Tag: luke kiel

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 14

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League returned last weekend, with Round 14 set to showcase some tantalising contests. While a super Saturday is in the works with back-to-back-to-back matches at TIO Stadium, expect the final match of the round between ladder leaders Nightcliff and St Mary’s to be the real kicker as the two sides face off for top spot. All that, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-12) vs. Wanderers (3rd, 9-3-1)
Saturday January 16, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Expect a tough battle here from a rapidly improving Tiwi outfit, although against third placed Wanderers the side will need more than a couple of sparks to run down the rampaging Muk Muks. While Tiwi was afforded an extra week off due to a COVID-19 scare – with the postponed match against Waratah set to take place next Friday, January 22 – the Wanderers proved once more why they are amongst the ladder leaders and will look to continue their winning ways against the lowly Bombers.

There is no doubt that Brodie Newman, Brett Eddy and Dane McFarlane are the ones to watch for the Wanderers, with all three consistently providing the goods and relatively unstoppable once they get going. With 49 goals to his name across 12 matches, Eddy is rarely beaten and can find plenty of the footy, while Simon Bates is another key option inside forward 50. For Tiwi, expect a tough contest from the regular performers in an incomplete squad, with Fletcher CarrollMason De WitAdam Sambono and Allen Christensen all crucial last time these two sides met, though none of these players have been listed for this encounter.

Waratah (4th, 7-5) vs. Palmerston (7th, 2-11) 
Sunday January 16, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

After an extra week off, Waratah will be chomping at the bit when they take on the Palmerston Magpies in the second match of the TIO Stadium triple header. While the two sides are only separated by a few positions on the ladder, the Warriors arguably have the form coming into this encounter after beating the Magpies only two rounds ago, although the Magpies’ break has been shorter and really challenged St Mary’s last round, putting them in good stead to force the hand of Waratah this round.

Waratah’s Cameron Arnold (15 goals), Jake Sutton (14) and Jae McGrath (12) have been consistent up the ground, combining well up forward to apply scoreboard pressure, while Palmerston’s Toshie Kunoth (17 goals) leads the charge up forward for the Magpies. Kunoth has a trio of Daveys named out the front alongside him, able to switch on the speed and excitement, while Matthew Dennis and Eric Guthrie will be crucial if the side can steal away momentum.

Southern Districts (6th, 5-8) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (5th, 7-6)
Saturday January 16, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

While these two sides have not played since Round 2 back in October, expect an intriguing battle between Districts and Buffaloes given they sit close together on the ladder but have a few games buffer between them. With the top five within reasonable touching distance for the Crocs but a much lower percentage than many of the top sides, they will need to fire on all cylinders against the Buffs, who had a shocker last round and will be wanting to lift their form once more.

For the Districts, the efforts of Charles McAdam and Jesse Clark will be crucial with the duos consistency required in what is expected to be tight matchup. With plenty of options inside 50, Andrew Boseley (19 goals) and Luke Kiel (13) are currently leading the way. For the Buffs, Brodie Foster is a consistent threat out the front, booting 39 goals for the season while Matt Campbell is also a solid option, able to find the big sticks with ease but also assist further up the ground.

Nightcliff (1st, 10-2-1) vs. St Mary’s (2nd, 10-3)
Sunday January 17, 6:30pm
Darwin Madza Nightcliff Oval

A huge first versus second matchup closes out Round 14, as the ladder-leading Nightcliff host St Mary’s in an enticing battle. With their last encounter coming in the opening round back in early October – seeing Nightcliff run home with a solid 52-point victory – both sides have proved tough to beat since then as the Saints sit two points behind the Tigers and looking to shock the reigning premiers. While both sides arguably have the form coming into this match, Nightcliff blew Darwin out of the water last round while the Saints were tested in patches by Palmerston, so expect the top side to reign supreme here, too.

There is no doubt Nightcliff’s Kyle Emery and Cameron Ilett are the ones to watch, with the Saints needing to pile on the pressure early against the two key options around the ground. Add in the likes of Dominic Brew, and St Mary’s will realistically need to dominate possession early to come out on top. For the Saints, expect the ever reliable Dylan and Jack Landt to provide plenty of sparks, as will reliable goalkickers Beau Tedcastle and Jackson Calder.

Picture credit: Celina Whan – AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 13

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League season returned over the weekend, and while the opening match of the round between Tiwi Bombers and Waratah was postponed due to a potential COVID-19 concern, the rest of the round was complete on a super Saturday of matches. The top three sides all came away with confident wins, with ladder-leading Nightcliff retaining top spot on the table after another excellent effort.

WANDERERS | 3.2 | 5.4 | 8.9 | 13.13 (91)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 2.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:

Wanderers: D. McFarlane 3, J. Cubillo 2, S. Mannagh 2, D. Thompson, J. Cubillo, B. Hodgson, M. Totham, E. Simpson, L. Patrick.
Districts: T. Carroll 2, J. Ross 2, D. Robertson, M. Duffy, L. Kiel.

BEST:

Wanderers: D. Thompson, B. Hodgson, D. McFarlane, S. Mannagh, M. Totham, J. Cubillo
Districts: L. Kiel, L. McGregor, J. Tsitas, C. McAdam, D. Robertson, Z. Smith

Wanderers added another win to their tally to start off the tail end of their 2020 season, and while the side certainly bounced back from their disappointing loss to St Mary’s prior to the break, the Muk Muks were well and truly kept accountable by the Districts in this encounter. Only staying ahead at half-time by a couple more scoring opportunities, the Districts’ defence kept up well with the Wanderers’ firepower but ultimately could not withstand the pressure throughout the entire contest with the first and second halves telling of the final result. An eight goal to three second half told the true tale of the match, with a flurry of multiple goalkickers allowing the Wanderers to maintain control under pressure as the close affair finished with a solid 45-point margin and win number nine in the books. Dray Thompson and Brydan Hodgson were listed amongst the bests for the Muk Muks, both booting a goal apiece to assist the likes of Dane McFarlane (three goals), Joshua Cubillo and Shaun Mannagh (both two), while for the Districts it was the efforts of primary goalkickers, Travis Carroll and Jonathan Ross, aided by Luke Kiel and Liam McGregor that saw the side flourish under pressure in the second half.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 0.3 | 3.4 | 5.4 | 8.6 (54)
ST MARY’S | 5.1 | 6.4 | 9.7 | 11.12 (78)

GOALS:

Palmerston: T. Kunoth 2, T. Lui 2, A. Davey, S. Lampton, R. Davey.
St Mary’s: J. Calder 4, N. Paredes 2, B. Tedcastle, N. Yarran, B. Grenfell, R. Smith, J. Cheek.

