Tag: Mickayla Ward

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 4

ROUND 4 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League season will see all four matches played on Saturday once more, with reigning premiers Southern Districts having a week off with the bye this round. Nightcliff and Pint still sit atop the ladder on three wins straight, while one of the three winless teams will get points on the board in the opening match of the round. A battle between ladder-leading Nightcliff and third placed St Mary’s looms as the match of the round, though the battle to stay off the bottom of the ladder could prove much more significant with three teams sitting on just the one win – making a big move up the ladder a viable outcome at the end of the round.

Palmerston Magpies vs. Tracy Village
Saturday, October 24

One of the three winless sides will get points on the board this round when Palmerston and Tracy Village go head-to-head, and while the two cellar dwellers have only played two matches apiece thanks to respective bye rounds, both teams need to get something on the board this week to give them a chance of bouncing back from the rough start. Ultimately, neither team has been a real worry on the scoreboard, combining for just 32 points throughout the opening rounds. That being said, there have been some consistent performers across the field for both teams, with Magpies’ Iesha Ronberg, Khani White and Shanoah Leedie named in the best twice, as have Razorbacks’ Indianna Hughes – the side’s lone goalkicker – Meagan Wylie and Sarah Wilson. Expect a tight match between these two, although the Magpies’ success and winning mentality over past seasons will surely work in their favour against the Razorbacks.

Wanderers vs. Pint
Saturday, October 24

The Wanderers have a tough battle this week, coming up against a Pint outfit that still sits undefeated after three rounds and have shown no signs of stopping. While Wanderers do have the one win on the board from Round 2, the side’s main issue has been a lack of opportunity up forward, tending to crumble under tight defensive pressure. Pint, however, have found some excellent form with the help of a couple new names from down south, and weathered the storm well when required to showcase how their defensive outfit can be just as cohesive as their exciting frontline. With plenty of firepower out the front and six of their eight goalkickers on multiple majors, Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer (five goals from three games and four from two, respectively) are big targets while Cassie Henderson has been influential time and time again. For Wanderers, Djimila Totham has been critical around the ground, named in the best three times while Kaitlyn Armstrong has proved hard to stop when she gets going, booting 10 majors in three games to be equal-leading goalkicker.

St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 24

A top battle is expected when ladder-leading Nightcliff head to take on third placed St Mary’s, with the Saints’ Round 3 victory over the Buffettes injecting plenty of confidence into the side. Both teams are more than capable of maintaining pressure and composure even in a close contest while firepower is no issue for either side, with Nightcliff boasting the current equal-leading goalkicker in Emma-Lou Wolsey (10 goals) and Mickayla Ward (equal second with five goals, two bests). While St Mary’s does not feature in the top five for scoring, that is more due to the shared load out the front than a lack of opportunity with 10 individual goalkickers so far this season and three who have booted more than one. Ash Melnikas and Michaela Long (four goals apiece) are the ones to watch inside 50, with the former and Megan Williamson named in the best three times from three matches. 

Waratah vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 24

These two sides come into an unprecedented matchup in at fourth and fifth, though Buffettes have only played two games – only winning one – thanks to the bye while Waratah won by default in the first round and were faced with a draw in Round 3. While Waratah has been competitive in patches, expect the firepower of the Buffettes to control proceedings with so many players capable of shouldering the load. Both Zoe Anderson and Machaelia Roberts boast not only goal sense but also plenty of composure with five and four goals to their name, while Waratah’s Jenna Singh has been consistent as ever, booting three goals alongside Caitlin Couch who has booted three from two outings. Lauren O’Shea and Lisa Roberts are excitement machines when they get going, and while both have put a goal on the board to start the season they will hope to explode out of the blocks.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League season will see all four matches played on Saturday once more, with bottom of the ladder Tracy Village set to sit out with the bye this round. Nightcliff and Pint still remain undefeated at the top of the ladder after solid starts to the season, while this round will be headlined by a 2019/20 grand final rematch between Southern Districts and Waratah with both sides sitting towards the lower end of the ladder after two rounds.

St Mary’s vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 17

Darwin Buffettes may have only played the one match for the season so far but well and truly exploded out of the blocks last week, compared to St Mary’s who showcased impressive form in Round 1 but could not consolidate on a huge third quarter fight back and eventually went down in a close affair with Pint. With so many quality players across the field and both teams seemingly in solid form heading into this match, expect the Saints to explode out of the blocks and the Buffs to use their flurry of forward targets to apply plenty of scoreboard pressure. Machaelia Roberts and Zoe Anderson fired on all cylinders last round for Darwin, booting four goals apiece, while both Michaela Long and Ash Melnikas have been handy goalkickers for the Saints. Melnikas and Megan Williamson have been named among the best in both matches for the Saints, while Molly Althouse impressed for the Buffs last round.

Southern Districts vs. Waratah
Saturday, October 17

Southern Districts need a win this week in the grand final rematch to restore some of their 2019/20 dignity after a rough start to the season, going down by 48 points in Round 1 and 49 points in Round 2. While the Crocs are by no means lacking options up forward, they have seemed to lack that forward push and volume up forward, and this could be the side’s best chance to do so against Waratah with the Warriors also coming in off the back of a loss in Round 2 and a default victory in Round 1 – although the default came when the side was ahead. Just two players have hit the scoreboard more than once for Waratah, with usual suspect Jenna Singh and newbie Caitlin Couch kicking two apiece over the first two matches, while Danica Pedersen and Eliza Straford have been solid across the ground. For Districts, Megan Crauford is a solid target. 

Pint vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, October 17

Palmerston will head into this round renewed after the bye, but come in against an improved Pint outfit that sits in second on the ladder with two wins from two. Pint has proved it has a heap of firepower and while an excellent first round victory showcased the side’s winning ability, it was a low-scoring victory in Round 2 that makes this battle so interesting given the side’s ability to outlast under pressure. Look for Amy Chittick and Jasmyn Hewitt inside 50 when it comes to Pint with both players able to hit the scoreboard, while Jacinta Reid, Rebecca Pryer and Cassie Henderson have had solid starts to the season. For the Magpies, fans will hope that Cassie Ormsby can return to the fray after a first round high hit that saw the match finish at half time. Meanwhile, Tabitha May is always a force to be reckoned with.

