Tag: dean staunton

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 – Midseason review: Darwin, Nightcliff, Palmerston, Southern Districts

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.

Darwin Buffaloes

Position: 5th
Win-loss-draw: 7-5-0
Percentage: 113.77%

The Buffaloes are well within touching distance of the top four, sitting just outside based on percentage and will be eager to climb further up the ladder to better position themselves for finals. They have had a relatively inconsistent run of form recently but have also been faced with a couple of top contenders in Nightcliff and St Mary’s. The Buffs will head into the break on a high collecting a strong win over Tiwi Bombers to cap off the 2020 part of their season and will be preparing for the top of the table Nightcliff in the opening game of 2021.

Brodie Foster has been the main avenue to goal for Darwin, nailing 36 majors from his 11 outings while Matt Campbell has also proven to be a livewire up forward with his ability to slot them from anywhere and notching up 23 for the year so far. Ishmael Palmer and Jarrod Stokes have also showcased their worth with 17 and 15 majors respectively highlighting the number of options they have when going forward. Ryan Pendlebury has proven to be a smooth mover for the Buffs while Joseph Collinson can hit both the scoreboard and the bests making him a crucial cog in their armour.

Nightcliff

Position: 1st
Win-loss-draw: 9-2-1
Percentage: 142.90%

Sitting pretty on top of the table, Nightcliff have won nine of their 12 games this season but have had a bit of a chequered run of form in their last five outings notching up three wins, a draw and a loss to the Southern Districts. They boast a commanding percentage, which provides some much needed separation between them and the second placed St Mary’s who are hot on their heels. On return, Nightcliff are faced with Darwin Buffaloes making for an exciting battle.

When looking at their key standouts it is hard to go past the services of Kyle Emery who has been a star up forward with his 38 goals from 12 games, leading the goalkicking tally for the squad. Cameron Ilett has also featured highly on the goalscoring front, booting 28 majors from his 11 appearances while the next closest is Liam Holt-Fitz and Trent Melville with the pair putting on 15 goals apiece. Aside from scoreboard impact Dominic Brew has proven to be a force to be reckoned with appearing in the bests eight times while Ilett has displayed his ability to have a regular presence across the ground frequently named in the bests for his efforts. Other key contributors in Ryan Mu, Mack Rivett and Thomas Boyd are just a few names to keep an eye out for when play returns next year given their ability to have an impact on the course of a game and ply their trade effectively for the top of the table side.

Palmerston

Position: 7th
Win-loss-draw: 2-10-0
Percentage: 61.01%

It has been a difficult season for the Magpies who have only managed to muster up two wins for the year and suffered a number of hefty defeats. In fact Palmerston has only won, one of their past five games and that victory was against the bottom placed Bombers. Despite having strong moments, the Magpies have been unable to maintain that same pressure and presence for a full four quarters as shown through their win-loss ratio. Unfortunately it will not get any easier when they return in 2021 up against St Mary’s who are in hot form.

The scoring options are somewhat limited however Toshie Kunoth has put his hand up to steer the ship throughout the season with his 15 majors while he has been ably assisted by the likes of Nigel Lockyer Jnr who has booted 13 goals across his nine games. The scoring drops off after that with the next best Aiden McAdam with six. In terms of consistent performers Eric Guthrie is up there registering nine best on grounds while Matthew Dennis has also accumulated nine. Rohan Armstrong is another commanding force for the Magpies as is Christopher Williams with the two capable ball winners.

Southern Districts

Position: 6th
Win-loss: 5-7-0
Percentage: 103.56%

Although it might not have been the start Southern Districts were after there are still plenty of positives to take out of their season notching up five wins, with two of them coming in their past five outings, one against Nightcliff and the other against the Magpies. They have struggled to string together consecutive wins but are still somewhat in the hunt if they find the right mix and build a strong backend of the season. Their campaign kicks off against the third placed Wanderers when play resumes in January.

Looking at goalkickers for the Crocs and it is Andrew Boseley that holds the mantle as number one with 19 goals from his 12 appearances while Jay Dahlhaus has been influential since joining the side with his 12 majors. Luke Kiel is a handy goalscoring option boasting 12 goals for the season while Billy Rolfe and James Tsitas have managed 10 goals apiece for Southern Districts. When it comes to reliable performers it is hard to go past the likes of Charles McAdam and Jesse Clark with the duo recording seven bests each. Dean Staunton is not far off with six while Dahlhaus and Kiel are also heavily influential with ball in hand.

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 11

BIG wins were the order of the day in Round 11 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, as three of the four games were decided by over 50 points. While Wanderers and Southern Districts beat up on the bottom two sides, Nightcliff was back to its brutal best against fellow top five contender, Darwin, while the closest game of the round saw St Mary’s edge Waratah by an even four goals. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

WANDERERS | 6.2 | 14.3 | 19.5 | 23.6 (144)
TIWI BOMBERS | 2.2 | 5.5 | 9.10 | 13.13 (91)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 9, S. Bates 3, S. Tipiloura 3, J. Motlop 3, E. Simpson 2, J. Cubillo, D. Braun, M. Motlop
Tiwi: A. Sambono 3, N. Ebinger 2, T. Taurua, B. Kantilla, J. Munkara, R. Tungatalum, J. Tipiloura, P. Heenan, A. Tipungwuti, L. Gill-Renouf

