Category: Northern Territory

AFLW U18 Championship previews: Central Allies

IN the second of two previews ahead of the first round of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, we take a look at South Australia and Northern Territory who clash tomorrow and Sunday in their two games which will help determine the final Central Allies squad. The Central Allies then fly to Queensland to take on the Eastern Allies, Western Australia and Queensland from July 8-12. Below we take a look at some of the key players to watch.

Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)

The talented bottom-ager was identified as one to watch from last year, and despite her smaller size of 159cm, the 17 year-old showed no signs of being outmuscled by bigger opponents in season 2019. In the SANFL Women’s competition, Ballard averaged 16.1 disposals, 4.1 clearances and a massive 5.4 tackles in her 10 games, becoming a defensive barometer for the Bloods. In every game, Ballard laid at least four tackles, and laid six or more on four occasions. She will likely rotate through the midfield laying some bone-crunching tackles and applying serious defensive pressure to the opposition.

Mattea Breed (Darwin/Northern Territory)

A talented player from a young age, Breed stormed to a massive win in the NTFL Under 18 Girls Best and Fairest award in 2016/17, polling 30 votes to run away with the medal. In case anyone thought that might have been a one-off, she backed it up with a second medal win a year later with another dominant season. She could well have won a third consecutive medal had she not been finally called up to the Buffettes Premier League side in the 2018/19 season, leading after eight rounds despite not playing since Round 5. She ended up playing 10 consecutive matches for the senior side and will get her chance to shine here.

Dominique Carbone (Darwin/Northern Territory)

The co-captain of Northern Territory has been a driven individual and one who is capable of juggling multiple sports, coming with a basketball background. She won two premiership at Under 18s level in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) and stepped up to play seven matches for the Buffettes in season 2018/19.

Teah Charlton (South Adelaide/South Australia)

Still a middle-ager and with a year in the system to go, Charlton really stepped up in the SANFL Women’s competition for South Adelaide. Charlton started the season as a dynamic forward, and eventually pushed up into the midfield, booting 11 goals in 12 games and averaging 15.8 disposals per match. Eight of her goals came in three games, including two bags of three, while she might have had even more against Norwood, booting 0.5 in Round 9. Named as the competition’s Breakthrough Player for 2019, Charlton remarkably made the Team of the Year as a 17-year-old and slotted into the forward pocket.

Bella Clarke (Southern Districts/Northern Territory)

The Northern Territory co-captain is a player with good skill and composure, and one who will bring the experience of playing in the Women’s Premier League 2018/19 Grand Final. She was described by Academy Manager Heidi Thompson as one who is an excellent role model with a high work ethic. While merging states together to form a team will always be tough, expect Clarke to be able to slot into the side for a second straight year after being named in the Central Allies in 2018.

Kimberley Fry (Central District/South Australia)

The centre half-back enjoyed a terrific season for the Bulldogs in a two-win year. Holding down a key post in defence, Fry was not a huge disposal winner (9.3 per game), but her hard work and defensive pressure was a standout. Fry averaged 3.8 tackles per game and became known for her clean spoiling, earning her a place in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year at centre half-back alongside Jaimi Tabb, Madison Newman and Amber Ward in defence.

Madeline Gault (Waratah/Northern Territory)

The overager is one of the few from Northern Territory with AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships experience, having played last year. While unsuccessful in her quest to find an AFL Women’s home, Gault put the disappointment aside to be one of the best players at Waratah, finishing second in the league best and fairest for the club behind Lisa Roberts – who was runner-up overall. Gault is a tough midfielder who was noted by us last year as playing a vital role in defence.

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The AFL Women’s Academy ruck is the standout ruck prospect in this year’s draft, and stood tall at last year’s championships against a number of eventually drafted ruck choices in Rene Caris (Geelong) and Lauren Bella (Brisbane). McKinnon has progressed into the South Adelaide senior side this year and has been a standout performer across the season, and is known for her ability to work around the ground. She not only impacts in the ruck, but wins clearances, lays tackles and can drift forward and kick goals. Not only will she likely be the one to watch in terms of rucks, but will be key to giving her midfielders first use.

Shantel Miskin-Ripia (Nightcliff/Northern Territory)

Another player who stood out in Coffs Harbour in the matches against New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, Miskin-Ripia is one to watch against South Australia as an exciting player with good composure and ball use. Like many of the Northern Territory players, she has not been able to test herself against some of the best players in the country yet, but is an identified talent who could stand up here.

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The South Adelaide midfielder has a nice combination of athleticism and hardness at the ball, dominating at the South Australian pre-season testing event – finishing top three in every athletic test – and then bringing that form into the season. In a stacked Panthers midfield, Munyard managed 16.3 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency, as well as 2.5 marks, 2.7 clearances and three inside 50s, often pumping the ball long from midfield to forward and creating chances inside 50. A high endurance base makes her hard to stop, and Munyard was named on the wing in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year.

