Tag: nigel lockyer jnr

NT troops trump Glenelg as rep footy returns to the Top End

REPRESENTATIVE football returned to the Northern Territory on Saturday as an out-of-season Glenelg outfit took on the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) rep side at TIO Stadium. The NTFL Buffaloes won out by 24 points in a competitive outing played amid soggy conditions, finishing the game strongly with three goals to Glenelg’s nil in the final term.

NT captain Cam Ilett took home the Australia Day medal as best afield, leading a side packed with a mix of local talent and guns from around the nation. Territorians Neil Vea Vea and Marlon Motlop were among the Bays’ most valuable players, providing physicality and spark going forward. The game was the first NT representative fixture in 15 years, and the first hitout against Glenelg in 36 years.

>> SCROLL for the final scores, goalkickers and best players

The hosts readied themselves for battle and came out the better side early, applying smothering defensive pressure and locking the ball in their front half for much of the opening term. It translated to the scoreboard too, as the rushed and undisciplined Bays gifted two goals via 50-metre penalties to trail by 11 points at quarter time.

An elongated team talk at the first break spurred Glenelg into action though, with former Richmond key forward Liam McBean booting his second major and Reid Kuller adding another in quick time to put their side ahead. A Nate Paredes bomb from nothing helped steady the NT, who remained ahead by five points at half time as the sides began to trade goals.

The scoring dried up as the rain began to fall harder in the second half, but that did not stop Lachie Hosie from expertly roving a pack and putting Glenelg back ahead. Both sides showed a bit of feeling as the stakes were raised, with the goal-for-goal streak continuing in term three but resulting in Glenelg gaining the ascendancy as the final turn approached.

It was all NT from there, with the likes of James Tsitas and Abe Ankers popping up to show their class in the clutch moments. The in-season factor proved telling as Glenelg fell away late and went scoreless in the final term, a period which was capped by Shaun Edwards‘ game-sealing snap. The celebratory major made for a game-high lead and put the cherry on top of NT’s terrific showing.

While Ilett earned another piece of silverware for his extraordinary personal collection, ball magnet Dane McFarlane was unlucky not to be recognised as the NT’s best player. Rebounding key defender Brodie Newman was also exceptional, while bigman Matthew Dennis battled hard in the ruck, Harley Puruntatameri was lively up forward, and Paredes had patches of dominance.

Vea Vea’s physicality was a highlight for Glenelg as he rotated forward through the ruck, while Motlop came up clutch with a handy third term goal to aid the Bays’ Territorian influence. McBean proved a reliable target up forward and Hosie was dangerous at his feet, with Brady Searle a handy factor down back and Darcy Bailey influential between the arcs.

Earlier, the NTFL Women’s representative team took on their Glenelg counterparts in an historic meeting between the two sides. The wet weather wreaked havoc but did not stop the Territorians from establishing a three-goal lead in the first half, before seeing out a 28-point victory; 5.5 (35) to 1.1 (7). NT standout Jasmyn Hewett won the Australia Day medal, while Mickayla Ward booted two goals.

The night’s other featured match saw the Alice Springs Redtails defeat Katherine’s Big Rivers Football League side by 50 points in an exciting interleague clash. Nigel Lockyer Jnr was among the victors’ best, booting an equal game-high three majors as his team ran out 12.18 (90) to 5.10 (40) winners, largely credit to their superior fluency with ball in hand.

FINAL SCORES:

NTFL BUFFALOES | 3.1 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 9.12 (66)
GLENELG TIGERS | 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.6 | 6.6 (42)

GOALS:

NTFL: B. Eddy, R. Turnbull, C. Ilett, N. Paredes, H. Puruntatameri, J. Stokes, J. Tsitas, A. Ankers, S. Edwards
Glenelg: L. McBean 2, R. Kuller, D. Bailey, L. Hosie, M. Motlop

DC BEST:

NTFL: D. McFarlane, B. Newman, M. Dennis, C. Ilett, H. Puruntatameri, N. Paredes
Glenelg: N. Vea Vea, L. McBean, M. Motlop, D. Bailey, R. Kuller, L. Hosie, B. Searle

Australia Day Medal: Cam Ilett (NT)

Featured Image: The NT Buffaloes and Glenelg Tigers join for a photo post-match | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

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

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

Darwin Buffaloes

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

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

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

Nightcliff

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

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

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

Palmerston

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

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

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

Southern Districts

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

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

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

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 12

THE FINAL round of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action for 2020 is set to play out this weekend, before the eight sides enjoy a well earned mid-season break. A clash between Wanderers and St Mary’s looms as the pick of the bunch, with both sides boasting eight wins and looking to stake their claim as Nightcliff’s greatest threat. Meanwhile, the remaining top five teams are set to take on those currently below them in an opportunity for each to strengthen their positions before the upcoming interval. That, and more in our Round 12 preview.

Darwin Buffaloes (5th, 6-5) vs. Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-11)
Saturday December 19, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin will be looking to get its finals push back on track when it takes on Tiwi at TIO Stadium on Saturday, marking the teams’ first meeting since Round 1. The Buffs have lost four of their last five games but put enough early runs on the board to remain among the finals places as it stands. Conversely, Tiwi remains winless after 11 games and despite a couple of recent close calls, were trumped by over 50 points once again last week.

