Tag: 2020/21 ntfl

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 4

THREE rounds of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action are down for season 2020/21, seeing the competition roll on into Round 4 this weekend. In a first for the new season, four different venues will be used to hold each fixture, with two games played under lights on Friday night, and the remaining two on Saturday afternoon. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Palmerston Magpies vs. Wanderers
Friday October 23, 7:30pm
Cazalys Arena

Two sides with perfectly opposite records meet as Palmerston takes on Wanderers to open Round 4 proceedings at Cazalys Arena. The 1-2 Magpies moved back into the negative after a loss to Darwin last week, but have shown some promise with a fresh raft of recruits seeming to come together nicely in patches. Wanderers sit pretty at 2-1, with the Muk Muks’ only loss coming by 10 points at the hands of undefeated reigning premier, Nightcliff.

Palmerston key forward Daniel Stafford is one of the moving parts coming into good form, fresh off a four-goal haul against his former side. Fellow ex-Buff Chris Williams has enjoyed a dazzling start to the season along with Eric Guthrie and reliable ruckman Matthew Dennis. The run and rebound of Michaelis McMasters and Tyrrell Lui has also been important thus far, while Nigel Lockyer Jnr will have to get back to scoring form this week to help overcome the promising Eagles.

Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell looks like being a massive in for Wanderers, returning to the Premier League after appearing in Division 1. The likes of Simon Bates and Brett Eddy have already proven their scoring threat, with Victorian imports Shaun Mannagh and Brodie Newman looking to continue their high-level starts to life in the NTFL. Dane McFarlane and Michael Mummery bring some more potency having gotten some games under their belts, making for a dynamic Wanderers lineup.

St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff
Friday October 23, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

A second 2019/20 Grand Final rematch is set to go down within the first month of the new season, as St Mary’s takes on Nightcliff at TIO Stadium. It has been business as usual for Nightcliff, who dispatched the Saints by 52 points in Round 1 en route to remaining undefeated to this point. The Saints have had it harder, losing their first two games before a much-needed drought breaking win came against Tiwi last week.

There have been some green shoots for St Mary’s, most significantly after Under 18 talent Beau Tedcastle kicked three goals on his senior debut last time out. Jackson Paine comes in off a six-goal haul, while the likes of Nate Paredes, Jacob Long, and Shaun Edwards are ticking along nicely. Kieren Parnell looms as a nice addition as the Saints continue to field some fresher faces, including Jeremy Goddard and Charlie Furphy from Victorian. They both have turned out this season, along with Jack and Dylan Landt, who have made an impact.

The Tigers could also blood some imported talent, namely Calder Cannons graduate Daniel Mott after his impressive Division 1 showings. In the top flight, Kyle Emery has justified his switch from Palmerston with 11 goals in the last two games, fronting up well with the likes of Brodie Filo, Daniel Bowles, and Phillip Wills delivering from further afield. Tom Boyd is another looking to continue his good form, with the reigning premiers looking strong as ever.

Tiwi Bombers vs. Southern Districts
Saturday October 24, 12:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

Barring a draw, either Tiwi or Southern Districts will break their duck for season 2020/21 when they square off at Wurrumiyanga Oval on Saturday. While both sides are winless at 0-3, it is the Bombers who sit bottom of the ladder after three losses by over 50 points. The Crocs have shown signs of improvement and amid a tough draw, have had a couple of tight losses. Last week’s heartbreaker against Waratah should serve as adequate motivation.

Districts has a distinct Geelong feel about it this week, with former Nightcliff midfielder James Tsitas lining up alongside good mates Luke Kiel and Andrew Boseley. More recent Geelong Falcons graduates Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus are also set to take the field, having already impressed in the top flight. Nikolaus Rokahr is another brilliant addition, fresh off a solid SANFL season for Norwood.

The Bombers look like banding together some of their favourites once again, with the likes of Cyril Rioli and Austin Wonaeamirri named in hopes of boosting their side’s form. Jack Monigatti also looms as a great inclusion, with the likes of Angus Byrne and Mason Dewit already staking their claims in the squad. Given Harley Puruntatameri, Henry Kerinaiua, and Adam Sambono have also been named, the Bombers look like posing their usual threats of speed and forward firepower.

Waratah vs. Darwin Buffaloes
Saturday October 24, 3:00pm
Gardens Oval

Darwin will once again put its perfect record on the line when it faces Waratah at Gardens Oval on Saturday, with both sides looking to continue their promising starts to the season. The Buffs are top of the table after three rounds, proving a bunch of doubters wrong under new coach Cameron Stokes. Waratah’s only blemish thus far was dealt by Nightcliff, with the Warriors looking a much more settled side in season 2020/21.

