Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Next Saturday the NTFL Premier League season will come to a close when the Southern Districts Crocs attempt to retain their title and win back to back flags. Their demolition of the Tiwi Bombers last night at TIO Stadium saw them back into another big dance with a chance to seek their fourth flag.
Just last weekend, the Tigers trounced the Bombers to advance to the grand final. They looked a shade better than the rest. But Southern Districts have sounded an ominous warning to the Tigers after a blistering second half against the Bombers – they have told the Tigers outright that to win the flag you have to beat us.
After a tight first term, the Crocs got a little break on the Bombers by half time – a five goal break and a big rescue mission for the Bombers if they wanted to get back in the game. The 31-point deficit for the Bombers was significant, but not insurmountable.
However, after half time things were dramatically different. The second half was a procession as the Crocs went ballistic and kicked seventeen goals to two.
The Crocs kicked the opening four goals of the third quarter to effectively put the match out of reach. The Bombers kicked the next two back to back to show a little life, but from there the Crocs kicked thirteen unanswered goals to full time – eleven of those in a frightening final term.
In the end, the Southern Districts Crocs won by a whopping 120 points – in a Preliminary Final. The Bombers should be applauded for their fine comeback this season to reach the finals after a poor start and win their opening final. But the result yesterday, and the 90-point loss to Tigers the week before – show that they have some work to do over the off-season.
The stage is now set for what could be a fantastic finale. Nightcliff have been consistently good all season. The Crocs have had flat spots, but when they unleash their full armoury they look scary – ask the Bombers! Nightcliff clobbered the Crocs in Round 18 by 90 points. They, too, are frightening at their best.
But something suggests now that the grand-final won’t be as one sided as the recent crop of scores indicate. In fact, a repeat of last year’s one-point margin when the Crocs defeated the Buffaloes for the 2017/18 flag cannot be ruled out. The two best teams in the league will be out to win a premiership – and that changes everything.
Southern Districts Crocs 25 10 160 d Tiwi Bombers 5 10 40
NTFL Premier League Grand Final
Nightcliff Tigers v Southern Districts Crocs – TIO Stadium 7.15pm
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