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2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Finals Week 1

WEEK one of the 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League finals series was run and won on the weekend, with Waratah and Wanderers picking up wins in their respective match-ups. The Warriors disposed of Darwin in an elimination bout, while Wanderers shocked St Mary’s under lights, though both sides move onto the semi final round. That, and more in our weekend wrap.

WARATAH 4.2 | 7.2 | 10.4 | 13.6 (84)
DARWIN 2.0 | 5.2 | 7.3 | 9.4 (58)

GOALS:

Waratah: W. Collis 3, A. Moloney 2, C. Arnold 2, B. Carroll, J. Simson, A. Ankers, R. Turnbull, H. Kerinaiua, A. Kirby
Darwin: B. Foster 3, J. Collinson 2, C. Abala 2, T. Eldridge, M. Kennedy

Waratah outmuscled Darwin on Saturday evening to enter week two of finals, coming up trumps to the tune of 26 points at TIO Stadium. The Warriors excelled at the coalface with dominant ball winners and gave Darwin plenty of headaches with their tall timber in attack, but did arguably their best work down back to keep the dangerous Double Blues at bay. With a four-quarter team performance, Tahs ran out 13.6 (84) to 9.4 (58) winners and will face St Mary’s in next week’s semi final.

The tall duo of Zach Westerberg and Arnold Kirby did well to provide first use to the likes of Robert Turnbull and Abe Ankers in midfield, with the latter three also hitting the scoreboard. Will Collis made his chances count with three majors, which was an equal game-high feat alongside Darwin spearhead Brodie Foster. Jarrod Stokes provided plenty of dash from midfield for the Buffs, while Timothy Eldridge was reliable as ever and Cade Abala snared two majors to highlight his contribution.

ST MARY’S 3.2 | 5.8 | 7.12 | 8.18 (66)
WANDERERS 5.1 | 9.3 | 12.5 | 13.8 (86)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: S. Edwards 3, J. Landt 2, J. Paine, J. Calder, D. Landt
Wanderers: B. Eddy 6, S. Bates 3, D. Thompson, J. Cubillo, E. Simpson, J. Priest

Wanderers stunned St Mary’s on Saturday night with a 20-point qualifying final victory at TIO Stadium, just a week removed from the Saint’s 79-point triumph in the final home-and-away round. In what was a 99-point turnaround from that Round 18 meeting, Wanderers did most of the damage before half time, booting nine of their 13 majors and setting up an unassailable lead. An inaccurate St Mary’s did not have enough to match the Muk Muks’ firepower, resulting in the 13.8 (86) to 8.18 (66) scoreline.

The forward partnership of Brett Eddy (six goals) and Simon Bates (three) proved lethal for Wanderers, serving as a massive benefactor of creative and extractive excellence from Shaun Mannagh and Dane McFarlane in midfield. Down back, Brodie Newman and Braedon McLean cut off plenty and provided good drive on the rebound. Shaun Edwards (three goals) was one of St Mary’s shining lights with his spark on the uptake, while Jack Landt was also superb in the loss as his side’s other multiple goalkicker. The Saints will lean on their double chance and face Waratah next week, while Wanderers takes on rested minor premier, Nightcliff in the semi finals.

WEEK TWO FIXTURES

Semi Final 1:
St Mary’s vs. Waratah
Saturday March 6, 4:15pm
TIO Stadium

Semi Final 2:
Nightcliff vs. Wanderers
Saturday March 6, 6:45pm
TIO Stadium

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

NT troops trump Glenelg as rep footy returns to the Top End

REPRESENTATIVE football returned to the Northern Territory on Saturday as an out-of-season Glenelg outfit took on the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) rep side at TIO Stadium. The NTFL Buffaloes won out by 24 points in a competitive outing played amid soggy conditions, finishing the game strongly with three goals to Glenelg’s nil in the final term.

NT captain Cam Ilett took home the Australia Day medal as best afield, leading a side packed with a mix of local talent and guns from around the nation. Territorians Neil Vea Vea and Marlon Motlop were among the Bays’ most valuable players, providing physicality and spark going forward. The game was the first NT representative fixture in 15 years, and the first hitout against Glenelg in 36 years.

>> SCROLL for the final scores, goalkickers and best players

The hosts readied themselves for battle and came out the better side early, applying smothering defensive pressure and locking the ball in their front half for much of the opening term. It translated to the scoreboard too, as the rushed and undisciplined Bays gifted two goals via 50-metre penalties to trail by 11 points at quarter time.

An elongated team talk at the first break spurred Glenelg into action though, with former Richmond key forward Liam McBean booting his second major and Reid Kuller adding another in quick time to put their side ahead. A Nate Paredes bomb from nothing helped steady the NT, who remained ahead by five points at half time as the sides began to trade goals.

The scoring dried up as the rain began to fall harder in the second half, but that did not stop Lachie Hosie from expertly roving a pack and putting Glenelg back ahead. Both sides showed a bit of feeling as the stakes were raised, with the goal-for-goal streak continuing in term three but resulting in Glenelg gaining the ascendancy as the final turn approached.

It was all NT from there, with the likes of James Tsitas and Abe Ankers popping up to show their class in the clutch moments. The in-season factor proved telling as Glenelg fell away late and went scoreless in the final term, a period which was capped by Shaun Edwards‘ game-sealing snap. The celebratory major made for a game-high lead and put the cherry on top of NT’s terrific showing.

While Ilett earned another piece of silverware for his extraordinary personal collection, ball magnet Dane McFarlane was unlucky not to be recognised as the NT’s best player. Rebounding key defender Brodie Newman was also exceptional, while bigman Matthew Dennis battled hard in the ruck, Harley Puruntatameri was lively up forward, and Paredes had patches of dominance.

Vea Vea’s physicality was a highlight for Glenelg as he rotated forward through the ruck, while Motlop came up clutch with a handy third term goal to aid the Bays’ Territorian influence. McBean proved a reliable target up forward and Hosie was dangerous at his feet, with Brady Searle a handy factor down back and Darcy Bailey influential between the arcs.

Earlier, the NTFL Women’s representative team took on their Glenelg counterparts in an historic meeting between the two sides. The wet weather wreaked havoc but did not stop the Territorians from establishing a three-goal lead in the first half, before seeing out a 28-point victory; 5.5 (35) to 1.1 (7). NT standout Jasmyn Hewett won the Australia Day medal, while Mickayla Ward booted two goals.

The night’s other featured match saw the Alice Springs Redtails defeat Katherine’s Big Rivers Football League side by 50 points in an exciting interleague clash. Nigel Lockyer Jnr was among the victors’ best, booting an equal game-high three majors as his team ran out 12.18 (90) to 5.10 (40) winners, largely credit to their superior fluency with ball in hand.

