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NTFL Men’s Premier League review: Round 12 – Buffs prevail in dramatic eight-pointer

THE new year tossed up some predictable results in Round 12 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, but Darwin and Southern Districts played out a cracker in the weekend’s sole top five clash. While the Buffs closed the gap on their weekend opponents in the race for a top three spot, the remaining finals-bound sides went about solidifying their standing in the top five.

ST MARY’S 1.4 | 6.10 | 9.12 | 14.17 (101)
WANDERERS 1.3 | 2.4 | 5.7 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Salmon 3, N. Paredes 2, L. Larson 2, J. Long, R. Jordon, M. Rioli Jnr, N. Yarran, R. Smith, B. Slater, R. Miller
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 2, M. Cooper, T. Motlop, B. McLean

BEST:

St Mary’s: R. Smith, T. Davies, R. Jordon, N. Yarran, J. Salmon, N. Paredes
Wanderers: N/A

It was business as usual for St Mary’s as it trounced Wanderers by 63 points to open Round 12 on Friday night. In a contest that was largely competitive until midway through the third term, the Saints kicked away against a tiring Eagles side to cap the 14.17 (101) to 5.8 (38) result.

After a tight opener, the Saints looked to be pulling away to a straightforward victory after jumping out to a five-goal half time lead. But the Muk Muks gave their all to mount a short-lived comeback after the main break, booting the first three goals of the term to draw back within four points of the finals-bound Saints. Unfortunately, the Eagles spent all their fuel tickets on the fightback, leaving nothing left to edge in front as St Mary’s ruthlessly pulled away with five goals to nil in the final quarter. There were still positives to be drawn from the loss for Wanderers, with the returning Joel Jeffrey showing off all of his talent in the air and at ground level to go with two classy goals, while Braedon McLean’s energy in the middle was terrific in the third term. For the winners, 10 individual goal kickers were led by Joseph Salmon‘s three majors, but it was Ryan Smith who was named best afield as the likes of Thomas Davies and Nick Yarran also contributed.

Winning form is good form for the Saints, especially with two of its fellow top three sides immediately ahead on the fixture list and other sides closing in on second place. For Wanderers, the last chance finals saloon opens with a game against the winless Palmerston, which is now a must-win with Tiwi 14 points adrift in fifth.

DARWIN BUFFALOES 3.2 | 8.4 | 11.6 | 13.9 (87)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.2 | 5.4 | 6.7 | 12.10 (82)

GOALS:

Darwin: D. Stafford 5, B. Foster 3, K. Campbell 2, J. Stokes 2, D. Miles
Southern Districts: D. Hall 3, W. Farrer 2, J. Farrer 2, D. McLachlan, R. O’Brien, B. Schwarze, D. Corbett, M. Barlow

BEST:

Darwin: N/A
Southern Districts: N/A

Southern Districts has been made to rue a miss after the siren in its dramatic five-point loss to Darwin Buffaloes in a top five eight-pointer. Rory O’Brien pulled his set shot to level the scores after marking a Michael Barlow kick 25 metres from goal, sealing the unfortunate 13.9 (87) to 12.10 (82) loss.

The result looked dead and buried as David Miles kicked truly into an open goal late in the third term, punishing the Crocs for their inability to convert up the other end. A fifth goal to Daniel Stafford in the final term to push the margin back out to 11 points with under 10 minutes left looked to again have sealed the result, but it did not deter the Crocs as they doubled their goal tally in a single stanza. It proved futile in the end as O’Brien failed to convert and snatch the draw, but made for great viewing on the neutral end. Earlier, Stafford and Brodie Foster combined for seven of the Buffs’ eight first half goals, with skipper Jarrod Stokes also extending his influence to the scoreboard. Davin Hall led the response for Southern Districts with three majors in just his fourth game for the season, while Josiah and William Farrer also chimed in with two apiece as Barlow found plenty of the ball to very nearly prove a game winner.

Three more top five opponents lie ahead for Southern Districts, with each result massive in deciding positions three to five. Meanwhile, the next few weeks will be a mixed bag for Darwin, set to test its premiership credentials against the competition’s benchmark next week, while also facing two bottom three opponents in the following rounds.