Madison Newman (West Adelaide/South Australia)

The most elite kick in the team, Newman averaged 18.7 disposals at 99 per cent efficiency in the SANFL Women’s competition. No that is not a typo – 99 per cent efficiency – coming out of the back half for the Bloods. Of those 18.7 disposals, 17.3 were kicks, while also having 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 inside 50s. Along with Amber Ward, will provide plenty of rebound for South Australia and the Central Allies, and be a player teammates look to get the ball in the hands of regularly. Unsurprisingly, her terrific work out of defence saw Newman earn a spot in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year in the back pocket.

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)

The other AFL Women’s Academy member along with McKinnon is a player who has been a strong leader in a winless side in the SANFL Women’s competition this year. She plays between midfield and defence, and can be an instrumental onballer who finds plenty of it. Averaged 14.6 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, while laying a massive 5.4 tackles and recording 3.1 clearances in 2019. Having played last year, Tabb is another South Australian with experience at the championships. Despite managing just seven of a possible 10 games, Tabb was named in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year on the half-back flank.

Indy Tahau (South Adelaide/South Australia)

The teenager was a revelation for the youthful and exciting premiers, standing up on the biggest stage to win the Best on Ground in the 2019 SANFL Women’s Grand Final. Tahau booted eight goals in her 12 games, but saved her best until last with 20 disposals, five tackles, six inside 50s, three hitouts and two goals in the Panthers’ triumphant grand final win over North Adelaide. At 180cm and still a middle-ager, expect there to be plenty of development left in Tahau.

Amber Ward (North Adelaide/South Australia)

Ward became a key player in North Adelaide’s defence, and a rebounding machine all season, averaging 4.6 rebounds to go with her 12.5 disposals. Named in the SANFL Women’s Team of the Year at full-back, Ward is another defender along with Newman who uses the ball well – 82 per cent efficiency – and is strong when not in possession. Ward is rarely beaten one-on-one and will be another to watch at the championships for her ability to both shut down an opponent and drive the ball forward.

Stephanie Williams (Darwin/Northern Territory)

The lightning runner is still a middle-ager and a year to go in the system, but has already shown some nice highlights in the NTFL. Williams won the 100m Sprint Race just over 12 months ago at half-time in the Women’s Premier League Grand Final. She has been an important player for the Buffettes in their back-to-back premierships at Under 18s level.

Team of the Week: Academy Series – Round 5

NEW South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) sides had a good weekend across the NAB League with Sydney Swans Academy gaining an important win over Murray Bushrangers, and GWS GIANTS Academy narrowly going down to Gippsland Power. The two sides were recognised with a massive combined 14 players in the Draft Central Academy Series Team of the Week for Round 5. For the other three sides, they all suffered disappointing losses with Northern Territory Thunder (four representatives), Brisbane Lions Academy (three) and Gold Coast SUNS Academy (three).

Sydney Swans Academy’s sole win out of the five Academy sides saw Kyle Martin and Aidan Watling named up either end, Hamish Ellem locked into full-forward, Lachlan Swaney on a wing, Max Geddes pushed to a half-back flank after pushing back hard in the victory, and Callum Nash in the ruck. It meant one third of the starting side are Sydney Swans, with a further two – Jacob Dol and Sam Thorne – also making our bench in the Academy Series Team of the Week.

GWS GIANTS might not have won, but they lost no admirers against one of the strongest Victorian sides. Missing Tom Green, the GIANTS battled well throughout the match, with defender Nick Murray holding down centre half-back, midfielders Lachlan Squire and Hamish Grant having terrific games, and Shaun Driscoll and James Peatling in attack. Five of their six representatives are on the field, meaning half of the starting line-up is from the NSW/ACT Academies. Jeromy Lucas was the sixth player from the GIANTS to make the squad.

Of the three teams that suffered big losses, Northern Territory Thunder had four representatives, with Beau O’Connell, Joel Jeffrey and Matthew Cumming among the best, while Ben Jungfer made the team after a strong effort on the inside. Looking east to Queensland, both Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academies had three players in our Team of the Week. Tom Griffiths, Will Martyn and Bruce Reville are the Lions’ representatives, while Corey Joyce and Connor Budarick make the team again for Gold Coast, as does Max Pexcud.

Nightcliff breaks 54-year premiership drought

NIGHTCLIFF has broken a 54-year premiership drought following its 22-point win over Southern Districts yesterday. Both sides had only won three flags in their Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League histories, but unlike their reigning premier opponents, Nightcliff had not held the cup aloft since the 1958/59 season. Youngster, Liam Holt-Fitz won the TIO Chaney medal for best on ground in the decider, which saw the Tigers salute, 8.13 (61) to the Crocs’ 5.9 (39).

Both sides had been praised for their relentless attack throughout the season, and as their last matches prior to the grand final showed – a combined 210-point winning margin – they are more than capable of putting the foot down in matches. But the first term was more of a dogged affair as Cameron Ilett pounced on a loose ball from a stoppage early to get Nightcliff on the board, before Michael Mummery levelled the scores in the last minute of the term for both teams to sit at 1.3 apiece.

As if a sense of deja vu, Ilett took just 20 seconds to get on the board in the second term and hand the Tigers a huge morale boost early in the quarter. A few minutes later, Rory O’Brien had a huge roost to level the scores, but a great defensive effort by Tigers’ defender, Clayton Holmes on the line saw him get a hand to it and rush it through. A couple of minutes later however, Jesse Koopman – fresh off a six-goal haul in the preliminary final – slotted a major from the most difficult of angles on the boundary line.

