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Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Finals Week 1

FINALS time is finally upon us after 18 home-and-away rounds in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, with two exciting fixtures set to take place at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. A high-stakes elimination final bout sees Waratah take on Darwin, while Wanderers and St Mary’s lock horns in the weekend’s qualifying final. We take you through the key numbers and players in both games ahead of what should be a cracking day of NT football.

>> Finals Preview: NTFL Women’s Premier League

ELIMINATION FINAL

Waratah vs. Darwin Buffaloes
Saturday February 27, 4:15pm
TIO Stadium

Waratah and Darwin will do battle for the second time in two weeks on Saturday, as they meet for a high-stakes knockout bout at TIO Stadium. Only percentage could separate the records of these two sides (10-8) after 18 home-and-away rounds, but the Buffaloes have come up trumps twice in their three meetings with Waratah this season. Most recently, their Round 17 clash proved that Darwin can overcome any of the top sides on their day. On the other hand, Waratah’s 0-3 run into finals will be of slight concern, with all three defeats coming at the hands of top three opposition. Tahs have a formidable side on paper and their big names will have to lift against a wily Darwin side here. The Buffs have endured some injury concerns of late, but have proven many a doubter wrong thus far in 2020/21.

Records:
Waratah:
10-8 (4th)
Darwin: 10-8 (5th)

Last 5:
Waratah: 2-3
Darwin: 3-2

2020/21 meetings:
Round 4
 – Darwin by 6
Round 8 – Waratah by 23
Round 17 – Darwin by 19

Most games:
Waratah: Brodie Carroll, Nicholas Gooch (18)
Darwin: Brodie Foster, Kevin Maroney, Nick Lowden, Timothy Eldridge (17)

Most goals:
Waratah:
Cameron Arnold, Jae McGrath (18)
Darwin: Brodie Foster (49)

QUALIFYING FINAL

St Mary’s vs. Wanderers
Saturday February 27, 6:45pm
TIO Stadium

St Mary’s and Wanderers meet for the second time in as many weeks when they face off at TIO Stadium on Saturday night, with a semi final clash against Nightcliff up for grabs. The Saints sent a resounding message to the competition with a 79-point thumping of their weekend opponents last time out, making it two wins from three games against the Muk Muks this season. With 11 wins in their last 12 outings, the Saint have been in scary form lately. The Eagles have gotten points when expected of them and while they have been competitive against top opposition, have also fallen short on occasion. St Mary’s running game and hardness at the ball will serve well in finals, but Wanderers is a dangerous side with plenty of star names on each line and a spearhead forward who is difficult to stop.

Records:
St Mary’s:
14-4 (2nd)
Wanderers:
12-5-1 (3rd)

Last 5:
St Mary’s: 4-1
Wanderers:
3-2

2020/21 meetings:
Round 2
 – Wanderers by 26
Round 12 – St Mary’s by 38
Round 18 – St Mary’s by 79

Most games:
St Mary’s: Jacob Long (18)
Wanderers:
Brodie Newman, Dane McFarlane (18)

Most goals:
St Mary’s:
Jackson Calder (29)
Wanderers:
Brett Eddy (69)

Most times in best:
St Mary’s:
Dylan Landt (13)
Wanderers: Brodie Newman, Dane McFarlane (12)

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 17

NIGHTCLIFF wrapped up the 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League minor premiership in Round 17, labelled NO MORE Round as the competition takes a stand against family and domestic violence. The Tigers were emphatic in victory on the eve of finals, as was St Mary’s, while Wanderers had a trickier time handling a pesky Palmerston outfit and Darwin claimed a confidence-boosting win over top five rival, Waratah. That, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS 4.1 | 4.2 | 6.2 | 6.3 (39)
ST MARY’S 7.5 | 12.14 | 18.22 | 26.26 (182)

GOALS:

Tiwi: B. Kantilla, K. Councillor, J. Tipiloura, P. Heenan, P. Puruntatameri, G. Alimankinni
St Mary’s: J. Calder 8, J. Landt 6, N. Paredes 3, D. Landt 2, L. Ferreira 2, J. Cheek, L. Taylor, R. Clarke, B. Grenfell, L. Fiore

BEST:

Tiwi: N/A
St Mary’s: N. Paredes, J. Landt, D. Landt, L. Taylor, J. Calder, L. Ferreira

NO MORE Spirit of the Game Award: Brendan Kantilla (Tiwi), Lachlan Taylor (St Mary’s)

St Mary’s took its time to click into gear and accelerate away from Tiwi on Saturday, but did so in emphatic fashion with a 143-point triumph at TIO Stadium. The 26.26 (182) to 6.3 (39) result saw the Saints conjure 52 scoring shots to Tiwi’s nine, with a 60-point half time lead merely a sighter of what was to come. Earlier, the Bombers hit the front in an 11-goal opening term but their ascendancy was short-lived as St Mary’s turned up the heat to come away big winners with one round left before finals.