NIGHTCLIFF 4.4 | 13.5 | 19.7 | 25.11 (161)
WARATAH 1.0 | 1.2 | 1.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: J. Butcher 6, R. Mu 3, T. Melville 3, M. Bricknell 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, C. Ilett 2, M. Hagan 2, J. Budarick, N. Brown, B. Arnold, D. Bowles, S. Wilson
Waratah: K. Kantilla 2, D. Simpson

BEST:

Nightcliff: S. Wilson, K. Riley, R. Mu, J. Butcher, P. Wills
Waratah: N/A

The mid-season break only heightened Nightcliff’s hunger for goals as the reigning premier put on a scoring masterclass against Waratah, winning to the tune of 138 points. 12 Tigers found the goals in the 25.11 (161) to 3.5 (23) romp as the ladder leaders dominated across the ground.

A four-goal opening term was Nightcliff’s lowest-scoring period, following it up with nine majors and six in each quarter after half time to see out the huge victory. While their ruthlessly precise finishing inside 50 was ultra-impressive, the Tigers were just as good further afield as they kept the Warriors goalless across the second and third terms, while only conceding a high of two in the final period of play. Waratah had to wait until seven minutes into the fourth quarter for its second six-pointer, ending a massive period of unanswered goals. John Butcher was the Tigers’ chief destroyer with his half-dozen majors, but two non-scoring players – Kaine Riley and Phillip Wills – made their impact felt up the ground to be named in the best behind Shaun Wilson. Kim Kantilla again proved hot to handle as one of the few Warriors to stand tall, booting two of his side’s three majors in the absence of some of their prime movers. Daniel Simpson also found room for a celebration after finding the big sticks in the final term despite the massive margin.

It does not get any easier for Waratah with Tiwi next on the agenda, but respite should come with consecutive fixtures against fellow bottom three sides to round out January. Up the other end of the ladder, a month of competing against top five opponents could dislodge Nightcliff from first place, but the Tigers have already proven their worth against the best of the rest.

PALMERSTON 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.10 (52)
TIWI BOMBERS 3.3 | 9.7 | 10.10 | 16.17 (113)

GOALS:

Palmerston: K. Emery, K. Holt-Tubbs, L. Roberts, L. Williams, R. Warfe, D. Nichols, C. Timms
Tiwi: A. Wonaeamirri 3, H. Puruntatameri 3, D. Munkara 2, R. Tungatalum 2, C. Abala 2, P. Heenan, A. Tipungwuti, A. Darcy, N. Riddle

BEST:

Palmerston: K. Emery, D. Gordon, J. Berry, J. Rhodes, M. Perry (Jnr), J. Damaso
Tiwi: D. Munkara, H. Puruntatameri, N. Riddle, D. McLinden, J. Puruntatameri, J. Monigatti

Tiwi was quick to shake off Palmerston in Round 12’s final fixture, overpowering the Magpies to come out 61-point winners. Both sides had trouble converting at times, but the Bombers’ wealth of opportunities proved far too much for the struggling Magpies in the 7.10 (52) to 16.17 (113) loss.

After very nearly overcoming the Bombers in Round 5, Palmerston looked like providing a good challenge to its opponent once again, keeping touch for just over a quarter. But Tiwi soon clicked into gear with six goals to two to set up the win, consolidating with another half-dozen majors in the final term to pretty up the scoreboard. Both sides had at least seven individual goalkickers, but it was the Bombers’ five multiple goalkickers which proved the difference as no Magpie managed to trouble the scorers more than once. Austin Wonaeamirri and Harley Puruntatameri each booted a game-high three goals, but it was Dion Munkara who was judged best afield for the winners. Kyle Emery impressed for the Magpies, but he was unable to provide the goals needed alongside usual goal-getter Keidan Holt-Tubbs as the Bombers well and truly outgunned them with speed and class across the ground.

A twelfth loss sees Palmerston still 12 points adrift of seventh, but the opportunity to grab a breakthrough win may come knocking with two bottom three match-ups set for the Eagles upcoming fortnight. Waratah is next up for Tiwi, but the tough month following that fixture makes it a must-win for the Bombers as hopes dwindle among the bottom three.

