Nightcliff And Wanderers Taste Finals Victories - NTFL
Sunday, February 28 2016 @ 07:54 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Anyone believing that the Nightcliff Tigers’ great form leading up to the finals would come unstuck as they simply made up the numbers was shocked on Saturday when they downed the Darwin Buffaloes in the NTFL Elimination Final.
The Tigers won four of their last five home and away games to finish with a wet sail. But many felt that the Darwin Buffaloes’ time had come after some years in a football wilderness and their progression deeper into the finals would come at the expense of Nightcliff.
But in a tight game where the Buffaloes led at quarter time, Nightcliff managed to gain back the ascendency and trade blows with the Buffaloes to the final siren. With the Buffaloes getting to within a goal minutes before the final siren, the game was a wonderful final, but as with all elimination matches, Nightcliff proceed to next weekend’s semi-final whilst the Buffaloes can now look towards next season.
Final Score: Nightcliff Tigers 13 10 88 d Darwin Buffaloes 12 8 80
Prior to the finals matches starting, many scribes had a script that would see Buffaloes and Saints see victory, based largely on ladder position. But Wanderers certainly didn’t read the script and continued their own charge towards defending their premiership title, downing St Mary’s by 10 points in the Qualifying Final.
Wanderers, like Nightcliff, had produced an impressive run towards the finals. Since the mid-season break, where they were in legitimate danger of missing the finals, Wanderers put together a final seven rounds of five wins a draw and one loss. That form was then taken onto TIO Stadium on Saturday night as they got away to a 16 point half time lead against Saints before holding sway in a tight second half.
For Saints, which finished second on ten home and away ladder, the loss is a dangerous hiccup. They must now face a resurgent Tigers outfit in their fight to challenge further for another flag. Wanderers, on the other hand, will meet the Southern Districts Crocs in the second semi-final in a game which provides the double chance instead of sudden death.
Final Score: Wanderers Eagles 10 6 66 d St Mary’s Saints 7 14 56
Details have not yet been finalised, but next weekend’s finals are most likely to be played again at TIO Stadium in the 4.30pm and 7.00pm timeslots on Saturday night.
First Semi-Final – St Mary’s Saints v Nightcliff Tigers
Second Semi-Final – Southern Districts Crocs v Wanderers Eagles