battle is expected in the second match of the round, with the Tigers and Buffs going head-to-head. A 49-point margin last time they met was certainly not what Nightcliff was expecting, and it is safe to say the side will be looking to not only redeem themselves for that scoreline, but also continue on from their solid victory last round to jump up the ladder. Given both teams are coming off Round 10 victories and some fairly consistent form, expect a show from the two, though Buffettes may have the number of the Tigers given their dominance last time around and confidence, sitting in second on the ladder.
While Thorn leads the goalkicking tally with 18, Buffettes’ Zoe Anderson is not far behind on 16 goals and realistically, could be far higher if it was not for the amount of forward 50 options the Darwin side has at its disposal. With both Machaelia Roberts (nine goals) and Delsey Ah Wang (eight) right up there too, there is no doubt the Buffettes have the firepower to consistently get the job done. Add in the constant pressure of the likes of Jemma Iacono, Dominique Carbone and Katelyn Hazlett and the Buffs are hard to stop once they are on. For the Tigers, Mickayla Ward is a real lynchpin, listed in the bests on six of her seven outings and leading the side’s goal tally on 13. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith both sit on 12 apiece, with the former leading the competition tally early in the season, while Lauren Gooden has been a consistent figure for the side.
Pint v. Waratah
Saturday, December 12
Pint will look to continue their consistency and dominance this week, and a win over Waratah – a side which has been such a force to be reckoned with in the competition for so many years – would certainly do the trick. While Pint has been at the top of the ladder since Round 4, Waratah had to escape a rough start to the season and are now currently suffering in the mid-table logjam, putting on some solid performances but not quite hitting the mark against the top sides. A 36-point loss to Southern Districts last round certainly would not have helped that, while Pint is yet to falter with their closest margin two points back in Round 8. It will require a huge effort from the Warriors here to have a chance against the powerful Queen Ants.
There is no doubt that Pint has plenty of firepower, with Amy Chittick, Casey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett all registering double figures in front of goal, credit to not only their ability to find the ball, but also the side’s midfielders’ ability to deliver the footy on a silver platter. The trio have combined for 37 goals so far this season, with Chittick also racking up five bests alongside Cassie Henderson who rarely skips a beat. While Waratah does not record bests, the likes of Lisa Miceli and Jenna Singh have consistently provided not only that forward foray, but also the ability to score well with 15 and nine goals to their names, respectively. Miceli and Danica Pedersen (seven goals) have both only played six of the side’s nine games, proving just how impactful they can be when they get ball to boot.
St Mary’s v. Tracy Village
Saturday, December 12
St Mary’s will look to redeem themselves after a couple of disappointing days on the track, with a battle here against Tracy Village. While the Saints’ past few rounds have not been ideal, the side still remains amongst the top sides in the competition and it will take a huge, season-changing effort from the Razorbacks to get over the line here. Although the Razorbacks have shown glimpses of form, the side has failed to score in four of their nine encounters – including against the Saints in Round 6 – and has not scored since Round 7 – a single behind against Southern Districts. Expect a confidence-boosting win here from the Saints, who will need a boost to ensure their percentage stays high coming into the later stages of the season.
When it comes to sharing around the footy and accolades, there is no doubt that the Saints excel at showcasing their depth of talent. While Michaela Long leads the goal tally with 13 to her name from nine matches, Danielle Ponter and Ash Melnikas both have eight to their name while four more players have multiple goals on the board. Megan Williamson has been named amongst the best in all seven of her matches, while Melnikas, Ponter and Jasmine Anderson have been listed five times each, and three more players have been named four times apiece, proving the consistent efforts around the ground. For the Razorbacks, Zhoe Clarke and Kiri Marschall are right up there, rarely skipping a beat or letting up on the pressure regardless of the scoreline.