Buffaloes Soldier On – NTFL
Monday, February 26 2018 @ 12:08 am ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The Darwin Buffaloes have taken an enormous stride towards winning their first NTFL premiership since the 2005/06 season by downing the Nightcliff Tigers in the Qualifying Final at TIO Stadium. It sets up Second Semi-Final showdown with Southern Districts Crocs next weekend – the team that won their last premiership the following year in 2006/07.
Nightcliff enjoyed the early running, hitting the scoreboard regularly and heading to the first break with a 17-point lead. The Buffaloes were desperate to bridge the gap, and did so by narrowing the Nightcliff lead to just two points by the half time break. By the final change, score were level in a tight tussle – the ideal finals match.
Nightcliff looked like getting away, kicking the first two goas of the final quarter, but from there it was all Buffaloes. They kicked the last four goals of the match to win by 14 points. Adam Sambono starred for the Buffaloes with six goals and generally running rampant. Up forward, Darren Shillabeer kicked another three. But the big story was the Buffaloes played as a team and will be keen to take that “one in, all in” approach into next weekend’s match.
Final Score: Darwin Buffaloes 15 12 102 d Nightcliff Tigers 13 10 88
The St Mary’s “Green Machine” posted a warning of their own when they ended the season for the Tiwi Bombers, eventually running out 52-point victors. The damage was done in a sizzling first quarter when he Saints kicked six goals seven behinds for the term to a solitary behind from the shell-shocked Bombers. That dominant start would prove a bridge to far for the Tiwi team.
Despite winning each of the next two quarters in a match deserving of its finals intensity, the Bombers could only get back to within 27 points by the final change. They were not without a chance, but in a tightly played defensive game it would be difficult. St Mary’s, however, had their own ideas and steadied the ship with six final quarter goals to cruise in the end to a big victory.
St Mary’s will now meet a shaky Nightcliff Tigers in the First Semi-Final next weekend to fight for a Preliminary final berth. Purely on form, the Saints will now be favourites. But Nightcliff didn’t finish second on the ladder for nothing and will come out snarling at the Saints and determined to deny them yet another flag chance.
Final Score: St Mary’s 15 15 105 d Tiwi 7 11 53
Next weekend’s semi-finals will see the Southern Districts Crocs taking on the Darwin Buffaloes at TIO Stadium in the late match. The winner will go straight into the Grand Final, whilst the loser has a double chance. The earlier match will be the cutthroat final between St Mary’s and Nightcliff. The winner will go on to the Preliminary final, whilst it will be curtains for the loser.