The Buffs boss looks to have named himself in the side this week, only adding to the experience and class of Matt Campbell and Jarrod Stokes. Jalen Clarke has been in ripping form for the Double Blues, while the likes of Brodie Foster and Ishmael Palmer will once again look to team up for bags of goals up forward. Isaac Seden-Kurnoth is another to keep an eye on, as well as Ryan Pendlebury down back.

Tahs have had some consistent performers too, with skipper Brodie Carroll coming off a game-winning effort and the likes of Callum Searle down back, Abe Ankers through the middle, and the Collis boys making for an even team spread. Jake Sutton and Jae McGrath are also dangerous up forward, and will be sure to make up a heap of goals in response to Darwin’s potency.

Featured Image: Brodie Newman in action for Wanderers | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 3

NIGHTCLIFF and Darwin remain the only two undefeated sides after Round 3 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. The Tigers and Buffs once again proved too strong for their opponents, while St Mary’s finally got on the board in season 2020/21, leaving rival team Tiwi bottom of the ladder alongside Southern Districts. All that, and more from a super Saturday of footy in our weekend wrap.

ST MARY’S | 2.2 | 9.4 | 13.7 | 15.12 (102)
TIWI BOMBERS | 4.2 | 5.3 | 6.6 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Paine 6, B. Tedcastle 3, J. Landt 2, T. Gilbert, N. Paredes, D. Landt, H. Williams
Tiwi: G. Turner 2, J. Tipiloura 2, K. Dunn, D. Munkara, B. Ngalkin

BEST:

St Mary’s: L. Taylor, T. Saunders, N. Paredes, J. Paine, J. Landt, J. Long
Tiwi: J. Tipiloura, M. Kantilla, D. Munkara, P. Heenan, H. Moloney

Third time proved a charm for St Mary’s, as the Saints kicked well clear of Tiwi to claim their maiden win of season 2020/21 to the tune of 51 points on Saturday afternoon. While the Bombers made a better start in the opening term, some key adjustments to stifle Tiwi’s run and transition play helped St Mary’s hit back with seven goals to one in the second term. It proved a match-defining period, with Tiwi unable to conjure the firepower required to blow down St Mary’s defensive wall. A 15.12 (102) to 7.9 (51) scoreline was the result at TIO Stadium.

Following on from a strong outing last week, Jackson Paine was among the goals this time out with a bag of six to lead the Saints’ scoring charge. Debutant and young gun Beau Tedcastle booted three in a promising showing, with fellow multiple goalkicker Jack Landt (two) featuring among the Saints’ best players. Lachlan Taylor was top of the tree though, followed closely by the likes of Nate Paredes and Tylah Saunders, while Jacob Long also continued his terrific form to start the season.

Gibson Turner and John Tipiloura were Tiwi’s only multiple goalkickers with two apiece, as milestone man Dion Munkara also found the big sticks. Another to do so was Baydon Ngalkin, as he and fellow fresh face Adam Sambono gave glimpses into what they may bring to the Bombers’ side. Matthew Kantilla was among the best behind Tipiloura, rounding out some solid contributors despite Tiwi’s third-consecutive loss of over 50 points.

DARWIN BUFFALOES | 4.6 | 8.12 | 10.13 | 13.17 (95)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 1.0 | 4.1 | 7.1 | 8.3 (51)

GOALS:

Darwin: J. Stokes 4, M. Campbell 2, J. Collinson, N. Lowden, R. Pendlebury, S. Ahmat, L. McKenzie, D. Kaipara, B. Foster
Palmerston: D. Stafford 4, C. Williams, N. Lockyer Jnr, R. Warfe, J. Berry

BEST:

Darwin: J. Stokes, I. Seden-Kurnoth, C. Wilson, J. Collinson, M. Campbell
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, D. Stafford, C. Williams, M. Mcmasters, R. Armstrong

Darwin continues to storm out of the gates under new coach Cameron Stokes, most recently downing Palmerston by 44 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. The Double Blues looked in control throughout proceedings, forming an early lead after piling on 10 scoring shots to one in the opening term, before holding off a brief third term swoop from the Magpies and running out 13.17 (95) to 8.3 (51) victors. The result sees Darwin remain top of the Premier League standings with a perfect record, while Palmerston sits sixth at 1-2 after picking up a win in Round 2.