BEST:

Wanderers: B. Newman, B. Eddy, D. McFarlane, S. Bates, B. O’Connell, J. Cubillo
Tiwi: J. Monigatti, F. Carroll, M. De Wit, A. Sambono, A. Tipungwuti

A clinical Wanderers side momentarily moved to top spot with its 53-point thrashing of Tiwi on Saturday afternoon, spearheaded by Brett Eddy‘s nine-goal haul. The Muk Muks were already almost nine goals clear by half time, a lead which was sustained come the final siren as their 23.6 (144) easily trumped Tiwi’s 13.13 (91), despite there only being a difference of three scoring shots between the sides. The likes of Beau O’Connell and Josh Cubillo worked to supply Wanderers’ eight individual scorers, which also included Simon Bates (three goals) and debutant Jesse Motlop, who also snared three majors and is a Fremantle NGA prospect for next year. Adam Sambono matched the feat for Tiwi as the Bombers’ main source of inspiration in the front half, while Mason De Wit was kept busy down back and Fletcher Carroll had plenty to do alongside Adam Tipungwuti in midfield.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 8.2 | 13.3 | 14.5 | 16.10 (106)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:

Districts: J. Ross 4, A. Boseley 2, B. Vallance 2, J. Tsitas, M. Bowden, B. Rolfe, J. Dahlhaus, L. Kiel, J. Farrar, D. Staunton, M. McLinden
Palmerston: T. Kunoth 2, R. Armstrong, N. Lockyer Jnr, C. Williams

BEST:

Districts: D. Staunton, J. Bailey, J. Clark, D. Abbott, C. McAdam, J. Ross
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, R. Warfe, C. Williams

An eight-goal to two first term set up Southern Districts’ 73-point trouncing of Palmerston on Saturday, quickly rectifying last week’s disappointing display. The Crocs booted 13 of their 16 goals in the first half, with just five goals managed between the two sides after the main break as the 10-goal margin took the sting out of the contest. In the end, the 16.10 (106) to 5.3 (33) result put Districts back in the finals hunt and distanced the bottom two from the leading pack. Jonathon Ross led the Crocs’ scoring effort with four majors, supported well by another 10 individual goalkickers. Senior heads Dean Staunton and Charlie McAdam were also integral to the victory, with the latter shifting back to defence with aplomb. Eric Guthrie and Matthew Dennis were among Palmerston’s best, with Nigel Lockyer Jnr lively up forward and Toshie Kunoth booting two goals.

ST MARY’S | 2.4 | 5.7 | 9.9 | 12.12 (84)
WARATAH | 2.2 | 5.4 | 7.7 | 8.12 (60)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: N. Paredes 3, J. Landt 3, R. Smith 2, J. Calder, J. Cheek, S. Edwards, B. Tedcastle
Waratah: L. Dunn 3, W. Collis, C. Searle, J. Sutton, J. Cattanach, R. Turnbull

BEST:

St Mary’s: A. Long, K. Parnell, D. Andrews , M. Wilkinson, J. Landt, R. Smith
Waratah: J. Stevens, L. Dunn, J. Cattanach, A. Kirby, M. O’Donnell, R. Turnbull

St Mary’s extended its winning streak to five with a 24-point victory over Waratah on Saturday evening, keeping the Saints within striking distance of the top two. Waratah kept within striking distance at TIO Stadium despite trailing at every break, even steaming ahead at the start of the third term. But St Mary’s ground level intent and confident use from the back half allowed for a quick turnaround in a game played with finals-like spirit, finishing 12.12 (84) to 8.12 (60) in the Saints’ favour. The likes of Nate Paredes and Jack Landt again found plenty of the ball for the victors and compounded their impact by also snaring three goals apiece. Lynden Dunn was Waratah’s big inclusion this week and had an early impact up forward with two majors, before he also finished with three. Callum Searle and Jack Cattanach came up with clutch goals for the Warriors, but it proved too little in the end.

NIGHTCLIFF | 6.3 | 13.5 | 17.9 | 19.15 (129)
DARWIN | 1.0 | 1.3 | 3.5 | 4.10 (34)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: T. Melville 3, C. Ilett 3, L. Holt-Fitz 2, A. Moniz-Wakefield 2, B. Filo 2, D. Brew 2, R. Mu 2, K. Emery, K. Riley, A. Jorgensen
Darwin: B. Foster 2, D. Kaipara, M. Coombes

BEST:

Nightcliff: B. Filo, J. Bowen, R. Mu, A. Moniz-Wakefield, T. Boyd, D. Brew
Darwin: B. Stokes, K. Maroney, M. Kennedy, L. McKenzie, R. Pendlebury

Nightcliff returned to its imposing best at an ideal time to thrash Darwin by 95 points on home turf, ensuring the reigning premiers hold onto top spot for at least another week. The 19.15 (129) to 4.10 (34) scoreline was indicative of Nightcliff’s dominance around the ball and Darwin’s impotence forward of centre, with the Tigers taking full toll to see their foes planted to fifth spot. Dynamic veteran Cam Ilett was again a force up forward and slotted three majors, a feat matched by Trent Melville and aided early by Kyle Emery. Best afield player Brodie Filo also hit the scoreboard as one of 10 Nightcliff goalkickers. Brodie Foster was Darwin’s most impactful player as he bagged a couple of majors, with Bradley Stokes also stepping up as Jarrod Stokes was sighted mostly up forward – contributing to a lack of momentum from the Buffs’ midfield.