Wanderers vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 17

The lone match between two Round 2 winners, Nightcliff will come into this battle with plenty of confidence given they sit atop the ladder with a significant percentage boost ahead of Pint in second. Meanwhile, Wanderers have one win on the board which came in Round 2 and the significant margin in that match will see the side certainly take it up to Nightcliff. Expect an intriguing matchup here, with the top four goalkickers in the competition likely to take the field in this battle. That being said, three of the four are from Nightcliff who are arguably the team to beat at the moment given their firepower up forward and multitude of options inside forward 50. Emma-Lou Wolsey (eight goals), Mickayla Ward (five goals) and Darcy Elliston (four) have proved to be constant and consistent goalkickers out the front, sitting first, third and fourth on the leading goalkicker tally at this stage, with second spot taken by Wanderers’ Kaitlyn Armstrong who is just one goal behind Wolsey on seven. Just two players across the two teams have been named in the best twice – showcasing the calibre of talent across the two teams – with Ward (Nightcliff) and Djimila Totham (Wanderers) those players.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 2

ROUND 2 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s competition is set to see some intriguing battles, with Darwin Buffettes entering the competition for the first time this season after a bye to open their campaign, while Palmerston Magpies will take this week off to regroup after a disappointing and disjointed start to the season. The top four teams will all go head-to-head with a battle between Nightcliff and Waratah, and Pint and St Mary’s to follow.  Meanwhile, Southern Districts will look to overturn a sloppy start when they take on the Buffs and Tracy Village will take on the Wanderers sitting in fifth.

Nightcliff vs. Waratah
Saturday, October 10

A huge top two clash opens the day’s proceedings, with both Waratah and Nightcliff looking to back up strong showings after last round. Whilst Nightcliff sits comfortable atop the ladder with a huge 108-point margin last week, Waratah will be feeling less than comfortable only having played a half against Palmerston before the match was called off. Waratah booted five goals in a strong second quarter showing, however Nightcliff matched that easily with five goals scored in the third quarter alone and four in the second and fourth quarters to run away with the huge victory. That being said, Nightcliff will come up against an arguably stronger side than their Round 1 opposition in Tracy Village, so will need to ensure their backline holds up well against Waratah’s expanse of viable goalkickers. Emma-Lou Wolsey (five goals) and Darcy Elliston (four goals) were the real firepower last round so expect the Tigers forward to be in the drivers seat once more, while Eliza Morrison and Mickayla Ward were both named in the best. For Waratah, Caitlin Couch was the lone multiple goalkicker last round in her first outing at the club.

Tracy Village vs. Wanderers
Saturday, October 10

The second match of the round will see two first round losers go head-to-head, with significantly different ladder positions all that realistically separates the two sides. While Wanderers suffered a 63-point loss against St Mary’s, the Razorbacks could not contend with Nightcliff and failed to really hit the scoreboard. The main difference between these two sides is the work rate in the second half last week, with Tracy Village conceding nine goals and failing to score after the final change. While the Wanderers conceded five in the third quarter to a runaway St Mary’s outfit, they booted two goals back and only allowed the Saints to kick one major in the final term with a much better defensive effort stemming the flow. Kaitlyn Armstrong was the lone goalkicker last round for the Wanderers, making her a huge target this round while the likes of Deanna Peckham and Sophie Armitstead were also named among the best. For the Razorbacks, there is really no other way to go than up, with solid performances from Meagan Wylie, Sarah Wilson and Zhoe Clark showcasing some of their skill, just needing to finetune it.

Pint vs. St Mary’s
Saturday, October 10

Another battle of Round 1 victors, this is one of the intriguing matches of the round given the changes made over the off-season. While Pint were mildly successful last season, bumped out of the semi finals after finishing sixth, St Mary’s finished in eighth but ultimately have a new-look team this season with a number of new recruits from down south. Both coming away with excellent wins last round – with Pint’s coming against the reigning premiers, Southern Districts – and conceding a combined 3.5 across the two matches, this match will be a real test given they clearly have the scoring ability but could have come away with even bigger victories if not for patches of inaccuracy. Amy Chittick and Jacqueline Downey booted two goals apiece for the Queen Ants, backed up by four individual goalkickers and Jacinta Reid and Katie Streader finding the ball with ease, while for the Saints it was Michaela Long (four goals) and Ash Melnikas (three) who heaped on the offensive pressure. Alongside the aforementioned duo, Claudia Whitfort booted two to be named in the best among some exciting talent.

Darwin Buffettes vs. Southern Districts
Saturday, October 10

Darwin Buffettes enter the round at the bottom of the ladder but with a completely clean slate given they had an extra week on the sidelines. The Crocs, on the other hand, frankly had a rough start to the season and will want to rectify that immediately – but will need to watch the Buffs who have a heap of firepower that will be itching to have an impact. Booting just one goal last round, with a heap of names who can have a huge influence on the scoreboard, the Crocs will need to be far cleaner around the ground and make the most of their forward 50 entries. Megan Craufurd was the lone goalkicker in the Crocs camp last round, named in the best among the likes of Essie Grose and Malory Nankervis. For the Buffettes, Machaelia Roberts was hugely impactful last season before heading down to Melbourne for the AFL Women’s season, nabbed by Collingwood in the 2019 draft, while young gun Dominique Carbone and Kylie Duggan were two of the most consistent players last season making for an intriguing battle. In what is a rematch of their 2019/20 semi final, expect both teams to come out with something to prove here.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 1

THE opening round of the 2020 NTFL Women’s Premier League season saw a number of blowouts, with Nightcliff, St Mary’s, Pint and Waratah getting huge wins on the board. Darwin Buffettes had the first bye of the season, watching on as some intriguing matches played out to open the season with a bang. A couple of new recruits, a milestone and a loss to the reigning premiers set the tone, and more in the first of our weekly women’s league wrap.

