NTFLW Round One Wrap: Pint on track for back-to-back

WITH the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League kicking off proceedings for its 2021-22 season, there have been some massive margins in the opening round. With teams eager to stamp their authority early in the season, the opening weekend of action saw some whopping scores, while the reigning premiers looked as dangerous as ever.

The weekend was headlined by a clash between the two most recent premiers in Pint and Southern Districts – Pint having won earlier this year, while Southern Districts took out the 2020 title. While it was a hotly contested battle for much of the match, Pint was able to get its flag defence off to a cracking start, recording a 22-point win over its opponents on Saturday.

The game opened with an extremely high-scoring opening term and Pint kicked off the match by flexing their muscles. This wasn’t necessarily so much in the play, that was split evenly, but taking their chances inside-50. Both teams were able to push the ball forward at various stages, but it was Pint that took advantage of this, with Casey Morris booting the first of the match. Southern Districts swung back shortly after with a major of their own, but the remainder of the scoring belonged to their opponents. Morris converted her next goal, before goals to Hillary Grubb and Amy Love saw Pint take a three-goal lead into the first break.

The second term saw scoring dry up in a significant way, with just a singular goal scored between the two sides. The play was heading the way of Southern Districts for the bulk of the term, led by Bella Clarke terrific play, that included crunching tackles and crucial clearances. Unfortunately for her side, this one-sided play did not convert into scoreboard additions, with the side unable to register any score for the term. To add salt to the wound, Pint were able to kick a major right on the half-time siren, courtesy of a clever shot from Morris to mark her third for the half.

This scoring drought for Southern Districts carried into the third term too, with the side goalless for the second consecutive quarter. Thankfully for them, Pint were also only able to register one major themselves. The quarter delivered a very back-and-forth style of play, with both sides unable to wrestle ascendancy from their opponents, with the low scoring evident of the pressure both sides were applying. Pint’s goal came from a clever snap at the top of the goalsquare from Love, with the lead stretched out to 30 points at the end of the third quarter.

The final quarter saw Southern Districts regain some drive, as they locked the ball in their half of the ground, and were able to generate multiple scoring opportunities for their front-end. They booted their first goal since the opening minutes of the game, with Keeley Waterbury converting her set shot. They booted the next through Tyler Thornton, and momentum looked to be on their side. But Pint was able to weather this storm as all champion sides do, and booted the next goal of the game to seal the result, and start their season in perfect fashion.

Despite the loss, Southern Districts had a number of strong performances, including Clarke and defender Malory Nankervis. For the victors, Pint were well-led by Grub, who impressed with her work across the ground and strong positioning. Love and Morris formed a formidable duo in the forward line, and Pint would be pleased with their all-around performance as a team, given the troops they were missing.

Around the grounds, Nightcliff put on a dominant performance in their match, defeating Tracy Village by a whopping 172 points, led by Kirra Hill-Carter’s five goal haul. St. Mary’s also recorded a strong win on Saturday, defeating the Wanderers by 79 points, while Waratah proved too strong for Palmerston, running out 40-point victors on Sunday afternoon. Darwin had the bye.

Photo: Che Chorley

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