Featured Image: Daly Andrews gets a kick away for St Mary’s | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 8

THE NTFL Men’s Premier League finals frontrunners will look to continue ticking over their win columns, with three of the top five sides set to take on teams on the outer. Meanwhile, Darwin and Waratah lock horns in the closest clash on ladder position, rounding out a full Saturday of action and the TIO Stadium triple-header. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-7) vs. St Mary’s (4th, 4-3)
Saturday November 21, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi and St Mary’s are set to meet for the second time this season when they do battle at TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Saints notched their first win for the campaign back in Round 3 against the Bombers, trumping their rivals by 51 points at the same venue. Since, they have improved to 4-3 and climbed into finals contention, while Tiwi remains winless after seven games despite showing glimpses of form. Saints spearhead Jackson Paine looks like missing this clash, leaving Jackson Calder to headline the forward 50. The Bombers should have plenty of firepower with Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri named on the same attacking line, while the likes of Nathan Scagliarini and Harley Puruntatameri are no stranger to the goals. In midfield, Nate Paredes and Shaun Edwards will have their hands full with Tiwi’s Fletcher Carroll and Adam Tipungwuti, while Mason De Wit will be the Bombers’ defensive driver, much like Dylan Landt for the Saints.

Wanderers (2nd, 6-1) vs. Palmerston (7th, 1-6)
Saturday November 21, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers’ push for top spot continues as the Muk Muks take on Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. The 6-1 Eagles have proven one of the competition’s most improved sides over the first seven rounds, and have the wood over Palmerston having won by 48 points in their Round 4 clash. For all the Magpies’ promise, they currently languish in seventh with just one win on the board, coming against bottom-placed Tiwi. But some positive news for Palmerston sees Eric Guthrie free to play after an appearance at the tribunal, which he escaped with a reprimand. Aaron and Alwyn Davey are also poised to take the field, while Sandy Brock‘s return to the backline will be a welcome one. Wanderers is flying and boasts a settled lineup, but will be missing Warwick Williams for this clash. Still, Brodie Newman has held up the defence superbly, while Brett Eddy and Simon Bates run riot up forward and Beau O’Connell hits his straps. Their attacking threat and midfield strength should again prove too much for Palmerston.

Nightcliff (1st, 6-1) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 3-4)
Saturday November 21, 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Nightcliff will hope to maintain its business as usual approach on Saturday night as it hosts Southern Districts under lights. This will be the first meeting between the two sides this season, with the reigning premiers looking strong as ever and Districts slowly climbing the ranks. While the Tigers have laid waste to most adversaries, the Crocs have been ultra-competitive across the season thus far and could have gained a positive record if not for some tight losses. Round 7 Rising Star nominee Jay Dahlhaus has been one of many Crocs to find form, combining well with the likes of Andrew Boseley and Luke Kiel in the attacking half with service from the reliable James Tsitas and Dean Staunton. Nightcliff has its own forward firepower though, with Liam Holt-Fitz fresh off an electric return and looking to have more of the same impact alongside fellow dynamic goalkickers Kyle Emery and Trent Melville. Dom Brew also faces a big task in midfield, with his defensive pressure key to blanketing the run of Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr.

Waratah (5th, 3-4) vs. Darwin (3rd, 5-2)
Saturday November 21, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin and Waratah will look to end Round 8 on a high as they provide the weekend’s sole top five clash at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The Buffs’ early-season form saw them soar to top spot, though they have faltered a touch of late with their two losses coming in the last three weeks – albeit against top two sides. Similarly, three of Waratah’s four losses have come in the last month of action, with one dealt at the hands of Darwin by six points in Round 4. Double Blues midfielder Jalen Clarke looks set to return to the fold, joining the in-form Jarrod Stokes in midfield. Brodie Foster is a glaring absentee from the team list though, perhaps forcing Mihail Lochowiak to shift forward with Ryan Pendlebury covering the back six. Waratah should be up for a good fight, with the likes of Callum Searle and Dylan Collis providing good value this season, while Brodie Carroll has led from the front.

Featured Image: Southern Districts’ Jay Dahlhaus gets a kick away | Credit: Celina Whan 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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 4

ROUND 4 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw St Mary’s exact revenge on reigning premier, Nightcliff, while Darwin kept its perfect record in tact, Southern Districts claimed its maiden victory, and Wanderers’ winning form continued. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

PALMERSTON | 2.1 | 6.2 | 7.6 | 11.8 (74)
WANDERERS | 2.3 | 9.8 | 14.11 | 18.14 (122)

GOALS:

Palmerston: A. Davey 3, J. Harvey 2, N. Lockyer Jnr, M. Sutton, M. Rankine, E. Kelly, J. Berry, H. Brown
Wanderers: B. Eddy 7, S. Bates 5, M. Mummery, D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson, J. Cubillo, J. Cubillo, S. Mannagh

BEST:

Palmerston: M. Dennis, E. Guthrie, C. Williams, R. Armstrong, T. Lui, J. Harvey
Wanderers: S. Bates, M. Totham, D. McFarlane, B. Newman, B. Eddy

Wanderers’ hot start to the 2020/21 season continued on Friday night, as the Eagles accounted for Palmerston by 48 points to climb into second spot. The 18.14 (122) to 11.8 (74) result at Cazalys Arena was built on the back of Wanderers’ ruthlessness, with the Muk Muks consistently able to apply scoreboard pressure and pull away after quarter time. Palmerston had no real answer in the end, only really running with their opponents for half of the four quarters.

