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

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

St Mary’s

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

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

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

Tiwi Bombers

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

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

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

Wanderers

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

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

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

Waratah

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

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

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

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 8

A HOTLY contested weekend of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action saw three games decided by four goals or less, as all eight top flight teams took to the field on Saturday. Southern Districts and Waratah were among the big winners with notable upsets over genuine finals contenders, while St Mary’s soared past Tiwi in easily the most one-sided game of the round. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 0.3 | 1.5 | 8.10 | 8.12 (60)
ST MARY’S | 5.3 | 9.5 | 17.7 | 21.13 (139)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Bryne 2, R. Tungatalum 2, A. Tipungwuti, J. Wilson, M. De Wit, T. Babui
St Mary’s: B. Tedcastle 4, J. Long 3, N. Paredes 3, J. Landt 2, S. Edwards 2, J. Calder 2, B. Grenfell 2, R. Smith, L. Raymond, A. Wilson

BEST:

Tiwi: M. De Wit, N. Scagliarini, F. Carroll, R. Tungatalum, J Monigatti
St Mary’s: D. Landt, J. Williams, B. Tedcastle, L. Taylor, J. Landt, A. Long

St Mary’s staved off a shootout with Tiwi to come away 79 point victors on Saturday afternoon, marking an authoritative start to the Round 8 action. The Saints stormed out to an even eight-goal lead at the main break before Tiwi made its move with seven goals during the third term. There was just one problem for the Bombers, or eight, as St Mary’s piled on as many majors in return to keep well ahead in the contest. It proved Tiwi’s final surge as the Bombers remained goalless in the final quarter, seeing St Mary’s run out 21.13 (139) to 8.12 (60) winners.

The Saints had little trouble kicking a winning score in the absence of Jackson Paine, with Beau Tedcastle (four goals) one of seven St Mary’s players to find the big sticks on more than one occasion. Nate Paredes was among that list and kicked a goal of the week contender, while Dylan Landt proved a key part of the win. Mason De Wit was again outstanding for Tiwi from defence, while gun forward Ross Tungatalum made a handful of himself through midfield alongside Nathan Scagliarini and Fletcher Carroll. The result sees Tiwi languish in last at 0-8, while St Mary’s jumps to third with its 5-3 record.

WANDERERS | 3.3 | 6.5 | 9.6 | 12.9 (81)
PALMERSTON | 3.3 | 6.4 | 9.6 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Bates 2, B. O’Connell, R. Fejo, J. Cubillo, T. Motlop, D. McFarlane
Palmerston: T. Kunoth 4, A. McAdam 2, J. Mentha, M. Dennis, S. Lampton, A. Davey

BEST:

Wanderers: D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson, A. Motlop, J. Cubillo, D. Thompson
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, A. Davey, M. Dennis, R. Armstrong, T. Kunoth, S. Jewell

Wanderers survived an almighty scare at the hands of Palmerston on Saturday evening to scrounge a 13-point win at TIO Stadium and move clear atop the Premier League standings. There was nothing to split the two sides come the first and third breaks, as Palmerston’s dash and dare continued to worry a defensive Wanderers outfit. After trailing by three goals in the third term, the Muk Muks drew back level and continued their momentum into the deciding quarter to earn the 12.9 (81) to 10.8 (68) victory, thanks largely to claiming six of the last seven goals.

Brett Eddy again topped the scoresheet with five majors for Wanderers, with Simon Bates the only other Eagle to snare multiple goals (two) – including the sealer. The likes of Dane McFarlane and Brydan Hodgson were again prominent in the Eagles’ seventh win along with Josh Cubillo. Toshie Kunoth did most of the damage for Palmerston with his bag of goals, but it was Eric Guthrie, Aaron Davey, and ruckman Matthew Dennis who inspired the Magpies’ effort from the engine room. Palmerston is no better placed with its 1-7 record, while Wanderers sits pretty in first place with opposite figures.