FINAL SCORES:

NTFL BUFFALOES | 3.1 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 9.12 (66)
GLENELG TIGERS | 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.6 | 6.6 (42)

GOALS:

NTFL: B. Eddy, R. Turnbull, C. Ilett, N. Paredes, H. Puruntatameri, J. Stokes, J. Tsitas, A. Ankers, S. Edwards
Glenelg: L. McBean 2, R. Kuller, D. Bailey, L. Hosie, M. Motlop

DC BEST:

NTFL: D. McFarlane, B. Newman, M. Dennis, C. Ilett, H. Puruntatameri, N. Paredes
Glenelg: N. Vea Vea, L. McBean, M. Motlop, D. Bailey, R. Kuller, L. Hosie, B. Searle

Australia Day Medal: Cam Ilett (NT)

Featured Image: The NT Buffaloes and Glenelg Tigers join for a photo post-match | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 14

BLOWOUTS were balanced by a couple of close contests in Round 14 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, with the mixed bag of results going a long way to confirming the top five with four rounds left to play. Waratah and Darwin shut the door on the top three with important wins, while Wanderers notched its highest-ever score and St Mary’s remained in the race for top two status. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 1.2 | 3.5 | 6.8 | 7.9 (51)
WANDERERS | 10.4 | 19.11 | 26.15 | 37.19 (241)

GOALS:

Tiwi: D. Munkara 2, H. Puruntatameri 2, S. Puruntatameri, N. Hooker, A Mungatopi
Wanderers: B. Eddy 9, S. Bates 6, S. Mannagh 5, J. Cubillo 4, E. Simpson 3, M. Totham 2, J. Motlop 2, B. Hodgson 2, S. Tipiloura, J. Erlandson, D. McFarlane, D. Thompson

BEST:

Tiwi: H. Puruntatameri, D. Munkara, J. Monigatti, P. Heenan, J. Puruntatameri
Wanderers: S. Mannagh, D. McFarlane, B. Eddy, S. Bates, B. Hodgson, E. Simpson, J. Cubillo

A 190-point blowout saw Wanderers signal its intent heading into the pointy end of the season, with the club’s highest-ever score of 37.19 (241) making for formidable reading against Tiwi’s 7.9 (51). The Muk Muks burst out of the blocks with 10 goals to the Bombers’ one in the opening term, before adding no less than seven in each of the remaining quarters to build the fearsome final margin. Brett Eddy was the main destroyer, helping himself to his second haul of nine goals for the season and backed well by partner-in-crime Simon Bates (six). Midfield guns Shaun Mannagh and Josh Cubillo also combined for nine majors, while fellow engine room operator Dane McFarlane was at his dominant best. Combined, they easily outclassed a young Tiwi side which lacked raw starpower. Dion Munkara and Harley Puruntatameri booted two goals apiece as the best Bombers afield, with bigman Jack Mongiatti also continuing his rich vein of form despite the Bombers’ 13th-straight defeat.

WARATAH | 5.2 | 11.8 | 17.13 | 24.18 (162)
PALMERSTON | 2.3 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Ankers 5, K. Kantilla 3, R. Turnbull 2, B. Orval 2, B. Carroll 2, A. Kirby 2, T. Mosquito 2, H. Kerinaiua 2, J. Sutton, M. Blake, J. McGrath, J. Simson
Palmerston: M. Rankine 3, J. Harvey, S. Lampton

BEST:

Waratah: R. Turnbull, C. Searle, T. Mosquito, H. Kerinaiua, A. Moloney
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, S. Brock, K. Annand, A. McAdam, T. Lui

Waratah stood up at both ends to easily account for Palmerston, riding home to the tune of 130 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday. The Warriors have somewhat gone under the radar in their top five tilt but made a statement with the 24.18 (162) to 5.6 (36) victory, proving their scoring prowess and the killer instinct to run their opponents into the ground. A potent Waratah midfield was spearheaded by Abe Ankers, who booted a game-high five goals in the winning effort. Robert Turnbull was also outstanding through the middle while Callum Searle went to work on the rebound and Kim Kantilla notched three majors as part of Tahs’ 12 individual goalkickers (eight multiple). Matthew Rankine was Palmerston’s main source of scoring with three goals, accounting for half of his side’s total. Eric Guthrie proved typically solid as young defenders Sandy Brock and Tyrrell Lui were kept busy in the heavy loss.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 2.3 | 4.4 | 6.6 | 9.10 (64)
DARWIN BUFFALOES | 4.1 | 6.3 | 8.6 | 11.10 (76)

GOALS:

Districts: L. Ogden 2, J. Dahlhaus 2, J. Sexton 2, B. Rolfe, K. Jones, J. Ross
Darwin: M. Campbell 6, B. Foster 3, R. Pendlebury, S. Ahmat,

BEST:

Districts: J. Clark, L. Ogden, J. Sexton, J. Dahlhaus, J. Ross
Darwin: M. Campbell, R. Pendlebury, B. Foster, K. Kossack, C. Atkinson

Darwin all but sealed the top five with a month left to play after downing Southern Districts by 12 points, putting the Buffaloes three games clear in the finals places. The two-goal margin was established early on and remained consistent throughout the scrappy contest, as the Double Blues answered every challenge to run out 11.10 (76) to 9.10 (64) victors. Veteran Buff Matt Campbell continues to thrive up forward and notched six goals to be the best player afield. Brodie Foster again proved his reliability inside 50 with another three majors, while Lionel Ogden, Jay Dahlhaus, and Jack Sexton all snared two for the Crocs in a more even spread of contributors. Ryan Pendlebury was another important figure for Darwin and found a scoring opportunity, also featuring among the best players alongside 100-gamer Kayle Kossack.

NIGHTCLIFF | 3.1 | 4.3 | 4.6 | 5.10 (40)
ST MARY’S | 0.4 | 2.9 | 3.11 | 3.13 (31)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz 2, S. Wilson, R. Mu, J. Butcher
St Mary’s: J. Calder, B. Tedcastle, J. Williams

BEST:

Nightcliff: T. Boyd, J. Peris, A. Jorgensen, S. Wilson, P. Wills, B. Filo
St Mary’s: D. Landt, S. Edwards, J. Calder, K. Parnell, M. Wilkinson, T. Saunders

Only eight goals were kicked between Nightcliff and St Mary’s as the Tigers adapted best to run out 11-point winners in a rain-effected contest on Sunday night. The reigning premiers brought their typically skilful style in the opening term to build a defining three-goal lead before the heavens opened and both teams were made to get their hands dirty. Despite scoring pressure from the Saints, Nightcliff held on to win 5.10 (40) to 3.13 (31) in the low-scoring slog. Tom Boyd was instrumental for Nightcliff as the dependable Shaun Wilson and Phillip Wills also played their part, while Liam Holt-Fitz finished as the game’s sole multiple goalkicker (two). Dylan Landt continued his excellent season for St Mary’s, named best afield in front of the likes of Shaun Edwards and Tylah Saunders. Jackson Calder was another to stand up in difficult conditions, finding the big sticks on one occasion.

