Tag: Allen Christensen

State Leagues wrap: Jeffrey slots nine as leagues limited by lockdowns

JUST three states had unimpeded state league competitions over the weekend with the Tasmanian State League (TSL), West Australian Football League (WAFL) and Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) take place, with a trio of Victorian Football League (VFL) matches in Queensland. We recap the results over the weekend.

Tasmania (TSL):

Lauderdale caused an upset on Saturday, defeating the fourth-placed Tigers by a narrow two-point margin. The Bombers led at every break, taking a 15-point advantage heading into the final term, before a fourth quarter fightback from the Tigers saw them kick four straight goals and take the lead. Consecutive goals to Edward Stanley and Samuel Siggins meant the Bombers snuck home in a thrilling contest.

Ex-Brisbane and Geelong player Allen Christensen booted three goals for Lauderdale, while Luke Graham also kicked three majors for the away side. Siggins’ final quarter goal added to his strong performance, while Lachlan Gadomski was excellent for the Tigers.

The win for the Bombers sees them jump Glenorchy into fifth spot after the Magpies conceded a 10-point three quarter time lead to go down to the rampant Roos who booted five last quarter goals to none to win by 25 points.

Meanwhile in North Hobart, visitors North Launceston were victorious by 36 points. The Northern Bombers were led by Brandon Leary who added five goals to his season tally.

Western Australia (WAFL):

A thrilling final quarter made bottom three clash between East Perth and West Coast the game of the round with the Eagles just hanging on to win by two points. Led by captain Hamish Brayshaw (27 disposals, one goal) and AFL listed players Jackson Nelson (32 disposals, nine tackles), Alex Witherden (25 disposals), Luke Foley (25 disposals), and big man Nathan Vardy (three goals, 31 hit outs) the Eagles just managed to hold off the fast-finishing Royals who kicked 5.6 to 0.0 in the final quarter. Angus Scott (33 disposals) and Matthew Young (three goals) both had an impact for the home side.

West Perth made it six wins on the trot after defeating Peel 12.10.82 to 8.10.58. League leading goal-kicker Tyler Keitel added another seven goals to his name, while Shane Nelson (34 disposals) and Aaron Black (32 disposals) continued to find the footy. Taylin Duman (32 disposals, 13 marks) and Blake Acres (27 disposals) will be hoping for a recall to Fremantle’s senior team, while Benjamin Hancock (30 disposals) also played well.

Top two sides Subiaco and Claremont were both victorious on the weekend defeating South Fremantle and East Fremantle respectively. Leigh Kitchin (33 disposals) and Gregory Clark (32 disposals) led the way for Subiaco, while Callan England and Jake Patmore both booted four goals for Claremont. Swan Districts, led by Samuel Fisher collecting 37 touches, maintained their place in fifth after a 24-point win over Perth.

New South Wales/Queensland/Victoria (VFL):

With New South Wales and Victoria still in lockdown, only three VFL games took place this weekend, all in Queensland. The third last Bombers, who are temporarily located in Queensland took on Southport, and with just 10 AFL-listed players available, the rest of the team was literally made up of ‘ring ins’. Richmond premiership player Alex Rance and ex-Saint Paddy McCartin both featured for the makeshift Bombers team who took it right up to top-two hope Southport, leading at every break before Tom Fields kicked a match-winning snap with just a couple of minutes remaining to secure the four points for the Sharks. Jacob Dawson (34 disposals) led the way for the Sharks along with Fields (two goals, 22 touches) and Mackenzie Willis (28 disposals, 15 marks). For the Bombers, McCartin booted three goals playing forward as opposed to his usual spot in defence for the Swans VFL team. Dylan Clarke had 31 touches, while Rance was an important inclusion in defence.

The Giants defeated the Lions by 27 points on the Gold Coast to help their chances of maintaining a top eight spot. Like the Bombers, the Giants had limited players available. The Giants had 13 players and borrowed nine others from crosstown rival Sydney. AFL omissions Jeremy Finlayson (three goals, 22 disposals) and Zach Sproule (two goals, 27 disposals) both responded in a big way, while Swan Ryan Clarke (38 disposals) had the most touches on the day with teammate Dylan Stephens (26 disposals) also impactful. AFL-listed Lions Tom Joyce (29 disposals), Rhys Mathieson (29 disposals) and Brock Smith (27 disposals) each had plenty of the footy, and Nakia Cockatoo booted two goals as he edges closer to a debut game with the Lions in the AFL.