The potential absence of star recruits Mason De Wit and Fletcher Carroll spells trouble for the Bombers, who will have plenty to cover in defence and through midfield. Dion Munkara and Brayden Rioli have been named among the squad, so could provide the flexibility Tiwi is after as magnets furiously shuffle. Darwin is set to regain some experience in Matt Campbell, while Joey Collinson adds some further firepower for the Double Blues. Young guns Antonio James and Cade Abala are among those pushing for a call-up.

Nightcliff (1st, 8-2-1) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 5-6)
Saturday December 19, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Two teams which returned to winning ways last week meet on Saturday evening, as Nightcliff plays host to Southern Districts at TIO Stadium. The Tigers have gone 2-1-1 in their last four outings, with that one loss coming at the hands of their weekend adversaries. The Crocs lost consecutive games after the breakthrough win, but convincingly returned to winning form last week against Palmerston and will look to again put pressure on the top five. Not many teams beat Nightcliff twice in a season though, so the Crocs are up against it.

The back-to-back reigning premiers have had most of their stars settle into the lineup, with their raft of depth options rotating through. Daniel Bowles is a big name in line for an immediate return, while Zach Brain has been named at half-back and Luca Goonan again finds himself teased with top flight selection, named on an extended bench. Will Farrer is in the mix for Southern Districts, while the likes of Brandon Rusca and Ed Barlow will be keen to hit the ground running after missing last week’s big win.

Wanderers (2nd, 8-2-1) vs. St Mary’s (3rd, 8-3)
Sunday December 20, 4:00pm
Tracy Village

The game of the round poises Wanderers and St Mary’s against each other, two sides with eight wins under their belts and vying for a top two spot. The Muk Muks came up trumps in their previous meeting with St Mary’s, winning by 26 points back in Round 2. Things look a touch different this time around, with the Saints riding a five-game winning run while Wanderers have gone 1-1-1 in its last three outings, bouncing back last time out against Tiwi. Only half a game separates these two teams, with Nightcliff still the team to beat atop the table.

St Mary’s is set to be buoyed by a huge state league coup in star South Fremantle midfielder Haiden Schloithe. He only adds to the Saints’ fearsome engine room, which looks likely to combat Wanderers’ run with a combative ground level game. Leader Raphael Clarke is also in line to return to the top flight, with the Saints side settling nicely. Liam Patrick has been named for Wanderers, while Shaun Mannagh looms as a massive inclusion. Brett Eddy leaves a big hole in Wanderers’ front six, but the likes of Simon Bates and Round 11 Rising Star Jesse Motlop should handily pick up the slack.

Palmerston (7th, 2-9) vs. Waratah (4th, 6-5)
Sunday December 20, 6:30pm
Cazalys Arena

Waratah will be looking to solidify its standing within the top five when it travels to face Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Sunday night. The Warriors had previously flown under the radar as a premiership threat, but notched wins over some of the top sides to gain a positive record thus far. Palmerston has beaten Tiwi twice but remains embedded in the bottom three, with the previous meeting between these sides ending in a 69-point drubbing in favour of Waratah.

Some more positive news for Palmerston comes via its team sheet, with bookends Sandy Brock and Daniel Stafford set to take the field. Brock should free up Tyrrell Lui down back, while Stafford will likely take a scoring load off Nigel Lockyer Jnr. Aaron and Alwyn Davey have been named on the extended bench. Waratah’s Jake Wild looks set for a Premier League debut, while Abe Ankers looms as a big inclusion to run through midfield alongside recent recruit, Darcy Lang.

Feature Image: Wanderers’ Brodie Newman gets a kick away | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 11

BIG wins were the order of the day in Round 11 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, as three of the four games were decided by over 50 points. While Wanderers and Southern Districts beat up on the bottom two sides, Nightcliff was back to its brutal best against fellow top five contender, Darwin, while the closest game of the round saw St Mary’s edge Waratah by an even four goals. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

WANDERERS | 6.2 | 14.3 | 19.5 | 23.6 (144)
TIWI BOMBERS | 2.2 | 5.5 | 9.10 | 13.13 (91)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 9, S. Bates 3, S. Tipiloura 3, J. Motlop 3, E. Simpson 2, J. Cubillo, D. Braun, M. Motlop
Tiwi: A. Sambono 3, N. Ebinger 2, T. Taurua, B. Kantilla, J. Munkara, R. Tungatalum, J. Tipiloura, P. Heenan, A. Tipungwuti, L. Gill-Renouf

BEST:

Wanderers: B. Newman, B. Eddy, D. McFarlane, S. Bates, B. O’Connell, J. Cubillo
Tiwi: J. Monigatti, F. Carroll, M. De Wit, A. Sambono, A. Tipungwuti

