Author: Sophie Taylor

2021 AFLW Preview: Melbourne Demons

ONE of the most consistent sides in the competition, there is no doubt Melbourne have a great team at their disposal with plenty of gamechangers amongst the playing group and exciting talent in their midst. But a mass exodus and flurry of young newcomers in 2021 could see a highly different campaign this season, with many wondering what is next for the Demons and whether they can take that next step in the competition.

2020 RECAP

The Dees took a great step forward in season 2020, launching their maiden finals campaign and winning some excellent matches while they were at it, including a three-point come-from-behind cliffhanger over GWS GIANTS in the semi-final, a 59-point blitz against West Coast Eagles and a 20-point victory over fellow finalists, Collingwood. But losses to newcomer St Kilda and star-studded Carlton did the side no favours, while a constant injury cloud seemed to hang over the club with Ainsley Kemp, Shae Sloane and now-Blue Maddy Guerin sidelined with respective season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, and both Lily Mithen and Lauren Pearce missing in action throughout the season in patches. Factor in Daisy Pearce’s return from having twins in 2019, and the side exceeded all expectations to finish third in Conference B and on the overall ladder in 2020. Quiet achiever Shelley Scott won the club’s Best and Fairest, while influential trio Karen Paxman, Libby Birch and Goal of the Year winner Kate Hore were all selected for the 2020 AFL Women’s All-Australian team.

NEW FACES

Melbourne welcomed a flurry of newcomers for 2021, adding six new faces during the 2020 AFLW Draft, following a huge trade period in which six experienced names departed the club. The Dees rocketed up the draft order though, leaping into top 10 contention – top three in Victoria – and picking up six young guns – Alyssa Bannan, Eliza McNamara, dual athlete Maggie Caris, Megan Fitzsimon, Mietta Kendall and Isabella Simmons – who will help drive the side into the future. The Dees also picked up a third Irish recruit in Lauren Magee to join the likes of Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick, who joined the club for 2020.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021

With so many talented players at their disposal, any number of Melbourne’s players could be the key link in season 2021. But with big departures across the field, this could be Tyla Hanks’ year to really take the midfield by storm after playing much of her first few seasons up the ground. The 2018 draftee will now enter her third season after showing plenty of promise across her first few seasons, and with an excellent turn of speed and sticky fingers, Hanks’ work rate and impact around the ground are unquestionable.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT

While the Dees seem to be one of those sides that continuously sits outside finals contention over the past few seasons, something that could give the side a boost is their consistency. From finishing third in the first two seasons, to sitting fourth overall during the first conference season in 2019 and making finals in 2020 – again finishing overall third if we were to combine the two conference ladders, Melbourne certainly has the ability to remain a clear contender, especially given the talent at their disposal with Mithen, Hore and Eden Zanker all making clear strides last season. But consistency means nothing though if there is no development, so fans will hope for another step forward this season.

QUESTION MARK

Realistically, the main question mark hovering over the Dees in 2021 is how they will fare after losing a heap of experience over the off-season. The loss of goalsneak Aliesha Newman was one thing, but former co-captain Elise O’Dea also departed the club for Carlton – as did Guerin, with both players looking for a fresh start – sees a loss of depth through the midfield and driving forward. Factor in the additional losses of stalwarts Bianca Jakobsson, Harriet Cordner and Kat Smith, and the Dees have quite a few significant holes to fill. 

FINAL WORD

The fact that they have been unable to go that one step further over the past few seasons could be detrimental to the side as it looks to navigate a new season with a flurry of new faces. That being said, the Dees no doubt have the talent at their disposal, but will just need to create some more consistency through a much younger midfield this season. Expect the hunger to well and truly be there after an incomplete season, and a competitive playing group in 2021.

Image Credit: Michael Willson via AFL Photos

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 14

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League returned last weekend, with Round 14 set to showcase some tantalising contests. While a super Saturday is in the works with back-to-back-to-back matches at TIO Stadium, expect the final match of the round between ladder leaders Nightcliff and St Mary’s to be the real kicker as the two sides face off for top spot. All that, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-12) vs. Wanderers (3rd, 9-3-1)
Saturday January 16, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Expect a tough battle here from a rapidly improving Tiwi outfit, although against third placed Wanderers the side will need more than a couple of sparks to run down the rampaging Muk Muks. While Tiwi was afforded an extra week off due to a COVID-19 scare – with the postponed match against Waratah set to take place next Friday, January 22 – the Wanderers proved once more why they are amongst the ladder leaders and will look to continue their winning ways against the lowly Bombers.

There is no doubt that Brodie Newman, Brett Eddy and Dane McFarlane are the ones to watch for the Wanderers, with all three consistently providing the goods and relatively unstoppable once they get going. With 49 goals to his name across 12 matches, Eddy is rarely beaten and can find plenty of the footy, while Simon Bates is another key option inside forward 50. For Tiwi, expect a tough contest from the regular performers in an incomplete squad, with Fletcher CarrollMason De WitAdam Sambono and Allen Christensen all crucial last time these two sides met, though none of these players have been listed for this encounter.

Waratah (4th, 7-5) vs. Palmerston (7th, 2-11) 
Sunday January 16, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

After an extra week off, Waratah will be chomping at the bit when they take on the Palmerston Magpies in the second match of the TIO Stadium triple header. While the two sides are only separated by a few positions on the ladder, the Warriors arguably have the form coming into this encounter after beating the Magpies only two rounds ago, although the Magpies’ break has been shorter and really challenged St Mary’s last round, putting them in good stead to force the hand of Waratah this round.

Waratah’s Cameron Arnold (15 goals), Jake Sutton (14) and Jae McGrath (12) have been consistent up the ground, combining well up forward to apply scoreboard pressure, while Palmerston’s Toshie Kunoth (17 goals) leads the charge up forward for the Magpies. Kunoth has a trio of Daveys named out the front alongside him, able to switch on the speed and excitement, while Matthew Dennis and Eric Guthrie will be crucial if the side can steal away momentum.