Hugo Drogemuller was having an impact on the contest for Nightcliff, while league best and fairest, Phillip Wills was influential through the middle. Jonathan Perris and Matthew Bricknell combined in the tenth minute of the term with Bricknell providing a contest and bringing the ball to ground for Perris to paddle it between his legs back to Bricknell who snapped truly off a step. An opportunistic Holt-Fitz then gave the Tigers the breathing room they needed, receiving the handball running inside 50 and putting on the afterburners for a terrific running goal at top speed.

The pressure was starting to get to the reigning premiers as a comedy of errors saw Steven Stewart completely mis-kick in defence and send it miles out of bounds, only for the Crocs defender to find out the Tigers had a free for holding the man against Michael Bowden. Luckily for the Crocs, Holt-Fitz missed what would usually be a regulation snap for the youngster, hooking it too sharply from 15m out and missing to the right. Nightcliff continued to pepper the goals but missed a few chances. Former Brisbane player, Jared Brennan had a chance for the Crocs with a snap from the boundary but missed.

Even in the dying seconds, the Tigers continued to press, with Danny Butcher putting it to John Butcher‘s best advantage inside 50, but good work from the Crocs’ defenders saw it spoiled, only for Nightcliff to force another turnover with a holding the ball call in favour of Danny who had worked his way across the ground to impact the next contest on the siren. His shot was an awkward torpedo which fell well short of goal and ended the half with the Tigers leading by 14 points.

Former Sydney and Western Bulldogs now Southern Districts player, Ed Barlow had the first meaningful shot of the second half with a long-range bomb from 50m but it just drifted to the right and was punched over the line. O’Brien also missed a golden opportunity from 40m, drifting to the right and reducing the margin to just two straight kicks. Nightcliff had its own rued chances in front of goal however, as Wills was somehow left all alone inside 50, took a couple of steps but missed to the left in a chance that could have seen the margin stretch to 18.

Wills made sure not to make the same mistake twice, taking advantage of a one-on-one contest and perfectly weighted kick from Danny Butcher to get out the back and kick a dribbling ball home for his first major of the contest. The goal had doubled the margin, which now stood at 19 points in the seventeenth minute of the third quarter. The metaphorical nail in the coffin came one minute later when a series of handballs inside 50 saw the Croc defenders worried about recipient Holt-Fitz getting away, catching him high. As Holt-Fitz got up to receive the ball, Stewart knocked him down,  with the teenager making sure the umpire saw it, earning a 50m penalty. While the Crocs defenders let Holt-Fitz know what they thought of his core strength, the young star pumped it through the goals from the spot for his second, and a 25-point lead.

In the dying minutes of the quarter, O’Brien gave the Crocs a sniff with a huge tackle 30m out from goal and subsequent free kick which resulted in the six points, and a 19-point deficit. Holt-Fitz continued to create headaches up the other end as he ran onto a loose ball and tried to kick it off the ground, but the pressure from Zac Smith was enough to rush the teenager into missing the attempt.  But Holt-Fitz could not keep away from the action even if he tried, with the next kick out falling into the lap of Bricknell who snapped the ball into the hole where Holt-Fitz marked, and despite cleverly trying to drop the ball for another free, but he also missed that chance when it cannoned into the post on the siren. The Tigers headed into the final break with a 21-point lead.

Nightcliff’s habit of immediate pressure from the first bounce again paid off, with John Butcher marginally missing out on Ilett’s 20-second goal record the previous term, soccering through a goal in just 25 seconds to give the Tigers a 27-point advantage and the yellow and black army was really starting to believe the premiership drought was over. If they believed by that stage, then the tears would have been flowing when grand final inclusion, Blake Grewar slotted the middle from a long-range set shot in the third minute and the margin stood at what was an unassaible 33-point lead.

O’Brien tried to conjuer something out of nothing for the Crocs down the other end a few minutes later but it was rushed across the line. The defensive pressure and hunger of the Tigers continued right throughout the game as Nightcliff’s Shaun Wilson pinged Josiah Farrer and earned a free kick as the Crocs charged towards goal. Koopman lined up for a huge goal outside 50 shortly after but it was stopped on the line and despite Brennan’s best efforts, the excitement machine gave away a free to Simon Deery on the last line. Brennan also missed another opportunity, as if every Southern Districts behind was a dagger to the heart for the 2017/18 premiers.

While Mummery and Shane Thorne both added goals in the last 10 minutes, it was ultimately just consolation majors as the Crocs went down to the fierce tackling and forward pressure of the Tigers, 8.13 (61) to 5.9 (39). Holt-Fitz was rightly given best on ground for his two goals and multiple other opportuities inside the forward 50, but he was far from alone on the night with a number of Tigers standing out. Among the best were Deery, Illett, Wills, Danny Butcher and Bricknell who all had some sort of impact on the contest for the night. For the Crocs, Dean Staunton was named their best for a four quarter effort, while O’Brien, full-back Sebastion Guilhaus and Sean Martin all played well.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 1.3 | 4.7 | 6.10 | 8.13 (61)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.5 | 3.7 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, M. Bricknell, P. Wills, J. Butcher, B. Grewar.
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 2, S. Thorne, J. Koopman, R. O’Brien.

