WITH a mid-season break on the horizon, sides continued to tussle for spots and momentum as two top-four contenders suffered defeats and fifth spot remains up for grabs.
TIWI BOMBERS 11.10 (76)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 19.12 (126)
Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti 2, P. Heenan 2, D. Munkara 2, W. Huddleston, R. Tungatalum, R. Farmer, J. Munkara, H. Puruntatameri.
Southern Districts: J. Koopman 5, L. Jetta 3, S. Smith 2, D. Staunton 2, H. Wheeler, C. McAdam, W. Farrer, L. Dale, B. Rusca, J. Farrer, S. Thorne.
Tiwi: J. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum, L. Woodcock-Nowlan, B. Palipuaminni, J. Cooper, C. Tipuamantimirri
Southern Districts: D. Staunton, L. Dale, B. Schwarze, J. Koopman, W. Farrer, C. McAdam
Southern Districts retained its strong position at the top of the NTFL ladder with a comfortable win over a Tiwi side finding form at an unfortunate time. While it wasn’t always smooth sailing, the Crocs flexed their muscle in the third term with seven goals to two to stretch their 34-point hal- time lead out to 64 points going into the final break. While the Bombers managed to see out the game with five goals, the margin was far to big to bridge and Tiwi went down by an even 50 points. Jess Koopman was the star with five goals, while Leroy Jetta chimed in with three and the multiple goalkickers were rounded out by Sam Smith and Dean Staunton‘s hauls of two each. The latter was also named best afield, with Charlie McAdam and Lee Dale also chiming in for the winning side. Jason Puruntatameri was again the standout for the Bombers, while Dion Munkara hit the scoreboard with two majors and was matched by Adam Tipungwuti and Patrick Heenan. While he didn’t manage a bag, Ross Tungatalum was also lively alongside the likes of Liam Woodcock-Nowlan and Bradley Palipuaminni. Having claimed consecutive wins and clawed free of the wooden spoon spot, Tiwi has now suffered losses to the top two sides in its last two outings to be set back in the pack. Meanwhile, the Crocs keep their spot at the top and again look hard to beat.
ST MARYS 14.11 (95)
WANDERERS 6.11 (47)
St Marys: N. Paredes 3, R. Clarke 2, M. Jeffery 2, S. Rioli 2, N. Yarran, T. Saunders, F. Kinthari, M. Ferguson, J. Harvey
St Marys: B. Taylor, N. Paredes, B. Rioli, J. Harvey, S. Rioli, T. Saunders
St Marys returned to the winners list with a timely victory over bottom side, Wanderers to remain frontrunners to fill the last finals spot. The Saints put in a consistent team shift to never really look challenged, opening up a four-goal lead at the main break and more than doubling their score in the third term to all but put the game to bed entering the final change of ends. A dour last quarter saw only one goal scored apiece, but Saints players would not have been too unhappy given the position they have now earned. Nathaniel Paredes was outstanding once again for St Marys with three majors, only beaten to best-on honours by Ben Taylor. The ever-reliable Ben Rioli was also thereabouts despite not hitting the scoreboard, with Raphael Clarke successfully swinging forward for two goals and Shannon Rioli matching the feat. With the likes of Davin Ferreira, Tom and Aaron Motlop shouldering much of the load, the Eagles simply could not match it from the get-go. The loss leaves the Muk Muks bottom of the ladder, still only a game and percentage away climbing out of the league’s cellar. Meanwhile, the Saints look to be the best of the rest in terms of the finals race as they hold onto fifth, but don’t quite have the percentage to jump into the top four with a win next week on account of their percentage.
DARWIN BUFFALOES 12.8 (80)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 14.16 (100)
Palmerston: M. Perry 3, I. Milera 3, K. Emery 2, J. Marshall , J. Grabowski, B. Church, R. Marika, J. Patrick, M. Bunworth.
Palmerston: J. Grabowski, M. Dennis, A. Diamond, M. Bunworth, N. Lockyer Jnr, E. Kelly
Palmerston continues to press for a finals berth after claiming a deceptively dominant win over top-four contender Darwin Buffaloes to see out Saturday’s triple-header. After storming out of the blocks with seven first-quarter goals, Palmerston were reigned right back as Darwin bridged the gap to just three points at the main break. The wasteful Magpies were not made to pay in the second half as their 5.9 and astute defence were enough to see off the Buffaloes by just 20 points – despite having 10 more scoring shots. Ian Milera bettered his Round 9 tally of two goals with three this time out, joined by Mishai Perry (three goals) and Kyle Emery (two) as multiple goalkickers. Despite their goals, they were each beaten out to best-on honours by Bundoora Bulls duo Josh Grabowski and Matthew Dennis, with the former’s first game in the league reigniting a deadly Northern Football League partnership in the centre square. The consistent Nigel Lockyer Jnr also found his typical spot in the best, with Mitch Bunworth continuing his good form, too. The Buffaloes’ slide continues, and it was more so down to the stars missing rather than who was left on the field. The likes of Matthew Campbell, Adam Sambono and Joe Anderson were all sorely missed, despite Darwin looking efficient in front of goal. They remain clear in the top four, but have lost touch with the top two sides and could even fall out of the finals spots with consecutive losses going into the break. The Magpies are a team that could snap that spot up, with a percentage boost the only thing required for them to step into fifth spot.
NIGHTCLIFF 21.15 (141)
WARATAH 4.4 (28)
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 4, T. Melville 3, J. Tsitas 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, M. Hagan 2, D. Butcher 2, S. Deery, P. Wills, C. Holmes, J. Peris, H. Drogemuller, M. Bricknell
Waratah: R. Jolliffe, B. Carroll, Z. Westerberg, K. Kantilla
Nightcliff: J. Tsitas, M. Hagan, H. Drogemuller, L. Holt-Fitz, J. Miles, C. Ilett
Waratah: S. Tatupu, Z. Westerberg, R. Jolliffe, N. Gooch, B. Carroll
Nightcliff continued its steep ascent to the top of the NTFL standings as it easily accounted for fellow finals contenders, Waratah to see out the round with a bang. The Tigers made their intentions known with 14 first half goals to two, spreading them equally over the two terms. While they could only manage half of that tally in the second half, the second-place side kept Waratah to just 2.2 in the first and third quarters and kept the scoreless in the other two to culminate their 113-point winning margin. Cam Illet was the leader inside 50 with four goals, boosting his recent tally to seven in three games, while Trent Melville (three goals) was again in the action and four others claimed two each. Three of them – James Tsitas, Michael Hagan and Liam Holt-Fitz were also named in the best, as has been the case for much of the year, alongside Hugo Drogemuller and Jonathon Miles. Raven Jolliffe was a shining light for the Warriors, finding the goals and being named their best. Nicholas Gooch also had somewhat of a return to form, while Zach Westerberg and Shem Tatupu were the others to stand up. The Tigers remain second, a game from first but 12 points clear of the next best sides. Waratah looks to have lost momentum going into the break, but remains safe in the finals spots despite heat coming from below in recent weeks.