Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The NTFL deck was shuffled on the weekend with some upset results shaking up the competition. At least, the winners and losers were shuffled yet the ladder remains largely the same. Waratah brought down the previously undefeated Southern Districts Crocs, the Tiwi Bombers downed the Darwin Buffaloes, St Mary’s burst the Palmerston bubble and Nightcliff were too good for Wanderers.
Saturday’s triple-header at TIO Stadium kicked off with a revitalised Tiwi Bombers outclassing the Darwin Buffaloes. But it didn’t start that way as the Buffaloes burst out of the blocks with a seven goal to one opening quarter. Leading by 26 points at half-time, Darwin had little idea what was about the happen. The Tiwi Bombers called on the grit and explosiveness that saw them defeat St Mary’s last weekend to launch a nine goal third term. Another six goals in the last quarter saw the Bombers race away to an impressive 44-point win.
Nightcliff outclassed Wanderers in the next game, pressuring them to increase their lead at every break before running out 66-point victors. Again, Wanderers found scoring a challenge with a one goal opening half. Apart from a sixteen goal opening round, Wanderers have failed to kick more than seven goals in a match since. Without firepower and better avenues to goal, Wanderers might face a long, hard season.
St Mary’s kept their erratic season on track, bringing down the in-form Palmerston Magpies. Going into the match, Palmerston were on a roll with two successive wins. Saints had lost two of their past three matches. But a five goal to nil opening term by St Mary’s set up a lead that proved too difficult for Palmerston to peg back. In the end, Saints downed the Magpies by 48 points.
In what proved to be the biggest upset of the round, Waratah were far too good for Southern Districts. The final margin was 22 points in favour of Waratah and they deserved the win, being the better team on the day. However, Crocs can really only blame themselves after they virtually kicked themselves out of the contest. Southern Districts finished with three more scoring shots than Waratah, but missed too many gettable shots.
After seven rounds, and one third of the way through the season, Southern Districts still hold top spot, a game ahead of Nightcliff. Waratah have jumped to third place, ahead of Darwin on percentage. St Mary’s have nudged Palmerston out of the top five, though both are equal on points. The Tiwi Bombers are still in seventh position ahead of Wanderers.
Next weekend will see the Palmerston Magpies up against the Nightcliff Tigers on Friday night. Saturday will see the Tiwi Bombers hosting Waratah at Tiwi Oval. Saturday night will see a TIO Stadium double-header with St Mary’s clashing with Southern Districts before the Darwin Buffaloes go head-to-head with Wanderers.
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