BEST:

Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz, S. Deery, C. Ilett, P. Wills, D. Butcher, M. Bricknell
Southern Districts: D. Staunton, R. O’Brien, S. Guilhaus, S. Martin

2018/19 NTFL Men’s Premier League Grand Final preview

TWO sides remain in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, and we preview tomorrow night’s big clash at TIO Stadium.

NIGHTCLIFF vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, March 16, 7.15pm
TIO Stadium

The final game of the NTFL Men’s Premier League season is finally here, with the top two teams making it through to the decider. Both sides have impressive beltings heading into the match, with Nightcliff destroying Tiwi Bombers by 90 points in the semi-finals, while Southern Districts went five goals better with a 120-point humiliation of the Bombers, reversing the result from a fortnight earlier. During the year, both sides won an encounter against the other, with Southern Districts making it six wins in a row following a 17-point win over Nightcliff in Round 6, while the Tigers had a much more convincing 90-point win over the Crocs in the final round of the regular season. It means the Tigers head into the clash with back-to-back 15-goal victories. They have not lost since January, and that was a one-point defeat at the hands of the Bombers. Nightcliff is the strong favourite in this game, with the Crocs needing to repeat their unbelievable game from the weekend to topple the minor premiers.

Jesse Koopman booted six goals in the preliminary final, but has managed just the three goals in two games against the Tigers. Instead, Michael Mummery has averaged three goals per game in the teams’ two encounters, and was in red-hot form on the weekend with five majors as well. Will Farrer can always cause headaches as he did last weekend, but has just the two majors in the two games against the Tigers. For Nightcliff, Brodie Filo snagging five goals in his two games against the Crocs, while Trent Melville and Liam Holt-Fitz have four from their two head-to-heads. Filo and Simon Deery were named in the best on both occasions for the Tigers, while Crocs’ Clinton Gallio and Mummery have been the ones to cause issues for Nightcliff. The Tigers’ attack has been a talking point in season 2019, with Melville slotting 56 goals from his 19 games, ahead of Holt-Fitz (28), Cameron Ilett (24) and Matthew Bricknell (24).

With both sides boasting impressive attacks, the game will come down to a battle of the midfields, where the side that gets on top will likely be crowned premiers. It is difficult to see Nightcliff stumbling given the Tigers’ recent form, but having not played last weekend, a fast start for the Crocs could be the difference if they can contain Nightcliff for long enough. Once the Tigers get on a roll, it will be hard to stem the flow, but more than anything, spectators will see two terrific attacking sides going head-to-head once again. This time though, there is no turning back and only one winner.

2019 Meetings:

ROUND 18: NIGHTCLIFF 21.13 (139) defeated SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 7.7 (49)

GOALS:
Nightcliff: B. Filo 4, J. Butcher 3, T. Melville 3, L. Holt-Fitz 3, C. Ilett 3, B. Black, R. Morris, S. Wilson, P. Wills, H. Drogemuller.
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 4, W. Farrer, C. McAdam, J. Koopman.

BEST:
Nightcliff: B. Filo, H. Drogemuller, B. Black, R. Morris, P. Wills, S. Deery
Southern Districts: N/A

Nightcliff put a strong statement on its minor premiership, clinching the honour in a top-of-the-table drubbing to earn a week off on top of its double chance. The Tigers blew their nearest rivals away in a 90-point victory, including 12 goals to one in the second half to consolidate the ladder position they have held since Round 13. Ten Tigers managed to claim goals, with four of them bagging three majors and Brodie Filo leading the way with a game-high four to be named best afield. Competition leading goal kicker Trent Melville (three goals) brought his tally to 55, but missed out on being named in the best to the likes of 2019 best and fairest Phillip Wills and runner-up, Simon Deery. On a down day for the Crocs, Michael Mummery (four goals) booted almost half of his side’s total score, while Jesse Koopman and Charlie McAdam were also dangerous without much opportunity. While Nightcliff earned a well-deserved rest, the Crocs host a red-hot Tiwi side with just as much of a scoring threat as their weekend opponents. With its title defence taking a small dent, expect Southern Districts to come out firing in the business end of the competition.

ROUND 6: SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 9.10 (64) defeated NIGHTCLIFF 7.5 (47)

GOALS:
Southern Districts: J. Koopman 2, M. Mummery 2, W. Farrer, L. Ogden, C. Gallio, S. Thorne, D. Staunton,
Nightcliff: M. Bricknell, B. Filo, T. Melville, S. Wilson, L. Holt-Fitz, D. Butcher, F. James.

BEST:
Southern Districts: C. Gallio, S. Thorne, D. Staunton, C. McAdam, S. Smith, S. Martin
Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz, C. Holmes, D. Bowles, S. Wilson, B. Filo, S. Deery

Southern Districts maintained their perfect record in season 2019 with a strong win over fellow premiership contenders, Nightcliff in the game of the round. Coming off a rousing win over third-placed Darwin, the Tigers were hoping to claim another win over their close table rivals but the Crocs proved too good once again. Having conceded a first break lead, Southern Districts responded well from there, on, chipping away against constant Nightcliff challenges. The margin got out to 17 points in the end, one of the biggest of the game to see it out.

