Author: Michael Alvaro

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 7

ROUND 7 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action sees the battle for ascendancy around the last finals spot heat up, while those in the top three will hope to get back on winning runs and keep tabs on the undefeated Southern Districts.

TIWI BOMBERS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Tiwi Bombers will be looking to claim a second consecutive win when after breaking its season duck last time out, coming up against a formidable Darwin outfit. The Buffaloes enjoyed a bounce-back victory last round too, overcoming fellow finals contenders Waratah to steer a game clear of the Warriors in third. While it looks a mismatch on paper and ladder position, Tiwi found a groove in their last outing and will have a spring in its step as it faces a Darwin team that is struggling to regain its early season form after hitting a slight speed bump.

The Buffaloes have class on each line, with AFL experience in the form of Joe Anderson and Matt Campbell seeing them through, while ex-Roo Michael Firrito has been a handy recent addition to the back half. The real x-factor on show will come from an in-form Adam Sambono, one of the league’s prime movers who is hot off a best-afield four-goal haul. An exciting clash also looms between two of the NT’s best youngsters in Darwin’s Malcolm Rosas and Tiwi’s Round 6 rising star nominee Jeffrey Simon, who can both win their own ball and stand up against mature bodies. Tiwi will be hoping that its own ex-AFL regular in Austin Wonaeamirri can continue to contribute to the scoreboard, while Simon Munkara will have to do the same up forward with supply from Jason Puruntatameri. Dion Munkara would also be a welcome addition, and could help the Bombers match Darwin’s firepower.

Darwin will be confident of getting back on a winning run here, but the Bombers are always a dangerous opponent and now have that winning feeling. Hopefully it’s a good spectacle to open the round and a TIO Stadium triple-header.

 

WANDERERS v. NIGHTCLIFF
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 5pm
TIO Stadium

Wanderers will face a tough task in building on its only win for the season, battling against premiership contenders Nightcliff on Saturday. The Eagles suffered a loss against the improving Palmerston Magpies in their last bout, and with Tiwi posting its first win of the year, now sit bottom of the table. While Nightcliff also narrowly lost at the hands of a dominant Southern Districts side, they have looked a clear superior unit to most of the competition having even taken Darwin out in Round 5.

The consistent firepower of the Tigers forward of centre makes them tricky opposition, with spearhead Trent Melville looking to bounce back to his usual form after a quiet game last time out. The likes of speedy youngster Liam Holt-Fitz, Brodie Filo and Shaun Wilson have also repeatedly featured in the best, and will have to stand up once again if Nightcliff are to make a return statement. Wanderers don’t necessarily have the same potency around the ground, but will look for a spark from Keelan Fejo and Joel Jeffrey with key figure Marlon Motlop out of the side over the last two weeks along with cousin, Shannon and ex-Sun Liam Patrick, who has only played once.

Another mismatch on paper looms in this fixture, and Nightcliff will surly be breathing fire after a tight loss to the Crocs, but Wanderers will hope to put up a good fight here and climb off the bottom, as it searches for its first win since Round 1.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES v. ST MARYS
Round 7 – Saturday November 17, 7:30pm
TIO Stadium

A battle for the last finals spot looms in the last fixture of Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header, with a confident Palmerston clashing against St Marys. The Saints became Tiwi Bombers’ first victim for season 2019, a loss that would hurt greatly given how St Marys had found form of late and were pushing hard for fifth place. On the other hand, Palmerston managed to string a couple of wins together to pip this weekend’s opponent in terms of ladder position, and look a lively part of the tussle for ascendancy from fourth to sixth.

The Magpies’ key man this year has been Bundoora Bulls stalwart Matthew Dennis, who has put in workmanlike performances in some blown-out losses this year. As their form has turned, the likes of Rodney Baird and the dangerous Davey brothers have stepped up, with goal machine Kyle Emery a constant threat up forward. Hoping to quell Palmerston’s new-found firepower will be Saints veteran Raphael Clarke, who has held down the defensive fort all season. Further up the ground, Gippsland Power product Nathaniel Paredes has been dominant, while even younger talent in Maurice Rioli Jnr and Brayden Rioli should provide a bit of x-factor going forward.

This should be the most hotly contested game of the round, with both sides eager to claim that elusive fifth spot and earn a finals appearance. While Palmerston are the form side, St Marys have match-winners on each line that could prove the difference in a close encounter.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. WARATAH
Round 7 – Sunday November 17, 4pm
Norbuilt Oval

Southern Districts will be keen to keep their perfect record in tact when they close out the round against Waratah at Norbuilt Oval. The Crocs have been a class above this season in beating all comers with relative ease, including seeing off their two most dangerous challengers – Darwin, and most recently, Nightcliff. Waratah come in having pushed the Buffaloes all the way last time out, and sit just off the top three as the ‘best of the rest’.

Dean Staunton and Shane Thorne continue to dominate for the Crocs, with draft hopeful Michael Mummery coming into form alongside Charles McAdam. Goalkicking ace Bradley Vallance will also look to bounce back from a goalless return last time out, with the likes of ex-Bomber Leroy Jetta still set to return and provide even more firepower. The key men for Waratah will be Cameron Barrett, who consistently hits the scoreboard alongside Lachlan Collihole and Raven Jolliffe. While they do not do massive damage on the scoreboard, the Warriors have multiple avenues to goal and will need to find them on repeat to match the dangerous Districts lineup.

While this may be a key fixture for Waratah given Palmerston and St Marys are vying for their position in fourth, Southern Districts will be looking to see out yet another victory with as little fuss as possible.

AFL Draft preview: Gold Coast SUNS

AFTER a disappointing season on-field and the resultant post-season exodus, Gold Coast Suns have plenty of gaps to fill come draft time – with the appropriate firepower early on to pick up some serious future a-graders. Most positions are there to be hit, and the Suns’ early picks could play a major part in shaping the rest of the top 10.

