Tag: john butcher

NTFL Men’s Premier League preview: Round 3 – Wanderers face Nightcliff in lone top five clash

ONLY one game in Round 3 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League will be played between teams in finals spots, with Wanderers facing reigning premier Nightcliff on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, both Southern Districts and Palmerston have the chance to grab their first win of the season, and St Mary’s will look to stay undefeated.

TIWI BOMBERS (8th, 0-2) vs. ST MARY’S (2nd, 2-0)
Saturday October 19, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Teams with polar opposite formlines meet to kick off Round 3 as Tiwi plays host to St Mary’s at TIO Stadium. The topped-up Saints have been excellent so far in toppling Waratah and Palmerston, but will face a tricky task in upholding their form against an underperforming Bombers unit. Both teams had a good amount of build-up coming into the season, but Tiwi’s production has been levels off that of its weekend opponent. To be fair to the Bombers, fixtures against Darwin and reigning premier Nightcliff to start the year arguably poised them with the toughest early draw, but their best started to come to the fore in the second and third terms against Nightcliff after the Tigers got the jump on them. Slow starts seem to be a theme for the bottom-placed side, which had to dig itself out of a similar rut in the opening stages of last season. St Mary’s ended up being the side to claim the dreaded wooden spoon, but all signs point toward a more positive outcome this time around.

The talent on either side is undeniable, stacked with famous NT names throughout. Saints leader Raphael Clarke has made a starring start to the year alongside smaller types in Nicholas Yarran, Nathaniel Paredes, and the returning Jackson Geary. Ex-AFL midfielder Will Hams has also been a welcome addition to what is a re-energised Saints line-up looking to crack back into its rightful top-end spot. Former-Saint Michael Dunn has bagged multiple goals in both of his games thus far and will provide good opposition alongside Adam Tipungwuti and Jason Puruntatameri. They will look to new recruit Michael Mummery, Round 2 rising star nominee Jeffrey Simon, and Harley Puruntatameri to provide some added spark, with the Bombers’ x-factor something that sets them apart. That unpredictability against some of St Mary’s proven quantities will be key to this contest, and we could well get a belter.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (5th, 0-1-1) vs. PALMERSTON MAGPIES (7th, 0-2)
Saturday October 19, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

One team’s zero is set to go, as the winless Southern Districts and Palmerston do battle at Norbuilt Oval in the weekend’s only game away from TIO Stadium. Given the 0-2 Magpies sit without any points altogether, the Crocs would be smelling blood in the water at the opportunity continue their trend of going one-better in each passing game. A draw against Wanderers last time out was less than ideal though, with the Crocs unable to truly click into gear for four quarters despite showing some promising signs in their Round 1 grand final rematch. Another less-than-ideal situation is that they will be without William Farrer for at least this fixture after he became the first NTFL player to be charged under the Auditory Offences matrix for umpire abuse. It serves as another blow to the Crocs’ firepower, which is already missing ex-AFL star Leroy Jetta and now-Bomber Michael Mummery from last year’s campaign. They will have to turn to Josiah Farrer, Beau Schwarze and Brodie Lake, as well as the experience of 100-gamer Charlie McAdam for inspiration in this clash, with Palmerston boasting a few tricky customers.

The Magpies were competitive despite falling short of Darwin by almost four goals in Round 2, slowly building on a disappointing opening round showing. State combine invitee Nigel Lockyer Jnr has been the standout with three goals in both games so far, while Bundoora stalwart Matthew Dennis has transferred last year’s form to this season. All three Davey boys were absent last time out for the Magpies in what was a blow to their creativity forward of centre, so a combination of them back in the side would do a world of good. Kyle Emery and Misha Perry Jnr will look to up their output to match the Crocs too, with the inability to kick a winning score one of the things holding Palmerston back from the better teams as it stands. If Southern Districts can find its groove and get on top early, watch out, otherwise expect to see the Magpies compete again for four quarters.

DARWIN BUFFALOES (1st, 2-0) vs. WARATAH (6th, 0-2)
Saturday October 19, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Another clash of opposing form is set to go down in Saturday’s evening game between Darwin and Waratah, with the former looking to remain atop the NTFL ladder. The Buffs have made an inspired start to the season for a second campaign running, sparked by big bags of goals from Adam Sambono (12 goals) and Brayden Culhane (six) in either game. While Sambono was absent in Round 2, his return would spell serious trouble for the struggling Warriors as it would free the likes of Joe Anderson and Patrick Boles to wreak havoc further afield. Lee Mununggurr and Antonio James are others who can excite, making Darwin a real handful for any side in the competition with their star-power across the board.

On the other hand, Waratah has struggled to exit second gear after an outstanding 2018/19 campaign and had its depth tested far more with the absence of Abe Ankers last week. He remains the key man for them with his scoreboard impact from midfield, despite some of the scoring load eased by VFL-listed small forward Steve Stroobants. Scoreboard assistance is sure to come in the form of Henry Kerinaiua and Kim Kantilla, with Cam Barrett, Sam Godden and ex-Bendigo Pioneer Laine Fitzgerald looking to make an impact further afield. The Warriors have been unlucky to come up against three in-form teams to start the season, but will be sure to give it a red-hot crack if their consistency last season is anything to go by. The memory of their 2018/19 thrashings of Darwin late in the season would also be fresh and serve as apt motivation, with the Buffs looking like a true premiership contender at this point. Expect their class to shine through, but to be tested depending on who is available.

WANDERERS (4th 1-0-1) vs. NIGHTCLIFF (3rd, 2-0)
Saturday October 19, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

The game of the round will be the last for the weekend, as Wanderers and Nightcliff battle it out to remain undefeated. It serves as the only fixture this week between two teams in finals spots, with the Tigers one of three 2-0 sides while Wanderers suffered the first blemish to its record with a draw to Southern Districts last time out. If football math ever worked, this would be a time to use it given both sides have already faced the Crocs, with the Tigers managing to get the better of them in Round 1’s grand final rematch. But that kind of analysis is hardly useful this early in the piece, and does not take into account the x-factor that Wanderers can bring. Under-17 star utility Joel Jeffrey leads the way in that department, followed closely by Round 1 Rising Star nominee Ronald Fejo Jnr. Both have been impactful thus far, particularly up forward, with consistency of Shane Thorne and spark of Davin Ferreira set to come into play too in the absence of experienced star Marlon Motlop from last campaign. There is still a raft of players of the same name making a difference this time around, and the Muk Muks will need all of their talent to continue Wanderers’ promising start.