Simon Bates was arguably best afield after booting 5.3, only outdone on the scoreboard by Brett Eddy‘s 7.3. Meanwhile, the midfield pairing of Dane McFarlane (33 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) and Shaun Mannagh (28 disposals, six clearances, one goal) worked wonders for the winners. Ronald Fejo was another to impact going forward with nine inside 50s, while Warwick Williams and Brodie Newman combined for 11 rebound 50s down back.

Palmerston player-coach Alwyn Davey led his side’s scoring effort with three majors, while prolific bigman Matthew Dennis (17 disposals, 17 hitouts) again made a case for being the best Magpie afield. Chris Williams, who has made an outstanding start to the season collected 27 disposals and four clearances, aided by Eric Guthrie (21 disposals, six clearances), with Michaelis McMasters (26 disposals, seven marks) also finding plenty of the ball.

ST MARY’S | 3.2 | 5.9 | 10.11 | 11.16 (82)
NIGHTCLIFF | 2.6 | 3.9 | 8.15 | 8.15 (63)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Paine 5, J. Calder 2, N. Paredes, S. Edwards, D. Landt, B. Tedcastle
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 3, L. Goonan 2, M. Rivett, P. Lewis-Smith, K. Emery

BEST:

St Mary’s: T. Saunders, J. Paine, L. Taylor, R. Smith, N. Paredes, J. Landt
Nightcliff: C. Gikas, J. Peris, P. Wills, C. Ilett, M. Rivett, D. Brew

St Mary’s produced some vintage form to make it two wins on the hop, becoming the first team to defeat Nightcliff in season 2020/21 with a 19-point win at TIO Stadium. Under Friday night lights, the Saints looked a much more assured side and worked hard to deliver a monster four-quarter effort which saw them run out 11.16 (82) to 8.15 (63) victors. Having held a lead of two goals or thereabouts throughout the contest, St Mary’s kept an unusually wasteful Nightcliff outfit scoreless in the final term to consolidate the win.

Nate Paredes comfortably led all comers with 27 disposals as he continues to run the Saints’ engine room alongside Shaun Edwards (19 disposals, four clearances). The forwardline was again spearheaded by Jackson Paine, who booted 5.2 from his nine disposals, while Tylah Saunders looked lively and Jackson Calder also snared multiple goals (two). Further afield, import Dylan Landt was again impressive with 19 touches and seven rebound 50s.

The Tigers’ maiden loss did not come without its fair share of solid contributors, with Dom Brew and Brodie Filo each managing 20 disposals, five clearances, and four inside 50s. Veteran Cam Ilett added a few highlights to his illustrious reel with a nice hanger and three goals up forward, while Victorian Luca Goonan booted two majors from his 14 disposals. After snagging 11 goals in his previous two outings, Kyle Emery was kept to just one by the stingy Saints defence.

TIWI BOMBERS | 4.3 | 4.6 | 8.12 | 8.12 (60)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 2.3 | 6.9 | 12.13 | 17.16 (118)

GOALS:

Tiwi: H. Puruntatameri 3, A. Byrne 2, N. Ebinger 2, P. Heenan
Districts: A. Boseley 5, J. Dahlhaus 4, L. Kiel 3, J. Farrar 2, J. Tsitas, N. Rokahr, J. Salmon

BEST:

Tiwi: J. Monigatti, A. Byrne, P. Heenan, H. Puruntatameri, N. Ebinger
Districts: J. Tsitas, Z. Smith, J. Dahlhaus, C. McAdam, A. Boseley, D. Staunton

One team’s ‘0’ had to go when the winless Tiwi Bombers and Southern Districts met on Saturday afternoon, and it was the Crocs who ran away 58-point winners on enemy turf. In very warm conditions on Bathurst Island, Districts’ fitness shone through after quarter time as the home side ran out of legs, going goalless in the second and fourth quarters. A raft of Geelong-themed recruits helped the Crocs overpower Tiwi, slamming home a total of 33 scoring shots.

Angus Byrne and Harley Puruntatameri were at the forefront of Tiwi’s hot start, each snagging multiple goals in the opening term to give their side a short-lived edge. The latter would go on to boot one more major, with Nick Ebinger also troubling the scorers twice. Bigman Jack Monigatti won 26 hitouts in a mammoth effort, aiding the cause of Nathan Scagliarini (26 disposals, six clearances) and Fletcher Carroll (25 disposals, five clearances). Meanwhile, Mason De Wit again took up his defensive post and registered 11 rebound 50s.

Former Tiger and Woodville-West Torrens premiership midfielder James Tsitas was phenomenal upon his return to the Top End, collecting a game-high 33 disposals and six clearances. Fellow SANFL gun Nikolaus Rokahr was also prominent with big numbers of 25 disposals, 11 marks, and 10 inside 50s, while skipper Dean Staunton managed 29 touches. A Geelong-themed forwardline of Andrew Boseley (five goals), Jay Dahlhaus (four), and Luke Kiel (three) also did plenty of damage for the Crocs.