List Needs:

  • Key defender
  • Midfield depth
  • Key forward
  • Intercept defender

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 2, 3, 6, 24, 29, 80

With Carlton set to take Sam Walsh with the first selection of the draft, Gold Coast are afforded the opportunity to package a couple of elite talents with the following two picks. A combination of South Australians Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, and Connor Rozee look most likely to head to the sunshine state at this stage, and all possess rare qualities in their respective games. Lukosius has been touted by some as the number one talent in the draft – widely compared to St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt on account of his cleanliness overhead and leading patterns, while having the added potential to move back or onto a wing. A ‘once in a generation’ prospect, Lukosius would slot straight into the hole left by ex-skipper Tom Lynch as a ready-made player who has experience against mature bodies in the SANFL. Midfielders Rankine and Rozee are vastly different, but both have the capability to double as forwards as they develop. Rankine has long been a prodigious talent, with his exceptional skills and x-factor on full show during his stand-out National Championship performance against Vic Metro, where he snared five goals. Rozee would be a sure bet at either pick three or six, possessing the leadership qualities Gold Coast desperately needs on top of a good balance of inside and outside traits.

Should the Suns steer away from a South Australian with pick six, Vic Country’s Jye Caldwell is one who remains right in the top 10 mix despite an injury plagued season, and has the same leadership qualities as Rozee to go with his complete midfield game. Tasmanian Chayce Jones is another in the same mould who has shot up draft boards of late, and Gold Coast could do worse than to snap him up given the ‘go home’ factor is a non-issue here. Another midfield talent that could be considered is Sandringham’s Bailey Smith, whose contested ball and tackle numbers are a class above. Either way, some top-end midfield talent is something most teams can’t get enough of, and the flexibility of each player listed is invaluable.

With key forward stocks taken care of early on, Gold Coast could look to sure up their back half with two selections in the 20’s. Pick 24 will slide given the amount of father-son and academy picks set to come in the first round, but a player like South Australia’s Jez McLennan would perfectly fit a need and should be available around that mark. A clean user and apt intercept marker, McLennan was an integral part of SA’s winning Championship team who can fill the gap left by Kade Kolodjashnij. Along those lines, West Australian Damon Greaves could be one the Suns target with pick 29 due to his marking prowess and rebound ability. With a need for key defenders, mobile back Jacob Koschitzke could be one they take early as one of the better options in that position, given a bid on Collingwood father-son Will Kelly will inevitably be matched.

Depending on what they do with pick six, a midfielder could still be on the cards here too, with the likes of Liam Stocker, Xavier O’Halloran, and Ned McHenry all viable ball-winning options with upside. The Suns could also mix things up with a bid on Bailey Scott at 24 or 29, who came through their academy but opted to nominate North Melbourne as his club of choice. Speaking of academy picks, Dirk Koenen should be on the board at the Suns’ final selection (80), and his availability could dictate whether they target defenders earlier. Caleb Graham and Lachlan McDonald are other possibilities for a rookie spots having received State Combine invites, while at least one other club is interested in Ryan Gilmore given he tested at the Rookie Me combine.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 6

WITH one side breaking their duck for season 2019, another remains undefeated having knocked off their closest challenger to end Round 6 action. All four games were close, with the old names we have come to expect all putting their hands up at vital moments.

TIWI BOMBERS 14.10 (94)
ST MARYS 10.13 (73)

GOALS:
Tiwi Bombers: G. Cunningham 3, P. Puautjimi 2, K. Kantilla 2, S. Munkara 2, W. Huddleston, M. Cooper, A. Wonaeamirri, J. Munkara, K. Darcy.
St Marys: N. Paredes 2, B. Ah Mat 2, M. Wilkinson 2, R. Mc Murray, J. McMurtrie, B. Rioli, S. Lampton.

BEST:
Tiwi Bombers: L. Wale-Buxton, M. Cooper, J. Puruntatameri, P. Puautjimi, B. Palipuaminni, S. Munkara
St Marys: M. Rioli Jnr, N. Paredes, S. Rioli, B. Ah Mat, S. Edwards, J. Long

Tiwi Bombers finally broke its season duck with a spirited win over an in-form St Marys side to open the weekend’s action. The Saints gave it their best shot, trailing for most of the match and by 16 points at the half. But the Bombers were determined to break through and held their position, running out 21-point winners to scrape off the bottom of the ladder.

16 year-old star Jeffrey Simon earned a rising star nomination in just his second game for Tiwi, attacking the ball hard and following the example of idols Austin Wonaeamirri and Simon Munkara well. Munkara was one of three players to claim two goals alongside Pio Puautjimi and Kim Kantilla, while Gerrard Cunningham was the standout goalkicker with three. For St Marys, a couple of prodigies with famous names again stood out, with Maurice Rioli Jnr claiming best afield honours and Brayden Rioli again hitting the scoreboard. TAC Cup graduate Nathaniel Paredes was up to his usual standard in booting two goals alongside Braxton Ah Mat, while Shannon Rioli and Jack Long were also among the best.

The win sees Tiwi climb to second bottom, equal with Wanderers on a sole win, while St Marys fall to sixth as the only side with two wins.

 

WANDERERS 6.8 (44)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 8.15 (63)

GOALS:
Wanderers: K. Fejo 2, N. Mansell 2, J. Jeffrey, T. Motlop.
Palmerston: K. Emery 3, P. Nash, S. Talbot, A. Davey, J. Lampton, S. Brock.

BEST:
Wanderers: W. Yunupingu, D. Weetra, N. Mansell, M. Totham, A. Motlop
Palmerston: N/A

Palmerston snared its second win on the trot with a close win over now-bottom side Wanderers at TIO Stadium. It was hardly comfortable for the Magpies, who were wasteful in front of goal in the first half but remained unpunished as they maintained a steady enough lead to see out the game 19 points ahead.

Kyle Emery was again the star for Palmerston, continuing his prolific scoring form with a bag of three. The Magpies’ usual suspects were also amongst it, with Matthew Dennis strong in the ruck, Alwyn Davey thriving alongside brother Aaron, and Rodney Baird putting in another solid shift. Nook Mansell was one of the best afield for the Eagles, booting two goals along with the dangerous Keelan Fejo. Youngster Joel Jeffrey again found himself in the goals, while Winston Yunupingu and Daniel Weetra were judged their best.

Palmerston rise into the finals spots with the win, equal fourth with Waratah. Meanwhile, Wanderers fall to the bottom of the pile with another loss, sitting below Tiwi by percentage.