Nightcliff remains the biggest test in the competition though, starting with a perfect record against good opposition despite not yet clinching that top spot. The Tigers’ scoring power is scary and comes from a raft of players, including the likes of NT legend Cam Ilett, with others like Trent Melville, Matthew Bricknell and Wade Derksen still due to claim a big bag. Ex-Port forward John Butcher is another who can come back into the side and slot through multiple goals, making Nightcliff’s forward threats every bit as deep as any other side. It could be a case of the ultra-consistent and high-scoring Tigers bringing Wanderers back down to earth, but do not be surprised to see the Eagles give the reigning premier a good run on the back of some confidence gained over the first two rounds.

NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap: Round 1 – Sambono boots 12 in Buffs’ Tiwi romp

THE 2019/20 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) season got underway on the weekend and produced a truly mixed bag of results. While Southern Districts was unable to make good on its grand final loss in a rematch against Nightcliff, the Darwin Buffaloes put their dour end to last season behind them, while Waratah and St Mary’s also picked up confidence-inducing wins.

DARWIN BUFFALOES 2.2 | 11.5 | 19.7 | 24.13 (157)
TIWI BOMBERS 3.3 | 3.3 | 4.7 | 6.8 (44)

GOALS:

Darwin: A. Sambono 12, J. Anderson 3, C. Williams 3, B. Corey Culhane 2, J. Anderson, J. Stokes, J. Clarke, D Miles.
Tiwi: L. Wale-Buxton 2, P. Heenan, C. Abala, M. Kantilla, A. Wonaeamirri.

BEST:

Darwin: B. Stokes, K. Williams, A. Sambono, J. Anderson, C. Williams, P. Boles
Tiwi: D. Kruse, A. Tipungwuti, L. Wale-Buxton, R. Pupangamirri, N. Djerrkura, R. Tungatalum

A remarkable 12-goal haul from Adam Sambono propelled Darwin Buffaloes to a resounding 113-point opening round win over the highly-touted Tiwi Bombers. The Buffs look to have ironed out the issues that saw them go down by a similar margin in last year’s finals series, with Sambono booting half of his side’s 24 goals in the 24.13 (157) to 6.8 (44) romp.

Joe Anderson joined Sambono as the other Darwin leader to stand up with three majors of his own, matched by Christopher Williams and rounded out by Brayden Corey Culhane’s two. Despite their efforts, it was Bradley Stokes and Kelvin Williams who were recognised as the Buffs’ best, while David Kruse claimed the same plaudits from the Bombers’ camp. Usual suspects Adam Tipungwuti, Nathan Djerrkura, and Ross Tungatalum also provided good ball-winning value in the heavy loss, while Casey Demon Liam Wale-Buxton was Tiwi’s only multiple goal kicker with two.

Remiss of the final scoreline, Tiwi led at the first break by seven points, with Darwin’s combined 17 goals to one in the second and third terms setting up the big win. The result was well beyond doubt heading into the final term, but the ruthless Buffs poured on a further five goals to Tiwi’s two to finish off ensure they breached the 100-point margin mark.

Bouncing back will be a tough ask for the Bombers as they prepare to face reigning premier Nightcliff in Round 2, while Darwin will be in the hunt for consecutive wins when it faces Round 1 losers Palmerston next time out.

NIGHTCLIFF 6.1 | 7.3 | 11.5 | 13.10 (88)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 6.2 | 9.3 | 10.7 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: L. Sharp 4, J. Butcher 3, B. Filo 2, K. Niki, C. Ilett, P. Wills, B. Bell
Southern Districts: W. Farrer 4, S. Barnett 2, T. Brook 2, J. Clarke 2, J. Farrer, J Innes

BEST:

Nightcliff: B. Filo, R. Morris, L. Sharp, K. Winter-Irving, B. Bell
Southern Districts: D. Williams, T. Brook, W. Farrer, Z. Bin Busu, J. Farrer

It was a case of déjà vu in the grand final rematch as Nightcliff got its title defence off to a winning start to the tune of nine points against Southern Districts. The Tigers overcame deficits at the first two breaks to close better in the 13.10 (88) to 12.7 (79) result.

A high-scoring opener saw the sides share twelve goals evenly, with the Crocs finding a bit of breathing space at half time on the back of three goals to one in the following term. But the Tigers managed to chip away in the third quarter and match Southern Districts’ efficiency in front of goal before less-clinical final term saw them edge over the line and truly pick up from where they left off in the 2018/19 season.

Lachlan Sharp (four goals), ex-Port Adelaide forward John Butcher (three), and Brodie Filo (two) were all effective around goal for Nightcliff, with Filo named best afield along with Roger Morris. The Crocs had one more multiple goal kicker than the Tigers but could not match their depth of contributors, with Will Farrer (four goals), Sam Barnett (two), Timothy Brook (two), and Jayden Clarke (two) all getting on the board. Damian Williams was named best for them, with Zorran Bin Busu the only other non-goal kicker to also be named among the best dozen.

Nightcliff will look to build an early unbeaten streak next week when it faces Tiwi in Round 2, with the Bombers coming off a loss in excess of 100 points. On the other hand, the Crocs will have their hands full with Round 1 winner Wanderers next time out, looking to prove their credentials with four points.

WARATAH 1.2 | 8.4 | 10.7 | 13.8 (86)
WANDERERS 3.7 | 7.9 | 11.12 | 15.14 (104)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Ankers 5, J. McGrath 3, A. Aurrichio 2, K. Kantilla, L. Davies, L. Fitzgerald,
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 5, D. Ferreira 2, L. Patrick 2, T. Motlop, L. Dyer, R. Fejo, J. Arratta, S. Bates, S. Thorne

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Wanderers: N/A

Wanderers overcame some early inaccuracy to outlast 2018/19 preliminary finalist Waratah and open its season with an uplifting 18-point win. Both sides enjoyed spurts of momentum throughout, but the Muk Muks’ firepower inside 50 proved too much as they pulled away to finish 15.14 (104) to 13.8 (86) victors.