BEST:

Palmerston: 
St Mary’s: J. Geary, N. Yarran, J. Calder, D. Landt, M. Wilkinson, A. Long

While Palmerston put in a tough effort against St Mary’s, it was not enough in this encounter with the Saints’ first quarter showing of five goals to nil seeing the side take control and not relinquish easy scoring opportunities from there. That being said, the Magpies certainly bit their way back into the contest consistently, never allowing the Saints to really pull away with a convincing lead and biting at the heels of the second-ranked side. Tight defence from the Magpies was not enough to control proceedings with little going the side’s way in the first term, unable to convert off opportunities inside 50 while the Saints seemed to have the ball on a string up forward, applying plenty of scoreboard pressure through Jackson Calder, who booted a goal per quarter to finish with four majors, and Nate Peredes out the front with two. A flurry of individual goalkickers also plied their trade for the Saints, while Jackson Geary and Nicholas Yarran were listed amongst the best alongside Calder. For the Saints, Toshie Kunoth and Tyrrell Lui booted two apiece to reduce the margin.

DARWIN BUFFALOES | 1.1 | 2.2 | 5.6 | 5.10 (40)
NIGHTCLIFF | 9.2 | 17.3 | 17.3 | 20.7 (127)

GOALS:

Darwin: B. Foster 3, N. Lowden, M. Campbell.
Nightcliff: K. Emery 5, T. Melville 3, B. Filo 2, J. Bowen, A. Jorgensen, A. Moniz Wakefield, P. Wills, H. Drogemuller, D. Butcher, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, J. Kickett, M. Rivett.

BEST:

Darwin: 
Nightcliff: C. Ilett, T. Boyd, J. Bowen, D. Brew, A. Moniz Wakefield, K. Emery

A first half blitz from Nightcliff well and truly set up the top side for a solid win against the fifth-ranked Buffaloes, and while the home side well and truly fronted up after the half-time buzzer, it just was not enough to contend with the powerful Nightcliff forwards who utilised every opportunity inside 50, and for the most part, efficiently and accurately. While the Buffaloes certainly redeemed themselves in the second half, booting 3.8 to Nightcliff’s 3.4, it was not enough against a hugely powerful side, which saw 13 individual goalkickers. For the Buffs, a three-goal haul from Brodie Foster helped immensely, while Nightcliff’s Kyle Emery (five goals), Trent Melville (three) and Cameron Ilett showcased plenty of intensity in the huge outing. Nightcliff’s winning streak continues on their way to back-to-back premierships with this encounter taking the side’s win count to three straight following their Round 10 bye with the Wanderers, while the Buffaloes remain seated just outside the top four and trailing the leading sides.

Photo by Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

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

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

Darwin Buffaloes

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

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

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

Nightcliff

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

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

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

Palmerston

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

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

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

Southern Districts

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

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

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 12

THE final round of NTFL Men’s Premier League before the Christmas break saw some big wins across the board with Nightcliff further cementing their spot on top of the ladder and St Mary’s edging closer with a dominant performance over the third placed Wanderers who are hot on their heels. All that and more.

Darwin Buffaloes 10.5 | 15.7 | 20.13 | 24.16 (160)
Tiwi Bombers 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 6.5 (41)

GOALS:

Buffaloes: B. Foster 7, M. Campbell 6, A. Hodor 2, R. Pendlebury 2, J. Stokes 2, M. Coombes, N. Lowden, S. Foster, T. Clarke, K. Maroney
Bombers: N/A

It was all one way traffic from the opening quarter of play with the Buffaloes pushing out to a ten goal lead at quarter time showcasing their dominance. Although the flurry of goals slowly dried up the total continued to mount as the buffs displayed their ability to hit the scoreboard and could have done more damage had they been more accurate registering 16 behinds. The Bombers failed to register a major until the second quarter where they managed two goals but simply did not have the firepower to match it with the Buffs who seemed to have the ball on a string.

There is no denying that Brodie Foster was the main source of the Bombers pain with the Buffs star booting seven goals to take his season tally to 36 goals. Matt Campbell was not far off the pace with six majors of his own while there were a couple of other multiple goalkickers in the likes of Ryan Pendlebury, Jarrod Stokes and Adam Hodor. Overall Darwin appeared to be a well-oiled team with players able to find the big sticks with relative ease and head into the break with a pep in their step while the Bombers will be assessing what went wrong.

 

Nightcliff 3.2 | 8.7 | 10.9 | 13.14 (92)
Southern Districts 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: K. Emery 4, B. Filo 3, H. Drogemuller, R. Mu, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, D. Bowles, T. Melville
Southern Districts: B. Rolfe 2, A. Boseley 2, J. Tsitas, L. Kiel, D. Staunton, L. Ogden, J. Dahlhaus

BESTS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett, T. Boyd, J. Bowen, B. Filo, R. Mu, D. Butcher
Southern Districts: L. Kiel, J. Clark, C. McAdam, J. Ross, M. McLinden, B. Rolfe

After a relatively close first quarter Nightcliff put their foot down in the second piling on five goals to one to create a handy buffer heading into the main break. They carried that momentum into the second half steadily building on their margin and putting the win within doubt. While Southern Districts had a strong final quarter it was not enough to overrun the top of the table Nightcliff who were eager to end their season on a high and ensure they had prime position at the start of the break. Accuracy seemed to be somewhat of an issue for both sides but that did not stop the winners from totalling a handy score.

Once again Kyle Emery was amongst the action slotting four majors in the outing while Brodie Filo also proved to be a handy option inside 50 with three goals of his own to make it the third straight week he has hit the scoreboard. Cameron Ilett  managed to find plenty of the footy and peg a goal while Thomas Boyd also made his presence felt right across the ground in the win. For the Crocs, Billy Rolfe and Andrew Boseley were the two main contributors on the scoreboard with two goals apiece while Jay Dahlhaus also chimed in for a goal of his own. Luke Kiel impressed once again as did Jesse Clarke despite being in a losing side.

