ROUND 17 is here and with only two weeks to go in the competition, Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) fans are in for a treat. Palmerston is arguably the in-form team of the competition and after St Marys’ heavy loss last weekend, the Pies will walk in heavy favourites. The main event will follow when the Southern Districts meet Pint in a test to see if the Queen Ants can push the Crocs to their limit. On Sunday another intriguing battle will ensue with Nightcliff coming up against the Wanderers. It will be a battle of pride between the two teams and should prove entertaining for die-hard fans who need a win. Lastly, Tracy Village will host Waratah at home. Waratah has been the unstoppable machine for many years and it looks like history is about to repeat itself.
ST MARYS V PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Saturday, February 9 10:30am
It was a tough pill to swallow for St Marys as they were performing very well up until last week when they got fed to the Crocs. They will face an even tougher adversary in Palmerston who have an elite squad of young talent. Billie Byers has been a revelation down back, as Tabitha May continues to dominate the Pies midfield while Freda Puruntatameri has become an elite goalsneak. On the other side of the coin, Alana Coombes is no slouch, nor Katherine Dann up forward. However, the loss of Danielle Ponter has left a huge hole in St Marys’ midfield. This is the area of the ground where the Magpies are the complete opposite, with Natasha Medbury and Jessica Stassi likely to prove to be a handful when the game starts. The Saints will need to produce their best to win, but nothing is impossible.
PINT V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, February 9 12:00pm
TIO Oval No.2
Pint has hit their strides at the right time, but this week will face the Crocs in a match that should test the Queen Ants. Southern Districts has found a new spearhead in Rhiannon Busch who bagged four majors last week. But she was not alone as Tayla Thorn and Tahlia Holtze combined to destroy St Marys’ defense. Pint’s backline gun Erin Hetherington will need strong support from her fellow defenders to stop the trio. Defence is not the only concern for Pint, as the Crocs have a unique duo that feeds their rovers well. The ruck combination of Indy Sleeth and Ebony Miller gives the Crocs another huge advantage in this match. In order to negate this, Cassie Henderson, Samantha Barnett, and Samantha Freeman may need to shark the hit-outs and take control of the centre. If they accomplish this, the door will open up for forwards, Emma Greaves and Danielle Saddaby.
NIGHTCLIFF V WANDERERS
Sunday, February 10 10:00am
PSC BM Oval
There is no finals on the horizon for either of these teams in the coming weeks, with both sides struggling this season. Last week the Wanderers accepted an exhibition match to play against the Central Australian Pinktails. They were overwhelmed as the future talent shone against the Eagles. The Tigers were no different against against reigning premiers, Waratah. This is easily the most even match of the round, with the skill level of both sides seeming to be at a similar level. Arthurina Moreen has been the go-to forward for the Eagles, and could be in for a day out if her team can get the upperhand.
WARATAH V TRACY VILLAGES
Sunday, February 10 2:00pm
Kristy Irvine and Zhoe Clarke should take a bow, as even in poor circumstances they have battled consistently through wins and losses. They are without a doubt the true champions of Tracy Village. Waratah, on the other hand, has no shortage of champions. Lately, however, a trio of Warriors forwards have become the ultimate scoreboard contributors. Lisa Miceli, Amy Chittick, and Lauren O’Shea are all ranked in the top three goal kickers of the league, each tallying a minimum of 18 goals – in reality, they are every defender’s worst nightmare. Tracy Village’s backline will be in serious strife if Waratah gets a rhythm going.