Tag: ashton hams

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 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

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw reigning premier Nightcliff return to the winners list in style, becoming the first side to knock off Darwin in season 2020/21 along the way. Waratah opened the weekend’s action by consigning Tiwi to its fifth loss, while St Mary’s rise continues on the back of a third-consecutive victory, and Wanderers secured its fourth win for the season to hold onto second spot. All that, and more in our Round 5 wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 1.2 | 4.2 | 7.2 | 12.5 (77)
WARATAH | 4.4 | 7.9 | 13.12 | 16.16 (112)

GOALS:

Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 4, H. Puruntatameri 2, N. Hooker 2, J. Wilson, P. Heenan, N. Ebinger, A. Hams.
Waratah: C. Arnold 4, J. Edmonds 3, J. McGrath 2, C. Searle 2, C. Wild, N. Gooch, J. Cattanach, J. Carmichael, D. Collis.

BEST:

Tiwi: R. Tungatalum, A. Hams, M. De Wit, J. Monigatti, H. Puruntatameri
Waratah: C. Arnold, C. Searle, A. Ankers, B. Orval, N. Gooch

Waratah’s focus on a fast start proved fruitful as the Warriors came out firing to set up a 35-point win over Tiwi on Saturday afternoon. By three quarter time, Tahs had set up a 46-point lead to all but put the game to bed, though Tiwi managed its best period in the last to trim the final margin. The 16.16 (112) to 12.5 (77) result at TIO Stadium sees the Bombers sink to 0-5 despite again showing some promise, while Waratah is poised within the top five at 3-2.

The likes of Abe Ankers and co-captain Nick Gooch set the tone for Waratah in a solid show of intent, while the likes of Cameron Arnold (four goals), James Edmonds (three), and Jae McGrath (two) all benefitted from their side’s midfield strength. Callum Searle was part of that, also booting two goals to round out Waratah’s multiple goalkickers. Ross Tungatalum delivered upon his surprise return to the Bombers, booting four majors as their best player afield. Another returnee in Ashton Hams also proved his worth, while Mason De Wit‘s strong season continued in defence and Harley Puruntatameri added a couple more goals to his tally.

S. DISTRICTS | 2.1 | 6.3 | 7.4 | 10.6 (66)
WANDERERS | 4.3 | 8.4 | 10.5 | 13.6 (84)

GOALS:

Districts: A. Boseley 3, J. Dahlhaus 2, N. Rokahr 2, J. Tsitas, J. Farrar, L. Kiel.
Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Thorne 3, S. Bates 2, A. Lansen, D. McFarlane, R. Fejo.

BEST:

Districts: J. Tsitas, L. Kiel, N. Rokahr, J. Farrar, D. Staunton, P. Gallow
Wanderers: B. Newman, B. Eddy, J. Priest, M. Totham, R. Fejo

Wanderers secured back-to-back wins with an 18-point triumph over Southern Districts on the road, seeing the Muk Muks hold on to second place after five rounds. Played under trying weather conditions, the game was led by Wanderers at each break as a two-goal cushion built in the first half was extended to three after the main break. While the Crocs’ midfield was hard to stop, the Eagles proved sturdy in defence and potent in attack to answer every question posed to them by the plucky Districts outfit, which drew level late in the final term. In the end, it was a well-deserved 13.6 (84) to 10.6 (66) result for the Eagles, who continue to prove their finals credentials at this early stage.

Brett Eddy and Simon Bates were again the match-winning wombo combo up forward for Wanderers as they combined to steer their side home in the final term. The former finished with five goals to make it 12 in two games, while the latter popped up with two. The likes of Mitchell Taylor and Brodie Newman were excellent down the other end, while Dane McFarlane and Ronald Fejo continue to deliver in midfield. James Tsitas‘ form shone through for Southern Districts, supported well by Nikolaus Rokahr in the engine room while Andrew Boseley (three goals) proved a reliable target inside 50. Geelong Falcons graduate Jay Dahlhaus (two) goals also found the big sticks once again, proving lively alongside Luke Kiel as the Crocs again narrowly went down.

ST MARY’S | 3.8 | 9.9 | 13.13 | 18.16 (124)
PALMERSTON | 1.1 | 1.4 | 2.7 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Paine 8, B. Tedcastle 4, D. Walters 2, J. Long, T. Saunders, J. Calder, B. Grenfell.
Palmerston: A. McAdam 3, T. Kunoth 3, S. Lampton.

BEST:

St Mary’s: J. Paine, L. Jellyman-Turner, B. Grenfell, B. Tedcastle, D. Landt, H. Williams
Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr, R. Armstrong, K. Groves, E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, T. Lui

St Mary’s romped to its third win on the trot on Saturday evening, dismantling Palmerston to the tune of 75 points at TIO Stadium. Things were looking promising for the Magpies after they booted the game’s opening goal, which was duly followed by nine unanswered majors to St Mary’s. The 53-point half time margin was extended to 72 at the next break, setting up a bleak 18.16 (124) to 7.7 (49) final scoreline for the Magpies. After a disappointing first fortnight, the Saints now sit comfortably within finals calculations at 3-2, while for all Palmerston’s promise, the black and whites sit seventh at 1-4.

Jackson Paine delivered most of the hurt for St Mary’s, booting eight goals and leaving plenty more out there with poor finishing. Young gun Beau Tedcastle joined in on the act with four majors, while the likes of Lucas Jellyman-Turner and Nate Paredes found plenty of the ball. In what was a disappointing night for Palmerston, the performance of Nigel Lockyer Jnr in defence was a shining light, while reliable big man Matthew Dennis was also valiant in a losing effort. Ultimately, the Magpies were outclassed around the ground and have plenty of work to do to turn their season around, much like the Saints have managed of late.