The Warriors looked to have overcome a slow start as they took a one-point lead into half time with goals coming thick and fast, but it would be the only break they could do so in as the Eagles hit back to immediately. The momentum switched again as they notched 4.3 to Waratah’s 2.3 in what was a match-defining third term, but the Warriors still had a sniff heading into the final stanza. That hope was quashed despite Waratah getting the better of the final stages overall, with Wanderers doing just enough to keep their consistent opponents at bay.

Two men did most of the damage in terms of goals – one coming from each side. Prodigious talent Joel Jeffrey continued the form that saw him star on the MCG in the Under-17 Futures game with a dynamic five-goal haul, matched by Waratah powerhouse Abe Ankers. Jae McGrath (three) and Alex Aurrichio (two) also bagged multiples for the Warriors, while Davin Ferreira kicked two classy goals alongside ex-Sun Liam Patrick. Wanderers’ Ronald Fejo Jnr also earned the Round 1 Rising Star nomination.

The Eagles will have to quell a Southern Districts side breathing fire in Round 2 to maintain their perfect record, while Waratah will hope to get on the board when it faces Round 1 winner St Mary’s on Saturday night.

ST MARY’S 1.4 | 2.8 | 6.12 | 10.15 (75)
PALMERSTON 0.3 | 3.4 | 3.7 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: R. Clarke 2, D. Johnstone 2, J. Geary, S. Rioli, R. Smith, B. Ah Mat, J. Cooper, J. Quinn
Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr 3, A. Lonergan, D. Marshall, J. Davey

BEST:

St Mary’s: R. Clarke, J. Geary, T. Davies, N. Paredes, J. Salmon, J. Long
Palmerston: N/A

2018/19 wooden spooner St Mary’s began its quest to climb from the bottom in ideal fashion, downing Palmerston by 30 points to round out the weekend. The Saints overcame inaccuracy throughout the match to solidify the 10.15 (75) to 6.9 (45) final score, and the margin clearly could have been much more.

As was a similar theme throughout two of the weekend’s other games, Palmerston managed to get on top in at least one quarter of play, but could not maintain the effort as they tired in the second half and struggled to score. There were no such issues for the Saints as they managed to boot eight majors in a match-winning second half performance.

St Mary’s leader Raphael Clarke was best afield with his two majors, matched in the goal stakes by teammate Dylan Johnstone. Jackson Geary and Nathaniel Paredes were others to contribute well, with the former also hitting the scoreboard for the winners. It proved a busy couple of days for state combine invitee Nigel Lockyer Jnr, who managed to snare three goals just a day after his fitness testing in Melbourne. Debutant and future Essendon father-son prospect Jayden Davey also found the goals as one of three Magpies to do so in the final term after Lockyer’s big first half.

Palmerston faces the daunting task of taking on a rampant Darwin side in Round 2 to rectify its form, while the Saints will look to go 2-0 when they clash with Waratah at TIO Stadium.

NTFL Men’s Premier League weekend preview: Round 1 – Grand Final replay highlights TIO round

A GRAND final replay between reigning premiers Nightcliff and runners-up Southern Districts headlines the opening round of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. All four games are played at TIO Stadium with two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

DARWIN BUFFALOES vs. TIWI BOMBERS
Saturday, October 5, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

It has been a long seven months for Tiwi Bombers, having to stew on a disastrous 20-goal loss in the preliminary final to Southern Districts last season. After a shaky start to the 2018/19 season, the Bombers picked up in the second half to storm home with all the momentum and justify their third placed finish on the table. Unfortunately they could get nowhere near the Crocs on the day and will want to make the best possible start this year with a Round 1 victory over Darwin Buffaloes. The Buffs finished fifth last season and are usually strong starters so could get an early win on the board given the youth that is coming through the Darwin program. Cyril Rioli is by far the biggest name in the NTFL and the Bombers will unleash him at some stage this season, but it will depend on when he wants to run out, however his knowledge as an assistant coach will be invaluable. Outside of the Cyril magic, the Bombers have been steadily improving with experienced former AFL talents in Nathan Djerrkura and Austin Wonaeamirri, as well as Ross Tungatalum, Dion Munkara, Adam Tipungwuti and Jason Puruntatameri, it would be hard to write them off as a premiership contender this season. For Darwin, experienced leader Adam Sambono has been named in the side alongside Antonio James. Joe Anderson has also returned to play in the game with both sides evenly match in terms of talent.

NIGHTCLIFF vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, October 5, 7.00pm
TIO Stadium

The match of the round will likely be the grand final replay between the Tigers and Crocs as the Tigers raise their flag from last season in front of their opponents from that day. It should fire the Southern District players up in the prime time night game that will have all spectators on the edge of their seat. Nightcliff was the clear standout team last season, finishing two wins and plenty of percentage ahead of the Crocs, and should look to start the season how they finished off. The Districts received a massive boost with Keegan Dingo re-registered back in the NTFL, but the huge inclusion for the Tigers was Bendigo Football League goalkicking machine Lachlan Sharp named for Round 1, having booted 133 goals from 19 games this year in Victoria. With the likes of former Port Adelaide forward John Butcher and the talented Trent Melville, the reigning premiers will be hard to contain up forward. On the other side, Damian Williams has also been named for Southern Districts having crossed from Darwin and is expected to provide some forward line power for the Crocs to counter that of the Tigers. In what could add some spice to the Grand Final replay, former Tigers, Faron James and Devin Lines are among those in line to switch to the Crocs. Nightcliff go in as favourites given the firepower, but the match is won and lost in the midfield.

WARATAH vs. WANDERERS
Sunday, October 6, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

Waratah and bottom two side Wanderers go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon with the Warriors seeing this game as a must-win to start off their season. They tended to drop games they should not have last season, while claiming wins against top teams in an inconsistent year. If they can lift their performance when they are not at the top of their game, they will likely challenge any team on their day and give the Wanderers something to worry about in this clash. For the Wanderers, last season was one that was ultimately disappointing with just the six wins, and with three losses against the Warriors, the Wanderers will be very keen to break that winning drought against their opposition. After a surprise year in 2018/19, the Warriors will head into this game as favourites with Abe Ankers and Brodie Carroll leading the charge into the new season, while Liam Patrick and Brett Eddy have been named in the Wanderers’ forward line for the opening game, meaning Waratah cannot take the side too lightly. A tough one to pick the winner.

