Tag: leroy jetta

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.

2019/20 NTFL Men’s Premier League season preview

WITH the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League competition set to get underway on the weekend, we take a look at the eight teams competing for the ultimate prize over the summer.

DARWIN BUFFALOES

Last season: 5th
Win-loss: 8-10
Points: 32
Percentage: 94.6

The Buffs are coming in off an indifferent 2018/20 campaign that saw them scrape into finals after a promising start. They were eliminated in a crushing 73-point elimination final loss to Waratah after going down to the Warriors in Round 18 as well, finally folding after struggling to reclaim the early-season form that had them pegged for another top two finish. Having captain-coach Matt Campbell and star players Joe Anderson, Adam Sambono and Malcolm Rosas Jnr shuffle in and out of the side at times did not help the Buffaloes in their search for some consistency, but the talent base is certainly there. Ex-Blue Anderson and highly rated junior Sambono are poised to feature prominently again under Campbell’s tutelage, while Rosas Jnr’s availability hinges on his AFL Draft hopes. Those three are all capable of seeing a heap of the ball and having important touches, with the consistent figures of Shaun Ahmat and Kevin Maroney set to again add that stability to the lineup each week. With Rosas seemingly moving on to the elite system, the young gun in Darwin’s crop this year is Antonio James. James featured for two straight years for the NT Thunder’s Under-16 side and was part of the Under-18 NAB League squad without playing, making him a good chance to feature for them in the upcoming season. The Buffs will be keen to see how he goes at Premier League level, with his enthusiasm and pace from defence helping him to stand out to this point. After a disappointing finish to last season, the storied club will hope to reach the heights they did in 2017/18 and sneak back into that top two. They certainly have the top-end talent to challenge, and should provide some highlights along the way.

Players to watch:

Joe Anderson
Adam Sambono
Malcolm Rosas Jnr
Shaun Ahmat

Young gun:

Antonio James

NIGHTCLIFF

Last season: 1st
Win-loss: 15-3 (Premiers)
Points: 60
Percentage: 166.08

The reigning premiers took home their fourth premiership cup last season, and in doing so moved one clear of Palmerston and Southern Districts to outright fifth on the overall premiership table. It was a dominant year for the Tigers, only losing thrice on their way to an outright minor premiership and getting up by 22 points over then-reigning premiers Southern Districts in the grand final. Trent Melville was the side’s spearhead, booting 56 goals from his 20 games to finish as the league’s leading goal kicker, but Nightcliff had a wealth of scoring threats. Melville will suit up again alongside the likes of Liam Holt-Fitz and Matthew Bricknell up forward, with big-man and NT Thunder representative Hugo Drogemuller a chance to feature up either end. The Budarick brothers, Jess and Joel will also be important between the arcs for the Tigers, with Joel turning out for the NT’s Under 18 academy this year. Jess appeared for the Thunder in the NEAFL this season and should add to his games tally this time around, adding to Nightcliff’s list of promising youngsters. Andy Moniz-Wakefield, Jamie Jones and Ned Stevens are also on that list after playing a part in the NT’s Under 16 campaign this year, putting the reigning premiers in good stead to feature well again and into the future. Their depth is solid, and their firepower is almost unmatched.

Players to watch:

Jess Budarick
Trent Melville
Matthew Bricknell
Hugo Drogemuller
Liam Holt-Fitz

Young gun:

Joel Budarick

PALMERSTON

Last season: 6th
Win-loss: 7-11
Points: 28
Percentage: 70.57

The Palmy Army experienced much more joy in 2018/19 after claiming the wooden spoon in season 2017/18, with a vastly-improved sixth place finish – just one win outside of the finals spots. The Magpies had their depth tested with ex-AFL players like Aaron Davey, Alwyn Davey, and Ezekiel Frank missing chunks of games throughout the year, while Matthew Stokes only appeared in a two-game cameo. All four of those stars provided great value though and could do so again in this year’s competition to aid a bunch of regulars who stood out. Victorian ruck veteran Matthew Dennis featured among the best for all but one of his 18 games last year and could go around again, with VFL player Dylan Gordon set to make his NT return. He joins the likes of prolific goalsneak Kyle Emery, as well as the ever-improving Nigel Lockyer and consistent figures of Samuel Autio and Samuel Talbot. Add youngster Jason Baird to the mix and so much of the Magpies’ firepower comes in their forward movers, despite not being able to post the biggest scores last year. Up the other end, their defence was the leakiest in 2018/19 and will need some tightening if Palmerston is to continue its upward trend.

Players to watch:

Kyle Emery
Matthew Dennis
Dylan Gordon
Samuel Talbot
Nigel Lockyer

Young gun:

Jason Baird

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS

Last season: 2nd
Win-loss: 13-5 (Runners-up)
Points: 52
Percentage: 147.36

So close, yet so far, the Crocs battled hard throughout the season and looked at times like premiership favourites, particularly after a 20-goal smashing of Tiwi Bombers in the preliminary final. But as they found out, the Grand Final is a different ball game, going down to Nightcliff by 22 points. That does not take away from the dominance the Crocs have had over the competition during the last two seasons, with a ton of depth and some scary firepower. Ex-AFL players Leroy Jetta, Richard Tambling, Ed Barlow and Jared Brennan were all terrific over multiple games for the 2017/18 premiers, adding arguably the highest level of ex-professional class. Goals came aplenty through the likes of Jess Koopman and Michael Mummery, while Bradley Vallance, Dean Staunton, Charles McAdam, and Beau Schwarze were others to combine their scoreboard impact with ball winning. They should all be important figures again if Southern Districts is to have another flag tilt, providing a consistent base throughout the year with a raft of other stars coming in and out of the team. It is always hard to look past the Crocs on paper and given the ability they have to blow teams away, expect them to be right up there once again this season. With young gun Brodie Lake also one of the NT’s big hopes for next year’s draft, they have some future talent to nurture too.

