Tuesday, October 08 2019 @ 09:14 pm ACDT

Contributed by: Wesley Hull

In reality, it is probably too early to claim a resurgence after a single round of football. Nevetheless, after the opening NTFL Round on the weekend, three teams signalled that they are seeking bigger and better things out of the 2019/20 season. Whilst the Nightcliff Tigers started well in their bid to defend its premiership title, St Mary’s, wanderers and the Darwin Buffaloes all took steps to rectify last season.

In the season opener, the Darwin Buffaloes trounced the Tiwi Bombers. After finishing fifth last season with just eight wins (and only twice reaching 100 points in a match) the Darwin Buffaloes limped to the end of the season with successive hidings from Waratah. The Tiwi Bombers reached the Preliminary Final. So, their 113-point caning of the Bombers was as much an upset as a statement.

The Bombers led at the first break, but after Quarter-Time it was one-way traffic as the Buffaloes hammered on 22 goals to three (12 from superstar Adam Sambono) to announce a new-look Buffaloes for the new season. A horrid start for the Bombers might be addressed with the recruitment of Magpie star Rodney Baird, but the Bombers will need more than that after a terrible showing.

The only thing protecting Wanderers from a wooden spoon last season was an even worse St Mary’s outfit. However, Wanderers made their own statement by downing last year’s finalists, Waratah, by three goals. Trailing at the main break after a big opening quarter, Wanderers showed a resolve missing for much of last year and grabbed the lead back to win.

St Mary’s needed to throw off the wooden-spooner mantle quickly and did so by downing the Palmerston Magpies. Little separated the teams at the main break – the Magpies by two points – but a big second half saw Saints regain the lead then take the game away from Palmerston to record a big opening round win.

Along the way, the grand final replay saw the Tigers hold on in a close, tough encounter over the Southern Districts Crocs. After a goal-fest in the opening quarter with each team blasting six goals, the defences kicked in. A four-goal third quarter for the Tigers proved the difference as they held on by nine points.

Darwin Buffaloes 24 13 157 d Tiwi Bombers 6 8 44
Nightcliff Tigers 13 10 88 d Southern Districts Crocs 12 7 79
Wanderers 15 14 104 d Waratah 13 8 86
St Mary’s 10 15 75 d Palmerston Magpies 6 9 45

With Saints, Wanderers and Buffaloes making great starts to the new season, they now face the challenges of going back to back in Round 2. The Tiwi Bombers have a huge fight up against Nightcliff. Wanderers also have a fight away from home against Crocs. The Magpies clash with the Buffaloes whilst St Mary’s will take on Waratah.

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