A HOTLY contested round of action in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) saw emerging finals contenders, Tiwi Bombers topple a premiership fancy, while Wanderers took a step closer to climbing off the bottom of the ladder, Darwin continued its winning ways, and Nightcliff broke out as clear front-runners with the most convincing win of the weekend.
Southern Districts 8.9 (57)
Tiwi Bombers 12.7 (79)
Southern Districts: M. Mummery 3, J. Koopman 2, S. Guilhaus, B. Schwarze, E. Barlow
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 5, A. Wonaeamirri 3, A. Tipungwuti 2, H. Puruntatameri, A. Tipungwuti
Southern Districts: S. Guilhaus, S. Martin, B. Schwarze, D. McLachlan, M. Rosier, S. Rusca
Tiwi: A. Hams, R. Tungatalum, N. Djerrkura, M. Dunn, A. Tipungwuti, W. Puruntatameri
Tiwi Bombers continued its impressive turn of form, overcoming a half-time deficit to hand reigning premiers, Southern Districts its second consecutive loss. The Bombers matched their opponents blow-for-blow in the opener to create a deadlock that was broken by just eight points in the Crocs’ favour going into the main break. But the forward firepower of Ross Tungatalum (14 goals in three games) and Austin Wonaeamirri (seven in two) proved too deadly for the second placed Crocs, being kept to just two second-half goals while conceding seven to go down by 22 points. The elite-level experience of Ashton Hams and Nathan Djerrkura was vital for the winning side, with usual suspects Adam Tipungwuti and Michael Dunn also contributing well to the cause. While they could not quite match the feats of their counterparts, Southern Districts goalsneaks Michael Mummery (three goals) and Jess Koopman (two) played their respective roles, with youngster Beau Schwarze named amongst the best for his fifth-straight outing and Seb Guilhaus also impressing. The win propels Tiwi into fourth place on percentage, equal with Waratah and Palmerston in the race for a finals spot. Meanwhile, the Crocs remain in second despite consecutive losses – two games adrift from leaders, Nightcliff and third-place side, Darwin.
Wanderers 9.12 (66)
St Marys 8.9 (57)
Wanderers: T. Motlop 5, B. O’Connell, M. Motlop, L. Patrick, A. Motlop.
St Marys: N. Paredes 3, F. Kinthari 2, R. Clarke 2, B. Rioli.
St Marys: N. Paredes, N. Yarran, S. Edwards, B. Taylor, R. Clarke, T. Saunders
A starring five-goal performance from Thomas Motlop was enough to drag Wanderers over the line in its bottom of the table clash with St Marys in the first game of Saturday’s TIO Stadium double-header. A goalless opening term did not deter the Muk Muks, with Motlop putting them on the board in the second stanza after trailing by an even four goals. With a ten-point half-time margin cut to eight going into the last break, the Eagles had a whiff of momentum and managed to take full advantage, with five goals to two edging them past St Marys in a see-sawing final quarter. The speed and silky ball movement of 2006 AFL Rising Star, Danyle Pearce was crucial for Wanderers in the latter stages, providing chances to the likes of Marlon Motlop, Liam Patrick, and Aaron Motlop – who all contributed to the scoreboard. Nathaniel Paredes was best afield once again for the losing side, booting three goals as the clear standout, alongside Raphael Clarke (two goals), who drifted further forward. Francis Kinthari was the only other multiple goal kicker, with Nick Yarran and Shaun Edwards named in the best six players for the Saints. The win sees Wanderers move level on points with its weekend opponents on four wins, remaining bottom by a sizeable percentage gap and two games away from sixth place.
Waratah 5.10 (40)
Nightcliff 13.18 (96)
Waratah: S. Godden 2, H. Kerinaiua, K. Kantilla, E. McConnell.
Nightcliff: M. Bricknell 3, T. Melville 3, H. Drogemuller 2, S. Deery, S. Wilson, P. Wills, D. Bowles, L. Holt-Fitz.
Waratah: J. Stevens, Z. Westerberg, B. Carroll, E. McConnell
Nightcliff: S. Deery, P. Wills, L. Holt-Fitz, R. Morris, T. Kidney, D. Bowles
Nightcliff is now one step closer to earning an automatic semi-final berth, sitting two games clear atop the ladder after comfortably accounting for Waratah to close out Saturday’s proceedings. The Tigers did not look back after opening up a three-goal buffer in the first term, slowly extending their lead as the battle wore on to come out with the eventual 56-point victory. The final margin could well have been blown out further, with the winners misfiring for 2.9 while keeping Waratah to a sole point in the fourth quarter. Matthew Bricknell snapped his run of two goalless games with a bag of three to match the feat of Tigers spearhead Trent Melville – whose season tally is up to 46. Despite the goal feats, Simon Deery was named Nightcliff’s best, Phillip Wills and Liam Holt-Fitz, who all managed to also find the goals. For the Warriors, Sam Godden was the only multiple goal kicker with two as Joel Stevens was judged their best, while Zach Westerberg and Kim Kantilla also stood up in the losing effort. While Nightcliff are sitting pretty after another win, Waratah slips out of the top four for the first time since Round 1 after loss number eight, in the middle of three clubs on 24 points vying for the last two finals spots.
Palmerston Magpies 9.7 (61)
Darwin Buffaloes 11.8 (74)
Palmerston: K. Emery 3, M. Perry 2, J. Wunungmurra, A. Lonergan, A. Davey, E. Frank
Darwin: L. Thomas 5, A. Sambono 3, J. Clarke, D. Johnston, J. Stokes
Palmerston: M. Dennis, S. Miller, S. Talbot, M. Bunworth, J. Rhodes, M. Perry
Darwin: L. Thomas, K. Maroney, J. Stokes, P. Boles, K. Williams, P. Campbell
An equal round-high bag of five goals from ex-AFL goalsneak Lindsay Thomas helped guide Darwin Buffaloes to a narrow win over the rising Palmerston Magpies side. Despite conceding an early lead, the Buffaloes edged in front and stayed there for the remainder of the game, with a five-goal second term setting up the 13-point victory. Excitement machine Adam Sambono backed up his four-goal effort in the previous round with another three to join Thomas as the key goal threats. Kyle Emery (10 goals in three games) was the Magpies’ best answer to that with his three, while Mishai Perry (two) rounded out the multiple goal kickers. While Thomas was clearly best-on, Kevin Maroney was again recognised for his efforts alongside Jarrod Stokes and Kelvin Williams. Matthew Dennis was unsurprisingly the Magpies’ best once again, with Samuel Talbot and Mitch Bunworth also thereabouts. Palmerston finds itself breathing down the neck of Tiwi and Waratah in the race for the last finals spot, with all sides on 24 points. On the other hand, the Buffaloes now look certain to claim a second finals chance after regaining their early season form and opening a two-game gap to fourth place.