ST MARY’S vs. PALMERSTON
Sunday, October 6, 5pm
TIO Stadium

In the final game of the round, 2018/19 NTFL wooden spooners take on sixth placed Palmerston who unfortunately missed out on finals narrowly last season. The Magpies lost four of their last five games to tumble out of fifth spot, and split their head-to-head with St Mary’s as both teams recorded a win apiece – the Magpies’ victory coming in Round 17 and one of only two this calendar year. The Saints had just the five wins last season, and fell away in the second half of the season, defeating Darwin Buffaloes by 37 points in Round 15 as their only triumph since December 8. Palmerston recently picked up Frankston Dolphins’ talent Dylan Gordon after he crossed from Darwin, with the fly-in player available for limited games. The Magpies will welcome back Kyle Emery inside 50 with the dominant goalkicker joined by Rodney Baird and Nigel Lockyer as players who continued to cause heachaches for the opposition. Throw in fly-in talent Matt Dennis, as well as Alwyn Davey and Ezekiel Frank and the Magpies could swoop into a finals spot this year and get an early win here. Davey will also have the rare honour of running out alongside his twin sons, Alwyn Jnr and Jayden.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.

Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.

Centrals:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.

Glenelg

By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.

Norwood:

By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.

Sturt:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.

Nightcliff breaks 54-year premiership drought

NIGHTCLIFF has broken a 54-year premiership drought following its 22-point win over Southern Districts yesterday. Both sides had only won three flags in their Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League histories, but unlike their reigning premier opponents, Nightcliff had not held the cup aloft since the 1958/59 season. Youngster, Liam Holt-Fitz won the TIO Chaney medal for best on ground in the decider, which saw the Tigers salute, 8.13 (61) to the Crocs’ 5.9 (39).

Both sides had been praised for their relentless attack throughout the season, and as their last matches prior to the grand final showed – a combined 210-point winning margin – they are more than capable of putting the foot down in matches. But the first term was more of a dogged affair as Cameron Ilett pounced on a loose ball from a stoppage early to get Nightcliff on the board, before Michael Mummery levelled the scores in the last minute of the term for both teams to sit at 1.3 apiece.

As if a sense of deja vu, Ilett took just 20 seconds to get on the board in the second term and hand the Tigers a huge morale boost early in the quarter. A few minutes later, Rory O’Brien had a huge roost to level the scores, but a great defensive effort by Tigers’ defender, Clayton Holmes on the line saw him get a hand to it and rush it through. A couple of minutes later however, Jesse Koopman – fresh off a six-goal haul in the preliminary final – slotted a major from the most difficult of angles on the boundary line.

Hugo Drogemuller was having an impact on the contest for Nightcliff, while league best and fairest, Phillip Wills was influential through the middle. Jonathan Perris and Matthew Bricknell combined in the tenth minute of the term with Bricknell providing a contest and bringing the ball to ground for Perris to paddle it between his legs back to Bricknell who snapped truly off a step. An opportunistic Holt-Fitz then gave the Tigers the breathing room they needed, receiving the handball running inside 50 and putting on the afterburners for a terrific running goal at top speed.

The pressure was starting to get to the reigning premiers as a comedy of errors saw Steven Stewart completely mis-kick in defence and send it miles out of bounds, only for the Crocs defender to find out the Tigers had a free for holding the man against Michael Bowden. Luckily for the Crocs, Holt-Fitz missed what would usually be a regulation snap for the youngster, hooking it too sharply from 15m out and missing to the right. Nightcliff continued to pepper the goals but missed a few chances. Former Brisbane player, Jared Brennan had a chance for the Crocs with a snap from the boundary but missed.

Even in the dying seconds, the Tigers continued to press, with Danny Butcher putting it to John Butcher‘s best advantage inside 50, but good work from the Crocs’ defenders saw it spoiled, only for Nightcliff to force another turnover with a holding the ball call in favour of Danny who had worked his way across the ground to impact the next contest on the siren. His shot was an awkward torpedo which fell well short of goal and ended the half with the Tigers leading by 14 points.

Former Sydney and Western Bulldogs now Southern Districts player, Ed Barlow had the first meaningful shot of the second half with a long-range bomb from 50m but it just drifted to the right and was punched over the line. O’Brien also missed a golden opportunity from 40m, drifting to the right and reducing the margin to just two straight kicks. Nightcliff had its own rued chances in front of goal however, as Wills was somehow left all alone inside 50, took a couple of steps but missed to the left in a chance that could have seen the margin stretch to 18.

Wills made sure not to make the same mistake twice, taking advantage of a one-on-one contest and perfectly weighted kick from Danny Butcher to get out the back and kick a dribbling ball home for his first major of the contest. The goal had doubled the margin, which now stood at 19 points in the seventeenth minute of the third quarter. The metaphorical nail in the coffin came one minute later when a series of handballs inside 50 saw the Croc defenders worried about recipient Holt-Fitz getting away, catching him high. As Holt-Fitz got up to receive the ball, Stewart knocked him down,  with the teenager making sure the umpire saw it, earning a 50m penalty. While the Crocs defenders let Holt-Fitz know what they thought of his core strength, the young star pumped it through the goals from the spot for his second, and a 25-point lead.

In the dying minutes of the quarter, O’Brien gave the Crocs a sniff with a huge tackle 30m out from goal and subsequent free kick which resulted in the six points, and a 19-point deficit. Holt-Fitz continued to create headaches up the other end as he ran onto a loose ball and tried to kick it off the ground, but the pressure from Zac Smith was enough to rush the teenager into missing the attempt.  But Holt-Fitz could not keep away from the action even if he tried, with the next kick out falling into the lap of Bricknell who snapped the ball into the hole where Holt-Fitz marked, and despite cleverly trying to drop the ball for another free, but he also missed that chance when it cannoned into the post on the siren. The Tigers headed into the final break with a 21-point lead.