A clinical Wanderers side momentarily moved to top spot with its 53-point thrashing of Tiwi on Saturday afternoon, spearheaded by Brett Eddy‘s nine-goal haul. The Muk Muks were already almost nine goals clear by half time, a lead which was sustained come the final siren as their 23.6 (144) easily trumped Tiwi’s 13.13 (91), despite there only being a difference of three scoring shots between the sides. The likes of Beau O’Connell and Josh Cubillo worked to supply Wanderers’ eight individual scorers, which also included Simon Bates (three goals) and debutant Jesse Motlop, who also snared three majors and is a Fremantle NGA prospect for next year. Adam Sambono matched the feat for Tiwi as the Bombers’ main source of inspiration in the front half, while Mason De Wit was kept busy down back and Fletcher Carroll had plenty to do alongside Adam Tipungwuti in midfield.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 8.2 | 13.3 | 14.5 | 16.10 (106)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:

Districts: J. Ross 4, A. Boseley 2, B. Vallance 2, J. Tsitas, M. Bowden, B. Rolfe, J. Dahlhaus, L. Kiel, J. Farrar, D. Staunton, M. McLinden
Palmerston: T. Kunoth 2, R. Armstrong, N. Lockyer Jnr, C. Williams

BEST:

Districts: D. Staunton, J. Bailey, J. Clark, D. Abbott, C. McAdam, J. Ross
Palmerston: E. Guthrie, M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, R. Warfe, C. Williams

An eight-goal to two first term set up Southern Districts’ 73-point trouncing of Palmerston on Saturday, quickly rectifying last week’s disappointing display. The Crocs booted 13 of their 16 goals in the first half, with just five goals managed between the two sides after the main break as the 10-goal margin took the sting out of the contest. In the end, the 16.10 (106) to 5.3 (33) result put Districts back in the finals hunt and distanced the bottom two from the leading pack. Jonathon Ross led the Crocs’ scoring effort with four majors, supported well by another 10 individual goalkickers. Senior heads Dean Staunton and Charlie McAdam were also integral to the victory, with the latter shifting back to defence with aplomb. Eric Guthrie and Matthew Dennis were among Palmerston’s best, with Nigel Lockyer Jnr lively up forward and Toshie Kunoth booting two goals.

ST MARY’S | 2.4 | 5.7 | 9.9 | 12.12 (84)
WARATAH | 2.2 | 5.4 | 7.7 | 8.12 (60)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: N. Paredes 3, J. Landt 3, R. Smith 2, J. Calder, J. Cheek, S. Edwards, B. Tedcastle
Waratah: L. Dunn 3, W. Collis, C. Searle, J. Sutton, J. Cattanach, R. Turnbull

BEST:

St Mary’s: A. Long, K. Parnell, D. Andrews , M. Wilkinson, J. Landt, R. Smith
Waratah: J. Stevens, L. Dunn, J. Cattanach, A. Kirby, M. O’Donnell, R. Turnbull

St Mary’s extended its winning streak to five with a 24-point victory over Waratah on Saturday evening, keeping the Saints within striking distance of the top two. Waratah kept within striking distance at TIO Stadium despite trailing at every break, even steaming ahead at the start of the third term. But St Mary’s ground level intent and confident use from the back half allowed for a quick turnaround in a game played with finals-like spirit, finishing 12.12 (84) to 8.12 (60) in the Saints’ favour. The likes of Nate Paredes and Jack Landt again found plenty of the ball for the victors and compounded their impact by also snaring three goals apiece. Lynden Dunn was Waratah’s big inclusion this week and had an early impact up forward with two majors, before he also finished with three. Callum Searle and Jack Cattanach came up with clutch goals for the Warriors, but it proved too little in the end.

NIGHTCLIFF | 6.3 | 13.5 | 17.9 | 19.15 (129)
DARWIN | 1.0 | 1.3 | 3.5 | 4.10 (34)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: T. Melville 3, C. Ilett 3, L. Holt-Fitz 2, A. Moniz-Wakefield 2, B. Filo 2, D. Brew 2, R. Mu 2, K. Emery, K. Riley, A. Jorgensen
Darwin: B. Foster 2, D. Kaipara, M. Coombes

BEST:

Nightcliff: B. Filo, J. Bowen, R. Mu, A. Moniz-Wakefield, T. Boyd, D. Brew
Darwin: B. Stokes, K. Maroney, M. Kennedy, L. McKenzie, R. Pendlebury

Nightcliff returned to its imposing best at an ideal time to thrash Darwin by 95 points on home turf, ensuring the reigning premiers hold onto top spot for at least another week. The 19.15 (129) to 4.10 (34) scoreline was indicative of Nightcliff’s dominance around the ball and Darwin’s impotence forward of centre, with the Tigers taking full toll to see their foes planted to fifth spot. Dynamic veteran Cam Ilett was again a force up forward and slotted three majors, a feat matched by Trent Melville and aided early by Kyle Emery. Best afield player Brodie Filo also hit the scoreboard as one of 10 Nightcliff goalkickers. Brodie Foster was Darwin’s most impactful player as he bagged a couple of majors, with Bradley Stokes also stepping up as Jarrod Stokes was sighted mostly up forward – contributing to a lack of momentum from the Buffs’ midfield.

