2021/22 NTFL Men’s Premier League Round 1 wrap: Paredes leads Saints to impressive win

ST MARY’S claimed early bragging rights in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier Division Grand Final rematch, as Waratah picked up a massive Round 1 win, with the other three games decided by 20 points or less.

WARATAH 4.4 | 9.8 | 11.11 | 18.15 (123)
PALMERSTON 3.0 | 3.1 | 7.2 | 8.3 (51)

Waratah kick-started its year with a huge 12-goal win over Palmerston, kicking away in the final term after a third quarter challenge from the Magpies. The Tahs’ led by 10 points at the first break on opening night, then piled on 5.4 to 0.1 in the second term to seemingly all but prepare for a blowout. In a twist of events, the Magpies reversed the momentum in the third term to boot 4.1 to 3.3 and marginally cut the final break deficit to 33 points. But the better side would make its mark in the final quarter, showing no mercy with a ruthless seven goals to one final term to run out 18.15 (123) to 8.3 (51) winners.

Jayden Magro produced a best on ground performance for the winners slotting five goals from 18 disposals, six marks and eight inside 50s. Abe Ankers was unsurprisingly the biggest ball-winner on the ground, racking up 27 disposals, and having four clearances, seven inside 50s and two rebound 50s, though kicked three behinds. Brodie Carroll (22 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) and Will Collis (17 disposals, six marks and two goals were also among the winners’ best. Brandon Ugle (two goals) was the sole multiple goalkicker for the Magpies in the loss, with Eric Guthrie (16 disposals, four marks, six clearances, three tackles, two inside 50s and four rebound 50s) and Christopher Williams (15 disposals, four marks, four clearances, two inside 50s, two rebound 50s and one goal) were named the losing side’s top players.

TIWI BOMBERS 3.1 | 5.2 | 7.5 | 12.8 (80)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 5.4 | 10.5 | 12.7 | 15.10 (100)

A dominant first half from Darwin Buffaloes allowed to get the points against a plucky Tiwi Bombers outfit, running out 20-point winners. The Buffaloes booted 10 goals to five in the opening half to open up a 33-point lead at the main break, and maintained a 32-point advantage with a quarter to play. The Bombers roared home in the last term to pile on five goals, but it would not be enough, going down, 15.10 (100) to 12.8 (80). Darwin dominated the hitouts with Ben Archard racking up 41 of his team’s 48 hitouts, with the small Bombers outfit managing just six for the match. Surprisingly, Tiwi won the clearances 30-29, lead by Bradley Mungatopi and Dion Munkara who combined for 12 clearances.

Lachlan McKenzie was strong in defence for the Buffs, recording 22 disposals, eight marks – two contested – and five rebound 50s. Bradley Stokes (14 disposals, four tackles and seven rebounds) was also prolific, whilst Mihail Lochowiak had 20 touches, five marks, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s, and Jarrod Stokes booted two goals from 19 touches, five marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds. Munkara finished with a game-high 23 touches, as well as three marks, five clearances, 10 inside 50s and four rebound 50s to try and haul his side over the line, whilst Adam Tipungwuti (17 disposals, two marks, two clearances, two tackles and three inside 50s) was also busy.

WANDERERS 2.3 | 6.4 | 8.11 | 10.12 (72)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 3.2 | 6.4 | 8.4 | 9.6 (60)

The last two games of the round provided a couple of thrillers, with Wanderers getting up over Southern Districts in a two-goal game at TIO Stadium. It was the Crocs who got out to a five-point quarter time lead, before both sides headed into half-time all-square with 6.4 (40) on the board. Inaccuracy started to plague Wanderers with a 2.7 to 2.0 quarter, but it handed them that seven-point lead, and it proved vital enough with a 2.1 to 1.2 final term to run out 10.12 (72) to 9.6 (60) winners. The stats were fairly even across the board, with Wanderers having a plus-20 in ground ball gets to be the key difference.

Young talent Beau O’Connell returned with a bang, racking up 26 disposals, nine marks, nine inside 50s and kicking a goal, sharing the team-high touches with Warwick Williams (26 disposals, eight marks, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s). Jarred Erlandson (22 disposals, four marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Keenan Smith (17 disposals at 94 per cent efficiency, four marks and two rebound 50s) were also productive for Wanderers. Michael Bowden racked up a match-high 28 disposals and seven rebound 50s, as well as eight marks and three spoils in a strong defensive effort), while Clinton Gallio (22 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and two rebound 50s) and Jonathon Ross (18 disposals, seven marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and 3.2) were also busy for the Crocs.

NIGHTCLIFF 4.2 | 6.4 | 9.7 | 10.9 (69)
ST MARY’S 2.3 | 8.3 | 10.5 | 12.9 (81)

St Mary’s reigned supreme in the grand final rematch under lights at TIO Stadium, reversing the result from the 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League Grand Final. The Tigers flew out of the blocks early to boot four goals to two in the opening quarter and lead by 11 points at the first break. That tide soon changed, as a six goals to two second quarter in favour of the Saints resulted in St Mary’s reversing that to lead by 11 themselves. It was an even game in the second half with both sides kicking four goals, but St Mary’s running out the stronger of the sides to win, 12.9 (81) to 10.9 (69).

New Saints captain Nathaniel Paredes racked up a massive 28 disposals, seven clearances, nine inside 50s and a goal in the in, also setting up three score assists. Lachlan Taylor (25 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s) also found plenty of the ball, with Jacob Long (18 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and a goal) and Josh Cheek (16 disposals, two marks, tree tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal) both busy, and Nigel Lockyer Jnr slotting three goals in the victory. John Butcher snagged four majors from 14 disposals, four marks – three contested – in a huge effort up forward, whilst fellow ex-AFL talent Ryan Nyhuis (20 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s) was prominent. Daniel Bowles dominated in defence with 10 rebound 50s to match 26 disposals, seven marks, four spoils and five inside 50s, while Brodie Filo (18 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s) was also impressive.

Picture credit: Felicity Elliott / AFLNT Media

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