Having found the goals in his first two outings, Jarrod Stokes claimed best afield honours with a bag of four majors this time out, while Matt Campbell continued his two-goal streak to be Darwin’s only other multiple goalkicker. Up the other end, former Buffs bigman Daniel Stafford booted four majors in his first meeting against his former side, but it was hardly enough to carry the Magpies home. Elsewhere, Isaac Seden-Kurnoth keeps on impressing for Darwin, while Joey Collinson was again among the goals. Spearhead Brodie Foster was kept to just one goal, though a spread of nine individual goalkickers proved enough for the Buffs.

Along with Stafford, another former Darwin player in Chris Williams was again prominent for Palmerston as he found the big sticks from midfield. Big ruckman Matthew Dennis was also reliable as ever through the engine room, while Michaelis McMasters proved a repelling force from defence. Eric Guthrie was the man recognised as the Magpies’ most valuable player though, continuing his fine start to the season having been named in the best half-dozen players across each round thus far.

WANDERERS | 1.2 | 3.5 | 7.7 | 9.10 (64)
NIGHTCLIFF | 1.5 | 4.7 | 6.11 | 10.14 (74)

GOALS:

Wanderers: S. Bates 4, M. Mummery, D. McFarlane, M. Motlop, S. Mannagh, J. Cubillo
Nightcliff: K. Emery 5, R. Mu 2, B. Filo, C. Ilett, M. Bricknell

BEST:

Wanderers: M. Totham, B. Newman, S. Bates, S. Mannagh, D. McFarlane
Nightcliff: H. Drogemuller, B. Filo, M. Rivett, T. Boyd, C. Gikas, R. Mu

Season 2020/21 is proving business as usual for Nightcliff, after the reigning premiers knocked off another dangerous competitor in Wanderers under the Saturday night TIO Stadium lights. 10 points was the final margin of victory after the Tigers were made to endure a mighty scare, leading at the first two breaks but falling just behind at the last. As all good sides do, Nightcliff hit back with four goals to Wanderers’ two in the fourth quarter to claim a gutsy 10.14 (74) to 9.10 (64) victory.

Fresh off a six-goal haul last week, boom recruit Kyle Emery continued his fairytale homecoming with a bag of five to spearhead Nightcliff’s attack. Up-and-comer Ryan Mu booted two majors as the Tigers’ only other multiple goalkicker, while Simon Bates (four goals) was the lone Eagle to do so. Bigman Hugo Drogemuller earned praise for his solid role in Nightcliff’s win, in front of reigning Nichols Medallist Brodie Filo and outstanding import Tom Boyd. Another youngster in Christos Gikas was also named among the best.

While Bates headed Wanderers’ attacking efforts, it would have been pleasing for Muk Muks fans to see Michael Mummery get among the goals alongside Josh Cubillo and Dane McFarlane. VFL gun Shaun Mannagh also hit the scoreboard and featured among the best half-dozen players behind Calder Cannons graduate Brodie Newman. The solidly-built defender continues to go from strength to strength, but it was Marcus Totham who was named as Wanderers’ best player afield.

STH DISTRICTS | 4.1 | 8.4 | 9.7 | 10.8 (68)
WARATAH | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Districts: A. Boseley 3, J. Bell 2, B. Vallance 2, W. Farrer, L. Kiel, B. Rusca
Waratah: N/A

BEST:

Districts: B. Vallance, L. Kiel, J. Dahlhaus, C. McAdam, J. Bell
Waratah: N/A

A goal in the dying stages from Waratah skipper, Brodie Carroll helped the Warriors sneak home by two points in a thrilling encounter against Southern Districts on Saturday. On home turf at Norbuilt Oval, the Crocs were unable to hold onto their early lead in the second half, falling behind when it mattered and remaining winless despite the valiant effort. Waratah now improves to a positive record at 2-1, sitting pretty in third behind the two undefeated teams.

Bradley Vallance was named Districts’ best player for his two-goal effort, while Andrew Boseley booted three majors and former VFL gun Luke Kiel also found the big sticks while featuring among the best. Debutant Jay Dahlhaus, the cousin of Luke was also lively, impressing alongside fellow former Geelong Falcon, Jesse Clark. Speaking of debuts, Cam Wild made his for Warath, contributing well among an even team effort.

Featured Image: Darwin and Palmerston players fly for the ball | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 3

TWO rounds of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action are down for season 2020/21, seeing the competition roll on into Round 3 this weekend. All four games are again set to be played on what shapes up as a super Saturday of football, headlined by a TIO Stadium triple-header. The first ball bounces down as St Mary’s takes on Tiwi, while Southern Districts is the only true host as it welcomes Waratah to Norbuilt Oval. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

St Mary’s vs. Tiwi Bombers
Saturday October 17, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi’s milestone men will hope to drag the Bombers off the bottom of the ladder when they face St Mary’s to open the round on Saturday afternoon. The two sides take to TIO Stadium with 0-2 records, as a mix of underperformance and stiff opposition has rendered them winless across the opening rounds. But that is all set to change come this weekend, barring a draw, as the two traditional rivals square off.