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES 12.11 (83)
WARATAH 10.10 (70)

GOALS:
Darwin: A. Sambono 4, J. Clark 2, I. Palmer, S. Ahmat, B. Mitchell, R. O’Sullivan.
Waratah: H. Kerinaiua 2, C. Barrett 2, J. Neagle, T. Mosquito, B. Rayson, S. Weddell, M. Blake, L. Collihole.

BEST:
Darwin: A. Sambono, J. Anderson, M. Firrito, M. Campbell, R. O’Sullivan, B. Mitchell
Waratah: A. Ankers, T. Arundell, T. Mosquito, C. Barrett, J. Neagle

Darwin Buffaloes bounced back from last week’s defeat with a strong win over fellow finals hopeful, Waratah. Holding a one to two goal lead for most of the game and at every break, the Buffaloes had enough in the tank to answer all the Warriors’ challenges.

The AFL class and experience of Joe Anderson and former Roos Matt Campbell and Michael Firrito shone through, with all three named in the best for Darwin. It was young jet Adam Sambono who proved the biggest handful though, booting a game-high four goals to be named best afield, while Jackson Clark was their only other multiple goalkicker with two. Abraham Ankers was again the best for Waratah, with Cameron Barrett booting two majors to also be named among the best six players, too. Jaxon Neagle, son of late Essendon great Merv, also impressed in his second game, finding the goals and zipping around the gaff alongside the likes of Timothy Mosquito.

Darwin now sits in equal second with Waratah, down on percentage but a game clear of weekend challengers, Waratah in fourth.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 9.10 (64)
NIGHTCLIFF 7.5 (47)

GOALS:
Southern Districts: J. Koopman 2, M. Mummery 2, W. Farrer, L. Ogden, C. Gallio, S. Thorne, D. Staunton,
Nightcliff: M. Bricknell, B. Filo, T. Melville, S. Wilson, L. Holt-Fitz, D. Butcher, F. James.

BEST:
Southern Districts: C. Gallio, S. Thorne, D. Staunton, C. McAdam, S. Smith, S. Martin
Nightcliff: L. Holt-Fitz, C. Holmes, D. Bowles, S. Wilson, B. Filo, S. Deery

Southern Districts maintained their perfect record in season 2019 with a strong win over fellow premiership contenders, Nightcliff in the game of the round. Coming off a rousing win over third-placed Darwin, the Tigers were hoping to claim another win over their close table rivals but the Crocs proved too good once again. Having conceded a first break lead, Southern Districts responded well from there, on, chipping away against constant Nightcliff challenges. The margin got out to 17 points in the end, one of the biggest of the game to see it out.

Draft hopeful Michael Mummery was one of two multiple goalkickers on the day alongside Jess Koopman with two majors each. Clinton Gallio was named best afield in front of the ever-consistent Shane Thorne and Dean Staunton for the Crocs, with all three also finding the goals. Charles McAdam was another to impress, while youngster Liam Holt-Fitz was the best for Nightcliff alongside the likes of Clayton Holmes, Shaun Wilson and Brodie Filo, while goal-machine Trent Melville was down on his usual best but still managed a goal.

The win pits the Crocs two games clear atop the NTFL table, while Nightcliff are their closest challengers, equal second with four wins alongside Darwin.

AFL Draft preview: Geelong

AFTER a disappointing campaign that saw the Cats sneak just inside the top eight, fans were keen to see what their side could do come trade period and now, draft time. Having targeted elite midfield talent in the past, they look set to continue down that path with their first pick, while bids for their father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospects will both come later on. To get the most out of their haul, the Cats will have to get creative and look towards the future with who they select.

List Needs:

  • Best available but looking at:
    • Midfield depth
    • Ruck/Key Forward
    • Key defenders
    • Running defenders

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 12, 50, 51, 70, 87

While there are not any glaring holes in Geelong’s best 22 on paper with the recruits of Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan as pressure forwards, they will look to add depth to many positions with the future firmly in their focus as some of their brightest stars age.

The Cats look destined to select a midfielder with their first pick, and South Australian Jackson Hately looks a good fit at this stage. The 190cm contested ball winner had an outstanding National Championships in the star-studded SA midfield, but also showed he can play his trade on the outside if required. A ready-made prospect, Hately can match it with the bigger bodies having played 12 SANFL League games this year, and could well make it past picks nine and 11 held by the respective Adelaide sides. Tasmanian Chayce Jones and Vic Metro representative Riley Collier-Dawkins are well in the mix for top 10 honours, but would also be suitable picks for the Cats should they slip down the rankings. Both Jones and Collier-Dawkins have high ceilings and have proven they can play forward which could be handy as Geelong’s star midfielders move on in the coming years. Morrish Medallist Liam Stocker is the other pure midfield option at the high end of the draft, and is right in the top 15 mix. A potential draft bolter could be Western Jets’ excitement machine Zak Butters who they might consider at the pick.

The Cats then have a break until Round 3 action, where they hold picks 50 and 51. The pick swap for number 51 with Collingwood allowed the Pies to gain points for their own NGA and father-son nominees, but will provide good insurance for the Cats if a bid comes early for Oscar Brownless. The son of Billy, Oscar has a great tank and tackles well as an outside midfielder who can move forward. Geelong’s remaining Round 3 pick could be used on a fellow Falcons product, with the likes of Brayden Ham and Charlie Sprague adding x-factor and continuing the Cats’ good relationship with their TAC Cup affiliates. Should they look to add defensive depth, the dynamic Connor Idun is another Falcon who represented Vic Country and positions himself well at either end.

On the topic of key defensive depth, TAC Cup graduates Kyle Reid and James Blanck are prospects who had impressive National Championships with Country and Metro respectively. Gippsland’s Reid is more of a traditional defender who does all of the right things in the defensive 50 and rebounds calmly, while Eastern’s Blanck has great closing speed and can dominate in the air. Both could be available up to pick 70, and would be safe bets at that stage. The Cats may also be interested in South Australian Callum Wilkie, who was a prolific junior. The North Adelaide best and fairest was outstanding in his side’s premiership year, averaging 25.5 disposals and 8.6 marks as a third-up defender who can also play forward.

The Cats should then be left with a free shot at NGA prospect Blake Schlensog with pick 87 – another Geelong Falcon. Schlensog plies his trade as a ruck/forward and while he may be slightly undersized in the ruck at the next level, he showed his best form there.