 

Wanderers 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 7.5 (47)
St Mary’s 2.3 | 4.5 | 10.6 | 13.7 (85)

GOALS:

Wanderers: N/A
St Mary’s: J. Calder 3, J. Long 2, R. Clarke 2, N. Paredes 2, J. Kluske 2, B. Tedcastle 2

BESTS:

Wanderers: N/A
St Mary’s: D. Landt, N. Paredes, A. Long, L. Jellyman-Turner, K. Parnell, R. Clarke

It was a slow start to the game with neither side able to really assert themselves early despite the Saints opening up a handy buffer at the half. But once the third quarter hit St Mary’s found their groove and made their move on the scoreboard piling on six goals to two and from there on, did not look like losing. The Saints made the most of their chances in front of goals while limiting the third placed Wanderers to collect their ninth win of the season and edge even closer to the top of the ladder, Nightcliff.

There was no shortage of options for the Saints inside 50 with six multiple goalkickers all managing to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Jackson Calder booted three taking his total to 15 for the season while Jacob Long also plied his trade, registering two majors for the afternoon. The ever-reliable Nate Paredes banged home two goals while Raphael Clarke collected two and was also named in the bests for his efforts. Dylan Landt stood tall in the win as Anthony Long continued his hot form for the Saints.

 

Palmerston Magpies 2.0 | 3.4 | 3.4 | 7.6 (48)
Waratah 3.7 | 3.7 | 7.11 | 12.18 (90)

GOALS:

Magpies: S. Inkamala 2, T. Kunoth, M. Dennis, F. Dickson, D. Stafford, R. Armstrong
Waratah: A. Ankers 3, H. Kerinaiua 2, Z. Westerberg 2, D. Lang, J. Arratta, J. Simson, B. Carroll, B. Orval

It was always going to be a gruelling contest for the lower placed Palmerston Magpies and that especially showed in the final term when Waratah went bang, nailing five goals to all but seal the deal. Tahs struggled in the second term to hit the scoreboard not even registering a single point, let alone a goal but come the second half the fourth placed side were re-invigorated booting nine goals to four while keeping the Magpies scoreless in the third quarter. Waratah could have had an even bigger day out, had they been more accurate registering a whopping 18 behinds but still walked away with a solid 32 point victory.

Abraham Ankers led the charge for Waratah slotting three goals. He was well supported by the likes of Zach Westerberg and Henry Kerinaiua who both managed two majors apiece while Darcy Lang showcased his array of talents to slot a goal of his own. There was only one multiple goalkicker for the Magpies with Shane Inkamala making his presence felt in his first game of the season while Toshie Kunoth returned to the goalkickers list with his sole major. Matthew Dennis, Daniel Stafford and Rohan Armstrong all chipped in for the Magpies but it was not enough to get them over the line and steal a win.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League rolls on this Saturday, with four games to be played across seperate venues for just the second time this season. Waratah hosts Wanderers in the weekend’s lone top five clash, but finals ramifications will also be at play when Southern Districts takes on St Mary’s, as either side bookends the bottleneck forming between third and sixth. Meanwhile, Nightcliff and Darwin will hope to strengthen their respective finals pushes as they meet the bottom two teams. That, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-8) vs. Nightcliff (2nd, 6-2)
Saturday November 28, 1:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

Tiwi’s search for a maiden win in season 2020/21 returns to home base on Saturday afternoon when reigning premier, Nightcliff comes to town. The Bombers have not only lost every game thus far, but also lay claim to five defeats of over 50 points to seem them planted to the wooden spoon spot. Nightcliff’s season has come with a couple of hiccups, most recently at the hands on Southern Districts, but the Tigers remain in a strong position at 6-2. This looms as the first meeting between these sides this season, so a clean slate for competition presents.

Allen Christensen looms as a big inclusion for Tiwi and should provide some good forward drive from midfield alongside the likes of Adam Tipungwuti and Fletcher Carroll. Youngster Brayden Rioli also looks set for a return to the top flight, named next to Austin Wonaeamirri on the full forward line. Nightcliff’s forwards will be looking to bounce back from a feeble display last week, while the likes of Dom Brew, Daniel Bowles, and Mack Rivett provide some grunt from further afield. Veteran utility Cam Ilett is also fresh of a three-goal haul, so will again provide a focal point for the Tigers.

Southern Districts (6th, 4-4) vs. St Mary’s (3rd, 5-3)
Saturday November 28, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

An opportunity for Southern Districts to crack the top five presents on Saturday as the Crocs lock horns with St Mary’s at Norbuilt Oval. Both teams are in winning form coming into their first clash of the season, with Districts taking in a string of three victories, including one over Nightcliff, while St Mary’s five wins have all come in the last six weeks. It makes for an intriguing battle which should impact the shape of the top five, as St Mary’s heads a bottleneck between its third place, and South Districts’ sixth.

In a welcome relief for the Crocs, Luke Kiel has been cleared to play after having his rough conduct charge withdrawn at the tribunal. He lines up in the forwardline, while Ed Barlow is among a host of big names named on the extended bench. Under 18s goalkicker Tom Demamiel could also make his Premier League debut having impressed upon his promotion to Division 1. The Saints look like boasting some handy inclusions too, with Nick Yarran back among the starting lineup alongside Shannon Rioli. Spearhead Jackson Paine is still absent though and Shaun Edwards‘ name is not on the team sheet.

Waratah (5th, 4-4) vs. Wanderers (1st, 7-1)
Saturday November 28, 6:30pm
Gardens Oval

The round’s only top five clash takes place on Saturday night as Waratah hosts ladder leader, Wanderers at Gardens Oval. It has been largely smooth sailing for the Muk Muks after eight games, boasting a 7-1 record and soaring to first place last week. A loss to Nightcliff is the only blemish on their record. Waratah’s path has been much more up-and-down, but the Warriors bounced back from consecutive losses last week with a crucial win over Darwin to remain fifth.

