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NTFL Men’s Premier League preview: Round 10 – Top of the table clash headlines bumper weekend

A TOP of the table clash headlines a big weekend of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action, with Southern Districts looking to close the gap on Nightcliff. St Mary’s and Darwin could benefit from the result of that game and jump into second with wins, while Tiwi will hope to continue its push for finals as Wanderers trail closely.

TIWI BOMBERS vs. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Saturday December 7, 1:30pm
Tiwi Oval

A fixture with implications on both sides’ finals hopes takes place as Tiwi Bombers host Darwin Buffaloes at Tiwi Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bombers have thrown themselves into the mix and are in good form of late, going down by just six points to Nightcliff last time out but managing to hold on to fifth place. On the other hand, Darwin snatched a close win over Palmerston in Round 9 to put them up into third on the back of three consecutive victories. With Tiwi hoping to hang onto its top five spot and Darwin looking to break into the top two, there is plenty on the line either way.

The Bombers come in once again with a great lineup on paper, with the likes of Adam Tipungwuti, Brayden Rioli, and Ross Tungatalum resigned to the bench, but they look like being without ex-Cat Nathan Djerrkura for this clash in a blow to their midfield stocks, with Ashton Hams perhaps one to cover. The Buffs have bolstered their line-up with the signing of Ryan Pendlebury, the brother of Scott and an ex-VFL Team of the Year member. He should add value in the back half, adding to the experience of Cameron Stokes and Chris Williams further afield as Matt Campbell and Joe Anderson come out of the side.

While Darwin’s three wins on the trot and ladder position puts them in the category of favourite, Tiwi looks to be in slightly better form going off last week’s effort and should pose plenty of questions to the Buffs defence. It looms as a battle of the Bombers’ speed against some of the Buffs’ strength.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. ST MARY’S
Saturday December 7, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

St Mary’s will look to compound the misery of a bottom three side for the second straight week when it takes on Palmerston in the first game of a TIO Stadium double-header. The Saints have slipped to fourth, but could climb as high as second with results pending and will look to put their best foot forward with a top of the table clash following theirs. Given how St Mary’s handled Waratah last week, the winless Magpies could be in for another long day. But Palmerston’s form last week exceeded its current record, and a couple of close losses would have the Magpies eager to prove their worth.

Alwyn Davey Jnr joins his father in the Palmerston side, with Senior set to line up in midfield under Ezekiel Frank while Adam Diamond shifts to the forward half. They will have their work cut out for them, with the Saints naming David Armitage, Shaun Edwards, and Jackson Paine in midfield, while Jackson Calder is set to team up with the returning Jarrad Waite up forward. It all but guarantees plenty of goals, and plenty of excitement at the least.

On paper, it seems this clash could get ugly given the experience and firepower of the Saints, but do not discount the effort of Palmerston on its better days. Fans can look forward to seeing a heap of ex-AFL players either way, with a few favourite sons taking the field for both teams.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS vs. NIGHTCLIFF
Saturday December 7, 7:00pm
TIO Stadium

The game of the round earns a prime time slot on Saturday night as Southern Districts look to get one back on Nightcliff and tighten the minor premiership race. The Crocs started their season with a loss to last season’s grand final foes, but have since steadied the ship and sit six points adrift in second. Such has been Nightcliff’s dominance, the Southern Districts is only one of a couple of sides to have truly challenged the reigning premiers, and will look to go a step further this time around. And with both sides coming in off consecutive wins, it seems an ideal time to do battle.

A couple of very handy ex-AFL players come into the Crocs side, with Jeff Garlett and Jared Brennan named. Garlett should team up nicely with the likes of Will Farrer and Beau Schwarze up forward, while Brennan may slot in up the other end in a key position post. There are no ex-AFL inclusions for the Tigers, who will be without Willie Wheeler, but a forward 50 featuring his ex-Williamstown teammate Leigh Masters alongside Trent Melville and Liam Holt-Fitz has been working a treat. Add the impact of John Butcher, Kaine Riley, and Cam Ilett across the ground, and you have a settled lineup ready for any challenge.

The Tigers will need to be at their best to quell the Crocs, which are snapping at their heels, but should have great confidence having aced all but one test put to them this year. Southern Districts will be hungry for a win with dual-meaning, getting one back while keeping touch at the top.

WARATAH vs. WANDERERS
Sunday December 8, 4:00pm
Gardens Oval

Wanderers will hope to re-enter the finals fold when it clashes with fellow bottom three side, Waratah in Sunday’s lone fixture. Both sides come in off disappointing losses, with Waratah’s 123-point thumping at the hands of St Mary’s a clear lowlight for the season. Wanderers has strayed after a promising start, looking to rectify a run of three-straight losses. With both teams somewhat underperforming at this stage and the mid-season break coming up, expect them to throw everything at getting a result here.

Abe Ankers is a very welcome addition to the Warriors side which looks like heading in without Brodie Carroll, while Michael Newton is set to resume a dangerous forward trio with Kim Kantilla and Henry Kerinaiua at the fall of his aerial contests. Joel Jeffrey is a big out for Wanderers as he takes up training with the Gold Coast Suns, but the Muk Muks still boast dangerous youngsters in the form of Mark White, Beau O’Connell and Ronald Fejo, with all three able to play across every line.

There looks to be a good amount of talent spread across both sides, with plenty of excitement in either attacking 50. Expect some neat highlights and a competitive game between two teams looking to do better than their ladder position would suggest.

NTFL Men’s Premier League preview: Round 8 – Traditional rivals square off

TRADITIONAL rivals St Mary’s and Tiwi meet again in Round 8 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, chasing slightly different goals among the top five places. Meanwhile, all four Round 7 losers will look to bounce back as they face off against each other, with Darwin and Waratah resuming their interesting recent duel on Saturday evening.

WANDERERS (5th, 3-3-1) vs. NIGHTCLIFF (1st, 6-1)
Saturday November 23, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Seldom do two top five sides meet after respective losses, but that is exactly the case as Wanderers and Nightcliff prepare to do battle on Saturday afternoon. While the Muk Muks have struggled to string wins together in a season full of promise, Nightcliff had been a figure of consistency in its premiership defence before tasting defeat for the first time in Round 7. The Tigers’ loss to fellow premiership contender St Mary’s did not set them back in terms of ladder standing, but Wanderers’ defeat at the hands of Darwin saw the two sides swap spots to put the Eagles in danger of dropping out of the top five should they fare no better in this contest.

While three Motlops have been named in an extended Wanderers side, Marlon Motlop is not one of them. Nonetheless, ex-AFL experience remains in the form of Liam Patrick, while Liam Jurrah and Brett Eddy feature on the 12-man interchange. Nightcliff’s side becomes a touch scarier with the inclusions of former Williamstown pair Willie Wheeler and Leigh Masters, set to inject class in the forward half. The Tigers’ depth and dynamism is clear as the likes of Kaine Riley and Trent Melville look set to start from the pine.

With both sides looking to return to the winners list, it will be a case of who responds best and wants it more. The Tigers remain the team to beat, so should come in as favourites but will have to be switched on against an Eagles outfit keen to remain in the finals hunt.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES (8th, 0-7) vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS (3rd, 4-2-1)
Saturday November 23, 5:00pm
Palmerston Oval

The remaining two losers out of Round 7, Palmerston and Southern Districts have the opportunity to make amends on Saturday evening as they clash at Palmerston Oval. While the Crocs looked to be angling for a top two spot before an upset loss to Tiwi, the Magpies have been season 2019/20’s cellar dwellers with a winless record to this point. A win would still leave them at least four points behind the pack as their finals hopes dwindle, but it would be a welcome change of fortune in front of home fans. On the other hand, a fifth win would put the Crocs back on track as they push to jump into the top two with St Mary’s and Nightcliff facing slightly tougher fixtures respectively.