2018 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton

HAVING hit the draft hard in previous years, the Blues targeted a different age bracket in this trade period and may well do the same come draft time. Should Pick 1 remain in the bag, it looks like Carlton will have an obvious choice, and the three late picks they hold allow them to either give a mature-age state league player an opportunity, or find an Under 18 diamond in the rough.

List Needs:

  • Inside midfielders
  • Outside midfielders
  • Small forwards
  • Medium forwards

 

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 1, 69, 71, 77

We may as well get it out of the way early – should Carlton hold onto Pick 1, they look more than likely to select Sam Walsh. The Vic Country and Geelong Falcons co-captain won basically every individual award available to him, while only narrowly missing out on the Morrish Medal for the TAC Cup best and fairest. Walsh provides an outstanding mix of inside ball-winning and outside class, looking like a ready-made and reliable 200-game prospect.

The Blues can then put their feet up until Round 4, with their next selection coming at Pick 69. Another certainty looms with their late picks as the Blues have nominated father-son prospect Ben Silvagni for the National Draft, meaning they must take him should he not receive a bid from another club. Other late options with Carlton connections include Subiaco midfielder Wil Hickmott, who impressed in the WAFL Colts but missed out on a father-son nomination, and Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, who is the son of ex-Blue, Brett.

That leaves two free-reign late selections. Given the constant need to bulk up their midfield and provide guaranteed ball-winning support to newly appointed co-captain Patrick Cripps, Carlton should jump at the opportunity to bring in some much needed depth.

They may look at bringing in some clearance grunt, with the likes of Dandenong’s Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan likely to still be on the board, while interstate prospects Tom Lewis and Rylie Morgan are also ones who could provide midfield strength. Mitch Podhajski is another who has thrived in his overage year, with his experience at VFL outfit Coburg suggesting he can match it with mature bodies. Should they look towards outside run, Walsh’s Falcons teammate Brayden Ham is a player with great upside as an athletic phenom. Daly Andrews and Jacob Atley are options who can also drift forward from a wing, with Bendigo’s Atley looking to join his two brothers in the AFL and continue Carlton’s recent trend of picking Pioneers.

While they may look to cover a couple of bases with the aforementioned names, the only other area Carlton may want to bolster is its forward stocks. They look set in terms of talls with the recent addition of Mitch McGovern, but the Blues could look to a couple of established state league players to fill out the forward 50. Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra is a player who has long been touted as an AFL-level prospect, while Northern Blues general forward Jesse Palmer is one who can provide a third marking option after leading his side’s goalkicking.

Other state league players worth a look include ex-Crow and two time Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg, as well as Cavarra’s Williamstown teammate Brett Bewley. Both could provide the midfield depth Carlton is after, while also fitting the age profile that needs bolstering most. With two selections all but in the book, the Blues will have to be crafty with their two remaining National Draft selections, and could use their rookie selections on state league players hungry for the opportunity. They will also have the option to continue their recent preference of packaging players from one or two sides, and it could pay dividends.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 6

A top of the table clash headlines the Round 6 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League action, with only one undefeated side remaining at the top end, while the current cellar dwellers continue their hunt for four points.

TIWI BOMBERS v. ST MARYS

Round 6 – Saturday November 10, 2pm

Tiwi Oval

Tiwi Bombers is still searching for its first win in season 2019, but faces stiff competition in doing so in the form of a surging St Marys side. The Saints are fresh off their second consecutive victory having beaten top-four side Waratah in Round 5, and have found another gear with the addition of exciting forward, Brayden Rioli – the brother of Richmond’s Daniel. The 16 year old booted three goals last time out to earn a rising star nomination, feeding off of the form of fellow Rioli, Shannon, as well as the likes of Nathaniel Paredes and Tylah Saunders who continue to run the engine room. Tiwi most recently had a disappointing loss to Palmerston, but showed signs as their forward line kicked into gear. The Munkaras, Simon and Dionysuis, conjured six goals between them, with Travis Tambling slotting three of his own to complete the trifecta, and they’ll have to hit the scoreboard hard once again if they are to stand any chance in this clash. The Magpies will also look to Alastair Darcy and Adam Tipungwuti to compete in the middle and provide the right service going forward. The form lines may vary between these two sides as it stands, but the contest should provide some decent highlights nonetheless.

 

WANDERERS v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES

Round 6 – Saturday November 10, 2:30pm

TIO Stadium

Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header opener pits two sides towards the bottom end of the table against each other in a game that could have implications on the race for the last finals spot. Wanderers are yet to improve on their Round 1 win over bottom-placed Tiwi, and suffered a comprehensive loss at the hands of Southern Districts last weekend. The Eagles have struggled to trouble the scorers and couldn’t break down the Crocs’ last time out, but will look to the experience of Shannon Motlop and Aaron Motlop, as well as the exuberance of Joel Jeffrey and Keelan Fejo to provide some spark. Palmerston managed to snatch their second win of the year last time out after overcoming Tiwi to jump into sixth spot, left out of the finals places by percentage only. Their star players continue to shine, with the likes of Matthew Dennis and Rodney Baird consistently putting in mammoth shifts, while electrifying goalkicker Kyle Emery will hope to build on his season tally of 11 goals after claiming seven last week. Both teams will be hungry for a win here, with the Magpies looking to enter a run of form, while Wanderers will hope to find their way back onto the winners list once again.