If their meetings from season 2019/20 are anything to go by, this bout should be a belter. Tiwi got the better of the Saints in the first two digs, but St Mary’s squared the ledger at 2-2 after solid wins in Round 17 and the qualifying final. The 37-goal Round 3 shootout was the most eye-catching result, making for sensational neutral viewing.

Tiwi 150-gamers Michael Dunn and Dion Munkara will hope all their flair and carry on the outer can propel the Bombers to victory. Fresh off a bag of goals, Harley Puruntatameri should also shine in that department, while prolific talent Adam Sambono is a chance to come into the side. Down back, Mason Dewit has been super on the rebound.

Under 18s wonderkid Beau Tedcastle looks set to make his senior debut for the Saints, a lively small forward who knows where the goals are. Former NAB Leaguer Jeremy Goddard is also poised to make his first Premier League appearance, and both should have terrific support in the form of mainstay figures Raphael Clarke, Nate Paredes, and Shaun Edwards, who have all been in good nick.

Southern Districts vs. Waratah
Saturday October 17, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

The winless Southern Districts will be out to halt its skidding start to the season when Waratah comes to town on Saturday, with the two sides set to face off at Norbuilt Oval. 0-2 after the opening pair of rounds, Districts will have some young talent come in to bolster their squad. Meanwhile, Waratah sits at 1-1 after last week’s tight loss to Nightcliff, with plenty of positives to take out of its first two outings in season 2020/21. The Warriors side looks much more settled than in their last campaign.

AFL Draft prospect Brodie Lake looms as a big in for the Crocs, with the 18-year-old fresh off a terrific SANFL season with Central District. He promises to add some grunt through midfield or run from defence, on top of the obvious class he possesses. After being named in the best half-dozen players last week, former Geelong Falcons co-captain Jesse Clark looks like being joined in the side by fellow NAB League graduate Jay Dahlhaus. The latter is the cousin of Geelong’s Luke, and is likely to play a similar small forward role.

Sticking with the theme set by their opponents, the Warriors are also set to unleash a former NAB League talent. Murray Bushrangers standout Cam Wild looks like entering the Premier League fold after knocking down the door in Division 1, having also spent time in South Australia with Central District. Tahs boast a pretty solid spine, with the likes of Abe Ankers and Brodie Carroll holding down midfield, while Jae McGrath continues to spearhead the forwardline. Victorian Callum Searle has also proven a great addition in defence, giving Waratah balance on each line. It may prove too much for the Crocs to handle.

Darwin Buffaloes vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday October 17, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin will put its perfect record is on the line when it meets the ever-improving Palmerston on Saturday evening, the second game of a TIO Stadium triple-header. Under new coach Cameron Stokes, the Buffs are sitting pretty atop the Premier League table despite a heavy offseason turnover. Meanwhile, the Magpies have already matched their wins tally from last season after victory in Round 2, and look like providing the Double Blues with their toughest assignment to date.

Young utility Tyrrell Lui is fresh off his Rising Star nomination, having provided terrific rebound from defence thus far. He is joined once again in the back six by Sandy Brock, while Chris Williams will look to run the show once again from midfield. He is one of a few ex-Darwin players looking to impress against their former side, with big forward Daniel Stafford another who will be keen to find some form. He will be joined up forward by Nigel Lockyer Jnr, who has been finding the big sticks with ease having booted nine goals in two games.

But Darwin boasts some firepower of its own, with Brodie Foster continuing to set the competition alight. The goalsneak boasts 11 majors across his first two outings, and while Ishmael Palmer may not be there in support once again, Isaac Seden-Kurnoth looms as a major factor inside 50. The experienced Matt Campbell also looks to be in hot form, with Ryan Pendlebury another to settle the side in his defensive duties. Darwin’s mainstays have started the season emphatically and will fancy a third-consecutive win here, but should take nothing for granted against the rising Magpies.

Wanderers vs. Nightcliff
Saturday October 17, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Someone’s ‘0’ will go when undefeated sides Wanderers and Nightcliff do battle at TIO Stadium, making for an exciting finish to a big round of action. The Muk Muks have again started the season well, knocking off two 2019/20 finalists en route to taking on the formidable reigning premier. Nightcliff has been ticking along strongly, too, taking out a Grand Final rematch in Round 1 and managing to halt Waratah’s head of steam last time out with ruthless efficiency.