The Crocs’ spine looks strong as ever, with the middle strengthened by the rare inclusion of ex-Tiger Richard Tambling, pushing Nikolaus Rokahr to the bench as Josiah and Will Farrer look set to be key absentees. Alwyn Davey‘s Palmerston’s side is still without the same real ex-AFL starpower and experience, but forward movers Kyle Emery and Keiden Holt-Tubbs are always dangerous inside 50 and Aaron Lonergan adds value through midfield.

While it would be easy to dismiss this contest based on looks on-paper, the Magpies should be well buoyed by their home support and the chance to finally get on the board. But their opposition is fearsome and will come in fired up after a loss to bottom-three opposition.

WARATAH (7th, 2-5) vs. DARWIN BUFFALOES (4th, 4-3)
Saturday November 23, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Waratah can continue its climb up the NTFL ladder with a third official win for the year, but face stiff opposition in the form of Darwin on Saturday evening. The Warriors have the wood over the Buffs, boasting four consecutive wins over their weekend opponents dating back to last season’s finals series – despite what this year’s records show. While the Round 3 result came somewhat controversially, there can be no debate about Waratah’s recent form over the Buffs. But Darwin look primed to make amends after a big win over fellow finals hopefuls, Wanderers last time out. But Waratah’s 89-point drubbing of Palmerston in the same weekend makes them tough opposition at this stage, and poises the clash as a cracker.

Waratah’s extended bench alone is as formidable as they come, with last week’s six-goal hero Kim Kantilla featuring among the likes of Abe Ankers, ex-Bendigo Pioneer Laine Fitzgerald, and former Melbourne forward Michael Newton. All four add enormous value and experience to the lineup led by centreman, Brodie Carroll. Brayden Culhane and Jalen Clarke are Darwin’s own bench threats, with ex-AFL pair Joe Anderson and Matt Campbell leading the Buffs’ lineup from the forward half.

With experience and class on each line, expect the fourth place side to come in well equipped to turn its fortunes around and solidify a finals spot. But recent results will be fresh in the Warriors’ minds, and an improved starting lineup will make them strong through the mid-season period.

ST MARY’S (2nd, 5-2) vs. TIWI BOMBERS (6th, 3-4)
Saturday November 23, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Potentially the game of the round again features St Mary’s, as it looks to rectify an early-season loss to Tiwi when the two sides meet to close out Round 8. The Bombers enter Saturday night’s clash in good form after a solid win over Southern Districts last time out, and can be further assured by a fighting shootout victory over the Saints in Round 3. But St Mary’s come in having shown just as formidable form in a win over the previously undefeated Nightcliff, stamping its authority as a genuine premiership threat.

While Nicholas Yarran looks like being a key absentee this week, Saints club legend and eight-time premiership player Peter McFarlane has been named in a forward line featuring former Collingwood-listed utility Michael Manteit, while draft hopeful Kieren Parnell starts on a wing. They will all be important in the face of a relative full-strength Tiwi side, with the Bombers’ pace through Adam Tipungwuti, Dion Munkara and Harley Puruntatameri posing problems for each side. The former-AFL midfield pair of Ashton Hams and Nathan Djerrkura should also prove vital in Tiwi’s hopes of a win.

The Bombers are one of just two sides the Saints are yet to beat this season, so the opportunity to claim another scalp should ring true for the better-placed side. Either way, this clash should provide a raft of real highlights if the first encounter is anything to go by.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 15

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 14

SOME finals-defining matches will take place this weekend in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League competition. Two sides battling desperately to grab a top five place in the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will be tested against the top two teams in Southern Districts and Nightcliff, while Palmerston Magpies do not have it any easier, taking on the in-form Darwin Buffaloes. In the other game of the round, the bottom two sides go head-to-head in Wanderers and St Marys, with an Eagles loss all but certainly closing the door on finals chances.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2pm
Norbuilt Oval

The game between second and sixth never looked so enticing for those keen to head down to Norbuilt Oval on Saturday afternoon. At times this season, Southern Districts have looked unstoppable, but last week Darwin Buffaloes found the Crocs’ kryptonite in a heart-stopping one-point thriller that knocked Southern Districts off the top of the NTFL ladder. Meanwhile, Tiwi Bombers had a day out to celebrate Austin Wonaeamirri‘s 150th game with a 100-plus point victory over Wanderers to give themselves a handy percentage boost. A win her would all but likely catapult them into fifth, and possibly fourth if Nightcliff do a number on Waratah, but in saying that, the Crocs will be keen to atone for a rare loss last week and will want to take care of business at home here. Ross Tungatalum is the key player for the Bombers up forward, fresh off another big performance last week, he has 25 goals for the season, two more than fellow sharpshooter, Dionysius Munkara. The best and fairest favourite for the Bombers, Jason Puruntatameri has been named in the best for every game he has played, and looms as a danger man trying to stop the Crocs’ attack. Ashton Hams has been crucial in the Bombers’ recent form, named in the best for his three games. Speaking of in-form players, Jess Koopman had a day out last weekend with six snags against Darwin, albeit in a losing side. He brought his total to 24 majors in just seven games and is the clear leading goalkicker for Southern Districts. The Crocs do not rely on one spearhead however, as they have eight players who have kicked double-figure goals in season 2018/19. The trio to watch are Dean Staunton (13 goals), Dylan McLachlan (10) and Charles McAdam (10), all featuring among the best at times this season. Beau Schwarze has been in great form of late, and looms as another key playmaker in the match. Expect the Crocs to remind the Bombers why the former are a title contender, although the Bombers have the attack to unsettle the Crocs’ defence and continue their great form.

WANDERERS v. ST MARYS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

The first game of a double-header at TIO Stadium pits the two bottom sides against each other. Historical powerhouse, St Marys has had an inconsistent season as sweeping change has seen plenty of fresh faces join the Saints in what could be described as somewhat of a rebuild. Like St Marys, Wanderers have shown they can be competitive at times, but are often let down by momentum swings or disappointing quarters here and there. Both sides head into this game believing a win could be on the cards, and realistically, a loss would be devastating for either side. The Eagles know heading home without the four points will spell almost certain end to any finals aspirations, while St Marys would not only need a strong finish, but likely need other results to go their way in the run home if they were to snatch a finals spot. Talented teenager, Joel Jeffrey has been the star for the Eagles this season, booting 11 goals from nine games. But with AFL Academy opportunities, he has not been there the whole time, much like the Muk Muks’ second highest goalkicker, Davin Ferreira with seven goals in three games. In fact, just six players have reached double-figure games this season for the cellar dwellers, adding consistency as a challenge for the coaching staff. They had a game to forget against the Bombers last weekend, with Thomas Motlop named Wanderers’ best in a 102-point defeat. The Eagles will want to come out a lot stronger against St Marys who should not be underrated. Former Gippsland Power hard nut, Nathaniel Paredes has been the star of the side this season, averaging a goal a game from his 12 matches and named in the best eight times. Along with Ben Taylor – who has managed every game and booted six goals – the pair has been a shining light. The experienced Raphael Clarke has done his best with a young defence, while Shaun Edwards‘ spark last week was clear to see. They just need to produce more consistency in games, and if they had not conceeded a seven-goal opening term to Nightcliff, they may well have caused an upset against the now ladder leaders. St Marys head in as favourites, but Wanderers will eye this as an opportunity to grab a crucial four points.

