2021/22 NTFL Men’s Round 2 preview: Waratah to face biggest challenge

ROUND 2 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League kicks off tomorrow with a couple of Round 1 winners doing battle, and the reigning premiers looking to bounce back against last weekend’s biggest winners.

WANDERERS vs. ST MARY’S

Saturday, October 9 @ 2:00pm
Tracy Village Oval

Two sides who are coming off impressive Round 1 wins face-off to open the round, with Wanderers hosting St Mary’s at Tracy Village. Both sides picked up 11-point wins in the opening round of the season, defeating Southern Districts and Nightcliff respectively, though the Saints’ win over the Tigers was the more impressive win. The most fascinating aspect of this match will be which side will win the contested possessions count, with a combined plus-35 from their opening round wins. Wanderers recorded 15 more contested possessions than the Crocs last week, after a slow first quarter. Trailing at the first break, they won the contested possession by 22 after quarter time, and also won the ground ball gets (plus-25). St Mary’s won the contested possession count by 20, and the ground ball gets by 19, as well as recording a plus-nine in clearances. All in all, the stoppages will prove crucial in this match. Nathaniel Paredes starred in Round 1 leading his side out for the first time, amassing 28 disposals, seven clearances, nine inside 50s and 12 ground ball gets, whilst Lachlan Taylor had 25 disposals, three marks and four rebound 50s. For Wanderers, Jarred Erlandson had a team-high five clearances to go with 22 touches, four marks and a goal, teaming up well with Beau O’Connell who had 26 disposals, nine marks, nine inside 50s and a goal in the win.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. TIWI BOMBERS

Saturday, October 9 @ 2:30pm
Cazaly’s Arena

From two Round 1 winners to two losers, Palmerston Magpies will be very keen to put their Round 1 disappointment behind them. They were no match for Waratah, suffering a 12-goal thumping in the opening weekend, whilst reigning wooden spooners Tiwi Bombers were far more competitive against Darwin Buffaloes, only going down by 20 points. Considering the Bombers went through the entire 2020/21 NTFL season winless, this Round 2 encounter may prove to be Tiwi’s early chance at getting on the board. Both these teams just struggled to get their hands on the ball in Round 1, as Palmerston had 58 less touches than Waratah, while Tiwi ran at a minus-47. The Buffs won the game in the second term where they booted three more goals and had 27 more disposals, 13 more marks, seven more clearances and nine more inside 50s. Outside of those times, the Bombers were competitive across most aspects. They only had six hitouts for the game, and Palmerston will look to take advantage of that, though they will want to forget their last term against Waratah where they conceded seven goals, as well as 11 clearances and 16 inside 50s. Clarence Baird was sensational in defence for the Magpies, whilst Eric Guthrie (16 disposals, six clearances) was the man in the middle. Kim Kantilla and Anthony Munkara combined for seven goals in the Bombers’ loss, and will be hoping to do plenty of damage again.

Nightcliff vs. Waratah

Saturday, October 9 @ 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Top of the table Waratah travel to Nightcliff to take on the reigning premiers coming off a Round 1 loss. Whilst the ‘Tahs enjoyed a 12-goal victory and the Tigers suffered a two-goal loss, the relative results should be put into more context after this round. Waratah smashed a lacklustre Palmerston outfit, whilst Nightcliff went down to another major contender in St Mary’s. The reigning premiers will be out for blood this weekend in the match of the round. Waratah dominated possession against the Magpies, having 58 more disposals including 31 more contested possessions and 30 more uncontested possessions. They were not afraid to move the ball quickly with 35 more handball receives, and 25 more ground ball gets, also grabbing 13 more forward 50 marks – 16 to 3 – including 10 in the first half. They will not have it as easy against the Tigers, with Nightcliff looking to bounce back from their Round 1 defeated where they ere smashed in contested ball (minus-20) and ground ball gets (minus-19). They still stood up defensively against the Saints with 15 more one percenters and 10 more spoils, but butchered the ball, kicking at just 55 per cent and recording a whopping 30 clangers including 19 in the second half when the game was on the line. Brodie Carroll was one player who stood up with ball-in-hand, racking up 22 disposals at 86.3 per cent efficiency, as well as four marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and a goal whilst Jayden Magro slotted five majors in the win. For Nightcliff, Daniel Bowles were enormous out of defence with 26 disposals, 10 rebounds and five inside 50s, also picking up four spoils and six one percenters, whilst John Butcher slotted four goals straight from 14 touches and four marks.

Darwin Buffaloes vs. Southern Districts

Sunday, October 10 @ 4:00pm
Cazaly’s Arena

The standalone Sunday game is the second match at Cazaly’s Arena for the week, with the Darwin Buffaloes coming off a hard-fought win over last year’s wooden spooners Tiwi Bombers, whilst Southern Districts are looking to lick their wounds from their Round 1 loss to Wanderers. In the Buffs’ win over the Bombers, they dominated possession with 47 more disposals – 38 more kicks – including a whopping plus-41 kicks, plus-27 uncontested possessions, plus-17 marks, plus-24 hitouts, plus-eight clearances and plus-13 inside 50s, all of which were by half-time. Tiwi made a fight of it late, and the Buffs will be hoping their last quarter fadeout – where they conceded five goals – was just a cue in the rack scenario and not something to bring into this week. The Crocs on the other hand went down to Wanderers by 11 points, but it could have been much more with their opponents booting 2.7 in a dominant third term that featured nine scoring shots from 16 inside 50s. They dominated the hitouts (plus-28) which makes it a great contest considering the Buffs had little challenge in that area from the Bombers. Aside from the Buffs’ third term where they kicked at 55 per cent by foot, they finished each quarter with 69 per cent or better by foot, which was similar to the Crocs who averaged a sensational 71 per cent by foot, and 83 per cent by hand. Darwin’s Lachlan McKenzie managed 22 disposals – at 50 per cent contested – eight marks, eight ground ball gets and five rebounds, whilst Hassan Ahmat-Watkins slotted 5.3 in a huge effort up forward. Michael Bowden was the man to stop for the Crocs, providing plenty of run and skill on the outside with 28 disposals, eight marks – three intercept – three spoiles and seven rebound 50s, whilst Jonathon Ross booted 3.4 from 18 disposals and seven marks.

Picture credit: Aaron Black/AFLNT

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