The returning Kyle Emery has added yet another dimension to the Tigers’ side, with his six-goal haul last week a warning shot for Wanderers defenders. Should 2019/20 Chaney Medal winner Trent Melville also take his spot in the side, this game looms as a must-watch. The likes of Cam Ilett and Daniel Bowles have been reliable as ever, while Phillip Wills is set to celebrate game 200. Victorian recruit Tom Boyd has been superb thus far, and the Tigers will hope former Calder Cannons standout, Daniel Mott can have a similar impact through midfield after strong Division 1 performances.

The Eagles are no slouches either though, with a bunch of high-end talent filling each line. Brett Eddy is fresh off a six-goal haul and has looked sharp up forward, while Braedon McLean has led steadily from defence. Newcomers Shaun Mannagh and Brodie Newman have given Wanderers an extra edge too, and Michael Mummery is one who could break the game open having gotten some game time under his belt last week. With a good amount of class scattered across either lineup, this should be a cracking contest.

Featured Image: Aaron Black/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 2

THREE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League sides remain undefeated after two rounds of action, while a further three are still on the hunt for their first set of premiership points in season 2020/21. Palmerston was the biggest winner out of Round 2, but it is Darwin who currently holds top spot after another spirited victory. All that, and more in our Premier League weekend wrap.

PALMERSTON | 5.1 | 13.4 | 18.10 | 21.15 (141)
TIWI BOMBERS | 1.1 | 4.4 | 5.6 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr 5, T. Kunoth 4, C. Williams 2, J. Berry 2, E. Guthrie 2, F. Wilson, M. Rankine, K. Groves, M. Dennis, M. Chester, J. Harvey
Tiwi: H. Puruntatameri 4, N. Ebinger 2, D. Munkara 2, N. Scagliarini, P. Kantilla

BEST:

Palmerston: M. Dennis, E. Guthrie, N. Lockyer Jnr, C. Williams, H. Brown, L. Flanagan
Tiwi: D. Munkara, M. De Wit, R. Puruntatameri, N. Scagliarini

Palmerston recorded its first win of the season on Saturday, consigning Tiwi to consecutive defeats with a 73-point thrashing at TIO Stadium. The Magpies’ formidable-looking mix of mainstays and new recruits clicked at the second time of asking, pouring on 13 goals to the Bombers’ four in the first half en route to a 21.15 (141) to 10.8 (68) scoreline.

Fresh off a four-goal haul in Round 1, Nigel Lockyer Jnr went one-better with five this time out to lead Palmerston’s attack. He was supported well by four majors from Toshie Kunoth, while former-Darwin midfielder Chris Williams was one of three Magpies to snare two goals. Eric Guthrie was one of them, named among his side’s best behind prolific ruckman Matthew Dennis, who also found the big sticks.

Harley Puruntatameri forged Tiwi’s main goalscoring response with a bag of four, while best afield Bomber Dion Munkara managed two. Boom recruit Nathan Scagliarini again proved a class above and booted an eye-catching goal on the run, while fellow Victorian Mason De Wit was also prominent in the loss. Currently sitting bottom of the ladder, there is still plenty of time for Tiwi to catch the leading pack.

NIGHTCLIFF | 4.1 | 8.1 | 12.3 | 13.4 (82)
WARATAH | 0.5 | 4.9 | 7.11 | 9.15 (69)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: K. Emery 6, C. Ilett 2, J. Butcher 2, K. Niki, M. Bricknell, A. Jorgensen
Waratah: J. Sutton 3, J. McGrath 2, S. Godden, J. Carmichael, K. Kantilla, A. Ankers

BEST:

Nightcliff: K. Emery, N. Brown, T. Boyd, J. Peris, C. Ilett, M. McGregor
Waratah: A. Moloney, C. Searle, J. Sutton, A. Kirby, D. Collis

The art of conversion proved a deciding factor as Nightcliff maintained its undefeated premiership defence on Saturday, defeating Waratah 13.4 (82) to 9.15 (69). In front of a home crowd at Nightcliff Oval, the Tigers started brightly with four goals to the Warriors’ one opening term, maintaining a lead throughout to come home 13-point winners despite managing seven less scoring shots than their opponents.

Former Palmerston forward Kyle Emery showcased his dynamism inside attacking 50 with a game-high six goals, while Tigers veteran Cam Ilett and ex-Port Adelaide forward John Butcher each contributed two. Nathan Brown was again strong down back, as newcomer Tom Boyd further proved his worth with another solid outing.