Draft hopeful Michael Mummery was one of two multiple goalkickers on the day alongside Jesse Koopman with two majors each. Clinton Gallio was named best afield in front of the ever-consistent Shane Thorne and Dean Staunton for the Crocs, with all three also finding the goals. Charles McAdam was another to impress, while youngster Liam Holt-Fitz was the best for Nightcliff alongside the likes of Clayton Holmes, Shaun Wilson and Brodie Filo, while goal-machine Trent Melville was down on his usual best but still managed a goal.

The win pits the Crocs two games clear atop the NTFL table, while Nightcliff are their closest challengers, equal second with four wins alongside Darwin.

Waratah in seventh heaven after premiership victory

FOR the seventh time in eight years, Waratah was crowned premiers in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League. The Warriors battled it out on a wet day for footy in a tight matchup against Southern Districts, who failed to kick a major through the downpour. With bad weather only the beginning for the Southern Districts, Waratah managed to work through the onslaught, outlasting the Crocs in a low-scoring affair.

WARATAH: 2.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS: 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.3 (3)

GOALS:

Waratah: S. Nalder, J. De Melo, M. Gault.
Southern Districts: Nil.

BEST:

Waratah: L.Roberts, A.Stanley, M.Gault, S.Bishop, J.Kolodziej, A.Healy
Southern Districts: E.Miller, T.Thorn, M.Moussa, R.Busch, I.Sleeth, T.Holtze

The Warriors kicked off the game with a bang. Madeline Gault got plenty of the ball early and hit up Sue Nalder, who slotted her first goal for the day. Jade De Melo was next to hit the scoreboard, with a contested mark in the goal square and a simple set shot that had the Southern Districts rattled early on. Lisa Roberts was dominant in defence as she rebounded everything from the defensive 50, while Joanna Kolodziej held her own in the ruck.

With the Crocs’ situation dire, Ebony Miller was placed in defense while Indy Sleeth took over the ruck responsibilities. In the second term, Sleeth was getting the upper hand over Kolodziej while Tayla Thorn was getting busy. The Crocs soon found themselves in front of goal with Amelia Bartlem winning a free kick. However, Bartlem shanked the kick and Waratah piled on the pressure. Some missed opportunities by the Warriors kept the Southern Districts in the game, but nobody was prepared for the storm that came.

At the beginning of the third quarter, the rain hit TIO Stadium hard. Experienced players had trouble controlling the ball in the extreme weather and pressurised conditions. It was here that the Crocs started to fight hard and gain momentum. The wet weather seemed to suit the Crocs as Thorn had a breakaway snap at goal but failed to convert. Continuation of the match was called into question with sightings of lightning, causing a break five minutes into the quarter and breaking the Crocs’ momentum. Eventually the game went on as both teams fought to a standstill heading into the final quarter.

Waratah’s defense was a wall that held strong in the last term. In the end, the margin that seemed so close was impossible for the Crocs to match. Gault managed to put some icing on the cake in the final moments, as a poor lapse in judgment by Thorn in defense had Gault capitalise for her first major. After that it was official, as Waratah were named the 2018/2019 premiers. Roberts won the medal for Best on Ground, while Lateesha Jeffrey praised her girls for their performance in a tough game. As for the Tahs, it’s just another Grand Final victory for a superb side.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Preliminary final

IT was a record-breaking day in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) preliminary final. For Southern Districts, they earned a spot in the NTFL decider against Nightcliff, racking up the highest preliminary final winning margin on record. Even more remarkably, turning the tables on the Tiwi Bombers who defeated the Crocs just a fortnight earlier. It was a day to forget for the Bombers who suffered back-to-back finals losses combining 210 points on what had been a terrific season. But now just two teams remained and it would be Southern Districts who would have a crack at Nightcliff in the grand final next weekend.

From the start, Southern Districts looked to be in control and a different side to the one that dropped the first round final to the Bombers. Both sides were able to get on the board in the opening term, with Tiwi squandering some opportunities with two goals from six scoring shots, while the Crocs were almost perfect with four from five to take a nine-point advantage into the first break.

The second term saw Southern Districts begin to put the foot down in what was eventually a memorable win, as the Crocs piled on four goals to one. They were the ones to miss a few second quarter opportunities, kicking four behinds, while the Bombers made good on their one chance from Ross Tungalatum. The defensive pressure dropped off after the main break, with the Bombers’ scoring cut right down aside from a one-minute patch where Patrick Heenan – his second of the contest – and Austin Wonaeamirri got on the end of goals to reduce the deficit to seven goals.

That was where the hope ended for the Bombers however as the Crocs stormed home to kick 13 unanswered goals from the 16th minute of the third term to the final siren. Jesse Koopman was unstoppable up forward with six majors, named best on ground for his haul. William Farrer converted five opportunities including the opening goal of the game and a cheeky mid-air shot in the third term, while Michael Mummery also booted a bag of five.