Meanwhile, the Suns were big winners against Apsley. Joel Jeffrey was dominant in attack kicking nine goals straight in the 78-point victory. Matthew Payne had 35 touches for the Hornets, while Malcolm Rosas had 30 touches for the Suns. Darcy MacPherson put his forward pressure on display with a couple of goals to go along with 26 touches and 12 tackles.

Queensland (QAFL):

Labrador moved into top spot on the ladder after an 18-point win over Mt Gravatt. Charles Ford had four goals on the day, while Tom Simpson was among the best for the Tigers. For the Vultures, Jonah Licht and Benji Neal each had three majors. Surfers Paradise defeated Maroochydore to move into fourth spot following an epic comeback victory. Trailing by 18 points at three quarter time the Demons blew the Roos away in the final term with a six goal to nothing last quarter. Matthew Green led the way for the Demons with three goals in the last quarter to set up the 17-point win.

In other results, John Baker (five goals) and Thomas Baulch (four goals) both cashed in on a 71-point win by the Sherwood Districts over Morningside, and second last Wilston Grange defeated the winless Noosa by 14 points. Palm Beach Currumbin, Broadbeach, and Redland-Victoria Point all had a bye in Round 17.

Picture credit: RF Photography / AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: COVID chaos and big boilovers

WHILE Victoria has descended into COVID chaos once more, state leagues rolled on in South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia with a bunch of intriguing results produced. While it was largely business as usual in the SANFL, there was a major boilover in the TSL, while the WAFL top five is firming as three teams continue to battle for top spot. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

South Australia (SANFL):

While Round 16 proceedings are currently under a COVID cloud, Round 15 went ahead without a hitch in the SANFL. There were two clashes between top five teams this past weekend, as ladder position counted for plenty with every higher-ranked side picking up full points across the five-game round.

At the top of the tree, Glenelg extended its perfect run to 14 games with an 18-point win over South Adelaide, who have now in lost three of their last four outings. A three-goal to nil opening term proved the difference, as the Bays put away another finals candidate. Matthew Snook (29 disposals, one goal), Luke Partington (26 and one), and Chris Curran (24 and one) were all prominent in yellow and black, while Bryce Gibbs managed 27 touches, 14 tackles and a goal in his 50th League match, fittingly against his old side.

Saturday’s other top five clash saw reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens power past Norwood, winning by 36 points on the back of a second half surge. The Eagles piled on nine of the last 10 goals after trailing at the main break, flexing their muscle forward of centre. James Tsitas and Mitch Grigg led the disposal count for either side with 29 touches apiece, while Tyson Stengle‘s two goals at the end of term three helped the Eagles push ahead.

Port Adelaide and Sturt remain in the hunt for finals after respective wins against the bottom two sides, though both came by a mere 13 points. The Magpies did enough to get past a plucky West Adelaide on Sunday, remaining one game out of the top five, while the Double Blues bettered Central District in a low-scoring slog to sit two games off the pace. North Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, downing Adelaide by 54 points to strengthen its standing in third.

Tasmania (TSL):

Clarence has shaken up the TSL top four frame, defeating North Launceston by two points in a major boilover. The Roos led by a single point at half time and after extending the margin to eight come the final break, were made to reclaim the ascendancy via Colin Garland‘s boot at the death.

The result sees Clarence close to within a game of its weekend rival, as the Northern Bombers suffer rare consecutive losses in what was meant to be a celebration for player-coach Brad Cox-Goodyer‘s 200th game.

Brandon Leary booted four goals for the victors in a losing effort for the Northern Bombers, while Garland finished with three and James Holmes was named best afield.

Meanwhile, league leader Launceston escaped a similar scare against Tigers, snaring three goals to nil in the final term to sneak home by 13 points. The Blues trailed at every break after the hosts got the jump, but clawed their way back and pounced at the ideal time.

Fletcher Seymour and Cody Thorp (two goals) were among the victors’ best, while Luke Graham booted a game-high three majors for Tigers as Zach Adams claimed full votes.

In the weekend’s sole non-top four clash, Lauderdale powered past Glenorchy on the back of a 13-goal second half, saluting to the tune of 81 points. Leading a brigade of nine individual goalkickers for the Bombers was Edward Stanley (five), while Tyler Martin (four) and Allen Christensen (three) compounded their side’s scoreboard dominance.

