In a little over a week, the AFL world will be lauding the latest number one draft pick. The Brisbane Lions hold the pick this year and are already considering how to use it. At the same time, they will be hoping it will bring the dawning of a new area rather than being a poisoned chalice. To some, the gaining of the number one draft pick is a chance to obtain greatness, but history shows that isn’t always the case.
AFL/VFL history is littered with failures – admittedly most from the era when drafting was a very inexact science. But names like Richard Lounder (Richmond, 1987), Anthony Banik (Richmond, 1988), Stephen Hooper (Geelong, 1990) and John Hutton (Brisbane, 1991) never reached the highest of expectations that came with the pick.
On the other hand, Nick Reiwoldt (St Kilda, 2000), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn, 2001), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda, 2002), Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs, 2003), Brett Deledio (Richmond, 2004) and Marc Murphy (Carlton, 2005) have gone on to be revered names in the game.
In the blinking of an eye, the NTFL season is one third complete with Round 6 being played out last weekend. It won’t be long now before we are genuinely talking finals, but many teams took strides towards the business end of the season across the round.
The Nightcliff Tigers downed St Mary’s in an absolute thriller, the Darwin Buffaloes kept their hopes alive with an important win over Waratah, Wanderers downed Palmerston to strengthen their position and the Southern Districts Crocs took a stranglehold on top spot whilst taming the Tiwi Bombers.
In the Friday night clash, Wanderers did enough to keep a pesky Palmerston at bay. Helped along by their new recruit, former Port Adelaide Power forward Brett Eddy with four goals, Wanderers broke a quarter time deadlock to move away over the next two quarters to effectively secure the game. A five goal to two rally by Palmerston wasn’t enough and Wanderers won their fourth game of the season by 21 points.
There was something quite congruent and in-synch about having two teams of young girls play as a curtain-raiser to an AFL Masters carnival. So many ways the two could be linked – old and new, past and present, a vision of the future through the eyes of those who have already been there.
But, however you look at it, two groups of players separated by generations took to the field yesterday in Cardwell, North Queensland, and all were proud warriors. The fact that these matches were played on Remembrance Day just added to importance of the event – and every player stepped up accordingly for the occasion. Young local kids from Mission Beach and Innisfail stopped their Auskick Clinic for the minute’s silence, then launched back into their scratch match with giggles and cheers of delight.
Almost fittingly, the Essendon NGA team has taken out this year’s Under 14 Michael Long Cup in Darwin. The annual tournament showcases the next generation of young talent from across the Northern Territory and pits local junior Darwin teams against teams from Alice Springs as well as throughout Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands.
After the round robin matches to decide finals, the tournament was won by Essendon NGA over Collingwood NGA. Geelong NGA finished third ahead of the Cenral Redtails. Final scores:
Essendon NGA (Tiwi & East Arnhem) 5 4 34 d Collingwood NGA 3 4 22 ( first v second)
Geelong NGA (Gove Island) 8 7 55 d Central Redtails (Alice Springs) 8 3 51 (third v fourth)
St Mary’s 4 4 28 drew with Palmerston 4 4 28 (equal fifth place)
The event is named in honour of Essendon great, Michael Long. The AFLNT details the event as follows:
The Waratah Warriors have produced the upset of the NTFL Round 5 fixture, knocking out the Nightcliff Tigers by 27 points. The result, along with wins to Saints and the Tiwi Bombers, have seen three of the bottom half teams defeat three of the top half teams in a round that has completely changed the race. The Southern Districts Crocs sit undefeated atop the ladder and two games clear of the pack, whilst the Palmerston Magpies now inhabit bottom place – a game behind the field.
In between, just a game and percentage separates second place from seventh as this NTFL season shows how much more even the competition is for 2017/18.
The round opened with a thriller between St Mary’s and Wanderers in a grand final replay. In a tight game it was Wanderers leading at half time and at the final change. But the indefatigable Saints team would not be denied and stunned Wanderers with a four goals to one final quarter to get over the line by just three points. A last gasp shot at goal by Wanderers missed, handing Saints the valuable four points and consecutive wins after a slow start to the season.
