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NTFL Women’s Premier League weekend preview: Round 5

A top four clash and some mid-table battles are among the games this weekend in Round 5 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League.

PINT vs. ST MARY’S
Saturday, November 2, 12.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2

In what could be a mid-table clash with ramifications for finals spots early in the season, the sixth placed Pint host the eighth placed St Mary’s at TIO Oval, No. 2. The sides are coming off very different results last week which makes up the one-win difference between the sides, following St Mary’s heavy 45-point loss at the hands of reigning premiers, Waratah, while Pint got up on the road with a 29-point victory over Nightcliff. The Saints’ Round 4 loss marked three consecutive defeats since their thrashing win over Big River Hawks in Round 1. Danielle Ponter is a key player for the Saints, having brought all of her experience from Adelaide’s AFL Women’s program, while Aailyah Bailey and Nikita Long have been among the able to get some consistency into the team. Pint has had a yo-yo start to the season, with two big wins, a heavy loss to Southern Districts, and a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Palmerston Magpies in Round 1. Adelaide’s Jasmyn Hewett let loose last week to boot three of her team’s seven goals in the victory, while Emma Greaves and Kristen Smits have also been sources of scoring in the opening rounds of the season. Pint goes in as favourite for this clash as it looks to stay in touch with the top four, while St Mary’s needs to win in order to maintain a place in the mid-table logjam and not fall too far behind.

DARWIN BUFFETTES vs. NIGHTCLIFF
Saturday, November 2, 12.30pm
TIO Stadium

The team to beat this season thus far is the Buffettes, with Darwin yet to lose in season 2019/20, sitting a win and a massive percentage clear of Waratah and Wanderers. The last two weeks have brought the Buffettes back to reality despite getting away with the points, defeating Palmerston Magpies (five points) and Southern Districts (10 points) after combined wins of 250 points in the opening two rounds against Tracy Village and Big River Hawks. Tikesa Docherty-Cole booted bags of four and three in her two games this season, while Machaelia Roberts was a massive talent but will be missed when she relocates to Victoria to play with Collingwood following being drafted into the AFL Women’s. Young talents, Dominique Carbone and Tayla Hart-Aluni have also been key to the Buffettes’ success thus far, booting three goals in four games each. On the other hand, Nightcliff has lost its past two games, smashed by Waratah (41 points) and then going down to Pint (29 points) after wins over Wanderers – the only team to do so thus far – and St Mary’s in the opening two rounds. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Laura De Hommel have been named among the best on every occasion, while Shantel Miskin-Ripia has only played a couple of games, but booted six goals, including four on one occasion. The Tigers will be keen to measure up against the ladder leaders in this game.

TRACY VILLAGE vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, November 2, 2.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2

Ninth placed Tracy Village will hope to bounce back from what has been an undesirable start to the season, losing three of the first four games by a combined 299 points. Luckily for the Razorbacks they managed to hold off newcomers, Big River Hawks by five points to grab a victory, but Southern Districts will be a tougher assignment in Round 5. The Razorbacks have had quite a number of players already pulling on the jumper this season, with the likes of Gabrielle Young, Tara Everett and Alexandra Biggs among the best, while Nickesha Jones is averaging a goal a game. The Crocs sit at 2-2, but one was a loss to Wanderers which was reversed after having an extra player on game day. Last week the Crocs took it right up to the Buffettes, going down by 10 points but showing they are every bit a finals contender. In 2019/20, Ebony Miller has booted eight goals in four games, with a game-high five goals to be a real influence up forward, while the youth of Mattea Breed and Bella Clarke has provided great enthusiasm throughout the season to-date. Southern Districts should win the game, but stranger things have happened.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. BIG RIVER HAWKS
Saturday, November 2, 3pm
Palmerston Oval