Featured Image: Waratah were big winners over Palmerston in Round 14 | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 12

THE FINAL round of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action for 2020 is set to play out this weekend, before the eight sides enjoy a well earned mid-season break. A clash between Wanderers and St Mary’s looms as the pick of the bunch, with both sides boasting eight wins and looking to stake their claim as Nightcliff’s greatest threat. Meanwhile, the remaining top five teams are set to take on those currently below them in an opportunity for each to strengthen their positions before the upcoming interval. That, and more in our Round 12 preview.

Darwin Buffaloes (5th, 6-5) vs. Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-11)
Saturday December 19, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin will be looking to get its finals push back on track when it takes on Tiwi at TIO Stadium on Saturday, marking the teams’ first meeting since Round 1. The Buffs have lost four of their last five games but put enough early runs on the board to remain among the finals places as it stands. Conversely, Tiwi remains winless after 11 games and despite a couple of recent close calls, were trumped by over 50 points once again last week.

The potential absence of star recruits Mason De Wit and Fletcher Carroll spells trouble for the Bombers, who will have plenty to cover in defence and through midfield. Dion Munkara and Brayden Rioli have been named among the squad, so could provide the flexibility Tiwi is after as magnets furiously shuffle. Darwin is set to regain some experience in Matt Campbell, while Joey Collinson adds some further firepower for the Double Blues. Young guns Antonio James and Cade Abala are among those pushing for a call-up.

Nightcliff (1st, 8-2-1) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 5-6)
Saturday December 19, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Two teams which returned to winning ways last week meet on Saturday evening, as Nightcliff plays host to Southern Districts at TIO Stadium. The Tigers have gone 2-1-1 in their last four outings, with that one loss coming at the hands of their weekend adversaries. The Crocs lost consecutive games after the breakthrough win, but convincingly returned to winning form last week against Palmerston and will look to again put pressure on the top five. Not many teams beat Nightcliff twice in a season though, so the Crocs are up against it.

The back-to-back reigning premiers have had most of their stars settle into the lineup, with their raft of depth options rotating through. Daniel Bowles is a big name in line for an immediate return, while Zach Brain has been named at half-back and Luca Goonan again finds himself teased with top flight selection, named on an extended bench. Will Farrer is in the mix for Southern Districts, while the likes of Brandon Rusca and Ed Barlow will be keen to hit the ground running after missing last week’s big win.

Wanderers (2nd, 8-2-1) vs. St Mary’s (3rd, 8-3)
Sunday December 20, 4:00pm
Tracy Village

The game of the round poises Wanderers and St Mary’s against each other, two sides with eight wins under their belts and vying for a top two spot. The Muk Muks came up trumps in their previous meeting with St Mary’s, winning by 26 points back in Round 2. Things look a touch different this time around, with the Saints riding a five-game winning run while Wanderers have gone 1-1-1 in its last three outings, bouncing back last time out against Tiwi. Only half a game separates these two teams, with Nightcliff still the team to beat atop the table.

St Mary’s is set to be buoyed by a huge state league coup in star South Fremantle midfielder Haiden Schloithe. He only adds to the Saints’ fearsome engine room, which looks likely to combat Wanderers’ run with a combative ground level game. Leader Raphael Clarke is also in line to return to the top flight, with the Saints side settling nicely. Liam Patrick has been named for Wanderers, while Shaun Mannagh looms as a massive inclusion. Brett Eddy leaves a big hole in Wanderers’ front six, but the likes of Simon Bates and Round 11 Rising Star Jesse Motlop should handily pick up the slack.

Palmerston (7th, 2-9) vs. Waratah (4th, 6-5)
Sunday December 20, 6:30pm
Cazalys Arena

Waratah will be looking to solidify its standing within the top five when it travels to face Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Sunday night. The Warriors had previously flown under the radar as a premiership threat, but notched wins over some of the top sides to gain a positive record thus far. Palmerston has beaten Tiwi twice but remains embedded in the bottom three, with the previous meeting between these sides ending in a 69-point drubbing in favour of Waratah.

Some more positive news for Palmerston comes via its team sheet, with bookends Sandy Brock and Daniel Stafford set to take the field. Brock should free up Tyrrell Lui down back, while Stafford will likely take a scoring load off Nigel Lockyer Jnr. Aaron and Alwyn Davey have been named on the extended bench. Waratah’s Jake Wild looks set for a Premier League debut, while Abe Ankers looms as a big inclusion to run through midfield alongside recent recruit, Darcy Lang.

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

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

THE TOP four Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League sides are set to square off in Round 10, making for a definitive weekend of action among the finals contenders. In a cool quirk, the fixture sees first take on second, third clash with fourth, fifth meeting sixth, and seventh locking horns with eighth as four separate venues play host to each game on Saturday. With that being the case, there looms a great chance for leading sides to gain some much-needed breathing space from their rivals. All that, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-9) vs. Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-8)
Saturday December 5, 1:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

A bottom of the table clash kicks off Round 10 as Palmerston makes the early trip to Wurrumiyanga Oval to take on Tiwi. If it were not for the Round 2 clash between these sides they would both remain winless, but Palmerston got on the board that day via a 73-point trouncing. This time, the Bombers are on home turf and will hope to build on the improvements which have seen them get within a goal of their opponents twice in the last three weeks. While the Bombers have lost more games by over 50 points (five), it is Palmerston which holds the greater average losing margin at 51.6 points, compared to Tiwi’s 44.8. Given the amount of punishment received by both sides thus far, they should be hungry as ever for a rare win.

The Bombers come in with a strong side on paper too, boasting competition stat leaders Fletcher Carroll (average disposals, clearances) and Mason De Wit (rebound 50s) along with the in-form Adam Sambono and dangerous forward pairing of Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri. Tiwi’s run and gun style has sucked in even the best of sides, so should again prove effective here. Tyrrell Lui is back in Palmerston’s defence, which may well come under fire should Matt Dennis and his centre bounce partners in Chris Williams and Eric Guthrie fail to get going. The versatility of Nigel Lockyer Jnr should also prove a handy wildcard for the Magpies, who will need a bit of dynamism to keep the Bombers guessing.

St Mary’s (3rd, 6-3) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (4th, 6-3)
Saturday December 5, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

The weekend’s first top four clash takes place as St Mary’s and Darwin do battle at league headquarters, looking to separate their equal 6-3 records. After a lacklustre opening fortnight, the Saints have gone on to win six of their last seven games, with their only hiccup coming at the hands of Darwin in Round 6. Their three-consecutive wins since then still read better than Darwin’s 1-2 effort, with the Buffs’ early season form tapering off a touch before another redemptive win over Palmerston last week. Just four per cent separates the two sides after nine rounds, with the Saints scoring a touch less overall but maintaining a tighter defence.

