NTFLW Premier League Round 2 wrap: Rested Buffettes open season with a bang

ROUND two has concluded for the Northern Territory Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League, with some teams returning to their high-scoring ways, while others were tested by their worthy opponents. Following an opening round chock full of massive scores, round two saw a pair of tense contests that were decided by less than 20 points, while two other sides recorded strong victories. With the teams now heading into their third round of the season, contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the competition.

Following the dreaded opening round bye last weekend, the Darwin Buffettes opened their account for the 2021/22 season with a whopping 103-point win over the Southern Districts on Sunday afternoon. The clash was expected to be a close encounter, given the admirable performance they delivered against the reigning premiers in Pint the week before. However, the Buffaloes used the bye to maintain their health and hunger to make amends for a grand final loss last season. This paid dividends, with the team storming home to a win by a triple digit margin as they start their season in perfect fashion.

The contest opened with the Buffettes claiming ascendancy early in the match, booting the ball inside-50 from the opening bounce, and locking the ball inside for the next five minutes of the game. They booted two behinds but were unable to convert a major from multiple opportunities. Following some impressive defense, the Southern Districts launched a counterattack, but it only resulted in a behind. The next few minutes saw a scoring stalemate, before this was broken by a nice goal from Buffette Rachel Henderson, to give her side the first major of the day. The next goal came five minutes later, with Zoe Anderson booting Darwin’s second goal after bursting out of the contest inside 50. The Buffettes were able to boot their third on the eve of quarter time off the boot of Tiketa Docherty-Cole and at the first break, it was clear the Districts had some work to do.

The second term began with a similar theme to the first, with Darwin locking the ball inside their half of the ground from the very first stoppage. Henderson booted her second of the match to open the scoring for the quarter, and Districts had no answer for the suffocating pressure applied by their opponents. Any promising attack they were able to conjure was thwarted by the Buffettes defense. They were able to push the ball into their half for a few minutes, but the ball was soon catapulted back into Darwin’s forward line, where Henderson was able to slot her third of the match. This recurred for the remainder of the term, with Anderson also nailing her second goal, and Phylisia Palipuaminni joining in on Darwin’s goalkicking fun. The Buffettes booted two more for the term and took a 59 point lead into half-time.

The third quarter was also one way traffic, with Darwin once again dominating the play to lock the ball inside their forward 50. The Districts defense performed admirably, but constantly found themselves under the pump due to repeated inside-50 entries. They were able to finally kick their first goal from a downfield free kick, with Tyler Thornton kicking truly, but the lead was still extended to 81 points at the end of the third term.

Darwin had no plans of slowing down in the final term, despite the result of the match being well and truly sealed by this stage of the game. The Buffettes booted four goals to one in the final term, as they started their season with a dominant outing, that would have the remaining teams’ attention. For the Buffettes, Tayla Hart-Aluni delivered a fine performance, constantly displaying her class around the ball, while Docherty-Cole was fantastic for all four quarters. For the Districts, Malory Nankervis stood tall in the backline despite the constant pressure from the opposing team, and never gave up in a contest.

Around the grounds, the Wanderers dished out an emphatic victory over Tracy Village, storming away with a 113 point triumph as they take their record to 1-1 after two rounds. Zhoe Clarke proved to be the best player on the field, delivering a commanding performance for the Wanderers.

Nightcliff produced an impressive final term to down Waratah to the tune of just 10 points on Saturday afternoon. Waratah jumped out an early three goal lead at quarter time, but Nightcliff were able to claw their way back into the contest as the game went on, and found themselves with a one point lead heading into the final term, which they were able to convert into a win, with Eliza Morrison a major factor in the side’s triumph.

St Mary’s have upset the reigning premiers, taking down Pint by 19 points to firm their standing as one of the early premiership favorites. Pint took an early lead, with St Mary’s held goalless for the opening term. A strong second term saw the victors take control of the game and never look back as they stormed to a telling win.

Photo: AFL NT Facebook

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