Tah’s Upset Shapes Ladder – NTFL Round 5
Sunday, November 05 2017 @ 10:36 am ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The Waratah Warriors have produced the upset of the NTFL Round 5 fixture, knocking out the Nightcliff Tigers by 27 points. The result, along with wins to Saints and the Tiwi Bombers, have seen three of the bottom half teams defeat three of the top half teams in a round that has completely changed the race. The Southern Districts Crocs sit undefeated atop the ladder and two games clear of the pack, whilst the Palmerston Magpies now inhabit bottom place – a game behind the field.
In between, just a game and percentage separates second place from seventh as this NTFL season shows how much more even the competition is for 2017/18.
The round opened with a thriller between St Mary’s and Wanderers in a grand final replay. In a tight game it was Wanderers leading at half time and at the final change. But the indefatigable Saints team would not be denied and stunned Wanderers with a four goals to one final quarter to get over the line by just three points. A last gasp shot at goal by Wanderers missed, handing Saints the valuable four points and consecutive wins after a slow start to the season.
The Tiwi Bombers put on a show for their home crowd at Tiwi Oval, Wurrumiyanga, on Bathurst Island. After having won one match and performed well for most of the season, the Bombers were desperate for another win. A solid first half saw the Bombers go into the sheds at the big break ahead by 27 points. Then a six goal to two third quarter put the game away before a shoot-out in the final quarter. In the end the Bombers came away with a vital 62 point win.
In the upset of the round, Waratah downed the much-fancied Nightcliff Tigers. It was a game that the Tigers would have pencilled in as a likely win, which makes the Tah’s efforts so much more commendable. A five goal to nil first quarter by Waratah set the game up well, but for the next two quarters the momentum was with Nightcliff as they scrapped and clawed their way back into the match – trailing by just 10 points at the final change and seemingly about to run over Waratah. But the Tah’s would not be denied such an important win and rammed on five last quarter goals to two to claim victory and keep themselves firmly in the finals race. After starting the season with three wins, the Tigers have now dropped consecutive games and will need to turn their fortunes around quickly.
The final match of the round saw the Southern Districts Crocs slay the Darwin Buffaloes by 113 points in a one-sided affair. A low-scoring first quarter saw the Crocs up by just 11 points at the first break, but after that they kicked 16 goals to one for the rest of the match in a powerful display which saw them firm already as flag favourites. The two wins to start the Buffaloes’ season must seem like a distant memory. Since then they have slid to three consecutive losses and face a tough season if they cannot turn their fortunes around quickly.
The next round will see the Palmerston Magpies take on Wanderers, the Southern Districts Crocs host the Tiwi Bombers, Nightcliff will meet St Mary’s and Waratah will clash with the Darwin Buffaloes.
St Mary’s 13 11 89 d Wanderers 13 7 85
Tiwi Bombers 23 18 156 d Palmerston Magpies 14 10 94
Waratah 12 6 78 d Nightcliff Tigers 7 9 51
Southern Districts Crocs 19 17 131 d Darwin Buffaloes 2 6 18