St Mary’s should fancy itself in the midfield battle, with Nate Paredes teaming up with Daly Andrews and Nick Yarran, while the likes of Dylan Landt and Shaun Edwards can also rotate through the engine room. The Saints will have to be wary of Darwin’s front six though, with Matt Campbell in fine scoring form and supported well by Ishmael Palmer, Brodie Foster, and Michael Hagan, among others. Shannon Rioli and young Beau Tedcastle loom as key forms of firepower in St Mary’s response under spearhead Jackson Calder, making for a lively kind of contest.

Nightcliff (1st, 7-2) vs. Wanderers (2nd, 7-2)
Saturday December 5, 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Nightcliff and Wanderers are set to headline the Round 10 fixtures in a top-of-the-table clash under lights at Nightcliff Oval, with clear supremacy at the pointy end up for grabs. Both sides are locked at an even 7-2 record apiece, so needless to say this game looms as an important one in the minor premiership race. The Tigers got home by 10 points in the Round 3 meeting between these two teams and were the only side to have beaten Wanderers up until last week. It means that both clubs have dropped points in one of their last two outings and will be itching to return to top form for this clash.

Danny Butcher and Kaine Riley loom as fantastic additions for Nightcliff having been named in the extended squad, but like most weeks face stiff competition for spots. Among the standouts of late, veteran Cam Ilett has booted eight goals in his last two games, with Kyle Emery the other to notch a bag of five last week. Midfielders Dom Brew, Daniel Bowles, and Brodie Filo have also consistently featured among the Tigers’ best. Wanderers has looked just as settled in 2020/21, with competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy in fearsome form, supported by Simon Bates while Dane McFarlane runs the midfield and Braedon McLean leads from defence alongside Warwick Williams and Brodie Newman. Victorian coup Shaun Mannagh should also be a handy inclusion for the Muk Muks in what promises to be a ripping contest.

Waratah (5th, 5-4) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 4-5)
Saturday December 5, 6:30pm
Gardens Oval

Southern Districts will be out to keep touch with the top five when it takes on Waratah at Gardens Oval, rounding out the weekend’s action. The Crocs had strung together a handy run of four wins in five matches after a 0-3 start, but had their run to the finals spots halted last week by St Mary’s. Meanwhile, Waratah looks every bit a premiership smoky after accounting for Nightcliff in a stunning upset last time out, making it two wins on the trot. With one game already separating these two sides, another loss for Districts would see its finals hopes narrow that little bit further.

Darcy Lang is a big name featured on Waratah’s team list, with the recently delisted Carlton midfielder/forward jumping straight into the Warriors’ lineup. He should provide some handy forward momentum alongside Abe Ankers and Robert Turnbull, with Michael Newton ready to return and spearhead Tahs’ attack. Stat leaders James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr have been prolific for the Crocs and should contribute to a tight midfield battle, while Andrew Boseley heads the forwardline and Ed Barlow looks to string some form together having returned to the fold.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 3 clash between Nightcliff and Wanderers | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

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

NIGHTCLIFF roared back to the top of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League standings in Round 9, reaffirming its dominance over the competition at the halfway point of the season. Wanderers relinquished top spot in an upset loss to Waratah, who look every bit the finals contender, while St Mary’s and Darwin continue to motor on within the top five after solid victories of the own. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 4.1 | 7.2 | 10.7 | 15.10 (100)
NIGHTCLIFF | 4.4 | 10.10 | 14.11 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

Tiwi: R. Young 3, A. Tipungwuti 3, A. Wonaeamirri 2, H. Puruntatameri 2, T. Babui, B. Kantilla, J. Tipiloura, B. Palipuaminni, P. Heenan
Nightcliff: K. Emery 5, C. Ilett 5, T. Melville 2, S. Wilson, R. Mu, H. Drogemuller, L. Holt-Fitz, M. McGregor

BEST:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti, F. Carroll, J. Monigatti, R. Young, J. Puruntatameri
Nightcliff: C. Ilett, D. Brew, A. Moniz-Wakefield, K. Emery, B. Filo, J. Bowen

Nightcliff reclaimed top spot with a 15-point win over Tiwi at Wurrumiyanga Oval on Saturday, surviving a late scare to come away 17.13 (115) to 15.10 (100) winners. Having been beaten at the jump, the Tigers managed to work to a quarter time lead and began to control the game with poised play amid the hosts’ frantic pace. By three quarter time, their lead was 28 points and Tiwi would have to do something drastic to enforce a turnaround. The Bombers did their best with five majors in the final term, but Nightcliff was able to hold off the charge with cool heads in the dying stages.

While inaccuracy prevented Nightcliff from roaring further ahead, Cam Ilett and Kyle Emery had enough chances to sink five shots through the big sticks each. The Bombers had one more individual goalkicker (nine overall) than their opponents, led by three from Adam Tipungwuti and Robert Young. Dom Brew and Mack Rivett again got their hands dirty in midfield for the victors, while Fletcher Carroll worked to conjure Tiwi’s fightback. Andy Moniz-Wakefield was another to impress for the Tigers and Ryan Mu slotted a goal of the year contended from the boundary.

S. DISTRICTS | 4.2 | 4.3 | 7.5 | 7.7 (49)
ST MARY’S | 2.2 | 2.7 | 8.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:

S. Districts: J. Farrar 2, J. Tsitas, J. Bailey, A. Boseley, L. Kiel, J. Bell
St Mary’s: S. Rioli 2, D. Landt 2, J. Long, R. Smith, B. Tedcastle, N. Paredes, J. Landt, J. Calder, B. Grenfell

BEST:

S. Districts: Z. Smith, M. Bowden, A. Boseley, J. Clark, L. Ogden, D. Robertson
St Mary’s: D. Landt, N. Paredes, A. Long, T. Saunders, B. Grenfell, R. Smith

St Mary’s secured a 28-point victory over Southern Districts at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday, a result which agonisingly sees the Crocs remain just outside of the top five places. The hosts got the better start as wet conditions ensured just six goals would be kicked in the first half, all of which came in the opening term. But St Mary’s flicked the switch after half time, piling on nine goals to clinch the 11.11 (77) to 7.7 (49) win. Having snatched the lead with one period to play, the Saints buried their opponents by keeping them goalless in the last quarter.