NTFL Men’s Premier League wrap: Round 10 – Tiwi breaks clear in top five

THE Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League top five is becoming clear after 10 rounds, with most teams looking settled heading into the mid-season break. Nightcliff stamped its authority as the competition’s best with a big win over its nearest rival, Tiwi managed a meaningful win at home, St Mary’s jumped into second, and Waratah got up in a bottom three clash.

TIWI BOMBERS 4.7 | 9.8 | 11.12 | 15.15 (105)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 3.3 | 7.6 | 8.9 | 13.13 (91)

GOALS:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti 2, M. Kantilla 2, R. Tungatalum 2, H. Puruntatameri 2, D. Munkara 2, A. Wonaeamirri 2, P. Heenan, B. Rioli, D. Daniels
Darwin: D. Stafford 6, A. McAdam 2, D. Shillabeer 2, J. Niki, C. Williams, B. Culhane

BEST:

Tiwi: A. Darcy, A. Hams, R. Baird, J. Puruntatameri, H. Puruntatameri, R. Farmer
Darwin: N/A

Tiwi earned some breathing space in the NTFL top five with a hard-earned win over Darwin at home, putting the Bombers six points clear of the bottom three. The home side’s transition running proved too much throughout, powering it to a 15.15 (105) to 13.13 (91) result.

The Bombers managed to stay just enough ahead at every break, opening up a 10-point gap in the first term and building on it with each passing stanza. A late surge from the Buffs proved too little, too late, with Tiwi holding on under pressure and Darwin left to rue some missed opportunities. An impressive six players booted two goals each for Tiwi, but it was Alastair Darcy, Ashton Hams, and Rodney Baird who were named best for their efforts further afield. Bomber Michael Kantilla was also recognised with a rising star nomination. For Darwin, key forward Daniel Stafford did most of the damage with six goals, with fellow bigman Darren Shillabeer managing two but both spurning some good chances. Christopher Williams was his usual self, while Aidan McAdam was lively up forward.

Heading into a crucial clash with St Mary’s, the Buffs will be without Shillabeer after he was offered a two-match ban for umpire abuse, while Donga Maymuru sustained a horror knee injury and is set for a long spell on the sidelines. With no such concerns, Tiwi will look to further cement its spot in the top five next when when it does battle with Wanderers at Tiwi Oval.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 4.1 | 5.2 | 7.3 | 10.5 (65)
ST MARY’S 5.3 | 10.9 | 14.10 | 17.14 (116)

GOALS:

Palmerston: B. Church 3, A. Davey, M. Bunworth, W. Shadforth, A. Diamond, E. Frank, J. Patrick, J. Thompson
St Mary’s: D. Johnstone 4, J. Calder 4, S. Rioli 3, N. Paredes 2, J. Long, N. Yarran, L. Larson, J. Cheek

BEST:

Palmerston: A. Diamond, B. Church, J. Rhodes, J. Patrick, W. Shadforth, J. Berry
St Mary’s: J. Geary, R. Smith, D. Armitage, N. Paredes, J. Calder, B. Slater

St Mary’s pounced back into second spot with a comfortable 51-point win over the lowly Palmerston Magpies, keeping touch with Nightcliff in the process. The Saints were far too good in the 17.14 (116) to 10.5 (65) win, posing a host of attacking threats and maintaining a dour defence when it mattered.

After a competitive start, St Mary’s broke away in the second term with five goals to one, building a base for its winning margin and setting the tone for the rest of the game. Another one-sided term put the result all but beyond doubt, with Palmerston lacking answers to the scoreboard pressure. Dylan Johnstone and Jackson Calder shared almost half of the Saints’ goals with four apiece, backing up from big hauls last week. Shannon Rioli was also among the goals (three), but it was Jackson Geary and Ryan Smith who again went one and two in the best ahead of David Armitage. Broderick Church was the answer up forward for Palmerston as he notched three majors, leading a pack of eight individual goalkickers. Adam Diamond continued his good form to be named the Magpies’ best, with Jack Berry also featuring once again.