Wanderers 2.2 (14) defeated by St Mary’s 11.11 (77)

St Mary’s opened up their season and the 2020/21 season in style with an excellent 63-point victory over the Wanderers. While the Saints had a tougher time in the final quarter registering just seven points, it was a five-goal third term that pushed the side out to their excellent lead. St Kilda VFLW’s Claudia Whitfort was named among the best alongside Williamstown recruit Ash Melnikas, with the side seeming to gel with ease despite a heap of debutants, and continuing to push throughout. For the Wanderers, it just was not their day, although a couple of goals in the second half – both to Kaitlyn Armstrong – as well as the better defensive effort in the final quarter will give the side some solid moments to build off in the coming rounds, with Sophie Armitstead and Deanna Peckham named among the best.

Pint 8.9 (57) defeated Southern Districts 1.3 (9)

A victory in Cassie Henderson’s milestone 100th match was just what the doctor ordered for Pint in an excellent 48-point victory over the reigning premiers, Southern Districts to start the season. While a great first half saw a 27-point buffer at half-time, the Queen Ants did not let up knowing the Districts’ ability to score quickly, and conceded just the one goal in an excellent outing. Amy Chittick and Jacqueline Downey booted two goals apiece while Katie Streader had the ball on a string and Jacinta Reid was a force to be reckoned with off the half back, while for the Crocs Megan Crawfurd was the lone goalkicker, named among the best alongside Essie Grose and Malory Nankervis who were relentless in their hunt for the footy. 

Nightcliff 16.14 (110) defeated Tracy Village 0.2 (2)

It was a comprehensive and altogether dominant victory from Nightcliff, with the Tigers far too strong and with everything to play for after an improved 2019. Slipping straight up to top spot and not conceding a major throughout, Nightcliff had a complete day out with nine goals in the second half alone proving they had the firepower to get the job done. Emma-Lou Wolsey booted five goals to lead the tally, while Darcy Elliston (four goals), Mickayla Ward (three) and Rose Russell (two) all made their mark. With so much firepower up forward, Tracy Village just could not keep up with the Tigers despite the continued efforts of Meagan Wylie and Sarah Wilson who were named among the best. While the Tigers’ second half was not quite as accurate, booting eight behinds, Ward, Elliston and Eliza Morrison were excellent providing firepower across the field and proved that the Tigers could be a real team to watch this season. 

Waratah 6.6 (42) defeated Palmerston Magpies 0.1 (1)

A highly defensive effort was showcased in an intriguing battle that was cut short to finish the opening round, with the Magpies’ frontend failing to fire early but defensively showcasing some great attributes. Injury early in the second half saw the match finish on a difficult note, with Magpies’ Cassie Ormsby taken high and the match ended prematurely due to an ambulance call. Newcomer Caitlin Couch kicked two goals to start her season off well, and was a handy addition to the Waratah frontline slotting in nicely as the side kicked five unanswered goals, while Tabitha May, Khani White and Ormsby were named among the best for the Magpies. While the match ended abruptly, both teams have plenty to take out of this battle while Palmerston will be glad to have a bye in Round 2 to regroup and reset ahead of the coming weeks. 

Picture: Tymunna Clements – AFLNT Media

Ponter claims impressive win in NT All-Stars match

DOMINIQUE Carbone celebrated her 19th birthday in style with an impressive performance that helped Team Ponter record a 28-point victory over Team Hewett in humid conditions for the Northern Territory AFL Women’s All-Star game on Friday night. The over-ager won plenty of the ball and was prolific throughout the four quarters, and clearly one of the best on ground. Top-age forward Ashanti Bush deserved that honour, looking ever dangerous, booting a goal and almost having a few more as the inaccurate Ponter dominated for most of the contest to record an inaccurate, but effective 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) win.

The age of talent on display was a real mix from mature-age players who have already tasted AFL Women’s football in Jasmyn Hewett – who captained the team named after her – to the 15-year-old Maria Rioli who certainly caught the eye as a future Richmond father-daughter selection. But it was the work of Bush, Carbone and the classy Janet Baird who caught the eye, as well as future stars Grace Whittaker and Annabel Kievet who are in the Under 16s and Under 15s respectively.

For Hewett, it was the work of middle-age talent Georgia Johnson alongside Morgan Johnston who provided good dash from the back half and through the midfield. Hewett did all she could with some contested ball-winning ability in each third of the ground. Along with the experienced AFL Women’s talent, Freda Puruntatameri showed why she earned an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation, kicking a second quarter goal and then going into defence and showing class.

Aside from the first half of the opening term where Team Hewett had a number of attacking players, it was predominantly Team Ponter, with a broken tackle by Katie Streader at half-forward helping lead to a Baird goal on the fun despite the best efforts of Hewett in defence. It was the only major of the term, with Kyanne Campbell kicking a behind for Hewett not long after, but missed a set shot, as did Hewett, who could have edged the margin closer than the seven points at quarter time.

Carbone was ever prolific and soon it was Kievet who added to the lead in the opening minute when she was awarded a free kick and an opposition player ran straight through the mark. On the back of a 50m penalty she made no mistake and put it straight through, and then Sarah Ingram made it two majors for the term. Johnston had a highlight passage of play five minutes in by dancing around not one, not two but three opponents and kicking forward, while Johnson continually mopped up in defence. Soon the hard work on defence resulted in a goal for Hewett as Puruntatameri intercepted a ball at half-forward, sold some candy and sidestepped an opponent to kick her side’s first major on the run.

Whittaker was really stepping up through the midfield with some great athleticism, with her and Kievet trying to break the game open. The experience of Hewett and former Western Bulldogs VFL Women’s captain Mickayla Ward was telling in the back half, stemming the flow and reducing the scoreboard impact for Ponter.