Featured Image: Daly Andrews gets a kick away for St Mary’s | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 10

THE TOP four Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League sides are set to square off in Round 10, making for a definitive weekend of action among the finals contenders. In a cool quirk, the fixture sees first take on second, third clash with fourth, fifth meeting sixth, and seventh locking horns with eighth as four separate venues play host to each game on Saturday. With that being the case, there looms a great chance for leading sides to gain some much-needed breathing space from their rivals. All that, and more in our weekly preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-9) vs. Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-8)
Saturday December 5, 1:30pm
Wurrumiyanga Oval

A bottom of the table clash kicks off Round 10 as Palmerston makes the early trip to Wurrumiyanga Oval to take on Tiwi. If it were not for the Round 2 clash between these sides they would both remain winless, but Palmerston got on the board that day via a 73-point trouncing. This time, the Bombers are on home turf and will hope to build on the improvements which have seen them get within a goal of their opponents twice in the last three weeks. While the Bombers have lost more games by over 50 points (five), it is Palmerston which holds the greater average losing margin at 51.6 points, compared to Tiwi’s 44.8. Given the amount of punishment received by both sides thus far, they should be hungry as ever for a rare win.

The Bombers come in with a strong side on paper too, boasting competition stat leaders Fletcher Carroll (average disposals, clearances) and Mason De Wit (rebound 50s) along with the in-form Adam Sambono and dangerous forward pairing of Ross Tungatalum and Austin Wonaeamirri. Tiwi’s run and gun style has sucked in even the best of sides, so should again prove effective here. Tyrrell Lui is back in Palmerston’s defence, which may well come under fire should Matt Dennis and his centre bounce partners in Chris Williams and Eric Guthrie fail to get going. The versatility of Nigel Lockyer Jnr should also prove a handy wildcard for the Magpies, who will need a bit of dynamism to keep the Bombers guessing.

St Mary’s (3rd, 6-3) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (4th, 6-3)
Saturday December 5, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

The weekend’s first top four clash takes place as St Mary’s and Darwin do battle at league headquarters, looking to separate their equal 6-3 records. After a lacklustre opening fortnight, the Saints have gone on to win six of their last seven games, with their only hiccup coming at the hands of Darwin in Round 6. Their three-consecutive wins since then still read better than Darwin’s 1-2 effort, with the Buffs’ early season form tapering off a touch before another redemptive win over Palmerston last week. Just four per cent separates the two sides after nine rounds, with the Saints scoring a touch less overall but maintaining a tighter defence.

St Mary’s should fancy itself in the midfield battle, with Nate Paredes teaming up with Daly Andrews and Nick Yarran, while the likes of Dylan Landt and Shaun Edwards can also rotate through the engine room. The Saints will have to be wary of Darwin’s front six though, with Matt Campbell in fine scoring form and supported well by Ishmael Palmer, Brodie Foster, and Michael Hagan, among others. Shannon Rioli and young Beau Tedcastle loom as key forms of firepower in St Mary’s response under spearhead Jackson Calder, making for a lively kind of contest.

Nightcliff (1st, 7-2) vs. Wanderers (2nd, 7-2)
Saturday December 5, 6:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

Nightcliff and Wanderers are set to headline the Round 10 fixtures in a top-of-the-table clash under lights at Nightcliff Oval, with clear supremacy at the pointy end up for grabs. Both sides are locked at an even 7-2 record apiece, so needless to say this game looms as an important one in the minor premiership race. The Tigers got home by 10 points in the Round 3 meeting between these two teams and were the only side to have beaten Wanderers up until last week. It means that both clubs have dropped points in one of their last two outings and will be itching to return to top form for this clash.

Danny Butcher and Kaine Riley loom as fantastic additions for Nightcliff having been named in the extended squad, but like most weeks face stiff competition for spots. Among the standouts of late, veteran Cam Ilett has booted eight goals in his last two games, with Kyle Emery the other to notch a bag of five last week. Midfielders Dom Brew, Daniel Bowles, and Brodie Filo have also consistently featured among the Tigers’ best. Wanderers has looked just as settled in 2020/21, with competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy in fearsome form, supported by Simon Bates while Dane McFarlane runs the midfield and Braedon McLean leads from defence alongside Warwick Williams and Brodie Newman. Victorian coup Shaun Mannagh should also be a handy inclusion for the Muk Muks in what promises to be a ripping contest.

Waratah (5th, 5-4) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 4-5)
Saturday December 5, 6:30pm
Gardens Oval

Southern Districts will be out to keep touch with the top five when it takes on Waratah at Gardens Oval, rounding out the weekend’s action. The Crocs had strung together a handy run of four wins in five matches after a 0-3 start, but had their run to the finals spots halted last week by St Mary’s. Meanwhile, Waratah looks every bit a premiership smoky after accounting for Nightcliff in a stunning upset last time out, making it two wins on the trot. With one game already separating these two sides, another loss for Districts would see its finals hopes narrow that little bit further.

Darcy Lang is a big name featured on Waratah’s team list, with the recently delisted Carlton midfielder/forward jumping straight into the Warriors’ lineup. He should provide some handy forward momentum alongside Abe Ankers and Robert Turnbull, with Michael Newton ready to return and spearhead Tahs’ attack. Stat leaders James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr have been prolific for the Crocs and should contribute to a tight midfield battle, while Andrew Boseley heads the forwardline and Ed Barlow looks to string some form together having returned to the fold.