Darebin Falcons and Melbourne Uni are the only original clubs to remain in the Victoria's state league competition for women, with final 2018 teams named today.
The other clubs through a variety of factors have either chosen, or been forced to hand over their licences to VFL/AFL clubs or hand in their licence. One of these factors has been the massive increase of the licence fee by a factor of around ten times which clubs believed they would not be able to finance in their current state.
Other factors such as the imposition of a minimum standard of facilities the club must provide should bring great benefits to the development of players, but have also made it impossible for clubs to meet as stand alone community clubs with limited financial resources.
International players in the league such as Irish pair Laura Corrigan-Duryea and Clara Fitzpatrick, and Canadians Kendra Heil and Valerie Moureau will all need to find new clubs if they are to continue at state league level.
AFL Victoria has confirmed the position of the remaining 2017 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s clubs for the expanded 2018 competition.
In changes from the 2017 structure, Diamond Creek, Eastern Devils and St Kilda Sharks have informed AFL Victoria they will not be continuing in the VFL Women’s competition, while premiers Darebin and Melbourne Uni have committed to the league for next season.
Just when you think that St Mary’s have been dealt a mortal blow and may miss out on finals, along they come and pinch a win that changes everything. Such was the case in the Round Four action of the NTFL competition in Darwin when the Saints, after three consecutive losses to start the 2017/18 season, downed Waratah convincingly and in the process sauntered back into the top five.
Their win against Waratah was set up with a powerful eight goals to one first half to effectively end the contest. From there the Saints were rarely troubled as they powered away to win by 73 points.
Amongst the highlights was the senior debut of young Maurice Rioli Jr, who in April was playing for the Northern Territory Kickstart Under 15 team. His rapid rise to senior level has tongue wagging about the continuation of the Rioli dynasty, but for now his goal on debut is a fine start.
Not the name of a new horror flick, but actually a pleasant by-product of the AFL off-season where players often end up visiting remote parts of the country. Sometimes it is for promotional reasons, other times personal. But for Groote Eylandt it barely matters why – to have Geelong superstar, Patrick Dangerfield, visit is a local sensation.
Groote Eylandt is located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, about 50 kilometres from the Arnhem Land coast of the Northern Territory. The locals love their footy, and for their Community Football Day at Alyangulu, the Groote Eylandt Football League invited the 2016 Brownlow Medallist to be the guest umpire.
After the BBQ lunch and NGA Cats Clinic, Dangerfield partnered with Bomber Farrell to umpire the local exhibition match between the Groote Eylandt Cats and the Djarrak Hawks. Organised in conjunction with the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation’s Football Program, the match featured local Groote Eylandt talent playing against the Djarrak team from Galiwinku on Elcho Island – a community and island to the north of the Arnhem Land coast.
The Melbourne Demons will certainly be a familiar face in the Northern Territory throughout the 2018 season as both their AFL and AFLW teams increase their combined presence. In the following press release from the AFLNT, the increased Demon visitations are highlighted along with reference to an article from Matt Burgon at the www.afl.com.au website which looks at the Demons working closely with a Northern Territory club at grass roots level.
AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is thrilled with today’s announcements that it will host five AFL games in 2018.
The AFL Women’s (AFLW) will be the first to kick off with a pre-season match on Saturday 13th January 2018 at TIO Stadium as part of the Adelaide Crows Women’s team pre-season camp.
With the release today of the AFL’s JLT Community Series – the pre-season competition – Townsville in North Queensland has landed some big fish to further build the game in the city. By degrees, Townsville is becoming a viable AFL venue, both for matches and increasingly as a destination for local playing talent.
World Footy News reported back in early 2013 that the northern cities of Cairns and Townsville would be locked in a battle to be a destination for an AFL club team or franchise by 2030. See Cairns v Townsville – Which will be the home of an AFL team by 2030?. That argument was on the back of Cairns having hosted AFL premiership matches in 2011 and 2012 (and a number of pre-season matches featuring Geelong, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Melbourne, St Kilda and North Melbourne in preceding years). At the time, Townsville had just been awarded its first pre-season match between the Gold Coast Suns and North Melbourne.