Victorian Jake Sutton led Waratah’s scoring charge with three majors, while Jae McGrath (two) was the only other Warrior to bag multiple goals. Prominent Port Melbourne defender Callum Searle continued his fine start to life in the NTFL, but it was Alexander Moloney who claimed best afield honours for his side. Tahs still sit within the finals places at 1-1 after a solid showing against the competition’s benchmark, while the Tigers sit second via percentage at 2-0.

DARWIN BUFFALOES | 2.4 | 4.6 | 9.9 | 12.11 (83)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 3.1 | 6.4 | 7.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:

Darwin: B. Foster 5, I. Palmer 3, M. Campbell 2, J. Clarke, J. Stokes
Southern Districts: B. Rolfe 3, W. Farrer 2, M. Bowden, L. Kiel, D. Staunton

BEST:

Darwin: J. Clarke, B. Foster, J. Collinson, M. Campbell, I. Palmer
Southern Districts: L. Kiel, J. Clark, J. Farrar, Z. Smith, K. Jones, C. McAdam

Darwin continues to exceed expectations, claiming a 2-0 start to season 2020/21 with a 12.11 (83) to 8.8 (56) victory over Southern Districts on Saturday evening. The Buffs overcame deficits at the opening two breaks to edge ahead in the third term, before extending their lead with a second-consecutive three-goal to one term to run out 27-point winners at TIO Stadium.

Goalkicking ace Brodie Foster was again right in the thick of the action with five goals, emphatically backing up his bag of six in Round 1. Young gun Ishmael Palmer was another to continue his scoring form with three majors, while classy veteran Matt Campbell added another two to his season tally. Jalen Clarke was among the best Buffs, with Joey Collinson another to perform strongly as new coach Cameron Stokes keeps his perfect record in tact.

In a losing effort, Luke Kiel was again terrific for the Crocs, while 2019 Geelong Falcons captain Jesse Clark proved his worth on debut. The likes of Jonathan Farrar and Zach Smith also stood up as Lionel Ogden celebrated his 150th game, and the goalkicking efforts were led once more by Billy Rolfe (three goals) and Will Farrer (two). After consecutive close losses, the Crocs boast the best percentage of the sides sitting 0-2, falling just outside the finals placings.

ST MARY’S | 4.6 | 6.6 | 8.8 | 10.9 (69)
WANDERERS 1.1 | 4.4 | 7.8 | 14.11 (95)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Calder 2, H. Williams 2, J. O’Brien, T. Long, J. Landt, J. Musgrove, T. Gilbert, D. Walters
Wanderers: B. Eddy 6, S. Mannagh 2, S. Bates, M. Mummery, A. Motlop, D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson, B. Culhane

BEST:

St Mary’s: R. Clarke, H. Williams, J. Long, L. Taylor, L. Jellyman-Turner, T. Saunders
Wanderers: B. Newman, B. Eddy, W. Williams, B. McLean, S. Mannagh

Wanderers continued its winning form to start the season, knocking off 2019/2020 Grand Finalist St Mary’s in the round’s final fixture on Saturday night. The Muk Muks were jumped at the off, and trailed at each of the first three breaks before flicking the switch with seven goals to the Saints’ two to run away 14.11 (95) to 10.9 (69) winners. The dominant final term showcased Wanderers’ scoring power, while also proving its finals credentials given the opposition.

Brett Eddy was among the goals in a big way with six majors, with VFL coup Shaun Mannagh (two) the only other Eagle to snag multiple goals. Brodie Newman was again outstanding in the winning effort, as the Calder Cannons product was named best afield in front of the aforementioned pair, Warwick Williams, and Braedon McLean. Crafty goalsneaks Brayden Culhane and Michael Mummery also found the big sticks.

Harry Williams was joined by Jackson Calder in contributing two goals to St Mary’s cause, with veteran Raphael Clarke named his side’s best afield. Lachlan Taylor and Lucas Jellyman-Turner were again terrific for the Saints, while Victorians Jack Landt, Dylan Landt, and Liam Fiore showed signs in their NTFL debuts. While the Eagles are soaring, St Mary’s already looks off the pace, with plenty of catching up to do.

Featured Image: Wanderers’ Brodie Newman gets a kick away | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Premier League season preview

THE 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League season is set to bounce down tonight, as Waratah takes on Palmerston at Gardens Oval. After an off-season which saw the points and fly-in rules adjusted, but a raft of players putting pen to paper across all eight clubs, this year’s instalment promises to raise plenty of intrigue and produce even more quality.

In our club-by-club season preview, we take a look at how each side may stack up for the upcoming campaign, touching on the potential new signings and important factors for each team, while also serving a reminder of where they each left off.