In a game where both defences shone, Southern Districts’ was eventually breached heavily as returning skipper Shannon Rioli inspired his side with two third term goals. Dylan Landt matched the feat and was prominent alongside Nate Paredes in midfield, benefitting from the ruckwork of Brandyn Grenfell. Jonathan Farrar finished as Districts’ lone multiple goalkicker, but it was the likes of Zach Smith, Jesse Clark, and Lionel Ogden who proved most impactful for the Crocs. At 4-5 and now a game adrift the finals places, pressure is mounting on Southern Districts to make something of season 2020/21, while St Mary’s firms as a premiership contender.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 9.5 | 12.7 | 18.11 (119)
WANDERERS | 2.2 | 4.4 | 9.5 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:

Waratah: C. Arnold 4, J. Sutton 3, H. Kerinaiua 2, J. Simson 2, R. Turnbull 2, D. Collis, J. Stevens, C. Searle, B. Carroll, J. McGrath
Wanderers: B. Eddy 3, S. Bates 2, E. Simpson, B. Newman, J. Erlandson, B. O’Connell, D. Thompson

BEST:

Waratah: R. Turnbull, A. Ankers, C. Arnold, J. Stevens, H. Kerinaiua, N. Gooch
Wanderers: B. McLean, D. Thompson, B. Newman, B. Eddy, M. Motlop

Waratah has emerged as a serious finals threat after downing Wanderers by 52 points at on Saturday, with the 18.11 (119) to 10.7 (67) result seeing the Muk Muks removed from top spot. In front of a home crowd at Gardens Oval, the Warriors pulled away in terms two and four with a combined 12 goals to three across the two periods, making for a lop-sided final scoreline. Despite getting back to within four goals at the end of the third quarter, Wanderers simply did not have an answer for Waratah’s hardened attack on the ball and clean use on the break.

Midfield maestros Robert Turnbull and Abe Ankers were unsurprisingly instrumental in the victory, with the former also booting two goals. Cameron Arnold kicked a game-high four majors, with three coming in the first half, while Jake Sutton finished with three of his own. Competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy spearheaded the Muk Muks’ third quarter fightback with three major scores as the likes of Marlon Motlop and Dray Thompson came into the game from midfield. Braedon McLean and Brodie Newman were also important for Wanderers, holding up a heavily pressured defence.

DARWIN | 2.2 | 6.5 | 9.10 | 13.11 (89)
PALMERSTON | 3.3 | 3.4 | 4.5 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

Darwin: M. Campbell 4, I. Palmer 3, J. Clarke 2, B. Foster 2, M. Kennedy, C. Atkinson
Palmerston: B. McDonald 2, R. Armstrong, J. Harvey, T. Kunoth, A. McAdam

BEST:

Darwin: M. Kennedy, M. Campbell, M. Lochowiak, R. Pendlebury, K. Maroney, L. McKenzie
Palmerston: M. Dennis, N. Lockyer, B. McDonald, C. Williams, T. Kunoth

Darwin bounced back from a slow start, and scratchy recent run of form overall to defeat Palmerston by 44 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The Buffs found themselves seven points behind at the first interval, but managed four goals to Palmerston’s nil in the second term to set up a 19-point buffer come half time. The steady scoreboard pressure mounted and eventually saw Darwin come away comfortable 13.11 (89) to 6.9 (45) winners, consolidating the Double Blues’ spot in the top five.

A number of inclusions and magnet shuffles sured up Darwin’s side, with the experienced Matty Campbell booting four goals to headline them. Midfielder Jalen Clarke and goalsneak Brodie Foster were also in that mix and booted two majors each, while Max Kennedy thrived in the engine room and Mihail Lochowiak continued to show his wares in the front half. Matthew Dennis again led from the front for Palmerston, as the duo of Nigel Lockyer Jnr and Brandon McDonald proved dynamic up forward. The latter snared two majors as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

Featured Image: Darwin’s Matt Campbell looks to wrap up Palmerston’s Aaron Davey | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League rolls on this Saturday, with four games to be played across seperate venues for just the second time this season. Waratah hosts Wanderers in the weekend’s lone top five clash, but finals ramifications will also be at play when Southern Districts takes on St Mary’s, as either side bookends the bottleneck forming between third and sixth. Meanwhile, Nightcliff and Darwin will hope to strengthen their respective finals pushes as they meet the bottom two teams. That, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-8) vs. Nightcliff (2nd, 6-2)
Saturday November 28, 1:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

Tiwi’s search for a maiden win in season 2020/21 returns to home base on Saturday afternoon when reigning premier, Nightcliff comes to town. The Bombers have not only lost every game thus far, but also lay claim to five defeats of over 50 points to seem them planted to the wooden spoon spot. Nightcliff’s season has come with a couple of hiccups, most recently at the hands on Southern Districts, but the Tigers remain in a strong position at 6-2. This looms as the first meeting between these sides this season, so a clean slate for competition presents.

Allen Christensen looms as a big inclusion for Tiwi and should provide some good forward drive from midfield alongside the likes of Adam Tipungwuti and Fletcher Carroll. Youngster Brayden Rioli also looks set for a return to the top flight, named next to Austin Wonaeamirri on the full forward line. Nightcliff’s forwards will be looking to bounce back from a feeble display last week, while the likes of Dom Brew, Daniel Bowles, and Mack Rivett provide some grunt from further afield. Veteran utility Cam Ilett is also fresh of a three-goal haul, so will again provide a focal point for the Tigers.

Southern Districts (6th, 4-4) vs. St Mary’s (3rd, 5-3)
Saturday November 28, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

An opportunity for Southern Districts to crack the top five presents on Saturday as the Crocs lock horns with St Mary’s at Norbuilt Oval. Both teams are in winning form coming into their first clash of the season, with Districts taking in a string of three victories, including one over Nightcliff, while St Mary’s five wins have all come in the last six weeks. It makes for an intriguing battle which should impact the shape of the top five, as St Mary’s heads a bottleneck between its third place, and South Districts’ sixth.

In a welcome relief for the Crocs, Luke Kiel has been cleared to play after having his rough conduct charge withdrawn at the tribunal. He lines up in the forwardline, while Ed Barlow is among a host of big names named on the extended bench. Under 18s goalkicker Tom Demamiel could also make his Premier League debut having impressed upon his promotion to Division 1. The Saints look like boasting some handy inclusions too, with Nick Yarran back among the starting lineup alongside Shannon Rioli. Spearhead Jackson Paine is still absent though and Shaun Edwards‘ name is not on the team sheet.

Waratah (5th, 4-4) vs. Wanderers (1st, 7-1)
Saturday November 28, 6:30pm
Gardens Oval

The round’s only top five clash takes place on Saturday night as Waratah hosts ladder leader, Wanderers at Gardens Oval. It has been largely smooth sailing for the Muk Muks after eight games, boasting a 7-1 record and soaring to first place last week. A loss to Nightcliff is the only blemish on their record. Waratah’s path has been much more up-and-down, but the Warriors bounced back from consecutive losses last week with a crucial win over Darwin to remain fifth.

Tahs look set to welcome back a couple of very handy players, with spearhead forward Michael Newton back among the fray for his second outing this season, while gun midfielder Abe Ankers returns after missing last week. Marlon Motlop is a big inclusion on Wanderers’ side, adding to a mix of players already in sparkling form on each line. Among them, Dane McFarlane is thriving in midfield, Brodie Newman continues to boss the defence, and Brett Eddy is leading the competition’s goalkicking charts with 34 majors in eight games.

