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Sunday, June 07 2020 @ 03:43 am ACST

Muk Muks Run Amok – NTFL

Just a few weeks ago, the Tiwi Bombers were on the crest of a wave. With three consecutive wins, the Bombers were cautiously looking at a surprise finals charge. But since then they have lost three games in a row, last weekend against the bottom placed Wanderers. The Bombers now face the prospect again of a wooden spoon unless they find form again. Wanderers, however, have won two of their past four matches and can justifiably claim their own march to finals.

In other matches on the weekend, the Darwin Buffaloes brought down the Southern Districts Crocs, Nightcliff comfortably dispatched St Mary’s and the Palmerston Magpies won a thriller after the siren against Waratah.

Wanderers seemingly threw away their golden chance to defeat the Bombers when they kicked just one goal from seven scoring shots in the opening quarter. They we made to pay, as the Bombers kicked five second quarter goals to lead at the main break. But the Muk Muks really did run amok in the second half. Wanderers hammered home ten goals in the second half to just four from the Bombers to win comfortably by 32 points.

The win was priceless for Wanderers. They remain on the bottom of the ladder as the competition goes to the festive season break, but are equal on points with the Bombers. They are also just two games out of the top five and they have shown in past seasons that the second half of a season can be dramatically different. In 2015, Wanderers sat in second last place after Round 10. They eventually crept into the finals and their momentum carried them to a flag. They will remember that.

The Darwin Buffaloes once again exposed chinks in the Crocs’ armour. Trailing for three quarters, the Buffaloes unleashed a powerful second half to bring down Crocs in a worrying way. Darwin kept the Crocs to a single goal for the second half through sheer defensive pressure on which the rest of the team feasted. Once again, the blueprint to bring down Crocs was exposed. Darwin shut down the Crocs’ run and put the clamps on their forwards. It was a fine win for the Buffaloes. Whether other teams can emulate their approach remains to be seen.

Nightcliff had the wood on St Mary’s from the outset, leading at every change before running out 37 point winners. They now sit equal on points at the top of the ladder with Crocs and will look forward to a break before an assault on the finals. St Mary’s are in need of some changing fortune if they are to see finals action, now sitting a game adrift of fifth place.

The clash between Waratah and the Palmerston Magpies was a thriller. The Magpies had the better of the opening half, leading by eight points at the main break. However, a cracking eight-goal third quarter from Waratah saw them grab the lead in emphatic fashion, setting up a big last quarter. Just when it looked as if Waratah might be able to hold off the Magpies, five unanswered goals to Palmerston shocked Waratah. The last was an after-the-siren shot from Ezekiel Frank to snatch a last gasp one point win and see them in fifth place going into the break.

Clubs now get a rest until Round 12 commencing on January 5th. Matches will see a huge battle between second placed Nightcliff and third placed Darwin Buffaloes as the first part of a triple-header at TIO Stadium. St Mary’s will clash with Waratah and Wanderers take on Southern Districts. On Sunday, the Tiwi Bombers will meet Palmerston at Tracy Village.
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