NIGHTCLIFF | 1.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 8.6 (54)
S. DISTRICTS | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.11 | 9.13 (67)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 3, L. Holt-Fitz, A. Jorgensen, S. Wilson, P. Wills, W. Wheeler
Districts: J. Tsitas 3, L. Kiel 2, J. Dahlhaus 2, J. Farrar, D. Staunton

BEST:

Nightcliff: A. Jorgensen, M. Rivett, W. Wheeler, C. Ilett, D. Bowles, P. Wills
Districts: L. McGregor, J. Tsitas, J. Dahlhaus, D. Robertson, J. Clark, J. Laba

Southern Districts claimed the scalp of the season so far with a 13-point road win over Nightcliff on Saturday night. The Crocs ensured to spoil their adversaries’ party under lights, with the reigning premiers celebrating their maiden game among the newly installed Nightcliff Oval luminance. It proved a scrappy, low-scoring affair from the outset but Districts proved the team in control to lead at every break. As good sides do, Nightcliff hit back when it mattered to move within striking distance, but the effort proved futile as Districts sealed the deal to win 9.13 (67) to 8.6 (54).

Against his old side, James Tsitas was impactful as ever with three important goals and plenty of disposals, while Luke Kiel was the one to steady his side at the death. Michael Bowden and Liam McGregor also played important roles in the win, which sees the Crocs move one step closer to the top five. Cam Ilett booted three majors for Nightcliff as the Tigers’ lone multiple goalkicker, with the likes of Mack Rivett, Daniel Bowles, and Willie Wheeler continuing their good stretch of form. Nightcliff now drops back to second, but remains every bit the premiership contender despite another slip-up.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 8.5 | 10.5 | 13.5 (83)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 2.4 | 7.5 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Waratah: R. Turnbull 3, J. Sutton 3, C. Arnold 2, M. Blake 2, C. Searle 2, T. Fields
Darwin: M. Lochowiak 3, J. Collinson 2, S. Ahmat 2, I. Palmer 2

BEST:

Waratah: Z. Westerberg, R. Turnbull, C. Searle, J. Sutton, T. Fields, B. Carroll
Darwin: J. Stokes, R. Pendlebury, T. Eldridge, M. Lochowiak

Waratah broke through to knock off top opposition on Saturday night, defeating Darwin by 13 points to see out the weekend’s action. After building a 37-point lead at the main break, Tahs were made to earn their keep in the second half as Darwin rallied to get the margin back to within a couple of goals. The Warriors were up to the task and notched a key victory, reading 13.5 (83) to 9.6 (60) on the final scoreboard. In a rare quirk, all bar one of the goalkickers found multiple majors as Waratah proved efficient inside attacking 50.

Robert Turnbull stood up for Waratah in the absence of Abe Ankers to boot three majors from midfield, aided well by Jake Sutton who matched the feat. Mihail Lochowiak also did so for Darwin and could have compounded his damage at crucial moments with more accurate conversion. Tahs ruckman Zach Westerberg again proved giant in the win, while the likes of Callum Searle and Tom Fields contributed strongly. Jarrod Stokes was adjudged Darwin’s best ahead of Lochowiak, Ryan Pendlebury, and Tim Eldridge. Waratah is now just a game adrift from Darwin on the ladder, as both sides take up top five spots.

Featured Image: Jesse Clark flies for Southern Districts | Credit: Glenn Campbell/NT News

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 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 4

THREE rounds of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action are down for season 2020/21, seeing the competition roll on into Round 4 this weekend. In a first for the new season, four different venues will be used to hold each fixture, with two games played under lights on Friday night, and the remaining two on Saturday afternoon. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Palmerston Magpies vs. Wanderers
Friday October 23, 7:30pm
Cazalys Arena

Two sides with perfectly opposite records meet as Palmerston takes on Wanderers to open Round 4 proceedings at Cazalys Arena. The 1-2 Magpies moved back into the negative after a loss to Darwin last week, but have shown some promise with a fresh raft of recruits seeming to come together nicely in patches. Wanderers sit pretty at 2-1, with the Muk Muks’ only loss coming by 10 points at the hands of undefeated reigning premier, Nightcliff.

Palmerston key forward Daniel Stafford is one of the moving parts coming into good form, fresh off a four-goal haul against his former side. Fellow ex-Buff Chris Williams has enjoyed a dazzling start to the season along with Eric Guthrie and reliable ruckman Matthew Dennis. The run and rebound of Michaelis McMasters and Tyrrell Lui has also been important thus far, while Nigel Lockyer Jnr will have to get back to scoring form this week to help overcome the promising Eagles.

Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell looks like being a massive in for Wanderers, returning to the Premier League after appearing in Division 1. The likes of Simon Bates and Brett Eddy have already proven their scoring threat, with Victorian imports Shaun Mannagh and Brodie Newman looking to continue their high-level starts to life in the NTFL. Dane McFarlane and Michael Mummery bring some more potency having gotten some games under their belts, making for a dynamic Wanderers lineup.

St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff
Friday October 23, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

A second 2019/20 Grand Final rematch is set to go down within the first month of the new season, as St Mary’s takes on Nightcliff at TIO Stadium. It has been business as usual for Nightcliff, who dispatched the Saints by 52 points in Round 1 en route to remaining undefeated to this point. The Saints have had it harder, losing their first two games before a much-needed drought breaking win came against Tiwi last week.

There have been some green shoots for St Mary’s, most significantly after Under 18 talent Beau Tedcastle kicked three goals on his senior debut last time out. Jackson Paine comes in off a six-goal haul, while the likes of Nate Paredes, Jacob Long, and Shaun Edwards are ticking along nicely. Kieren Parnell looms as a nice addition as the Saints continue to field some fresher faces, including Jeremy Goddard and Charlie Furphy from Victorian. They both have turned out this season, along with Jack and Dylan Landt, who have made an impact.

The Tigers could also blood some imported talent, namely Calder Cannons graduate Daniel Mott after his impressive Division 1 showings. In the top flight, Kyle Emery has justified his switch from Palmerston with 11 goals in the last two games, fronting up well with the likes of Brodie Filo, Daniel Bowles, and Phillip Wills delivering from further afield. Tom Boyd is another looking to continue his good form, with the reigning premiers looking strong as ever.

Tiwi Bombers vs. Southern Districts
Saturday October 24, 12:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

Barring a draw, either Tiwi or Southern Districts will break their duck for season 2020/21 when they square off at Wurrumiyanga Oval on Saturday. While both sides are winless at 0-3, it is the Bombers who sit bottom of the ladder after three losses by over 50 points. The Crocs have shown signs of improvement and amid a tough draw, have had a couple of tight losses. Last week’s heartbreaker against Waratah should serve as adequate motivation.

Districts has a distinct Geelong feel about it this week, with former Nightcliff midfielder James Tsitas lining up alongside good mates Luke Kiel and Andrew Boseley. More recent Geelong Falcons graduates Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus are also set to take the field, having already impressed in the top flight. Nikolaus Rokahr is another brilliant addition, fresh off a solid SANFL season for Norwood.

The Bombers look like banding together some of their favourites once again, with the likes of Cyril Rioli and Austin Wonaeamirri named in hopes of boosting their side’s form. Jack Monigatti also looms as a great inclusion, with the likes of Angus Byrne and Mason Dewit already staking their claims in the squad. Given Harley Puruntatameri, Henry Kerinaiua, and Adam Sambono have also been named, the Bombers look like posing their usual threats of speed and forward firepower.

Waratah vs. Darwin Buffaloes
Saturday October 24, 3:00pm
Gardens Oval

Darwin will once again put its perfect record on the line when it faces Waratah at Gardens Oval on Saturday, with both sides looking to continue their promising starts to the season. The Buffs are top of the table after three rounds, proving a bunch of doubters wrong under new coach Cameron Stokes. Waratah’s only blemish thus far was dealt by Nightcliff, with the Warriors looking a much more settled side in season 2020/21.

The Buffs boss looks to have named himself in the side this week, only adding to the experience and class of Matt Campbell and Jarrod Stokes. Jalen Clarke has been in ripping form for the Double Blues, while the likes of Brodie Foster and Ishmael Palmer will once again look to team up for bags of goals up forward. Isaac Seden-Kurnoth is another to keep an eye on, as well as Ryan Pendlebury down back.

Tahs have had some consistent performers too, with skipper Brodie Carroll coming off a game-winning effort and the likes of Callum Searle down back, Abe Ankers through the middle, and the Collis boys making for an even team spread. Jake Sutton and Jae McGrath are also dangerous up forward, and will be sure to make up a heap of goals in response to Darwin’s potency.

Featured Image: Brodie Newman in action for Wanderers | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media