Darwin Buffaloes (4th, 5-3) vs. Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-7)
Saturday November 28, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin will hope to recapture its early-season form when it faces Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. After accelerating to a 4-0 start, the Buffs have lost three of their last four matches but still boast a positive record at 5-3 overall. Their feats have been good enough to retain a top five place, something which seems a far cry from Palmerston’s efforts thus far. The Magpies gave Wanderers a scare last week and picked up a win over Tiwi in Round 2, but have since lost five-straight games. One of them came against Darwin in Round 3 to the tune of 44 points.

Palmerston should regain some firepower with Daniel Stafford, Nigel Lockyer Jnr, and Jonty Patrick all in contention to return and make up three spots in the front six. Darwin has some good stock around the mark too, with Michael Hagan and Jalen Clarke named on an extended bench alongside playing-coach, Cameron Stokes. In a blow to the Double Blues’ midfield, Jarrod Stokes has been suspended for striking and will spend a fortnight on the sidelines. This could prove a danger game for Darwin, or the perfect opportunity to bounce back emphatically.

Featured Image: Action from last week’s St Mary’s vs. Tiwi clash | Credit: Aaron Black/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 8

A HOTLY contested weekend of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action saw three games decided by four goals or less, as all eight top flight teams took to the field on Saturday. Southern Districts and Waratah were among the big winners with notable upsets over genuine finals contenders, while St Mary’s soared past Tiwi in easily the most one-sided game of the round. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 0.3 | 1.5 | 8.10 | 8.12 (60)
ST MARY’S | 5.3 | 9.5 | 17.7 | 21.13 (139)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Bryne 2, R. Tungatalum 2, A. Tipungwuti, J. Wilson, M. De Wit, T. Babui
St Mary’s: B. Tedcastle 4, J. Long 3, N. Paredes 3, J. Landt 2, S. Edwards 2, J. Calder 2, B. Grenfell 2, R. Smith, L. Raymond, A. Wilson

BEST:

Tiwi: M. De Wit, N. Scagliarini, F. Carroll, R. Tungatalum, J Monigatti
St Mary’s: D. Landt, J. Williams, B. Tedcastle, L. Taylor, J. Landt, A. Long

St Mary’s staved off a shootout with Tiwi to come away 79 point victors on Saturday afternoon, marking an authoritative start to the Round 8 action. The Saints stormed out to an even eight-goal lead at the main break before Tiwi made its move with seven goals during the third term. There was just one problem for the Bombers, or eight, as St Mary’s piled on as many majors in return to keep well ahead in the contest. It proved Tiwi’s final surge as the Bombers remained goalless in the final quarter, seeing St Mary’s run out 21.13 (139) to 8.12 (60) winners.

The Saints had little trouble kicking a winning score in the absence of Jackson Paine, with Beau Tedcastle (four goals) one of seven St Mary’s players to find the big sticks on more than one occasion. Nate Paredes was among that list and kicked a goal of the week contender, while Dylan Landt proved a key part of the win. Mason De Wit was again outstanding for Tiwi from defence, while gun forward Ross Tungatalum made a handful of himself through midfield alongside Nathan Scagliarini and Fletcher Carroll. The result sees Tiwi languish in last at 0-8, while St Mary’s jumps to third with its 5-3 record.

WANDERERS | 3.3 | 6.5 | 9.6 | 12.9 (81)
PALMERSTON | 3.3 | 6.4 | 9.6 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Bates 2, B. O’Connell, R. Fejo, J. Cubillo, T. Motlop, D. McFarlane
Palmerston: T. Kunoth 4, A. McAdam 2, J. Mentha, M. Dennis, S. Lampton, A. Davey

BEST:

Wanderers: D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson, A. Motlop, J. Cubillo, D. Thompson
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, A. Davey, M. Dennis, R. Armstrong, T. Kunoth, S. Jewell

Wanderers survived an almighty scare at the hands of Palmerston on Saturday evening to scrounge a 13-point win at TIO Stadium and move clear atop the Premier League standings. There was nothing to split the two sides come the first and third breaks, as Palmerston’s dash and dare continued to worry a defensive Wanderers outfit. After trailing by three goals in the third term, the Muk Muks drew back level and continued their momentum into the deciding quarter to earn the 12.9 (81) to 10.8 (68) victory, thanks largely to claiming six of the last seven goals.

Brett Eddy again topped the scoresheet with five majors for Wanderers, with Simon Bates the only other Eagle to snare multiple goals (two) – including the sealer. The likes of Dane McFarlane and Brydan Hodgson were again prominent in the Eagles’ seventh win along with Josh Cubillo. Toshie Kunoth did most of the damage for Palmerston with his bag of goals, but it was Eric Guthrie, Aaron Davey, and ruckman Matthew Dennis who inspired the Magpies’ effort from the engine room. Palmerston is no better placed with its 1-7 record, while Wanderers sits pretty in first place with opposite figures.

NIGHTCLIFF | 1.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 8.6 (54)
S. DISTRICTS | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.11 | 9.13 (67)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 3, L. Holt-Fitz, A. Jorgensen, S. Wilson, P. Wills, W. Wheeler
Districts: J. Tsitas 3, L. Kiel 2, J. Dahlhaus 2, J. Farrar, D. Staunton

BEST:

Nightcliff: A. Jorgensen, M. Rivett, W. Wheeler, C. Ilett, D. Bowles, P. Wills
Districts: L. McGregor, J. Tsitas, J. Dahlhaus, D. Robertson, J. Clark, J. Laba

Southern Districts claimed the scalp of the season so far with a 13-point road win over Nightcliff on Saturday night. The Crocs ensured to spoil their adversaries’ party under lights, with the reigning premiers celebrating their maiden game among the newly installed Nightcliff Oval luminance. It proved a scrappy, low-scoring affair from the outset but Districts proved the team in control to lead at every break. As good sides do, Nightcliff hit back when it mattered to move within striking distance, but the effort proved futile as Districts sealed the deal to win 9.13 (67) to 8.6 (54).