 

DARWIN BUFFALOES v. WARATAH

Round 6 – Saturday November 10, 5pm

TIO Stadium

Both Darwin Buffaloes and Waratah will be looking to bounce back with a win after suffering Round 5 losses, when they meet at TIO Stadium. The Buffaloes have only lost to the two best sides this year, and were simply outgunned by a Nightcliff side with a point to prove last weekend. Meanwhile, Waratah became St Marys’ second victim in as many weeks, falling short against the Brayden Rioli inspired Saints to see their top four buffer shrink to four points. Darwin will be confident of regaining the form that has seen them dominate most of their competition, with the likes of Adam Sambono and Joe Anderson retaining the decent form they’ve already shown this season. There are plenty of other credentialed players in the lineup, with the class of ex AFL-listed forward Lindsay Thomas and young gun Malcolm Rosas sure to shine through. For the Warriors, Lachlan Collihole and Sam Godden continue to find the goals, while Raven Jolliffe has also been thereabouts. They’ll all have to stand up once again if Waratah are to stand a chance, as this strong Darwin unit will surely be breathing fire after last week’s heavy loss.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. NIGHTCLIFF

Round 6 – Saturday November 10, 7:30pm

TIO Stadium

Undefeated ladder leaders Southern Districts meet the in-form, second place Nightliff in what is undoubtedly the match of the round. The Crocs have been near-on unstoppable once again this year, but potentially face their toughest test to date with the Tigers coming off a huge win over fellow top-three contenders, Darwin. Bradley Vallance was in fine form in Southern Districts’ Round 5 win, booting five majors and also earning a play of the round nomination. He’ll look to put on a show once again alongside the likes of Charles McAdam, Shane Thorne, Michael Mummery, and recent inclusion Richard Tambling. The Nightcliff defence will certainly have its hands full, but will look to leading goalkicker Trent Melville to register another bag of goals and help put a score on the board big enough to match what the Crocs usually do. Young speedster Liam Holt-Fitz will also look to contribute up forward with Brodie Filo and Wade Derksen, while Shaun Wilson will hope to back up his Round 5 best-afield performance well. The Tigers will surely revel in the chance to hand Districts its first loss, and they have the in-form firepower to do so having toppled Darwin last week. The Crocs have hardly put a foot wrong though, and will be confident in retaining their perfect record and top spot.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 4

WITH only one undefeated team remaining and one side still looking for a win, Round 4 in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) could well herald some interesting contests.

TIWI BOMBERS v. NIGHTCLIFF

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 2pm

Tiwi Oval

Tiwi Bombers will be looking to break its season duck when it faces Nightcliff at Tiwi Oval in the Round 4 opener. It will be no mean feat though, with the Bombers having to back up a tight loss to the reigning premiers with a strong showing against a strong Nightcliff side that will be breathing fire. The Tigers let a four-goal lead slip to Waratah in Round 3, handing them an improbable first defeat which they will be looking to rectify.

The Bombers’ winless run has not come without promise thus far, with two respectable losses and experienced heads seeing them through. The likes of Adam Tipungwuti, ex-Dee Austin Wonnaeamirri and Jason Puruntatameri will look to stand up once again in this game, while key man Dionysuis Munkara will have to continue his goalscoring form if the Bombers are to put up a big enough score. The forward threat of the Tigers is irresistible though, so you can expect the likes of Trent Melville, Mathew Bricknell, and Liam Holt-Fitz to trouble the scorers plenty if the Tigers get on top. Meanwhile, Kaine Riley, Jess Budarick, and TAC Cup graduate James Tsitas should prove to be key factors in the battle further up the ground.

There is certainly plenty on the line for both sides, and it will take a special performance from Tiwi to topple the Tigers if they can roar again.

 

WARATAH v. WANDERERS

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 5pm

TIO Stadium

Waratah will be hoping to strengthen their position in the finals race with a win over Wanderers, who are coming off two-straight losses having only beat the bottom side. The Warriors had an outstanding victory last time out as they toppled the Tigers in an impressive last-quarter comeback, making it two consecutive wins after a shock loss to Palmerston in Round 1.

Waratah’s Lachlan Collihole will look to continue his consistent goalscoring form having bagged eight in his three games, with Raven Jollife and Cameron Barrett others who could follow suit and help the Warriors gain ascendency. For Wanderers, look for Marlon Motlop to provide some spark up forward alongside Patrick Fairhead, with exciting youngsters Joel Jeffrey and Tyrell Lui also showing glimpses of form.

There’s two ways of looking at this contest – the first being that it poises the bottom two finals sides against each other, and the second being that it pits the weakest top four side against the strongest bottom four side. Either way, it looks like it could be a tight tussle on paper and should play a key role in shaping the last couple of finals spots.

 

ST MARYS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES

Round 4 – Saturday October 27, 7:30pm

TIO Stadium

In the second game of Saturday night’s TIO Stadium double-header, St Marys will seek to continue its momentum when they tussle with the tough Darwin Buffaloes outfit. The Buffaloes are back to their best after dropping their opening game to the surging reigning premiers, holding the best percentage in the league thus far from second spot. The Saints possess an opposite form line, but have shown glimpses of promise across their three games which eventually culminated in a win and jump to sixth place.

The stacked Buffaloes lineup features stars on each line, with a particularly dangerous forward half. The likes of Christopher Williams and Adam Sambono hit the scoreboard well last week, while Jarrod Stokes has found himself in the best two of three times with a pair of two-goal hauls and 16 year-old prodigy Malcolm Rosas has been exciting. Unlike Darwin, St Marys has been far from prolific in from of goal, but will be confident of quelling their opposition’s forward threat with the AFL experience of Raphael Clarke down back. Anthony Wilson was best-on in his first game for the year last week, and the likes of Nathaniel Parades and Ben Taylor will hope to make a similar impact given their solid form.

While scoring power is the obvious difference between the sides here, competitiveness is not lost on the mighty St Marys side, so expect them to put up a good fight against the Buffaloes.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES

Round 4 – Sunday October 28, 4pm

Norbuilt Oval

Sunday’s only fixture pits the irresistible force that is Southern Districts against second-bottom Palmerston Magpies. The Crocs have accounted for each of the three sides they’ve faced to remain as the only undefeated side for the year, but it hasn’t come without challenge. On the other hand, Palmerston face another tough ask having comfortably lost consecutive games to Darwin and Nightcliff after their stirring Round 1 win.

The key men for the Crocs include the likes of Bradley Vallance, who has two bags of three goals, fellow goalkicker William Farrer, and Samuel Smith. They will also hope to welcome ex-Bomber Leroy Jetta back to the fold. For the Magpies, Matthew Dennis will have to stand tall once again if they are to stand any chance, with Clarence Baird and Rodney Baird sure to provide assistance. Former AFL star Alwyn Davey will also hope to nab a goal or two alongside Ezekiel Frank.