Western Australia (WAFL):

East Perth inflicted the sole ladder change after Round 15 of the WAFL League season, jumping Perth in eight after its nine-point road win over the Demons. Former Carlton-listed pair Rohan Kerr (41 disposals, 10 marks) and Angus Schumacher (33 disposals, two goals) were prominent for the Royals, who held off Perth’s final term surge after leading by an even five goals at three quarter time.

A three-way tie for points from first to third remains after Claremont, Subiaco, and South Fremantle all claimed their ninth wins for the season. Subiaco still leads the way on percentage having defeated West Coast by 20 points, with 10 of the Lions 12 goals coming at one end of Leederville Oval.

Claremont isn’t far behind after downing Peel Thunder by nine points on Sunday, while South Fremantle’s 36-point win over Swan Districts proved a definitive result between finals contenders. Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Jesse Motlop debut for the Bulldogs, booting two goals from 13 touches.

West Perth came away as the round’s other winner after scraping past East Fremantle by five points, overcoming a half time deficit and near-costly inaccuracy to remain clean in fourth. The Falcons were served typically well by Aaron Black (38 disposals, nine marks), as Tyler Keitel and Lachlan Bailey booted four goals for their respective sides.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Victoria’s recently-extended five-day lockdown saw Round 14 of the VFL scrapped, with the competition currently running on a week-by-week scheduling basis. Victorian teams which travelled to Queensland also had their official fixtures cancelled, though Essendon and North Melbourne combined their reserves to face Brisbane in a scratch match on Saturday. Returning Roos tall Charlie Comben impressed with four goals in that hit-out.

The VFL Women’s finals series has also been impacted, but the VFL says it remains committed to awarding a premier with just the preliminary and grand finals left to play.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton via SANFL

State League Preview: The show goes on

DESPITE the VFL being cancelled this weekend due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak seeing Victoria head into lockdown for the near future, the remaining state leagues will go ahead with business as usual as another huge round of action is set.

SANFL:

This weekend’s SANFL action kicks off with an enticing clash as Norwood travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to take on the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Norwood will be confident heading into this clash, having won one more game than their opponents, but the Eagles will have the home ground advantage, and are fresh off a 100-point belting of West Adelaide last week. The Eagles are yet to confirm any changes, with the side likely to enter the clash with just the one change as Troy Menzel will miss with a wrist injury, and don’t be surprised if Norwood enter the match unchanged.

Moving to Flinders University Stadium, the Central District Bulldogs will be looking to cause an upset as they take on the South Adelaide Panthers on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have won just two games for the year but are riding a wave of confidence following last round’s 10-point win over Sturt. The Panthers will prove a tough task, as they enter the clash heavy favourites thanks to their spot in second-place on the ladder. The Bulldogs will include Thomas Graham into a forward pocket as they attempt to boost their scoring output.

Over at Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide are gearing up for their clash with West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon in a match that has significant ramifications for both sides. West Adelaide’s hunt for the finals is slowly slipping away on a weekly basis, with the side winning only two games for the year. A win here would put them only one victory away from entering the top five. Port Adelaide currently sit at the bottom of the top five, and a loss would close the gap for those below them quite substantially. The inclusion of Jono Beech for West Adelaide will only increase the chances of an upset here.

Glenelg will attempt to keep their remarkable undefeated streak going, as they prepare to take on the Adelaide Crows at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Given Glenelg are yet to lose a game, they will enter the match heavily favoured over the Crows, who have won just one game so far this season. However, teams rarely remain undefeated for this long, so the Crows may just be smelling an upset here. Glenelg’s loss of Lachie Hosie to a hamstring injury will only compound this. Keep an eye on this one.

The final match of the round sees the Sturt Sabres travel to Prospect Oval to take on the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon. Both sides currently sit with a 2-5 record after seven rounds, and a win here for either team will be crucial in the race for the finals. Both sides suffered a loss of 11 points or less last round, so redemption will play a big factor here. It is just a matter of which side will rise to the occasion and which side will crumble.

WAFL:
The WAFL action for Round 8 starts over at Leederville Oval as the Peel Thunder will attempt to upset Subiaco when the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco are one of the form sides of the competition having only lost one match, while the Peel Thunder have been solid but not spectacular so far with three wins and three losses. Subiaco are expected to win here, but Peel Thunder will throw everything they have at this side. Subiaco will regain Brandon Matera to add some experience to their forward line.