Nightcliff’s habit of immediate pressure from the first bounce again paid off, with John Butcher marginally missing out on Ilett’s 20-second goal record the previous term, soccering through a goal in just 25 seconds to give the Tigers a 27-point advantage and the yellow and black army was really starting to believe the premiership drought was over. If they believed by that stage, then the tears would have been flowing when grand final inclusion, Blake Grewar slotted the middle from a long-range set shot in the third minute and the margin stood at what was an unassaible 33-point lead.

O’Brien tried to conjuer something out of nothing for the Crocs down the other end a few minutes later but it was rushed across the line. The defensive pressure and hunger of the Tigers continued right throughout the game as Nightcliff’s Shaun Wilson pinged Josiah Farrer and earned a free kick as the Crocs charged towards goal. Koopman lined up for a huge goal outside 50 shortly after but it was stopped on the line and despite Brennan’s best efforts, the excitement machine gave away a free to Simon Deery on the last line. Brennan also missed another opportunity, as if every Southern Districts behind was a dagger to the heart for the 2017/18 premiers.

While Mummery and Shane Thorne both added goals in the last 10 minutes, it was ultimately just consolation majors as the Crocs went down to the fierce tackling and forward pressure of the Tigers, 8.13 (61) to 5.9 (39). Holt-Fitz was rightly given best on ground for his two goals and multiple other opportuities inside the forward 50, but he was far from alone on the night with a number of Tigers standing out. Among the best were Deery, Illett, Wills, Danny Butcher and Bricknell who all had some sort of impact on the contest for the night. For the Crocs, Dean Staunton was named their best for a four quarter effort, while O’Brien, full-back Sebastion Guilhaus and Sean Martin all played well.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 1.3 | 4.7 | 6.10 | 8.13 (61)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.5 | 3.7 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, M. Bricknell, P. Wills, J. Butcher, B. Grewar.
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 2, S. Thorne, J. Koopman, R. O’Brien.

BEST:

Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz, S. Deery, C. Ilett, P. Wills, D. Butcher, M. Bricknell
Southern Districts: D. Staunton, R. O’Brien, S. Guilhaus, S. Martin

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Semi finals

THE minor premiers stamped their authority as the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Mens Premier League’s number one contenders with a sizeable win earning them a grand final spot. Meanwhile, a finals rematch faces the defending champions, the Crocs after they took advantage of their double chance with a bounce-back win.

NIGHTCLIFF 22.17 (149)
TIWI BOMBERS 9.5 (59)


GOALS:
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 5, J. Butcher 4, L. Holt-Fitz 4, H. Drogemuller 2, M. Bricknell, K. Niki, M. Hagan, D. Bowles, S. Wilson, T. Melville, P. Wills
Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri 5, R. Tungatalum 2, D. Munkara 2

BEST:
Nightcliff:
H. Drogemuller, P. Wills, J. Butcher, B. Filo, C. Holmes
Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri, J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, W. Puruntatameri, L. Woodcock-Nowlan, A. Tipungwuti

Nightcliff roared into the grand final with a 90-point drubbing of Tiwi to only further firm the minor premiers as flag favourites. The Tigers ran rampant in their forward half throughout the game, putting through a minimum of five goals in each term to overwhelm a previously in-form Tiwi side. Despite last week’s come from behind heroics, the Bombers hardly looked a chance after Nightcliff’s fast start, finding themselves 61 points down at the main break after the Tigers piled on six goals in each term. The result was inevitable from there, but Nightcliff continued on its merry way with another 10 goals to consolidate the eventual winning margin. Veteran Cam Ilett led Nightcliff’s 11 individual goal kickers with a bag of five, with John Butcher and Liam Holt-Fitz snaring four and Hugo Drogemuller claiming two majors to be named best afield. Meanwhile, ex-Dee Austin Wonaeamirri was one of the few Bombers to continue his good form, slotting an equal game best of five goals to make up over half of Tiwi’s score. Ross Tungatalum also chimed in with two majors alongside Dion Munkara, with the likes of Jason Puruntatameri and Adam Tipungwuti named in the best in the losing effort. While Nightcliff now take the simple route to the grand final, Tiwi goes on to face Southern Districts for the second time in three weeks for a chance at redemption and the ultimate glory.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 13.11 (89)
WARATAH 6.10 (46)


GOALS:
Southern Districts: D. McLachlan 2, J. Koopman 2, M. Mummery 2, E. Barlow 2, J. Brennan, B. Schwarze, W. Farrer, M. Rosier, C. Gallio
Waratah: S. Godden, K. Kantilla, H. Kerinaiua, S. Weddell, Z. Westerberg, T. Toma

BEST:
Southern Districts:
S. Martin, E. Barlow, D. McLachlan, S. Thorne, J. Farrer, S. Stewart
Waratah: N/A

Southern Districts leant fully on its double chance with a confidence building 43-point win over Waratah to move onto the preliminary final round. While the Warriors did well to match it with their opponents for a little over a half, the Crocs pulled away with eight goals to two after the main break to put the result beyond doubt. Four of Southern Districts’ nine goal kickers managed bags of two, including spearhead Jess Koopman and the exciting Michael Mummery. Ed Barlow contributed around the ground and also claimed two majors, but was beaten out for best-afield honours by Sean Martin, while the returning Jared Brennan was also handy with his finals experience. Waratah simply could not match the Crocs’ firepower, but still had six seperate scorers in a low total. Usual suspects Kim Kantilla and Henry Kerinaiua found the goals, with best and fairest Sam Godden also pitching in. While the Warriors’ strong late-season run coming to an abrupt end, Southern Districts look a strong chance to go back-to-back, but will have to get past Tiwi next week for a chance to play-off in the grand final.

Weekend Previews: NTFL – Finals Week 1

WITH the regular season come and gone, finals time is upon us in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. While there already seems to be two form sides across this week’s Elimination and Qualifying finals, nothing is certain as each team puts it all on the line for a chance at ultimate glory.