Tahs look set to welcome back a couple of very handy players, with spearhead forward Michael Newton back among the fray for his second outing this season, while gun midfielder Abe Ankers returns after missing last week. Marlon Motlop is a big inclusion on Wanderers’ side, adding to a mix of players already in sparkling form on each line. Among them, Dane McFarlane is thriving in midfield, Brodie Newman continues to boss the defence, and Brett Eddy is leading the competition’s goalkicking charts with 34 majors in eight games.

Darwin Buffaloes (4th, 5-3) vs. Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-7)
Saturday November 28, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin will hope to recapture its early-season form when it faces Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. After accelerating to a 4-0 start, the Buffs have lost three of their last four matches but still boast a positive record at 5-3 overall. Their feats have been good enough to retain a top five place, something which seems a far cry from Palmerston’s efforts thus far. The Magpies gave Wanderers a scare last week and picked up a win over Tiwi in Round 2, but have since lost five-straight games. One of them came against Darwin in Round 3 to the tune of 44 points.

Palmerston should regain some firepower with Daniel Stafford, Nigel Lockyer Jnr, and Jonty Patrick all in contention to return and make up three spots in the front six. Darwin has some good stock around the mark too, with Michael Hagan and Jalen Clarke named on an extended bench alongside playing-coach, Cameron Stokes. In a blow to the Double Blues’ midfield, Jarrod Stokes has been suspended for striking and will spend a fortnight on the sidelines. This could prove a danger game for Darwin, or the perfect opportunity to bounce back emphatically.

Featured Image: Action from last week’s St Mary’s vs. Tiwi clash | Credit: Aaron Black/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 8

A HOTLY contested weekend of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action saw three games decided by four goals or less, as all eight top flight teams took to the field on Saturday. Southern Districts and Waratah were among the big winners with notable upsets over genuine finals contenders, while St Mary’s soared past Tiwi in easily the most one-sided game of the round. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 0.3 | 1.5 | 8.10 | 8.12 (60)
ST MARY’S | 5.3 | 9.5 | 17.7 | 21.13 (139)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Bryne 2, R. Tungatalum 2, A. Tipungwuti, J. Wilson, M. De Wit, T. Babui
St Mary’s: B. Tedcastle 4, J. Long 3, N. Paredes 3, J. Landt 2, S. Edwards 2, J. Calder 2, B. Grenfell 2, R. Smith, L. Raymond, A. Wilson

BEST:

Tiwi: M. De Wit, N. Scagliarini, F. Carroll, R. Tungatalum, J Monigatti
St Mary’s: D. Landt, J. Williams, B. Tedcastle, L. Taylor, J. Landt, A. Long

St Mary’s staved off a shootout with Tiwi to come away 79 point victors on Saturday afternoon, marking an authoritative start to the Round 8 action. The Saints stormed out to an even eight-goal lead at the main break before Tiwi made its move with seven goals during the third term. There was just one problem for the Bombers, or eight, as St Mary’s piled on as many majors in return to keep well ahead in the contest. It proved Tiwi’s final surge as the Bombers remained goalless in the final quarter, seeing St Mary’s run out 21.13 (139) to 8.12 (60) winners.

The Saints had little trouble kicking a winning score in the absence of Jackson Paine, with Beau Tedcastle (four goals) one of seven St Mary’s players to find the big sticks on more than one occasion. Nate Paredes was among that list and kicked a goal of the week contender, while Dylan Landt proved a key part of the win. Mason De Wit was again outstanding for Tiwi from defence, while gun forward Ross Tungatalum made a handful of himself through midfield alongside Nathan Scagliarini and Fletcher Carroll. The result sees Tiwi languish in last at 0-8, while St Mary’s jumps to third with its 5-3 record.

WANDERERS | 3.3 | 6.5 | 9.6 | 12.9 (81)
PALMERSTON | 3.3 | 6.4 | 9.6 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Bates 2, B. O’Connell, R. Fejo, J. Cubillo, T. Motlop, D. McFarlane
Palmerston: T. Kunoth 4, A. McAdam 2, J. Mentha, M. Dennis, S. Lampton, A. Davey

BEST:

Wanderers: D. McFarlane, B. Hodgson, A. Motlop, J. Cubillo, D. Thompson
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, A. Davey, M. Dennis, R. Armstrong, T. Kunoth, S. Jewell

Wanderers survived an almighty scare at the hands of Palmerston on Saturday evening to scrounge a 13-point win at TIO Stadium and move clear atop the Premier League standings. There was nothing to split the two sides come the first and third breaks, as Palmerston’s dash and dare continued to worry a defensive Wanderers outfit. After trailing by three goals in the third term, the Muk Muks drew back level and continued their momentum into the deciding quarter to earn the 12.9 (81) to 10.8 (68) victory, thanks largely to claiming six of the last seven goals.

Brett Eddy again topped the scoresheet with five majors for Wanderers, with Simon Bates the only other Eagle to snare multiple goals (two) – including the sealer. The likes of Dane McFarlane and Brydan Hodgson were again prominent in the Eagles’ seventh win along with Josh Cubillo. Toshie Kunoth did most of the damage for Palmerston with his bag of goals, but it was Eric Guthrie, Aaron Davey, and ruckman Matthew Dennis who inspired the Magpies’ effort from the engine room. Palmerston is no better placed with its 1-7 record, while Wanderers sits pretty in first place with opposite figures.

NIGHTCLIFF | 1.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 8.6 (54)
S. DISTRICTS | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.11 | 9.13 (67)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett 3, L. Holt-Fitz, A. Jorgensen, S. Wilson, P. Wills, W. Wheeler
Districts: J. Tsitas 3, L. Kiel 2, J. Dahlhaus 2, J. Farrar, D. Staunton

BEST:

Nightcliff: A. Jorgensen, M. Rivett, W. Wheeler, C. Ilett, D. Bowles, P. Wills
Districts: L. McGregor, J. Tsitas, J. Dahlhaus, D. Robertson, J. Clark, J. Laba

Southern Districts claimed the scalp of the season so far with a 13-point road win over Nightcliff on Saturday night. The Crocs ensured to spoil their adversaries’ party under lights, with the reigning premiers celebrating their maiden game among the newly installed Nightcliff Oval luminance. It proved a scrappy, low-scoring affair from the outset but Districts proved the team in control to lead at every break. As good sides do, Nightcliff hit back when it mattered to move within striking distance, but the effort proved futile as Districts sealed the deal to win 9.13 (67) to 8.6 (54).