WARATAH v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 5pm
TIO Stadium

The second match at TIO Stadium sees top-of-the-table Nightcliff hoping to maintain the pole position despite fourth placed Waratah’s best efforts. Given their closest two rivals – Palmerston Magpies and Tiwi Bombers play the other top three teams, and Nightcliff looked vulnerable at times against St Marys, the Warriors have a real opportunity to fend off the chasing sides with a win here. Victory would not only give them some breathing space, but not entirely rule them out of third place, with the Buffaloes just four points and percentage ahead of the Warriors. In saying that, Nightcliff know how important this game is, and whether or not complacency crept into the side at quarter time against St Marys –  having booted seven goals to one in the opening term – they regained their composure after conceding a half-time deficit and went on to win the match. Abraham Ankers has been a key player for the Warriors this season, and from five games has booted seven goals. Raven Joliffe and Brodie Carroll are other Warriors who have stood out this season, while no doubt Waratah would have loved to have former Melbourne full-forward Michael Newton in the square, after 13 goals in his two games this season. Cameron Barrett has been the man to turn to up forward for Waratah, leading the goalkicking with 14 majors in 11 games. If you are talking about goals, look no further than Tigers’ gun, Trent Melville who has slotted a massive 43 for the season. He is 15 clear of the next closest player, and is well on his way to an easy leading goalkicker award this season. A key reason why the Tigers have been unstoppable at times, Melville has booted three goals in both of his prior appearances against Waratah this season. Matthew Bricknell (19 goals), Liam Holt-Fitz (17) and Cameron Ilett (16) are other important players in the forward half, while Shaun Wilson would be among the leading contenders for the Tigers best and fairest with Melville and Ilett. Nightcliff deservedly go in as favourites, but cannot afford an intensity drop off or they could pay against the Warriors.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 6pm
Asbuild Oval

The final game of the round will be under lights at Asbuild Oval as Palmerston Magpies look to tame the Darwin Buffaloes. After a loss to Nightcliff a fortnight ago, Darwin bounced back with a terrific one-point victory over Southern Districts, to remain in contention for a top two spot, and all but lock up a finals place. They take on the Magpies here who could be a danger team depending on how they front up. They knocked off the Buffaloes a month ago, but also went down to Tiwi Bombers a fortnight ago and were thumped by St Marys mid-season, so finding the consistency is important. The Buffaloes would feel the likes of Waratah, Palmerston and even Tiwi Bombers breathing down their necks, so taking out one of their closest competitors would give Darwin fans some much needed relief. They will need to find a way to stop one-man goalkicking machine, Kyle Emery who has 28 snags from 10 games, and is capable of kicking a bag. Emery has booted just two goals in their prior meetings, including being held goalless in Round 3. Emery is the only Magpie to have registered into double-figure goals this season, although former Essendon goalsneak, Alwyn Davey has eight from 10 games in 2018/19. Aaron Davey has contributed when there in his four matches, while Broderick Church and Mishai Perry also have eight apiece. The key man in the middle is Matthew Dennis who is far and away the Magpies’ best and fairest favourite, named in his team’s best every single week this season. He could loom as the man to stop in order to cut off the supply to Emery down the field. Darwin has more of an even spread of goalkickers, with regular draft hopeful, Adam Sambono leading the way thanks to 18 majors this season. Jarrod Stokes (12), Matt Campbell (12) and Chris Williams (11) are the others in double figures, while Darryl White has averaged two goals a game from his three matches. Kevin Maroney, Joe Anderson and Ryan O’Sullivan have been the Buffaloes best around the ground this season and the travelling fans will be keen to see Darwin take home the four points. Given the most recent meeting you cannot rule out Palmerston stealing an upset, but the Magpies will need to be on their game.

SOME finals-defining matches will take place this weekend in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League competition. Two sides battling desperately to grab a top five place in the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will be tested against the top two teams in Southern Districts and Nightcliff, while Palmerston Magpies do not have it any easier, taking on the in-form Darwin Buffaloes. In the other game of the round, the bottom two sides go head-to-head in Wanderers and St Marys, with an Eagles loss all but certainly closing the door on finals chances.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. TIWI BOMBERS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2pm
Norbuilt Oval

The game between second and sixth never looked so enticing for those keen to head down to Norbuilt Oval on Saturday afternoon. At times this season, Southern Districts have looked unstoppable, but last week Darwin Buffaloes found the Crocs’ kryptonite in a heart-stopping one-point thriller that knocked Southern Districts off the top of the NTFL ladder. Meanwhile, Tiwi Bombers had a day out to celebrate Austin Wonaeamirri‘s 150th game with a 100-plus point victory over Wanderers to give themselves a handy percentage boost. A win here would all but likely catapult them into fifth, and possibly fourth if Nightcliff do a number on Waratah, but in saying that, the Crocs will be keen to atone for a rare loss last week and will want to take care of business at home here. Ross Tungatalum is the key player for the Bombers up forward, fresh off another big performance last week, he has 25 goals for the season, two more than fellow sharpshooter, Dion Munkara. The best and fairest favourite for the Bombers, Jason Puruntatameri has been named in the best for every game he has played, and looms as a danger man trying to stop the Crocs’ attack. Ashton Hams has been crucial in the Bombers’ recent form, named in the best for his three games. Speaking of in-form players, Jess Koopman had a day out last weekend with six snags against Darwin, albeit in a losing side. He brought his total to 24 majors in just seven games and is the clear leading goalkicker for Southern Districts. The Crocs do not rely on one spearhead however, as they have eight players who have kicked double-figure goals in season 2018/19. The trio to watch are Dean Staunton (13 goals), Dylan McLachlan (10) and Charles McAdam (10), all featuring among the best at times this season. Beau Schwarze has been in great form of late, and looms as another key playmaker in the match. Expect the Crocs to remind the Bombers why the former are a title contender, although the Bombers have the attack to unsettle the Crocs’ defence and continue their great form.

 

WANDERERS v. ST MARYS
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

The first game of a double-header at TIO Stadium pits the two bottom sides against each other. Historical powerhouse, St Marys has had an inconsistent season as sweeping change has seen plenty of fresh faces join the Saints in what could be described as somewhat of a rebuild. Like St Marys, Wanderers have shown they can be competitive at times, but are often let down by momentum swings or disappointing quarters here and there. Both sides head into this game believing a win could be on the cards, and realistically, a loss would be devastating for either side. The Eagles know heading home without the four points will spell almost certain end to any finals aspirations, while St Marys would not only need a strong finish, but likely need other results to go their way in the run home if they were to snatch a finals spot. Talented teenager, Joel Jeffrey has been the star for the Eagles this season, booting 11 goals from nine games. But with AFL Academy opportunities, he has not been there the whole time, much like the Muk Muks’ second highest goalkicker, Davin Ferreira with seven goals in three games. In fact, just six players have reached double-figure games this season for the cellar dwellers, adding consistency as a challenge for the coaching staff. They had a game to forget against the Bombers last weekend, with Thomas Motlop named Wanderers’ best in a 102-point defeat. The Eagles will want to come out a lot stronger against St Marys who should not be underrated. Former Gippsland Power hard nut, Nathaniel Paredes has been the star of the side this season, averaging a goal a game from his 12 matches and named in the best eight times. Along with Ben Taylor – who has managed every game and booted six goals – the pair has been a shining light. The experienced Raphael Clarke has done his best with a young defence, while Shaun Edwards‘ spark last week was clear to see. They just need to produce more consistency in games, and if they had not conceded a seven-goal opening term to Nightcliff, they may well have caused an upset against the now ladder leaders. St Marys head in as favourites, but Wanderers will eye this as an opportunity to grab a crucial four points.