DARWIN | 1.3 | 2.5 | 4.12 | 7.14 (56)
NIGHTCLIFF | 4.0 | 9.3 | 9.3 | 12.5 (77)

GOALS:

Darwin: B. Foster 2, M. Coombes, M. Campbell, R. Matricardi, J. Stokes, I. Palmer
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 4, T. Melville 3, K. Emery 2, H. Drogemuller, S. Wilson, A. Jorgensen

BEST:

Darwin: T. Eldridge, N. Lowden, J. Stokes, I. Palmer, I. Seden-Kurnoth
Nightcliff: D. Brew, R. Morris, A. Jorgensen, N. Brown, P. Wills, E. Klenke

Nightcliff served a reminder of its class as the competition’s benchmark with an impressive 21-point win over Darwin at TIO Stadium. Under lights, the Tigers returned to winning form and snapped Darwin’s undefeated streak in one fell swoop, producing vintage play in the first half to set up a 40-point lead at the main break. The Buffs’ chance to hit back came in the third term, though their nine scoring shots only yielded a haul of 2.7 as Nightcliff remained well ahead and rounded out an important victory.

Veteran Cam Ilett was on fire early for Nightcliff and finished with four goals, latching onto quick entries and aiding his side’s efficient conversion. Trent Melville got back among the goals with three, while Kyle Emery also managed two. Further afield, Dom Brew and Phillip Wills were excellent through the middle. Brodie Foster was Darwin’s lone multiple goalkicker, but the likes of Ishmael Palmer and Jarrod Stokes also found the big sticks once each while proving influential. Timothy Eldridge was another important factor, but could not quite help drag Darwin back into the game.

Featured Image: Palmerston’s Matthew Dennis under St Mary’s pressure | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 5

THE 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League rolls into Round 5 on the weekend, with all four fixtures set to play out on Saturday. Tiwi and Waratah go head-to-head in the opening clash of a TIO Stadium triple-header, while Southern Districts takes on Wanderers at Norbuilt Oval in a standalone game. Find out all the matchups, who will be out to impress, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers vs. Waratah
Saturday October 31, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Waratah will be looking to return to the winners list when it takes on Tiwi on Saturday afternoon, a team yet to register premiership points at all this season. The Warriors’ win-loss record has them due for a victory this time out, having gone down to the undefeated Darwin Buffaloes in Round 4. Tahs’ two losses have come by a combined 19 points, meaning they have remained competitive throughout a difficult draw. On the other hand, Tiwi has suffered four defeats of over 50 points, looking a far cry from the side which stormed into finals last season.

The suspension of forward favourite Austin Wonaeamirri will not do the Bombers any favours, though a beacon of hope arrives in the return of Ross Tungatalum, who was widely billed to run out for St Mary’s in 2020/21. Ashton Hams and Adam Tipungwuti loom as two more high-class inclusions to a Tiwi side which lost comfortably on home turf last time out. Waratah’s settled lineup looks poised for another big performance, and may be boosted by outgoing Norwood ruck Sam Baulderstone, who measures up at 200cm. As far as imports go, the Warriors have fared well with the likes of Callum Searle and Jae McGrath, while mainstays such as Abe Ankers and Brodie Carroll should help their side prove too strong for the struggling Bombers.

Southern Districts vs. Wanderers
Saturday October 31, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will be out to convert its maiden victory this season into a streak of winning form, when it hosts Wanderers at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday. The Crocs got on the board last week with a comprehensive 58-point drubbing of Tiwi and look to be building their squad nicely with a distinct Geelong feel. Wanderers has also benefitted from a busy off-season, sitting pretty in second at 3-1 having only gone down to reigning premier, Nightcliff thus far. The Muk Muks returned to the winners list in Round 4 and look a much more competitive side over four quarters than last season.

Southern Districts’ Victorian attacking trio of Andrew Boseley, Luke Kiel, and Jay Dahlhaus combined for 12 goals last week and will be certain to cause plenty of headaches for Wanderers’ defence. Calder Cannons graduate Brodie Newman has settled in extremely well among the Eagles’ back six, helping them maintain a league-best points conceded tally alongside the likes of Warwick Williams and Marcus Totham. Up the other end, Wanderers’ firepower lies with Simon Bates and Brett Eddy, who are both capable of bagging big hauls of goals.

The midfield battle should also be a good one, as Wanderers looks set to unleash Marlon Motlop next to Dane McFarlane, while Round 4 Rising Star Ronald Fejo provides pace on the outer. Even Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell is being kept out of the team upon his return to action. James Tsitas will lead the Crocs’ midfield after a scintillating performance last week, combining with good mate Nikolaus Rokahr and the ever-reliable Dean Staunton. With one team in hot form and the other rising, this should be a heck of a contest.

St Mary’s vs. Palmerston
Saturday October 31, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Fresh off an emphatic upset victory over Nightcliff, St Mary’s will look to extend its winning streak to three when it takes on Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. The Saints also knocked off Tiwi in Round 3 to currently sit just within the finals placings at 2-2, rectifying what was a lacklustre opening fortnight for the 2019/20 grand finalists. Palmerston has shown glimpses of promise as its lineup begins to gel, but has only defeated the winless Tiwi Bombers thus far. A true test of the Magpies’ improvement should present in this fixture, with the Saints a physical side which can apply good defensive pressure for four quarters.

St Mary’s co-captain Raphael Clarke looks set to return this week, named on the interchange bench with a raft of players ready to step up if required. Up forward, Jackson Paine looms as the dangerman having booted 11 goals in his last two games, aided by the versatile Jackson Calder and young gun Beau Tedcastle at his feet. Daniel Stafford is coming into goalkicking form for Palmerston, with player-coach Alwyn Davey producing vintage performances and Nigel Lockyer Jnr capable of swinging into attack when required.