Jackson Calder was the key destroyer, booting eight goals as St Mary’s spearhead and backed well by Jack Landt (six goals), who enjoyed a move further afield among the engine room. Nate Paredes (three) also found the big sticks in an impactful display from midfield, while Lachlan Taylor earned the Spirit of the Game award for his efforts. Brendan Kantilla took out the same honours for Tiwi as his side’s best afield, contributing well alongside the dependable likes of Paddy Heenan and Adam Tipungwuti. St Mary’s takes on Wanderers next week in a battle for second, while Tiwi will hope to finally get a win on the board next week having already been handed the wooden spoon.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)
NIGHTCLIFF 5.3 | 14.4 | 18.7 | 21.16 (142)

GOALS:

Districts: B. Rolfe 2, J. Breed, D. Robertson
Nightcliff: T. Melville 4, J. Hammond 3, J. Butcher 3, A. Moniz Wakefield 2, S. Wilson 2, K. Emery 2, D. Bowles, R. Nyhuis, D. Brew, B. Henderson, M. McGregor

BEST:

Districts: M. Bowden, L. Ogden, L. Kiel, B. Lake, B. Rolfe, D. Robertson
Nightcliff: D. Bowles, D. Brew, B. Filo, A. Moniz Wakefield, S. Wilson, J. Hammond

NO MORE Spirit of the Game Award: Brodie Lake (Southern Districts), Andy Moniz Wakefield (Nightcliff)

Nightcliff wrapped up the 2020/21 minor premiership with a statement of intention, thumping Southern Districts to the tune of 115 points at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday. A nine-goal to one second term saw the game ripped open, as Districts failed to recover and managed just one goal after half time in the face of the Tigers’ roar, culminating in the one-sided 21.16 (142) to 4.3 (27) scoreline. Nightcliff’s deep forwardline dynamic and slick running game earned it 37 scoring shots to seven and a week off for the first round of finals.

Andy Moniz Wakefield was terrific for the victors, booting two goals and finding plenty of the ball. Jack Hammond was also thereabouts and snared three majors, matched by John Butcher and only beaten by Trent Melville (four goals) on the day. The likes of Daniel Bowles and Kaine Riley were also impactful further afield. Billy Rolfe (two goals) was Districts’ lone multiple goalkicker, while young gun Brodie Lake took out the Spirit of the Game award ahead of the likes of Michael Bowden and Dean Staunton.

DARWIN 3.2 | 7.3 | 8.6 | 11.7 (73)
WARATAH 2.2 | 4.4 | 6.7 | 7.12 (54)

GOALS:

Darwin: N. Cooper 3, J. Collinson 2, C. Abala 2, B. Foster 2, N. Lowden, R. Matricardi
Waratah: D. Collis 2, H. Kerinaiua, D. Hemphill, A. Kirby, J. McGrath, J. Simson

NO MORE Spirit of the Game Award: Timothy Eldridge (Darwin), Jack Cattanach (Waratah)

Darwin gained an early mental edge over Waratah before their elimination final bout in a fortnight, trumping their rivals by 19 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. After a tense opening stanza, the Buffs pulled away with four goals to two in the second term to set up a game-defining lead, before finishing strongly to run out 11.7 (73) to 7.12 (54) winners. With one less scoring shot than the Warriors, Darwin made its opportunities count at the right times.

Nathaniel Cooper was one of four Buffs to boot multiple goals, managing three as Joey Collinson, Cade Abala, and Brodie Foster each snared two. Timothy Eldridge earned Spirit of the Game honours, an award also taken out by Jack Cattanach for the Warriors. Dylan Collis was his side’s sole multiple goalkicker, one of Waratah’s better performers alongside Sam Godden. The win came at a cost for Darwin, who lost key men Michael Coombes and Michael Hagan to injuries on the eve of finals.

