2021/22 NTFL Women’s Premier League season preview: Triple header opens new season

A TRIPLE header at TIO Stadium tomorrow kick-starts five senior games at the ground in a massive day of football to open the 2021/22 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League. Nightcliff and Tracy Village kick off proceedings from 10am, with Wanderers and St Mary’s up next, and the reigning premiers PINT taking on Southern Districts in the third game of the triple header. Waratah and Palmerston Magpies lock horns in a standalone Sunday game at Gardens Oval to close out Round 1, with reigning runners-up Darwin Buffaloes having the bye.

In the opening game of the round, Tracy Village will be hoping to breakthrough for a win early in the season after going through the 2020/21 season winless. They will be heavy underdogs against an experienced Nightcliff outfit, with Razorbacks’ Zhoe Clarke one to watch after her huge season last year. Kiri Marschall and Sarah Wilson are back again too, and will need to lead the charge against a Tigers side that features a couple of Western Bulldogs VFL Women’s players in former skipper Mickayla Ward, and currently listed talented Eliza Morrison. Ex-AFLW player and former Croc Rhiannon Busch has also been named in what will give the home listed side a huge advantage.

Two sides at opposite ends of the ladder from last season do battle in the second clash, with the heavily fancied St Mary’s coming off a third placed finish in 2020/21, while Wanderers finished eighth, only ahead of the winless Tracy Village, but on the same win-loss percentage as Palmerston Magpies (3-13). St Mary’s has a contending side, with J’Noemi Anderson the young talent to watch in terms of draft calculations this season, while Jasmine Anderson and Eliza Shannon have been standouts in past years. Whilst Wanderers’ Round 1 squad was yet to be named, Kaitlyn Armstrong booted 19 goals last season, almost half of the team’s majors for the year, and was among their best all year. Cassie Ormsby was another stand out for the Muk Muks, with Morgan Johnston the top star, having been a standout both SANFL Women’s (Norwood) and VFL Women’s (NT Thunder) level.

The reigning premiers are yet to name a side for Round 1, but the clash with Southern districts promises to be the match of the round. The Crocs have welcome back 20-year-old Bella Clarke who earned an AFLW Draft Combine invite this year, whilst Malory Nankervis and youngster Grace Mulvahil were among the better players last year. Busch is a big loss for the side, as they hope to regroup and try and go a couple of steps better in 2021/22. PINT did not lose a game last season and were the standout performers across the board. Led by experienced talents Jasmyn Hewett and Reni Hicks, as well as Amy Chittick and Casey Morris regularly hitting the scoreboard, they were a team hard to stop on any given day.

Closing out the round, two sides who finished mid-table but out of finals were Waratah and Palmerston Magpies, with a sixth and seventh placed finish respectively. Though only one ladder spot between them, the ‘Tahs won four more games and drew another to be a whopping 19 points clear of the bottom three, and only four points off fifth spot. Lisa Roberts returns again for the home side, with Lisa Miceli a headache for opposition defenders inside 50, slotting 37 goals in 2020/21. From a youth perspective, Annabel Kievit is a player to remember for 2023, as one of the most promising Northern Territory talents. The Magpies are yet to name a side, but they have plenty of youth in their ranks. Twins Laquoiya and Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap both ran out for seven games in the black and white last year, whilst Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May were always among the best.

ROUND 1 FIXTURES:

Saturday, October 2:
Nightcliff vs. Tracy Village, TIO Stadium @ 10am
Wanderers vs. St Mary’s, TIO Stadium @ 12pm
PINT vs. Southern Districts, TIO Stadium @ 2pm

Sunday, October 3:
Waratah vs. Palmerston Magpies, Gardens Oval @ 4:30pm

Image Credit: AFLNT Media

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