Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Round 5 of the NTFL 2018/19 season continued to throw up interesting and sometimes unexpected results which keep alive finals hopes for most teams and further confuse followers of the game. St Mary’s and Palmerston both enjoyed valuable wins whilst early finals hopefuls, Waratah and Darwin Buffaloes, stumbled.
With no Premier League matches played at TIO Stadium this weekend, the opening match saw Waratah host the desperate St Marys. On form, and home ground advantage, Waratah should have won. But life doesn’t work that way. In a tight match up until the final change – less than two goals separating the teams until then – St Mary’s pumped the gas in the final term to kick four goals to one and hand Waratah a stinging defeat.
Another seven goal opening quarter blitz from Southern Districts Crocs set the tone for their demolition of Wanderers. Ahead by 62-points by the main break, it looked like a big score line coming. But Wanderers did win the third quarter to cut the deficit back by a couple of goals. However, the Crocs just got annoyed by the temerity of Wanderers and ran away in the final quarter to win in a canter by 81 points.
The Nightcliff Tigers cemented second place on the ladder after dispatching the Darwin Buffaloes by 50 points at home. The Tigers held the advantage all day, but a five goal to nil second quarter gave them the momentum and a safety barrier going into the second half. The loss was hardly damaging, but it was certainly a lost opportunity for the Buffaloes to entrench themselves inside the top three. They now sit in third place, just ahead of Waratah and with the Saints and Magpies breathing down their necks.
Palmerston enjoyed a big win against the hapless Tiwi Bombers. Spurred on by a seven-goal haul from Kyle Emery, the Magpies sniffed victory pre-game and set about ensuring that happened. Ahead by 26 points at the main break, Palmerston simply needed to quell any possible Bomber revival – and they did. By the end of the match, the Magpies had racked up an impressive 45 point win to sit in sixth place on the ladder, level with St Mary’s. The Bombers are still winless and need to change something quite dramatically and quickly if they still hold finals dreams.
Next weekend’s matches will see the Tiwi Bombers hosting St Mary’s at Tiwi Oval and in desperate need of a win to re-float their season. Saints need the win to stay deep within the top five. Similarly, Palmerston and Wanderers will do battle with a win vital for both. Darwin Buffaloes and Waratah clash in match both need to repair damage done last round and in the last of the TIO Stadium matches, Southern Districts and Nightcliff Tigers meet in possibly the match of the round.
It is an even round in that one plays two, three plays four, six plays seven and five plays eight. This could lead to some very interesting results next round.
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