PALMERSTON 4.3 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)
WANDERERS 1.4 | 4.5 | 5.8 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Palmerston: C. Williams 2, T. Kunoth, M. Sutton, A. McAdam, M McMasters
Wanderers: B. Eddy 3, A. Motlop, M. Totham, D. Braun, E. Simpson, D. Thompson, B. Newman, T. Motlop

BEST:

Palmerston: N/A
Wanderers: B. Newman, S. Tipiloura, D. Braun, J. Cubillo, D. McFarlane

NO MORE Spirit of the Game Award: Eric Guthrie (Palmerston), Brodie Newman (Wanderers)

Wanderers will play off against St Mary’s for second spot next week after sneaking past Palmerston by 25 points at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The Muk Muks secured their double finals chance but were made to earn it, falling behind early before clawing back ahead by under a goal at the second and third breaks, and eventually kicking away late. Five goals in the final term saw them earn a fighting 10.8 (68) to 6.7 (43) victory, still two points adrift of second place.

Competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy added three majors to his season tally to lead Wanderers’ attack, which boasted eight individual goalkickers. Defender Brodie Newman was among them, earning best afield honours for his work while Deacon Braun and Thomas Motlop were other Eagles to impress. Eric Guthrie earned Palmerston’s Spirit of the Game award, returning a typically trying shift alongside the likes of Chris Williams (two goals) and Matthew Dennis.

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 16

ROUND 16 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw the top sides flex their muscle as they up the ante just a fortnight out from finals time. Among the big results, St Mary’s and Wanderers defeated fellow finals-bound opponents to keep the top two race alive between them, while Nightcliff has all but officially sewn up another minor premiership and Southern Districts picked up a consolation victory. That, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS 1.0 | 3.0 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 6.5 | 13.9 | 18.14 | 23.18 (156)

GOALS:

Tiwi: F. Vigona-Daniel 3, B. Rioli 2
Districts: B. Rolfe 5, J. Farrar 4, L. Kiel 3, M. Barlow 2, J. Dahlhaus 2, J. Bailey 2, T. Demamiel, E. Barlow, L. Bugeja, C. McAdam, J. Ross

BEST:

Tiwi: B. Rioli, F. Vigona-Daniel, J. Monigatti, P. Heenan
Districts: E. Barlow, M. Barlow, B. Rolfe, L. Kiel, J. Farrar, J. Dahlhaus

Southern Districts crushed a severely undermanned Tiwi Bombers by 123 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon, making for the Crocs’ sixth win for the season. While the crushing 23.18 (156) to 5.3 (33) result means little in the grand scheme of things, it serves as a rewarding consolation for Districts, who have clearly been the best side outside of finals contention.

Ed and Michael Barlow were instrumental upon their maiden outings in Crocs colours for the season, putting their side on the front foot from midfield and setting the tone for a dominant victory. Having started with six goals to one in the opening term, the Crocs found themselves over 11 goals ahead at the main break despite some typical Tiwi spark and resistance. In the end, the Bombers simply could not keep up against a Districts side which outclassed and outmuscled them.

Billy Rolfe dined on five goals for the victors, followed closely by Jonathan Farrar‘s four as 11 Crocs found the big sticks. Among them, Luke Kiel and Jay Dahlhaus were terrific, while young gun Tom Demamiel also impressed. Brayden Rioli booted a couple of late majors for Tiwi, with Francis Vigona-Daniel (three goals) the only other goalkicker for their side.

NIGHTCLIFF 4.4 | 12.8 | 17.11 | 26.13 (169)
PALMERSTON 0.1 | 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: K. Emery 6, B. Filo 4, J. Hammond 3, T. Melville 3, S. Wilson 3, R. Nyhuis 2, A. Moniz Wakefield, N. Brown, P. Wills, D. Bowles, K. Riley
Palmerston: A. McAdam, F. Wilson

BEST:

Nightcliff: K. Emery, B. Filo, R. Nyhuis, S. Wilson, K. Emery, N. Brown
Palmerston: M. Dennis, E. Guthrie, S. Lampton, K. Annand, R. Warfe

Nightcliff’s finals preparation is well and truly cooking with gas, after the Tigers dismantled Palmerston to the tune of 155 points at Nightcliff Oval on Saturday night. The 26.13 (169) to 2.2 (14) result sees the reigning premiers only needing a draw in the last two games to secure yet another minor premiership, while Palmerston remains rooted to second-last spot.

The scoring feast was led by former-Magpie Kyle Emery, who snagged six goals for the victors to bring his season tally up to 54. He was one of 11 goalkickers for Nightcliff, with Nichols Medal winner Brodie Filo (four goals) right among the action alongside the likes of Trent Melville, Shaun Wilson, and Ryan Nyhuis – all of whom also bagged multiple goals. 150-gamer Nathan Brown put the cherry on top of his milestone game with a six-pointer of his own.