In the middle, Magpies recruit Chris Williams has been prolific thus far, and is set to go head-to-head with one of the competition’s other dominant ball winners in Nate Paredes. The dynamic Shaun Edwards brings some x-factor to the Saints’ midfield, while Eric Guthrie has been a steady performer for Palmerston. The Magpies’ bigmen in Matthew Dennis and Jack Berry also provide great value, so should make for an even battle through the engine room.

Darwin vs. Nightcliff
Saturday October 31, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin faces arguably its toughest test yet when reigning premier Nightcliff rolls into town, hungry to bounce back from a shock loss in Round 4. The Buffs have defied odds and looked incredibly sharp under new coach Cameron Stokes, currently boasting a perfect 4-0 record atop of the Premier League ladder. That undefeated status will be challenged greatly by the Tigers, who looked to be cruising after three rounds before running into a solid St Mary’s side and dropping points for the first time this season. With arguably the two form sides of the competition coming to blows, this fixture firms as the match of the round.

Both teams have been well settled thus far, though a few changes look set to occur on either side. Nightcliff could finally bring in Calder Cannons standout Daniel Mott on the back of his impressive Division 1 form, while William Wallace is another fresh face who looks good value for a start. Willie Wheeler‘s return has been highly anticipated, so his pending selection is a promising sign. Darwin has been forced into at least one change after Jalen Clarke was suspended for head-butting, which could prove a key factor given the Tigers’ midfield strength. Jarrod Stokes remains though, and the Buffs boast plenty of goalkickers in the form of Brodie Foster, Ishmael Palmer, and the experienced Matt Campbell.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 4 St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff clash | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2019/2020 NTFL Men’s Premier League team review: Tiwi Bombers

THE next team under review in our club-by-club Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League recap is Tiwi Bombers, who produced many a highlight throughout this year’s campaign. Renowned for their electric end-to-end style and pace on the outside, the Bombers were one of the more free-scoring sides of 2019/20 and caught plenty of eyes on the way to a third-consecutive finals berth.

In a boost for the club, favourite son Cyril Rioli Jnr made his long-awaited return to the Islands, suiting up and playing a key role in his side’s memorable Round 5 win over Palmerston, while gun midfielder Adam Tipungwuti is currently trying his hand at cracking the AFL at North Melbourne’s VFL side. Despite exiting finals in straight sets having scraped in for a double-chance, moments like these made Tiwi’s season a special one.


TIWI BOMBERS 2019/20 SEASON REVIEW

Record: 4th, 11-7 (0-2 finals), 102%

Most games: Jason Puruntatameri, Matthew Kantilla, Patrick Heenan (18)

Most goals: Austin Wonaeamirri (35)

A Tiwi stalwart and mainstay in their dynamic forward line, Wonaeamirri was consistently the centrepiece of his side’s attacking efforts. The former Melbourne goalsneak is a reliable set shot and clever at ground level, making him a dependable option around goal. Wonaeamirri was held goalless just twice across 17 games this season, booting multiple goals on 12 occasions and embarking on a remarkable stretch of 11 games where he found the big sticks at least once. In his third-straight season of 30-plus goals, Wonaeamirri only confirmed his status as one of the premier goalkickers.

MVP: Jason Puruntatameri (best & fairest winner)

One of the key exponents of Tiwi’s run-and-gun style, Puruntatameri consolidated his standing as Tiwi’s finest player this year with a campaign good enough to earn a second-consecutive best and fairest nod. Much of Tiwi’s rebound and dash out of its own half was generated by the play-making defender, who was incredibly consistent in his equal team-high 18 appearances this season. Testament to his importance to the team, Puruntatameri was named among the best 14 times in 2019/20, including a streak of 10 games to begin the season which featured three best afield performances.

Best Nichols Medal poller: Ashton Hams (12)

The former West Coast Eagles small did incredibly well to poll 12 votes in just six NTFL Premier League games in 2019/20, playing a key role in five regular season wins before standing tall in a disappointing semi final loss. The diminutive midfielder/forward transitioned well as he moved closer to goal later in the year, booting all of his eight goals in his last three outings for Tiwi – including a bag of four against Darwin in Round 15. Leaning on all of his AFL and WAFL experience, Hams was an integral part of the Bombers’ lineup when available, and gave it his all when picked.

Young gun: Jeffrey Simon

An NT Thunder Under 16 representative in 2018 and Under 18 squad member last year, Simon made his mark on the Premier League this season, adding 17 senior games to the 19 he amassed previously. A multiple-time Rising Star nominee, the talent of Simon is known to all in the NT, and he continues to build on an impressive resume. Able to be utilised on any line and in multiple roles, Simon looks at home on the outside where he can use his clean skills and penetrating run to create forward opportunities for his side. Coming into his draft year, he may be one to watch.

Best win: Round 3 – def. St Mary’s 20.7 (127) to 17.11 (113)

Goals: R. Tungatalum 4, A. Wonaeamirri 4, R. Farmer 2, H. Puruntatameri 2, D. Munkara 2, J. Simon 2, G. Cunningham 2, J. Puruntatameri, P. Heenan
Best: J. Puruntatameri, A. Tipungwuti, H. Puruntatameri, C. Molyneux, D. Munkara, C. Luff

This game was an absolute shootout, producing fireworks between two traditional rivals – in the right way – with an incredible display of attacking football. After two sizeable losses to open their season, not much was expected of the Bombers against the much-improved Saints, but they came out firing and held off St Mary’s late charge to win an all-time classic. The usual suspects all starred, with Jason Puruntatameri named best afield, while Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri each booted four goals. This was the game which proved what Tiwi was capable of.