Southern Districts (6th, 5-8) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (5th, 7-6)
Saturday January 16, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

While these two sides have not played since Round 2 back in October, expect an intriguing battle between Districts and Buffaloes given they sit close together on the ladder but have a few games buffer between them. With the top five within reasonable touching distance for the Crocs but a much lower percentage than many of the top sides, they will need to fire on all cylinders against the Buffs, who had a shocker last round and will be wanting to lift their form once more.

For the Districts, the efforts of Charles McAdam and Jesse Clark will be crucial with the duos consistency required in what is expected to be tight matchup. With plenty of options inside 50, Andrew Boseley (19 goals) and Luke Kiel (13) are currently leading the way. For the Buffs, Brodie Foster is a consistent threat out the front, booting 39 goals for the season while Matt Campbell is also a solid option, able to find the big sticks with ease but also assist further up the ground.

Nightcliff (1st, 10-2-1) vs. St Mary’s (2nd, 10-3)
Sunday January 17, 6:30pm
Darwin Madza Nightcliff Oval

A huge first versus second matchup closes out Round 14, as the ladder-leading Nightcliff host St Mary’s in an enticing battle. With their last encounter coming in the opening round back in early October – seeing Nightcliff run home with a solid 52-point victory – both sides have proved tough to beat since then as the Saints sit two points behind the Tigers and looking to shock the reigning premiers. While both sides arguably have the form coming into this match, Nightcliff blew Darwin out of the water last round while the Saints were tested in patches by Palmerston, so expect the top side to reign supreme here, too.

There is no doubt Nightcliff’s Kyle Emery and Cameron Ilett are the ones to watch, with the Saints needing to pile on the pressure early against the two key options around the ground. Add in the likes of Dominic Brew, and St Mary’s will realistically need to dominate possession early to come out on top. For the Saints, expect the ever reliable Dylan and Jack Landt to provide plenty of sparks, as will reliable goalkickers Beau Tedcastle and Jackson Calder.

Picture credit: Celina Whan – AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 14

ROUND 14 of the 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League season could prove crucial on the road to finals, with the top three sides all facing teams lower on the ladder while fourth placed Southern Districts have the bye this week. Pint will look to keep its winning streak intact while neither St Mary’s nor Darwin Buffettes can afford to slip up.

Pint v. Wanderers
Saturday, 16 January

The Queen Ants will come into this encounter with plenty of confidence, not just because they are still undefeated after 13 rounds, but also because of the form and consistency the side has shown throughout the season. While the Wanderers certainly have players who have stepped up to the task week in week out, the side has lacked some connection through the midfield and versatility up the ground, with just the one key goalkicker throughout the season in Kaitlyn Armstrong. While Armstrong sits second on the goalkicking tally this season, there are little other options for the Muk Muks in the front end, and could be the kicker in this encounter against Pint given their relative firepower at both ends of the ground. Expect Pint lynchpins Amy ChittickJasmyn Hewett and Cassie Henderson to step up as per usual, with the former two plying their trade in front of goal combining for 29 goals between them. Add in the extra work rate of Casey Morris (14 goals) and Jessie Baumer (11), and the Queen Ants are hard to stop. Wanderers’ Morgan JohnstonCassie Ormsby and Tishara Davern have been consistent throughout the season, although the side’s 94-point loss to Pint back in Round 4 could be a difficult margin to overcome this round.

Tracy Village v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, 16 January

Palmerston Magpies will look to inch up the ladder this week when they take on the winless Tracy Village, with a blistering 87-point Round 4 victory sure to spark plenty of confidence for the black and white side. The Razorbacks have only managed to boot one goal since that encounter which certainly puts the Magpies in good stead, however this could be one of Tracy Village’s last opportunities to put a competitive scoreline on the board before the end of the season, so could be the kick in the right direction for the cellar-dwelling side. With both sides coming into this match off the back of losses, expect both teams to come out with a point to prove. For Tracy Village, expect the ever reliable Zhoe Clark to step up to the front once more, while three of her four fellow consistent best on ground teammates in Meagan WylieKahla DumbrisIndianna Hughes and Kiri Marschall have booted the side’s three goals. For the Magpies, Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May have proved to be as tough as they come, both named in the best a whopping 10 times, while Crystal Browne (10 goals in seven games) and Arthurina Moreen (seven in three) are crucial out the front.

Waratah v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, 16 January

Expect a tighter battle in the third match of the round, with Darwin Buffettes certainly improving as the season goes on – with last round’s blitz against Tracy Village a testament to that – while Waratah have found some form in patches but ultimately not quite had the consistency across quarters, or indeed matches, to apply real pressure on the competition. That being said, last time these sides met the Buffettes only just escaped with a seven-point victory, pushed throughout by a fired up Waratah side. The Warriors come into this match off the back of an extra week on the sidelines following a bye last round, so will look to fly out of the blocks against the Buffs who will be swimming in confidence up in third on the ladder. Waratah’s Lisa Miceli has booted 17 goals in eight gams to sit in third on the goalkicking tally and leads the charge for her side, with regular performers Jenna SinghDanica Pedersen and Breanna Martin providing firepower out the front. For Darwin, Jemma Iacono has played every match and been named in the best six times, while Kiera Kumoth (four bests from eight games), Zoe Anderson (16 goals in nine games) and Machaelia Roberts (11 goals in nine games, four bests) are all players to watch in this matchup.