It’s hard to ignore Southern Districts’ form, and the Magpies have slumped recently, but there is enough talent in their side to suggest they can put up a fight against the mighty Crocs.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League saw the competition’s best stamp their authority against persistent opponents, while one side managed a massive come from behind upset on Sunday.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 13.13 (91)
TIWI BOMBERS 10.7 (67)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: W. Farrer 3, B. Vallance 3, C. McAdam 3, D. McLachlan 2, B. Rusca, S. Thorne.
Tiwi: R. Tungatalum 2, D. Munkara 2, A. Wonaeamirri 2, A. Tipungwuti 2, H. Puruntatameri, D. Anderson.

BEST:

Southern Districts: D. Staunton, S. Smith, C. Gallio, D. McLachlan, C. McAdam, S. Rusca
Tiwi: D. Munkara, J. Puruntatameri, T. Tambling, A. Darcy, M. Cooper

Southern Districts continued its winning ways with a hard-fought 24-point win over Tiwi Bombers in Saturday’s round opener at TIO Stadium. The Bombers were no pushovers, proving pesky as they hung in there and went close to matching it with the reigning premiers in each interval.

Despite managing one more scoring shot in the first term, the Bombers found themselves behind to the Crocs’ 3.1 at the first break. While Southern Districts suffered a dose of the same inefficiency in the following quarter, they matched Tiwi’s three goals to extend their lead to 14 points heading into half-time. The steady lead-building continued after the break too, with the Crocs again booting 3.5, and then another four goals in the final term to graft out the eventual 24-point margin that got them over the line.

Dean Staunton was judged the winners’ best in his standout performance for the year, while Charles McAdam, Brad Vallance, and Will Farrer each booted three goals in a solid collective performance forward of centre. Dylan McLachlan was their only other multiple goal kicker with two, also managing a spot in the bests. For Tiwi, Dionysuis Munkara claimed his second-straight best-on honour with another two goals, while ex-Dee Austin Wonaeamirri, Ross Tungatalum and Adam Tipungwuti each matched his goal haul.

The win sees the Crocs stand alone atop of the ladder as the only remaining undefeated team, with Tiwi showing opposite form as the only winless side.

 

WANDERERS 7.6 (48)
ST MARYS 8.13 (61)

GOALS:

Wanderers: P. Fairhead 2, M. Motlop 2, J. Walsh, G. Turner, T. Lui
St Marys: M. Liddy 4, B. Taylor 2, S. Rioli, M. Wilkinson 

BEST:

Wanderers: N/A
St Marys: A. Wilson, S. Rioli, B. Taylor, N. Paredes, T. Davies, C. Parris

St Marys snared its first win of the season with a see-sawing 13 point win over Wanderers, putting a slight dampener on Eagles legend Jarred Erlandson’s 150th game celebrations. The Saints were wasteful early in tough conditions, finding the wrong side of the goalposts seven times in the opening term. Meanwhile, Wanderers claimed their only opportunity for the quarter, but still found themselves behind at the first break by the slimmest of margins.

The second term saw the Eagles continue their efficiency in front of goal, with three goals helping them to a four-point lead. The Saints fared better too, with two of their own majors crucially keeping them in touch as the downpour failed to cease. The gap between the sides narrowed into the third as St Marys put on three goals to their opponent’s two to this time find themselves down by a solitary point. It was in the final quarter where the Saints tore the game apart though, with another three goals giving them an unassailable lead, despite a late consolation goal from the Eagles.

Anthony Wilson claimed best afield honours in his first game for the year for St Marys, while Mathias Liddy was also crucial to the win with his four goals making up half of his side’s haul. Ben Taylor was a key feature too with two goals of his own and an appearance in the bests. For Wanderers, Patrick Fairhead was and option up forward and managed to claim two first-half goals, while Marlon Motlop matched his efforts in the second half to give the Eagles a sniff. Gibson Turner also hit the scoreboard and conjured an assist, while youngster Tyrell Lui fared well.

Despite the loss, Wanderers hold onto its finals spot in fifth, with St Marys now matching its one-win tally and sitting just below them.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 5.8 (38)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 13.9 (87)

GOALS:

Palmerston: I. Milera 2, L. Harrison, K. Brown, R. Dhamarrandji
Darwin: C. Williams 4, A. Sambono 3, J. Stokes 2, I. Palmer 2, B. Stokes, C. Atkinson

BEST:

Palmerston: R. Baird, M. Dennis, S. Talbot, N. Deans, I. Milera, C. Baird
Darwin: C. Williams, J. Stokes, A. Sambono, J. Anderson, D. Hancock, C. Stokes

Darwin Buffaloes notched their second consecutive win, with nine second-half goals helping them account for Palmerston Magpies by 49 points. It was a steady start from the Buffaloes, booting two goals while keeping the Magpies goalless in the opening term. Palmerston hit back in the following quarter though, managing one more score for the interval than their opponents with 2.4 to narrow the lead to 10 points at the main break. The third was another even quarter, but Darwin showed signs of pulling away with their four goals giving them a handy 15-point buffer heading around the final turn. Those signs came to fruition as last year’s runners up showed their class to close out the game with five goals while keeping the Magpies scoreless.

Christopher Williams booted four goals for the winners to be named their best, with young star Adam Sambono slotting three, while Jarrod Stokes and Ishmael Palmer rounded out the multiple goalkickers with two each. Rodney Baird was judged Palmerston’s best, with ruckman Matthew Dennis backing up his good early-season form and Ian Milera claiming two goals to also feature in the bests.

Palmerston’s win in Round 1 sees them escape the unwanted bottom position, but they do hold the competition’s worst percentage with 58.42. Darwin, on the other hand have the best with 166.43, helping them sit second as the best team with two wins to their name.

 

WARATAH 14.9 (93)
NIGHTCLIFF 13.7 (85)

GOALS:

Waratah: L. Collihole 2, C. Barrett 2, T. Mosquito 2, J. Smith 2, R. Jolliffe, B. Rayson, B. Carroll, M. O’Donnell, R. Bulluss, T. Toma
Nightcliff: M. Bricknell 4, T. Melville 3, L. Holt-Fitz 2, W. Derksen 2, J. Budarick, F. James 

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Nightcliff: S. Deery, K. Kossack, J. Tsitas, W. Derksen, K. Riley

In arguably the game of the round, Waratah handed Nightcliff their first loss of the season with a rousing come from behind effort seeing them seal an eight point victory. The contest began as an arm-wrestle with Nightcliff bettering the Warriors’ 4.1 by a single point at the first break. The run of the game then headed all in the Tigers’ direction, as they slotted six straight goals to Waratah’s two to hold a 20 point lead at the half. The third quarter saw the sides share 6.2 evenly as the margin remained the same and the result looked destined to go Nightcliff’s way. Incredibly, the Warriors piled on six goals while keeping their opponents goalless to storm home to a memorable win in front of their home crowd.