Worst loss: Round 4 – def. by Wanderers 8.10 (58) to 10.12 (72)

Goals: G. Cunningham 2, R. Tungatalum 2, J. Simon, J. Best, P. Heenan, D. Munkara
Best: J. Puruntatameri, N. Djerrkura, R. Baird, B. Palipuaminni, S. Babui, L. Howe

Coming straight after such a team-lifting win against St Mary’s the previous week, this was such a disappointing way to back it up. In Tiwi’s first of just two losses to the eventual bottom three sides, a depleted Bombers lineup was outdone by the youthful and exciting Wanderers team. While the experience and class of Puruntatameri, Nathan Djerrkura, and Rodney Baird was there to steady the ship, the Muk Muks hit back strong after a slow opening term and held on for the surprise win. With a 1-3 start to the season, there were doubts over Tiwi’s credentials, which were quickly quashed.

NTFL Men’s Premier League wrap: Semi finals – Saints book grand final spot

ST MARY’S defeated Nightcliff for the second time this season to become the first team to book its spot in the 2019/20 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League grand final, while traditional rival, Tiwi was bundled out in straight sets at the hands of Southern Districts.

TIWI BOMBERS 2.1 | 4.5 | 7.5 | 11.5 (71)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 4.5 | 7.8 | 10.11 | 16.15 (111)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri 3, C. Jones 2, A. Hams 2, O. Henry, J. Simon, H. Puruntatameri, K. Dunn.
Southern Districts: E. Barlow 7, W. Farrer 2, J. Garlett 2, D. Staunton 2, M. Barlow, J. Watts, J. Farrer.

BEST:

Tiwi: R. Baird, J. Monigatti, D. Kruse, A. Hams, O. Henry, C. Jones
Southern Districts: E. Barlow, C. McAdam, D. Staunton, K. Dingo, M. Barlow, J. Schofield

Tiwi unceremoniously exited the Premier League finals race in straight sets upon falling to Southern Districts in their knockout semi final bout, going down to the tune of 40 points at TIO Stadium. Seven goals from ex-AFL standout Ed Barlow did most of the damage in ending the Bombers’ promising season, with the third-ranked side outgunned by a peaking Districts unit. To the Crocs’ credit, they never rested on their laurels after opening up a 16-point quarter-time lead, constantly applying scoreboard pressure to keep the dangerous Bombers at bay. Six goals to four in a high-scoring final term capped off a successful effort in front of goal for the winners, with their 31 scoring shots working to overwhelm Tiwi – a rare feat this season. Barlow, and his ‘twin’, Michael were terrific for the Crocs, with mainstays Charlie McAdam and Dean Stanton accelerating their forward momentum. Competition leading goalkicker Will Farrer added two goals to his tally, with Jeff Garlett matching the feat to make up another of the four Districts multiple goalkickers. For the Bombers, Rodney Baird was again among the best in a heavily-pressured defence, while big man Jack Mongiatti and David Kruse capped off stellar seasons with solid shifts. Ashton Hams found the goals (two) for the third-straight game, with Austin Wonaeamirri (three goals) leading the attack. But it was ultimately in vein as the Bombers could not keep up with Districts’ scoring exploits, unable to breakthrough for the burst that would pry the game open. The Crocs’ third knockout final fixture comes as its biggest test thus far though, with a hungry Nightcliff side waiting in the wings.

Fallout:
Southern Districts – vs. Nightcliff, preliminary final
Tiwi Bombers – eliminated

NIGHTCLIFF 2.1 | 5.5 | 10.10 | 11.11 (77)
ST MARY’S 5.1 | 10.2 | 12.5 | 16.7 (103)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: J. Tsitas 2, M. Hagan 2, T. Melville 2, L. Sharp 2, S. Wilson, J. Butcher, C. Ilett.
St Mary’s: J. Calder 5, M. Rioli Jnr 4, R. Smith, J. Paine, J. Salmon, N. Yarran, S. Rioli, S. Edwards, H. Labastida.

BEST:

Nightcliff: N/A
St Mary’s: M. Rioli Jnr, L. Daly, R. Smith, J. Paine, J. Calder, T. Saunders

St Mary’s has gone one step further on the path to a complete turnaround from last year’s wooden spoon-winning campaign, becoming the first team to qualify for the 2019/20 grand final. The Saints had to knock off Nightcliff for a second time in the process, and did so by 26 points on Saturday night on the back of a clinical display in front of goal. On the other hand, Nightcliff was atypically wasteful inside forward 50 as it struggled to maintain its game of catch-up from the get-go, falling comfortably from just one less scoring shot. The signs were ominous as St Mary’s led by 27 points at the main break with double the amount of goals, but that buffer was cut considerably heading into the last turn. In true form of a champion team, the Saints kept their heads and ran out the better side to become the only team to beat Nightcliff twice in a season since 2017/18, with a number of standout performers coming to the fore. A game-high five goals from Saint, Jackson Calder took his finals tally to nine, but it was Maurice Rioli Jnr who impressed most with his bag of four as the two combined for over half of their side’s score. The pair were two of nine individual St Mary’s goalkickers, but the likes of Liam Daly and Tylah Saunders also made an impact without finding the big sticks. The scoring depth remained deep for Nightcliff despite a touch of inaccuracy, with four players notching two goals each. James Tsitas and Lachlan Sharp were among them, with leading goalkicker Trent Melville also managing the feat as a bunch of key Tigers found the big sticks. Luckily for the Tigers, they will have a second chance at grand final qualification this week against the Crocs, with redemption in the grand final now one of the main motivators.