WARATAH (4th, 9-9) v. DARWIN BUFFALOES (5th, 8-10)
Elimination Final – Saturday, February 23
TIO Stadium

2019 head-to-head (1-1):
Rd 6: Darwin 12.11 (83) defeated Waratah 10.10 (70)
Rd 18: Waratah 19.9 (123) defeated Darwin 7.5 (47)

Last-five form:
Waratah: 3-2
Darwin: 1-4

Waratah and Darwin will both be hoping to keep their seasons alive in a high-stakes elimination final to open the 2019 post-season. In what is an immediate rematch of their Round 18 clash, there will be little margin for error for either team as they look to make good on being entrenched in the top five all year. The Warriors will be quietly confident of repeating their Round 18 effort, having downed an out of form Buffs side by a massive 76 points. Darwin’s late-season form has been a worry for a number of weeks leading up to this point, losing its last four games – including bouts against the bottom two teams – to end the home and away fixtures. Coming into the finals with a negative record would be unusual if the competition were not so even, and one would be forgiven for forgetting that Darwin were once considered a top contender this year having beaten Southern Districts twice. On the flip side, Waratah has been a far more consistent figure in the finals race, remaining in the top five from Round 2 to 17 in a season of solidity. With the Buffs defence proving leaky of late, Henry Kerinaiua (seven goals in two games) will be looking to build on a fruitful couple of weeks and two solid outings against Darwin during the regular season. Darwin’s once revered firepower remains a threat too, with the likes of Adam Sambono boasting a four-goal haul against the Warriors, and young star Malcolm Rosas showing flashes of brilliance inside 50. That typical Darwin flair gives them a chance against any side as the Buffaloes have already proven, but the consistency of Waratah usually bodes well for a strong finals output. Either way, Darwin will be keen to bring its A-game and prove Waratah’s big win last time out merely was a one-off. The loser of the day’s other game awaits the winner of this one in the semis, with a chance to progress to the preliminary round up for grabs.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (2nd, 13-5) v. TIWI BOMBERS (3rd 9-9)
Qualifying Final – Saturday, February 23
TIO Stadium

2019 head-to-head (2-1):
Rd 3: Southern Districts 13.13 (91) defeated Tiwi 10.7 (67)
Rd 10: Tiwi 11.10 (76) defeated by Southern Districts 19.12 (126)
Rd 14: Southern Districts 8.9 (57) defeated by Tiwi 12.7 (79)

Last-five form:
Southern Districts: 3-2
Tiwi: 4-1

Southern Districts and Tiwi do battle on Saturday to determine who will face top side, Nightcliff in the semi finals for a chance to automatically qualify for the big dance. The Bombers snatched third spot from the grasp of Waratah in Round 18, with a resounding 87-point win over St Marys granting them the required percentage advantage. It has been a sensational turnaround for the third-place side after starting the year 0-5, going on to win three-straight games and eventually, four of its last five. While the Crocs have slipped up a couple of times of late, they have not released their grip on a top-two spot since Round 2, losing only to each fellow finals contender (twice against Darwin). The firepower in each attack is what stands out between the two sides, so the respective defences are set to play key roles in deciding the battle. Southern Districts has the edge in both departments given its superior win/loss record, conceding 400 less points overall and also scoring 78 more. On the day, the likes of Croc livewires Jess Koopman (34 goals, seven against Bombers) and Michael Mummery (26 goals) will hope to outgun Tiwi’s Ross Tungatalum (40 goals, eight against Crocs), who has six hauls of over four goals this year. Nathan Djerrkura has also been a welcome late-edition for Tiwi, boosting the engine room. He faces a battle with fellow ex-AFL listed player, John Butcher as part of an overall midfield battle that should provide some highlights. The recent form of Tiwi is hard to ignore, but the collective two seasons the reigning premiers have compiled is nothing to scoff at, and they will be keen to have something to show for it. Expect fireworks here with a whole lot to prove on each end, with either side keen to get one back over Nightcliff next week.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 15

TIWI Bombers’ fantastic form continued on the weekend with a thrilling one-point victory over premiership favourites Nightcliff, while Darwin will be ruing a loss to bottom two side, St Marys. In other results, Waratah breathed a sigh of relief by overcoming cellar dwellers Wanderers, while Southern Districts got the job done against Palmerston Magpies in the final game of the round.

ST MARYS 2.2 | 4.4 | 10.6 | 15.10 (100)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 3.2 | 7.5 | 7.8 | 9.9 (63)

GOALS:

St Marys: N. Paredes 5, M. Liddy 3, L. Stapleton 3, C. McDonald, L. Ferreira, M. Rioli Jnr, B. Nicholls
Darwin: H. Ahmat-Watkins 2, J. Clarke, T. Clarke, F. Bruce, S. Anderson, D. Paull, Z. Stephenson, D. Stafford.

BEST:

St Marys: N. Paredes, L. Stapleton, N. Yarran, L. Ferreira, H. Moloney, M. Liddy
Darwin: P. Boles, J. Anderson, L. Philpott, Z. Stephenson

A best on ground performance from Saints’ star, Nathaniel Paredes has kept St Marys’ slim finals hopes alive. The talented midfielder booted a game-high five goals in the 37-point win, as his side booted an impressive 11 goals to two after half-time to run away with the contest. Mathias Liddy and Luke Stapleton booted three goals apiece, with the latter also among the best, as was Nicholas Yarran and Leonard Ferreira. For Darwin, Hassan Ahmat-Watkins slotted two goals, while Patrick Boles and Joe Anderson was the Buffaloes’ best in the victory.

 

WARATAH 4.0 | 6.2 | 8.6 | 9.10 (64)
WANDERERS 3.4 | 6.5 | 8.6 | 8.7 (55)

GOALS:

Waratah: C. Barrett 2, S. Weddell 2, K. Kantilla 2, M. Blake, D. Simpson, J. Wray.
Wanderers: Not supplied.