Against his old side, James Tsitas was impactful as ever with three important goals and plenty of disposals, while Luke Kiel was the one to steady his side at the death. Michael Bowden and Liam McGregor also played important roles in the win, which sees the Crocs move one step closer to the top five. Cam Ilett booted three majors for Nightcliff as the Tigers’ lone multiple goalkicker, with the likes of Mack Rivett, Daniel Bowles, and Willie Wheeler continuing their good stretch of form. Nightcliff now drops back to second, but remains every bit the premiership contender despite another slip-up.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 8.5 | 10.5 | 13.5 (83)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 2.4 | 7.5 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Waratah: R. Turnbull 3, J. Sutton 3, C. Arnold 2, M. Blake 2, C. Searle 2, T. Fields
Darwin: M. Lochowiak 3, J. Collinson 2, S. Ahmat 2, I. Palmer 2

BEST:

Waratah: Z. Westerberg, R. Turnbull, C. Searle, J. Sutton, T. Fields, B. Carroll
Darwin: J. Stokes, R. Pendlebury, T. Eldridge, M. Lochowiak

Waratah broke through to knock off top opposition on Saturday night, defeating Darwin by 13 points to see out the weekend’s action. After building a 37-point lead at the main break, Tahs were made to earn their keep in the second half as Darwin rallied to get the margin back to within a couple of goals. The Warriors were up to the task and notched a key victory, reading 13.5 (83) to 9.6 (60) on the final scoreboard. In a rare quirk, all bar one of the goalkickers found multiple majors as Waratah proved efficient inside attacking 50.

Robert Turnbull stood up for Waratah in the absence of Abe Ankers to boot three majors from midfield, aided well by Jake Sutton who matched the feat. Mihail Lochowiak also did so for Darwin and could have compounded his damage at crucial moments with more accurate conversion. Tahs ruckman Zach Westerberg again proved giant in the win, while the likes of Callum Searle and Tom Fields contributed strongly. Jarrod Stokes was adjudged Darwin’s best ahead of Lochowiak, Ryan Pendlebury, and Tim Eldridge. Waratah is now just a game adrift from Darwin on the ladder, as both sides take up top five spots.

Featured Image: Jesse Clark flies for Southern Districts | Credit: Glenn Campbell/NT News

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 7

WANDERERS are the new Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League ladder leader after seven rounds of action, having dismantled Darwin in a top-of-the-table clash. Reigning premier Nightcliff managed to keep touch with the soaring Eagles, while Southern Districts and St Mary’s snuck over the line in games decided by one and two goals respectively. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 4.1 | 5.4 | 9.7 | 11.7 (73)
TIWI BOMBERS | 3.1 | 5.5 | 6.6 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:

Districts: J. Tsitas 2, A. Boseley 2, M. Duffy 2, J. Bell 2, J. Farrar, D. Robertson, N. Rokahr
Tiwi: J. Tipuamantamirri 3, H. Puruntatameri 2, A. Wonaeamirri 2, A. Tipungwuti, A. Byrne, J. Simon

BEST:

Districts: J. Tsitas, J. Dahlhaus, N. Rokahr, L. McGregor, C. McAdam, J. Clark, M. Duffy
Tiwi: A. Hams, M. De Wit, F. Carroll, G. Turner, J. Tipuamantamirri

James Bell proved the hero for Southern Districts as his winning goal helped the Crocs defeat a dangerous Tiwi Bombers outfit by six points on Saturday afternoon. Districts had created a handy third term buffer which looked likely to see them home, but the Bombers hit back strongly to draw level with just a few minutes left on the clock. Up stepped Bell, whose all-important major score sealed the 11.7 (73) to 10.7 (67) victory. The result sees Southern Districts move up to fifth on the back of three wins in four weeks, while Tiwi remains without any premiership points after seven games.

For the victors, James Tsitas was again prominent with his ability to win the ball in all areas of the park, while Jay Dahlhaus‘ creativity in the forward half brought others into the game. Spearhead Andrew Boseley was another key figure in the result, finishing with two goals which came at ideal moments. Tiwi was not without its contributors either, as Ashton Hams lead the charge and Mason De Wit again proved rock-solid in defence. Harley Puruntatameri and Austin Wonaeamirri each notched multiple goals, behind Jerome Tipuamantamirri‘s game-high haul of three. St Mary’s looms as the Bombers’ next assignment, while Southern Districts will take on Nightcliff.

ST MARY’S | 1.1 | 3.3 | 5.6 | 9.13 (67)
WARATAH | 3.5 | 6.7 | 7.8 | 7.12 (54)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: S. Edwards 3, J. Paine, B. Grenfell, R. Smith, A. Wilson, B. Tedcastle, D. Walters
Waratah: B. Carroll 2, S. Godden, J. McGrath, J. Cattanach, M. Newton, S. Baulderstone

BEST:

St Mary’s: D. Landt, D. Andrews, L. Jellyman-Turner, J. Landt, K. Parnell, S. Edwards
Waratah: B. Carroll, D. Collis, A. Ankers, T. Graham, Z. Westerberg

A four-goal to one final term ensured St Mary’s ran over the top of Waratah at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening, seeing the Saints return to the winners list. Having trailed at every break, the victors’ fresher legs helped them take advantage of Waratah’s sub-standard conversion rate in front of goal, with multiple debutants breathing some life back into St Mary’s side. In the end, a Shaun Edwards goal put the Saints ahead and they held onto a 13-point win, totalling 9.13 (67) to Waratah’s 7.12 (54).

Edwards finished with a game-high three majors to be one of his side’s best afield, with Dylan Landt another to prove key to St Mary’s cause. Daly Andrews and Kieren Parnell, who are both fresh off stints in the SANFL, were also influential. For the Warriors, Brodie Carroll stood up when it mattered with a couple of clutch third term goals, though it proved too little in the end. Meanwhile, the likes of Abe Ankers and Robert Turnbull were solid performers alongside Carroll through midfield. While St Mary’s will fancy another win against Tiwi in Round 8, Waratah is set for another tough assignment when it takes on Darwin.

PALMERSTON | 0.1 | 2.6 | 2.8 | 4.10 (34)
NIGHTCLIFF | 3.5 | 9.7 | 12.10 | 19.15 (129)

GOALS:

Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr 2, R. Armstrong, R. Warfe
Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz 5, K. Emery 4, A. Jorgensen 2, R. Mu 2, W. Wheeler, C. Ilett, D. Bowles, T. Melville, M. McGregor, J. Peris

BEST:

Palmerston: M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, E. Guthrie, C. Williams, J. Mentha, K. Annand
Nightcliff: M. Rivett, R. Mu, K. Emery, D. Brew, D. Bowles, L. Goonan

Nightcliff’s statements of intent continued in the form of a 95-point thumping of Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The fixture served as the 2020 Warren Berto Memorial Game, played in honour of one of the Northern Territory’s finest footballers who was tragically killed in March last year. It was a game controlled by Nightcliff from the outset, with Palmerston made to wait until 15 minutes into the second term for its first goal. By then, the Magpies were already well behind. A 44-point half time margin was more than doubled by the final siren, as Nightcliff took out the 19.15 (129) to 4.10 (34) result.

Nightcliff’s Mack Rivett and Palmerston’s Matthew Dennis won best afield medals for their respective sides, both continuing their outstanding individual form. The likes of Dom Brew and Daniel Bowles were again at the forefront for Nightcliff, while Liam Holt-Fitz (five goals), Kyle Emery (four), and Ryan Mu (two) were among those to run riot forward of centre. Nigel Lockyer Jnr ended as Palmerston’s lone multiple goalkicker, accounting for half of his side’s four majors. The Magpies face a tough ask in bouncing back next time out against Wanderers, while Southern Districts presents as Nightcliff’s next task.