Fallout:
Nightcliff – vs. Southern Districts, preliminary final
St Mary’s – vs. W of Southern Districts/Nightcliff, grand final

Finals preview: NTFL Men’s Premier League – Tigers primed for premiership defence

EIGHTEEN rounds of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League football have come and gone, leaving a final five which was clearly ahead of the rest. Reigning premier, Nightcliff will come into the post-season as favourite to defend its crown, but challengers in the form of St Mary’s – the only team to beat them in season 2019/20 – and Tiwi are not far behind. That is not to mention elimination finalists Southern Districts and Darwin, who will both be looking to shake up what is set to be a hotly contested finals series.

REGULAR SEASON RECAPS:

NIGHTCLIFF – 1st, 17-1 (197%)

Leading goalkicker: Trent Melville (41 goals)

MVP: Kaine Riley

Best win: Rd 14, def. St Mary’s by 65 points

Worst loss: Rd 7, def. by St Mary’s by 27 points

The Tigers will be unbackable favourites to go back-to-back this year, which would provide a fitting end to their 17-1 regular season – defeating every side on their way to a near-perfect record. The only blemish on said record was a Round 7 loss to second-ranked side, St Mary’s, but was redeemed just seven games later as the Tigers toppled the Saints by a whopping 65 points. Tiwi was the only other side to get within a goal of Nightcliff, with the minor premier taking on each challenge from finals contenders while also proving ruthless against bottom three opponents. Three players; Daniel Bowles, Kyle Winter-Irving, and Trent Melville played every home-and-away game, with Melville returning another massive goal tally (41) to lead the club in that area. Seventeen-game players Liam Holt-Fitz (30 goals) and Cam Ilett (24) also had no trouble finding the big sticks, while bit-parters Lachlan Sharp and John Butcher combined for 36 majors over just six outings each. Kaine Riley deservedly took out the club’s best and fairest award, named in the best half-dozen in 10 of his 17 games. With plenty of experience and stars on each line, it is not hard to see why Nightcliff has so comprehensively become the competition’s benchmark, but the Tigers will need to stay motivated to claim that deserved flag.

ST MARY’S – 2nd, 14-4 (137%)

Leading goalkicker: Jackson Calder & Leroy Larson (24)

MVP: Thomas Davies

Best win: Rd 7, def. Nightcliff by 27 points

Worst loss: Rd 3, def. by Tiwi Bombers by 14 points

St Mary’s looms as the biggest challenger to Nightcliff’s throne after a 14-4 regular season which saw it finish three games clear in second. During a much-improved season, the 2018/19 wooden spooners were the only side to beat Nightcliff, while only going down to the finals-bound Tigers, Crocs, and Bombers (twice). Despite those thorns in their side, the Saints were just one of two teams to beat every other NTFL club this season, making them the clear best of the rest. Thomas Davies held down the fort for much of the year to be named among the best 12 times across 17 games, while Leroy Larson and Jackson Calder led the goalkicking with 24 apiece. Calder’s average of 2.4 goals per game was superior, with ex-Roo and Blue Jarrad Waite and Dylan Johnstone also proving handy when available, while mainstays Shannon Rioli and Nate Paredes each booted over 20 majors. The returns of Kieren Parnell, Jake Long, Shaun Edwards, and Jackson Geary all lifted Saints’ spirits, while cameos from even more former-AFL players ensured St Mary’s maintained its level of form. That form is good enough to trump any side and given its already formidable resume, St Mary’s is a genuine premiership contender.

TIWI BOMBERS – 3rd, 11-7 (102%)

Leading goalkicker: Austin Wonaeamirri (30)

MVP: Jason Puruntatameri

Best win: Rd 3, def. Tiwi Bombers by 14 points

Worst loss: Rd 1, def. by Darwin Buffaloes by 113 points

Tiwi recaptured the late 2018/19 form which saw it earn a preliminary final berth, overcoming a shaky start to finish the 2019/20 season in third place. The Bombers left it late too, losing in Rounds 16 and 17 to slide to fourth, but regaining third spot with a tight win over Wanderers. Early signs were shown as the Bombers outgunned St Mary’s in a Round 3 shootout, and their true credentials came to the fore between Rounds 7 and 10, where they went 3-1 against the then top four. It was smoother sailing from then, onwards, with Tiwi one of the more exciting teams to watch. Austin Wonaeamirri led the goalkicking with a season of 30, while a group of nine players littered with mainstays all notched up over 10 majors. Jason and Harley Puruntatameri were instrumental throughout the season alongside North Melbourne VFL signing Adam Tipungwuti, with cameos from Charlie Molyneux, Nathan Djerrkura, Jake Best, and Ashton Hams among the best throughout a top season – not to mention Cyril Rioli‘s Round 5 homecoming. With only the best sides left to face, Tiwi will have to find an extra gear to overcome the top two teams, and have the strength to do so.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS – 4th, 10-7-1 (120%)

Leading goalkicker: Will Farrer (47)

MVP: Josiah Farrer

Best win: Rd 6, def. St Mary’s by 12 points

Worst result: Rd 2, drew with Wanderers

Southern Districts were half a game away from creeping into third place after an indifferent 2019/20 campaign, with a Round 2 draw with Wanderers ultimately costing the Crocs a finals second chance. A rocky start was soon rectified by four-consecutive wins, with Districts able to demolish the teams below them for the most part, but eventually struggling against the rest of the top five. Spearhead Will Farrer ended a stellar season as the competition’s leading goalkicker, bagging a high of eight goals while being held goalless just twice in 16 games. Thomas Holman and Josiah Farrer will be among the leading best and fairest candidates, with the latter the only Croc to play all 18 games. Young guns Brodie Lake, Brandon Rusca, and Beau Schwarze all showed promising signs, with the ex-AFL experience of Ed Barlow, Michael Barlow, Richard Tambling, and Jeff Garlett aiding them. At full strength, the Crocs can match it with anyone, but finding peak form has been an issue for the 2018/19 grand finalists. Three comfortable wins coming in will bode well for Districts, but four-straight defeats before that run will not.