BEST: 

Waratah: A. Ankers, T. Toma, J. McKenzie, C. Barrett, S. Weddell
Wanderers: Not supplied

Waratah kept its finals hopes strong with an important nine-point win over a plucky Wanderers outfit. The Warriors trailed at times throughout the first half and were level at the final break, before booting the only goal of the final term to secure the narrow victory. Sam Weddell, Cameron Barrett and Kim Kantilla all booted two goals, while Abraham Ankers was named best on ground in the victory. Thomas Toma and Jordie McKenzie were also among Waratah’s best in the win. The loss ruled the Eagles out of a late finals run and will be hoping to just finish the season off on a high in the last few rounds.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 2.4 | 6.5 | 7.7 | 10.12 (72)
TIWI BOMBERS 2.3 | 6.5 | 9.6 | 11.7 (73)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: B. Grewar 2, J. Butcher 2, T. Melville 2, B. Black, L. Holt-Fitz, S. Wilson, D. Butcher.
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 3, S. Munkara 3, C. Burgess, J. Munkara, M. Cooper, D. Munkara, N. Djerrkura.

BEST:

Nightcliff: S. Deery, J. Butcher, B. Grewar, J. Budarick, N. Brown, S. Wilson
Tiwi: A. Hams, N. Djerrkura, J. Puruntatameri, M. Cooper, R. Tungatalum, C. Luff

Tiwi Bombers’ giant-killing run continued on the weekend, knocking off Nightcliff by a solitary point after dismantling Southern Districts last week, to sit in fourth spot. It was the Tigers’ turn to feel the Bombers’ wrath in a tight contest. Bombers’ star, Ross Tungatalum booted three goals in the win – including the game winner – as did Simon Munkara. Ashton Hams‘ ripping form of late continued with another best on ground performance, while Nathan Djerrkura and Jason Puruntatameri were among the best for the Bombers. Blake Grewar, John Butcher and Trent Melville all booted multiple goals for the losing side, while Simon Deery was deemed the ladder leaders’ top player on the day.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 2.0 | 3.0 | 5.2 | 9.5 (59)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 5.3 | 8.9 | 13.10 | 16.17 (113)

GOALS:

Palmerston: I. Milera 2, K. Emery 2, M. Perry, J. Lampton, J. Wunungmurra, M. McMasters, J. Thompson.
Southern Districts: B. Schwarze 3, E. Barlow 3, J. Brennan 2, J. Farrer 2, L. Ogden 2, B. Vallance, M. Duffy, J. Koopman, M. Mummery.

BEST:

Palmerston: J. Wunungmurra
Southern Districts: J. Farrer, S. Guilhaus, R. O’Brien, C. McAdam, E. Barlow, J. Brennan

Southern Districts booked itself a place in the top two after a big win over finals hopefuls, Palmerston Magpies on Monday. The Crocs seized the opportunity of a Nightcliff loss to keep in touch with top spot,  and the nine-goal win helped them snap a run which saw them lose to both Darwin and Tiwi Bombers. Beau Schwarze was again a key up forward booting three goals, as did Ed Barlow, while former Brisbane excitement machine, Jared Brennan also slotted multiple goals. Josiah Farrer was named best on ground for his two-goal effort, while Sebastion Guilhaus and Rory O’Brien were also impressive in the win. Jamanie Wunugmurra was a shining light for the Magpies, while Palmerston’s goalkicking machine, Kyle Emery booted two goals, as did Ian Milera.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 15

A mid-table arm-wrestle has ensued with three sides battling for the last two finals positions in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League. Darwin will be looking to consolidate its third place, with Waratah best placed to snatch fourth as its closest competition meets the top two sides.

ST MARYS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 15 – Friday, January 25, 7pm
TIO Stadium

St Marys will be looking to steer clear of equal-last spot when it clashes with an in-form Darwin Buffaloes side to open the round. The Saints find themselves separated by percentage only to last-place Wanderers, who got the wood over them in the previous round. Darwin, meanwhile, are back on a solid winning run having knocked off Southern Districts twice in the last four rounds, while only going down to ladder-leaders, Nightcliff in that time. The inclusion of Lindsay Thomas in the new year has been key for the Buffaloes, with the former North Melbourne and Port star booting five goals last week to drag his side over the line, while livewire Adam Sambono has also fronted in the resurgence. The experience of Matt Campbell and consistency of Kevin Maroney up the field will also be important for the Buffaloes if they are to continue on their way, and the potential match-up of Darryl White against St Marys’ Raphael Clarke could be key. The Saints have been buoyed by the form of Nathaniel Paredes (three best-afield in four games), while Nick Yarran and youngster Brayden Rioli also look to be coming into form they have shown glimpses of. It looks to be an uphill battle here for St Marys given Darwin’s firepower, but four points will be crucial to them if they are to have one last tilt at the finals and keep clear of the cellar door.

 

WARATAH v. WANDERERS
Round 15 – Saturday, January 26, 4pm
Gardens Oval

A spot back on the winners list is up for grabs for Waratah when it faces bottom-placed Wanderers in Saturday’s sole fixture. The Warriors have gone down in consecutive games, seeing them slip out of the top four for the first time since Round 1 in what has been a consistent season thus far. The Muk Muks are two games away from the deadlock from fourth to sixth place, but managed a confidence-boosting win over second-bottom St Marys last time out to level them on points with their most recent opponents. Neither side is particularly renowned for their prowess in front of goal, but posses key assets around the big sticks who can deliver big performances. Kim Kantilla and Sam Godden have consistently troubled the scoreboard for Waratah, while Thomas Motlop is coming off a clutch five-goal performance in last week’s win for Wanderers. Eagles fans have also enjoyed the inclusion of former-Sun Liam Patrick, but that ex-AFL talent is something that the Warriors have been short of with Michael Newton only featuring twice – booting 13 goals in those outings. With both sides keen for four points given their respective positions, expect the usually low-scoring sides to provide a greater output in front of goals to snatch the four points.