Against his old side, James Tsitas was impactful as ever with three important goals and plenty of disposals, while Luke Kiel was the one to steady his side at the death. Michael Bowden and Liam McGregor also played important roles in the win, which sees the Crocs move one step closer to the top five. Cam Ilett booted three majors for Nightcliff as the Tigers’ lone multiple goalkicker, with the likes of Mack Rivett, Daniel Bowles, and Willie Wheeler continuing their good stretch of form. Nightcliff now drops back to second, but remains every bit the premiership contender despite another slip-up.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 8.5 | 10.5 | 13.5 (83)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 2.4 | 7.5 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Waratah: R. Turnbull 3, J. Sutton 3, C. Arnold 2, M. Blake 2, C. Searle 2, T. Fields
Darwin: M. Lochowiak 3, J. Collinson 2, S. Ahmat 2, I. Palmer 2

BEST:

Waratah: Z. Westerberg, R. Turnbull, C. Searle, J. Sutton, T. Fields, B. Carroll
Darwin: J. Stokes, R. Pendlebury, T. Eldridge, M. Lochowiak

Waratah broke through to knock off top opposition on Saturday night, defeating Darwin by 13 points to see out the weekend’s action. After building a 37-point lead at the main break, Tahs were made to earn their keep in the second half as Darwin rallied to get the margin back to within a couple of goals. The Warriors were up to the task and notched a key victory, reading 13.5 (83) to 9.6 (60) on the final scoreboard. In a rare quirk, all bar one of the goalkickers found multiple majors as Waratah proved efficient inside attacking 50.

Robert Turnbull stood up for Waratah in the absence of Abe Ankers to boot three majors from midfield, aided well by Jake Sutton who matched the feat. Mihail Lochowiak also did so for Darwin and could have compounded his damage at crucial moments with more accurate conversion. Tahs ruckman Zach Westerberg again proved giant in the win, while the likes of Callum Searle and Tom Fields contributed strongly. Jarrod Stokes was adjudged Darwin’s best ahead of Lochowiak, Ryan Pendlebury, and Tim Eldridge. Waratah is now just a game adrift from Darwin on the ladder, as both sides take up top five spots.

Featured Image: Jesse Clark flies for Southern Districts | Credit: Glenn Campbell/NT News

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 8

THE NTFL Men’s Premier League finals frontrunners will look to continue ticking over their win columns, with three of the top five sides set to take on teams on the outer. Meanwhile, Darwin and Waratah lock horns in the closest clash on ladder position, rounding out a full Saturday of action and the TIO Stadium triple-header. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-7) vs. St Mary’s (4th, 4-3)
Saturday November 21, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi and St Mary’s are set to meet for the second time this season when they do battle at TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Saints notched their first win for the campaign back in Round 3 against the Bombers, trumping their rivals by 51 points at the same venue. Since, they have improved to 4-3 and climbed into finals contention, while Tiwi remains winless after seven games despite showing glimpses of form. Saints spearhead Jackson Paine looks like missing this clash, leaving Jackson Calder to headline the forward 50. The Bombers should have plenty of firepower with Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri named on the same attacking line, while the likes of Nathan Scagliarini and Harley Puruntatameri are no stranger to the goals. In midfield, Nate Paredes and Shaun Edwards will have their hands full with Tiwi’s Fletcher Carroll and Adam Tipungwuti, while Mason De Wit will be the Bombers’ defensive driver, much like Dylan Landt for the Saints.

Wanderers (2nd, 6-1) vs. Palmerston (7th, 1-6)
Saturday November 21, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers’ push for top spot continues as the Muk Muks take on Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. The 6-1 Eagles have proven one of the competition’s most improved sides over the first seven rounds, and have the wood over Palmerston having won by 48 points in their Round 4 clash. For all the Magpies’ promise, they currently languish in seventh with just one win on the board, coming against bottom-placed Tiwi. But some positive news for Palmerston sees Eric Guthrie free to play after an appearance at the tribunal, which he escaped with a reprimand. Aaron and Alwyn Davey are also poised to take the field, while Sandy Brock‘s return to the backline will be a welcome one. Wanderers is flying and boasts a settled lineup, but will be missing Warwick Williams for this clash. Still, Brodie Newman has held up the defence superbly, while Brett Eddy and Simon Bates run riot up forward and Beau O’Connell hits his straps. Their attacking threat and midfield strength should again prove too much for Palmerston.

Nightcliff (1st, 6-1) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 3-4)
Saturday November 21, 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Nightcliff will hope to maintain its business as usual approach on Saturday night as it hosts Southern Districts under lights. This will be the first meeting between the two sides this season, with the reigning premiers looking strong as ever and Districts slowly climbing the ranks. While the Tigers have laid waste to most adversaries, the Crocs have been ultra-competitive across the season thus far and could have gained a positive record if not for some tight losses. Round 7 Rising Star nominee Jay Dahlhaus has been one of many Crocs to find form, combining well with the likes of Andrew Boseley and Luke Kiel in the attacking half with service from the reliable James Tsitas and Dean Staunton. Nightcliff has its own forward firepower though, with Liam Holt-Fitz fresh off an electric return and looking to have more of the same impact alongside fellow dynamic goalkickers Kyle Emery and Trent Melville. Dom Brew also faces a big task in midfield, with his defensive pressure key to blanketing the run of Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr.

Waratah (5th, 3-4) vs. Darwin (3rd, 5-2)
Saturday November 21, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin and Waratah will look to end Round 8 on a high as they provide the weekend’s sole top five clash at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The Buffs’ early-season form saw them soar to top spot, though they have faltered a touch of late with their two losses coming in the last three weeks – albeit against top two sides. Similarly, three of Waratah’s four losses have come in the last month of action, with one dealt at the hands of Darwin by six points in Round 4. Double Blues midfielder Jalen Clarke looks set to return to the fold, joining the in-form Jarrod Stokes in midfield. Brodie Foster is a glaring absentee from the team list though, perhaps forcing Mihail Lochowiak to shift forward with Ryan Pendlebury covering the back six. Waratah should be up for a good fight, with the likes of Callum Searle and Dylan Collis providing good value this season, while Brodie Carroll has led from the front.