DARWIN BUFFALOES – 5th, 10-8 (118%)

Leading goalkicker: Daniel Stafford (39)

MVP: Christopher Williams

Best win: Rd 1, def. Tiwi Bombers by 113 points

Worst result: Rd 3, def. by Waratah (overturned)

The unluckiest side out of Round 18’s results, Darwin will enter the finals series having fallen just one win short of a top three berth. The story of the Buffs’ early season was one of streaks, building short winning runs to go two steps forward, before dropping a step back with consecutive losses. Their second half of the season proved just as inconsistent, but the Double Blues still managed to maintain a positive record a remain one of the teams to beat – dropping 0 points to the eventual bottom three. Daniel Stafford was central to the Buffs’ scoring efforts, booting 39 goals in 12 games with just one goalless outing. Arguable best and fairest favourite Christopher Williams was the only Buffalo to play every game, with Darwin’s forward half its biggest strength. The likes of Darren Shillabeer, Brayden Culhane, and skipper Jarrod Stokes all enjoyed strong seasons, while Brodie Foster and Ishmael Palmer added value in patches. Should all those cogs click in the clutch, Darwin could inflict a couple of post-season upsets, but the Buffs will have to be flawless given their elimination slot.

WEEK ONE PREVIEW:

Southern Districts and Darwin Buffaloes put it all on the line in their elimination final clash to open the post-season, while St Mary’s and Tiwi play off for the chance to face Nightcliff next week in a bumper first round of finals.

The Crocs and Buffs have clashed twice before in season 2019/20, each claiming a win by a combined eight points. Darwin’s victory in their most recent clash effectively proved the difference as Districts missed out on third, adding a little extra spice to this contest with no margin for error in their current situation. Watch for a potential shootout between mercurial forwards Farrer and Stafford, with the outside run and class of Districts potentially granting them more avenues for goal, while the seasoned veterans of Darwin will need to stand up across the ground.

In the featured final bout between St Mary’s and Tiwi, another chapter will be written in the league’s leading traditional rivalry. The two sides have met three times already this season, with the Bombers proving the thorn in St Mary’s side early on, but eventually dropping points in their Round 17 meeting. Tiwi’s firepower has tested the usually well-structured Saints defence before, but the inclusion of Jake Long went a long way to rectifying that last time out. Expect the Saints to back themselves to match Tiwi in that department should they be at full strength, but more likely look to slow the game down and control the tempo. Tiwi’s pace and outside run can match that of any team, but St Mary’s has become renowned for its spread of class on each line.

FIXTURES:

Elimination Final – Southern Districts vs. Darwin Buffaloes
Saturday January 22, 4:30pm @ TIO Stadium

Head-to-head: 1-1

Form: Crocs 3-2, Buffaloes 3-2

Tip: Crocs by 15

Qualifying Final – St Mary’s vs. Tiwi Bombers
Saturday January 22, 7:00pm @ TIO Stadium

Head-to-head: 2-1 Bombers

Form: Saints 4-1, Bombers 3-2

Tip: Saints by 24

NTFL Men’s Premier League wrap: Round 15 – Tigers wrap up minor premiership

BARRING an unprecedented turnaround, Nightcliff has secured its second-consecutive Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League minor premiership after claiming its fourteenth win for the season on Saturday. The final five is also all-but set, with Waratah’s current winning run the only thing keeping Southern Districts sweating in fifth place. With just three weeks of regular season action left, points are at a premium.

TIWI BOMBERS 3.3 | 7.7 | 11.10 | 14.14 (98)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 1.2 | 3.6 | 4.8 | 8.12 (60)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Hams 4, A. Wonaeamirri 3, A. Tipungwuti 2, B. Rioli, C. Molyneux, R. Baird, K. Dunn, P. Heenan.
Darwin: D. Shillabeer 5, C. Atkinson, B. Foster, L. Mununggurr.

BEST:

Tiwi: C. Molyneux, A. Hams, J. Monigatti, J. Puruntatameri, R. Baird, O. Henry
Darwin: I. Seden-Kurnoth, D. Lines, D. Shillabeer, P. Campbell, M. Coombes, C. Williams

Tiwi surged two games clear in third with a crucial 38-point win over fellow finals contender, Darwin on home turf. The 14.14 (98) to 8.12 (60) result also keeps the Bombers in the hunt for a top two berth, while Darwin will remain in the top five barring three-straight losses and a large percentage deficit. The consistent scoring power on Tiwi’s end proved too much across the contest for Darwin, which struggled for inspiration without spearhead Daniel Stafford. A lead was built steadily by the Bombers, booting no more than four goals per term and no less that three to eventually extend out to a handy final margin. The second and third terms proved vital, with Tiwi notching eight goals to three in what was a game-defining period. Adopted Bomber Ashton Hams was terrific with four goals to lead his side’s effort, but Charlie Molyneux beat him out for best-afield honours. Austin Wonaeamirri and Adam Tipungwuti provided good support going forward with a combined five goals as the Bombers’ depth of scoring options proved much greater than that of the Buffs. Darren Shillabeer fronted the Darwin response with a bag of five majors, with Isaac Seden-Kurnoth judged to be the Buffs’ best in a losing effort along with Devin Lines. With premiership points all-important in the final regular season month, Darwin’s hopes of bouncing back will be boosted by a fixture against Palmerston, while Tiwi faces the biggest test of its premiership credentials yet in a clash with Nightcliff in Round 16.