The trio was among 11 individual goal kickers for the Cros, including Josiah Farrer and Ed Barlow who were also named in the best, as were Steven Stewart and Sebastion Guilhaus. The Crocs now set their sights on Nightcliff next weekend with the Tigers hardly putting a foot wrong this season. The top two sides have made it through to the NTFL decider, and after both had thumping wins to earn their spot, it will be interesting to see how the game plays out.

TIWI BOMBERS 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.7 | 5.10 (40)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 4.1 | 8.5 | 14.6 | 25.10 (160)

GOALS:


Tiwi: P. Heenan 2, H. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, A. Wonaeamirri.
Southern Districts: J. Koopman 6, M. Mummery 5, W. Farrer 5, J. Brennan 2, C. McAdam, R. O”Brien, D. Staunton, B. Schwarze, E. Barlow, S. Thorne, J. Farrer.

BEST:


Tiwi: Not supplied.
Southern Districts: J. Koopman, S. Stewart, S. Guilhaus, W. Farrer, E. Barlow, J. Farrer

Weekend preview: NTFL – Preliminary Final

PRELIMINARY finals action is set to hit the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League as Tiwi and Southern Districts do battle once again for the chance to meet Nightcliff in the big dance.

TIWI BOMBERS (3rd, 9-9) v. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (2nd, 13-5)
Preliminary Final – Saturday March 9, 7pm
TIO Stadium

2019 head-to-head:
Southern Districts 2, Tiwi Bombers 2

Rd 3: Southern Districts 13.13 (91) defeated Tiwi 10.7 (67)
Rd 10: Tiwi 11.10 (76) defeated by Southern Districts 19.12 (126)
Rd 14: Southern Districts 8.9 (57) defeated by Tiwi 12.7 (79)
QF: Southern Districts 10.5 (65) defeated by Tiwi 13.8 (86)

Last-five form:
Southern Districts: 3-2 (1-1 in finals)
Tiwi: 3-2 (1-1 in finals)

Tiwi and Southern Districts are set for their second finals clash in three weeks as they play off for a spot in the NTFL grand final on Saturday. Both sides have now taken full advantage of their second finals chance, as the Crocs bounced back to knock Waratah out of contention and Tiwi went down heavily to a roaring Nightcliff side. The premiership dream is still well and truly alive for both sides despite earlier speed bumps, and the history between the two teams this season suggests it will be a lively encounter. The Crocs accounted twice for Tiwi comfortably enough early in the regular season, but the head-to-head ledger now sits level as the Bombers got their own back with wins over their weekend opponents in Round 14 and the qualifying final. The chance to rectify those recent losses will play as motivation for Southern Districts, on top of the opportunity to play off and defend its 2018 premiership. With identical form lines in almost every way, it is hard to split the sides as they stand, and it truly looked like Tiwi had peaked at the right time before its massive loss last week. The Crocs have been similarly shakey in big games, going down to each finals contender at least once this year despite a more consistent season overall. Both sides will lean on their firepower forward of centre, with Jess Koopman and Michael Mummery spearheading the Crocs attack, while Jason Puruntatameri and Austin Wonaeamirri come into the game with 17 finals goals between them. Given the free-scoring nature of these two up to this point, expect some fireworks and a cracking contest as they put it all on the line for the chance to play off in a grand final.

Weekend preview: NTFL Women’s – Grand Final

IT has been a long journey for both Waratah and Southern Districts. Waratah is a powerhouse which holds a dominant winning record over the past seven years. They were defeated in the 2016/2017 season but now are looking for back to back premierships as they head into Saturday. The Crocs, on the other hand, will be making their first Grand Final appearance in history.

The Crocs entered the women’s competition in the 2013/2014 season but have not seen a finals series until now. After years of underwhelming seasons, the Crocs enlisted coach Tarmon Elliott to turn the team around. Elliot has delivered in spades by bringing a strong culture, new recruits, and possibly their first flag. After defeating Palmerston, Southern Districts could not be more ready to face Waratah for the ultimate prize.

WARATAH V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
TIO Stadium
Saturday, March 5 4:30pm

This match will be like a game of chess. What makes Waratah and Southern Districts different than other teams is their players have the ability to shift into different roles. This makes matchups hard to predict in this battle of tactics. Tayla Thorn was elite down back but can also play in the midfield or forward. However, considering the dangers of Amy Chittick and Lauren O’Shea, she will most likely stay in defence. She will be well supported though by Maria Moussa, who had a blinder last weekend with the most defensive rebounds for Districts.

In the Warriors defence Rebecca Pryer, Isabelle Rapson, and Lisa Roberts will make it difficult for the Crocs to score. Kelsie Patterson kicked three majors last week but it could have been more if she kicked straight. Tahlia Holtze had a very quiet game last week, but the Districts will need her to have her kicking boots on to breach the Tah’s defensive wall.

The fight in the ruck contest may have Waratah at a disadvantage. Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth might as well be tall midfielders as they cover the ground exceptionally well and are proven goal kickers. Joanna Kolodziej and Julianna Kerinaiua will have a tough fight in this contest.

As for the midfield battle, there could be as many as twelve different rovers rotating throughout the game. Lateesha Jeffrey and Bella Clarke may push up or back from the centre, but Megan Craufurd is the constant tagger that shuts down key midfielders. She may have the job on Sharona Bishop who is in fine form. Madeline Gault is similar to Craufurd but plays more of a run-with role rather than a shutdown tagger. Gault would be a perfect opponent for Jeffrey if she plays in the midfield.

