ROUND 14 of the 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League season could prove crucial on the road to finals, with the top three sides all facing teams lower on the ladder while fourth placed Southern Districts have the bye this week. Pint will look to keep its winning streak intact while neither St Mary’s nor Darwin Buffettes can afford to slip up.
Pint v. Wanderers
Saturday, 16 January
The Queen Ants will come into this encounter with plenty of confidence, not just because they are still undefeated after 13 rounds, but also because of the form and consistency the side has shown throughout the season. While the Wanderers certainly have players who have stepped up to the task week in week out, the side has lacked some connection through the midfield and versatility up the ground, with just the one key goalkicker throughout the season in Kaitlyn Armstrong. While Armstrong sits second on the goalkicking tally this season, there are little other options for the Muk Muks in the front end, and could be the kicker in this encounter against Pint given their relative firepower at both ends of the ground. Expect Pint lynchpins Amy Chittick, Jasmyn Hewett and Cassie Henderson to step up as per usual, with the former two plying their trade in front of goal combining for 29 goals between them. Add in the extra work rate of Casey Morris (14 goals) and Jessie Baumer (11), and the Queen Ants are hard to stop. Wanderers’ Morgan Johnston, Cassie Ormsby and Tishara Davern have been consistent throughout the season, although the side’s 94-point loss to Pint back in Round 4 could be a difficult margin to overcome this round.
Tracy Village v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, 16 January
Palmerston Magpies will look to inch up the ladder this week when they take on the winless Tracy Village, with a blistering 87-point Round 4 victory sure to spark plenty of confidence for the black and white side. The Razorbacks have only managed to boot one goal since that encounter which certainly puts the Magpies in good stead, however this could be one of Tracy Village’s last opportunities to put a competitive scoreline on the board before the end of the season, so could be the kick in the right direction for the cellar-dwelling side. With both sides coming into this match off the back of losses, expect both teams to come out with a point to prove. For Tracy Village, expect the ever reliable Zhoe Clark to step up to the front once more, while three of her four fellow consistent best on ground teammates in Meagan Wylie, Kahla Dumbris, Indianna Hughes and Kiri Marschall have booted the side’s three goals. For the Magpies, Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May have proved to be as tough as they come, both named in the best a whopping 10 times, while Crystal Browne (10 goals in seven games) and Arthurina Moreen (seven in three) are crucial out the front.
Waratah v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, 16 January
Expect a tighter battle in the third match of the round, with Darwin Buffettes certainly improving as the season goes on – with last round’s blitz against Tracy Village a testament to that – while Waratah have found some form in patches but ultimately not quite had the consistency across quarters, or indeed matches, to apply real pressure on the competition. That being said, last time these sides met the Buffettes only just escaped with a seven-point victory, pushed throughout by a fired up Waratah side. The Warriors come into this match off the back of an extra week on the sidelines following a bye last round, so will look to fly out of the blocks against the Buffs who will be swimming in confidence up in third on the ladder. Waratah’s Lisa Miceli has booted 17 goals in eight gams to sit in third on the goalkicking tally and leads the charge for her side, with regular performers Jenna Singh, Danica Pedersen and Breanna Martin providing firepower out the front. For Darwin, Jemma Iacono has played every match and been named in the best six times, while Kiera Kumoth (four bests from eight games), Zoe Anderson (16 goals in nine games) and Machaelia Roberts (11 goals in nine games, four bests) are all players to watch in this matchup.
Nightcliff v. St Mary’s
Sunday, 17 January
The final match of the round is a standalone Sunday afternoon battle between fifth and second on the ladder, with St Mary’s on an excellent run of form while Nightcliff has certainly stepped up throughout the 2020/21 season but somewhat struggle against the top sides. With three wins separating the two sides but a huge difference in percentage, Nightcliff will really need to turn on the afterburners to stay in contact with the powerful Saints outfit and maintain intensity throughout the contest. While they play for opposing sides, Michaela Long (St Mary’s) and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith (Nightcliff) are huge threats and provide significant firepower for their respective teams, booting 17 and 16 goals for the season and both consistently are named in the bests for their workrate. Nightcliff’s Mickayla Ward and Eliza Morrison have continued on from their excellent 2019/20 form with dominant performances when they take the field, while the likes of Emma-Lou Wolsey and Rose Russell have also supplied plenty of scoreboard pressure. For the Saints though, there is no doubt Jasmine Anderson (seven best nominations and nine goals in 11 games), Megan Williamson (seven bests in seven matches) and a smattering of multiple goalkickers – 20 in fact – make the side hugely threatening and tough to stop when they get going given the consistency and firepower across the entire playing group.
Picture credit: Chris Kent – AFLNT Media