Featured Image: Southern Districts’ Jay Dahlhaus gets a kick away | Credit: Celina Whan AFLNT/Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 6

A HEATWAVE is set to hit the Top End this weekend, not that the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League needed any more heat heading into Round 6. Two important top five clashes at TIO Stadium headline what is set to be another super Saturday of football, while Tiwi and Palmerston play host at separate venues. The Magpies lock horns with Southern Districts, as the two sides look to keep touch with the early breakaway finals contenders. All that, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-5) vs. Wanderers (2nd, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 3:00pm
Gardens Oval

Wanderers’ claim for top five honours continues as the Eagles take on Tiwi at Gardens Oval on Saturday afternoon. With a 4-1 record and two wins on the trot, the Muk Muks have been one of the early success stories this season, a far cry from the fate of Tiwi thus far. After a soaring end to their last campaign, the Bombers sit last at 0-5 and remain the only winless side left in the competition. Big names are arriving to aid the turnaround, and Tiwi managed to keep a losing margin under 50 points for the first time in 2020/21, last week.

The likes of Ashton Hams, Adam Tipungwuti, and Jack Monigatti have strengthened the struggling Bombers’ lineup of late, and former Port Adelaide livewire Jake Neade looks like being the latest inclusion of note. Adam Sambono has also been named in the extended squad, potentially adding some much-needed attacking flair. Wanderers seems a much steadier unit, but still has plenty of class to call upon. Beau O’Connell is waiting in the wings for a return, as are Braedon McLean and Brayden Culhane. The latter two would only add to the strong Eagles bookends, especially with the wombo combo of Simon Bates and Brett Eddy up forward.

Waratah (4th, 3-2) vs. Nightcliff (3rd, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

The first game in a top five TIO Stadium double-header sees Waratah take on Nightcliff on Saturday evening, with the two clubs meeting for the second time this season. The Tigers snuck home by 13 points in Round 2 and despite a hiccup against Darwin, look to have regained their usual might as reigning premiers. Waratah has shown plenty of promise and improvement, going down only to two of the top three sides, obviously including Nightcliff. This clash will prove a big test for the Warriors as they look to make the next step from being a finals hope, to a true finals contender.

The Tahs’ improved level of consistency thus far has arrived on the back of top form from the likes of Abe Ankers, Nick Gooch, and Brodie Carroll, while boom VFL recruit Callum Searle has added another dimension to the side. A fresh face in Thomas Graham looks set to enter the senior fold too, coming off some impressive Division 1 and SANFL Reserves form. Daniel Mott and William Wallace remain in Nightcliff’s side after their debuts last week, while core midfielders like Dom Brew, Phillip Wills, and Brodie Filo are all hitting their stride. Kaine Riley could also be in for a return, named in the extended Tigers squad.

Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-4) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 1-4)
Saturday November 7, 7:00pm
Cazalys Arena

Cazalys Arena hosts what is set to prove a crucial clash for both Palmerston and Southern Districts on Saturday night, with both sides clinging onto hope of keeping touch with the top five. At one win and four losses apiece, the two teams have already fallen behind in the finals race but would foster fresh hope of enacting a turnaround – starting with a win here. Palmerston’s sole set of points was earned against bottom side, Tiwi and the Magpies have hardly looked like harnessing the same form despite patches of promise. The Crocs looked to have turned the corner of late despite their record, which consists of losses to Wanderers (twice) and Darwin.

Palmerston’s follower trio of Matthew Dennis, Chris Williams, and Eric Guthrie has proven arguably the most reliable facet of its overall squad, while others have popped up in exciting spurts. A lot of scoring responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Daniel Stafford, especially with wildcard swingman Nigel Lockyer Jnr missing from the side this week. Exciting small, Jonty Patrick should provide some ground level assistance, named for his first senior outing this season. The Crocs look a potent side, with much of their recent attack generated by midfield maestros James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr. Up forward, Andrew Boseley has proven the spearhead, with Luke Kiel and Jay Dahlhaus also impactful inside 50. Combined, they should prove too much for the Magpies.

St Mary’s (5th, 3-2) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (1st, 4-1)
Saturday November 7, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

The second high-stakes top five clash at TIO Stadium sees St Mary’s take on Darwin, making for an exciting finish to the weekend’s action. After a lacklustre opening fortnight, the Saints have pulled off a full 180 to claim fifth spot at 3-2, riding high on the back of a three-game winning run. Darwin has been somewhat of a surprise packet this season, bolting to a 4-0 start before going down to Nightcliff last time out. The Buffs still hold on to top spot and need a win to stay there with the chasing pack breathing down their neck.

Jackson Paine looms as the Saints’ dangerman having booted 19 goals in his last three outings. It means one of Dylan Gordon or Ryan Pendlebury will likely get the all-important lockdown job, with young Beau Tedcastle a small option the Buffs will also have to cover. But Darwin will fancy its own firepower, with Brodie Foster spearheading the attack and joined on the full forward line by Joey Collinson and Ishmael Palmer. The midfield battle between St Mary’s Nate Paredes and Darwin’s Jarrod Stokes also looms as a must-watch, with both men in sensational form after five weeks.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 5 Nightcliff vs. Darwin clash | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw reigning premier Nightcliff return to the winners list in style, becoming the first side to knock off Darwin in season 2020/21 along the way. Waratah opened the weekend’s action by consigning Tiwi to its fifth loss, while St Mary’s rise continues on the back of a third-consecutive victory, and Wanderers secured its fourth win for the season to hold onto second spot. All that, and more in our Round 5 wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 1.2 | 4.2 | 7.2 | 12.5 (77)
WARATAH | 4.4 | 7.9 | 13.12 | 16.16 (112)

GOALS:

Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 4, H. Puruntatameri 2, N. Hooker 2, J. Wilson, P. Heenan, N. Ebinger, A. Hams.
Waratah: C. Arnold 4, J. Edmonds 3, J. McGrath 2, C. Searle 2, C. Wild, N. Gooch, J. Cattanach, J. Carmichael, D. Collis.