Players to watch:

Jess Koopman
Michael Mummery
Dean Staunton
Ed Barlow
Brandon Rusca

Young gun:

Brodie Lake

ST MARY’S

Last season: 8th
Win-loss: 5-13
Points: 20
Percentage: 78.14

The NTFL powerhouse side was publicly in financial trouble over the off-season, but is back in the league to try and bounce back from its poor season last year. After missing the 2017/18 Grand Final for only the second time since 2002/03, the Saints went through a rebuilding phase last season dropping to the bottom of the table. With nine more premierships than its nearest rival, expect this successful club to move back up the ladder in season 2019/20. Former Gippsland Power prospect Nathaniel Paredes was the Saints’ shining light last season, featuring in the best 10 of 15 times and booting 20 goals in the process. A host of famous names and relations also fill out the side, with Ben Rioli and Jacob Long sure to join prodigious youngsters Maurice Rioli Jnr and Brayden Rioli – pending their availability. Nicholas Yarran and Raphael Clarke would be handy returns after solid 2017/18 seasons, along with the likes of Mathias Liddy. St Mary’s is renowned for producing top talent, and NT Under 16 representative Preyben Tipiloura is an exciting type to come through further this year alongside Rioli Jnr and Brayden Rioli, while Kieren Parnell is another rising star set to make his long-awaited injury return. Given the club’s strong history and the raw talent set to be displayed, expect St Mary’s to be a riser this year – the only was is up from last season after all – and a couple more former-AFL coups could help.

Players to watch:

Nathaniel Paredes
Maurice Rioli Jnr
Jacob Long
Ben Rioli
Kieren Parnell
Brayden Rioli

Young gun:

Preyben Tipiloura

TIWI BOMBERS

Last season: 3rd
Win-loss: 9-9
Points: 36
Percentage: 101.72

Tiwi very nearly became one of the better stories out of last season as their run in the back-end saw them earn an unlikely preliminary final berth. Although they were soundly beaten while searching for a grand final spot, the journey there was something to behold. It came long after a slow start to the season, with a raft of experienced and reliable players helping the famous Bombers click into gear. They were awesome in front of goal at times, and that is only set to be helped this year with the return of favourite son Cyril Rioli, who joins as a player-coach. The prospect of having him run around alongside fellow ex-AFL players Austin Wonaeamirri and Nathan Djerrkura, as well as Ross Tungatalum is scary and sure to bring plenty of excitement to the league. Add to that club stalwarts Jason Puruntatameri, Dion Munkara and prolific young guns Adam Tipungwuti and Jeffrey Simon, and you have a fun side destined for big things. The improvement they showed last year should only be built on this time around, and there is no reason why the Bombers cannot fly back to the top of the NTFL with a continuance of their form. Do not be surprised to see Tiwi go in as one of the flag favourites, and there will certainly be plenty of expectation given how dangerous they look on paper in the forward half.

Players to watch:

Cyril Rioli
Ross Tungatalum
Austin Wonaeamirri
Jason Puruntatameri
Dion Munkara
Nathan Djerrkura
Adam Tipungwuti

Young gun:

Jeffrey Simon

WANDERERS

Last season: 7th
Win-loss: 6-12
Points: 24
Percentage: 74.22

A somewhat down 2018/19 season saw Wanderers narrowly escape the bottom of the ladder with a final round victory over Palmerston, despite only winning half the amount of games they lost in the 18-game season. It looked a justified ladder position given they were second-to-last for both points scored and conceded, but there are some promising signs pointing to the future for the Muk Muks. They are set to field young stars aplenty, with NT Under-18 representative Beau O’Connell one who could team up with Davin Ferreira through midfield alongside the experience of Marlon Motlop. John Tipiloura is another lively youngster, as is Mark White, who starred up forward in the 2019 Under 16 Division 2 carnival. But arguably the best of the lot is 2020 AFL Draft hopeful Joel Jeffrey, who was a regular for Wanderers last year and played out on the MCG in the Under-17 grand final curtain raiser. If he is available before his top-age year, look out for his high marking up either end of the ground. While the immediate impact of their talent has not quite translated to results just yet, expect to see the Eagles sore in years to come.

Players to watch:

Beau O’Connell
Marlon Motlop
Joel Jeffrey
Davin Ferreira
John Tipiloura

Young gun:

Mark White

WARATAH

Last season: 4th
Win-loss: 9-9
Points: 36
Percentage: 100.44

Waratah is a team which surprised some last year, holding strong with its local talent to cap a consistent year off in fourth place with an even record – hardly ever looking like missing out on finals throughout the season. Anchoring the side in midfield was Abraham Ankers, who will be key again in this campaign alongside fellow NT Thunder squad member Brodie Carroll, who played 16 games last year. Zach Westerberg, Cameron Barrett, and Henry Kerinaiua were others to hold down spots, and another possible cameo from ex-Melbourne forward Michael Newton could spell some more goals. Newton’s two games aside, Waratah is one of the teams with the fewest ex-AFL experience, making their exploits even greater. Andrew Moore could change that factor slightly as he is poised to sign for the Warriors, and Matthew Green could have the effect of a new signing after only featuring a couple of times last season. Watch for Under 18 Allies representative Ben Jungfer if available, given he is Adelaide-based, with his clearance work outstanding. With a lot of other sides improving, it will be a battle for Waratah to maintain their form, but they have the stock to match it with the best once again.

Players to watch:

Abraham Ankers
Matthew Green
Brodie Carroll
Andrew Moore
Cameron Barrett

Young gun:

Ben Jungfer

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 11

IN the last round before a break over the new year, sides will be looking to snatch ascendancy from close opposition. Battles for first place, finals berths and escaping the wooden spoon are all hotting right up, making each game an eight-pointer for the respective teams.