Waratah has the advantage in this match as many players on their list have seen at least one premiership. Lisa Roberts and O’Shea have been in this position six times for five flags. The Crocs are a very different story, unlike their opponent, this level of competition is completely new to them having qualified for the first time. They were the underdog last week and beat the odds, and defeated Waratah in their last outing. They just need to dig in one more time and given it is the Grand Final, and anything can happen.

TEAMS:

Waratah

B: 18.Molly Cooper 6.Rebecca Pryer 19.Alicia Stanley
HB: 15.Isabelle Rapson 10.Alysha Healy 13.Lisa Roberts
C: 3.Peita Starcevic 2.Madeline Gault 23.Pippa Cox
HF: 17.Tarryn O’Hehir 4.Sue Nalder 5.Breanna Martin
F: 9.Amy Chittick 22.Lauren O’Shea 12.Sherayn Puruntatameri
R: 7.Joanna Kolodziej 28.Trish Muller 8.Sharona Bishop
Int: 29.Madeline Campbell 14.Jade De Melo 16.Julieanna Kerinaiua
24.Alexandra Harrison-Wolff 20.Amie Love 1.Angela Perkins

Southern Districts

B: 22.Rachele Mchugh 8.Maria Moussa 28.Tess Hanna
HB:14.Tessa W 2.Tayla Thorn 6.Charles Deegan
C: 30.Donna Reed 9.Lateesha Jeffrey 25.Chelsea Pember
HF:17.Chiarah Corpos 20.Holly Engelhardt 11.Maili Clarke
F: 5.Tahlia Holtze 4.Indy Sleeth 35.Kelsey Patterson
R: 3.Ebony Miller 10.Megan Craufurd 15.Bella Clarke
Int:21.Tyler Thornton 26.Rhiannon Busch 19.Danielle Opperman
32.Nicole Paterson 1.Kimberley Mccouat 27.Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill

Weekend wash ups: NTFL Women’s – Week 2 finals

THERE is no greater build up for this year’s Grand Final. Southern Districts outworked Palmerston and the reigning premiers smashed their old rivals, Darwin. This weekend Waratah will look to win back to back premierships, while the Southern Districts will play their first Grand Final in NTFL Women’s history.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:

Palmerston Magpies: F. Puruntatameri 2, Shenaida Bush, Michaeline Brown
Southern Districts: K. Patterson 3, T. Holtze, E. Miller, T. Thorn, L. Jeffrey

BEST:

Palmerston Magpies: B. Byers, F.Puruntatameri, J. Baird, J. Stassi, J. Misob, J. Brock
Southern Districts: T.Thorn, M. Moussa, E. Miller, I. Sleeth, C. Deegan, R. Busch

During the home and away season, the Southern Districts met the Pies twice and lost twice. This time was different as they raised their intensity to block the superior speed of Palmerston and win the game.

The Magpies drew first blood, but the Crocs quickly responded through Kelsey Patterson and Lateesha Jeffrey who snuck forward. Ebony Miller was controlling the hit-outs, but Jessica Stassi kept finding the ball despite the ruck dominance. Shenaida Bush struck back for the Pies by booting a goal late to finish the first term. Down back, Billie Byers was impressive with her run and carry, as she ran around seemingly unchecked by her opposition. However, on the other side of the field, Tayla Thorn was the difference for the Crocs. Thorn’s clearance ability and second efforts at the contest were second to none in the Districts back line.

The second quarter saw a great pack mark by Michaeline Brown inside attacking 50. Dead in front, she made no mistake extending the Pies’ lead to seven points. The Crocs answered quickly as Miller took a mark 40 meters from goal. Miller had no problem making the distance, her goal ending the term. Freda Puruntatameri had been busy for most of the game, but in the premiership quarter she gave Palmerston a touch of magic with a pack mark in the goal-square to kick her first goal of the match. The Crocs bounced back with a quick snap by Patterson, but Puruntatameri kicked an inspirational goal off the burst to head into the final quarter.

The Pies had a five-point buffer but Southern Districts would not be denied. Thorn, Rhiannon Busch, and Charles Deegan were chucked into the centre of the ground. It was the smartest move for the side, as the trio proved their skill in the competition. The clearances and tackles were dominated by the Districts, while the Magpies seemed to be running on empty fumes. Patterson kicked her third to put the Crocs in front, but it was Tayla Thorn’s booming goal that put the game beyond doubt. Tahlia Holtze ended the game with a free kick after the siren to end the well-fought victory for the Southern Districts.

WARATAH: 2.4 | 4.6 | 8.8 | 8.8 (56)
DARWIN BUFFETTES: 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Chittick 4, J. De Melo 2, S. Prunntatemeri, S. Nalder.
Darwin Buffettes: M. Roberts 2, M. Breed.

BEST:

Waratah: A. Chittick, L. Roberts, A. Healy, T. O’Hehir, M. Gault
Darwin Buffettes: M. Roberts, K. Duggan, N. Dunn, A. Bryan, C. Whan

A game of missed opportunities and bad mistakes saw Waratah walk away comfortable winners over Darwin.