The Magpies’ search for a maiden win will not get any easier before the new year with Nightcliff next in their sights, making for a scary proposition. On the other hand, the Saints play off against a fellow finals-bound side next time out in the form of Darwin, just as the race for second hots up.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 3.1 | 4.4 | 5.7 | 8.7 (55)
NIGHTCLIFF 3.1 | 6.4 | 11.5 | 14.9 (93)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: W. Farrer 3, R. O’Brien 2, J. Farrer, B. Schwarze, D. Williams
Nightcliff: M. Hagan 3, T. Melville 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, C. Ilett 2, B. Grewar, S. Wilson, M. Bricknell, J. Butcher, D. Bowles

BEST:

Southern Districts: R. O’Brien, B. Schwarze, T. Holman, J. Farrer, D. McLachlan
Nightcliff: C. Ilett, B. Grewar, L. Masters, D. Bowles, Z. Brain, L. Holt-Fitz

Nightcliff put its foot down as the team to beat, trumping Southern Districts by 38 points in a top of the table clash. The Tigers were ultra-impressive going both ways, sealing the 14.9 (93) to 8.7 (55) result in style to go eight points clear on top.

A stalemate first term and close second stanza saw the Crocs remain within striking distance at two goals adrift as Nightcliff’s defence held strong, but a five-goal to one third term broke the game open for the winners. It was elementary to finish off, with Southern Districts unable to chew into the lead far enough as the Tigers remained on the pulse. Nine individual goal kickers were led by Michael Hagan‘s bag of three for Nightcliff, teaming well with the likes of Liam Holt-Fitz. Cam Ilett also troubled the scorers and was named best afield, with ex-Williamstown forward Leigh Masters also among the action. Will Farrer produced a couple of highlights on his way to nabbing three goals for Southern Districts, with fellow goalkickers Rory O’Brien, Josiah Farrer and Beau Schwarze also influential.

With the result putting them in third, the Crocs will look to bounce back against Waratah next time out, but may have their work cut out for them with the Warriors coming off an impressive win despite their bottom three status. Meanwhile, Nightcliff will look to finish its year on a high when it faces bottom side, Palmerston on Sunday night.

WARATAH 3.3 | 4.8 | 12.11 | 14.14 (98)
WANDERERS 0.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 | 9.12 (66)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Ankers 4, K. McBean 2, K. Kantilla 2, H. Kerinaiua, S. Godden, D. Collis, B. Zobel, D. Booth, W. Gorman
Wanderers: W. Williams 3, S. Tipiloura 3, D. Thompson, S. Motlop, K. Fejo

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Wanderers: W. Williams, B. McLean, W. Yunupingu, E. Colley, D. Thompson

Waratah kept its thin finals hopes alive with a win over fellow bottom three side, Wanderers to the tune of 32 points. The Warriors answered each Muk Muks charge, coming out comfortable 14.14 (98) to 9.12 (66) winners in the end.

In a game with heavy momentum swings, Wanderers hit back after a goalless opening term to head into the main break just three points behind. But another big quarter from Waratah, with eight goals to two, put it 40 points to the good with time running out for the Muk Muks. It proved a bridge too far, with a spread of nine goalkickers helping Waratah boot the winning score. Abe Ankers led the way once again with four majors, while dangerous smalls Kim Kantilla and Henry Kerinaiua also found the big sticks. It was less of an even spread for the Eagles, with three goals apiece from Warwick Williams and Stanley Tipiloura very useful nonetheless. Braedon McLean was again influential, but the very young Eagles side just could not perform consistently enough over the four quarters.

Drawing within two points of Wanderers with the win, Waratah next faces Southern Districts in a tough assignment, while the Eagles have the equally tough task of taking on Tiwi as they look to steady their season and break back into the top five.

NTFL Men’s Premier League wrap: Round 7 – Saints hand Tigers first loss

NIGHTCLIFF’s perfect record is no longer after St Mary’s handed the Tigers their first loss of the 2019/20 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League season. Darwin got one back on Wanderers in the round’s other top five clash, while Waratah won big and Tiwi nabbed an upset win over Southern Districts. It was an historic weekend too, with the NTFL hosting its inaugural Indigenous Round with great success.

WARATAH 3.2 | 8.4 | 13.7 | 17.10 (112)
PALMERSTON 0.0 | 0.2 | 1.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Waratah: K. Kantilla 6, A. Ankers 3, T. Schmid 2, S. Godden 2, H. Kerinaiua, T. Mosquito, M. Blake, J. Schaper
Palmerston: J. Brauman, K. Emery, B. Church

BEST:

Waratah: K. Kantilla, A. Ankers, T. Mosquito, H. Kerinaiua, B. Minkulk
Palmerston: J. Brauman, J. Berry, R. Mungatopi, S. Brock, M. Chester, A. Diamond

Waratah won convincingly in the first ever NTFL Indigenous Round fixture, thumping Palmerston by 89 points at TIO Stadium under Friday night lights. The win is the Warrior’s second in as many weeks, consigning fellow bottom two battler Palmerston to its seventh defeat via a 17.10 (122) to 3.5 (23) scoreline.