 

TIWI BOMBERS v. WANDERERS
Round 11 – Saturday December 15, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Both Tiwi Bombers and Wanderers will be looking to bounce back from consecutive losses when they clash to open the round via a TIO Stadium triple-header. After boosting their stocks with two-straight wins in Rounds 6-8, the Bombers have been bettered by the top two sides more recently, going down to a rejuvenated Southern Districts last time out. Meanwhile, the Eagles went down to St Marys to remain bottom, with only their weekend opponents at a reachable distance to leapfrog should they earn a sizeable win here. While they have struggled in front of goal all year to post the worst points tally thus far, the Muk Muks are not always as absent down back and will need to hold up strongly again this week. The likes of Davin Ferreira and Thomas Motlop have done the business in previous rounds, and should find the goals again here. Tiwi’s own firepower of Dion Munkara and Ross Tungatalum have been close to kicking bags in recent rounds without completely taking over, with Harley and Jason Puruntatameri providing great consistency as they look to pick their season back up. Despite sitting a game from bottom, Tiwi are arguably the form side from fifth to eighth, and will be confident in climbing out of a rut with a win. For Wanderers, this is a great opportunity to find some form against a side with a similar form line, with the greater hope of climbing out of the cellar door on offer.

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES v. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Round 11 – Saturday December 15, 5pm
TIO Stadium

The build-up to the last time Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts met was much different, with the hype around a grand final rematch all the way back in Round 1 poising the two clear-best sides against each other. While the Crocs remain kings of their swamp, Darwin has suffered a massive slide through the mid-part of the season – earning just two wins in its last six outings. After finally going down in Round 7, Southern Districts has come back with a point to prove and looks to be back to its menacing best. Last time out, a bag of five goals from Jess Koopman helped the Crocs to a comfortable victory over Tiwi, hands from Leroy Jetta (seven goals in three games) and Shane Thorne (15 in eight) proving vital in their mini revival. Another important cog was the two-game contribution of ex-AFL highlight reel Jared Brennan, whose absence leaves a hole in Districts’ defence that Darwin will look to exploit. The Buffaloes sorely missed their own firepower last week, with the likes of Matthew Campbell, Joe Anderson, Adam Sambono and Malcolm Rosas all missing. If they are to have any chance here against a powerful Crocs’ 22, Darwin will need all the experience and class they can manage, with the risk of sliding out of the top four becoming greater with each loss.

 

NIGHTCLIFF v. ST MARYS
Round 11 – Saturday December 15, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

A scarily good Nightcliff side will be hoping to stay in touch with Southern Districts, while also keeping St Marys out of the top four when they clash to round out Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header. In last week’s featured game, an even spread of goals saw the Tigers comfortably account for fourth-place Waratah in a dominant 113-point victory. St Marys also entered the winners list as it got up over Wanderers in another decent team display, keeping the Saints just a game from third and right in the finals mix. Nathaniel Paredes continues to be the Saints’ best, booting three goals while Raphael Clarke swung forward effectively to claim two on his return to the side. The x-factor of Maurice Rioli jnr and Shane Yarran could also provide headaches for Nightcliff here, but its the Tigers forward line that look most likely of dictating the result. Leading goalkicker Trent Melville will look to build on his tally of 38, with help from Cam Ilett (seven goals in last two games), Liam Holt-Fitz and Matthew Bricknell (both 15 goals) making for a seriously dangerous goal threat. Nightcliff really needs to maintain its winning run if it is to catch the Crocs, but the Saints can put a dampener on their opponents’ hopes with a win, while having the opportunity to break away as clear fifth if results go their way.

 

WARATAH v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Round 11 – Sunday December 16, 4pm
Gardens Oval

Waratah will be looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat last time around when it faces Palmerston Magpies to see out Round 11 on Sunday. Having met a Nightcliff side on an absolute mission, the Warriors where simply overwhelmed by the Tigers’ power, and Palmerston will hope to swoop on the weaknesses shown in that display. The Magpies managed an upset win over another down-on-form finals contender in Darwin last weekend, so will hope for a repeat of that effort to finish both the round and 2018 action with a statement. Having only registered four goals in its last effort, Waratah will need to build heavily on that if it is to have a return win, and could do so with Palmerston holding the second-worst defensive record this season. Raven Jolliffe and Kim Kantilla have been the go-to’s of late for the Warriors, but they’ll have to match the efforts of Magpies spearhead Kyle Emery – who has 21 goals to his name this year. Ian Milera’s recent addition has provided another forward dimension for Palmerston, with Nigel Lockyer jnr running the engine room alongside ruckman Matthew Dennis. Waratah will have to show a massive turn of form to get up here, but have the capable talent at hand to remain entrenched in the established top four and keep the likes of Palmerston at bay. While they don’t quite have the percentage to jump higher, the Magpies could well jump into a finals spot with a win here.

 

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 10

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)

GOALS:
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.

BEST:
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)

GOALS:
St Marys: N. Paredes 3, R. Clarke 2, M. Jeffery 2, S. Rioli 2, N. Yarran, T. Saunders, F. Kinthari, M. Ferguson, J. Harvey
Wanderers: N/A

BEST:
St Marys: B. Taylor, N. Paredes, B. Rioli, J. Harvey, S. Rioli, T. Saunders
Wanderers: N/A

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)

GOALS:
Darwin: N/A.
Palmerston: M. Perry 3, I. Milera 3, K. Emery 2, J. Marshall , J. Grabowski, B. Church, R. Marika, J. Patrick, M. Bunworth.

BEST:
Darwin: N/A
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) 

GOALS:
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

BEST:
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.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 9

WITH the race for finals spots heating up, Round 9 hosts a few ‘eight-pointers’ as the ladder starts to take shape coming up to the halfway mark of the season.