The game was all but put to bed early in the third with back-to-back goals to Team Ponter as Bush took a strong mark out in front, then after missing a target, ran hard forward, roved the pack and kicked it to the square where Molly Althouse did the rest on the line. After an assist, Bush went it alone, read the ball of the bounce perfectly inside 50, running goalside, took it cleanly and put it home. Another chance by the exciting top-ager just missed to the right in what could have been a huge performance from her. While Hewett was unable to score in the term, Ponter missed a number of opportunities after kicking 2.0 to start the term, then kicking 0.6 for the rest of it.

Nonetheless, Ponter was all but home with a 33-point lead at the final break. Baird’s class in patches was telling and with the work of Whittaker and Carbone still have an influence, Ponter was able to hold on despite just kicking the one behind in the final term. J’Noemi Anderson – sister of North Melbourne’s Jed – showed class with a clever spin and kick forward early in the last, but it was Campbell who kicked the easiest of goals off the back of great work from Kaitey Whittaker who got it goalside for her teammate.

Just one behind was scored in the last 10 minutes of the game, but the likes of Johnston and Ward in defence, and Hewett across the ground was important. Team Ponter had plenty of winners across the field, with Bella Clarke another one who had a couple of opportunities playing forward, unfortunately dropping a mark a split second before the siren and as she went to play on and snap for goal in the forward pocket, the siren sounded. In the end, Team Ponter had got up, 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) in a showcase of the Northern Territory’s best talent.

TEAM PONTER 1.2 | 3.4 | 5.10 | 5.11 (41)
TEAM HEWETT 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Ponter: J. Baird, A. Kievet, S. Ingram, M. Althouse, A. Bush.
Hewett: F. Puruntatameri, K. Campbell.

ADC BEST:

Ponter: A. Bush, D. Carbone, J. Baird, G. Whittaker, A. Kievet
Hewett: M. Johnston, G. Johnson, J. Hewett, F. Puruntatameri, M. Ward

Picture credit: AFL Photos

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Week 1 Finals – Crocs look to recreate Waratah upset as four teams face elimination

AFTER a long season in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League, just six teams remain in the competition, with back-to-back premiers Waratah favourites, though they face a team that has toppled them twice. Darwin and Nightcliff have beaten the top two teams at different points, while Palmerston have the depth to challenge any team and Pint will relish the underdog status.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. PINT
Elimination Final 2
Saturday, February 2, 12.30pm
TIO Stadium

Opening up a huge day at TIO Stadium from the Women’s Premier League perspective, third placed Palmerston Magpies go head-to-head with sixth placed Pint. The Queen Ants only just squeezed into the finals on percentage, having won one less game than the seventh placed Wanderers, but drew one and benefited from Big River Hawks’ being removed from the league to earn the rights to sixth spot. The lower ranked side comes win with some solid form, having won three of its last four games, albeit two of those wins came against teams not in the top six. The Queen Ants’ victory against Darwin Buffettes last week would give them confidence heading into this encounter, considering the last time these sides faced, it ended up a 39-point win to the Magpies. In their Round 1 encounter, Palmerston also got up, but by just two points on the same ground. The Magpies also enter the game on the back of some strong form, smashing fifth placed Nightcliff by 48 points, pummelling St Mary’s by 142, and then comfortably keeping Wanderers out of the finals race with a 36-point victory in Round 18. Heading into this do-or-die elimination final, Pint will hope to repeat the upset win over Darwin last week, which saw Kristen Smits and Jessie Baumer both boot two goals in the 6.7 (43) to 3.1 (19) triumph. With star player, Jasmyn Hewett now back in the AFL Women’s the Queen Ants have relied upon their next tier of players to stand up. Among those who could be ones to watch in the upcoming match are Erin Hetherington and Amy Pennefather, while Jacqueline Downey also hit the scoreboard last week, her ninth goal from 14 games. For the Magpies, they have a stacked team that can challenge anyone on their day, but also need a bit of luck to take down the top two sides. Billie Byers has been the star through the season, named in the best 11 times from 16 games, while Iesha Ronberg and Janet Baird are also impressive talents. Led by a host of teenagers in Arthurina Moreen (36 goals) and Freda Puruntatameri (24) – who will play for Calder Cannons in the NAB League Girls competition this season – they will look to use all the firepower they can to knock Pint out of contention and move themselves one win away from a Grand Final place.

DARWIN BUFFETTES vs. NIGHTCLIFF
Elimination Final 1
Saturday, February 22, 2.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2

Darwin will be kicking itself after its loss last week to Pint, robbing the Buffettes of third spot and a guaranteed chance at a Grand Final spot with a win in the elimination final. The Buffettes can still set up a likely clash with Waratah if they win, but need the Queen Ants to cause an upset in the other semi-final to ensure the state’s capital side is the highest ranked elimination final winner. It will not be an easy feat against Nightcliff however, with the Tigers only finishing a couple of wins behind, though granted their percentage was the worst of any side in the top six, and the only team under 100 per cent. These teams both come into this clash with less-than-ideal form, having lost their last two. The most recent win for Nightcliff – who had a bye in Round 18 last week – came against Darwin back in Round 15, when they booted 4.6 (30) to the Buffettes’ 4.3 (27). There was not much in the game, and it turned the tables on the two teams’ earlier result which saw the Buffettes run away with a 31-point victory after restricting the Tigers to just one goal in the match back in Round 5. Nightcliff has a couple of players who have been ultra-consistent throughout the season, with Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey both named among their side’s best on 11 occasions. VFL Women’s Grand Final captain, Western Bulldogs’ Mickayla Ward has also been a welcome addition to the NTFL Women’s Premier League, booting 11 goals from 10 games and named in the best on seven occasions. Laura De Hommel and Shantel Miskin-Ripia are other talents who have been consistent performers throughout the 2019/20 season. The Buffettes have an array of depth across their team, with youngster Dominique Carbone really taking her game to the next level this season, combining with fellow teenager, Tayla Hart-Aluni and the experienced Kylie Duggan across the ground. Hart-Aluni leads the side’s goalkicking with 17 majors from 16 games, while Delsey Ah Wang has a goal a game from 13 matches. Throw in the likes of Jemma Iacono and Bianca Stokes, and the Buffettes have such a strong side that they will be keen to take the next step and bounce back from back-to-back losses with a win in the elimination final.