Two teams in the middle of contrasting seasons will face off, as East Perth travel to Revo Fitness Stadium to take on Claremont on Saturday afternoon. Claremont currently sit on top of the ladder with a 5-1 record after their first six games while East Perth have won just the one solitary game so far this season. Claremont are heavy favourites heading into the clash, but there are no certainties in football. Both sides are yet to confirm their changes.

West Coast’s struggles are likely to continue as they take on South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. West Coast had their best opportunity to claim their first win of the season last round and couldn’t capitalise, and they face an even tougher opponent this weekend, with South Fremantle looking to use this as an opportunity to climb up the ladder. To make matters worse, South Fremantle will regain on baller Jared Doney to boost their midfield stocks.

Steel Blue Oval will be home to a crucial clash as the Swan Districts will host East Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. Only percentage separates the two sides with East Fremantle narrowly in front by four percent, good enough to see them in the top five. The winner of this clash will move into the top half of the ladder, so the stakes are certainly high for both sides. Keep an eye on Swan Districts on baller Samuel Fisher, who has been in fantastic form of late.

The final clash of Round 8 will see West Perth head over to Provident Financial Oval to take on West Perth on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit outside the top five only by percentage, having both recorded three wins and three losses for the season so far. With plenty of teams currently holding a similar record, expect both sides to enter this clash with plenty of passion and determination. West Perth have included Jason Salecic into their squad while Simon Hayward will return for Perth.

QAFL

QAFL action returns for a ninth round of football, starting at Rococo Oval, where Noosa will host Broadbeach on Saturday afternoon. This is shaping up as a one-sided affair, with Broadbeach undefeated from their six games, having established themselves as a competition powerhouse. Noosa’s season is almost a polar opposite. The side is yet to register a win for the 2021 season, and look fairly off the mark. A boilover here would send shockwaves through the league, but if Jordan Moncrieff can get off the chain for Broadbeach again, it will be game over.

Over at Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador are preparing for their clash with Wilston Grange on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have won just the one game for the season, and are currently in the middle of a five game losing streak. They are desperate for a win, and they will be fighting tooth and nail for an upset on Saturday, but Labrador will be a tough egg to crack. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley will be leading the troops from the midfield, so Wilston Grange will need to keep a close eye on him at stoppages.

In arguably the most exciting match-up of the round, Maroochydore will travel to Jack Esplen Oval to take on Morningside on Saturday afternoon. The two sides occupy the second and third spots on the ladder, only separated by percentage (although Maroochydore has played and lost one more match so far). With Broadbeach undefeated so far this season, these two sides will need as many wins as they can if they are any hope of snatching top spot on the ladder should Broadbeach slip up. Mitchell Scholard has booted 14 goals in the past three matches and is named to line up on a half-forward flank for Maroochydore, so keep an eye out for him.

Next up for the QAFL action, Palm Beach Currumbin will play host to Sherwood Districts at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these two sides, and a loss here for Palm Beach Currumbin would see them lose a grip on the top half of the ladder. Sherwood Districts will be looking for a rise up the ladder to join the top five. Palm Beach Currumbin midfielder Corey Joyce has enjoyed a stellar start to his 2021 campaign so expect him in the thick of it on Saturday afternoon.

The final QAFL match of the round will see Mt Gravatt head over to Sir Bruce Small Park to take on Surfers Paradise on Saturday afternoon. The sides are just one victory apart, so there is plenty to play for here for both sides. Mt Gravatt dominated Noosa last week, with their victory nearing the triple digit mark, while Surfers Paradise got the job done against Redland-Victoria Point last round. With both sides coming off a win, there will be plenty of confidence around the change rooms, it’s just a matter of who can back it up on the field.

Tasmania:

The TSL will hold their ninth round of football this weekend, and it all kicks off at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon, as Clarence host Glenorchy. Clarence are well-known to perform better on their home deck, so Glenorchy face an uphill battle in this clash.  Clarence skipper Jeromey Webberley returned to the lineup last week, and was excellent off half-back, so don’t be surprised if he cops some attention from the opposition, as they try to slow down the ball movement of their opponents.

Moving to Lauderdale Oval, Lauderdale will be hosting the Tigers in an interesting match-up on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale have still only won the one game, but certainly look a better side when skipper Allen Christensen is in the side. This was displayed when they gave Launceston their biggest challenge of the year to that point, and looked certainly capable of beating anyone. This will be put to the test on Saturday as they take on the Tigers, a side that is chugging along nicely, and have a list full of guns such as Elijah Reardon.

