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Tuesday, January 23 2018 @ 06:22 pm ACDT

Bombers Unleash Against Surprised Saints

Australia
At half time in the NTFL match between the Tiwi Bombers and St Mary’s there was little to suggest the final outcome. Both teams were locked on 50 points apiece in an arm wrestle where Saints gained the upper hand in the first quarter before the Bombers bounced back with a strong second quarter.

But that was where the similarities ended. Fourteen goals to four after half time saw the Bombers capitalise on their strong work to finish the first half to blitz Saints and record a valuable 65 point win. The performance has seen the Bombers jump up to sixth on the ladder, just a game outside the top five with plenty of time to secure finals. They sit just half a game behind the shaky Saints and have a steadily improving percentage. With their next two matches being against teams below them on the ladder, the Bombers have a great chance of finishing the season strongly.

Saints, on the other hand, have to regroup quickly or risk the unthinkable – missing finals. They simply must win their next match against struggling Wanderers before playing the improving Waratah, Buffaloes and Nightcliff – a trio of matches that will define their season.

The Darwin Buffaloes played a solid three quarters to hold a comfortable three quarter time lead over Wanderers. But the Eagles regrouped and came back hard in the final quarter to go down by just a goal in the end. If it weren’t for some imprecise kicking (five goals from eleven scoring shots in the final quarter) Wanderers may have overrun the Buffaloes, but it wasn’t to be. The win strengthens the Buffaloes finals chances, but consigned Wanderers to second last place on the ladder and in dire need of a change of fortunes to even threaten finals.

The Southern Districts Crocs were determined to seek revenge over Waratah under leaden skies on Sunday. Waratah upset the Crocs last time they played (the Crocs only defeat so far this season), and the same thing seemed set to occur with Waratah leading at quarter and three quarter time over the ladder leaders. But Crocs unleased a six goal final term and kept Waratah scoreless to snare their eleventh win for the season. Waratah still sit in fourth place on the ladder and are well placed to see finals action, but need to regroup again for next week.

Nightcliff and Palmerston played out a slogging, grinding affair in the damp conditions on Sunday, with the Tigers holding out a determined Magpies unit – in the end by 28 points in a game where scoring was not easy. Nightcliff were never really allowed to pay their open, expansive game due to the conditions and the Magpie pressure. Nightcliff now hold second place, two games ahead of the Buffaloes but two games behind Crocs. With just six rounds to go, Palmerston are three games behind Wanderers and would have to pray for miracles to avoid this season’s wooden spoon.

Next weekend will see Wanderers and St Mary’s, both desperate for a change of fortunes, face off whilst the Tiwi Bombers will make a charge at a finals place against Palmerston. Two big clashes see the top four teams locked in big battles with the Darwin Buffaloes (3rd) taking on the Southern Districts Crocs (1st) and Waratah (4th) doing battle with Nightcliff Tigers (2nd). It is sure to be a huge round which will define much of the makeup of the ladder heading into the final five rounds.




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