Featured Image: Action from the Round 3 clash between Nightcliff and Wanderers | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 9

NIGHTCLIFF roared back to the top of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League standings in Round 9, reaffirming its dominance over the competition at the halfway point of the season. Wanderers relinquished top spot in an upset loss to Waratah, who look every bit the finals contender, while St Mary’s and Darwin continue to motor on within the top five after solid victories of the own. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

TIWI BOMBERS | 4.1 | 7.2 | 10.7 | 15.10 (100)
NIGHTCLIFF | 4.4 | 10.10 | 14.11 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

Tiwi: R. Young 3, A. Tipungwuti 3, A. Wonaeamirri 2, H. Puruntatameri 2, T. Babui, B. Kantilla, J. Tipiloura, B. Palipuaminni, P. Heenan
Nightcliff: K. Emery 5, C. Ilett 5, T. Melville 2, S. Wilson, R. Mu, H. Drogemuller, L. Holt-Fitz, M. McGregor

BEST:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti, F. Carroll, J. Monigatti, R. Young, J. Puruntatameri
Nightcliff: C. Ilett, D. Brew, A. Moniz-Wakefield, K. Emery, B. Filo, J. Bowen

Nightcliff reclaimed top spot with a 15-point win over Tiwi at Wurrumiyanga Oval on Saturday, surviving a late scare to come away 17.13 (115) to 15.10 (100) winners. Having been beaten at the jump, the Tigers managed to work to a quarter time lead and began to control the game with poised play amid the hosts’ frantic pace. By three quarter time, their lead was 28 points and Tiwi would have to do something drastic to enforce a turnaround. The Bombers did their best with five majors in the final term, but Nightcliff was able to hold off the charge with cool heads in the dying stages.

While inaccuracy prevented Nightcliff from roaring further ahead, Cam Ilett and Kyle Emery had enough chances to sink five shots through the big sticks each. The Bombers had one more individual goalkicker (nine overall) than their opponents, led by three from Adam Tipungwuti and Robert Young. Dom Brew and Mack Rivett again got their hands dirty in midfield for the victors, while Fletcher Carroll worked to conjure Tiwi’s fightback. Andy Moniz-Wakefield was another to impress for the Tigers and Ryan Mu slotted a goal of the year contended from the boundary.

S. DISTRICTS | 4.2 | 4.3 | 7.5 | 7.7 (49)
ST MARY’S | 2.2 | 2.7 | 8.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:

S. Districts: J. Farrar 2, J. Tsitas, J. Bailey, A. Boseley, L. Kiel, J. Bell
St Mary’s: S. Rioli 2, D. Landt 2, J. Long, R. Smith, B. Tedcastle, N. Paredes, J. Landt, J. Calder, B. Grenfell

BEST:

S. Districts: Z. Smith, M. Bowden, A. Boseley, J. Clark, L. Ogden, D. Robertson
St Mary’s: D. Landt, N. Paredes, A. Long, T. Saunders, B. Grenfell, R. Smith

St Mary’s secured a 28-point victory over Southern Districts at Norbuilt Oval on Saturday, a result which agonisingly sees the Crocs remain just outside of the top five places. The hosts got the better start as wet conditions ensured just six goals would be kicked in the first half, all of which came in the opening term. But St Mary’s flicked the switch after half time, piling on nine goals to clinch the 11.11 (77) to 7.7 (49) win. Having snatched the lead with one period to play, the Saints buried their opponents by keeping them goalless in the last quarter.

In a game where both defences shone, Southern Districts’ was eventually breached heavily as returning skipper Shannon Rioli inspired his side with two third term goals. Dylan Landt matched the feat and was prominent alongside Nate Paredes in midfield, benefitting from the ruckwork of Brandyn Grenfell. Jonathan Farrar finished as Districts’ lone multiple goalkicker, but it was the likes of Zach Smith, Jesse Clark, and Lionel Ogden who proved most impactful for the Crocs. At 4-5 and now a game adrift the finals places, pressure is mounting on Southern Districts to make something of season 2020/21, while St Mary’s firms as a premiership contender.

WARATAH | 3.2 | 9.5 | 12.7 | 18.11 (119)
WANDERERS | 2.2 | 4.4 | 9.5 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:

Waratah: C. Arnold 4, J. Sutton 3, H. Kerinaiua 2, J. Simson 2, R. Turnbull 2, D. Collis, J. Stevens, C. Searle, B. Carroll, J. McGrath
Wanderers: B. Eddy 3, S. Bates 2, E. Simpson, B. Newman, J. Erlandson, B. O’Connell, D. Thompson

BEST:

Waratah: R. Turnbull, A. Ankers, C. Arnold, J. Stevens, H. Kerinaiua, N. Gooch
Wanderers: B. McLean, D. Thompson, B. Newman, B. Eddy, M. Motlop

Waratah has emerged as a serious finals threat after downing Wanderers by 52 points at on Saturday, with the 18.11 (119) to 10.7 (67) result seeing the Muk Muks removed from top spot. In front of a home crowd at Gardens Oval, the Warriors pulled away in terms two and four with a combined 12 goals to three across the two periods, making for a lop-sided final scoreline. Despite getting back to within four goals at the end of the third quarter, Wanderers simply did not have an answer for Waratah’s hardened attack on the ball and clean use on the break.