Nightcliff v. St Mary’s
Sunday, 17 January

The final match of the round is a standalone Sunday afternoon battle between fifth and second on the ladder, with St Mary’s on an excellent run of form while Nightcliff has certainly stepped up throughout the 2020/21 season but somewhat struggle against the top sides. With three wins separating the two sides but a huge difference in percentage, Nightcliff will really need to turn on the afterburners to stay in contact with the powerful Saints outfit and maintain intensity throughout the contest. While they play for opposing sides, Michaela Long (St Mary’s) and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith (Nightcliff) are huge threats and provide significant firepower for their respective teams, booting 17 and 16 goals for the season and both consistently are named in the bests for their workrate. Nightcliff’s Mickayla Ward and Eliza Morrison have continued on from their excellent 2019/20 form with dominant performances when they take the field, while the likes of Emma-Lou Wolsey and Rose Russell have also supplied plenty of scoreboard pressure. For the Saints though, there is no doubt Jasmine Anderson (seven best nominations and nine goals in 11 games), Megan Williamson (seven bests in seven matches) and a smattering of multiple goalkickers – 20 in fact – make the side hugely threatening and tough to stop when they get going given the consistency and firepower across the entire playing group.

Picture credit: Chris Kent – AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 13

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League season resumed over the weekend following the Christmas break, with a huge round of action recommencing and seeing the top sides remain in charge of the 2020/21 ladder. Waratah was granted an extra week off thanks to the bye and Pint continued its winning streak with a twelfth straight win on the board, while St Mary’s and Darwin Buffettes continue to hold ground in second and third, respectively, with fourth place Southern Districts continuing its rise up the ladder adding another four points to their tally. All that, and more in our weekly wrap.

DARWIN BUFFETTES | 4.3 | 13.7 | 19.11 | 22.19 (151)
TRACY VILLAGE | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

Darwin Buffettes got off the perfect start opening the round, with a huge 151-point victory putting the side in an excellent position heading into the latter stage of the season. While the massive win did come against the lowly Tracy Village, who are yet to win a game this season and have had little scoring opportunities, the Buffettes more than proved once again that they are one of the teams to beat this season with a plethora of key options around the ground who can take control and command the footy. The tough match saw Tracy Village once again rendered scoreless, with no bests named, while the Buffs also are yet to name their best on ground. That being said, there is no doubt Ashanti Bush had a huge impact on proceedings with a whopping seven goals to her name, aided by the likes of Melinda Taylor and Talia Corrie who booted three apiece and Michelle Sliwinski (two), with seven more single goalkickers also on the board. While the Buffs were not at their most accurate in this win, it was more than enough to prove the side will be a tough contender heading into the last few rounds of the 2020/21 season.

NIGHTCLIFF | 0.1 | 0.3 | 0.5 | 2.6 (18)
PINT | 3.3 | 6.5 | 9.6 | 11.7 (73)

Ladder leaders Pint continued their excellent form with another straight win on the board, with three goalless quarters from the Tigers testament to not only the scoring ability of the Queen Ants – who booted three goals in each quarter – but also the defensive pressure the side continuously applies week in week out. While Nightcliff certainly brought some hunger, it was not enough to really test the top side, who saw their reliable core group of players step up as per usual with four multiple goalkickers in Jessie BaumerJasmyn HewettReni Hicks and Claudia Fabris, two of whom were also named amongst the best alongside Hillary GrubbCasey Morris and Amy Chittick. For Nightcliff, the two final quarter goals came from Amy Pittman and Lauren Gooden, with Pittman named amongst the best with Emily Casey and Eliza Morrison. Pint’s consistency is what makes them so threatening at the moment, leaving sides unable to penetrate their defence or maintain control of the footy.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 1.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 (19)
ST MARY’S | 4.2 | 7.2 | 8.5 | 9.6 (60)

It was too little to late for the Magpies in this matchup against second-placed St Mary’s, with the side applying tough defensive pressure in the second half but ultimately unable to stop an early rampage from St Mary’s. An excellent first half from the Saints was enough to control proceedings with seven goals to two, though inaccuracy seemed to plague the usually reliable side in the second half with 2.4 recorded as the Magpies switched on the afterburners. The 41-point buffer was more than enough to maintain second on the ladder though, with seven goalkickers plying their trade out the front and both Jasmine Anderson and Laelia Dunn booting two apiece thanks to the work rate of Shailyn Doreen Peris and J’Noemi Anderson, who were both named in the bests. For the Magpies, Georgina Garling booted two, aided by Nadine Braun who slotted the side’s third goal while Tabitha May, Iesha Ronberg and Billie Byers proved crucial as ever.

WANDERERS | 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.1 | 4.2 (26)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 1.4 | 4.4 | 4.7 | 6.7 (43)

The closest match of the round saw a great challenge from the Wanderers as they pressured the ever-improving Districts outfit, however it was just not enough in this encounter with the Crocs maintaining control and running out 17-point victors. While the Wanderers grabbed an early lead, kicking two straight goals in the first term, the Crocs had more scoring opportunities and capitalised on their missed chances as the second term rolled in. A highly defensive and competitive third quarter saw neither side really gain control, with both sides adding to their respective tallies in the final quarter and seeing the Crocs remain in front. While Districts are yet to release goalkickers and bests, Wanderers’ ever reliable Kaitlyn Armstrong continued her impressive form with another three goals to her name, named in the best alongside Sophia Mauboy and Cassie Ormsby.

Picture credit: Chris Kent – AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 13

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League season returned over the weekend, and while the opening match of the round between Tiwi Bombers and Waratah was postponed due to a potential COVID-19 concern, the rest of the round was complete on a super Saturday of matches. The top three sides all came away with confident wins, with ladder-leading Nightcliff retaining top spot on the table after another excellent effort.

WANDERERS | 3.2 | 5.4 | 8.9 | 13.13 (91)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 2.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:

Wanderers: D. McFarlane 3, J. Cubillo 2, S. Mannagh 2, D. Thompson, J. Cubillo, B. Hodgson, M. Totham, E. Simpson, L. Patrick.
Districts: T. Carroll 2, J. Ross 2, D. Robertson, M. Duffy, L. Kiel.

