Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 18

THE FINAL Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League regular season round for 2020/21 gets underway on Saturday, with all fixtures set to play out on a single day at four seperate venues. In a weekend which could set the standard ahead of finals, first meets third and second faces fourth with the top five order still yet to be officially decided. Elsewhere, Waratah and Nightcliff do battle, while a bottom-of-the-table clash takes place between Wanderers and Tracy Village.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (4th, 9-4-2) vs. DARWIN BUFFETTES (2nd, 12-3)
Saturday February 20, 12:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

Darwin will be seeking to lock in second spot when it faces Southern Districts at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday afternoon, with a double finals chance already in the bag. The Buffettes had a seven-game winning run snapped last week by the undefeated Pint, but were competitive and look in good shape to recapture the right kind of form ahead of finals. Districts also went down to a fellow finals contender last week in Nightcliff, bringing an end to their own four-game win streak. These two sides have only met once this season, all the way back in Round 2 when Darwin got up by 49 points. The Crocs will need to flip that script, and some, if they are any chance to finish third, but can otherwise settle for an elimination final dig against Nightcliff next week.

WARATAH (6th, 6-8-1) vs. NIGHTCLIFF (5th, 8-6-1)
Saturday February 20, 2:30pm
Gardens Oval

Nightcliff will hope to continue its winning form ahead of the postseason when it travels to face Waratah at Gardens Oval on Saturday afternoon, guaranteed a fifth-place finish. The Tigers crucially took out Southern Districts last week in what was an elimination final sighter, making it two wins on the trot with the potential for three in this fixture. Waratah also picked up points last time out and has been largely competitive against top five opposition, but is set to miss finals for the first time in its history – at least in the women’s competition. Nightcliff took out the Round 2 meeting between these sides by 25 points, and will have to be on form to repeat the feat in what looms as a danger game on the eve of finals.

WANDERERS (8th, 2-13) vs. TRACY VILLAGE (9th, 0-15)
Saturday February 20, 4:00pm
Tracy Village

The competition’s bottom two sides face off on Saturday as Tracy Village takes on Wanderers, with the Razorbacks still out to claim their first points in season 2020/21. There has not been much to cheer about this year for the winless team, rooted to the bottom of the table and being held scoreless in nine games – including their last three. Wanderers secured a rare win last time out by overcoming Palmerston, and may well fancy another in this clash. With a sizeable percentage boost, the Eagles could even move up to seventh spot. The Round 2 meeting between these sides saw Wanderers run out 62-point victors, but the positive of finding a goal on the day should give Tracy Village some spirit coming into this fixture.

ST MARY’S (3rd, 11-4) vs. PINT (1st, 15-0)
Saturday February 20, 7:35pm
TIO Stadium

Another enticing top four battle takes place on Saturday as St Mary’s and Pint lock horns under lights at TIO Stadium, with the Queenants’ undefeated record on the line. The minor premiers have been perfect thus far and only need one more win to complete a flawless regular season, before enjoying a bye in the first week of finals. The Saints should be fresh having just completed a bye of their own, though a shaky last three outings – albeit with two wins over solid opposition – may have somewhat stuttered their confidence. Pint’s 11-point win over St Mary’s back in Round 2 may serve as a slight mental edge, but the contest should be fierce either way as both sides have something to play for on the final day of the home-and-away season.

Bye: Palmerston Magpies

Image Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

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