Midfield maestros Robert Turnbull and Abe Ankers were unsurprisingly instrumental in the victory, with the former also booting two goals. Cameron Arnold kicked a game-high four majors, with three coming in the first half, while Jake Sutton finished with three of his own. Competition leading goalkicker Brett Eddy spearheaded the Muk Muks’ third quarter fightback with three major scores as the likes of Marlon Motlop and Dray Thompson came into the game from midfield. Braedon McLean and Brodie Newman were also important for Wanderers, holding up a heavily pressured defence.

DARWIN | 2.2 | 6.5 | 9.10 | 13.11 (89)
PALMERSTON | 3.3 | 3.4 | 4.5 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

Darwin: M. Campbell 4, I. Palmer 3, J. Clarke 2, B. Foster 2, M. Kennedy, C. Atkinson
Palmerston: B. McDonald 2, R. Armstrong, J. Harvey, T. Kunoth, A. McAdam

BEST:

Darwin: M. Kennedy, M. Campbell, M. Lochowiak, R. Pendlebury, K. Maroney, L. McKenzie
Palmerston: M. Dennis, N. Lockyer, B. McDonald, C. Williams, T. Kunoth

Darwin bounced back from a slow start, and scratchy recent run of form overall to defeat Palmerston by 44 points at TIO Stadium on Saturday night. The Buffs found themselves seven points behind at the first interval, but managed four goals to Palmerston’s nil in the second term to set up a 19-point buffer come half time. The steady scoreboard pressure mounted and eventually saw Darwin come away comfortable 13.11 (89) to 6.9 (45) winners, consolidating the Double Blues’ spot in the top five.

A number of inclusions and magnet shuffles sured up Darwin’s side, with the experienced Matty Campbell booting four goals to headline them. Midfielder Jalen Clarke and goalsneak Brodie Foster were also in that mix and booted two majors each, while Max Kennedy thrived in the engine room and Mihail Lochowiak continued to show his wares in the front half. Matthew Dennis again led from the front for Palmerston, as the duo of Nigel Lockyer Jnr and Brandon McDonald proved dynamic up forward. The latter snared two majors as his side’s lone multiple goalkicker.

Featured Image: Darwin’s Matt Campbell looks to wrap up Palmerston’s Aaron Davey | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 7

WANDERERS are the new Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League ladder leader after seven rounds of action, having dismantled Darwin in a top-of-the-table clash. Reigning premier Nightcliff managed to keep touch with the soaring Eagles, while Southern Districts and St Mary’s snuck over the line in games decided by one and two goals respectively. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS | 4.1 | 5.4 | 9.7 | 11.7 (73)
TIWI BOMBERS | 3.1 | 5.5 | 6.6 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:

Districts: J. Tsitas 2, A. Boseley 2, M. Duffy 2, J. Bell 2, J. Farrar, D. Robertson, N. Rokahr
Tiwi: J. Tipuamantamirri 3, H. Puruntatameri 2, A. Wonaeamirri 2, A. Tipungwuti, A. Byrne, J. Simon

BEST:

Districts: J. Tsitas, J. Dahlhaus, N. Rokahr, L. McGregor, C. McAdam, J. Clark, M. Duffy
Tiwi: A. Hams, M. De Wit, F. Carroll, G. Turner, J. Tipuamantamirri

James Bell proved the hero for Southern Districts as his winning goal helped the Crocs defeat a dangerous Tiwi Bombers outfit by six points on Saturday afternoon. Districts had created a handy third term buffer which looked likely to see them home, but the Bombers hit back strongly to draw level with just a few minutes left on the clock. Up stepped Bell, whose all-important major score sealed the 11.7 (73) to 10.7 (67) victory. The result sees Southern Districts move up to fifth on the back of three wins in four weeks, while Tiwi remains without any premiership points after seven games.

For the victors, James Tsitas was again prominent with his ability to win the ball in all areas of the park, while Jay Dahlhaus‘ creativity in the forward half brought others into the game. Spearhead Andrew Boseley was another key figure in the result, finishing with two goals which came at ideal moments. Tiwi was not without its contributors either, as Ashton Hams lead the charge and Mason De Wit again proved rock-solid in defence. Harley Puruntatameri and Austin Wonaeamirri each notched multiple goals, behind Jerome Tipuamantamirri‘s game-high haul of three. St Mary’s looms as the Bombers’ next assignment, while Southern Districts will take on Nightcliff.

ST MARY’S | 1.1 | 3.3 | 5.6 | 9.13 (67)
WARATAH | 3.5 | 6.7 | 7.8 | 7.12 (54)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: S. Edwards 3, J. Paine, B. Grenfell, R. Smith, A. Wilson, B. Tedcastle, D. Walters
Waratah: B. Carroll 2, S. Godden, J. McGrath, J. Cattanach, M. Newton, S. Baulderstone

BEST:

St Mary’s: D. Landt, D. Andrews, L. Jellyman-Turner, J. Landt, K. Parnell, S. Edwards
Waratah: B. Carroll, D. Collis, A. Ankers, T. Graham, Z. Westerberg

A four-goal to one final term ensured St Mary’s ran over the top of Waratah at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening, seeing the Saints return to the winners list. Having trailed at every break, the victors’ fresher legs helped them take advantage of Waratah’s sub-standard conversion rate in front of goal, with multiple debutants breathing some life back into St Mary’s side. In the end, a Shaun Edwards goal put the Saints ahead and they held onto a 13-point win, totalling 9.13 (67) to Waratah’s 7.12 (54).