WARATAH vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Qualifying Final
Saturday, February 22, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

Whilst the elimination final between the Buffettes and Tigers takes place on TIO Oval No 2, the all-important qualifying final clash between Waratah and Southern Districts follows on from the Palmerston-Pint elimination final match on TIO Stadium. These sides are no stranger to going deep in the finals series, playing off in last year’s decider. While it was the Crocs’ first grand final in the competition, the ‘Tahs have been the dominant side of the past decade. Since the 2012/13 season, Waratah has won six of a possible seven flags, often with comfortable margins in the Grand Final. They have dropped just the one decider – to Darwin in 2016/17, where they went down in a shock 18-point defeat. Now heading for a three peat and seven from a possible eight, the minor premiers will be hard to stop in this game. If there is a side to do it, then it is arguably the Crocs who have inflicted two defeats against the top side, though one of those was reversed back in Round 1 for having two extra players on the bench. They copped it back-to-back for the same offence in the opening two Rounds, so despite winning those games, two of the Crocs’ five losses have come from forfeits. The other three have come against Darwin twice – who appear to be the Crocs’ danger side – and Nightcliff by two points. For Waratah, the loss to Southern Districts in Round 11 will be fresh in the minor premiers’ mind, but so will the defeat to the Tigers a week later in what was a forgettable fortnight. Given that the Crocs completely outplayed them in Round 1 even with the extra couple of rotations, Waratah would be well aware of just how dangerous this game is. They come in off the back of an easy 100-point win over Tracy Village, but challenging contests against Darwin and Pint in the lead-up to that final round clash will have hardened the team for battle here. Both of these teams have plenty of stars running around, with Lisa Roberts arguably the standout player in the top side, having been named in the best 10 times from 17 games and booting 20 goals in that time. Rebecca Pryer is also a consistent player, while Claudia Fabris and Isabella Rapson-Staropoli have well supported them at the top-end. Lauren O’Shea (21 goals) leads the team’s goalkicking, while Jenna Singh (19) makes it three players with a combined 60 goals between them. The key for Waratah will be to stop goalkicking machine, Ebony Miller who has simply been unstoppable this season for the Crocs, booting 59 goals from 14 games. The next highest goal kicker for Southern Districts is Kelsey Patterson with 10, meaning if Miller can be stopped, so too can the Crocs. With three bags of 10 – granted against the bottom three sides – Evans certainly padded her total, but still managed to kick multiple goals in every game bar two this season. From the team perspective, Tahlia Holtze and April Lewis are aiming the consistently strong players, as are young guns, Bella Clarke and Lateesha Jeffrey and Mattea Breed, with Clarke and Breed now running out in the SANFL Women’s competition which has begun. Waratah will start favourites, but Southern Districts have the recipe to win, which makes this a tantalising contest.

NTFL Women’s Premier League Preview: Round 15 – Magpies get first bye of season in race to finals

ROUND 15 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s will see plenty of exciting matches, with this round ultimately heating up the race to finals with only four matches left in the season. With a relatively even ladder this season, every team from fifth to eighth on the ladder could still realistically make finals with wins to finish the season. Though still an outside chance, with fifth and sixth only two wins ahead of seventh and three ahead of eighth, the likes of Nightcliff and Wanderers will need to take every opportunity they have to ensure they don’t get forced out of finals contention. 

Big River Hawks have unfortunately withdrawn from the competition after player unavailability lead to three successive forfeits, breaching AFLNT regulations. All teams scheduled to take on the Hawks over the next four rounds will receive byes, with Palmerston Magpies sitting out this week.

Tracy Village v. Southern Districts
Round 15 – 25/1/20
12:00pm
Tracy Village

Tracy Village will have a tough one this week when they open the round, taking on Southern Districts at home to hopefully get their third win on the board for the season. Sitting in third, the Crocs will want to bring back some of their early-season consistency to breach the top two, only sitting one win behind the Buffettes and realistically with a good chance to rack up some more wins to end the season on a high. Last time these sides met the Crocs only conceded one behind for the match, meaning that they will look to continue that form but will also have a hungry Razorbacks outfit to contend with up forward to go one better than their Round 5 efforts. Tahlia Holtze and April Lewis will look to continue their solid form for the season, collecting six and four bests nominations respectively, while Ebony Miller is sure to make an impact with 37 goals on her tally for the season so far. Lisa-Maree Toner has been consistent for the Razorbacks despite the side’s slow season, while Gabrielle Young will hope for another solid match on the board.

Pint v. St Mary’s
Round 15 – 25/1/20
2:00pm
MCG

In the second match of the round the seventh-ranked Queen Ants will take on the eighth-placed Saints in what is the closest match of the round, with both sides needing wins over the coming weeks to catch a glimpse of finals contention. Based on their percentage Pint should get the chocolates this time around despite St Mary’s getting the win last time they met, with a better win rate and ability to put points on the board. But the Saints cannot be discounted, with some solid form this season with an ability to score quickly, making for a massive contest. For the Saints, Nikita Long will hope to continue her consistency on the field with 13 matches under her belt for the season while Sharna Edwards will want to put her best foot forward under pressure from Pint. For the Queen Ants, Jasmyn Hewett, Casey Morris and Jessie Baumer have been solid options inside 50 while the likes of Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have impressed throughout the season, steadying the side throughout.

Nightcliff v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 15 – 25/1/20
2:00pm
TIO Stadium

Nightcliff will need to be at their best this round when they take on the Buffettes who have returned to their early season form with impressive wins over the past two weeks. Last time they met the Buffs reigned supreme in a 31-point victory, with the side well and truly on a roll with victory making for an interesting matchup this time around given the Tigers are currently on a three game winning streak, including one against the reigning premiers and ladder-leaders, Waratah. Only sitting two wins behind Darwin and with plenty of talent at their disposal, Nightcliff will want to prove they have what it takes to go far this season with a win against the second-ranked Buffettes. Nightcliff high-flyers, Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey will want to continue their combined stellar form, with the pair both picking up nine best on ground nominations this season so far. The likes of Mickayla Ward and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith have some real firepower between them so will hope to put some real pressure on the scoreboard, while plenty of other forwards are also able to have an impact. The Tigers will have a hard time stopping the likes of Kylie Duggan and Tayla Hart-Aluni who are as consistent as they come, especially in a side of dominant performers. 