BEST:

Tiwi: R. Tungatalum, A. Hams, M. De Wit, J. Monigatti, H. Puruntatameri
Waratah: C. Arnold, C. Searle, A. Ankers, B. Orval, N. Gooch

Waratah’s focus on a fast start proved fruitful as the Warriors came out firing to set up a 35-point win over Tiwi on Saturday afternoon. By three quarter time, Tahs had set up a 46-point lead to all but put the game to bed, though Tiwi managed its best period in the last to trim the final margin. The 16.16 (112) to 12.5 (77) result at TIO Stadium sees the Bombers sink to 0-5 despite again showing some promise, while Waratah is poised within the top five at 3-2.

The likes of Abe Ankers and co-captain Nick Gooch set the tone for Waratah in a solid show of intent, while the likes of Cameron Arnold (four goals), James Edmonds (three), and Jae McGrath (two) all benefitted from their side’s midfield strength. Callum Searle was part of that, also booting two goals to round out Waratah’s multiple goalkickers. Ross Tungatalum delivered upon his surprise return to the Bombers, booting four majors as their best player afield. Another returnee in Ashton Hams also proved his worth, while Mason De Wit‘s strong season continued in defence and Harley Puruntatameri added a couple more goals to his tally.

S. DISTRICTS | 2.1 | 6.3 | 7.4 | 10.6 (66)
WANDERERS | 4.3 | 8.4 | 10.5 | 13.6 (84)

GOALS:

Districts: A. Boseley 3, J. Dahlhaus 2, N. Rokahr 2, J. Tsitas, J. Farrar, L. Kiel.
Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Thorne 3, S. Bates 2, A. Lansen, D. McFarlane, R. Fejo.

BEST:

Districts: J. Tsitas, L. Kiel, N. Rokahr, J. Farrar, D. Staunton, P. Gallow
Wanderers: B. Newman, B. Eddy, J. Priest, M. Totham, R. Fejo

Wanderers secured back-to-back wins with an 18-point triumph over Southern Districts on the road, seeing the Muk Muks hold on to second place after five rounds. Played under trying weather conditions, the game was led by Wanderers at each break as a two-goal cushion built in the first half was extended to three after the main break. While the Crocs’ midfield was hard to stop, the Eagles proved sturdy in defence and potent in attack to answer every question posed to them by the plucky Districts outfit, which drew level late in the final term. In the end, it was a well-deserved 13.6 (84) to 10.6 (66) result for the Eagles, who continue to prove their finals credentials at this early stage.

Brett Eddy and Simon Bates were again the match-winning wombo combo up forward for Wanderers as they combined to steer their side home in the final term. The former finished with five goals to make it 12 in two games, while the latter popped up with two. The likes of Mitchell Taylor and Brodie Newman were excellent down the other end, while Dane McFarlane and Ronald Fejo continue to deliver in midfield. James Tsitas‘ form shone through for Southern Districts, supported well by Nikolaus Rokahr in the engine room while Andrew Boseley (three goals) proved a reliable target inside 50. Geelong Falcons graduate Jay Dahlhaus (two) goals also found the big sticks once again, proving lively alongside Luke Kiel as the Crocs again narrowly went down.

ST MARY’S | 3.8 | 9.9 | 13.13 | 18.16 (124)
PALMERSTON | 1.1 | 1.4 | 2.7 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Paine 8, B. Tedcastle 4, D. Walters 2, J. Long, T. Saunders, J. Calder, B. Grenfell.
Palmerston: A. McAdam 3, T. Kunoth 3, S. Lampton.

BEST:

St Mary’s: J. Paine, L. Jellyman-Turner, B. Grenfell, B. Tedcastle, D. Landt, H. Williams
Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr, R. Armstrong, K. Groves, E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, T. Lui

St Mary’s romped to its third win on the trot on Saturday evening, dismantling Palmerston to the tune of 75 points at TIO Stadium. Things were looking promising for the Magpies after they booted the game’s opening goal, which was duly followed by nine unanswered majors to St Mary’s. The 53-point half time margin was extended to 72 at the next break, setting up a bleak 18.16 (124) to 7.7 (49) final scoreline for the Magpies. After a disappointing first fortnight, the Saints now sit comfortably within finals calculations at 3-2, while for all Palmerston’s promise, the black and whites sit seventh at 1-4.

Jackson Paine delivered most of the hurt for St Mary’s, booting eight goals and leaving plenty more out there with poor finishing. Young gun Beau Tedcastle joined in on the act with four majors, while the likes of Lucas Jellyman-Turner and Nate Paredes found plenty of the ball. In what was a disappointing night for Palmerston, the performance of Nigel Lockyer Jnr in defence was a shining light, while reliable big man Matthew Dennis was also valiant in a losing effort. Ultimately, the Magpies were outclassed around the ground and have plenty of work to do to turn their season around, much like the Saints have managed of late.

DARWIN | 1.3 | 2.5 | 4.12 | 7.14 (56)
NIGHTCLIFF | 4.0 | 9.3 | 9.3 | 12.5 (77)

GOALS:

Darwin: B. Foster 2, M. Coombes, M. Campbell, R. Matricardi, J. Stokes, I. Palmer
Nightcliff: C. Ilett 4, T. Melville 3, K. Emery 2, H. Drogemuller, S. Wilson, A. Jorgensen

BEST:

Darwin: T. Eldridge, N. Lowden, J. Stokes, I. Palmer, I. Seden-Kurnoth
Nightcliff: D. Brew, R. Morris, A. Jorgensen, N. Brown, P. Wills, E. Klenke

Nightcliff served a reminder of its class as the competition’s benchmark with an impressive 21-point win over Darwin at TIO Stadium. Under lights, the Tigers returned to winning form and snapped Darwin’s undefeated streak in one fell swoop, producing vintage play in the first half to set up a 40-point lead at the main break. The Buffs’ chance to hit back came in the third term, though their nine scoring shots only yielded a haul of 2.7 as Nightcliff remained well ahead and rounded out an important victory.