BEST:

Wanderers: D. Thompson, B. Hodgson, D. McFarlane, S. Mannagh, M. Totham, J. Cubillo
Districts: L. Kiel, L. McGregor, J. Tsitas, C. McAdam, D. Robertson, Z. Smith

Wanderers added another win to their tally to start off the tail end of their 2020 season, and while the side certainly bounced back from their disappointing loss to St Mary’s prior to the break, the Muk Muks were well and truly kept accountable by the Districts in this encounter. Only staying ahead at half-time by a couple more scoring opportunities, the Districts’ defence kept up well with the Wanderers’ firepower but ultimately could not withstand the pressure throughout the entire contest with the first and second halves telling of the final result. An eight goal to three second half told the true tale of the match, with a flurry of multiple goalkickers allowing the Wanderers to maintain control under pressure as the close affair finished with a solid 45-point margin and win number nine in the books. Dray Thompson and Brydan Hodgson were listed amongst the bests for the Muk Muks, both booting a goal apiece to assist the likes of Dane McFarlane (three goals), Joshua Cubillo and Shaun Mannagh (both two), while for the Districts it was the efforts of primary goalkickers, Travis Carroll and Jonathan Ross, aided by Luke Kiel and Liam McGregor that saw the side flourish under pressure in the second half.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 0.3 | 3.4 | 5.4 | 8.6 (54)
ST MARY’S | 5.1 | 6.4 | 9.7 | 11.12 (78)

GOALS:

Palmerston: T. Kunoth 2, T. Lui 2, A. Davey, S. Lampton, R. Davey.
St Mary’s: J. Calder 4, N. Paredes 2, B. Tedcastle, N. Yarran, B. Grenfell, R. Smith, J. Cheek.

BEST:

Palmerston: 
St Mary’s: J. Geary, N. Yarran, J. Calder, D. Landt, M. Wilkinson, A. Long

While Palmerston put in a tough effort against St Mary’s, it was not enough in this encounter with the Saints’ first quarter showing of five goals to nil seeing the side take control and not relinquish easy scoring opportunities from there. That being said, the Magpies certainly bit their way back into the contest consistently, never allowing the Saints to really pull away with a convincing lead and biting at the heels of the second-ranked side. Tight defence from the Magpies was not enough to control proceedings with little going the side’s way in the first term, unable to convert off opportunities inside 50 while the Saints seemed to have the ball on a string up forward, applying plenty of scoreboard pressure through Jackson Calder, who booted a goal per quarter to finish with four majors, and Nate Peredes out the front with two. A flurry of individual goalkickers also plied their trade for the Saints, while Jackson Geary and Nicholas Yarran were listed amongst the best alongside Calder. For the Saints, Toshie Kunoth and Tyrrell Lui booted two apiece to reduce the margin.

DARWIN BUFFALOES | 1.1 | 2.2 | 5.6 | 5.10 (40)
NIGHTCLIFF | 9.2 | 17.3 | 17.3 | 20.7 (127)

GOALS:

Darwin: B. Foster 3, N. Lowden, M. Campbell.
Nightcliff: K. Emery 5, T. Melville 3, B. Filo 2, J. Bowen, A. Jorgensen, A. Moniz Wakefield, P. Wills, H. Drogemuller, D. Butcher, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, J. Kickett, M. Rivett.

BEST:

Darwin: 
Nightcliff: C. Ilett, T. Boyd, J. Bowen, D. Brew, A. Moniz Wakefield, K. Emery

A first half blitz from Nightcliff well and truly set up the top side for a solid win against the fifth-ranked Buffaloes, and while the home side well and truly fronted up after the half-time buzzer, it just was not enough to contend with the powerful Nightcliff forwards who utilised every opportunity inside 50, and for the most part, efficiently and accurately. While the Buffaloes certainly redeemed themselves in the second half, booting 3.8 to Nightcliff’s 3.4, it was not enough against a hugely powerful side, which saw 13 individual goalkickers. For the Buffs, a three-goal haul from Brodie Foster helped immensely, while Nightcliff’s Kyle Emery (five goals), Trent Melville (three) and Cameron Ilett showcased plenty of intensity in the huge outing. Nightcliff’s winning streak continues on their way to back-to-back premierships with this encounter taking the side’s win count to three straight following their Round 10 bye with the Wanderers, while the Buffaloes remain seated just outside the top four and trailing the leading sides.

Photo by Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 11

EXPECT a tight round of NTFL Women’s Premier League action, with the competition well and truly heating up now as we enter Round 11. The penultimate round before the Christmas break, Saturday’s fixtures will either set teams in motion heading into the latter rounds of the season, or separate the top sides even further from the bottom. Wanderers have the bye this week, and will look to recuperate after a tough match last round.

Southern Districts v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, December 12

Expect an interesting matchup here between the Districts and Magpies, with the two sides opening the round and never failing to put on a show. While it was the Districts who got the chocolates in their first encounter of the season – their second straight win, which effectively sparked their better form to sit in fourth now – the Magpies have been putting up competitive scorelines for much of the season proving the side is capable of great things, they just need the extra polish and consistency around the ground to push it all the way. With two wins on the board to the Crocs’ five and two draws, the Magpies are certainly capable of pulling another solid effort out here, but will need to really come out flying against the Districts to get the job done.

Districts’ Tayla Thorn is currently leading the overall goalkicker tally, so will hope to continue her excellent form over the past few rounds, as will Emma Forsyth who sits even on four bests alongside Thorn. Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock have been a couple of other major targets up forward, while there is no denying the impact of the likes of Bella ClarkeEbony MillerMalory Nankervis and Megan Craufurd. When it comes to consistency, there is no doubting the workrate of Magpies’ Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May, with the duo named amongst the best on seven of their nine respective matches, showcasing just how impactful they are. Billie Byers is also high up for the Magpies with five bests, while Crystal Browne (nine goals) and Arthurina Moreen (seven) have proved crucial up forward, but have only played four and three games respectively, showcasing the Magpies’ requirement for more players to step up in their absence.

