Tag: james tsitas

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL SCORES:

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

GOALS:

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

DC BEST:

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

Australia Day Medal: Cam Ilett (NT)

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Midseason review: Darwin, Nightcliff, Palmerston, Southern Districts

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

Darwin Buffaloes

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

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

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

Nightcliff

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

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

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

Palmerston

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

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

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

Southern Districts

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

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

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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