Palmerston Magpies sit ahead of the bell curve in fourth, but are only marginally ahead of their nearest rivals, so a win here is non-negotiable against the struggling new side in Big River Hawks. The Magpies are competitive in every game, with the first three rounds decided by two, 10 and five points respectively, however the Magpies have gone down in two of those matches. The last time out in Round 4 was a different story, with a thumping 20-goal win over Tracy Village stamping the visiting side’s authority on the competition. A win here could also see them move to third with second placed Waratah and third placed Wanderers going head-to-head. Arthurina Moreen has been the hero up forward for the Magpies, booting seven goals in four games, five of which came last week. Janet Baird and Taylah Williams are among others who have enjoyed strong starts to the season thus far in the black and white. For the Big River Hawks, there has not been much joy this season, but one positive is the games are getting closer, with two smashings in the opening two rounds combining for a losing margin of 191 points. In the last two rounds, the losses totalled 25 points. Crystal Browne and Deanna Peckham have played every game this season and provided good support, while Jayde De La Couer has been strong in the forward half. Palmerston would be heavy favourites to take out this game.

WARATAH vs. WANDERERS
Sunday, November 3
Gardens Oval

After a shock loss in Round 1 to Southern Districts, reigning premiers Waratah have got back to business as usual in the past three weeks, notching up wins against Palmerston Magpies, Nightcliff and St Mary’s, with each win looking more impressive by the day. While their percentage is nowhere near that of Darwin’s, Waratah still has a gap on Wanderers, who they need to beat to ensure they stay in the top three. With Palmerston likely to win its match, Waratah could slide to fourth, or even fifth if Southern Districts can have a big upset win over Darwin. The Warriors have shared the ball around this season and in front of goal, with Julieanna Kerinaiua and Monet Hunter both slotting three goals, while Lisa Roberts has been an important source of leadership for the club. For Wanderers, they also bounced back from a disappointing loss to Nightcliff in Round 1, but their formline may be one to be wary with given they had a reversed win against Southern Districts in Round 2, and narrow wins over St Mary’s and Big River Hawks who are bottom four sides. This will be the biggest test in a few weeks, and the likes of Shekeine De Satge and Morgan Johnston will need to be at their best to get up. The likes of Sophie Armitstead and Kayliah Motlop could do some damage through the midfield and up forward, but will have to really step up in this game if the Eagles are to cause an upset against what has been the benchmark team over the past few years.

NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 4 – Waratah on its way up

NONE of the five home sides this week got wins on the board, with the Darwin Buffettes continuing their impressive unbeaten record to start the season, while both Waratah and Palmerston Magpies have pushed their way up the ladder to sit in second and fourth respectively after respective shaky starts to the season.

ST MARY’S 2.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)
WARATAH 1.2 | 5.6 | 6.7 | 10.12 (72)

GOALS

St Mary’s: N/A.
Waratah: M. Hunter 3, B. Martin 2, J. Kerinaiua 2, L. Roberts 2, M. Campbell.

BEST

St Mary’s: N/A
Waratah: R. Pryer, G. Cusack, B. Martin, B. Eckersley, M. Campbell

The opening match of the round started out relatively close with the Saints getting on top early, before Waratah well and truly got on top of the home side by half-time. With the scoring end after half time giving St Mary’s an opportunity to take back some control, it was not enough against the reigning premiers who kicked four goals and held the Saints scoreless in the final term to win by a solid 45-point margin. While Waratah were true to form, missing more attempts on goal than they scored, their high-quality forward line produced the goods once more with four players putting multiple goals on the board. Monet Hunter was prolific putting ball to boot, kicking three majors alone to almost outscore the Saints, while Rebecca Pryer put in the hard yards across the four terms to put their third consecutive win on the board.

BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.3 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 3.6 (24)
WANDERERS 0.2 | 2.6 | 5.7 | 6.8 (44)

GOALS

Big River Hawks: N/A.
Wanderers: M. Johnston 2, S. Armitstead, K. De Satge, S. De Satge, T. Bush

BEST

Big River Hawks: N/A
Wanderers: S. De Satge, P. Koulakis, M. Johnston, S. Armitstead, T. Davern, S. Mauboy

It was a solid and impressive win for the Wanderers this week, with the Eagles toppling the league’s newest side and putting another win on the board to take the side up to three victories – albeit one by default in Round 2 thanks to a player breach. While the Hawks have had a rough start to the competition they have shown some good signs in recent weeks and should be relatively pleased with this outcome, keeping their consistency up for a second match in a row after two massive losses to start the season. While the Hawks kept close for the first half of the game thanks to Eagles inaccuracy, the Eagles cleared up their act in the second half to well and truly earn the win. For the Wanderers, Morgan Johnston put two goals on the board to open her account this season, while Shekeine De Satge and Pierre-Angelique Koulakis impressed once more in the victory, with the side sitting up in third.