Edwards finished with a game-high three majors to be one of his side’s best afield, with Dylan Landt another to prove key to St Mary’s cause. Daly Andrews and Kieren Parnell, who are both fresh off stints in the SANFL, were also influential. For the Warriors, Brodie Carroll stood up when it mattered with a couple of clutch third term goals, though it proved too little in the end. Meanwhile, the likes of Abe Ankers and Robert Turnbull were solid performers alongside Carroll through midfield. While St Mary’s will fancy another win against Tiwi in Round 8, Waratah is set for another tough assignment when it takes on Darwin.

PALMERSTON | 0.1 | 2.6 | 2.8 | 4.10 (34)
NIGHTCLIFF | 3.5 | 9.7 | 12.10 | 19.15 (129)

GOALS:

Palmerston: N. Lockyer Jnr 2, R. Armstrong, R. Warfe
Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz 5, K. Emery 4, A. Jorgensen 2, R. Mu 2, W. Wheeler, C. Ilett, D. Bowles, T. Melville, M. McGregor, J. Peris

BEST:

Palmerston: M. Dennis, N. Lockyer Jnr, E. Guthrie, C. Williams, J. Mentha, K. Annand
Nightcliff: M. Rivett, R. Mu, K. Emery, D. Brew, D. Bowles, L. Goonan

Nightcliff’s statements of intent continued in the form of a 95-point thumping of Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The fixture served as the 2020 Warren Berto Memorial Game, played in honour of one of the Northern Territory’s finest footballers who was tragically killed in March last year. It was a game controlled by Nightcliff from the outset, with Palmerston made to wait until 15 minutes into the second term for its first goal. By then, the Magpies were already well behind. A 44-point half time margin was more than doubled by the final siren, as Nightcliff took out the 19.15 (129) to 4.10 (34) result.

Nightcliff’s Mack Rivett and Palmerston’s Matthew Dennis won best afield medals for their respective sides, both continuing their outstanding individual form. The likes of Dom Brew and Daniel Bowles were again at the forefront for Nightcliff, while Liam Holt-Fitz (five goals), Kyle Emery (four), and Ryan Mu (two) were among those to run riot forward of centre. Nigel Lockyer Jnr ended as Palmerston’s lone multiple goalkicker, accounting for half of his side’s four majors. The Magpies face a tough ask in bouncing back next time out against Wanderers, while Southern Districts presents as Nightcliff’s next task.

WANDERERS | 4.1 | 7.3 | 12.4 | 14.5 (89)
DARWIN | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Wanderers: B. Eddy 5, S. Tipiloura 2, D. Thompson, B. Hodgson, B. O’Connell, E. Simpson, J. Cubillo, D. McFarlane, J. Cubillo
Darwin: J. Stokes 2, I. Palmer, D. Gordon, D. Matricardi

BEST:

Wanderers: R. Fejo, B. Newman, B. Hodgson, W. Williams, B. Eddy
Darwin: R. Pendlebury, B. Stokes, C. Atkinson, J. Stokes, S. Ah Mat

Wanderers took out the Nungalinya Cup and notched its fourth-consecutive win in one fell swoop, defeating Darwin by 50 points in a one-sided top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night. The Eagles came out firing at TIO Stadium with four goals to Darwin’s nil in the opening term, setting up a game-defining lead. It was only extended from that point, getting out to 58 points at the final break before the Buffs scrounged a better fourth quarter in the 14.5 (89) to 5.9 (39) result.

The bed of Wanderers’ solidity was formed by the likes of Brodie Newman and Warwick Williams in defence, while Brett Eddy (five goals) benefitted from the tireless outside run of Ronald Fejo and midfield acumen of Dane McFarlane. On the other side of the coin, Ryan Pendlebury proved the Double Blues’ best on a disappointing night, while Jarrod Stokes finished with two classy goals and Ishmael Palmer booted his side’s first early in the second term. Darwin will look to rebound against Waratah next time out, while Wanderers will look to continue its winning run against the lowly Palmerston.

Featured Image: Wanderers’ Beau O’Connell and Simon Bates celebrate a goal | Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Men’s Premier League – Round 7

ROUND 7 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League is headlined by a top-of-the-table clash between Darwin and Wanderers, two of the three sides tied with 5-1 records. The high-stakes bout will close the show on Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, with the weekend’s only standalone game poising Palmerston against Nightcliff at Cazalys Arena. Find out which players are poised to make all the difference, and more in our weekend preview.

Tiwi Bombers (8th, 0-6) vs. Southern Districts (6th, 2-4)
Saturday November 14, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi’s search for a maiden win in season 2020/21 returns to TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon, when the Bombers meet a Southern Districts side on the up. Both teams are showing signs of improvement after lacklustre early-season form, though the Crocs are a little further along having already notched a couple of wins. Two of those have come in their last three outings, including a 58-point drubbing of the Bombers in Round 4. That was one of Tiwi’s four losses of over 50 points in the first month of the season, though a bunch of big name recruits and returnees have seen the Bombers cut those margins over the last fortnight.