WARATAH | 0.4 | 3.6 | 6.9 | 15.9 (99)
DARWIN | 5.2 | 10.5 | 14.9 | 16.9 (105)

GOALS:

Waratah: C. Searle 4, C. Arnold 3, J. Sutton 2, R. Turnbull 2, J. McGrath, J. Carmichael, B. Carroll, B. Orval
Darwin: M. Campbell 5, B. Foster 4, J. Collinson 2, J. Stokes 2, R. Matricardi, J. Clarke, R. Pendlebury

Darwin maintained its perfect start to the season, taking out a thriller against Waratah by six points on Saturday afternoon. In what would prove to be a danger game at Gardens Oval, the Buffs led comfortably by eight-straight goals at three quarter time, before fatigue kicked in and the Warriors hit back with nine goals in the final term. Tahs fell just short in the end, with the 16.9 (105) to 15.9 (99) result seeing them sit fourth at 2-2. Meanwhile, the Buffs are riding high in top spot on the back of their 4-0 run.

Jarrod Stokes played a major role for the Double Blues, with his two clutch goals coming from a total of 19 disposals, seven clearances, and seven inside 50s. Fellow experienced head Matt Campbell reverted back to a role in the forwardline, snaring five goals to justify a masterstroke from coach Cameron Stokes. Prolific forward Brodie Foster had plenty of chances and finished with 4.4, while Joey Collinson bagged two majors. Jalen Clarke (16 dispsoals, one goal) and Ryan Pendlebury (16 disposals, six marks, seven inside 50s) were other impactful players for the Buffs.

Waratah was serviced well by Joshua Carmichael, who managed a team-high 22 disposals and eight clearances. Robert Turnbull and Jake Sutton both breached the 20-disposal mark and booted two goals each, while Callum Searle notched four majors from his 17 touches. Rounding out the multiple goalkickers, Cameron Arnold slammed home three for the home side in what was another valiant team effort.

Featured Image: Darwin’s Chris Atkinson flies for the ball | Credit: Che Chorley/NT News

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 2

AFTER an action-packed weekend to kick off the season, the 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League rolls on into Round 2. All four games are set to be played on what shapes up as a super Saturday of football, headlined by a TIO Stadium triple-header. The first ball bounces down as Palmerston takes on Tiwi, while Nightcliff is the only true host as it welcomes Waratah to Nightcliff Oval.

Palmerston Magpies vs. Tiwi Bombers
Saturday October 10, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Both Palmerston and Tiwi will be out to rectify Round 1 losses, when they do battle at TIO Stadium in the weekend’s opening fixture. The Magpies were soundly trumped by Waratah last time out, while Tiwi was outlasted by Darwin in a high-scoring shootout. The combined losing margin between the teams in Round 1 was 133 points, so suffice to say, there is plenty of room for improvement either way.

Magpies recruit Daniel Stafford will hope for a far more fruitful outing this time around, having been held to three disposals and a goal against Waratah. Support comes from Nigel Lockyer Jnr, who is fresh off a four-goal haul, while bigman Matthew Dennis will again look to supply Chris Williams with a bunch of opportunities at the stoppages. The midfield battle will be key to any Palmerston success; taking some heat off young defenders in Sandy Brock and Tyrrell Lui, while also providing the dangerous Magpies forwards with quick and favourable entries.

Tiwi’s pace and fluent movement could cause some headaches in transition, with the Bombers’ losing score of 94 from last week still a better effort than what half the other teams managed. Victorian recruits Nathan Scagliarini and Angus Byrne have already shown they’ll be terrific additions to the side, while Mason Dewit was also handy down back in his NTFL debut. The likes of Harley Puruntatameri, Henry Kerinaiua, and John Tipiloura will all need to provide their usual spark going forward, with the Bombers’ wide range of goal sources somewhat depleted compared to last season.

Expect a close contest in this one, with both sides out to notch their first win of the season. Palmerston will understand the importance of getting on the board early, but may need some time to gel having taken in a number of key recruits. The Bombers stand as a fearsome test.

Nightcliff vs. Waratah
Saturday October 10, 4:00pm
Nightcliff Oval

Two-time reigning premier Nightcliff meets fellow Round 1 victor, Waratah on home turf this Saturday, as both sides look to carry on their winning form. As they often do, the Tigers sent a resounding statement to the rest of the competition in their defeat of St Mary’s in last week’s Grand Final rematch, with the usual suspects combining well alongside a range of fresh faces. Waratah also earned a stylish win in the season’s curtain-raiser, thumping Palmerston under the new Gardens Oval lights on Friday night.

The hardness and maturity of Nightcliff’s side continues to shine through, with the likes of Daniel Bowles, Cam Ilett, and Brodie Filo all finding plenty of the ball last week. Dominic Brew‘s 17 disposals, 13 tackles, and seven clearances were also mighty impressive, with the Tigers’ midfield depth and versatility a tough match for any team. Combine that with the sturdiness of Nathan Brown down back, and the goal threat of Liam Holt-Fitz, Kyle Emery, and Matthew Bricknell up forward, and you have a well-balanced unit which boasts a range of weapons.