Nightcliff v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, December 12

Another intriguing battle is expected in the second match of the round, with the Tigers and Buffs going head-to-head. A 49-point margin last time they met was certainly not what Nightcliff was expecting, and it is safe to say the side will be looking to not only redeem themselves for that scoreline, but also continue on from their solid victory last round to jump up the ladder. Given both teams are coming off Round 10 victories and some fairly consistent form, expect a show from the two, though Buffettes may have the number of the Tigers given their dominance last time around and confidence, sitting in second on the ladder.

While Thorn leads the goalkicking tally with 18, Buffettes’ Zoe Anderson is not far behind on 16 goals and realistically, could be far higher if it was not for the amount of forward 50 options the Darwin side has at its disposal. With both Machaelia Roberts (nine goals) and Delsey Ah Wang (eight) right up there too, there is no doubt the Buffettes have the firepower to consistently get the job done. Add in the constant pressure of the likes of Jemma Iacono, Dominique Carbone and Katelyn Hazlett and the Buffs are hard to stop once they are on. For the Tigers, Mickayla Ward is a real lynchpin, listed in the bests on six of her seven outings and leading the side’s goal tally on 13. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith both sit on 12 apiece, with the former leading the competition tally early in the season, while Lauren Gooden has been a consistent figure for the side.

Pint v. Waratah
Saturday, December 12

Pint will look to continue their consistency and dominance this week, and a win over Waratah – a side which has been such a force to be reckoned with in the competition for so many years – would certainly do the trick. While Pint has been at the top of the ladder since Round 4, Waratah had to escape a rough start to the season and are now currently suffering in the mid-table logjam, putting on some solid performances but not quite hitting the mark against the top sides. A 36-point loss to Southern Districts last round certainly would not have helped that, while Pint is yet to falter with their closest margin two points back in Round 8. It will require a huge effort from the Warriors here to have a chance against the powerful Queen Ants.

There is no doubt that Pint has plenty of firepower, with Amy ChittickCasey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett all registering double figures in front of goal, credit to not only their ability to find the ball, but also the side’s midfielders’ ability to deliver the footy on a silver platter. The trio have combined for 37 goals so far this season, with Chittick also racking up five bests alongside Cassie Henderson who rarely skips a beat. While Waratah does not record bests, the likes of Lisa Miceli and Jenna Singh have consistently provided not only that forward foray, but also the ability to score well with 15 and nine goals to their names, respectively. Miceli and Danica Pedersen (seven goals) have both only played six of the side’s nine games, proving just how impactful they can be when they get ball to boot.

St Mary’s v. Tracy Village
Saturday, December 12

St Mary’s will look to redeem themselves after a couple of disappointing days on the track, with a battle here against Tracy Village. While the Saints’ past few rounds have not been ideal, the side still remains amongst the top sides in the competition and it will take a huge, season-changing effort from the Razorbacks to get over the line here. Although the Razorbacks have shown glimpses of form, the side has failed to score in four of their nine encounters – including against the Saints in Round 6 – and has not scored since Round 7 – a single behind against Southern Districts. Expect a confidence-boosting win here from the Saints, who will need a boost to ensure their percentage stays high coming into the later stages of the season.

When it comes to sharing around the footy and accolades, there is no doubt that the Saints excel at showcasing their depth of talent. While Michaela Long leads the goal tally with 13 to her name from nine matches, Danielle Ponter and Ash Melnikas both have eight to their name while four more players have multiple goals on the board. Megan Williamson has been named amongst the best in all seven of her matches, while Melnikas, Ponter and Jasmine Anderson have been listed five times each, and three more players have been named four times apiece, proving the consistent efforts around the ground. For the Razorbacks, Zhoe Clarke and Kiri Marschall are right up there, rarely skipping a beat or letting up on the pressure regardless of the scoreline.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 10

IN a round of highly anticipated NTFL Women’s Premier League clashes, things did not quite go to plan as all four matches saw significant margins. While not necessarily seeing huge blowouts as has become the norm for some teams, the closest result of the round saw an 18-point buffer and plenty of tough battles across the round. Another solid win for Pint leaves the side well on their way to taking out the minor premiership given their continued dominance, while Darwin Buffettes overtook St Mary’s to jump into second on the ladder and Tracy Village escaped another consecutive loss with a bye this round.

NIGHTCLIFF 4.1 | 5.3 | 8.6 | 10.7 (67)
WANDERERS 2.0 | 3.2 | 4.5 | 5.6 (36)

Nightcliff got back on the winners list this week with a comprehensive win over the Wanderers, with a four goal to two first quarter effort setting the tone of the match and allowing the Tigers to maintain a solid margin throughout. While the Wanderers, to their credit, never took the foot off the pedal, Nightcliff continued to push with a finals position ultimately on the line here and came away with a 31-point margin and plenty to be happy about.

Mickayla Ward starred for the Tigers with four goals to her name, and named best on for her efforts. Add in the respective two-goal hauls from Rose RussellKristy Irvine and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith, and Nightcliff once again proved how hard they are to stop when they get going. Eliza Morrison found plenty of the footy to be listed on the bests, whilst Irvine and Russell also got nods for their solid efforts up forward. The Wanderers are yet to release their goalkickers or bests.

WARATAH 0.2  0.2 | 0.4 | 1.5 (11)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.5 | 7.5 (47)

Waratah were blown out of the water by a tenacious Southern Districts outfit, and still look like a shade of their 2019/2020 side which finished minor premiers last season. While the grand final rematch once again saw plenty of competitive moments, the Warriors could not seem to hit a target inside 50 which allowed the Districts to well and truly dominate across the ground and create an ominous 36-point margin. It was an excellent four goal final term that saw the Crocs really lift and solidify their top four chances, with five wins, two losses and two draws telling the tale of their season.

Lisa Miceli was Waratah’s lone goalkicker this round, while Southern Districts proved impressive with six players hitting the scoreboard, as Bella Clarke booted two for the side. Tayla Thorn, Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock continued their excellent form with a goal apiece, all hitting the scoreboard for the third week straight while Megan Craufurd and Emma Forsyth were both named among the best in a solid win for the Crocs.