Waratah v. Wanderers
Round 15 – 26/1/20
2:00pm
Gardens Oval

With a week off last round, Waratah will be out for blood against sixth-ranked Wanderers who are sitting in a similar position to Nightcliff, needing wins over the next few rounds to ensure a finals berth. Last time these sides met the ‘Tahs came out on top with relative ease in a somewhat inaccurate clash, booting 12.10 (82) to Wanderers’ 5.7 (37). Waratah will want to continue their impressive form heading into the last few rounds of the season to remain at the head of the ladder and with a plethora of forward options the Wanderers will have their work cut out for them defensively to try and stem the flow long enough to get a ninth win on the board. Wanderers’ Shekeine De Satge and Morgan Johnston have been stellar throughout the season, both earning nine best on ground nominations for their efforts. De Satge is the leading goalkicker with 13 for the season so far, so will hope to add to her tally this week against a tough opponent. Waratah’s Lauren O’Shea, Jenna Singh and Lisa Roberts will look to add to their respective goal tallies for the season, having combined for 41 goals and 14 best on ground nominations this season.

NTFL Women’s Premier League Preview: Round 14 – Battle of the key forwards in Magpies-Districts match

HEADING into the home stretch, the race for finals in the Northern Territory Football League Women’s is getting tighter with no team undefeated after 13 rounds. Southern Districts will look to bounce back after a frustrating loss last week while Big River Hawks will hope to field a team for the first time this year after forfeiting in both Round 12 and Round 13.

Pint v. Wanderers
Round 14 – 18/1/20
2:00pm
MCG

Wanderers will need to go big this week against Pint after receiving an unprecedented forfeit last round from Big River Hawks. Last time they met, Wanderers were quick to start but were not really in it for the second half of the match, allowing Pint to dominate the contest and ultimately going down by 33 points. The Wanderers now sit in fifth, however, with eight wins behind them and the confidence to reign supreme if they put their minds to it, it could be a real tough contest for the Queen Ants. Pint will hope for Jasmyn Hewitt to continue her strong form, having only played eight matches for the season but booting 10 goals. Emma Greaves and Cara Evans have also been solid with 12 matches apiece, with consistency and cleanliness to boot. For the Wanderers, Morgan Johnston and Shekeine De Satge are among the key performers, with De Satge the leading goalkicker with 11 from her 13 matches.

Waratah v. Big River Hawks
Round 14 – 18/1/20
5:00pm
TIO Oval 2

Waratah will hope for another big win this week but the more pressing issue will be whether Big River Hawks can field a team this round after forfeiting their past two encounters. With skill and scoring ability on their side, Waratah will want to capitalise on every opportunity against the Hawks to continue the stellar form that has them sitting atop the ladder for the seventh round in a row – and not to mention trying to go one better than their last match against the Hawks that saw a whopping 162-point victory for the ‘Tahs. Waratah have improved their accuracy in front of goal in recent weeks so will want to continue that form, with the likes of Lisa Roberts sure to be right in the contest alongside fellow performers in Rebecca Pryer and Lauren Shea. For the Hawks, look to Crystal Browne and Deanna Peckham to put in the hard yards while Jayde De La Coeur will hope to put her second goal of the season on the board.

Darwin Buffettes v. St Mary’s
Round 14 – 18/1/20
5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin Buffettes will want to go one better after narrowly defeating the Southern Districts last round, and this match against St Mary’s is no better opportunity with the Saints sitting in eighth compared to the Buffs in second. The Buffettes are teetering in their spot in the top two, only holding on thanks to dominant form at the beginning of the season and really making this match a do-or-die clash if they want to maintain their hold on the competition. For the Saints, a solid performance is required this week after a sloppy loss against Waratah which featured plenty of missed opportunities. The Buffettes impressed early in the season with their ability to share the load around and are no different now, with plenty of key players who can impact the contest. The likes of Tayla Hart-Aluni and Kylie Duggan are up there with regular solid performances while Dominique Carbone and Jemma Iacono are not far behind with continued execution week after week. For the Saints, consistency has been an issue with not one player taking the field in every single game, though Nikita Long and Sharna Edwards have played 12 from 13 matches to prove they have the game smarts to pull through.

Palmerston Magpies v. Southern Districts
Round 14 – 18/1/20
7:00pm
Cazalys Arena

Southern Districts will have their work cut out for them this week, taking on the Magpies who have been impressive in recent weeks and throughout the season overall. The Districts are not having it quite as easy however, coming off a loss last week to fellow top four side Darwin and their win first of 2020 against mid-tier Pint. Sitting at third and fourth on the ladder expect a close contest with both sides able to whip out stellar form and come from behind to take victory. Iesha Ronberg and Billie Byers have been key performers for the  Magpies, and with the likes of Arthurina Moreen (27 goals) and Freda Puruntatameri (12) inside 50, Ronberg and Byers have done their job well to  ensure the footy gets to them regularly. Southern Districts have their own sharpshooters to contend with however, with the league’s leading goalkicker Ebony Miller (35 goals in 10 games) creating a formidable option in front of goal with accuracy and skill to boot. Tahlia Holtze has also been a consistent performer, listed in the bests on five occasions.