The Warriors had four players kick two goals each to make up their 10 individual goalkickers, with the likes of Timothy Mosquito and Lachlan Collihole hitting the scoreboard, while Raven Jollife also did so to continue his good form. The goal-spread was a little less even on the Tigers’ side, with Mathew Bricknell backing up a three-goal haul with four majors, while the dangerous Trent Melville booted three and Wade Derksen managed two. James Tsitas was damaging from midfield, while Simon Deery was named his side’s best.

Despite the loss, Nightcliff maintain their spot above the Warriors in third, with both sides holding two wins to sit nicely in the finals spots.

Weekend wash-up: NTFL – Round 2

SATURDAY’S TIO Stadium triple-header produced three relatively one-sided results, leaving two sides without a win and seeing last year’s grand finalists bounce back to claim their first win of the year. The theme continued on Sunday too, with last year’s wooden spooners crashing back down to earth after a Round 1 victory.

WARATAH 19.10 (124)
TIWI BOMBERS 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Waratah: L. Collihole 5, R. Jolliffe 3, S. Weddell 3, S. Godden 2, H. Kerinaiua, B. Minkulk, C. Barrett, Z. Westerberg, M. Blake, A. Aurrichio.
Tiwi: D. Munkara 3, N. Pangiraminni 2, H. Puruntatameri, R. Tungatalum.

BEST:

Waratah: L. Collihole, M. Blake, R. Jolliffe, H. Kerinaiua, S. Weddell
Tiwi: D. Munkara, A. Darcy, H. Puruntatameri, S. Babui, T. Tambling

The first of Saturday’s games saw Waratah improve to 1-1 with a strong 74-point win over the winless Tiwi Bombers. It was a consistent four-quarter effort from Waratah, with four goals to two in each of the first three terms giving them a comfortable 35 point lead going into the final break. They then poured on seven goals to one in a dominant final term to soar to a statement victory.

Lachlan Collihole was named best afield for his five-goal haul, while Raven Jolliffe and Samuel Weddell were also thereabouts with their bags of three. Waratah’s other multiple goalkicker was Sam Godden with two, while the likes of Matthew Blake and Henry Kerinaiua also put in good shifts and hit the scoreboard. For the Bombers, Dionysuis Munkara continued his good start in front of goal with three majors earning him Tiwi’s best-on honours. Norman Pangiraminni was the only other to claim multiple goals, with Harley Puruntatameri also finding his way into the best for the losing side.

The percentage boost sees Waratah sit just below the two undefeated teams in third, while the Bombers sit second-bottom as one of two winless sides.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 17.13 (115)
ST MARYS 6.10 (46)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: S. Thorne 4, L. Jetta 4, T. Brook 2, M. Mummery 2, D. Abbott, C. Gallio, I. Wyatt, B. Rusca, C. McAdam
St Marys: N. Paredes, J. Cullen, S. Richardson, C. Parris, M. Liddy, N. Yarran.

BEST:

Southern Districts: N/A
St Marys: N. Paredes, K. Delahunty, R. Clarke, B. Taylor, J. Quinn, N. Yarran

Southern Districts powered to a 69-point win over St Marys in the round’s second game to cement its spot in the competition’s top two. It was a slightly more comfortable win for the Crocs this time out after their down-to-the-wire Grand Final rematch win last week, with the Saints again struggling to find the goals despite holding a one-point lead at the half. Fifteen goals to three after the main break saw the reigning premiers run away with the result, kicking into gear quickly after a slight scare.

Former Essendon goal-sneak Leroy Jetta snared four goals alongside Shane Thorne, with impressive youngster Michael Mummery booting two of his own and Timothy Brook rounding out the multiple goalkickers with his two majors. The Saints had fewer forward contributors, but the likes of Nathaniel Parades and Nicholas Yarran troubled the scorers while also being named in the best. Kieran Delahunty was also impressive in a losing side along with ex-Saint Raphael Clarke.

The result sees either side make up the top and bottom two respectively, with Southern Districts one of two undefeated sides, while St Marys sit bottom as one of two winless teams.

 

WANDERERS 5.10 (40)
DARWIN BUFFALOES 14.8 (92)

GOALS: 

Wanderers: S. Motlop, K. Fejo, M. Motlop, J. Jeffrey, J. Salmon
Darwin: A. Sambono 3, J. Clark 3, S. Anderson 2, C. Williams 2, L. Thomas 2, J. Stokes, J. Clarke

BEST: N/A

2018 runners-up Darwin Buffaloes rounded out Saturday’s fixtures with a bounce-back win over Wanderers. It was a steady contest between last year’s second, and second-last teams as Wanderers utilised an end advantage to lead at quarter time. The Buffaloes hit back hard though, with four goals to one in the second term giving them the ascendancy, which they didn’t relinquish before storming home with seven fourth quarter goals to beef up the margin.

Darwin’s Adam Sambono found some of his better form to slot three goals, with his haul matched only by teammate Jackson Clark. Former AFL forward Lindsay Thomas also found the goals with two of his own alongside Steven Anderson and Chris Williams in the dangerous Buffaloes forward line. The Motlops, Shannon and Marlon were both typically busy in for Wanderers in their forward-line with a goal each, while youngster Joel Jeffrey also impressed.

The win sees both sides claim the bottom two finals spots, with Darwin’s far superior percentage of 143.8 granting them fourth place. It was always going to be a tough ask for Wanderers to back up their Round 1 win here, but they’re still placed nicely early in fifth.

 

NIGHTCLIFF 21.15 (141)
PALMERSTON 8.8 (56)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: T. Melville 5, M. Bricknell 3, C. Ilett 3, J. Tsitas 2, L. Holt-Fitz 2, W. Derksen 2, J. Peris, F. James, D. Reeve, J. Budarick.
Palmerston: J. Marshall 2, E. Frank 2, A. Davey, S. Autio, A. Lonergan, S. Talbot.