ST MARY’S 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 (13)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 2.0 | 2.3 | 4.6 | 4.7 (31)

The Buffettes sent an ominous sign to ladder-leaders Pint with this victory, well and truly dominating against the Saints in a tough, low-scoring battle. While the match did not see a wealth of goals hit the scoreboard, both teams were relentless in their pursuit for the elusive top two spot – which the Buffs secured, albeit potentially temporarily – and saw excellent defensive efforts across the ground which well and truly showcased the depth across both sides, which typically have no issue finding the goals.

St Mary’s had an uncharacteristically tough time finding the goals in this match, with just Jasmine Anderson and Michaela Long finding the big sticks, while Eliza and Annabelle Shannon both were named among the best for the second straight week. For the Buffs, Zoe Anderson once again proved handy for the side with another two majors added to her tally, while Machaelia Roberts was consistent as ever out the front and was named amongst the best for her continued efforts. Jemma Iacono was also an influential figure around the ground for the Buffs, while Delsey Ah Wang got the job done.

PINT 4.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 | 11.5 (71)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)

Pint continued its fantastic season with another win on the board making it nine straight wins from nine matches. While the Magpies had their chances, they were no match for the Queen Ants and just could not quite match the intensity of the ladder leaders. To their credit, they did manage to keep the side accountable in the second term and booted two goals apiece, however it was Pint’s ability to reset at the main break and come out firing once more that saw the Magpies struggle to keep up, with a five goal to one second half seeing Pint run out with a 51-point victory.

As per usual, Pint had no shortage of quality options up forward with eight individual goalkickers hitting the scoreboard once more. Jasmyn Hewett and Casey Morris combined for five goals between them, with both players named among the best for their consistency and continued dominance around the grounds. Gemma Cusack and Reni Hicks also found plenty of the ball, with Hicks booting her sixth goal for the season. For the Magpies, Jo GuthridgeCrystal Browne and Litonya Motlap booted a goal apiece, while the usual suspects in Iesha Ronberg and Shanoah Leedie continued their solid form to be named amongst the best once again.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 10

AS quick as a flash, the NTFL Women’s Premier League season has flown by as the competition has now officially passed its midway point of the 2020/21 season. The finals race is heating up with a mid-table log-jam evident already, while Pint sit comfortable and undefeated at the top of the ladder as the competition heads back into return fixtures. Tracy Village are yet to win a game but will get some valuable rest this week with a second bye for the season, while this weekend of action will see some teams hope to replicate their Round 3 form from their last encounter against their respective sides.

Nightcliff v. Wanderers
Saturday, December 5

While Nightcliff come into this match off a Round 9 bye, Wanderers will be looking to take every chance they have of upsetting the Tigers this week. Neither team has significant issues finding the goals, but at times seem to lack the defensive pressure to limit their opposition in the scoring department making for an intriguing matchup here. Nightcliff came away with the “W” in their Round 3 encounter, downing the Wanderers by 19 points and certainly giving the Tigers some confidence coming into this one, but will need to be hyper-aware of the side’s ability to fly out of the blocks and challenge teams.

Kaitlyn Armstrong (Wanderers), Lauren Gooden and Emma-Lou Wolsey (both Nightcliff) were crucial for their respective teams last time around, hauling much of the forward load. The Wanderers will need some of their other forward targets to take some of the load off Armstrong if they are to win this one, with Shekeine de Satge and Tishara Davern the likely suspects although the former is more of a transitional player. Wolsey’s powerful kick was huge early in the season but a couple of quiet weeks have allowed the likes of Darcy Elliston and Lauren Gooden to step up, while there is no doubt Jacqueline Anyon-Smith and Mickayla Ward will be up for a big match after a week off.

Waratah v. Southern Districts
Saturday, December 5

This battle between last year’s premiership sides is sure to be a big one, with their Round 3 match ending with a draw in a fitting finish to the close encounter. Factor in that both Waratah and Southern Districts come into this round with a couple of season-saving wins on the board over the last three rounds, and this match could realistically go either way. Neither side lack in firepower, but at times they seem to fall apart when their key forwards are under pressure, with both sides’ leading goalkickers in Tayla Thorn (Southern Districts, 17 goals) and Lisa Miceli (Waratah, 14 goals) flying under the radar for the most part until the past few rounds.

Expect the usual suspects to command the footy in this match, with plenty of key options on both sides able to hit the scoreboard and do so with ease. Add in the fact that both teams need a win here to realistically stay in touch with the top sides and this should be just as tight a matchup as it was the first time around. Given Waratah need a victory on the board to generate some more confidence and Districts are only a leg up due to a second draw, expect the firepower to be out in spades with the aforementioned duo just the tip of the iceberg for both teams. Crocs young gun Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock are able to switch on with ease, while for the Warriors there is no doubt Jenna Singh will be out with a vengeance as will Danica Pedersen.

St Mary’s v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, December 5

While the battle between St Mary’s and Darwin Buffettes was close last time around, expect big things from the two top four sides this week with much more at stake as the finals race heats up. The Saints have breezed through this season for the most part, soaking up pressure and outlasting in tough battles, but came off second best last round to the Crocs which allowed the Buffs to equal the Saints on points and be in with a fighting chance of taking over second on the ladder. Neither side has any shortage of key options around the ground, and have both continuously showcased defensive capabilities to match their respective forward firepower, with plenty of options able to put on consistent performances.