NIGHTCLIFF 0.7 | 7.7 | 11.9 | 16.13 (109)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.3 | 4.7 | 7.10 | 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: L. Sharp 5, R. Mu 2, Z. Brain 2, T. Melville 2, B. Grewar, H. Drogemuller, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, K. Winter-Irving.
Southern Districts: J. Garlett 3, D. Barry, J. Clarke, J. Watts, L. Stanbrook.

BEST:

Nightcliff: N. Brown, B. Grewar, C. Ilett, K. Riley, L. Sharp, Z. Brain
Southern Districts: T. Holman, M. Bowden, D. McLachlan, D. Staunton, J. Watts

Nightcliff’s premiership defence is in ideal shape as the Tigers all-but-officially wrapped up the 2019/20 minor premiership with a comprehensive 57-point win over Southern Districts at TIO Stadium. The reigning premiers clicked into gear after an indifferent start, mixing irresistible attack with immovable defence to come out 16.13 (109) to 7.10 (52) winners. Though 0.7 was Nightcliff’s tally at the first break, the 7.0 in the second term more than made up for the eight-point deficit conceded early on. There was no looking back from that point for the dominant Tigers, as they continued to apply scoreboard pressure while completely shutting out their opponents in the final term in a statement-making display. Victorian sharpshooter Lachlan Sharp bettered his three-goal-per-game average with a bag of five to lead Nightcliff inside 50, while three others notched multiples among a raft of nine individual goalkickers. But credit to the Tigers’ work further afield, the likes of Nathan Brown, Cam Ilett and Kaine Riley were all named among the best ahead of Sharp. For Southern Districts, Jeff Garlett got on the board again after a couple of goalless games to find the big sticks three times as the Crocs’ sole multiple goalkicker, with Will Farrer kept without a major. But Thomas Holman was their best for a second-straight week, while Dean Staunton and Dylan McLachlan also featured in the best again. The Crocs run home gets a little lighter with Wanderers up next in a game which could sew up the final five, while Nightcliff is set to face Tiwi in what looms as a potential finals preview match-up.

PALMERSTON 3.1 | 6.2 | 7.2 | 8.4 (52)
ST MARY’S 0.3 | 3.7 | 10.10 | 14.15 (99)

GOALS:

Palmerston: D. Gaykamangu 2, D. Nichols 2, B. Booth, R. Davey, A. Lonergan, K. Emery.
St Mary’s: J. Long 3, L. Larson 2, N. Paredes 2, J. Calder 2, J. Salmon 2, J. Waite 2, R. Jordon.

BEST:

Palmerston: B. Booth, K. Emery, B. Bennett, M. Perry (Jnr), D. Gaykamangu , J. Thompson
St Mary’s: T. Davies, J. Long, R. Jordon, S. Edwards, A. Long, J. Waite

St Mary’s maintained its standing in second spot with a trying win against Palmerston on the road, made to earn every bit of the 14.15 (99) to 8.4 (52) victory. The Magpies were much better starters, making the most of their opportunities to boot three majors in each of the opening two terms and bolt out to a shock 13-point half time lead. But with an upset brewing, the Saints were slammed at the main break and came out firing in response, notching seven goals to one in a more characteristic third term. The trend continued as St Mary’s saw out a more comfortable-looking win, adding four goals to one in the final term to pretty up what was previously a concerning scoreline for the finals bound side. The Saints had an impressive six multiple goalkickers among their seven overall, with Jacob Long bagging a game-high three while Jarrad Waite was among five Saints to notch two. In what was a rallying team effort by game’s end, Thomas Davies was recognised as best afield while Rhett Jordon, Anthony Long and Shaun Edwards also had their usual impact. Ben Booth was Palmerston’s best in his maiden game for the year, with goalgetters Kyle Emery and Djamangi Gaykamangu also named among the best as Dane Nichols booted two majors for a second-straight outing. But the Magpies simply did not have enough to match St Mary’s for long enough, which has proven to be a downfall for much of their 2019/20 campaign. They will begin to wind down with Darwin next on the agenda, while St Mary’s push to secure second place heads to Waratah next time out, with the Warriors in a decent run of form of late.

WARATAH 5.2 | 7.4 | 16.7 | 23.7 (145)
WANDERERS 4.1 | 7.6 | 9.6 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Waratah: J. McGrath 5, M. O’Donnell 4, M. Newton 3, H. Kerinaiua 2, K. McBean 2, M. Blake, J. Stevens, B. Minkulk, J. Wilkins, A. Aurrichio, C. Barrett, W. Gorman.
Wanderers: D. Brown 2, J. Jeffrey 2, B. O’Connell 2, S. Bates, D. Weetra, D. Braun, A. Motlop.

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Wanderers: N/A

Waratah notched up consecutive wins for the second time in season 2019/20, pulling away to trump fellow bottom three side, Wanderers by 75 points in Sunday’s lone fixture. The win keeps the Warriors in with a mathematical chance of slotting into the top five should they continue their winning streak, pending some unlikely other results. A hot start saw both sides get into a scoring grove, each clocking up seven goals to the main break in a closely contested half. Waratah constantly looked like pulling away, but Wanderers kept finding a way to keep in touch and even snuck ahead by over a goal in the third term without totally capitalising on their territory. But some wasteful use forward of centre eventually caught up with the Eagles, with Waratah pouring on a massive string of unanswered goals to open up an unassailable lead. The 16-goal to three second half was fitting of the Muk Muks’ seasonal trend, but there were still strong glimpses in between. Joel Jeffrey was terrific again as the primary target inside 50, booting two goals while Dillen Brown looked lively in his own two-goal effort, which was also matched by the exceptional Beau O’Connell from midfield. A trio of inclusions combined well in attack for Waratah, with Jae McGrath, Mitchell O’Donnell, and Michael Newton combining for 12 goals among a dozen Warriors goalkickers. Kim Kantilla was also lively in a more advanced role, thriving as the goalkicking pressure was eased on him. Waratah’s last-ditch finals effort continues at home next week against St Mary’s in a tough match-up, while Wanderers will hope for some consolation premiership points in a clash with Southern Districts next time out.