Veteran Cam Ilett was on fire early for Nightcliff and finished with four goals, latching onto quick entries and aiding his side’s efficient conversion. Trent Melville got back among the goals with three, while Kyle Emery also managed two. Further afield, Dom Brew and Phillip Wills were excellent through the middle. Brodie Foster was Darwin’s lone multiple goalkicker, but the likes of Ishmael Palmer and Jarrod Stokes also found the big sticks once each while proving influential. Timothy Eldridge was another important factor, but could not quite help drag Darwin back into the game.

Featured Image: Palmerston’s Matthew Dennis under St Mary’s pressure | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 5

THE 2020/21 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League rolls into Round 5 on the weekend, with all four fixtures set to play out on Saturday. Tiwi and Waratah go head-to-head in the opening clash of a TIO Stadium triple-header, while Southern Districts takes on Wanderers at Norbuilt Oval in a standalone game. Find out all the matchups, who will be out to impress, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers vs. Waratah
Saturday October 31, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Waratah will be looking to return to the winners list when it takes on Tiwi on Saturday afternoon, a team yet to register premiership points at all this season. The Warriors’ win-loss record has them due for a victory this time out, having gone down to the undefeated Darwin Buffaloes in Round 4. Tahs’ two losses have come by a combined 19 points, meaning they have remained competitive throughout a difficult draw. On the other hand, Tiwi has suffered four defeats of over 50 points, looking a far cry from the side which stormed into finals last season.

The suspension of forward favourite Austin Wonaeamirri will not do the Bombers any favours, though a beacon of hope arrives in the return of Ross Tungatalum, who was widely billed to run out for St Mary’s in 2020/21. Ashton Hams and Adam Tipungwuti loom as two more high-class inclusions to a Tiwi side which lost comfortably on home turf last time out. Waratah’s settled lineup looks poised for another big performance, and may be boosted by outgoing Norwood ruck Sam Baulderstone, who measures up at 200cm. As far as imports go, the Warriors have fared well with the likes of Callum Searle and Jae McGrath, while mainstays such as Abe Ankers and Brodie Carroll should help their side prove too strong for the struggling Bombers.

Southern Districts vs. Wanderers
Saturday October 31, 4:00pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will be out to convert its maiden victory this season into a streak of winning form, when it hosts Wanderers at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday. The Crocs got on the board last week with a comprehensive 58-point drubbing of Tiwi and look to be building their squad nicely with a distinct Geelong feel. Wanderers has also benefitted from a busy off-season, sitting pretty in second at 3-1 having only gone down to reigning premier, Nightcliff thus far. The Muk Muks returned to the winners list in Round 4 and look a much more competitive side over four quarters than last season.

Southern Districts’ Victorian attacking trio of Andrew Boseley, Luke Kiel, and Jay Dahlhaus combined for 12 goals last week and will be certain to cause plenty of headaches for Wanderers’ defence. Calder Cannons graduate Brodie Newman has settled in extremely well among the Eagles’ back six, helping them maintain a league-best points conceded tally alongside the likes of Warwick Williams and Marcus Totham. Up the other end, Wanderers’ firepower lies with Simon Bates and Brett Eddy, who are both capable of bagging big hauls of goals.

The midfield battle should also be a good one, as Wanderers looks set to unleash Marlon Motlop next to Dane McFarlane, while Round 4 Rising Star Ronald Fejo provides pace on the outer. Even Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell is being kept out of the team upon his return to action. James Tsitas will lead the Crocs’ midfield after a scintillating performance last week, combining with good mate Nikolaus Rokahr and the ever-reliable Dean Staunton. With one team in hot form and the other rising, this should be a heck of a contest.

St Mary’s vs. Palmerston
Saturday October 31, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Fresh off an emphatic upset victory over Nightcliff, St Mary’s will look to extend its winning streak to three when it takes on Palmerston at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening. The Saints also knocked off Tiwi in Round 3 to currently sit just within the finals placings at 2-2, rectifying what was a lacklustre opening fortnight for the 2019/20 grand finalists. Palmerston has shown glimpses of promise as its lineup begins to gel, but has only defeated the winless Tiwi Bombers thus far. A true test of the Magpies’ improvement should present in this fixture, with the Saints a physical side which can apply good defensive pressure for four quarters.

St Mary’s co-captain Raphael Clarke looks set to return this week, named on the interchange bench with a raft of players ready to step up if required. Up forward, Jackson Paine looms as the dangerman having booted 11 goals in his last two games, aided by the versatile Jackson Calder and young gun Beau Tedcastle at his feet. Daniel Stafford is coming into goalkicking form for Palmerston, with player-coach Alwyn Davey producing vintage performances and Nigel Lockyer Jnr capable of swinging into attack when required.

In the middle, Magpies recruit Chris Williams has been prolific thus far, and is set to go head-to-head with one of the competition’s other dominant ball winners in Nate Paredes. The dynamic Shaun Edwards brings some x-factor to the Saints’ midfield, while Eric Guthrie has been a steady performer for Palmerston. The Magpies’ bigmen in Matthew Dennis and Jack Berry also provide great value, so should make for an even battle through the engine room.

Darwin vs. Nightcliff
Saturday October 31, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin faces arguably its toughest test yet when reigning premier Nightcliff rolls into town, hungry to bounce back from a shock loss in Round 4. The Buffs have defied odds and looked incredibly sharp under new coach Cameron Stokes, currently boasting a perfect 4-0 record atop of the Premier League ladder. That undefeated status will be challenged greatly by the Tigers, who looked to be cruising after three rounds before running into a solid St Mary’s side and dropping points for the first time this season. With arguably the two form sides of the competition coming to blows, this fixture firms as the match of the round.

Both teams have been well settled thus far, though a few changes look set to occur on either side. Nightcliff could finally bring in Calder Cannons standout Daniel Mott on the back of his impressive Division 1 form, while William Wallace is another fresh face who looks good value for a start. Willie Wheeler‘s return has been highly anticipated, so his pending selection is a promising sign. Darwin has been forced into at least one change after Jalen Clarke was suspended for head-butting, which could prove a key factor given the Tigers’ midfield strength. Jarrod Stokes remains though, and the Buffs boast plenty of goalkickers in the form of Brodie Foster, Ishmael Palmer, and the experienced Matt Campbell.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 4 St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff clash | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media