BEST:

Nightcliff: C. Ilett, S. Wilson, J. Budarick, J. Tsitas, J. Miles, P. Kossack
Palmerston: M. Dennis, C. Baird, S. Talbot, J. Marshall , N. Lockyer Jnr, L. Harrison

Nightcliff stormed to the top of the table with a thumping 85-point win over Palmerston in Sunday’s only fixture. The Tigers stormed out of the blocks, with five goals in each of the opening two terms giving them a 49-point lead heading into half time. While the Magpies somewhat stemmed the flow after the main break, it was more of the same to see out the game as Nightcliff piled on eight-straight majors in the last.

Trent Melville was the star with five goals for the Tigers despite Cameron Ilett being named best-on for his three-goal effort. Mathew Bricknell also booted three majors, while former Geelong Falcon James Tsitas and youngster Liam Holt-Fitz also claimed two each alongside Wade Derksen. Shaun Wilson and Jess Budarick were also among the best for the winners, overcoming the injection of AFL experience in the Palmerston line-up. Ezekiel Frank booted two goals and Alwyn Davey managed one, but it was Bundoora ruck stalwart Matthew Dennis who again claimed best-on honours for the Magpies.

The loss sees Palmerston sit just outside of the finals spots with their win on the board, while Nightcliff maintained their soaring percentage and first place in what was an impressive performance.

Weekend previews: NTFL – Round 2

With Round 1 in the books and a few surprise results to boot, Round 2 looks like dishing up a few intriguing contests that could set the tone for clubs vying for a top five spot.

WARATAH v. TIWI BOMBERS

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 2:30pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

The first match of Saturday’s TIO Stadium triple-header pits two teams coming off a first-round loss against each other, in the form of Waratah and Tiwi Bombers.

Waratah were beaten out the blocks by last year’s wooden spooners Palmerston in their season opener, while 2018 elimination finalists Tiwi Bombers fell to last year’s second bottom team in Wanderers. With the sides evenly matched and the Bombers pipping the Warriors to a finals spot last year by a single game, this Round 2 clash is set to be a belter with both teams out to gain their first taste of victory for the season.

The Warriors will hope to sharpen up in defence having conceded 24 scoring shots last time out, with former Northern Blues American import Alex Aurrichio holding up the fort alongside the likes of Brock Orval – who was their best in Round 1 and can also run through the midfield. Tiwi have the AFL experience of former Demon excitement machine Austin Wonaeamirri, while the class of hard running midfielder Albert Tipungwuti and Essendon Academy Manager Harmit Singh will provide cool heads through the middle, hoping to bring lively forward Adam Tipungwuti into the game.

It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top here, with both sides surely keen to break their ducks and gain an early edge over a similarly-placed opponent.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v. ST MARYS

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 5pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

Premiers Southern Districts will look to continue their NTFL dominance on the back of a six-point win over fellow grand finalists, Darwin, when they clash with St Marys at TIO Stadium. St Marys were tasked with a tough introduction to the 2019 season with fixtures against last year’s top two home and away teams. This clash against the Crocs may prove to be an uphill battle, but if their fighting loss against Nightcliff in Round 1 is anything to go by, they are up for the fight.

The Crocs possess former AFL talent in Leroy Jetta and Richard Tambling, but have in-form stars all around the ground. Forward Brad Vallance was key to their win last week with his three goals and will look to continue that form, while the likes of Lionel Ogden and Sam Smith made good starts from defence. For St Mary’s, the experienced Raph Clarke will hope to further his calming influence across half-back, with exciting 16-year-old prospects Maurice Rioli Jnr and Jacob Long slotting into pockets at either end of the ground.

On paper this match-up does not seem like it will produce a thriller, but do not be surprised to see St Marys take it up to Southern Districts.

 

WANDERERS v. DARWIN BUFFALOES

Round 2 – Saturday October 13, 7:30pm

TIO Stadium, Darwin

The final fixture in Saturday’s triple-header sees last year’s second bottom side face the runners up under lights. The opening round results see either side’s form lines contrast in an unexpected way though, with Wanderers claiming a win at the expense of Tiwi, while the Buffaloes sit 0-1 having lost the grand final rematch.

The Wanderers have a dangerous forward line, with the likes of former Gold Coast Sun Liam Patrick firing last week with his three goals, and Beau O’Connell dominating with four of his own. Add to that the experience of veteran Shannon Motlop and the exuberance of 16-year-old Joel Jeffrey, and you have the makings of another 30 plus scoring shot display. The Buffaloes are clearly no slouches though, with only the might of reigning premiers Southern Districts proving their downfall last week. They’ll still be confident in getting on the board for 2019 with exciting players on each line. Matt Campbell will hope to have an impact, while the likes of Adam Sambono, Bradley Stokes, and teenage prospect Malcolm Rosas should provide a spark not many teams can handle.

Both defences should be busy, with Darwin hoping they can cut off Wanderers’ supply to their dangerous forwards by winning the midfield battle.

 

NIGHTCLIFF v. PALMERSTON MAGPIES

Round 2 – Sunday October 14, 4pm

PSC BM Oval, Nightcliff

Nightcliff hosts Palmerston in Sunday’s lone fixture for the round, with both sides holding a win after their respective season openers. Runners up in the regular season last time out, Nightcliff will hope to continue on with the form that saw them claim that position in 2018 after narrowly overcoming St Marys in Round 1. Meanwhile, Palmerston sit top of the ladder after matching their season wins tally from last season with a Round 1 win over Waratah.

Trent Melville was one of three multiple goalkickers last week for the Tigers, booting the all-important two that saw his side over the line. Midfielder Jess Budarick was named their best, and will be hoping to continue supplying well for the likes of Kaine Riley and Liam Holt-Fitz up forward. The Magpies will be confident that the class of the Davey brothers, former Bulldog Ezekiel Frank and Northern Football League stalwart Matthew Dennis will be enough to pull them over the line once again, keeping them atop of the ladder and bettering their efforts of last year with just two games played.

Almost polar opposites last time around, it should be an intriguing contest given the strength of both sides on paper, and will give a good indication of where either team sits.