Intriguingly, when taking a look at the season stats so far there is a significant similarity between the two sides and the way they go about their game, particularly inside forward 50; while both sides have a key option up forward, they do not rely on that one player and have no shortage of key pillars inside 50. While this was not as evident in their last battle, where the two sides combined for 56 points overall with no multiple goalkickers, the likes of Saints trio Michaela Long (12 goals), Danielle Ponter and Ash Melnikas (both eight), and Buffs trio Zoe Anderson (14 goals), Machaelia Roberts and Delsey Ah Wang (both eight) showcased their respective abilities to hit the scoreboard with ease. While the Saints realistically should get the job done here given the consistency of Megan Williamson, Ponter and Melnikas, the Buffs have a plethora of key figures around the ground with the workrate of Dominique Carbone and Jemma Iacono unquestionable.

Pint v. Palmerston Magpies
Sunday, December 6

The final match of the round is a standalone Sunday fixture, pitting top-of-the-table Pint against the lowly Magpies. Given the Queen Ants still sit undefeated after nine rounds and rarely come off second best in their closer encounters, able to play through tough pressure and conditions, they should realistically have this one tied up with a confident 44-point Round 3 victory telling much of the tale prior to the match beginning. That being said, the Magpies have finally put a few wins on the board, albeit not consistently, and have proven they are capable of forcing teams into close margins so will look to do exactly that in this encounter. Realistically, the Magpies need a win here if they want any chance of moving up the ladder for a chance of finals footy.

Last time they met, Pint put on a show with Jessie Baumer leading the charge with three goals to her name, while Cassie Henderson showcased her consistency to lead from the front. With three multiple goalkickers behind Baumer and conceding just two goals from the Magpies, it is safe to say the Queen Ants will come into their second battle with plenty of confidence. The Magpies have no shortage of star players, but just have lacked the fire in the belly to really get the job done. Tabitha May and Iesha Ronberg have consistently stood up throughout the season, while Arthurina Moreen and Crystal Browne have ben solid fixtures inside 50 combining for 15 goals across their respective three games apiece. For Pint, Amy ChittickCasey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett are the ones to watch out for up forward, with 13, 10 and eight goals, with Chittick a consistent performer alongside Henderson.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the NTFL Women’s Premier League saw some huge results, and while not a heap of ladder movement was seen across the round, there is no doubt teams came to play this week with some intriguing scores on the board. Pint remains on top of the table with another huge win on the board, while Southern Districts upset St Mary’s and Waratah proved their form this season is still able to be turned around. Meanwhile, Nightcliff escaped much of the craziness with the bye this round.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.4 | 1.6 | 3.8 | 4.9 (33)
ST MARY’S 1.2 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 3.5 (23)

Southern Districts made a huge leap this round with a come-from-behind victory against the Saints, with the seesawing contest seeing the Crocs lead at the first change before forced to pick up their game after a two goal to nil second quarter. While the Saints showcased their ability to hold strong under pressure once more, relegating the Crocs to a relatively low-scoring contest, the Districts came out with a point to prove and desire to back up their recent form, using their defensive capabilities and excellent firepower to impact on the contest. While the 10-point deficit did not make a huge dint in the Saints’ percentage, the side is now two wins behind ladder-leading Pint, and only leads Darwin Buffettes on percentage with the same win count now.

An excellent effort from young gun Georgia Mulvahil proved handy for the Districts in this encounter, booting two goals alongside Tayla Thorn and Jessie Brock who both added a goal to their respective tallies. Bella Clarke was named among the bests alongside Kelsey Patterson and Brock, while for the Saints, Annabelle Shannon and Eliza Shannon led the charge. Michaela LongAaliyah Bailey and Laelia Dunn all booted a goal apiece in the close battle.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)
PINT 4.4 | 8.5 | 12.7 | 20.10 (130)

The battle between top and bottom of the ladder was always going to be a tough one, and a 130-point deficit rendering the Razorbacks scoreless once more was unfortunately what happened. With Pint coming in off a tight margin last round there is no doubt the side was headed for a big margin this week to make up for it, and that they did – not only switching on the offensive power but once again showcasing their ability to dominate defensively too.

There is no doubt that Amy Chittick and Reni Hicks had an influence in this one, booting seven and five goals respectively, and named atop the bests list for Pint. The duo may have been the go-to girls inside 50, but the likes of Shae-Lee Murphy-Burke and Casey Morris also put multiple scores on the board each, with three more players on the goalkicker list showcasing the side’s amount of key options up the field. For the Razorbacks, Kahla DumbrisSophie Hammill and Zhoe Clarke once again proved influential, but unfortunately could not negate the huge impact of Pint’s forward line.

WARATAH 1.0 | 4.2 | 11.4 | 12.4 (76)
WANDERERS 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 6.4 (40)

Waratah may have had a shaky start in this encounter, but well and truly flew out of the blocks after half time with a whopping seven goals to one third quarter. While the final term was not quite as prolific, the Warriors still showcased a side that has not quite reared its head yet this season after dominating the past few years, which saw the Wanderers struggle to maintain pressure after an excellent start. While Waratah still sit in the lower half of the ladder given their slow start to the season, the side seems leaps and bounds ahead of the other sides below them – Magpies, Wanderers and Razorbacks – and are more than capable of challenging the higher-ranked teams.

While the victors only had four goalkickers throughout, all four players put multiple scores on the board with Tarryn O’Hehir the main problem for Wanderers with four goals to her name. Both Lisa Miceli and Breanna Martin booted three apiece, while Lauren O’Shea added another two to her tally. For the Wanderers, Kaitlyn Armstrong continued her consistent ways with three to her name, while Shekeine de Satge was competitive as ever with two goals, named among the best once more alongside Tishara Davern.

DARWIN BUFFETTES 1.3 | 3.4 | 4.8 | 8.11 (59)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 (19)

The Buffettes continued on their merry way with another clinical victory, and although inaccuracy seemed to prove more of an issue than usual, the side showcased their scoring ability against the struggling Palmerston Magpies with a solid 40-point margin as the final siren sounded. With seven goalkickers proving the Buffs’ ability to share around the footy, the Magpies were unable to limit their opposition’s scoring capacity, well and truly outclassed not only inside 50 but also through the midfield. 