 

WARATAH v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 5pm
TIO Stadium

The second match at TIO Stadium sees top-of-the-table Nightcliff hoping to maintain the pole position despite fourth placed Waratah’s best efforts. Given their closest two rivals – Palmerston Magpies and Tiwi Bombers play the other top three teams, and Nightcliff looked vulnerable at times against St Marys, the Warriors have a real opportunity to fend off the chasing sides with a win here. Victory would not only give them some breathing space, but not entirely rule them out of third place, with the Buffaloes just four points and percentage ahead of the Warriors. In saying that, Nightcliff know how important this game is, and whether or not complacency crept into the side at quarter time against St Marys –  having booted seven goals to one in the opening term – they regained their composure after conceding a half-time deficit and went on to win the match. Abraham Ankers has been a key player for the Warriors this season, and from five games has booted seven goals. Raven Jolliffe and Brodie Carroll are other Warriors who have stood out this season, while no doubt Waratah would have loved to have former Melbourne full-forward Michael Newton in the square, after 13 goals in his two games this season. Cameron Barrett has been the man to turn to up forward for Waratah, leading the goalkicking with 14 majors in 11 games. If you are talking about goals, look no further than Tigers’ gun, Trent Melville who has slotted a massive 43 for the season. He is 15 clear of the next closest player, and is well on his way to an easy leading goalkicker award this season. A key reason why the Tigers have been unstoppable at times, Melville has booted three goals in both of his prior appearances against Waratah this season. Matthew Bricknell (19 goals), Liam Holt-Fitz (17) and Cameron Ilett (16) are other important players in the forward half, while Shaun Wilson would be among the leading contenders for the Tigers best and fairest with Melville and Ilett. Nightcliff deservedly go in as favourites, but cannot afford an intensity drop off or they could pay against the Warriors.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 14 – Saturday, January 19, 6pm
Asbuild Oval

The final game of the round will be under lights at Asbuild Oval as Palmerston Magpies look to tame the Darwin Buffaloes. After a loss to Nightcliff a fortnight ago, Darwin bounced back with a terrific one-point victory over Southern Districts, to remain in contention for a top two spot, and all but lock up a finals place. They take on the Magpies here who could be a danger team depending on how they front up. They knocked off the Buffaloes a month ago, but also went down to Tiwi Bombers a fortnight ago and were thumped by St Marys mid-season, so finding the consistency is important. The Buffaloes would feel the likes of Waratah, Palmerston and even Tiwi Bombers breathing down their necks, so taking out one of their closest competitors would give Darwin fans some much needed relief. They will need to find a way to stop one-man goalkicking machine, Kyle Emery who has 28 snags from 10 games, and is capable of kicking a bag. Emery has booted just two goals in their prior meetings, including being held goalless in Round 3. Emery is the only Magpie to have registered into double-figure goals this season, although former Essendon goalsneak, Alwyn Davey has eight from 10 games in 2018/19. Aaron Davey has contributed when there in his four matches, while Broderick Church and Mishai Perry also have eight apiece. The key man in the ruck is Matthew Dennis who is far and away the Magpies’ best and fairest favourite, named in his team’s best every single week this season. He could loom as the man to stop in order to cut off the supply to Emery down the field. Darwin has more of an even spread of goalkickers, with regular draft hopeful, Adam Sambono leading the way thanks to 18 majors this season. Jarrod Stokes (12), Matt Campbell (12) and Chris Williams (11) are the others in double figures, while Darryl White has averaged two goals a game from his three matches. Kevin MaroneyJoe Anderson and Ryan O’Sullivan have been the Buffaloes best around the ground this season and the travelling fans will be keen to see Darwin take home the four points. Given the most recent meeting you cannot rule out Palmerston stealing an upset, but the Magpies will need to be on their game.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 11

THE last round of action before a three-week break produced a raft of upsets, setting up a clear top five and now poising two sides equal at the top of the ladder.

 

TIWI BOMBERS 9.13 (67)
WANDERERS 14.15 (99)

GOALS:
Tiwi
: J. Munkara 4, T. Tambling 2, M. Cooper, H. Puruntatameri, L. Wale-Buxton.
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 4, S. Tipiloura 4, J. Tipiloura 2, S. Meyer, S. Bates, D. Weetra, W. Walters.

BEST:
Tiwi: 
A. Hams, J. Puruntatameri, D. Munkara, B. Palipuaminni, J. Munkara, S. Babui
Wanderers: T. Motlop, W. Yunupingu, S. Tipiloura, C. Niki, J. Jeffrey

Wanderers claimed a minor upset to kick the round off, overcoming a half-time deficit to better a falling Tiwi Bombers side. Wayward kicking meant the Eagles did not quite take advantage of a strong start, posting 1.6 while keeping Tiwi goalless. The Bombers looked like making their opponents pay in the second term after snatching a one-goal buffer, but Wanderers promptly hit back after the main break with ten goals to four seeing the Muk Muks cruise to a 32-point victory. Exciting youngster Joel Jeffrey again showed his potential to boot an equal game-high four goals, matched by Stanley Tipiloura. John Tipiloura was also amongst the goals with two, but it was Thomas Motlop who was named best for the winning Eagles. Ex-West Coast players Ashton Hams and Tom Swift lined up for the Bombers and while the former was judged their best, the pair’s AFL experience was not enough to help overcome Wanderers. Jack Munkara snared four goals to be named in the best alongside regulars Dion Munkara and Jason Puruntatameri, but the likes of Jeffrey Simon and Austin Wonaeamirri were unable to provide their usual spark to help the Bombers’ cause. While The Eagles remain bottom, they draw level on points with their weekend opponents, finding some much-needed confidence heading into the new year.  

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES 11.8 (74)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 8.10 (58)

GOALS:
Darwin:
 D. White 3, C. Williams 2, C. Atkinson, R. O’Sullivan, S. Ahmat, A. Sambono, D. Paull, J. Stokes.
Southern Districts: L. Dale 2, D. McLachlan, W. Farrer, E. Barlow, J. Brennan, C. McAdam, M. Mummery.

BEST:
Darwin:
 K. Maroney, R. O’Sullivan, S. Ahmat, L. Philpott, Z. Stephenson, M. Corrie
Southern Districts: L. Dale, E. Barlow, J. Brennan, L. McGregor, B. Schwarze, R. Tambling

A sensational final quarter fightback saw Darwin Buffaloes snatch victory from ladder leaders Southern Districts to go clear in third place. After giving up a three-goal lead at the first break, the Buffaloes trailed for almost the entire match and by 13 points at the final turn. Turning it on when it mattered, Darwin conjured six goals to one to see out the game and claim an unlikely win after being down on form in recent weeks. NT legend Darryl White was the main source of goals with three, with Chris Williams (two) the only other Buffalo to bag multiple goals. Kevin Maroney was named best alongside the reliable Ryan O’Sullivan and Shaun Ahmat, with the Darwin side undoubtedly buoyed by winning despite quieter games from usual stars Adam Sambono and Malcolm Rosas. Meanwhile, Lee Dale was the only Croc to score multiple goals – enough to earn best-afield honours for the ladder leaders. White’s ex-teammate Jared Brennan was also thereabouts for Southern Districts, alongside the likes of Richard Tambling and Beau Schwarze. The loss hardly puts a dent in the Crocs’ ladder position, but sees them now share top spot, while Darwin consolidates its finals spot – climbing to outright third and finding some form as the season hots up.