The final game of the round looks to be fairly one-sided, as North Launceston head to North Hobart Oval to take on the Demons on Saturday afternoon. North Launceston did the – previously – impossible and defeated cross-town rivals Launceston last Friday night, a result which stunned the league, given Launceston’s start to the season. The Bombers played unbelievable footy, and got themselves a win that could be the key moment in a premiership quest. The Demons will face a tough challenge stopping them, having claimed only one triumph themselves this year. They will need to put some work into nullifying the effect of North Launceston midfielder Jay Foon who was best on ground last weekend.

Picture credit: Solstice.Digital and Photography

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture credit: Celina Whan – AFLNT Media

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

THE RACE for the final top five spot is set to heat up again in Round 11 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, as Waratah and Darwin look to take out premiership contenders and fend off a chasing Southern Districts. Meanwhile, Wanderers will look to boost its percentage against the winless Tiwi Bombers as it battles for top spot, opening a TIO Stadium double-header on Saturday. That, and more in our weekend preview.

Wanderers (2nd, 7-2-1) vs. Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-10)
Saturday December 12, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers and Tiwi open the Round 11 proceedings at league headquarters on Saturday afternoon, serving as the first fixture in a TIO Stadium double-header. The Muk Muks are fresh off a frustrating draw against fellow frontrunners Nightcliff, with only percentage separating them from the Tigers at this point. Against the 0-10 Tiwi Bombers, a chance to bridge that gap presents, though the bottom side is getting closer and closer to registering points in 2020/21. The Bombers look like going in without Allen Christensen and Ross Tungatalum though, two players who could have proven game-winners. Without them, Tiwi’s run-and-gun style will do well to breach a Wanderers defence consisting of young gun Brodie Newman, Braedon McLean, and Warwick Williams, while competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy lurks up the other end. A midfield battle between Tiwi’s Fletcher Carroll and gun Eagle Dane McFarlane also looms, with both players among the best Premier League performers thus far.

Southern Districts (6th, 4-6) vs. Palmerston Magpies (7th, 2-8)
Saturday December 12, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will be out to keep in touch with the top five when it locks horns with Palmerston at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday. The Crocs went down in disappointing fashion last week, while their weekend opponents made it two from two against Tiwi and registered a rare win for season 2020/21. Sitting sixth and seventh respectively, time is running out for either side to make something of their current campaigns. Having unfortunately been overlooked at the AFL Draft, Brodie Lake has been named in Districts’ extended squad alongside young forward Tom Demamiel. Lake should provide some good versatility and depth to the lineup, while Demamiel might help steer the Crocs’ forwardline back to some scoring form after managing just four majors last week. Alwyn Davey features among Palmerston’s side, with Chris Williams another big name set to return for the Magpies through midfield.

St Mary’s (3rd, 7-3) vs. Waratah (4th, 6-4)
Saturday December 12, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

A clash with heavy finals ramifications is set to go down at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening as St Mary’s and Darwin lock horns in what looks likely to be game of the round. Both sides are riding win streaks which see them edging into the premiership race; with the Saints’ four-game run beginning with a win over Waratah in Round 7, while the Warriors have recently taken out Wanderers and Darwin en route to fourth spot. Raphael Clarke returns to the St Mary’s fold as fellow leader Shannon Rioli goes the other way, but the Saints lineup has looked well settled in recent weeks. Waratah’s balanced side was bolstered by new signing Darcy Lang last week, and backman Lynden Dunn is said to be another former-AFL inclusion this time around as Tahs look to prove their credentials as a serious contender at the top.

Nightcliff (1st, 7-2-1) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (5th, 6-4)
Saturday December 12, 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Both Nightcliff and Darwin will be looking to make a swift return to the winners list when they do battle at Nightcliff Oval to see out Round 11 on Saturday night. The Tigers have gone 1-1-1 in their last three outings but remain top of the pile in their premiership defence. After a fast start, Darwin’s early streak was brought to a halt by Nightcliff in Round 5 and more recently, the Buffs have lost three of their last four matches. Dylan Gordon looms as a handy addition for Darwin with young guns Isaac Seden-Kurnoth and Antonio James also in the mix for a return. Tom Boyd has been named in Nightcliff’s squad as Danny Butcher again looks to break the grade, pointing towards great squad depth. Veteran Cam Ilett has been in good goalkicking form of late, not to mention Kyle Emery, who has booted 33 majors this season. He should have an entertaining shootout with Double Blues spearhead Brodie Foster, who lays claim to 27 majors thus far.

