Contributed by: Wesley Hull
After an enthralling 2019/20 season, the NTFL has crowned the Nightcliff Tigers premiers after they outlasted St Mary’s at TIO Stadium. The premiership win makes it back-to-back titles for the Tigers in a season that they dominated with just two defeats across the journey.
One of those defeats was two weeks ago when they lost their second semi-final to St Mary’s in a shock loss. Nightcliff then had to negotiate a dangerous Southern Districts Crocs in last weekend’s Preliminary Final, which they did to set up a rematch with Saints.
It is the club’s fifth flag and their second since breaking a 54-year drought to win last year’s title. Since taking the wooden spoon back in 2010/11, the Tigers have rebuilt wisely to now be the benchmark for the NTFL competition.
A tight first half saw the Tigers claw ahead and maintain their lead with the Saints always fighting hard not to lose ground. Anytime Nightcliff seemed set to get a run on, the Saints would find a reply, keeping the half-time margin to just 17 points. At the main break it was Nightcliff leading 6 8 44 to St Mary’s 4 3 27.
The second half saw Saints kick the first goal of the third quarter to get the margin back inside two goals. Nightcliff tried everything to keep the Green Machine at arm’s length, however by the final change Nightcliff led by just two points, setting up a grandstand finish final quarter.
Saints could have hit the lead early in the final term, but a set shot was missed. It was all that Nightcliff needed to rally and ramp up the pressure. Valuable goals saw them creep out to a lead that they held onto until the end, despite St Mary’s continuing to throw everything at a last ditch effort to steal the game. A John Butcher goal for Nightcliff made the game safe, with Saints missing a couple of late chances.
Nightcliff forward, Trent Melville, won the Chaney Medal for best afield in the grand final.
Nightcliff Tigers 10 13 73 d St Mary’s 9 6 60
In the Men’s Division 1 Grand Final, PINT Football Club won its first ever premiership, downing the Nightcliff Tigers. The final score saw an ecstatic PINT 10 11 71 down Nightcliff 4 8 32.
Waratah defeated Nightcliff Spartans in the Division 2 grand final 8 8 56 to 6 8 44 whilst St Mary’s won the Under 18 premiership when they defeated Wanderers. The final score saw St Mary’s 10 14 74 defeat Wanderers 5 4 34.
Last weekend, the Southern Districts Crocs won the Women’s Premier League premiership when they defeated Waratah by 18 points. The final score saw the Crocs’ women 6 3 39 defeat Waratah 3 3 21. Southern Districts also won the Women’s Division 2 title downing PINT by 35 points.
Picture Credit: Thanks to AFLNT
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