CLUB-BY-CLUB:

Darwin:

2019/20 finish: 5th, 10-8 – lost elimination final to Southern Districts by 71
Round 1 fixture: vs. Tiwi Bombers @ Gardens Oval, Saturday 4:00pm

After an up and down 2019/20 season, the Darwin Buffaloes will hope to hold onto the finals place it managed to secure last time out. The Double Blues stormed out of the gates, but struggled to find the required consistency later in the season and exited the finals with barely a whimper against Southern Districts.

Consistency may well be a difficult feat to manage once again, with a coaching change and max exodus of players putting the Buffs in a tough position. While interstaters Brodie Foster and Ryan Pendlebury have recommitted, with outgoing coach Matt Campbell also set to remain onboard in a playing capacity, Darwin has lost a series of big names. New coach Cameron Stokes will have to plug gaps left by last year’s leading goalkicker Daniel Stafford, best and fairest winner Chris Williams, and utility Zak Stephenson, who have all switched to Palmerston.

Exciting goalkickers Brayden Culhane (Wanderers) and Adam Sambono (Tiwi) have also moved through the exit door, leaving a big shoes for new recruits to fill. Much will also be expected of young gun Antonio James, who is fresh off a starring South Australian school football season with Westminster. Fellow youngster Isaac Seden-Kurnoth will also garner plenty of attention, providing the green shoots Darwin may be after during a transitional period along with Ishmael Palmer and Tim Eldridge.

Nightcliff:

2019/20 finish: 1st, 17-1 – won Grand Final over St Mary’s by 13
Round 1 fixture: vs. St Mary’s @ TIO Stadium, Saturday 7:30pm

Nightcliff begins its back-to-back premiership defence with a 2019/20 Grand Final rematch against St Mary’s, which should serve as a good measuring stick for the Tigers’ motivation and team cohesion after another big off-season. Premiership hero Trent Melville may have played his final NTFL game in last year’s decider, but the reigning premiers have a bunch of regulars and new recruits to cover any potential losses.

The Tigers’ notoriously deep pockets have lured a number of big-name VFL players, along with a host of Victorians from prominent local/regional leagues, and even the NAB League. Fresh off a strong WAFL season with Claremont which could yet end in premiership glory, Nightcliff junior Ryan Nyhuis would prove the cherry on top of the Tigers’ numerous recruits, along with former Palmerston gun, Kyle Emery.

Homegrown talent remains too, with the likes of Ryan Mu, and Liam Holt-Fitz enjoying steep rises, while Cam Ilett goes around for his 21st season, and Nichols Medalist Brodie Filo lines up once again. It is hard to see the Tigers falling off given the scary depth they possess once again, and it should be a cracking season for fans of the yellow and black.

Palmerston:

2019/20 finish: 8th, 1-17
Round 1 fixture: vs. Waratah @ Gardens Oval, Friday 6:30pm

Alwyn Davey‘s Palmerston outfit is poised to bounce back strongly from a season which saw them finish last in 2019/20. Strong inter-league recruiting sees them well placed to potentially make a run for finals, with the back-end of the competition evening up this year. A trio of Buffaloes; Daniel Stafford, Chris Williams, and Zak Stephenson should add to the Magpies’ spine, along with returning junior Tyrrell Lui.

Young talent should be in good shape too, with Lui joined by Nigel Lockyer Jnr and Sandy Brock as pillars up either end, while Jonty Patrick returns from SANFL Under 18s duties with Central Districts. The Davey family connection of Alwyn, Russell, and potentially Aaron adds experience, along with mainstay ruckman Matthew Dennis, who has recommitted to the Magpies. That’s not to mention Alywn’s twin sons, who should also run through the Premier League side.

A steady start against Waratah in the season opener should put them in good stead, serving as a decent test of where the side will be at in 2020/21.

Southern Districts:

2019/20 finish: 3rd (4th), 10-7-1 – lost preliminary final to Nightcliff by 37
Round 1 fixture: vs. Wanderers @ TIO Stadium, Saturday 5:00pm

Southern Districts will hope the momentum of a spirited finals charge will carry on into season 2020/21, with quite a steady squad remaining in tact for Matt Cannard‘s first year at the helm. Other sides may fancy themselves to move past the Crocs given their relatively quiet off-season, though a strong core and some handy fly-ins should keep Districts within the finals hunt.

The news of Josiah Farrer‘s ACL tear is a big blow to the Crocs’ premiership hopes, though Will Farrer remains as a goalkicking midfielder, while Charlie McAdam and Dean Staunton are other mainstays who can steady the ship. Young outside bolter Brandon Rusca looked primed for a big year after spending some time with the Gold Coast SUNS, while Brodie Lake may sneak some game time in before the AFL Draft. Fellow youngsters Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus have also moved up from Victoria, with Clark a solid defender who captained the Geelong Falcons last year, while Dahlhaus is cut from the same cloth as cousin, Luke.