WANDERERS | 4.1 | 7.3 | 12.4 | 14.5 (89)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Tipiloura 2, D. Thompson, B. Hodgson, B. O’Connell, E. Simpson, J. Cubillo, D. McFarlane, J. Cubillo
Darwin: J. Stokes 2, I. Palmer, D. Gordon, D. Matricardi

BEST:

Wanderers: R. Fejo, B. Newman, B. Hodgson, W. Williams, B. Eddy
Darwin: R. Pendlebury, B. Stokes, C. Atkinson, J. Stokes, S. Ah Mat

Wanderers took out the Nungalinya Cup and notched its fourth-consecutive win in one fell swoop, defeating Darwin by 50 points in a one-sided top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night. The Eagles came out firing at TIO Stadium with four goals to Darwin’s nil in the opening term, setting up a game-defining lead. It was only extended from that point, getting out to 58 points at the final break before the Buffs scrounged a better fourth quarter in the 14.5 (89) to 5.9 (39) result.

The bed of Wanderers’ solidity was formed by the likes of Brodie Newman and Warwick Williams in defence, while Brett Eddy (five goals) benefitted from the tireless outside run of Ronald Fejo and midfield acumen of Dane McFarlane. On the other side of the coin, Ryan Pendlebury proved the Double Blues’ best on a disappointing night, while Jarrod Stokes finished with two classy goals and Ishmael Palmer booted his side’s first early in the second term. Darwin will look to rebound against Waratah next time out, while Wanderers will look to continue its winning run against the lowly Palmerston.

Featured Image: Wanderers’ Beau O’Connell and Simon Bates celebrate a goal | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 6

A HEATWAVE is set to hit the Top End this weekend, not that the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League needed any more heat heading into Round 6. Two important top five clashes at TIO Stadium headline what is set to be another super Saturday of football, while Tiwi and Palmerston play host at separate venues. The Magpies lock horns with Southern Districts, as the two sides look to keep touch with the early breakaway finals contenders. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-5) vs. Wanderers (2nd, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 3:00pm
Gardens Oval

Wanderers’ claim for top five honours continues as the Eagles take on Tiwi at Gardens Oval on Saturday afternoon. With a 4-1 record and two wins on the trot, the Muk Muks have been one of the early success stories this season, a far cry from the fate of Tiwi thus far. After a soaring end to their last campaign, the Bombers sit last at 0-5 and remain the only winless side left in the competition. Big names are arriving to aid the turnaround, and Tiwi managed to keep a losing margin under 50 points for the first time in 2020/21, last week.

The likes of Ashton Hams, Adam Tipungwuti, and Jack Monigatti have strengthened the struggling Bombers’ lineup of late, and former Port Adelaide livewire Jake Neade looks like being the latest inclusion of note. Adam Sambono has also been named in the extended squad, potentially adding some much-needed attacking flair. Wanderers seems a much steadier unit, but still has plenty of class to call upon. Beau O’Connell is waiting in the wings for a return, as are Braedon McLean and Brayden Culhane. The latter two would only add to the strong Eagles bookends, especially with the wombo combo of Simon Bates and Brett Eddy up forward.

Waratah (4th, 3-2) vs. Nightcliff (3rd, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

The first game in a top five TIO Stadium double-header sees Waratah take on Nightcliff on Saturday evening, with the two clubs meeting for the second time this season. The Tigers snuck home by 13 points in Round 2 and despite a hiccup against Darwin, look to have regained their usual might as reigning premiers. Waratah has shown plenty of promise and improvement, going down only to two of the top three sides, obviously including Nightcliff. This clash will prove a big test for the Warriors as they look to make the next step from being a finals hope, to a true finals contender.

The Tahs’ improved level of consistency thus far has arrived on the back of top form from the likes of Abe Ankers, Nick Gooch, and Brodie Carroll, while boom VFL recruit Callum Searle has added another dimension to the side. A fresh face in Thomas Graham looks set to enter the senior fold too, coming off some impressive Division 1 and SANFL Reserves form. Daniel Mott and William Wallace remain in Nightcliff’s side after their debuts last week, while core midfielders like Dom Brew, Phillip Wills, and Brodie Filo are all hitting their stride. Kaine Riley could also be in for a return, named in the extended Tigers squad.

Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-4) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 1-4)
Saturday November 7, 7:00pm
Cazalys Arena

Cazalys Arena hosts what is set to prove a crucial clash for both Palmerston and Southern Districts on Saturday night, with both sides clinging onto hope of keeping touch with the top five. At one win and four losses apiece, the two teams have already fallen behind in the finals race but would foster fresh hope of enacting a turnaround – starting with a win here. Palmerston’s sole set of points was earned against bottom side, Tiwi and the Magpies have hardly looked like harnessing the same form despite patches of promise. The Crocs looked to have turned the corner of late despite their record, which consists of losses to Wanderers (twice) and Darwin.

Palmerston’s follower trio of Matthew Dennis, Chris Williams, and Eric Guthrie has proven arguably the most reliable facet of its overall squad, while others have popped up in exciting spurts. A lot of scoring responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Daniel Stafford, especially with wildcard swingman Nigel Lockyer Jnr missing from the side this week. Exciting small, Jonty Patrick should provide some ground level assistance, named for his first senior outing this season. The Crocs look a potent side, with much of their recent attack generated by midfield maestros James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr. Up forward, Andrew Boseley has proven the spearhead, with Luke Kiel and Jay Dahlhaus also impactful inside 50. Combined, they should prove too much for the Magpies.

St Mary’s (5th, 3-2) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (1st, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

The second high-stakes top five clash at TIO Stadium sees St Mary’s take on Darwin, making for an exciting finish to the weekend’s action. After a lacklustre opening fortnight, the Saints have pulled off a full 180 to claim fifth spot at 3-2, riding high on the back of a three-game winning run. Darwin has been somewhat of a surprise packet this season, bolting to a 4-0 start before going down to Nightcliff last time out. The Buffs still hold on to top spot and need a win to stay there with the chasing pack breathing down their neck.

Jackson Paine looms as the Saints’ dangerman having booted 19 goals in his last three outings. It means one of Dylan Gordon or Ryan Pendlebury will likely get the all-important lockdown job, with young Beau Tedcastle a small option the Buffs will also have to cover. But Darwin will fancy its own firepower, with Brodie Foster spearheading the attack and joined on the full forward line by Joey Collinson and Ishmael Palmer. The midfield battle between St Mary’s Nate Paredes and Darwin’s Jarrod Stokes also looms as a must-watch, with both men in sensational form after five weeks.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 5 Nightcliff vs. Darwin clash | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media