Familiar faces in Matthew Dennis and Eric Guthrie again put their hands up in a heavy defeat for Palmerston, who have only overcome the winless Tiwi Bombers this season. While they restricted the Tigers for much of the first term, the floodgates opened swiftly and saw an irresistible amount of traffic pass through in the one-sided encounter.

WARATAH 1.4 | 2.5 | 2.7 | 2.8 (20)
ST MARY’S 2.1 | 6.2 | 9.5 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Waratah: W Collis 2
St Mary’s: J. Landt 3, N. Paredes, D. Landt, J. Calder, S. Rioli, D. Walters, S. Edwards, L. Ferreira

BEST:

Waratah: A. Moloney, W. Collis, B. Carroll, R. Turnbull, D. Collis
St Mary’s: K. Parnell, D. Landt, L. Jellyman-Turner, R. Clarke, J. Landt, N. Paredes

St Mary’s picked up an important win against Waratah on Sunday, excelling despite greasy conditions to salute by 48 points at Gardens Oval and bring an end to Tahs’ four-game winning run. The Warriors’ last loss came against St Mary’s and the Saints continue to be a thorn in their side after the 10.8 (68) to 2.8 (20) result, sending a strong statement of intent with finals just around the corner.

The Saints opened up a 21-point buffer at half time and pulled away thereafter with four goals to Waratah’s nil, showcasing outstanding skill in the wet to outclass their opponents with clean hands and excellent efficiency. Jack Landt finished with a game-high three goals for the victors, while Will Collis (two goals) was Waratah’s sole goalkicker for the day.

Further afield, Nate Paredes set the tone in midfield with desperate contested work, while Lucas Jellyman-Turner was influential on the rebound and Kieren Parnell earned plaudits from his coaches. Alex Moloney was among Waratah’s best alongside Brodie Carroll and Robert Turnbull, as the Warriors’ top two hopes have all but officially been dashed with two games to play.

WANDERERS 1.0 | 2.1 | 5.2 | 8.4 (52)
DARWIN 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

Wanderers: M. Totham 3, B. Eddy 2, J. Cubillo 2, D. McFarlane
Darwin: M. Hagan, M. Campbell, C. Abala, N. Cooper

BEST:

Wanderers: M. Motlop, M. Totham, J. Cubillo, B. McLean, B. Newman, D. McFarlane
Darwin: J. Stokes, K. Williams, B. Archard, K. Maroney, T. Eldridge

Wanderers’ hopes of a top two finish remain alive after the Muk Muks trumped Darwin by 23 points at Tracy Village on Sunday. Scores were tied at half time but the Eagles soared after the main break with six goals to Darwin’s two to run out 8.4 (52) to 4.5 (29) winners and round out a rain-soaked weekend of NTFL action.

Marcus Totham kicked a game-high three goals as both sides were serviced by four respective goalkickers, with Wanderers spearhead Brett Eddy remaining on top of the competition-wide charts after adding another two majors. Fellow Eagle Josh Cubillo was the only other multiple goalkicker, as the likes of Marlon Motlop and Dane McFarlane led from midfield and were backed by Braedon McLean and Brodie Newman in defence.

The ever-reliable Jarrod Stokes was among Darwin’s best, while Kelvin Williams and Ben Achard also put their hands up for the Double Blues. Veteran forward Matt Campbell was again in the goals with a single major, in what were tough conditions for forwards. The Buffs can only move as high as fourth with wins in their final two outings, but have guaranteed a finals spot.

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL SCORES:

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

GOALS:

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

DC BEST:

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

Australia Day Medal: Cam Ilett (NT)

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

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s midseason review: St Mary’s, Tiwi Bombers, Wanderers, Waratah

WITH the NTFL Men’s Premier League season coming to a halt over the Christmas period Draft Central casts an eye over how the teams are tracking, some of their key contributors throughout the season so far and how they are shaping up for the rest of the season.

St Mary’s

Position: 2nd
Win-loss-draw: 9-3-0
Percentage: 130.68%

There is not much separating St Mary’s and the top of the table Nightcliff with the two sides sitting on the same number of wins (nine) showcasing just how tight the battle for first place is. They have enjoyed a recent run of hot form sitting on a six game winning streak with their last loss coming against Darwin Buffaloes back in Round 6 highlighting their ability to effectively close out games. When the season resumes in January, the Saints are set to face Palmerston as they look to keep their winning ways intact.