With a couple more relocating coups, Southern Districts should be able to enjoy some good form throughout the year. Having made a name as one of the competition’s premier teams across the last few years, the Crocs will be hungry not to fall out of the leading pack.

St Mary’s:

2019/20 finish: 2nd, 14-4 – lost Grand Final to Nightcliff by 13
Round 1 fixture: vs. Nightcliff @ TIO Stadium, Saturday 7:30pm

After a heartbreaking Grand Final defeat to Nightcliff, St Mary’s will look to go one-better in season 2020/21 after staying busy in the off-season. A number of big names remain, including Shaun Edwards, Jackson Calder, and Jackson Paine, and Nate Paredes, with Raphael Clarke also set to feature. Ben Long will be a handy addition once his WAFL campaign ends, while returning stars Ross Tungatalum and Anthony Davis promise to add a new dimension to the Saints’ side. Will Hams is another experienced head set to enter the fold, boasting AFL experience.

Add to that recruits of former VFL, NAB League, and Geelong Football League players, and St Mary’s should again prove to be a force in this year’s competition. The recommitment of many stars who helped the club climb off a bottom-place finish in 2018/19 is great to see, with the depth of the squad now right up there with Nightcliff ahead of what should be an exciting season for Saints fans. Having come from a long way back last year, they should start right at the forefront, especially if they can knock the Tigers off in Round 1.

Tiwi Bombers:

2019/20 finish: 4th (3rd), 11-7 – lost semi final to Southern Districts by 40
Round 1 fixture: vs. Darwin @ Gardens Oval, Saturday 4:00pm

One of last year’s most exciting teams, the Tiwi Bombers will be out to make good on their straight-sets finals exit in 2019/20, starting with a Round 1 grudge match against Darwin. The Bombers have added some handy interstate quality, while also managing to secure the services of prolific goalkicker Adam Sambono from the Buffaloes. A major out, though, will be former AFL midfielder Nathan Djerrkura, who moves to Wanderers.

The Bombers’ speed and ease of transition will again put them in good stead this year, with the likes of Harley Puruntatameri and Henry Kerinaiua running the lines, while Jeffrey Simon adds class through the middle or up either end. Tiwi’s mainstays are always important too, and should help secure their side a finals spot once again in 2020/21, but it’ll be tight. Fans will also hope to see a bit more of Cyril Rioli too, after his successful cameo last time around.

Wanderers:

2019/20 finish: 7th 3-14-1
Round 1 fixture: vs. Southern Districts @ TIO Stadium, Saturday 5:00pm

Wanderers will look to address and improve on a massive drop-off in form towards the end of last season, as the Muk Muks begin a fresh campaign against Southern Districts tomorrow night. The Eagles’ stocks see them primed for a finals tilt, with the likes of Nathan Djerrkura and Brayden Culhane coming in from rival clubs, while Josh Cubillo and Marlon Motlop are set to feature more prominently as Jonas Niki and Clifford Jamahl make their returns.

In terms of interstate recruits, the Eagles have also dipped into the Victorian pool with a mix of experienced and young players entering the fold, set to line up as soon as in Round 1. The Eagles also lay claim to 2019/20 Nichols Medalist Beau O’Connell, who formed a strong midfield partnership with Braedon McLean, but the hole Joel Jeffrey will leave come AFL Draft time is a big one to fill.

Still, the Muk Muks will fancy themselves to improve greatly after showing some great promise early last year, and face a very good test first up against the Crocs.

Waratah:

2019/20 finish: 6th 5-13
Round 1 fixture: vs. Palmerston @ Gardens Oval, Friday 6:30pm

After an inconsistent season saw them finish best of the rest in sixth, the Warriors have plenty to prove in their 2020/21 campaign. Along with Nightcliff, Waratah has been one of the busiest clubs during the off-season, luring a mass amount of players from all kinds of leagues and levels in Victoria. Young key forward Ned Stevens also returns as a big coup, taking some of the goalkicking pressure of zippy midfielder/forward Kim Kantilla.

The likes of state leaguers Brodie Carroll and Callum Searle also line up for the Warriors, with Jae McGrath another important player to commit to the cause. As usual, Abe Ankers will be the key man, and all involved will hope he can run out more frequently this time around. Expectations will be high for a healthy rise this season considering Waratah’s various coups, but making the next step is always tough, especially with others improving around them.

Featured Image: Nightcliff celebrates its 2019/20 premiership | Credit: AFLNT