Former Geelong and Brisbane midfielder Allen Christensen remains in the Tiwi lineup after booting three goals on debut, set to line up in midfield alongside the in-form Fletcher Carroll. With Ashton Hams also in the side, the Bombers should have plenty of firepower in that department. The likes of Adam Tipungwuti and Adam Sambono should also aid their forward drive in the absence of Harley Puruntatameri. Southern Districts’ one-two punch of James Tsitas and Nikolaus Rokahr has worked wonders its engine room, with Andrew Boseley spearheading a potent attack. Meanwhile, Oakleigh Chargers graduate Lachlan Bugeja has been named in the side, joining fellow NAB Leaguers Jesse Clark and Jay Dahlhaus as the Crocs push for top five status.

St Mary’s (5th, 3-3) vs. Waratah (4th, 3-3)
Saturday November 14, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

An important top five clash takes place at TIO Stadium on Saturday evening as St Mary’s does battle with Waratah. The Saints looked to be turning their season around with three-consecutive wins, before they ran into Darwin last week and fell back to an even keel. Waratah boasts the same 3-3 record but sits a place higher that St Mary’s in fourth, having only narrowly gone down to premiership fancies Darwin and Nightcliff (twice). The Warriors’ win-loss trend sees them due for a win this time out, with a return to the winners list and the chance to keep touch with the top three up for grabs. It is the first time these two teams will meet this season, with plenty to play for either way.

Some handy inclusions look likely to spruce up both lineups, starting with Daly Andrews for St Mary’s. The 20-year-old Victorian is fresh off a fantastic season with South Adelaide at senior SANFL level and will slot straight into midfield alongside Nate Paredes. After managing just one goal last week, spearhead Jackson Paine will also be out to do some damage, while the likes of Jackson Calder and Nick Yarran may have to earn their way back into the side. Waratah will be buoyed by the return of Michael Newton up forward, set to form a formidable partnership with Jae McGrath. His inclusion sees Thomas Graham swing down back, adding to Waratah’s tall stocks across the ground. Tah’s midfield depth should also match up well against the Saints, making for a tight contest overall.

Palmerston Magpies (7th, 1-5) vs. Nightcliff (3rd, 5-1)
Saturday November 14, 7:00pm
Cazalys Arena

Nightcliff will look to string together three-consecutive wins for the second time this year when it travels to face Palmerston at Cazalys Arena on Saturday night. The fixture looms as Palmerston’s third home game in four weeks, though that factor has hardly proven advantageous of late given the Magpies have not won since Round 2 – against the winless Tiwi Bombers. Currently seventh at 1-5, the Magpies are running out of time to keep with the finals contenders, despite showing glimpses of form. It has largely been business as usual for the Tigers, boasting an equal-best 5-1 record having only slipped up against St Mary’s in Round 4. The reigning premiers will fancy their chances of keeping the heat on their main premiership rivals.

As if it needed any more firepower, Nightcliff’s forwardline is set for a boost with the inclusion of Liam Holt-Fitz, who is set to join Trent Melville and Kyle Emery in a dynamic front six. Cam Ilett also comes straight back into the lineup and will rotate through there, while Dom Brew looks to continue his dominance of the midfield. Palmerston will be buoyed by the return of Nigel Lockyer Jnr, with the enigmatic swingman likely to aid Daniel Stafford in attack. The midfield battle should be a good one, with Palmerston’s trio of Chris Williams, Eric Guthrie, and ruckman Matthew Dennis set to be tasked with plenty against Nightcliff’s formidable outfit. A good news story could also be the return of Jayden Kickett, who takes his place in Nightcliff’s extended squad, pending final selection.

Wanderers (2nd, 5-1) vs. Darwin Buffaloes (1st, 5-1)
Saturday November 14, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

Arguably the best Round 7 fixture will be left for last when Darwin and Wanderers lock horns in a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash. The game rounds out Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, forming the perfect end to a super day of Premier League action. The Buffs have lead the competition most of the way thus far, going down only to Nightcliff as Wanderers remains the only side they are yet to compete against. The Muk Muks have been fit and firing in 2020/21, with their only loss also coming at the hands of Nightcliff and three-consecutive wins putting them in ideal form of late. With only percentage separating the two sides, this game looms as a crucial factor in the overall minor premiership race.

Matt Campbell is set to bring some experience back to Darwin’s lineup, looking to continue his great scoring form this season as he slots in at half-forward. He joins the likes of Brodie Foster and Ishmael Palmer in the front six, while Sturt recruit Mihail Lochowiak comes into the side up the other end. Meanwhile, star midfielder Jalen Clarke has been named on an extended bench. Braedon McLean is a very handy inclusion for Wanderers, set to feature at half-back alongside recent Rising Star nominee Brodie Newman. There is plenty of firepower up forward too, with leading goalkicker Brett Eddy combining well with Simon Bates, and Nichols Medallist Beau O’Connell of late.

Featured Image: Darwin players celebrate during their Round 6 win | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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