The game opened up with Machaelia Roberts kicking the first, pushing into the forward line and making an immediate impact. Waratah hit back but only managed four behinds due to inaccuracy. Lisa Roberts was sent to defense, proving a class above the rest with her intercept marking and disposal efficiency. Kylie Duggan, on the other hand, was working hard around the ground. Duggan seemed to be working overtime again for the Buffs, getting plenty of the ball early. Jade de Melo broke the ice for the Warriors, booting their first goal. Amy Chittick was soon to follow with her first to end the term.

Darwin began the second quarter with a positive start. Nicolette Dunn kicked her first goal for the Buffs, keeping her team’s momentum up. It was quickly shattered when Zoe Anderson missed the perfect opportunity to run into an open goal and put the Buffs in front. Waratah responded in kind with Sue Nalder kicking her first for the day, before Sherayn Paruntatameri was next to extend the margin to 17 points and end the first half.

Machaelia Roberts lifted her team in the third quarter by booting the first goal of the term. Mattea Breed was next to snap a goal for the Buffs, bringing the deficit back to 10 points. Unfortunately, Amy Chittick had an instant response for Waratah, kicking two majors. De Melo would add to Darwin’s pain kicking her second, followed by Chittick booted her fourth shortly after, meaning Waratah headed into the final quarter with a heavy lead.

Only one behind was scored in the final quarter as both teams were out on their feet. Waratah simply proved too powerful for the Buffs, and will now head into their seventh consecutive Grand Final.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Semi finals

THE minor premiers stamped their authority as the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Mens Premier League’s number one contenders with a sizeable win earning them a grand final spot. Meanwhile, a finals rematch faces the defending champions, the Crocs after they took advantage of their double chance with a bounce-back win.

NIGHTCLIFF 22.17 (149)
TIWI BOMBERS 9.5 (59)


GOALS:
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 5, J. Butcher 4, L. Holt-Fitz 4, H. Drogemuller 2, M. Bricknell, K. Niki, M. Hagan, D. Bowles, S. Wilson, T. Melville, P. Wills
Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri 5, R. Tungatalum 2, D. Munkara 2

BEST:
Nightcliff:
H. Drogemuller, P. Wills, J. Butcher, B. Filo, C. Holmes
Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri, J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, W. Puruntatameri, L. Woodcock-Nowlan, A. Tipungwuti

Nightcliff roared into the grand final with a 90-point drubbing of Tiwi to only further firm the minor premiers as flag favourites. The Tigers ran rampant in their forward half throughout the game, putting through a minimum of five goals in each term to overwhelm a previously in-form Tiwi side. Despite last week’s come from behind heroics, the Bombers hardly looked a chance after Nightcliff’s fast start, finding themselves 61 points down at the main break after the Tigers piled on six goals in each term. The result was inevitable from there, but Nightcliff continued on its merry way with another 10 goals to consolidate the eventual winning margin. Veteran Cam Ilett led Nightcliff’s 11 individual goal kickers with a bag of five, with John Butcher and Liam Holt-Fitz snaring four and Hugo Drogemuller claiming two majors to be named best afield. Meanwhile, ex-Dee Austin Wonaeamirri was one of the few Bombers to continue his good form, slotting an equal game best of five goals to make up over half of Tiwi’s score. Ross Tungatalum also chimed in with two majors alongside Dion Munkara, with the likes of Jason Puruntatameri and Adam Tipungwuti named in the best in the losing effort. While Nightcliff now take the simple route to the grand final, Tiwi goes on to face Southern Districts for the second time in three weeks for a chance at redemption and the ultimate glory.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 13.11 (89)
WARATAH 6.10 (46)


GOALS:
Southern Districts: D. McLachlan 2, J. Koopman 2, M. Mummery 2, E. Barlow 2, J. Brennan, B. Schwarze, W. Farrer, M. Rosier, C. Gallio
Waratah: S. Godden, K. Kantilla, H. Kerinaiua, S. Weddell, Z. Westerberg, T. Toma

BEST:
Southern Districts:
S. Martin, E. Barlow, D. McLachlan, S. Thorne, J. Farrer, S. Stewart
Waratah: N/A

Southern Districts leant fully on its double chance with a confidence building 43-point win over Waratah to move onto the preliminary final round. While the Warriors did well to match it with their opponents for a little over a half, the Crocs pulled away with eight goals to two after the main break to put the result beyond doubt. Four of Southern Districts’ nine goal kickers managed bags of two, including spearhead Jess Koopman and the exciting Michael Mummery. Ed Barlow contributed around the ground and also claimed two majors, but was beaten out for best-afield honours by Sean Martin, while the returning Jared Brennan was also handy with his finals experience. Waratah simply could not match the Crocs’ firepower, but still had six seperate scorers in a low total. Usual suspects Kim Kantilla and Henry Kerinaiua found the goals, with best and fairest Sam Godden also pitching in. While the Warriors’ strong late-season run coming to an abrupt end, Southern Districts look a strong chance to go back-to-back, but will have to get past Tiwi next week for a chance to play-off in the grand final.