A goalless first half from the Magpies meant there was no answer for Waratah’s physicality and nous around goal, with the Warriors piling on eight unanswered majors to head into the main break 50 points to the good. It was smooth sailing from there as the Warriors put on another nine goals to finish the game, with Palmerston finally getting on the board in the third term and finishing just shy of a four-goal total – its lowest for the season. Kim Kantilla lead the onslaught with six goals, followed by Abe Ankers‘ three to be joined in the best by the likes of Timothy Mosquito, Henry Kerinaiua, and Brendon Minkulk. Jack Brauman was Palmerston’s best as one of the Magpies’ three goalkickers, with the winless side unable to find the inspiration forward of centre to match Waratah’s firepower on the day.

With two wins under their belts, the Warriors will be looking to build a top five charge when they face Darwin next time out after having a Round 3 win against the Buffs revoked for a team sheet mishap. Meanwhile, Palmerston’s search for a maiden win continues into Round 8 as it hosts Southern Districts on Saturday evening.

TIWI BOMBERS 4.1 | 7.5 | 10.8 | 14.11 (95)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 0.6 | 2.9 | 4.10 | 8.12 (60)

GOALS:

Tiwi: D. Munkara 4, A. Darcy 2, A. Tipungwuti 2, R. Tungatalum 2, T. Bell, P. Heenan, L. Howe, B. Puruntatameri
Southern Districts: W. Farrer 3, S. Barnett 2, N. Rokahr, B. Schwarze, D. Williams

BEST:

Tiwi: A. Tipungwuti, J. Puruntatameri, M. Dunn, D. Munkara, J. Mullins, D. McLinden
Southern Districts: M. Bowden, N. Rokahr, D. Williams, T. Holman, J. Farrer, B. Lake

Tiwi pulled off the upset of the season thus far with a big win over strong finals hopeful Southern Districts on Saturday afternoon. The Bombers made better of their chances compared to the wasteful Crocs, kicking away early on the way to a 14.11 (95) to 8.12 (60) win.

The hosts found themselves in the lead at quarter time despite managing one less scoring shot as the Crocs went goalless, and zipped out to a 26-point buffer at the main break with just one more scoring shot. It was elementary from there-on, with Tiwi’s consistent scoreboard pressure proving too much for last year’s grand finalists as they tried to mount any form of a comeback. A high-scoring final term did little to pretty up the scoreboard, with Tiwi consolidating the 35-point final margin.

Dion Munkara booted four goals to lead the Bombers’ charge, joined in the best by fellow multiple goalkicker Adam Tipungwuti. Ross Tungatalum continued his consistent run of goalkicking form with another two majors, while Jason Puruntatameri was again among Tiwi’s best. Will Farrer (three goals) and Sam Barnett (two) did their best to fire up forward for the Crocs to no real avail, while Michael Bowden was named their best in the loss along with the likes of Nikolaus Rokahr, Thomas Holman and promising youngster Brodie Lake.

The win sees Tiwi keep pace with the finals pack, just half a game away from Wanderers in fifth. A meeting with traditional rival St Mary’s is up next, with the Bombers already boasting a win over the Saints. Southern Districts will look to bounce back when it travels to face the winless Palmerston, hoping to remain firmly in the rear-view mirror of the top two sides.

DARWIN BUFFALOES 3.2 | 5.7 | 10.9 | 15.12 (102)
WANDERERS 2.2 | 4.5 | 6.8 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:

Darwin: D. Shillabeer 5, D. Stafford 3, C. Williams 2, I. Seden-Kurnoth, J. Stokes, B. Foster, P. Boles, B. Culhane
Wanderers: J. Jeffrey 5, L. Jurrah 4, K. Fejo, M. Motlop

BEST:

Darwin: I. Seden-Kurnoth, D. Shillabeer, D. Stafford, K. Maroney, T. Fleay
Wanderers: B. O’Connell, L. Patrick, J. Jeffrey, W. Yunupingu

Darwin snapped a three-game losing run in style, bettering Wanderers by 25 points to reclaim fourth place in a true eight-pointer. The Buffs pulled away in the second half to come out 15.12 (102) to 11.11 (77) winners, saluting for the fourth time this season.