Waratah’s Ned Stevens is coming off a performance which earned him a Rising Star nod, competing well against Dennis, Palmerston’s established ruckman. He’ll have more of a rotation to face this time out alongside Zach Westerberg. At their feet, the likes of Sam Godden, Dylan Collis, and Joshua Carmichael should provide good forward drive against stiff opposition, along with usual suspect, Abe Ankers. Jae McGrath has proven again that he is able to spearhead the attack, with Brodie Carroll, Tom Fields, and Kim Kantilla all capable of hitting the scoreboard, too.

After such a promising season initiation last week, a true test of Waratah’s credentials will come against the competition’s benchmark. Nightcliff seldom puts in a bad performance, so the Warriors will have to be at their best to outdo the reigning premiers and remain undefeated.

Darwin Buffaloes vs. Southern Districts
Saturday October 10, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin proved many a doubter wrong in Round 1, and will look to continue that trend heading into its Saturday evening clash with Southern Districts. The Double Blues stormed away to a 64-point romping over Tiwi, while the Crocs slumped to a narrow four-point loss at the hands of Wanderers. The two sides last met in week one of last year’s finals series, with Districts getting the better of the Buffs on that occasion to the tune of 71 points. But a lot has changed since then and there will be a decent personnel turnover coming into this battle.

Experienced heads in Jarrod Stokes and Matt Campbell continue to serve their Darwin side well along with the returning figure of Brodie Foster, who comes in fresh off a six-goal haul. Ishmael Palmer and Joey Collinson were others to showcase Darwin’s scoring prowess in last week’s effort, with good potential to carry on such form agains the Crocs. Districts have lost some of that firepower and only managed six goals last week, but can rely on the likes of Lionel Ogden and Dean Staunton to drive standards. Billy Rolfe also snared half of his side’s total goals in Round 1, so will have a big role to play once again.

It’d be easy to turn on the Crocs after a disappointing Round 1 result, though Wanderers look a much-improved side and only just got the better of them. Darwin has been a notoriously hot started over the last few seasons, so will hope that trend continues here in what should be a cracking contest.

St Mary’s vs. Wanderers
Saturday October 10, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Season 2019/20 Grand Finalist St Mary’s readies for battle with Wanderers, looking to get on the board in the new campaign. The Saints were again outdone by Nightcliff in their opening game, while a revamped Wanderers snuck home by four points over Southern Districts. A perfect start to 2020/21 is up for grabs for the Muk Muks given the stiff opposition they’ve faced, with St Mary’s hoping it doesn’t fall too far behind the leading pack early on.

Star Victorian recruits Shaun Mannagh and Brodie Newman were terrific last time out for Wanderers, while familiar faces in Braedon McLean and Brett Eddy will hope to continue their leading of the side. Goals were hard to come by against Districts, but the likes of Brayden Culhane and Shane Thorne should again be thereabouts for the Eagles. The Saints were another side to only manage six goals in Round 1, with the likes of Nate Paredes and Shaun Edwards having to contribute from midfield. The returning Jackson Paine started strongly, while fellow bigman Brandyn Grenfell will again look to impact.

Wanderers is a side on the rise and will have to work hard to get the most out of a couple of tough early-season assignments. St Mary’s will be hungry to hit back hard after last week and have the cattle to do so, led by some experienced campaigners.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 1 Darwin vs. Tiwi clash | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

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

THE 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League season bounced down on Friday night, signalling the start of what is set to be a interesting period in Top-End football. Reigning premier, Nightcliff again got the better of St Mary’s in the much-anticipated Grand Final rematch, while Waratah stormed out of the blocks with a terrific season-opening win over Palmerston under lights at Gardens Oval. All that, and more in our Round 1 wrap.

WARATAH 2.2 | 9.5 | 14.8 | 19.10 (124)
PALMERSTON 1.1 | 4.1 | 4.3 | 8.7 (55)

GOALS:

Waratah: J. McGrath 4, T. Fields 4, K. Kantilla 3, B. Carroll 2, S. Godden, N. Gooch, J. Carmichael, A. Ankers, C. Searle, J. Sutton
Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr 4, M. Sutton, C. Williams, D. Stafford, A. McAdam

BEST:

Waratah: T. Fields, K. Kantilla, S. Godden, B. Orval, N. Stevens
Palmerston: C. Williams, E. Guthrie, L. Flanagan, M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, M. McMasters

Under new Friday night lights at Gardens Oval, Waratah opened its season on the perfect note with a 69-point win over Palmerston. The game was held as tribute to former Warrior, Alex Aurrichio, who sadly passed away in June this year. Tom Fields, who had been with the big American throughout his footballing journey, honoured his good mate with four goals for the winners in a best-afield display.

The Magpies, last season’s wooden spooners simply failed to match Waratah’s firepower, as the Warriors took hold of the game with 12 goals to three across the second and third terms. Fields, along with a number of key recruits played their part for either side. Port Melbourne gun Callum Searle was terrific across half-back for Tahs, while former Buffalo Chris Williams made a promising start to life in black and white despite the loss. Second-year Warrior Jae McGrath was dangerous up forward with four majors, aided by Kim Kantilla (three goals) and Brodie Carroll‘s two majors from midfield.

Mainstay ruckman Matthew Dennis was typically solid for Palmerston, while Nigel Lockyer Jnr showed off his dynamism with high flies and a long-range effort among his four goals. Much was made of the Magpies’ off-season, but it seems as though the team will require a settling-in period to properly gel before making a tilt for finals.