 

NIGHTCLIFF v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 9 – Saturday December 1, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

In what is set to be the game of the round, the two form teams of the competition, Nightcliff and Tiwi, do battle on Saturday to open this weekend’s proceedings. With both sides on win streaks and competition for finals spots heating up, this bout between two attacking powerhouses is set to produce fireworks. The Tigers have regained their rhythm after going down to Southern Districts in Round 6, winning their last two games to sit four points outside of first place. Meanwhile, the Bombers have now won three on the trot after opening their account in the same round, including wins over fellow finals hopefuls Darwin and Waratah. There is class around the ground for Nightcliff, with the recent addition of former Port forward John Butcher proving handy, adding to the consistent danger of Trent Melville, Mathew Bricknell and Joel Budarick going forward. Speedster Liam Holt-Fitz should also be a feature, providing run from the back half. For Tiwi, Adam Tipungwuti and Jason Puruntatameri have been ever-reliable, but they’ll look towards the likes of Dion Munkara, Ross Tungatalum, and youngster Jeffrey Simon to provide the firepower to match Nightcliff. With finals repercussions set to come from a result either way, expect both sides to throw the it all on the line to grab an important four points. If the shootout in their previous encounter is anything to go by, this will be a high-scoring affair.

 

WANDERERS v. WARATAH
Round 9 – Saturday December 1, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers will be looking to claim consecutive wins when it comes up against finals hopefuls, Waratah in Saturday’s evening fixture. The Eagles are fresh off a stunning upset victory over Darwin, and despite remaining bottom of the ladder, are only a win off being tied for fifth. Waratah was brought back down to earth after their own upset win over Southern Districts in Round 7, going down to a surging Tiwi outfit in a close one. It’s an important game for the Warriors in particular, as results could see them fall right back into the pack after holding on to fourth place for most of the year. For the Eagles, a run of form is within reach and they could soon scrape off the bottom if things go their way. Joel Jeffrey was the key man last time out, but Wanderers may be without him for this one, leaving it up to the form of Davin Ferreira and Thomas Motlop to find goals. Ex-Roo and Crow Sam Gibson‘s recent cameo has come to an end, but the Eagles will hope that Liam Patrick can have a good run at it up forward after returning to the side. On the other side of the coin, Waratah’s Tom Toma found form of late and will look to have an impact alongside Jaxon Neagle and Cameron Barrett going forward, supported by Timothy Mosquito and Nick Gooch further back. With a bottleneck forming from third to eighth, this will be a key game in the grand scheme of things despite it not looking like a thriller on paper.

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES v. ST MARYS
Round 9 – Saturday December 1, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

The final game in Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header pits two sides coming off losses against each other, with Darwin and St Marys looking to re-enter the winners list. The Buffaloes have now suffered consecutive surprise defeats after going down to bottom side, Wanderers last time out, and could slide heavily with a loss hear. On the other hand, the Saints were beaten by a Southern Districts side breathing fire after a loss, but can still jump into a finals spot if they get over the line here. With young gun Malcolm Rosas out of the side, Jed and Javadd Anderson have stepped right up in his absence and will be key figures alongside the returning Adam Sambono. The leadership of Matthew Campbell has also been important of late, and that is an aspect that St Marys has missed with Raph Clarke missing. The Saints’ firepower is still there though, with Brayden and Ben Rioli constantly shining alongside Nathaniel Paredes. They will also hope that young Maurice Rioli jnr can strut his stuff this time out in an effort to compete with the Buffaloes’ forward threat. Darwin will inevitably come out hard, looking to prove a point as it looks to break away from the mid-table pack once again. St Marys will provide stiff competition despite being hard to read, but it is a good opportunity to the Saints to get up over a usually strong side.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Round 9 – Sunday December 2, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will hope to extend its lead atop of the NTFL ladder when it clashes with Palmerston to close out the round. The Crocs bounced back well from their Round 7 loss with a convincing win over St Marys in their last bout, putting their usual scary form on show once again. Palmerston have been a touch more inconsistent, suffering two straight losses after finding consecutive wins. The last fixture between the two was a landslide victory for Southern Districts, but the Magpies will be confident of competing much better having settled into the season. Michael Mummery was fantastic in Round 8 with four goals, but Shane Thorne has undoubtedly been the Crocs’ form player alongside the likes of Dean Staunton and recent inclusion, Seb Guilhaus from the ruck. The injection of AFL experience in the form of Jared Brennan, Richard Tambling and Leroy Jetta makes them an even scarier prospect for the Magpies, who will look to their own AFL stars in the Davey brothers to add some class. Kyle Emery will provide the goals up forward, with Matthew Dennis shouldering ruck duties, and Rodney Baird and Nigel Lockyer jnr providing cool heads up the field. Another one-sided affair looks likely on paper given Southern Districts’ recent inclusions, but Palmerston always pose a threat with the injections of class they have on each line.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 7

ROUND 7 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action sees the battle for ascendancy around the last finals spot heat up, while those in the top three will hope to get back on winning runs and keep tabs on the undefeated Southern Districts.

TIWI BOMBERS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi Bombers will be looking to claim a second consecutive win when after breaking its season duck last time out, coming up against a formidable Darwin outfit. The Buffaloes enjoyed a bounce-back victory last round too, overcoming fellow finals contenders Waratah to steer a game clear of the Warriors in third. While it looks a mismatch on paper and ladder position, Tiwi found a groove in their last outing and will have a spring in its step as it faces a Darwin team that is struggling to regain its early season form after hitting a slight speed bump.

The Buffaloes have class on each line, with AFL experience in the form of Joe Anderson and Matt Campbell seeing them through, while ex-Roo Michael Firrito has been a handy recent addition to the back half. The real x-factor on show will come from an in-form Adam Sambono, one of the league’s prime movers who is hot off a best-afield four-goal haul. An exciting clash also looms between two of the NT’s best youngsters in Darwin’s Malcolm Rosas and Tiwi’s Round 6 rising star nominee Jeffrey Simon, who can both win their own ball and stand up against mature bodies. Tiwi will be hoping that its own ex-AFL regular in Austin Wonaeamirri can continue to contribute to the scoreboard, while Simon Munkara will have to do the same up forward with supply from Jason Puruntatameri. Dion Munkara would also be a welcome addition, and could help the Bombers match Darwin’s firepower.