Sitting in the top tier of the ladder it is no surprise that the Saints have a plethora of key contributors both on the scoreboard and around the ground in general. Leading the way in front of goal is Beau Tedcastle who in his 10 games this season has managed to slot 23 majors while Jackson Paine has also been a handy option with 21 goals in six games displaying his ability to kick a bag. Jackson Calder is another livewire up forward for St Mary’s amassing 15 goals for the season so far. Nate Paredes is a formidable force both in front of the big sticks with 12 majors and across the ground making it into the bests five times. In terms of consistent performers, Dylan Landt well and truly leads the way with seven bests while Jack Landt is not far off the pace with six.

Tiwi Bombers

Position: 8th
Win-loss-draw: 0-12-0
Percentage: 58.66%

It has been an unsuccessful season for the Bombers with Tiwi yet to register a win and suffering some hefty losses throughout their campaign. They have gotten close to sides in patches but simply do not have the fire power to go toe-to-toe with them as shown by their nine point loss to Palmerston in Round 10 while also challenging Nightcliff in Round 9 but once again falling short. Their job does not get any easier after the break faced with Waratah in Round 13.

Leading the way with five goals to his name is Nathan Scagliarini while Harley Puruntatameri has also proven to be a handy source of goals in his nine appearances with four majors. Angus Byrne is known to hit the scoreboard every now and then, but has not played since mid-November while John Tipiloura is a consistent figure for the side featuring in all 12 games and recognised in the bests.

Wanderers

Position: 3rd
Win-loss-draw: 8-3-1
Percentage: 116.09%

Sitting in third spot on the ladder the Wanderers are firming as strong contenders for finals with their ability to win ugly and close out games. They came close to toppling Nightcliff back in Round 10 registering a draw showcasing their capacity to mix it with the best and push sides to their limits. The last five games have been somewhat of a mixed bag of results recording two losses and two wins and will be hoping to recapture their winning ways in Round 13 with a victory against Southern Districts.

Brett Eddy is a dominant force inside 50 able to slot them with great ease and dictate the flow of the game given his innate goal sense. Eddy leads the pack for Wanderers with 49 goals to his name while the next best is Simon Bates with 26 from 12 appearances. The goalkicking tallies drop off after that with no other player reaching double digits showcasing the reliance the side has on their two-pronged attack. Brodie Newman has been a star all season and has been rewarded for his efforts named in the bests nine times, with Eddy hot on his heels with seven. Dane McFarlane is an excitement machine as is Braedon McLean with the two regular best on grounds.

Waratah

Position: 4th
Win-loss-draw: 7-5-0
Percentage: 122.30%

Waratah are steadily building and hold good stead heading into the break, currently sitting fourth on the ladder thanks to their seven wins and five losses. They have had some strong performances downing bottom of the ladder teams convincingly and will be hoping to continue their way up the ladder. In their past five games Tahs have managed four wins and a loss with the defeat coming at the hands of St Mary’s. Waratah will be hoping for a percentage boosting win in Round 13 up against Tiwi Bombers.

There are a plenty of viable options inside 50 with Cameron Arnold leading the goalkicking tally for Waratah with 15. Jake Sutton can find the goals with relative ease thanks to his 14 goals while Jae McGrath and Callum Searle are the only other two players reaching double-figures for goals with 12 and 10 respectively. Abraham Ankers is a consistent figure for Waratah as is teammates Brodie Carroll and Robert Turnbull.

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 10

SATURDAY’S top-of-the-table clash fully delivered on the hype, as nothing could separate Nightcliff and Wanderers after four quarters of high level football. The clash headlined a ladder defining round where Palmerston picked up win number two, St Mary’s consolidated its top three spot, and Waratah extended the gap to the bottom sides by trumping Southern Districts. That, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 0.4 | 3.6 | 5.6 | 6.10 (46)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 3.3 | 7.4 | 8.7 | 8.7 (55)

GOALS:

Tiwi: P. Heenan, A. Christensen, A. Tipungwuti, A. Wonaemirri, J. Monigatti, N. Ebinger
Palmerston: S. Autio 3, R. Armstrong 2, T. Kunoth 2, B. McDonald

BEST:

Tiwi: G. Turner, J. Monigatti, F. Carroll, M. De Wit, N. Ebinger
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, R. Armstrong, S. Autio, T. Lui, J. Mentha

Palmerston came away from one of the competition’s toughest away trips with premiership points, defeating Tiwi by nine points at Wurrumiyanga Oval on Saturday. The 8.7 (55) to 6.10 (46) result is the Magpies’ second win for 2020/21, and their second against the winless Bombers. After breaking away to a three goal to nil start, Palmerston never looked back despite Tiwi’s best efforts to bridge the gap late. Samuel Autio booted three goals for the winners, with fellow multiple goalkicker Rohan Armstrong among the Magpies’ best alongside Eric Guthrie and Matthew Dennis. Tiwi finished with six individual goalkickers, with the likes of Gibson Turner, Jack Mongiatti, and Fletcher Carroll among the best Bombers afield.