A close-fought first half saw the Eagles keep within striking distance at around a goal adrift, but the floodgates began to open in the premiership quarter as Darwin kicked away with five goals to two. It proved a defining period of play, but the Buffs made sure of the result by piling on another five majors to see out the game as Wanderers kept on finding avenues to goal in reply.

There were plenty of outstanding efforts in front of goal, headlined by Darren Shillabeer‘s five majors – his first bag of multiple goals for the season. Daniel Stafford (three goals) and Christopher Williams (two) rounded out the Buffs’ multiple goalkickers with the latter named among the best alongside Isaac Seden-Kurnoth and Kevin Maroney. AFL Academy member Joel Jeffrey matched Shillabeer’s five-goal haul as the Eagles’ primary outlet, followed by ex-Dee Liam Jurrah in his return to the side. Fellow returnee Marlon Motlop also found the goals, but all three were beaten out to best-afield honours by Beau O’Connell and Liam Patrick, with Winston Yunupingu also featuring.

With fourth place again theirs, the Buffs will look to break into top two contention with Waratah up next – the side they controversially claimed four points against in Round 3. Wanderers risk dropping out of the finals places next week as it faces Nightcliff, but should come in looking to strike after the Tigers suffered their first loss in the same weekend.

ST MARY’S 2.2 | 5.4 | 8.6 | 15.9 (99)
NIGHTCLIFF 4.4 | 4.4 | 9.6 | 11.6 (72)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Paine 5, L. Larson 3, N. Paredes 2, J. Calder 2, J. Box, J. Cheek, J. Quinn
Nightcliff: T. Melville 3, M. Bricknell 2, D. Bowles, J. Butcher, L. Holt-Fitz, C. Ilett, K. Winter-Irving, D. Joyce

BEST:

St Mary’s: L. Larson, R. Smith, S. Rioli, T. Davies, J. Paine, K. Parnell
Nightcliff: C. Holmes, K. Riley, S. Wilson, P. Wills, K. Winter-Irving, T. Melville

St Mary’s stamped its authority as a genuine premiership threat with a decisive 27-point win over the previously undefeated reigning premiers, Nightcliff. The 15.9 (99) to 11.6 (72) victory was done without Raphael Clarke as a couple of Victorian recruits spearheaded a stacked Saints lineup in his place.

Nightcliff started the stronger of the two sides with four goals to two in the opening term, but were held scoreless in the following stanza as the Saints helped themselves to a slim half time lead. They were made to earn the four points though as the Tigers immediately hit back to reclaim the ascendancy heading into the final term, but seven goals to two to close out the game proved telling in a game of momentum swings.

Former-Pie and Lion forward Jackson Paine booted five goals in a dream debut, while Leroy Larson again found form to be named the Saints’ best for the second week running on the back of three goals. Ryan Smith and Shannon Rioli were others to feature in the best for the second time in as many games, as Paine’s fellow forward addition Jackson Calder also chimed in with two goals. Trent Melville booted three goals to lead Nightcliff’s charge inside 50, but it was Clayton Holmes who was named their best ahead of Kaine Riley – who has been in ripping form of late.

With top spot in their sights, the Saints will also look for redemption in Round 8 as they take on the Tiwi Bombers for the second time this season, while the Tigers are set to do battle with Wanderers and will hope to maintain their gap at the top.

2018/19 NTFL Men’s preview

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

Darwin Buffaloes

Last year: Grand Finalists

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

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

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

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

Nightcliff

Last year: Preliminary Final

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

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

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

 

Palmerston

Last year: Wooden spoon

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

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

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

 

St Marys

Last year: Semi-Final

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

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

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

 

Southern Districts

Last year: Premiers

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

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

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

 

Tiwi Bombers

Last year: Elimination final

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

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

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

 

Wanderers

Last year: Seventh

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

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

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

 

Waratah

Last year: Sixth

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

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

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