Featured Image: Wanderers’ Beau O’Connell in action against Tiwi | Credit: Justin Kennedy/NT News

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

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 7

ROUND 7 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League is headlined by a top-of-the-table clash between Darwin and Wanderers, two of the three sides tied with 5-1 records. The high-stakes bout will close the show on Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, with the weekend’s only standalone game poising Palmerston against Nightcliff at Cazalys Arena. Find out which players are poised to make all the difference, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-6) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 2-4)
Saturday November 14, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi’s search for a maiden win in season 2020/21 returns to TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon, when the Bombers meet a Southern Districts side on the up. Both teams are showing signs of improvement after lacklustre early-season form, though the Crocs are a little further along having already notched a couple of wins. Two of those have come in their last three outings, including a 58-point drubbing of the Bombers in Round 4. That was one of Tiwi’s four losses of over 50 points in the first month of the season, though a bunch of big name recruits and returnees have seen the Bombers cut those margins over the last fortnight.

Former Geelong and Brisbane midfielder Allen Christensen remains in the Tiwi lineup after booting three goals on debut, set to line up in midfield alongside the in-form Fletcher Carroll. With Ashton Hams also in the side, the Bombers should have plenty of firepower in that department. The likes of Adam Tipungwuti and Adam Sambono should also aid their forward drive in the absence of Harley Puruntatameri. Southern Districts’ one-two punch of James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr has worked wonders its engine room, with Andrew Boseley spearheading a potent attack. Meanwhile, Oakleigh Chargers graduate Lachlan Bugeja has been named in the side, joining fellow NAB Leaguers Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus as the Crocs push for top five status.

St Mary’s (5th, 3-3) vs. Waratah (4th, 3-3)
Saturday November 14, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

An important top five clash takes place at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening as St Mary’s does battle with Waratah. The Saints looked to be turning their season around with three-consecutive wins, before they ran into Darwin last week and fell back to an even keel. Waratah boasts the same 3-3 record but sits a place higher that St Mary’s in fourth, having only narrowly gone down to premiership fancies Darwin and Nightcliff (twice). The Warriors’ win-loss trend sees them due for a win this time out, with a return to the winners list and the chance to keep touch with the top three up for grabs. It is the first time these two teams will meet this season, with plenty to play for either way.

Some handy inclusions look likely to spruce up both lineups, starting with Daly Andrews for St Mary’s. The 20-year-old Victorian is fresh off a fantastic season with South Adelaide at senior SANFL level and will slot straight into midfield alongside Nate Paredes. After managing just one goal last week, spearhead Jackson Paine will also be out to do some damage, while the likes of Jackson Calder and Nick Yarran may have to earn their way back into the side. Waratah will be buoyed by the return of Michael Newton up forward, set to form a formidable partnership with Jae McGrath. His inclusion sees Thomas Graham swing down back, adding to Waratah’s tall stocks across the ground. Tah’s midfield depth should also match up well against the Saints, making for a tight contest overall.

Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-5) vs. Nightcliff (3rd, 5-1)
Saturday November 14, 7:00pm
Cazalys Arena

Nightcliff will look to string together three-consecutive wins for the second time this year when it travels to face Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The fixture looms as Palmerston’s third home game in four weeks, though that factor has hardly proven advantageous of late given the Magpies have not won since Round 2 – against the winless Tiwi Bombers. Currently seventh at 1-5, the Magpies are running out of time to keep with the finals contenders, despite showing glimpses of form. It has largely been business as usual for the Tigers, boasting an equal-best 5-1 record having only slipped up against St Mary’s in Round 4. The reigning premiers will fancy their chances of keeping the heat on their main premiership rivals.

As if it needed any more firepower, Nightcliff’s forwardline is set for a boost with the inclusion of Liam Holt-Fitz, who is set to join Trent Melville and Kyle Emery in a dynamic front six. Cam Ilett also comes straight back into the lineup and will rotate through there, while Dom Brew looks to continue his dominance of the midfield. Palmerston will be buoyed by the return of Nigel Lockyer Jnr, with the enigmatic swingman likely to aid Daniel Stafford in attack. The midfield battle should be a good one, with Palmerston’s trio of Chris Williams, Eric Guthrie, and ruckman Matthew Dennis set to be tasked with plenty against Nightcliff’s formidable outfit. A good news story could also be the return of Jayden Kickett, who takes his place in Nightcliff’s extended squad, pending final selection.

