Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Back in the 2010/11 season, the Nightcliff Tigers claimed the wooden spoon. With just three wins for the season and some horrible score-lines, the Tigers as a club knew things had to change. And they did. Since then they have been a perennial finalist but their next premiership has eluded them – possibly until this year.
On Saturday the tigers mauled the Tiwi Bombers in their semi-final. Not only does that see the Tigers through to the 2018/19 grand-final, they have also earned outright favouritism after dismantling the Bombers by 90 points on the weekend and having hammered the Southern Districts Crocs, also by 90 points, in the final home and away round.
For either of those teams to win grand-final day, it would take a massive form turnaround, and it is hard to see the Nightcliff crew relinquishing their dominance.
Nightcliff knew the best way to calm the rampaging Bombers was to take them out of the game early. Their six goal to one opening term was exactly what they wanted, and by halftime the Tigers were already up by more than ten goals. The Bombers were never going to bridge that gap, though their second half saw them scrap harder and limit some of the damage. But their psyche will have been well and truly rattled by the loss and they now have the wrong type of momentum going into next weekend’s Preliminary Final against the Crocs.
Southern Districts put aside recent losses to both the Tigers and Bombers to win their own semi-final against Waratah. In a tight contest to half-time, where just three points separated the teams, the team which dominated the third quarter could look to seal the result. It was the Crocs, kicking six goals four to a solitary Waratah goal. The power of their third term assault will give the Crocs confidence going into next weekend. Waratah can now look back on a patchy 2018/19 season, knowing they have many positives to build on and some negatives to turn around before next season.
The last time the Crocs and Bombers met was in their qualifying final two weeks ago when the Bombers were 21 point victors. Prior to that, the Bombers upset the Crocs at Norbuilt by 22 points. The Bombers have the goods to bring down the Crocs again and reach the grand-final. But beware a wounded Croc. Earlier in the season, and in recent years, the Crocs have often been too good for the Bombers. Add in the pressure of finals – something that has been a regular occurrence for the Crocs – and the scales are more evenly balanced.
Either way, the clash will be huge. But the winner will have the Nightcliff Tigers in the back of their minds – and this year the thought of rampaging Tigers is daunting.
Nightcliff Tigers 22 17 149 d Tiwi Bombers 9 5 59
Southern Districts Crocs 13 11 89 d Waratah 6 10 46
Preliminary Final – Southern Districts Crocs v Tiwi Bombers – TIO Stadium 7.00pm
World Footy News