Darwin will be confident of getting back on a winning run here, but the Bombers are always a dangerous opponent and now have that winning feeling. Hopefully it’s a good spectacle to open the round and a TIO Stadium triple-header.

 

WANDERERS v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 5pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers will face a tough task in building on its only win for the season, battling against premiership contenders Nightcliff on Saturday. The Eagles suffered a loss against the improving Palmerston Magpies in their last bout, and with Tiwi posting its first win of the year, now sit bottom of the table. While Nightcliff also narrowly lost at the hands of a dominant Southern Districts side, they have looked a clear superior unit to most of the competition having even taken Darwin out in Round 5.

The consistent firepower of the Tigers forward of centre makes them tricky opposition, with spearhead Trent Melville looking to bounce back to his usual form after a quiet game last time out. The likes of speedy youngster Liam Holt-Fitz, Brodie Filo and Shaun Wilson have also repeatedly featured in the best, and will have to stand up once again if Nightcliff are to make a return statement. Wanderers don’t necessarily have the same potency around the ground, but will look for a spark from Keelan Fejo and Joel Jeffrey with key figure Marlon Motlop out of the side over the last two weeks along with cousin, Shannon and ex-Sun Liam Patrick, who has only played once.

Another mismatch on paper looms in this fixture, and Nightcliff will surly be breathing fire after a tight loss to the Crocs, but Wanderers will hope to put up a good fight here and climb off the bottom, as it searches for its first win since Round 1.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. ST MARYS
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

A battle for the last finals spot looms in the last fixture of Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, with a confident Palmerston clashing against St Marys. The Saints became Tiwi Bombers’ first victim for season 2019, a loss that would hurt greatly given how St Marys had found form of late and were pushing hard for fifth place. On the other hand, Palmerston managed to string a couple of wins together to pip this weekend’s opponent in terms of ladder position, and look a lively part of the tussle for ascendancy from fourth to sixth.

The Magpies’ key man this year has been Bundoora Bulls stalwart Matthew Dennis, who has put in workmanlike performances in some blown-out losses this year. As their form has turned, the likes of Rodney Baird and the dangerous Davey brothers have stepped up, with goal machine Kyle Emery a constant threat up forward. Hoping to quell Palmerston’s new-found firepower will be Saints veteran Raphael Clarke, who has held down the defensive fort all season. Further up the ground, Gippsland Power product Nathaniel Paredes has been dominant, while even younger talent in Maurice Rioli Jnr and Brayden Rioli should provide a bit of x-factor going forward.

This should be the most hotly contested game of the round, with both sides eager to claim that elusive fifth spot and earn a finals appearance. While Palmerston are the form side, St Marys have match-winners on each line that could prove the difference in a close encounter.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. WARATAH
Round 7 – Sunday November 17, 4pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will be keen to keep their perfect record in tact when they close out the round against Waratah at Norbuilt Oval. The Crocs have been a class above this season in beating all comers with relative ease, including seeing off their two most dangerous challengers – Darwin, and most recently, Nightcliff. Waratah come in having pushed the Buffaloes all the way last time out, and sit just off the top three as the ‘best of the rest’.

Dean Staunton and Shane Thorne continue to dominate for the Crocs, with draft hopeful Michael Mummery coming into form alongside Charles McAdam. Goalkicking ace Bradley Vallance will also look to bounce back from a goalless return last time out, with the likes of ex-Bomber Leroy Jetta still set to return and provide even more firepower. The key men for Waratah will be Cameron Barrett, who consistently hits the scoreboard alongside Lachlan Collihole and Raven Jolliffe. While they do not do massive damage on the scoreboard, the Warriors have multiple avenues to goal and will need to find them on repeat to match the dangerous Districts lineup.

While this may be a key fixture for Waratah given Palmerston and St Marys are vying for their position in fourth, Southern Districts will be looking to see out yet another victory with as little fuss as possible.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 4

WITH only one undefeated team remaining and one side still looking for a win, Round 4 in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) could well herald some interesting contests.

TIWI BOMBERS v. NIGHTCLIFF

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 2pm

Tiwi Oval

Tiwi Bombers will be looking to break its season duck when it faces Nightcliff at Tiwi Oval in the Round 4 opener. It will be no mean feat though, with the Bombers having to back up a tight loss to the reigning premiers with a strong showing against a strong Nightcliff side that will be breathing fire. The Tigers let a four-goal lead slip to Waratah in Round 3, handing them an improbable first defeat which they will be looking to rectify.

The Bombers’ winless run has not come without promise thus far, with two respectable losses and experienced heads seeing them through. The likes of Adam Tipungwuti, ex-Dee Austin Wonnaeamirri and Jason Puruntatameri will look to stand up once again in this game, while key man Dionysuis Munkara will have to continue his goalscoring form if the Bombers are to put up a big enough score. The forward threat of the Tigers is irresistible though, so you can expect the likes of Trent Melville, Mathew Bricknell, and Liam Holt-Fitz to trouble the scorers plenty if the Tigers get on top. Meanwhile, Kaine Riley, Jess Budarick, and TAC Cup graduate James Tsitas should prove to be key factors in the battle further up the ground.

There is certainly plenty on the line for both sides, and it will take a special performance from Tiwi to topple the Tigers if they can roar again.

 

WARATAH v. WANDERERS

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 5pm

TIO Stadium

Waratah will be hoping to strengthen their position in the finals race with a win over Wanderers, who are coming off two-straight losses having only beat the bottom side. The Warriors had an outstanding victory last time out as they toppled the Tigers in an impressive last-quarter comeback, making it two consecutive wins after a shock loss to Palmerston in Round 1.

