NTFLW Premier League Round 3 Preview: Undefeated teams lock horns

IN their third round of action, the Northern Territory Football League (NTFLW) Premier League will roll on this weekend, with some blockbuster clashes headlining a ripping weekend of football. Round 2 saw contenders seriously begin to announce themselves to the rest of the league with massive wins, while other teams were still unable to record their first win of the season. Round 3 provides an opportunity to amend previous losses for those less fortunate, while other teams at the top will be looking to extend the gap between them and the rest of the competition. Will the contenders maintain their winning records, or will upsets cause the league to get a little closer than fans first anticipated?

St Mary’s Premier Women vs. Darwin Buffaloes Premier Women

10:00am, Saturday 16 October

TIO Stadium

Round 3 kicks off with arguably the biggest and most entertaining matchup of the weekend, as two undefeated sides face off to maintain their perfect record after three games.

St Mary’s have started their year in just about the best form they could ask for, winning their first two matches to start the third round in second place on the ladder with a handy percentage to match. They have firmly established themselves as one of the early season premiership contenders, and will be looking to maintain this reputation heading into this week. Their credentials were only strengthened last weekend by taking down the reigning premiers in Pint to the tune of 19 points. Pint looked a strong chance to go back-to-back, so St. Mary’s triumph held plenty of weight. A win over last year’s other grand finalist would see them locked in as the league’s premiership favorite.

Thanks to being stuck with the bye in Round 1, Darwin kicked off their season in Round 2 with a dominant win over the Southern Districts, that saw the Buffaloes blow out their opponents with the final margin standing at 103 points. The side has been one of the strongest in the league for a while now, and will be eager for redemption in the current season, having lost last year’s grand final. They face a tough test with St Mary’s in as good a form as anyone, but if they can emerge victorious, it will do their premiership quest wonders.

Wanderers Premier Women vs Nightcliff Tigers Premier Women

12:00pm, Saturday 16 October

TIO Stadium

The ladder-leading side will be looking to maintain their spot when they take on a team that will be keen on causing an upset when these two club’s face off on Saturday.

The Wanders have had an indifferent start to the 2021/22 season, drawing even with one win and one loss from their two games, which sees them sit in fifth place, but they will be confident with their current form. The pain of a Round 1 loss was eased by a whopping 113 point victory over Tracy Village in Round 2. It looked as if they had finally found their mojo, as the team was able to put together a convincing four quarter performance. Despite the massive winning margin, the side will have to bring their best as they take on the one of the form sides of the competition this weekend.

Nightcliff could not have asked for a better start to their premiership campaign, winning their first two matches, albeit by vastly different margins. Round 1’s victory came by over 170 points, while Round 2’s victory saw the final margin stand at 10 points. Olivia Hatzimalis has proved extremely dangerous in front of goal, booting three goals in a low scoring Round 2 affair, so expect her to be productive once again. Nightcliff will be looking to fight tooth and nail to keep their top spot on the ladder, so this should prove a tense encounter.

Southern Districts Premier Women vs. Waratah Premier Women

12:00pm, Saturday October 16

Norbuilt Oval

In this match-up, one side will be looking to move into the upper echelon of the competition, while their opponents will be eager to notch their first win of the season and build some momentum, starting with Saturday’s clash.

The Southern Districts have started the season without a win from their first two games, losing to the reigning premiers in Pint by a narrow margin in Round 1, before being blown out by Darwin in Round 2. For large portions of their matches, they have looked up to standard and have tested their opponents, but have also been let down by lapses throughout games where the opposition has been able to pile on goals and create a match-winning scores. Their first item of business is to deliver a four quarter performance, and if they can do this weekend, they will be looking likely to claim their first victory of the season.

Waratah would be pleased with their start to the season, despite last weekend’s loss sitting them with a record of one win and one loss for the season. They were unlucky to lose to the ladder leaders last weekend, with Nightcliff sneaking away with a 10 point win (which is pretty good considering they won their first game by 172 points), but will still be confident given they claimed a 40-point victory in Round 1. They face a weaker opponent in this game and should enter the clash heavily favored.

PINT Premier Women vs. Palmerston Magpies Premier Women

4:00pm, Saturday 16 October

DXC Arena

Last year’s premiers will be looking to bounce back following a shock loss last weekend, while their opponents will be fresh and ready to cause another upset in the final clash of Saturday’s football action and the last game of the round.

PINT were handed a shock upset in Round 2, adding a fair degree of difficulty to their chances of winning back-to-back premierships. Following a convincing Round 1 triumph over the Southern Districts, the team looked likely to once again lead the competition, but the following week offered a serious reality check. They were handed a 19 point defeat at the hands of St Mary’s. They have shown in the past they can deliver the best performances in the competition, but will need to improve from last week’s efforts.

Palmerston will enter this clash well-rested following the bye last week, but suffered a 40 point loss in Round 1. They will be looking to cause an upset given PINT’s weakened status, but will need to vastly improve from their opening performance of the season.

Tracy Villiage will have the bye.

Photo: Nightcliff Tigers FC Facebook

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