Wanderers (2nd, 5-1) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (1st, 5-1)
Saturday November 14, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Arguably the best Round 7 fixture will be left for last when Darwin and Wanderers lock horns in a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash. The game rounds out Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, forming the perfect end to a super day of Premier League action. The Buffs have lead the competition most of the way thus far, going down only to Nightcliff as Wanderers remains the only side they are yet to compete against. The Muk Muks have been fit and firing in 2020/21, with their only loss also coming at the hands of Nightcliff and three-consecutive wins putting them in ideal form of late. With only percentage separating the two sides, this game looms as a crucial factor in the overall minor premiership race.

Matt Campbell is set to bring some experience back to Darwin’s lineup, looking to continue his great scoring form this season as he slots in at half-forward. He joins the likes of Brodie Foster and Ishmael Palmer in the front six, while Sturt recruit Mihail Lochowiak comes into the side up the other end. Meanwhile, star midfielder Jalen Clarke has been named on an extended bench. Braedon McLean is a very handy inclusion for Wanderers, set to feature at half-back alongside recent Rising Star nominee Brodie Newman. There is plenty of firepower up forward too, with leading goalkicker Brett Eddy combining well with Simon Bates, and Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell of late.

Featured Image: Darwin players celebrate during their Round 6 win | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw three sides continue to pull away atop the competition ladder, while Southern Districts was the only side outside the top three to secure a win, continuing its early-season turnaround. Darwin remains the frontrunner after a statement victory over St Mary’s, but the Buffs have fellow weekend winners Wanderers and Nightcliff hot on their heels. All that, and more in our Round 6 wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 3.3 | 6.5 | 8.10 | 13.10 (88)
WANDERERS | 5.1 | 7.4 | 10.6 | 19.6 (120)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Sambono 3, A. Christensen 3, N. Hooker 2, A. Tipungwuti 2, D. Munkara, J. Munkara, J. Neade
Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, B. O’Connell 4, S. Bates 2, S. Thorne 2, S. Tipiloura 2, J. Priest, R. Fejo, D. McFarlane, J. Cubillo

BEST:

Tiwi: F. Carroll, M. De Wit, J. Wilson, J. Neade, A. Tipungwuti
Wanderers: B. O’Connell, M. Motlop, D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson

A nine-goal final term ensured Wanderers would pull away from an improving Tiwi Bombers outfit, kicking out to a 32-point victory at Gardens Oval on Saturday. The Eagles booted seven of the last eight goals to seal the premiership points, with their fitness shining through after Tiwi made a promising start to proceedings and remained within touching distance throughout. It proved a bridge too far in the end, as Wanderers remain equal-top with the 19.6 (120) to 13.10 (88) result, while Tiwi is winless in bottom spot.

Brett Eddy moved to the top of the Premier League goalkicking charts with another big haul, this time sinking five majors in a terrific performance. But he was beaten out to best afield honours by reigning Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell, who booted four goals in a sensational showing upon his return to the side. Dane McFarlane and Marlon Motlop were others to control the engine room, while Brodie Newman was again a rock in defence.

Tiwi’s star-studded list of recruits could not quite pull them over the line, but made an impact nonetheless. The recently retired Allen Christensen slotted three majors and looked lively, while Jake Neade also found the big sticks upon entering Tiwi’s side. He was among the best Bombers alongside fellow goalkicker Adam Tipungwuti, and Adam Sambono got back to some scoring form with three majors. Fletcher Carroll and Mason De Wit were others to stand up as Tiwi still searches for its maiden win in season 2020/21.

WARATAH | 1.1 | 2.2 | 5.5 | 8.7 (55)
NIGHTCLIFF | 3.4 | 4.6 | 7.7 | 11.9 (75)

GOALS:

Waratah: W. Collis 2, J. McGrath 2, T. Graham, N. Oakes, A. Kirby, R. Turnbull
Nightcliff: K. Emery 4, T. Melville 3, M. Rivett, D. Bowles, B. Filo, H. Drogemuller

BEST:

Waratah: R. Turnbull, Z. Westerberg, J. McGrath, B. Carroll, N. Stevens
Nightcliff: D. Brew, R. Mu, A. Jorgensen, J. Peris, B. Filo, M. Rivett

Nightcliff knocked off Waratah by 20 points in the game dubbed Battle of the Beaches, with the Tigers pushed all the way at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. An atypically sloppy game was impacted by the heat, with just six goals kicked between the two sides by half time. Both sides surpassed that total alone in the second half, but Nightcliff’s handy two-goal buffer allowed for a relatively straightforward finish despite Waratah’s peskiness. The game opened up as tired legs prevailed, resulting in the 11.9 (75) to 8.7 (55) scoreline.