Waratah’s Lachlan Collihole will look to continue his consistent goalscoring form having bagged eight in his three games, with Raven Jollife and Cameron Barrett others who could follow suit and help the Warriors gain ascendency. For Wanderers, look for Marlon Motlop to provide some spark up forward alongside Patrick Fairhead, with exciting youngsters Joel Jeffrey and Tyrell Lui also showing glimpses of form.

There’s two ways of looking at this contest – the first being that it poises the bottom two finals sides against each other, and the second being that it pits the weakest top four side against the strongest bottom four side. Either way, it looks like it could be a tight tussle on paper and should play a key role in shaping the last couple of finals spots.

 

ST MARYS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 7:30pm

TIO Stadium

In the second game of Saturday night’s TIO Stadium double-header, St Marys will seek to continue its momentum when they tussle with the tough Darwin Buffaloes outfit. The Buffaloes are back to their best after dropping their opening game to the surging reigning premiers, holding the best percentage in the league thus far from second spot. The Saints possess an opposite form line, but have shown glimpses of promise across their three games which eventually culminated in a win and jump to sixth place.

The stacked Buffaloes lineup features stars on each line, with a particularly dangerous forward half. The likes of Christopher Williams and Adam Sambono hit the scoreboard well last week, while Jarrod Stokes has found himself in the best two of three times with a pair of two-goal hauls and 16 year-old prodigy Malcolm Rosas has been exciting. Unlike Darwin, St Marys has been far from prolific in from of goal, but will be confident of quelling their opposition’s forward threat with the AFL experience of Raphael Clarke down back. Anthony Wilson was best-on in his first game for the year last week, and the likes of Nathaniel Parades and Ben Taylor will hope to make a similar impact given their solid form.

While scoring power is the obvious difference between the sides here, competitiveness is not lost on the mighty St Marys side, so expect them to put up a good fight against the Buffaloes.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES

Round 4 – Sunday October 28, 4pm

Norbuilt Oval

Sunday’s only fixture pits the irresistible force that is Southern Districts against second-bottom Palmerston Magpies. The Crocs have accounted for each of the three sides they’ve faced to remain as the only undefeated side for the year, but it hasn’t come without challenge. On the other hand, Palmerston face another tough ask having comfortably lost consecutive games to Darwin and Nightcliff after their stirring Round 1 win.

The key men for the Crocs include the likes of Bradley Vallance, who has two bags of three goals, fellow goalkicker William Farrer, and Samuel Smith. They will also hope to welcome ex-Bomber Leroy Jetta back to the fold. For the Magpies, Matthew Dennis will have to stand tall once again if they are to stand any chance, with Clarence Baird and Rodney Baird sure to provide assistance. Former AFL star Alwyn Davey will also hope to nab a goal or two alongside Ezekiel Frank.

It’s hard to ignore Southern Districts’ form, and the Magpies have slumped recently, but there is enough talent in their side to suggest they can put up a fight against the mighty Crocs.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) promises to be a big one, with plenty of teams close on the ladder facing off. The Tiwi Bombers and St Marys each have a chance to get their first wins of the season, while Nightcliff and the Southern Districts can keep their undefeated streaks alive.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS V TIWI BOMBERS

Saturday October 20, 2.30pm

TIO Stadium

Both sides are on the opposite ends of the table, with Southern Districts sitting second on two straight wins while the Tiwi Bombers are second-last with no wins from two games. The Crocs got a big win over St Marys, and Shane Thorne and Leroy Jetta led the way with four majors each. Expect Bradley Vallance to join them on the scoreboard this week, after he kicked three goals against Darwin in Round 1. Lionel Odgen and Samuel Smith could also be set for big performances. The Tiwi Bombers took it up the Wanderers in Round 1 in a high-scoring game but struggled with a big loss in Round 2. If the Bombers can revisit their Round 1 form, they might be in with a chance. Dionysuis Munkara will need to have another big game in order to snatch an upset win.

 

WANDERERS V ST MARYS

Saturday October 20, 5pm

TIO Stadium

St Marys will be desperate to secure its first win of the season, and the Saints have a good chance to do so against the fifth-placed Wanderers. Despite a big loss last week against the Crocs, Nathaniel Paredes showed promising signs, kicking a goal and being named best-on-ground for the Saints. St Marys took it right up to ladder-leader, Nightcliff in Round 1 so it will by no means be a sure win for Wanderers. They secured a high-scoring win in Round 1, highlighting their scoring power. Beau O’Connell led the way in that game with four majors, while Patrick Fairhead and Liam Patrick each kicked three majors. If the Wanderers can get even contribution from the board again, then expect them to win the game.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES V DARWIN BUFFALOES

Saturday October 20, 7.30pm

TIO Stadium

Both teams are sitting on one win and one loss heading into this game, so this game is well and truly anyone’s for the taking. The Magpies got their win in Round 1, while the Buffaloes got on the board in Round 2, meaning they could have the slight edge in terms of momentum. In that win last week, Darwin got over the line against the Wanderers by a convincing 52 points. The Buffaloes will require stellar performances from Jarrod Stokes, Malcolm Rosas and Kevin Maroney if they are to record that same winning margin this week. For Palmerston, Kyle Emery could be dangerous with his scoring power while Matthew Dennis is a ball magnet who could trouble Darwin’s ball-winners. He was named best-on-ground for the Magpies in each of their two matches this season, so the Buffaloes will need to minimise his influence to get the win.

