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2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 18

THE FINAL Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League home-and-away round was run and done on Saturday, with finals fixtures officially locked in. A mixed bag of results saw top two sides Nightcliff and St Mary’s earn terrific wins on postseason’s eve, while Southern Districts upset Darwin in a thriller and Palmerston sent off a club stalwart coach in style. All that, and more in our Round 18 weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS 3.2 | 6.2 | 9.3 | 9.4 (58)
PALMERSTON 3.3 | 13.7 | 13.11 | 18.17 (125)

GOALS:

Tiwi: S. Munkara 3, A. Wonaeamirri 2, K. Councillor, J. Simon, J. Tipiloura, B. Rioli
Palmerston: A. McAdam 6, C. Williams 4, J. Lange 2, J. Harvey 2, M. Sutton, A. Davey, B. Church, L. Flanagan

Palmerston ensured Tiwi would complete a winless season in 2020/21, handing the Bombers their 18th loss for the season on Saturday by 67 points. The undermanned Bombers competed well early despite desperately scrounging to fill the team sheet with 18 players, but were blown out in the second term as Palmerston slammed home 10 goals. The Magpies’ scoring surge set up their 18.17 (125) to 9.4 (58) win, ensuring player-coach Alwyn Davey would be sent off fittingly in his final game at the helm.

Davey booted the last goal of the game and was served well by Aiden McAdam inside 50, who booted a game-high six goals. Chris Williams was prolific through midfield and added four majors, as a total of eight Magpies joined in on the scoring action. Formerly retired Bomber Simon Munkara was strong early and finished with three goals, while Austin Wonaeamirri snared two and skipper Paddy Heenan worked hard for his side through the engine room.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 3.1 | 5.3 | 7.4 | 7.4 (46)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.6 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

Districts: J. Farrer 2, D. Robertson 2, Z. Clarke, L. Kiel, M. Bowden
Darwin: B. Foster 3, A. Stokes, B. Archard, T. Eldridge

BEST:

Districts: D. Robertson, L. Kiel, B. Lake, J. Clark, D. Staunton, M. Bowden
Darwin: N/A

Southern Districts may have fallen short of finals this season, but capped off its 2020/21 campaign with a spirited one-point win over Darwin Buffaloes on Saturday. The Crocs led throughout the scrappy contest and played like a side which had nothing to lose, building a two-goal buffer and holding on at the clutch. Timothy Eldridge booted the only fourth term major as Darwin closed to within a goal, but could not overturn the result which ended 7.4 (46) to 6.9 (45) in favour of Districts.

Along with Eldridge, spearhead Brodie Foster helped cut the margin for Darwin at key moments and finished with a game-high three goals. He was impactful alongside the likes of Kelvin Williams and Bradley Stokes. Former AFL ruckman Zac Clarke made his debut for the Crocs, hitting the scoreboard and adding to their tall stocks. Dean Robertson booted two majors as one of Districts’ best, along with fellow goal getters Luke Kiel and Michael Bowden.

ST MARY’S 4.5 | 10.11 | 14.15 | 19.17 (131)
WANDERERS 3.1 | 5.1 | 5.3 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Landt 3, J. Long 2, D. Landt 2, L. Fiore 2, R. Linklater 2, B. Grenfell 2, J. Robinson, N. Paredes, L. Taylor, J. Cheek, J. Long, L. Ferreira
Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Bates, J. Priest, S. Tipiloura

BEST:

St Mary’s: D. Landt, L. Jellyman-Turner, N. Paredes, W. Hams, B. Grenfell, S. Edwards
Wanderers: B. Eddy, A. Motlop, D. McFarlane, E. Simpson, B. Motlop

Saturday’s qualifying final preview saw St Mary’s blow Wanderers away by 79 points, seeing the Saints cement second spot and a handy mental edge ahead of the postseason. The second and third terms proved telling periods for the winners, who added 10 goals to Wanderers’ two through a wealth of opportunities to lay the foundations for their comprehensive 19.17 (131) to 8.4 (52) triumph.

Jack Landt (three goals) led a brigade of 12 individual goalkickers for the Saints, with brother Dylan one of five players to claim two majors. Brandyn Grenfell was another as he took over primary ruck duties, while Lucas Jellyman-Turner also impressed for the Green Machine. Competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy capped off his season with another five majors, supplied well by Dane McFarlane in midfield, who was on of Wanderers’ best along with Aaron and Brenton Motlop.

WARATAH 2.0 | 9.0 | 9.1 | 10.2 (62)
NIGHTCLIFF 2.1 | 3.2 | 8.5 | 9.10 (64)

GOALS:

Waratah: R. Turnbull 3, K. Kantilla 2, D. Hemphill, J. Sutton, W. Collis, B. Carroll, A. Moloney
Nightcliff: S. Wilson 3, T. Melville 2, H. Drogemuller, J. Hammond, R. Nyhuis, P. Wills

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Nightcliff: D. Bowles, D. Brew, K. Riley, S. Wilson, B. Filo, D. Butcher

Nightcliff overturned a 34-point half time deficit in muddy conditions on Saturday night to defeat Waratah by two points in a thrilling Battle of the Beaches. The Tigers were stunned by a seven-goal second term from Waratah, but quickly cut back to a manageable deficit at the next break before sneaking ahead to take all four points. The 9.10 (64) to 10.2 (62) result means Nightcliff has now won eight-straight games as it guns for a premiership three-peat.

Usual suspects were at the core of the Tigers’ turnaround, with midfield maestros Brodie Filo and Dom Brew performing well while Shaun Wilson (three goals) and Trent Melville (two) benefitted inside attacking 50. Robert Turnbull also booted three majors for Waratah as the Warriors’ best player afield, with fellow scorers Damon Hemphill and Will Collis also among their side’s best contributors in the losing effort.

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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