Nightcliff v. Tracy Village
Round 14 – 19/1/20
2:00pm
PSC BM Oval

In the final game of the round, Nightcliff will want to continue their strong start to 2020 when they take on the lowly Tracy Village. The Razorbacks have a lot to prove against the Tigers after going down by 22 points last time they met, and will need to take advantage of every opportunity to get over Nightcliff this time around given they have won their past two encounters in 2020 so far. Coming off a big loss in Round 13, the Razorbacks will need to stay in control of the footy and with Nightcliff able to find space with ease, it will not be an easy job. Nightcliff  have the ability to jump up the ladder if results go their way this round, meaning they will look to the likes of Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey who have kept up the consistency throughout the season. Victorian, Mickayla Ward has contributed well since joining the side, with seven best on ground nominations from nine matches and eight goals to her name, combining well with youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia who can swing as a key position player where required to bolster the versatile side. Tracy Village will hope the likes of Alexandra Biggs and Gabrielle Young continue to step up to prove the side can do more than just roll with the punches.

NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 13 – Tigers, Buffettes win tight as Magpies, Tahs produce smashings

IT was another round of ladder defining games in the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) with Southern District dropping their clash against Darwin Buffettes. Round 13 also saw a host of close matches paired with a couple of blowouts highlighting the variety of competition within the league. For a second week in a row the Big River Hawks forfeited gifting the Wanderers a win to cap off an exciting round of action.

PINT 2.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 (24)
NIGHTCLIFF 2.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:
Pint: J. Baksh, R. Fecht , J. Baumer, E. Pechey.
Nightcliff: J. Steppacher, J. Anyon-Smith, E. Wolsey, S. Politis.

BESTS:
Pint: N/A
Nightcliff: E. Morrison, M. Ward, H. Turnbull

It was a tantalising battle between Pint and Nightcliff with the two sides going toe to toe for the entirety of the match. Pint looked to have got the jump on the away side in the second quarter establishing an 11-point lead before Nightcliff wrestled momentum back in the third to hold a three-point buffer heading into the final change. Despite neither side registering a major in the fourth quarter Nightcliff did enough to secure their seventh win of the year and create a two game gap between seventh while sitting one game out of the top four. Pint failed to score after half time credit to the increased pressure applied by Nightcliff. Jacqueline Anyon-Smith hit the scoreboard for Nightcliff while Jessica Steppacher booted another major in her sides win. Emma-Lou Wolsey continued her purple patch of form once again finding the scoreboard while the likes of Eliza Morrison and Mickayla Ward were named in the bests credit to their efforts against Pint. It was a tough loss for the seventh placed Pint who were looking to leapfrog their opponents, but despite the loss Rhiannon Fetch and Jessie Baumer played their role contributing to their overall score.

WARATAH 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 11.4 (70)
ST MARY’S 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.4 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:
Waratah: J. Singh 3, T. O”Hehir 2, S. Nalder 2, T. Cunningham 2, B. Martin, M. Cooper.
St Mary’s: N/A.

BESTS:
Waratah: L. Roberts, M. Cooper, P. Cox, C. Fabris, R. Pryer
St Mary’s: N/A

Despite the relatively even start to the game, Waratah blew their opponents away in the last term piling on a whopping 36 points to stamp their authority on the competition. Waratah held the lead from the get go with St Mary’s forced into chase position early and ultimately unable to peg the margin back. The Tah’s were accurate in front of goal making the most of their opportunities and most importantly sharing the load around highlighting their plethora of options inside forward 50. Jenna Singh has hit the scoreboard in her previous two outings and did not disappoint, once again contributing three goals. Her efforts were rivalled by teammates Tarryn O’Hehir and Sue Nalder who both slotted two goals. Meanwhile Timaya Cunningham continued her hot form from the previous round booting two goals to get her side well and truly over the line. Rebecca Pryer worked tirelessly while Lisa Roberts was consistent as ever named in the bests once again proving just how crucial she is to Waratah’s line-up. St Mary’s struggled to combat the power of Waratah but the likes of Aaliyah Bailey stood tall while Rachel and Shannon Ponter the sister of Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter also left their mark on the game.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.3 | 0.4 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 3.2 | 5.8 | 8.12 | 13.15 (93)

GOALS:
Tracy Village: N/A.
Palmerston Magpies: A. Moreen 5, F. Puruntatameri 3, A. Seubert 2, I. Ronberg, T. Jeffrey, N. Medbury.

BESTS:
Tracy Village: N/A
Palmerston Magpies: B. Byers, T. Jeffrey, A. Moreen, F. Puruntatameri, I. Ronberg, G. Garling

The Magpies put on a dominant display against Tracy Village who simply could not match their opponents going down by 83-points. Tracy only scored one goal after half time adding salt into their wounds as the Magpies went on to add 55 points to their end total highlighting their convincing performance. It was always going to be a difficult task for the ninth placed Tracy Village up against the higher ranked Magpies and it showed with Palmerston capitalising on their opportunities despite being a bit wayward in front of goal. The Magpies were led by Arthurina Morren who booted five goals taking her tally to 10 in the past three rounds while Freda Puruntatameri proved she was no slouch winning plenty of the ball and converting three majors. The goal scoring options were endless with Alisha Seubert bagging two in her first game and Iesha Ronberg also inflicting scoreboard pain to make it a complete effort by the Magpies heading into the final stretch of the home and away season. Bonnie McDougall notched up her 11 game for the season while Lisa-Maree Toner made her presence felt in her sides crushing loss.

DARWIN BUFFETTES 4.0 |6.1 |6.1 |8.2 (50)
SOUTHERN DISTRICT 1.4 | 2.5 |4.6 |6.7 (43)

GOALS:
Darwin Buffettes: E. Miller 3, M. Breed, M. Moussa, A. Lewis.
Southern District: N/A.