 

WARATAH V NIGHTCLIFF

Sunday October 21, 4pm

Gardens Oval

Another enticing match takes place at Gardens Oval on Sunday, with first taking on third. Nightcliff will go into this match as favourites, given the Tigers haven’t dropped a game so far. But Waratah only went down narrowly against Palmerston in Round 1, so the Warriors go into this game with a big chance to record a victory. The side has plenty of known goal kickers, with Brock Orval, Lachlan Collihole, Raven Jolliffe, Samuel Weddell and Sam Godden all able to hit the scoreboard hard. Collihole is coming off a five-goal performance in Round 2, so he is likely to have a target on his back in this game, as the Tigers won’t want him getting out of the blocks early. However, one of Nightcliff’s own is coming off a bag of majors too, with Trent Melville kicking five goals against Palmerston last week. Matthew Bricknell and Cameron Ilett can also hit the scoreboard, kicking three goals each in that game. Expect this to be a high-scoring game, with the top two leading goal kickers, Melville (seven) and Collihole (six) going head-to-head at Gardens Oval.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 2

SATURDAY’S TIO Stadium triple-header produced three relatively one-sided results, leaving two sides without a win and seeing last year’s grand finalists bounce back to claim their first win of the year. The theme continued on Sunday too, with last year’s wooden spooners crashing back down to earth after a Round 1 victory.

WARATAH 19.10 (124)
TIWI BOMBERS 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Waratah: L. Collihole 5, R. Jolliffe 3, S. Weddell 3, S. Godden 2, H. Kerinaiua, B. Minkulk, C. Barrett, Z. Westerberg, M. Blake, A. Aurrichio.
Tiwi: D. Munkara 3, N. Pangiraminni 2, H. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum.

BEST:

Waratah: L. Collihole, M. Blake, R. Jolliffe, H. Kerinaiua, S. Weddell
Tiwi: D. Munkara, A. Darcy, H. Puruntatameri, S. Babui, T. Tambling

The first of Saturday’s games saw Waratah improve to 1-1 with a strong 74-point win over the winless Tiwi Bombers. It was a consistent four-quarter effort from Waratah, with four goals to two in each of the first three terms giving them a comfortable 35 point lead going into the final break. They then poured on seven goals to one in a dominant final term to soar to a statement victory.

Lachlan Collihole was named best afield for his five-goal haul, while Raven Jolliffe and Samuel Weddell were also thereabouts with their bags of three. Waratah’s other multiple goalkicker was Sam Godden with two, while the likes of Matthew Blake and Henry Kerinaiua also put in good shifts and hit the scoreboard. For the Bombers, Dionysuis Munkara continued his good start in front of goal with three majors earning him Tiwi’s best-on honours. Norman Pangiraminni was the only other to claim multiple goals, with Harley Puruntatameri also finding his way into the best for the losing side.

The percentage boost sees Waratah sit just below the two undefeated teams in third, while the Bombers sit second-bottom as one of two winless sides.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 17.13 (115)
ST MARYS 6.10 (46)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: S. Thorne 4, L. Jetta 4, T. Brook 2, M. Mummery 2, D. Abbott, C. Gallio, I. Wyatt, B. Rusca, C. McAdam
St Marys: N. Paredes, J. Cullen, S. Richardson, C. Parris, M. Liddy, N. Yarran.

BEST:

Southern Districts: N/A
St Marys: N. Paredes, K. Delahunty, R. Clarke, B. Taylor, J. Quinn, N. Yarran

Southern Districts powered to a 69-point win over St Marys in the round’s second game to cement its spot in the competition’s top two. It was a slightly more comfortable win for the Crocs this time out after their down-to-the-wire Grand Final rematch win last week, with the Saints again struggling to find the goals despite holding a one-point lead at the half. Fifteen goals to three after the main break saw the reigning premiers run away with the result, kicking into gear quickly after a slight scare.

Former Essendon goal-sneak Leroy Jetta snared four goals alongside Shane Thorne, with impressive youngster Michael Mummery booting two of his own and Timothy Brook rounding out the multiple goalkickers with his two majors. The Saints had fewer forward contributors, but the likes of Nathaniel Parades and Nicholas Yarran troubled the scorers while also being named in the best. Kieran Delahunty was also impressive in a losing side along with ex-Saint Raphael Clarke.

The result sees either side make up the top and bottom two respectively, with Southern Districts one of two undefeated sides, while St Marys sit bottom as one of two winless teams.

 

WANDERERS 5.10 (40)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 14.8 (92)

GOALS: 

Wanderers: S. Motlop, K. Fejo, M. Motlop, J. Jeffrey, J. Salmon
Darwin: A. Sambono 3, J. Clark 3, S. Anderson 2, C. Williams 2, L. Thomas 2, J. Stokes, J. Clarke

BEST: N/A

2018 runners-up Darwin Buffaloes rounded out Saturday’s fixtures with a bounce-back win over Wanderers. It was a steady contest between last year’s second, and second-last teams as Wanderers utilised an end advantage to lead at quarter time. The Buffaloes hit back hard though, with four goals to one in the second term giving them the ascendancy, which they didn’t relinquish before storming home with seven fourth quarter goals to beef up the margin.

Darwin’s Adam Sambono found some of his better form to slot three goals, with his haul matched only by teammate Jackson Clark. Former AFL forward Lindsay Thomas also found the goals with two of his own alongside Steven Anderson and Chris Williams in the dangerous Buffaloes forward line. The Motlops, Shannon and Marlon were both typically busy in for Wanderers in their forward-line with a goal each, while youngster Joel Jeffrey also impressed.

The win sees both sides claim the bottom two finals spots, with Darwin’s far superior percentage of 143.8 granting them fourth place. It was always going to be a tough ask for Wanderers to back up their Round 1 win here, but they’re still placed nicely early in fifth.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 21.15 (141)
PALMERSTON 8.8 (56)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: T. Melville 5, M. Bricknell 3, C. Ilett 3, J. Tsitas 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, W. Derksen 2, J. Peris, F. James, D. Reeve, J. Budarick.
Palmerston: J. Marshall 2, E. Frank 2, A. Davey, S. Autio, A. Lonergan, S. Talbot.