TIWI BOMBERS 5.3 | 8.7 | 13.10 | 14.10 (94)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 3.2 | 8.4 | 18.7 | 24.14 (158)

GOALS:

Tiwi: N. Scagliarini 5, J. Tipiloura 3, A. Byrne 2, H. Puruntatameri, P. Heenan, R. Farmer, P. Kantilla
Darwin: B. Foster 6, I. Palmer 4, J. Collinson 3, C. Abala 3, M. Campbell 2, J. Stokes 2, L. McKenzie 2, B. Stokes, M. Coombes

BEST:

Tiwi: N. Scagliarini, J. Tipiloura, A. Byrne, R. Farmer, P Heenan
Darwin: B. Foster, M. Coombes, I. Palmer, D. Gordon, C Atkinson

Darwin defied the impact of an off-season exodus to take out a high-scoring affair against the Tiwi Bombers on Saturday, thumping their rivals to the tune of 64 points at Gardens Oval. Big bags of goals from Darwin’s Brodie Foster (six) and Tiwi’s Nathan Scagliarini (five) headlined the best performances, as fans were treated to a feast of 38 majors. After conceding a three-point deficit at half time, the Double Blues went on a rampage with 16 goals in the second half to come away comfortable winners in the end.

Young forward Ishmael Palmer (four goals) was also among the Buffs to join in on the goalkicking act, with Joseph Collinson booting three, and former Tiwi player Cade Abala matching the feat. Experienced heads in Matt Campbell and Jarrod Stokes added two majors apiece to help new coach Cameron Stokes to a debut victory, while a fresh face in Dylan Gordon was also among Darwin’s best.

While VFL coup Scagliarini was clearly Tiwi’s best for his performance rotating through midfield, a bunch of fellow goalkickers also featured prominently. John Tipiloura snared three majors, while Geelong-based key forward Angus Byrne managed two in a promising start to his NTFL career. Mainstays Paddy Heenan and Roy Farmer also found the big sticks while being named among the Bombers’ best, but there is plenty of room for improvement for this week’s losers.

WANDERERS 2.3 | 2.7 | 4.8 | 6.11 (47)
S. DISTRICTS 1.1 | 3.4 | 5.4 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Culhane 2, S. Thorne 2, S. Bates, B. Eddy
S. Districts: B. Rolfe 3, A. Boseley, D. Staunton, C. McAdam

BEST:

Wanderers: B. McLean, J. Cubillo, B. Eddy, S. Mannagh, B. Newman
S. Districts: L. Ogden, B. Rolfe, D. Staunton, L. Kiel, P. Gallow, Z. Smith

It was not always pretty, but Wanderers secured a hard-earned win over Southern Districts in a low-scoring thriller decided by just four points. The Eagles were led brilliantly by skipper Braedon McLean, who was assured in defence as the likes of Shane Thorne and Brayden Culhane (both two goals) provided a spark up the other end. Having trailed at half time and the final break, the Muk Muks had it all to do in the fourth term, but overtook the Crocs with two goals to one.

The fixture also served as Joel Cubillo‘s 100th game, which turned out to be a great success. As was a theme in the opening round, Victorian recruits impressed in this clash, with VFL jet Shaun Mannagh and Calder Cannons product Brodie Newman both starring for the Eagles. Former Port Adelaide forward Brett Eddy also started his season well with a goal, and a spot among Wanderers’ best.

New Crocs captain Dean Staunton was among his side’s best contributors, but it was Lionel Ogden who stole the show as Districts’ top player for the day. Billy Rolfe also booted three goals on his club debut as the Crocs’ sole multiple goalkicker. New coach Matt Cannard could not quite push his team over the line for the win, but should have some good talent rotate through the side this season, even without Josiah Farrer.

NIGHTCLIFF 4.7 | 7.9 | 10.11 | 14.13 (97)
ST MARY’S 1.1 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: M. Bricknell 3, L. Holt-Fitz 3, C. Ilett 2, K. Emery 2, J. Butcher 2, P. Lewis-Smith, B. Filo
St Mary’s: B. Grenfell 2, N. Paredes, D. Walters, T. Gilbert, S. Edwards

BEST:

Nightcliff: N. Brown, D. Brew, D. Bowles, S. Wilson, T. Boyd, C. Ilett
St Mary’s: J. Paine, B. Grenfell, L. Jellyman-Turner, L. Taylor, S. Edwards, N. Paredes

Reigning premier, Nightcliff sent a message to its competitors with an impressive 42-point win over St Mary’s in what was a rematch of the 2019/20 Grand Final. The Tigers were near their clinical best and simply boasted too much firepower for the Saints to handle. Their class took full toll in the final term, with a four-goal to nil period sealing the result in style.

After another busy off-season, it seems the Tigers are going to be difficult to knock off their mantle as the competition’s top contender. While the likes of Matthew Bricknell and Liam Holt-Fitz went to work up forward with three goals apiece, Nathan Brown was solid as ever down back to claim best afield honours. Veteran Cam Ilett was again prominent, while recent additions Tom Boyd and Dom Brew also featured among Nightcliff’s best half-dozen. Former Palmerston forward Kyle Emery also managed a pair of goals upon his return to the den.