When it came to top performers, for Darwin it was the workrate of Katelyn Hazlett and Dominique Carbone that stood out, with Carbone contributing a major alongside Ashanti Bush (two goals), Machaelia Roberts and a flurry of other players. For the Magpies, Tabitha May proved a solid target as per usual with a goal to her name, while Yasmen Roe and Mesapa Frank also put a major apiece on the board. As for top performers, Shanoah LeedieIesha Ronberg and Billie Byers impressed with their cleanliness.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 8

ROUND 8 of 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League action is set to be explosive, with a top three battle between Pint and Darwin headlining the round and a match-up between the rapidly improving Southern Districts and ever-competitive Nightcliff that could either further shake up the mid-table logjam or really begin to separate the top and bottom ends of the ladder. St Mary’s has the bye this week, while two of the bottom four teams are guaranteed a move up the ladder when all four go head-to-head. All that, and more, in our NTFLW weekend preview.

Wanderers vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, November 21

Wanderers will host a second straight opening match of the round when they take on Palmerston Magpies this week, and with both teams coming in off the back of mostly competitive losses, expect a tight battle here between the Wanderers and Magpies. Both sides boast the same 1-5 record to start the season, meaning that both teams will know a second win is within their grasp and potentially up the intensity on the field, although percentage-wise the Magpies stand head and shoulders above the Wanderers and would hope to use that to their advantage given their firepower across the field.

Just five Wanderers have played all six matches, with Djimila Totham, Kaitlyn Armstrong (12 goals) and Shekeine de Satge earning three best on ground appearances each, while the ever-consistent Morgan Johnston has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in every encounter, earning herself five bests from five outings. But while Armstrong has played every match, the Wanderers do not really have a reliable second target forward to take some of the heat, meaning another step up from the rest of the forward unit is warranted to get over the line against the Magpies. For the Pies, there is no doubt Tabitha MayIesha Ronberg and Arthurina Moreen are the go-to players around the ground, with the latter booting seven goals from her three appearances and named amongst the best on two of those occasions.

Waratah vs. Tracy Village
Saturday, November 21

A second lower ladder battle follows the first, as Waratah and Tracy Village go head-to-head this week. While Tracy Village are technically once again in with an upset chance here for a maiden win this season, realistically the Warriors have the winning attitude and defensive nous to keep the Razorbacks away from the scoreboard once more. Both sides have struggled up forward this season, coming in as the eighth (Waratah) and ninth (Tracy Village) ranked teams for points for, respectively, although the Warriors have put up competitive scorelines for the most part – bar the last two rounds – while the Razorbacks have now been rendered goalless four times from six outings.

For Waratah, Lisa Roberts was the lone goalkicker last week, adding another to her tally while Lisa Miceli and Jenna Singh have been fairly reliable firepower so far this season and will really hope to pile on the offensive pressure against the Razorbacks.For the Razorbacks, Meagan Wylie and Indianna Hughes are still the only goalkickers all season meaning the side will want to lift their forward output against a lower-ranked side and attempt to pile on the pressure. The likes of Kiri Marschall and Zhoe Clarke have both been named in the best three times, as has Hughes, so fans will hope to see these players step up to the plate once more.

Nightcliff vs. Southern Districts
Saturday, November 21

One of the matches of the round will see Nightcliff and Southern Districts go head-to-head, with neither side quite yet hitting the form they expect to but fortunately still sitting within top five calculations. Reigning premiers, Southern Districts had a shaky start to the season but are now sitting on three straight wins and a draw – including their huge confidence boosting, 137-point victory over Tracy Village last round – while Nightcliff have had a few bumps in the road but are ultimately enjoying an improved season and will hope to test the Districts and send them packing with a lower ladder position.

Emma-Lou Wolsey lost top spot on the goalkicking tally following last round, so the Nightcliff forward will be looking to amend that this round and pile on the scoreboard pressure to pull away once more past her current 12-goal count. Her consistency and backup around the ground is paramount to the Tigers’ success here, with the ever-impressive Mickayla Ward continuously offering a crucial second option with eight goals and four bests to her name, while Jacqueline Anyon-Smith is also well and truly up there not only supplying the firepower but also allowing Wolsey to stand strong up forward. For the Districts, a huge 10-goal effort from Tayla Thorn last round was exactly what the doctor ordered, but now it is about maintaining that intensity against a quality team and utilising additional options up forward, with Megan CraufurdEmma Forsyth and Grace Mulvahil all providing crucial targets with two goals apiece last round but not consistently showcasing that effort on the scoreboard otherwise.

Pint vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, November 21

The biggest match of the round will close out a huge Saturday of action, with ladder-leaders Pint hosting Darwin Buffettes in a battle for dominance at the top-end of the ladder. While Pint is realistically not at any chance of dropping from top of the ladder given the side’s excellent percentage, the Buffettes will want to assert dominance as the first side to topple the Queen Ants. For Pint, everything is at stake here given the Buffettes’ ability to not only control matches with extensive margins, but also maintain a lead in closer battles. The trick here for Darwin is to utilise Pint’s Round 7 bye and explode out of the gates, and with great matchups across the field there is no doubt this match will be a cracker.

Two of the most well-rounded sides are Pint and Darwin, both boasting plenty of firepower up forward and the defensive acumen to back it up and propel the footy forward once more. Both sides have proven more than capable of supplying consistent goalkickers, with Darwin’s Zoe Anderson taking over top spot last round to lead the tally with 14 goals, while amongst these two teams, Machaelia RobertsDelsey Ah Wang (both Darwin) and Jasmyn Hewett (Pint) have all booted seven goals, with Hewett backed up by Casey Morris and Jessie Baumer (both six). When it comes to consistency, Pint’s Cassie Henderson and Darwin’s Jemma Iacono rarely falter, both named amongst the bests for their respective teams on four occasions from six outings, while Dominique CarboneAmy Chittick and Morris are also more than capable of stepping up and leading the charge on three bests apiece.