 

 

NIGHTCLIFF 12.9 (81)
ST MARYS 6.8 (44)

GOALS:
Nightcliff:
 M. Bricknell 4, B. Grewar 2, S. Wilson 2, T. Melville 2, H. Williams, P. Wills.
St Marys: J. Musgrove 2, N. Paredes, B. Rioli, M. Liddy, J. Long.

BEST:
Nightcliff:
 P. Wills, B. Grewar, M. McGregor, S. Wilson, M. Bricknell, S. Deery
St Marys: N. Paredes, B. Taylor, B. Rioli, K. Delahunty, R. Clarke, T. Saunders

Nightcliff did enough to join Southern Districts in equal first with a comfortable win over St Marys, making them the only favourites to come out of the round with a win. Leading from the first bounce, the Tigers kept St Marys to just three goals after the first break, while putting enough of a total next to their own name throughout four consistent quarters. Matthew Bricknell kicked his second bag of four goals for the year to lead the way, followed by Trent Melville, Shaun Wilson, and Blake Grewar with two each. The latter two joined Phil Wills in the best, marking a solid attacking effort for the in-form Tigers. Nathaniel Paredes was again named best for the Saints, with Ben Taylor, Ben Rioli and Kieran Delahunty unsurprisingly not far behind. Stalwart Raphael Clarke had his hands full down back, but was also recognised for his efforts. The win sees Nightcliff join the Crocs on top of the ladder, behind by only percentage as the form team of the competition. Meanwhile, the Saints drop out of the top five but hold a good enough percentage to see them jump back in with a win after the break.

 

WARATAH 13.10 (88)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 14.5 (89)

GOALS:
Waratah:
 M. Newton 7, M. Blake 2, R. Jolliffe, S. Tatupu, T. Toma, K. Kantilla
Palmerston: M. Perry 4, A. Davey 2, S. Brock, B. Church, E. Frank, M. Dennis, R. Warfe, J. Grabowski, J. Patrick, A. Davey

BEST:
Waratah:
 M. Newton, Z. Westerberg, T. Toma, J. McCarthy, N. Gooch
Palmerston: E. Frank, A. Diamond, J. Grabowski, M. Dennis, M. Perry, J. Lampton

A starring seven-goal effort from ex-Dee Michael Newton wasn’t enough to drag Waratah over the line against Palmerston Magpies, going down by the narrowest of margins in a thriller to see out proceedings in 2018. The Magpies looked to have set up a comfortable position with an eight-point half time lead, but were stunned by an eight-goal third term from the Warriors, before finding seven goals of their own in the last quarter to claim a remarkable win at the death. With Newton booting over half of their goals, Matthew Blake (two) was the only other multiple goal kicker for the Warriors, while Tom Toma also found the goals to be named in the best alongside Zach Westerberg a the losing effort. Ezekiel Frank was Palmerston’s best, with Bundoora products Josh Grabowski and Matthew Dennis also important in the win, while Mishai Perry (four goals) and Aaron Davey (two) provided the scoring threat. Palmerston jumps into the finals spots on the back of its big win, level on points with its weekend opponents to sit a game outside of third. 

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 8

ROUND 8 action has seen the race finals race blown wide open, with just four points separating third from seventh. The mid-table bottleneck sees the top two break away, Wanderers has been left on the bottom despite a huge upset win.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 10.15 (75)
NIGHTCLIFF 14.10 (94)

GOALS:
Palmerston: K. Emery 3, S. Autio 2, J. Marshall , M. Perry, A. Diamond, A. Lonergan, E. Frank
Nightcliff: T. Melville 4, S. Wilson 3, M. Bricknell 2, C. Ilett, L. Holt-Fitz, B. Filo, J. Peris, F. James

BEST:
Palmerston: S. Talbot, M. Stokes, N. Lockyer Jnr, S. Autio, M. Bunworth, M. Dennis
Nightcliff: F. James, N. Brown, M. Bricknell, G. Greenoff, P. Wills, D. Bowles

A lightning start from Nightcliff was enough to see them over the line against a rejuvenated Palmerston line-up by 19 points in the Round 8 opener. The Tigers stormed out of the blocks with 6.6 in the opening term while keeping the Magpies goalless, showcasing their near-unstoppable firepower forward of centre. In good form coming into the fixture, Palmerston duly hit back in the second and third terms but were somewhat wasteful, with their 6.10 over the two quarters still leaving them with a 14-point deficit to claw back. Nightcliff proved too strong though, continuing to tick the scoreboard over in the face of Palmerston’s onslaught and earning the four points despite registering one less scoring shot.

The usual suspects were again amongst the goals for the winners, with Trent Melville snaring his second bag of four in as many weeks, while Shaun Wilson and Mathew Bricknell were the other two multiple goalkickers with three and two respectively. Faron James was named their best, with Nathan Brown again amongst the votes and Cam Ilett and Liam Holt-Fitz dangerous going forward. Kyle Emery was a shining light up forward with three majors, but missed out on best-six honours. Samuel Talbot continued his good form to be judged their best, while ex-AFL star Mathew Stokes was thereabouts alongside the ever consistent figures of Matthew Dennis and Nigel Lockyer jnr.

The win sees Nightcliff strengthen its position in the top two, only one game off league-leaders Southern Districts. Meanwhile, the Magpie’s second-straight loss drops them to second bottom on percentage, but equal fifth with two other sides on three wins.

 

TIWI BOMBERS 11.15 (81)
WARATAH 9.8 (62)

GOALS:
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 3, D. Munkara 3, B. Palipuaminni, M. Cooper, P. Heenan, H. Puruntatameri, C. Burgess
Waratah: T. Toma 3, A. Ellis 2, T. Mosquito, C. Barrett, M. Blake, J. Neagle

BEST:
Tiwi: C. Burgess, D. Munkara, J. Monigatti, M. Dunn, R. Tungatalum, J. Puruntatameri
Waratah: N/A

Tiwi Bombers secured its third consecutive victory with a hard-fought 19-point win over Waratah in front of an adoring home crowd. The in form team of the competition, Tiwi maintained a consistent lead throughout the game despite a third quarter test where the margin came to within just over a goal. Having handed Southern Districts its first loss for the year in Round 7, Waratah were unlucky to come up against just as fierce opposition for a second-straight week, but brought it right to the Bombers for the entire contest.

Ross Tungatalum was amongst the goals for Tiwi, joining the in-form Dion Munkara with a bag of three to be named amongst the best as the only two multiple goalkickers. Christian Burgess was judged best afield in his first appearance for the season, with Jason Puruntatameri, Jack Monigatti and Michael Dunn also continuing their consistent form to feature in the votes. For the Warriors, Thomas Toma was their key goalkicker with three, while Andre Ellis was the only other to boot multiple majors. Amongst the goals again were also the likes of Jaxon Neagle, Cameron Barrett and Timothy Mosquito, providing spark and pace forward of centre in the absence of last week’s heroes Michael Newton and Abraham Ankers.