For St Mary’s, former Brisbane forward Jackson Paine was named best afield ahead of newcomers Brandon Grenfell and Lucas Jellyman-Turner, the latter of whom booted two majors. Usual suspects Shaun Edwards and Nate Paredes were also on form, but could not quite do enough to keep the Saints within touch for four quarters.

Featured Image: Darwin’s Joseph Collinson gets a kick away | Credit: Glenn Campbell/NT News

2020/21 NTFL Premier League season preview

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

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

CLUB-BY-CLUB:

Darwin:

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

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

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

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

Nightcliff:

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

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

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

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

Palmerston:

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

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

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

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

Southern Districts:

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

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

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

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

St Mary’s:

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

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

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

Tiwi Bombers:

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

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

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

Wanderers:

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

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

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

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

Waratah:

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

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

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

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

2019/2020 NTFL Men’s Premier League team review: Southern Districts

THE next team under review in our club-by-club Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League recap is gallant preliminary finalist, Southern Districts. Losers in the 2018/19 decider, the Crocs looked to again be in the premiership hunt after a tight Round 1 grand final rematch against Nightcliff, but struggled to capture their best form for consistent periods throughout the season. Arguably their best streak came at the ideal time though, with a string of three wins heading into the post-season putting Districts in perfect stead to notch two high-class finals wins. While they fell just short of a third-consecutive grand final berth to the eventual premier, the Crocs produced some terrific football when at their best.


SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2019/20 SEASON REVIEW

Record: 3rd, 10-7-1 (2-1 finals), 120%

Most games: Josiah Farrer (21)

Most goals: William Farrer (52 – league best)

With over double the goals tally of the next-best Croc (Ed Barlow, 25), Will Farrer thrived as his side’s spearhead in 2019/20 to finish as the league’s leading goalkicker. Farrer’s incredible run of finding the big sticks in all of his first 10 outings is testament to his consistency, being held goalless just twice in 19 games – against the top two sides, no less. The high-flying forward also booted more than three goals 11 times this year, making him a reliable figure for the Crocs in helping to take contests away from their opponents. His season-high haul of eight goals came against Palmerston in Round 16, just as Districts started to turn their form around.

MVP: Josiah Farrer

The profound impact that both Farrer boys have on the Southern Districts side is no secret, and Josiah was arguably the centrepiece in 2019/20 as a mainstay in the lineup. The midfielder/forward was the only Croc to feature in every round this season, finding the goals in 15 outings to average almost one major per game. Farrer’s happy knack of getting on the board when resting forward, or bursting up the ground from midfield, made him one of the more impactful ball winners in the competition, with his versatility another showpiece of his well-rounded game.

Best Nichols Medal poller: Ed Barlow (11)

Not to be mistaken for his ‘twin’, Michael, Ed Barlow made a real impact in his 10 games across 2019/20, remarkably enough finishing as the Crocs’ second-highest goalkicker with 25. The ex-Sydney and Bulldogs utility often proved too big and strong for his opponents through midfield and up forward, showcased most significantly in his seven-goal effort against Tiwi to lead the Crocs’ semi final triumph. A big game player, Barlow was a prominent figure in Districts’ late-season charge, featuring among the coach’s best six players in their last four games – including three finals. Given the impact he can have, it is no wonder he polled so well this year.

Young gun: Brodie Lake

One of the NT’s brightest prospects is Brodie Lake, a two-time Thunder Under 16 representative and last year’s carnival MVP. The tall utility was employed mostly in the back six across his 15 games, locking down a spot in the Crocs’ squad throughout the latter half of the year as one of their more important figures. Capable of playing roles anywhere on the ground, Lake has earned plaudits for his coachability and is thriving as part of the Allies hub, training with the Gold Coast SUNS during their pre-season. Perhaps the top-end’s best draft prospect this year, Lake is certainly one to watch.

Best win: Semi-Final – def. Tiwi 16.15 (111) to 11.5 (71)

Goals: E. Barlow 7, W. Farrer 2, J. Garlett 2, D. Staunton 2, M. Barlow, J. Watts, J. Farrer.
Best: E. Barlow, C. McAdam, D. Staunton, K. Dingo, M. Barlow, J. Schofield

Perhaps the showpiece game of Districts’ season, their win over Tiwi was a great advertisement of the Crocs’ firepower. Ed Barlow led a brigade of four multiple goalkickers with his bag of seven, while the big names of Will Farrer, Josiah Farrer, Jeff Garlett, and Michael Barlow all also got on the board. Add to that the experience of Dean Staunton and Keegan Dingo to steady the ship, and it was a terrific all-round performance from the Crocs.

Worst result: Round 2 – drew w/ Wanderers 9.12 (66)

Goals: W. Farrer 3, J. Farrer 2, J. Clarke, B. Schwarze, I. Wyatt, B. Ngalkin.
Best: C. McAdam, M. Bowden, Z. Smith, J. Farrer, T. Holman, K. Dingo

No worst loss for the Crocs this season, but a worst result instead, in their Round 2 draw with Wanderers. This result ultimately cost Districts a top three berth and finals double chance, boasting the percentage required to snatch third if they had picked up the extra two points here. Nonetheless, the usual suspects were in play here, with Will and Josiah Farrer both booting multiple goals, while Thomas Holman and the ever-present Michael Bowden were also among the best.