NTFL Men’s Premier League preview: Round 15 – Four separate venues host defining round

FOUR separate venues host what is set to be the first round in a finals-defining last month of the regular season, with four of the top five sides again going head-to-head amid heavy jostling for position. St Mary’s, currently sitting second, could be the main benefactor as it readies to face current wooden-spooner Palmerston, but there is plenty to play out in Round 15 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League.

TIWI BOMBERS (3rd, 9-5) vs. DARWIN BUFFALOES (4th, 8-6)
Saturday January 25, 2:00pm
Tracy Village

Third spot is up for grabs as Tiwi Bombers and Darwin Buffaloes do battle at Tracy Village, with the Buffs looking to arrest a two-game losing skid. The game also marks the end of a tough month of fixtures for the travelling side, and another set of four points here could even keep Darwin in the hunt for second spot. With jostling for position among the top five becoming much more intense, the Buffs look to be going all out for their third meeting with the Bombers. Joe Anderson and Brodie Foster come back into the side to push Jarrod Stokes into midfield under the ruckmanship of Stephen Tahana, while Adam Sambono looms as another possible inclusion having been named on the extended bench. But Tiwi is seldom short of their own big names, and the Bombers’ bench alone is one to behold. Former AFL midfielders Ashton Hams and Nathan Djerrkura feature alongside Greensborough pair Charlie Molyneux and Nick Riddle, while Collingwood VFL star Lachlan Howe could also come into the already stacked side. This could be an all-out shootout judging by the line-ups, and with plenty of big names scattered across the field, is a must-watch for neutrals. Tiwi will come in as favourite given its form, but should be wary of the Buffs – who can beat any side on their day.

NIGHTCLIFF (1st, 13-1) vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (5th, 7-6-1)
Saturday January 25, 4:00pm
TIO Stadium

An out-of-form Southern Districts faces the toughest of tasks in regaining its mojo, with reining premier Nightcliff next on the agenda. The Crocs come in having lost three-consecutive games and four of their last five, all against top five opposition in an ominous omen for this clash. Two previous losses to Nightcliff in this campaign bode no better for Southern Districts, with its slide to fifth spot perhaps the product of a tough draw. But this should be the Crocs’ final regular season hurdle with three bottom sides awaiting, and there should be plenty of class at their disposal despite the absence of Michael and Ed Barlow. Richard Tambling retains his spot in the heart of midfield, set to link up with Josiah Farrer in the engine room. The forward rotation will also be important for Districts, with Jeff Garlett, Dean Staunton, and Beau Schwarze set to move through there alongside spearheads, Will Farrer and Sam Barnett. With such firepower, this looms as a danger game for the somewhat undermanned Tigers, who lose John Butcher and James Tsitas for this match. But there is plenty of class remaining, with Liam Holt-Fitz‘s form leading the likes of Trent Melville and Kaine Riley among a host of other consistent performers. While the Tigers have earned favouritism for every game this season having beaten every team in the league, the Crocs could well pull off a remarkable return to form.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES (8th, 1-13) vs. ST MARY’S (2nd, 10-4)
Saturday January 25, 5:00pm
Cazalys Arena

A better-stocked St Mary’s will hope to return to the winners list in its clash with the lowly Palmerston Magpies on the road, with second spot the Saints’ to lose at this point. Coming off a crushing loss to league-leader, Nightcliff, the Saints look poised to bring in some serious talent in hopes of recapturing the form which saw them string together five-straight wins. With Jack Long and Shaun Edwards remaining a key part of St Mary’s spine, ex-Blue and ‘Roo Jarrad Waite looks set to join Jackson Calder inside forward 50 while Nate Paredes and Nick Yarran return on the outside. Those inclusions make the proposition a whole lot harder for Palmerston, but the Magpies have been able to turn to some ex-AFL experience of their own with Aaron Davey joining brother and coach, Alwyn in the side. Alwyn Davey Jnr also remains in the starting line-up, with Russell Davey again making it a true family affair. But it remains quite a one-sided contest on paper, and St Mary’s hunger should be heightened given its disappointing outing last time out against Nightcliff. It could be over early, which would be ideal for the Saints as they look to maintain a percentage advantage with second spot looming as tough to hold on to.

WARATAH (6th, 4-10) vs. WANDERERS (7th, 3-10-1)
Sunday January 26, 4:00pm
Gardens Oval

Two bottom three sides get a standalone Sunday slot as Waratah and Wanderers clash for the third time this season, with the ledger sitting at one win apiece. The Warriors’ Round 14 win over Palmerston will have them licking their lips at the opportunity to snare another set of four points, especially given Wanderers’ current eight-game losing streak. But much of this fixture’s outcome relies on the crop available to either side, with Waratah looking a top five side at its best, and Wanderers needing all the pieces to be put together to stay on top. The Warriors could well field a very strong line-up, with Abe Ankers, Michael Newton, Brodie Carroll, and Kim Kantilla all named – albeit with a heavily extended bench. In response, the Muk Muks have included Braedon McLean, Davin Ferreira, Joel Jeffrey, Beau O’Connell, and five of the Motlop clan to make up a near-full strength side and put some intrigue into this clash. It should be a close one despite the wavering form of either team, with pride still on the line despite finals hopes being firmly out of the question. The winner could finish as the best of the rest.