The Bombers’ run of form puts them into equal-fifth, just one game away from this week’s opponents and with a five per cent buffer on sixth place. Waratah hang on to fourth position to remain firmly within the finals race, but will now be sweating on good results coming its way with three contenders breathing down its neck.

 

ST MARYS 4.5 (29)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 11.10 (76)

GOALS:
St Marys: B. Rioli 2, J. Quinn, S. Dann.
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 4, W. Farrer 2, S. Thorne 2, J. Koopman 2, D. McLachlan.

BEST:
St Marys: S. Richardson, M. Musgrove, B. Ah Mat, B. Rioli, T. Saunders, L. Stapleton
Southern Districts: S. Guilhaus, D. Staunton, D. McLachlan, S. Thorne, S. Smith, M. Pemberton

St Marys again failed to earn consecutive wins, falling to a resurgent Southern Districts side keen to prove last week’s shock loss was a mere one-off. It was a slow start, with both sides failing to find the big sticks in the opening term, while the Crocs eventually broke away with three goals to nil in the second quarter to open up a 23-point lead on their goalless opponents. The Saints finally broke their goal drought in the third with two of their own, but couldn’t stop Southern Districts from piling on eight second-half goals to run out comfortable 47-point winners.

Michael Mummery was the star for the Crocs, booting four majors after firing a blank in the previous week. Despite his haul, Mummery missed out on a best slot to the likes of Shane Thorne, who slotted two goals, recent addition Sebastion Guilhaus, and the ever-reliable Dean Staunton. Ben Rioli continues to provide a shining light for the Saints, this week claiming half of his side’s goals – albeit in a low total. Simon Richardson was judged best in the losing side, with Mitch Musgrove finding some form and Braxton Ah Mat putting in another shift alongside Tylah Saunders.

The win sees Southern Districts bounce back from its first loss of the season, maintaining a four-point lead over Nightcliff atop the table with an intimidating percentage of 175. Meanwhile, St Marys find themselves lodged between Tiwi and Palmerston in sixth as one of the three sides with three wins for season 2019.

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES 11.10 (76)
WANDERERS 13.8 (86) 

GOALS:
Darwin: J. Anderson 3, C. Williams 3, J. Stokes 2, J. Anderson, J. Clark, S. Anderson.
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 4, T. Motlop 2, D. Ferreira 2, J. Priest 2, M. Mununggurritj, L. Patrick, A. Cook.

BEST:
Darwin: J. Anderson, P. Boles, C. Williams, D. Williams, K. Maroney, J. Briston
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey, J. Cubillo, D. Ferreira, S. Gibson, A. Cook

Wanderers pulled off the upset of the round with a defiant 10-point win over third-placed Darwin. The Eagles came out firing with 10 goals to three in the first half setting the base for an impressive victory. The four points wouldn’t come without a challenge though, as the proud Buffaloes side fought back with eight goals to three in the second half, but fell just short of the Eagles’ established margin. Having been beaten resoundingly by Tiwi in the previous round, Darwin look to be in the midst of a surprising mid-season slump.

Sixteen year-old star Joel Jeffrey was outstanding, with his four goals earning him best afield honours. Thomas Motlop and Jobastin Priest were the other multiple goalkickers with two each, while Davin Ferreira produced a play of the round contender with one of his two majors. Ex-Roo and Crow Sam Gibson didn’t manage to hit the scoreboard, but was also named amongst the best alongside Joel Cubillo for Wanderers. Darwin’s best in the loss was Joe Anderson, while Javadd Anderson and Chris Williams both managed to claim bags of three goals to also be thereabouts.

While they picked up a huge result here, the Eagles remain stuck to the bottom of the ladder – one game behind Palmerston, St Marys and Tiwi. Darwin’s second consecutive loss puts them back in the pack somewhat, equal-third with Palmerston and just a game off dropping out of the top four despite their impressive percentage.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL Round 7

ROUND 7 produced a series of smashings, with three of the four fixtures resulting in margins of over 44 points. In the round’s one outlier, this year’s clear best side was finally beaten in an impressive upset.

TIWI BOMBERS 20.15 (135)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 13.13 (91)

GOALS:
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 5, K. Kantilla 5, P. Puautjimi 2, M. Cooper 2, D. Munkara 2, B. Palipuaminni, J. Monigatti, H. Puruntatameri, A. Wonaeamirri
Darwin: M. Campbell 3, J. Stokes 2, A. Sambono 2, R. O’Sullivan, M. Heenan, B. Stokes, B. Culhane, A. Punch, J. Clark

BEST:
Tiwi: D. Munkara, R. Tungatalum, H. Puruntatameri, J. Puruntatameri, C. Luff, S. Munkara
Darwin: R. O’Sullivan, J. Stokes, K. Maroney, A. Sambono, J. Anderson, A. James

Tiwi claimed its second-straight win with a resounding 44-point upset victory over premiership contenders Darwin to open the Round. After a seven goal to one opening term put Darwin in the clear ascendency, Tiwi produced a remarkable 15 goals to four in the second half to not only bridge the gap, but complete an 81-point turnaround from quarter time. Ross Tungatalum and Kim Kantilla both booted bags of five goals, with Dion Munkara named the Bombers’ best alongside the Puruntatameri’s – Jason and Harley. Buffaloes leader Matthew Campbell was among their best with three goals, with Adam Sambono and Joe Anderson also continuing their string of performances in the bests. Darwin now drop to fourth on percentage, sitting back in the pack a touch, while smoke has brought fire for Tiwi as they edge a game clear of last place as they doubled down on opening their account last round.

 

WANDERERS 5.6 (36)
NIGHTCLIFF 15.12 (102)

GOALS: 
Wanderers: N/A
Nightcliff: T. Melville 4, M. Bricknell 3, B. Grewar 2, J. Butcher 2, F. James 2, P. Wills, L. Holt-Fitz

BEST:
Wanderers: N/A
Nightcliff: P. Wills, S. Deery, G. Greenoff, D. Bowles, C. Ilett, B. Grewar

Nightcliff broke into clear-second place with a comfortable 11-goal win over cellar dwellars, Wanderers. Trent Melville continues to provide headaches for his opponents up forward, booting four goals while Mathew Bricknell snared three and ex-Port forward John Butcher was one of three players to boot two majors, rounding out the multiple goalkickers. Phillip Wills was named their best, with Simon Deery and Cam Ilett also amongst it. It was another disappointing day for the Eagles, beaten by a side out to prove their credentials and keep pace with Southern Districts. While Wanderers are now a game clear at the bottom, the Tigers will be looking to pounce on more slip-ups in their race for top spot.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 5.9 (39)
ST MARYS 13.9 (87)

GOALS:
Palmerston: K. Emery 2, S. Brock, J. Thompson, A. Diamond
St Marys: K. Delahunty 4, M. Liddy 3, B. Rioli 2, N. Paredes, S. Edwards, A. Wilson, B. Taylor

BEST:
Palmerston: M. Rotumah-Onus, N. Lockyer Jnr, L. McDonald, M. Dennis, K. Emery, S. Talbot
St Marys: T. Saunders, B. Rioli, J. Long, K. Delahunty, B. Taylor, S. Edwards