 

NIGHTCLIFF v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 15 – Sunday, January 27, 2pm
PSC BM Oval

Arguably the two form sides of the competition meet when Nightcliff and Tiwi Bombers do battle on Sunday. The ladder-leading Tigers have won their last eight games, including a tight affair against Tiwi in Round 9, when the Bombers were on another winning run. The visitors have looked irresistible over the last two rounds, smashing Wanderers by over 100 points and toppling top-two fancies Southern Districts in what has been a rich vein of form, setting up what promises to be another thriller between the two sides. Nightcliff’s forward threats of Trent Melville and Matthew Bricknell continue to fire and will have to produce in this game, with Tiwi’s Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri booting 22 goals between them in the last three games. The midfield battle could also prove key, with Nightcliff guns Liam Holt-Fitz and John Butcher also able to hit the scoreboard from up the field. Bomber inclusions Ashton Hams and Nathan Djerrkura have added enough class to match the Tigers in that area, so we may well be set for an absolute shoot-out. With an abundance of ex-AFL talent on both lists, this could be a game we look back on at the end of the year as an NTFL classic. Playing the role of spoilers in this clash, the Tigers will hope to quell the Bombers’ surge, but this Tiwi side could make a real statement about their finals credentials with a win here.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Round 15 – Monday, January 28, 4pm
Asbuild Oval

A chance to consolidate finals spots is on the line for both Palmerston and Southern Districts when they meet on Monday afternoon to see out the round. The Magpies were unlucky not to come away with a win last week, falling narrowly to the free-scoring Darwin Buffaloes, but remain well within the hunt for either fourth or fifth spot in the finals equation. Their opponents, Southern Districts have been a constant in the top two this year and currently look to be the clear second-best side despite falling twice to third-place unit, Darwin. With both sides coming off losses, this will be a good chance for both a confidence and percentage boost respectively. Palmerston’s Matthew Dennis has been among the best players in each of his 14 games, proving to be a key cog around the ground with his big frame and admirable leadership. Having led many a finals campaign with Bundoora in the Northern Football League of Melbourne, he will no doubt continue to be a feature as the year wraps up alongside Davey brothers Alwyn and Aaron, as well as Kyle Emery up forward. The Magpies will be without Sam Talbot and Sam Autio due to suspension, with Crocs guns Beau Schwarze, Richard Tambling and Seb Guilhaus ones who can take advantage of their absence. Michael Mummery and Jess Koopman are also in good form, and will be key if Southern Districts is to flex its muscle and overpower the ‘Pies. There is a fair bit on the line for the Palmerston side, so expect them to put it right to the Crocs, who looked down last week.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 13

WITH all sides settled back in for the new year, 2019’s second round of action could see potential movement towards the bottom end of the ladder, while the game of the round pits the first and third sides against each other, which promises to be an epic tiebreaker. 

 

WANDERERS v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 13 – Saturday January 12, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi Bombers will hope to skip on to another winning run after storming back into finals contention when it clashes with bottom side, Wanderers to open the round. The Bombers find themselves just a game out of the top five after pummelling fifth place Palmerston to ring in the new year. With most of its big guns firing, Tiwi will look to the likes of Adam Tipungwuti and Ross Tungatalum to pile the hurt unto the Eagles, having combined for nine goals in Round 12. It may only take one gun to fire for the Bombers, with Wanderers continuing to struggle in front of goal. A nine-goal loss at the hands of ladder-leaders, Southern Districts and no multiple goalkickers does not make for pretty reading for Muk Muk fans, but the recent impact of Stanley Tipiloura and Liam Patrick has been promising with stars Davin Ferreira and Thomas Motlop absent. It will be a tough ask for Wanderers to halt a rolling Bombers side, especially with a finals spot looming, but they will count themselves in with a good chance.  

 

ST MARYS v NIGHTCLIFF
Round 13 – Saturday January 12, 5pm
TIO Stadium

St Marys will be looking to keep touch with the top five and push away from the cellar door when it faces Nightcliff in Saturday’s evening fixture. The task will not come without challenge though, as a surging Nightcliff side’s eyes fixed firmly on snatching top spot as the regular season nears its close. The Saints’ finals aspirations were handed a blow last week as they suffered a loss to more efficient finals contenders, Waratah, but they are still well and truly in the hunt with only four points keeping them from a finals berth. The Tigers’ hunt has been much more streamline, currently sharing top spot having only been beaten twice thus far, with imperious powers up front in the form of Trent Melville, John Butcher and Michael Hagan putting unreachable totals on the board, while the engine room including Liam Holt-Fitz and Cam Ilett keeps their supply steady. All of Raphael Clarke‘s experience down back will be needed to thwart those threats for the Saints, while Nathaniel Paredes will have to be the main source of supply to goal threats Ben and Brayden Rioli if they are to stand any chance. Still, it could be an opportunity for the Tigers to get their claws out and gain a much-needed percentage boost. 

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 13 – Saturday January 12, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Having finally bettered its rival before the break, Darwin Buffaloes will be keen on getting another leg up on Southern Districts when they do battle in Saturday’s final game. The Buffaloes’ head of steam was blown to the side last week as Nightcliff bettered them, but their form is undeniable and they should come into this game with confidence. Young star Malcolm Rosas continues to shine, with NT legend Darryl White proving a more-than-capable inclusion of late up forward. Gun midfielder Adam Sambono will look to hit the scoreboard after a more quiet display last week, helping leader Matt Campbell to put some pressure on the free-scoring ladder leaders. The Crocs were relatively unchallenged by bottom side, Wanderers last week, but did more than enough to seal the win. Consistent performers Dean Staunton and Richard Tambling will again have to lead the way, with Beau Schwarze and Michael Mummery the key exponents of x-factor. This looms as an absolute belter, and could well play out as a shoot-out as the sides come in 1-1 in the head-to-head battle this season. Do not miss. 

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. WARATAH
Round 13 – Sunday January 13, 4pm
Asbuild Oval

A chance to both prove its worth as finals contenders and consolidate a spot in the top five looms for Palmerston Magpies as it faces finals bound Waratah to see out the round. While the Magpies went down to a sharpshooting Tiwi side, the Warriors put in a shift as they have done all year as they beat St Marys to pick up another vital set of four points. With the chance to go equal-fourth, Palmerston gun Matthew Dennis will have to be the number one once again, with the goal threat of Alwyn Davey and Kyle Emery working a charm up forward recently. Waratah has been more even across the board this year, with Kim Kantilla a constant in front of goal alongside Samuel Weddell, while Abraham Ankers and Nicholas Gooch provide solidity up the field. With big finals implications on the line either way, the stars of the show will have to stand up, and it may well be that the ones who shine brightest will help their side over the line.