BEST:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett, S. Wilson, J. Budarick, J. Tsitas, J. Miles, P. Kossack
Palmerston: M. Dennis, C. Baird, S. Talbot, J. Marshall , N. Lockyer Jnr, L. Harrison

Nightcliff stormed to the top of the table with a thumping 85-point win over Palmerston in Sunday’s only fixture. The Tigers stormed out of the blocks, with five goals in each of the opening two terms giving them a 49-point lead heading into half time. While the Magpies somewhat stemmed the flow after the main break, it was more of the same to see out the game as Nightcliff piled on eight-straight majors in the last.

Trent Melville was the star with five goals for the Tigers despite Cameron Ilett being named best-on for his three-goal effort. Mathew Bricknell also booted three majors, while former Geelong Falcon James Tsitas and youngster Liam Holt-Fitz also claimed two each alongside Wade Derksen. Shaun Wilson and Jess Budarick were also among the best for the winners, overcoming the injection of AFL experience in the Palmerston line-up. Ezekiel Frank booted two goals and Alwyn Davey managed one, but it was Bundoora ruck stalwart Matthew Dennis who again claimed best-on honours for the Magpies.

The loss sees Palmerston sit just outside of the finals spots with their win on the board, while Nightcliff maintained their soaring percentage and first place in what was an impressive performance.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 2

With Round 1 in the books and a few surprise results to boot, Round 2 looks like dishing up a few intriguing contests that could set the tone for clubs vying for a top five spot.

WARATAH v. TIWI BOMBERS

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 2:30pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

The first match of Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header pits two teams coming off a first-round loss against each other, in the form of Waratah and Tiwi Bombers.

Waratah were beaten out the blocks by last year’s wooden spooners Palmerston in their season opener, while 2018 elimination finalists Tiwi Bombers fell to last year’s second bottom team in Wanderers. With the sides evenly matched and the Bombers pipping the Warriors to a finals spot last year by a single game, this Round 2 clash is set to be a belter with both teams out to gain their first taste of victory for the season.

The Warriors will hope to sharpen up in defence having conceded 24 scoring shots last time out, with former Northern Blues American import Alex Aurrichio holding up the fort alongside the likes of Brock Orval – who was their best in Round 1 and can also run through the midfield. Tiwi have the AFL experience of former Demon excitement machine Austin Wonaeamirri, while the class of hard running midfielder Albert Tipungwuti and Essendon Academy Manager Harmit Singh will provide cool heads through the middle, hoping to bring lively forward Adam Tipungwuti into the game.

It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top here, with both sides surely keen to break their ducks and gain an early edge over a similarly-placed opponent.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. ST MARYS

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 5pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

Premiers Southern Districts will look to continue their NTFL dominance on the back of a six-point win over fellow grand finalists, Darwin, when they clash with St Marys at TIO Stadium. St Marys were tasked with a tough introduction to the 2019 season with fixtures against last year’s top two home and away teams. This clash against the Crocs may prove to be an uphill battle, but if their fighting loss against Nightcliff in Round 1 is anything to go by, they are up for the fight.

The Crocs possess former AFL talent in Leroy Jetta and Richard Tambling, but have in-form stars all around the ground. Forward Brad Vallance was key to their win last week with his three goals and will look to continue that form, while the likes of Lionel Ogden and Sam Smith made good starts from defence. For St Mary’s, the experienced Raph Clarke will hope to further his calming influence across half-back, with exciting 16-year-old prospects Maurice Rioli Jnr and Jacob Long slotting into pockets at either end of the ground.

On paper this match-up does not seem like it will produce a thriller, but do not be surprised to see St Marys take it up to Southern Districts.

 

WANDERERS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 7:30pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

The final fixture in Saturday’s triple-header sees last year’s second bottom side face the runners up under lights. The opening round results see either side’s form lines contrast in an unexpected way though, with Wanderers claiming a win at the expense of Tiwi, while the Buffaloes sit 0-1 having lost the grand final rematch.

The Wanderers have a dangerous forward line, with the likes of former Gold Coast Sun Liam Patrick firing last week with his three goals, and Beau O’Connell dominating with four of his own. Add to that the experience of veteran Shannon Motlop and the exuberance of 16-year-old Joel Jeffrey, and you have the makings of another 30 plus scoring shot display. The Buffaloes are clearly no slouches though, with only the might of reigning premiers Southern Districts proving their downfall last week. They’ll still be confident in getting on the board for 2019 with exciting players on each line. Matt Campbell will hope to have an impact, while the likes of Adam Sambono, Bradley Stokes, and teenage prospect Malcolm Rosas should provide a spark not many teams can handle.

Both defences should be busy, with Darwin hoping they can cut off Wanderers’ supply to their dangerous forwards by winning the midfield battle.

 

NIGHTCLIFF v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES

Round 2 – Sunday October 14, 4pm

PSC BM Oval, Nightcliff

Nightcliff hosts Palmerston in Sunday’s lone fixture for the round, with both sides holding a win after their respective season openers. Runners up in the regular season last time out, Nightcliff will hope to continue on with the form that saw them claim that position in 2018 after narrowly overcoming St Marys in Round 1. Meanwhile, Palmerston sit top of the ladder after matching their season wins tally from last season with a Round 1 win over Waratah.

Trent Melville was one of three multiple goalkickers last week for the Tigers, booting the all-important two that saw his side over the line. Midfielder Jess Budarick was named their best, and will be hoping to continue supplying well for the likes of Kaine Riley and Liam Holt-Fitz up forward. The Magpies will be confident that the class of the Davey brothers, former Bulldog Ezekiel Frank and Northern Football League stalwart Matthew Dennis will be enough to pull them over the line once again, keeping them atop of the ladder and bettering their efforts of last year with just two games played.

Almost polar opposites last time around, it should be an intriguing contest given the strength of both sides on paper, and will give a good indication of where either team sits.