St Marys has jumped into the finals places with a key win over now sixth-place Palmerston in Saturday’s final game. A seven goal to three opening half set the base for a lead that the Magpies hardly looked like bridging, as the Saints continually put on multiple goals across each quarter. Kieran Delahunty had a breakout four-goal game, snaring multiples alongside Mathias Liddy (three) and Brayden Rioli (two). Tylah Saunders and Ben Rioli were again judged St Marys’ best, while Mickitja Rotumah-Onus claimed the same honours for Palmerston. In a familiar story, Kyle Emery was their only multiple goalkicker with two, while Matthew Dennis was instrumental alongside Nigel Lockyer jnr. Having jumped the Magpies, the Saints are now only a win off third place, while Palmerston are in danger of again falling into the bottom two after the loss.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 9.15 (69)
WARATAH 14.7 (91)

GOALS: 
Southern Districts: S. Thorne 2, B. Vallance 2, D. Abbott, R. Tambling, C. Gallio, M. Pemberton, D. Staunton
Waratah: M. Newton 6, A. Ankers 3, J. Gardner 2, R. Jolliffe, S. Weddell, R. Bulluss

BEST:
Southern Districts: C. McAdam, S. Martin, S. Thorne, D. Staunton, D. McLachlan
Waratah: A. Ankers, M. Newton, N. Gooch, B. Zobel, A. Aurrichio

Waratah produced the upset of the year in the game of the round, handing Southern Districts its first loss in an efficient showing. While the reigning premiers were wasteful in the final term with 3.7, the Warriors were deserving winners after easily bridging a quarter-time deficit. Ex-Melbourne forward Michael Newton came in and booted six goals to steal the show, while his Warriors teammate Abraham Ankers bagged three to be name their best alongside Nicholas Gooch. Shane Thorne and Bradley Vallance were again instrumental for the Crocs despite the loss, each claiming two majors, but Charlie McAdam was named their best along with Dean Staunton and Sean Martin. The loss doesn’t make a dent in Southern’s lead at the top, despite Nighcliff breathing down their neck, while Waratah move to equal-third and remain a game safe in the finals spots.

2018/19 NTFL Men’s preview

AFTER previewing the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League yesterday, we take a look at the NTFL Men’s Premier League ahead of the season kicking off tonight.

Darwin Buffaloes

Last year: Grand Finalists

Fought tooth-and-nail against Southern Districts, falling an agonising one-point short of a premiership. After making up the numbers in 2016/17 by achieving a finals berth, the Buffaloes showed the right foundations were in place with a terrific season last season. A lot is spoken about how players perform in Grand Finals, and Jarrod Spokes earned praise for his three-goal effort in the Buffaloes’ loss. Jalen Clarke also booted three that day, while Joe Anderson and Timothy Eldridge were also among the best for the losing side.

Round 1: vs. Southern Districts – TIO Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm.

B: 30. Matt Campbell – 26. Jordan Briston -12. Kevin Maroney
HB: 14. Cameron Stokes – 29. Todd Miles – 24. Kelvin Williams
C: 5. Adam Sambono – 6. Jarrod Stokes – 9. Tim Eldridge
HF: 2. Steven Anderson – 18. Ishmael Palmer – 28. Darren Shillabeer
F: 1. Dayne Hancock – 27. Ryan O’Sullivan – 15. Jalen Clarke
R: 25. Chris Atkinson – 21. Chris Williams – 10. Bradley Stokes

INT: 13. David Paull – 11. Jackson Clark – 3. Malcolm Rosas – 23. Paul Campbell – 4. Shaun Ah Mat – 8. Shem Williams – 22. Arnold Punch – 7. Liam Philpot – 17. Joe Anderson – 16. Lindsay Thomas

Nightcliff

Last year: Preliminary Final

Knocked out the reigning premiers, St Marys by four goals in the semi-final, but after finishing top two will rue a couple of losses to Darwin in the finals series. Identical to the previous season where the Tigers finished second on the table, but lost to Wanderers twice to just miss out on the decider. They might be disappointed not to have made the final game for the second year running, but there were still some outstanding performers in the season. Cameron Ilett booted 30 goals and was named in the best nine times from 20 matches, while Julian Lockwood and Patrick White were named in the best seven times, booting a combined 50 goals between them. Nathan Brown was also impressive, named in the best nine times from his 20 matches.

Round 1: vs. St Marys – TIO Stadium, Saturday 5pm.

FB: 19. Julian Lockwood – 27. Blake Penny – 21. Caleb Walker
HB: 10. Cameron Illet – 17. Farron James – 2. Gavin Greenoff
C: 31. Hugo Drogemuller – 7. Jess Budarick – 12. Joel Budarick
HF: 3. Jonathan Peris – 30. Jonathon Miles – 22. Josh Carmichael
F: 5. Kaine Riley – 15. Kayle Kossack – 6. Liam Holt-Fitz
R: 4. Mathew Bricknell – 14. Nathan Brown – 28. Patrick Kossack
INT: 11. Phillip Wills – 20. Trent Melville – 24. Tyson Kidney – 9. Wade Derksen – 40. Huw Spring – 1. Ryan Mu – 44. Louis Kossack – 41. Max Stretton – 42. Nick Green – 43. Theo Kortesis – 45. Nathan Russell – 46. Nick Eades

 

Palmerston

Last year: Wooden spoon

It has been a lean couple of years for Palmerston, who finished bottom of the table last season after a seventh placed finish in 2016/17. Had a monumental 10-point win over Darwin in Round 4 at TIO Stadium, but it would prove to be the sole celebration for the year, with just one draw – against Waratah the only other points. AFL Draft hopeful, Rodney Baird shone in an otherwise disappointing season for the Magpies, named among the best on 12 occasions from his 17 matches. Former Bomber, Alwyn Davey booted 12 goals in 16 games and was named in the best five times, while Ezekiel Frank was also impressive. Former Dee, Aaron Davey also played six matches, booting four goals and was named in the best twice.

Round 1: vs. Waratah – Asbuild Oval, Friday, 7pm.

FB: 9. Rodney Baird – 17. Ezekiel Frank – 21. Jamie Damaso
HB: 6. Jacon Lampton – 28. Nigel Jnr Lockyer – 36. Aaron Davey
C: 22. Clarence Baird – 4. Mitch Bunworth – 11. Lochlan Dhurrkay
HF: 1. Ralph Dhamarrandji – 14. Sam Autio – 5. Sam Talbot
F: 10. Aaron Lonergan – 24. Kyle Emery – 48. Jonty Patrick
R: 29. Matthew Dennis – 12. James Rhodes – 8. Nathan Deans
INT: 3. Alwyn Davey – 15. Bailey Cripps – 19. David McCorkill – 18. Hayden Brown – 45. Jordan Thompson – 32. Kendall Garling – 35. Kris Brown – 2. Misha Jnr Perry – 7. Noel Collins – 16. Riley Judd – 20. Ryan Warfe – 26. Sandy Brock

 

St Marys

Last year: Semi-Final

After winning its 32nd premiership in season 2016/17, St Marys dropped back to the pack. The Saints made the semi-final after knocking off Tiwi Bombers, but were defeated by Nightcliff by 24 points. Peter Macfarlane was deadly in front of goals last season, piling on 45 majors in just 11 games, with at least two goals in every game, and seven-goal hauls against Palmerston and Darwin Buffaloes. Jack Musgrove was also impressive with 24 goals from 13 games, while former Gippsland Power hard nut, Nathaniel Paredes booted 17 goals from 14 games, and was named in the best nine times. Ryan Smith impressed the coaches enough to be named in the best 11 times from 17 matches, while former Blue, Jarryd Cachia was a key inclusion for the Saints, named in the best seven times from eight games.