BESTS:
Darwin Buffettes:  B. Hayne, B. Clarke, T. Holtze, M. Breed, D. Lee-Feeney
Southern District: N/A

The clash of second versus fourth lived up to the hype with the game going down to the wire in the final game of the round. In the end, it was the higher placed Darwin Buffettes that prevailed against Southern District credit to their increased accuracy in front of goal. District will be ruing their missed opportunities peppering the goals but unable to hit the maximum. The Buffettes had control of the match from the very beginning skipping out a 14-point lead in the opening term before gradually extending it at half time. But District was not going to lie down mounting a comeback after half time to get within seven, the eventual losing margin. Ebony Miller has been unstoppable in the forward 50 for Southern District in recent weeks and this game was no different booting another three goals while youngster Mattea Breed also showcased her skills across the board nailing a major and being named in the bests. Maria Moussa and April Lewis also got in on the scoring action with one goal apiece but their efforts were not enough to push their side over the line. For a third week in a row Bella Clarke put her best foot forward earning a mention in the bests while Tahlia Holtze plied her trade. With yet another win under their belts the Buffettes will be able to sleep easy with the likes of Tayla Hart-Aluni, Dominque Carbone and Kylie Duggan all working tirelessly and using their skill to have an impact.

NTFL Women’s Premier League weekend wrap: Round 11 – Districts break Waratah’s winning streak

ROUND 11 saw the final week of Northern Territory Football League Women’s prior to the Christmas break with Round 1 repeating itself – though three of the five matches went far different to the last time these teams met.

WARATAH 2.2 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 3.4 (22)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.2 | 3.4 | 4.4 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS

Waratah: L. O’Shea 2, J. Singh.
Southern Districts: E. Miller 2, M. Breed, R. Busch, M. Moussa.

BEST

Waratah: L. Roberts, R. Dearman, M. Gissing, A. Chittick, J. Singh
Southern Districts: M. Breed, B. Clarke, T. Holtze, A. Lewis, S. Hoogeveen-Hill

Waratah was dealt their first official loss for the season at the hands of Southern Districts, with the Crocs having a slow start to the match before taking the lead ahead of half time and holding onto it for the remainder of the match, prevailing by 13 points. While this loss keeps Waratah in top spot, they will be rueing the missed opportunity of remaining undefeated. Southern Districts impressed throughout, keeping the ‘Tahs scoreless in the final term and well and truly deserving the victory – their third on the trot and breaking Waratah’s winning streak. Young gun Mattea Breed impressed, named in the best and booting a goal alongside Ebony Miller (two goals) while Bella Clark and Tahlia Holtze continued some solid form in the victory. For Waratah, Lauren O’Shea added two more goals to her season ledger while Lisa Roberts and Renae Dearman also put in the hard yards.

 

PINT 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 2.2 | 5.5 | 5.7 | 7.10 (52)

GOALS

Pint: N/A.
Palmerston Magpies: A. Moreen 3, N. Medbury 3.

BEST

Pint: N/A
Palmerston Magpies: T. May, B. Byers, N. Medbury, J. Baird, L. McCoy, S. Leedie

Palmerston Magpies put another win on the board this week ahead of the Christmas break, downing Pint by 39 points in a convincing contest. Despite a slip-up in the third seeing the Queen Ants boot their first for the game as the Magpies went goalless, the away side took it up a notch in the final quarter to come away with a solid win and to well and truly blow their Round 1 close shave out of the water. Both Arthurina Moreen and Natasha Medbury were unstoppable in front of goal for the Magpies, booting three goals apiece while Tabitha May and Billie Byers proved too good once again. Erin Hetherington and Emma Greaves were consistent as ever for Pint despite the loss.

 

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 (27)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 2.1 | 4.2 | 5.4 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS

Tracy Village: N/A.
Darwin Buffettes: T. Hart-Aluni 3, D. Carbone 2, C. Whan 2, N. Schmitt, M. Taylor.

BEST

Tracy Village: N/A
Darwin Buffettes: A. Eres, T. Hart-Aluni, D. Carbone, J. Iacono, L. Adam

The Buffettes never looked like losing in their Round 11 battle against Tracy Village, with the Razorbacks slow to get into the game and unable to really break their way into the match against Darwin’s defensive prowess. With plenty of forward options the Buffettes had no issue getting inside 50, with three players putting multiple goals on the board once more. Tayla Hart-Aluni had another good run out on the track with three goals and another mention in the bests alongside Alyssa Eres and Dominique Carbone while Carbone and Celina Whan booted two goals apiece. Lisa-Maree Toner continued her consistent form for the Razorbacks, while Gabrielle Young also put in the hard yards for another solid week on the cards.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 (19)
WANDERERS 2.1 | 3.3 | 5.5 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS

Nightcliff: E. Wolsey 2, B. Richards.
Wanderers: S. De Satge 2, M. Billias, S. Carne, K. De Satge.

BEST

Nightcliff: M. Ward, C. Guermandi, S. Miskin-Ripia
Wanderers: S. Mauboy, T. Davern, P. Koulakis, S. De Satge, D. Totham, M. Billias

Wanderers got revenge in this matchup against the Tigers, rewriting the script with a 16-point victory after only putting four points on the board when they last met back in Round 1. While a close start was inevitable with both sides on the same amount of points in sixth and seventh, the Wanderers latched onto victory to slip up into fifth with a convincing defensive effort to deny Nightcliff any easy access forward. Mickayla Ward, Chiara Guermandi and Shantel Miskin-Ripia were among the best for the losing side while Emma-Lou Wolsey proved to be solid option forward with two goals. For the Wanderers, Sophia Mauboy and Shekeine De Satge proved key once more, named in the best for their equal seventh times, with De Satge booting two goals in the process. Tishara Davern and Pierre-Angelique Koulakis also put in solid efforts in the victory.

 

ST MARY’S 4.1 | 9.3 | 11.5 | 18.8 (116)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 2.2 | 4.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS

St Mary’s: N/A.
Big River Hawks:  N/A.

BEST

St Mary’s:  N/A
Big River Hawks:  N/A

St Mary’s went one better this round, slaughtering Big River Hawks for the biggest margin of the round but ultimately one that saw Big River Hawks hit their highest score for the season so far. The 83-point victory comes at the perfect time, with this percentage boost keeping the Saints in touch with the rest of the ladder, as one of three teams with five wins on the board but still sitting in eighth. St Mary’s were efficient with ball in hand, and their scoreboard pressure was fantastic with the side almost unable to miss when in front of the big sticks. Jayde De La Coeur was solid as usual for the Hawks while Sharna Edwards was impressive for the Saints.