ST MARY’S | 4.6 | 6.10 | 9.14 | 13.15 (93)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 3.4 | 5.7 | 9.10 (64)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: B. Tedcastle 5, J. Calder 3, J. Quinn, S. Rioli, B. Grenfell, D. Andrews , R. Smith
Darwin: B. Foster 5, J. Collinson 2, M. Hagan, M. Campbell

BEST:

St Mary’s: T. Saunders, D. Landt, D. Andrews , B. Tedcastle, J. Calder, R. Smith
Darwin: B. Foster, R. Pendlebury, M. Coombes, M. Campbell, N. Lowden

St Mary’s stamped its finals credentials with a 29-point win over fellow contender Darwin at TIO Stadium, seeing the Saints go clear in third spot. A four-goal head start helped set up an unassailable lead for the victors, who ensured they kept their noses in front with consistent scoreboard pressure in the face of Darwin’s charge. Young gun Beau Tedcastle starred with five goals, a feat matched by Buffs spearhead Brodie Foster. Jackson Calder also found the big sticks with three majors, while the likes of Tylah Saunders, Dylan Landt, and Daly Andrews also impressed for the Green Machine. Ryan Pendlebury and Matt Campbell were among Darwin’s key contributors in the loss.

NIGHTCLIFF | 3.1 | 8.8 | 9.10 | 11.13 (79)
WANDERERS | 2.2 | 6.3 | 8.5 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 3, K. Emery 3, T. Melville 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, B. Filo
Wanderers: S. Bates 4, B. Eddy 3, S. Thorne 2, B. O’Connell, J. Priest, D. McFarlane

BEST:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett, R. Mu, J. Bowen, K. Emery, D. Brew, P. Wills
Wanderers: B. Newman, S. Bates, D. McFarlane, B. McLean, M. Totham

Nightcliff and Wanderers played out to a 79-apiece draw at Nightcliff Oval on Saturday night, seeing the two-pronged top-of-the-table race continue. The Muk Muks trailed at every break but remained within touching distance of the reigning premiers before taking the lead in the final term with an early four-goal blitz. But two late Nightcliff goals tied the scores and saw a golden opportunity for either side squandered. Veteran Cam Ilett was Nightcliff’s best player having booted three majors alongside Kyle Emery, a feat matched by Brett Eddy for Wanderers and beaten by Simon Bates‘ four majors. Defender Brodie Newman was also among the best for Wanderers, while Ryan Mu and Dom Brew stepped up for Nightcliff.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 5.3 | 9.7 | 11.8 (74)
S. DISTRICTS | 1.3 | 1.6 | 1.8 | 4.13 (37)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Kirby 2, C. Arnold 2, D. Lang, M. O’Donnell, J. Keras, C. Searle, A. Ankers, R. Turnbull, B. Carroll
Districts: B. Rolfe, L. Kiel, J. Dahlhaus, A. Boseley

BEST:

Waratah: S. Godden, D. Collis, B. Carroll, A. Kirby, M. O’Donnell
Districts: J. Clark, J. Dahlhaus, L. McGregor, J. Bailey, D. Staunton, M. Pemberton

Waratah widened the gap to the bottom three with a comprehensive 37-point win over Southern Districts to round out the weekend’s action, shaping the ladder even further. The Crocs were kept to just one goal across the first three terms as Tahs helped themselves to nine, before Districts managed to make some consolation inroads come term four. In the end, Waratah still doubled their opponents’ score in the 11.8 (74) to 4.13 (37) result. Waratah finished with nine individual goalkickers in a terrific team spread, with the likes of Sam Godden and Dylan Collis contributing well to the win. Meanwhile, Geelong Falcons graduates Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus were at the forefront of Southern Districts’ effort.

Featured Image: St Mary’s forward Beau Tedcastle in action | Credit: Glenn Campbell/NT News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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