Boom Tigers recruit Dom Brew continued his outstanding start to the season with another best afield performance, gelling well with the likes of Brodie Filo as Ryan Mu was another to get busy at the fall of the ball. Up forward, Kyle Emery and Trent Melville combined for seven goals with stalwart Cam Ilett rested, proving the Tigers’ firepower. Waratah’s Will Collis and Jae McGrath each managed two majors, while newcomer Thomas Graham was another to provide a viable option and plenty of chances inside 50 for the Warriors. Robert Turnbull and Zach Westerberg were others to stand up in the losing effort.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 | 6.9 (45)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 3.3 | 3.5 | 4.5 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Palmerston: T. Kunoth 2, E. Guthrie 2, J. Berry, K. Annand
S. Districts: J. Dahlhaus 3, N. Rokahr 3, D. Robertson, M. Bowden, K. Jones, J. Bell

BEST:

Palmerston: T. Lui, E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, R. Armstrong, J. Mentha, L. Flanagan
S. Districts: B. Rusca, N. Rokahr, J. Bell, D. Staunton, K. Jones, C. McAdam

Southern Districts stormed home with six goals in the final term to help defeat Palmerston by 25 points at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The Crocs overcame a narrow half time deficit to sneak back ahead at three quarter time, before more than doubling their combined goal tally for the match in the final term to kick away to the 10.10 (70) to 6.9 (45) victory. For three quarters, it was a scrappy goal-for-goal tussle which Palmerston were in to win, but like many other matches on the day, they were the team to fall away late. The win eases mounting pressure on the Crocs as they now move to 2-4.

Districts midfielders James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr again had their say, with the latter also getting forward to boot three goals. Small forward Jay Dahlhaus matched the feat as his side notched another win to match the competitiveness it has shown thus far. For Palmerston, Matthew Dennis enjoyed a good ruck battle but was again dominant across the ground, while Eric Guthrie was a useful ball winner for the Magpies, who were unable to fully take advantage of any momentum they mustered. The performances of young guns Tyrrell Lui and Brandon Rusca were also noted by their respective sides, and both are eligible to be pre-listed by the Gold Coast Suns via the Darwin zone.

ST MARY’S | 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 8.3 (51)
DARWIN | 1.6 | 7.11 | 10.16 | 12.18 (90)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Landt 3, J. Paine 2, B. Grenfell, C. Furphy, J. Goddard
Darwin: I. Palmer 3, J. Stokes 2, D. Matricardi 2, A. Hodor 2, B. Foster 2, J. Collinson

BEST:

St Mary’s: J. Landt, J. Long, D. Landt, K. Parnell, H. Williams, B. Ah Mat
Darwin: J. Stokes, L. McKenzie, J. Collinson C. Atkinson, K. Maroney

Darwin proved its genuine premiership credentials on Saturday night, defeating a lacking St Mary’s side by 39 points at TIO Stadium to remain top of the table. After sharing one goal apiece in the opening term, the Buffs piled on six goals to one in the next period and eventually set up a 55-point lead by the final break. While St Mary’s managed a handful of consolation goals, it proved far too little to save the 12.18 (90) to 8.3 (51) result. It was the Saints’ first loss since Round 2, having reclaimed some vintage form and confidence in the weeks since.

That counted for little as the likes of Jarrod Stokes and Nick Lowden took control of the midfield under Chris Atkinson, while Ishmael Palmer led the attack with three goals. Brodie Foster was one of four Buffs to boot two majors, but was held relatively well by Tylah Saunders. Jack Landt booted three final term goals for St Mary’s to somewhat cut into the final margin, while Dylan Landt was also among the Saints’ best players on what ended up a disappointing day for last season’s grand finalists.

Featured Image: Wanderers midfielder Beau O’Connell eyes up his next move | Credit: Justin Kennedy/NT News