Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The St Mary’s Saints have used a 123-point win over Waratah to strengthen their grip on a top five position in the NTFL Premier League after the completion of Round 9 – the halfway mark of the season. After a big percentage boost, the Saints now sit in fourth place, two games clear of the fifth-placed Tiwi Bombers – a finals berth is theirs to lose from here.
After claiming last season’s wooden spoon, St Mary’s were always going to be a danger this season, and Waratah found that out the hard way yesterday. St Mary’s were too good in the opening half, charging to a 53-point lead by half time. Any hope of a Waratah comeback was vaporised in the third term with Saints rattling on seven unanswered goals for the quarter. The last quarter saw more of the same as the Saints dominated all over the field.
On Friday night, the winless Palmerston Magpies almost stole their first points for the season, in the end going down to the Darwin Buffaloes by four points. The Magpies kicked six second quarter goals to lead at the main break by 28 points. An even third term had Magpies faithful believing that the team could hold on. However, the Buffaloes stormed home in the final term to steal the match in the dying moments. It was a heart-breaking loss for the Magpies.
In another thriller, the top of the ladder Nightcliff Tigers had to withstand a huge fight from the Tiwi Bombers. Playing away from home, the Bombers held a three-goal lead at the main break, but by three-quarter time scores were level. In a tight final term, the Tigers snuck an extra goal to win by that margin and consolidate top spot on the ladder.
The remaining game was the Southern Districts Crocs shake off a determined Wanderers team by 32 points. After holding a strong lead at the main break, the Crocs were challenged by a revitalised Wanderers as they kicked five unanswered goals for the quarter. However, Crocs rose to the challenge to pull away again in the final term.
The results see the Tigers well clear on top of the ladder, a game and a half clear of the Crocs. Half a game further back are the Buffaloes and St Mary’s with the Tiwi Bombers rounding out the top five.
Next weekend will see the Tiwi Bombers host the Darwin Buffaloes. St Mary’s take on Palmerston at TIO Stadium in the early match, followed by a possible grand-final preview with the Tigers and the Crocs locking horns. Waratah will meet Wanderers on Sunday at Gardens Oval.
Darwin Buffaloes 10 15 75 d Palmerston Magpies 11 5 71
Nightcliff Tigers 11 12 78 d Tiwi Bombers 11 6 72
St Marys 25 14 164 d Waratah 6 5 41
Southern Districts Crocs 13 13 91 d Wanderers 9 5 59
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