TRACY VILLAGE 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 3.4 | 7.6 | 13.9 | 19.12 (126)

GOALS

Tracy Village: B. McDougall.
Palmerston Magpies: A. Moreen 5, M. Brown 2, J. Stassi 2, N. Medbury 2, T. Jeffrey 2, B. Byers, I. Ronberg, T. Williams, J. Baird.

BEST

Tracy Village: K. Marschall, L. Toner, K. Dumbris, T. Everett, A. Lang, M. Lowndes
Palmerston Magpies: T. Jeffrey, A. Moreen, T. Williams, B. Byers, J. Baird, I. Ronberg

Tracy Village were dealt another rough trot again this round, going down by a whopping 120 points to Palmerston Magpies in the highest scoring match of the round. Arthurina Moreen proved why she is a key player for the Magpies with five goals under her belt against the Razorbacks, who were on the back foot from the starting whistle. The Razorbacks snuck a goal onto the board early thanks to Bonnie McDougall, aided by the efforts of Kiri Marschall and Lisa-Maree Toner, but were unable to penetrate the Magpies’ backline for long with a solid defensive effort from Palmerston rebounding entries and constantly pushing the footy back down the ground. Tulaha Jeffrey was key for the Magpies, booting two goals and creating plenty of setup play, while three other individuals put multiple goals on the board showcasing the side’s versatility and range of options inside forward 50.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.1 | 3.6 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 3.0 | 3.0 | 6.2 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS

Southern Districts: N/A.
Darwin Buffettes: C. Boyd 2, B. Stokes 2, M. Ellis, K. O’Connell.

BEST

Southern Districts: N/A
Darwin Buffettes: N. Dunn, M. Ellis, J. Iacono, T. Hart-Aluni, M. Roberts

The Buffettes were put through their paces again this week when they took on Southern Districts, defeating the Crocs by 10 points to uphold their position atop the ladder. It was a scoreless third term from the Districts that gave the Buffettes the opportunity to slam home victory, with the Crocs unable to force their way through Darwin’s impenetrable defensive unit enough to get over the line, despite rendering the Buffettes goalless in the final term. The Buffettes well and truly took advantage of the clear scoring end in the first and third quarters, applying scoreboard pressure to keep the Districts chasing on the back foot even when they had the wind in their favour. For the Buffettes, Bianca Stokes and Calista Boyd kicked two goals apiece to open up the match, while Nicolette Dunn and Michelle Ellis also created plenty of opportunity around the ground, able to impact on the contest.

NIGHTCLIFF 0.2 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)
PINT 3.2 | 4.2 | 6.7 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS

Nightcliff: M. Ward, J. Anyon-Smith, S. Politis.
Pint: J. Hewett 3, K. Smits, J. Baksh, J. Downey, J. McFee.

BEST

Nightcliff: L. de Hommel, E. Wolsey, H. Turnbull, M. Ward, R. Russell, G. Skehan
Pint: N/A

The final match of the round saw a battle between third and sixth, with Nightcliff’s fairytale start to the season well and truly ended after two solid losses in a row. Pint were far too good for the Tigers from the get-go, kicking three goals in the first term to set up a solid lead by quarter time. Though inaccuracy was a minor issue for Pint in the second half, they had taken the lead and were unwilling to relinquish it to the Tigers who despite their best efforts were only able to put on one goal after half time. Despite the loss, Laura de Hommel and Emma-Lou Wolsey contested well throughout while Mickayla Ward kicked a debut goal in her inaugural NTFL Women’s match. For the victors, Jasmyn Hewett added another three goals to her season bank, proving she is a solid option forward and certainly one to watch out for.