Round 1: vs. Nightcliff – TIO Stadium, Saturday 5pm.

B: 1. Jacob Long – 28. Zachary Robinson – 22. Denny Musgrove
HB: 14. Thomas Davies – 8. Raphael Clarke – 34. Jimmy McMurtrie
C: 39. Mitch Musgrove – 32. Chris Parris – 16. Keenan Smith Thompson
HF: 42. James Quinn – 24. Kieran Delahunty – 37. Callum Flanagan
F: 25. Anthony Hale – 18. Mathias Liddy – 33. Maurice Jnr Rioli
R: 15. Jack Long – 20. Ryan Smith – 7. Tylah Saunders
INT: 38. Benjamin Taylor – 40. Braith Hodges – 19. John Athanasiou – 30. Jordan Cullen – 17. Justin Simmonds – 31. Marius Clarke – 11. Nicholas Yarran – 21. Tom Frawley

 

Southern Districts

Last year: Premiers

The second newest NTFL club won its third premiership last season with a remarkable one-point victory over Darwin Buffaloes. The Crocs joined Nightcliff and Palmerston on three premierships a piece, and will hope to move one clear of them if they can achieve back-to-back flags. In terms of top players last season, William Farrer was the key up forward with 55 goals from 16 games, which included an eight-goal haul against Darwin Buffaloes at TIO Stadium. Former Essendon player, Leroy Jetta booted 25 goals from 11 games, while Beau Schwarze finished the season with 18 majors. Ed Barlow was named in the Crocs’ best seven times, one more than Charles McAdam.

Round 1: vs. Darwin Buffaloes – TIO Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm.

B: 25. Daniel Wehrung – 30. Josh Innes – 10. Lionel Ogden
HB: 8. Michael Bowden – 2. Sam Smith – 17. Zac Smith
C: 34. Charles McAdam – 13. Clinton Gallio – 16. Liam McGregor
HF: 29. Matthew Rosier – 21. Bradley Vallance – 36. Lee Dale
F: 7. Leroy Jetta – 27. William Farrer – 6. Darren Abbott
R: 18. Tim Hanna – 9. Dean Staunton – 1. Rory O’Brien
INT: 31. Dylan Barry – 5. Dylan McLachlan – 14. Beau Schwarze – 15. James Bell – 32. Brodie Lake – 3. Brandon Rusca – 33. Keenan Lake – 23. Richard Tambling – 28. Steven Stewart – 4. Shane Thorne – 37. Jack Palmer

 

Tiwi Bombers

Last year: Elimination final

A terrific achievement to make the finals last season after a one-win wooden spoon effort in 2016/17, the Bombers were outclassed by reigning premiers St Mary’s in the elimination final, but showed serious improvement in season 2017/18. Ross Tungatalum booted two goals in the elimination finals loss, while forward, Simon Munkara was named among the best along with Jason and Gary Puruntatameri. The newest club in the competition will be looking to build on their season last year with another strong showing in 2018/19.

Round 1: vs. Wanderers – TIO Stadium, Saturday 2.30pm.

B: 23. Kim Kantilla – 24. Jake Best – 7. Ross Tungatalum
HB: 39. Austin Wonaeamirri – 3. Dion Munkara – 30. Aaron Daniels
C: 21. Tom Schneider – 16. Harmit Singh – 6. Patrick Heenan
HF: 11. Travis Tambling – 48. Harley Puruntatameri – 40. Sylvani Babui
F: 18. Michael Dunn – 2. Jason Puruntatameri – 20. Roy Farmer
R: 5. Simon Munkara – 36. Jack Munkara – 43. Albert Tipungwuti
INT: 37. Keiran Apuatimi – 27. Pio Puautjimi – 26. Peter Apuatimi – 17. Adam Tipungwuti – 4. Alastair Darcy – 46. Ben Ullungura – 1. Jeffrey Puruntatameri – 32. Joseph Burke – 47. Juan Orsto – 12. Norman Pangiraminni – 19. Michael Wilson – 29. James Warlipinni

 

Wanderers

Last year: Seventh

Finished the year with five wins and a draw to clearly sit above Palmerston, but not quite good enough for finals. After going down in the decider to St Mary’s in 2016/17, the Eagles would hope they can bounce back from last season to be back in contention in 2018/19. Of the top performers last season for the Eagles, Kyle Chapple booted 16 goals in seven games, while Davin Ferreira and Thomas Motlop both finished the season with 14 majors. Former Port Adelaide listed player, Brett Eddy and former Gold Coast Suns player, Liam Patrick were also among those running out for the Eagles last year.

Round 1: vs. Tiwi Bombers – TIO Stadium, Saturday 2.30pm.

B: 20. Doug Mansell – 25. Shaun Hodor – 17. David Kruse
HB: 21. Daniel Weetra – 12. Tyler Brimacombe – 24. Braedon McLean
C: 4. Joseph Salmon – 2. Jarred Erlandson – 5. Simon Bates
HF: 3. Keelan Fejo – 29. Liam Patrick – 19. Joel Jeffrey
FF: 18. Jobastin Priest – 33. Shannon Motlop – 13. Beau O’Connell
R: 30. Josh Wilson – 10. Marcus Totham – 11. Nook Mansell
INT: 28. Joel Walsh – 6. Patrick Fairhead – 22. Tyrell Lui – 32. Zac Millar – 8. Beau Cubillo – 14. Joel Cubillo – 23. Jayden Adams – 15. Rhys Griffiths – 7. Darren Singh – 26. Jonas Niki – 27. Greg Hunt – 16. Ronald Fejo

 

Waratah

Last year: Sixth

Just missed out on finals for a second consecutive year in 2017/18 after a sixth placed finish, four points shy of finalists, Tiwi Bombers. Thereabouts last season, the Warriors will be keen to take the next step and play finals football in 2018/19. The Warriors shared around their goals last season, with Kim Kantilla leading the way with 24 from 14 games, while Brock Orval and former Melbourne forward, Michael Newton booting 16 majors. Newton particularly impressed, having played just four games to reach the total. Orval, James Wray, Sam Weddell and Timothy Mosquito were all named among the Warriors best five times.

Round 1: vs. Palmerston – Asbuild Oval, Friday, 7pm.

B: 1. Bailey Zobel – 29. Alexander Aurrichio – 5. Brock Orval
HB: 25. Henry Kerinua – 27. Jordan Gardener – 6. Jack Hatcher
C: 4. Fraser Jennings – 8. Cameron Barrett – 18. Liam O’Connor
HF: 14. Kevin Thompson – 23. Justin Beugelaar – 10. Abraham Ankers
F: 30. Samuel Weddell – 12. Brendan Minkulk – 26. Samuel Flanegan
R: 17. Zach Westerberg – 7. Joel Stevens – 24. Coen Hutt
INT: 28. Brad Rayson – 3. Brodie Carroll – 2. James Arratta – 21. Jamie McCarthy – 11. Lachlan Collihole – 22. Martin Sargeant – 20. Matthew Blake – 19. Nick Gooch – 15. Ryan Bulluss – 9. Samuel Godden – 13. Timothy Mosquito – 16. Tom Arundell