Two AFL Cairns clubs have sought out help from the west for their 2018 season campaigns. Whilst it is not the first time that talented players or coaches have come over to the “tropical north” to boost clubs, it is rare that two clubs have both announced Territorians in the same season as their potential saviours. The decisions certainly reflect the efforts that clubs in Cairns are going to in a bid to stay competitive in an ever-increasing on-field and off-field competition.
Two of the greatest names in Northern Territory football – Motlop and Davey – will have roles at the Pyramid Power and Cairns City Lions clubs in 2018, with a view to having bigger roles in the future.
[Images: Aaron Davey in Lions' colours (left) and Mark Motlop in his playing days at Glenelg (right)]
Mark Motlop is a part of a footballing dynasty in Northern Territory football. Whilst some of his relatives have had wider recognition in AFL circles (Daniel at North Melbourne and Port Adelaide, Shannon at North Melbourne [Kangaroos] and Melbourne and currently Steven at Port Adelaide after leaving Geelong), Mark has, arguably, had a greater impact on the game.
In a see-soaring affair the Fremantle Dockers were able to give Melbourne their first defeat of the 2018 AFLW season at Fremantle Oval. This match was a real arm wrestle and this showed at the final siren, as the Dockers were victors by five points in a thrilling game of the AFLW against the Dees who were undefeated heading into today’s match.
Image Source: Twitter @freodockers
The Melbourne Football Club dominated the first term, as they came out with all guns blazing at the start of the match over the Fremantle Dockers. In the first quarter the Dees kept the Dockers scoreless, but the Dees only managed to slot through one major themselves via Tegan Cunningham. The Dees could have had a bigger lead on the scoreboard at quarter time but there kicking in front of goal let themselves down with five behinds
The Greater Western Sydney Giants notched up their first win in season number two of the AFLW at the Olympic Park Oval. This match was a tight tussle before the Giants were able to break the shackles and dominate the final quarter with four goals to one. The Giants owned the match in the second half with the majority of the game play and this helped them get their first four premiership points of the 2018 AFLW season.
Image Source: Twitter @GWSGIANTS
The opening term was tight and scrappy, despite Collingwood who had the bulk of the play in the first term. Rising star Chloe Molloy begun in the forward line for Collingwood, as in the past two weeks she has played down back. There was stoppage after stoppage early on in the first quarter and the work rate was up and there was plenty of intensity around the contest from both teams. Late on in the first term the Pies started to get on top with more of the ball and cleaner disposal.
After two miserable seasons – finishing seventh in 2015/16 and eighth in 2016/17 – the Tiwi Bombers would be dancing and singing for joy after getting into the finals after their win against Waratah in the final round. No matter what, this season has been a success already for the Tiwi crew. But nobody knows better than the Bombers – all they have so far is the key to the kingdom. A true fairy tale would see them use the key to open the premiership cabinet.
The Bombers’ win against Waratah was set up with a blistering seven goals to one opening term and by half time a 51-point lead. Whilst Waratah rallied briefly to take the third term and hint at a fight-back, it was a bridge too far and the Bombers steadied to bring the game home, and bring their fans to a delirium of sorts. It was a high-pressure match with plenty at stake for both teams, and the Tiwi Bombers proved that they have what it takes to absorb finals-like pressure. Three wins in three weeks would see a second Bomber flag, so they can certainly dare to dream.
The Brisbane Lions pulled off another gutsy win on the road in front of 6,200 football fans against Carlton at Ikon Park by 22 points. At the start this match was a real hard defensive struggle and this explained the very low scoring in the first half of the match, but the game opened up a bit more in the second half with the Lions able to get on the scoreboard with five goals to the Blues two goals. The Blues first goal of the match came with less than four minutes left in the third term.
Image Source: Twitter @lionsaflw
The opening term between Carlton and the Brisbane Lions was a tough, hard and defensive struggle for both teams. In the first quarter there were heaps of one on one contests everywhere on the ground. Neither of the teams were able to score a goal, despite the Lions who had 12 inside 50s to the Blues 5 inside 50s. The Blues were under immense pressure all over the ground, but their defense held up well as the football came inside their defensive 50. The Lions were only able to score a solitary behind in the first quarter.
The Adelaide Crows were able to get over the line against the Western Bulldogs by 7 points in an absolute heart stopper of a match at Norwood Oval in front of 4,900 die hard football fans. Erin Phillips made her highly awaited return from a quad injury this afternoon in perfect conditions and what a wait it was as Phillips single handedly was able to get her Crows over the line with 4 goals in a ripper of a performance.
This match was a physical contest with heaps of pressure and very high intensity. Also it was a great match by two superstars of the AFLW Katie Brennan and Phillips.
The finalists for the 2017/18 NTFL season will be decided by one particular final-round match next weekend, and the equation is simple – the winner of the clash at Tracy Oval between the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will play finals. The loser will commence planning for next season. After weeks of jostling, a final round epic will decide fifth place.
Both teams lost over the weekend, to make things even more interesting, but the Tahs lost by less and hold the psychological edge over the Bombers after stealing fifth place from them. With all other finalists now guaranteed, the script is now perfectly written for a thrilling finish.
Waratah answered the eternal question on the weekend as to whether there is such a thing as a “valuable” loss. The answer was a resounding “Yes” with their narrow three-point loss to ladder leaders, Southern Districts, being enough to leap-frog the Bombers. Waratah were after a win, and played that way. They hurled everything at the Crocs. After a first half where the teams needed to be prised apart with a crowbar, Waratah then kept the Crocs goalless in the third term to snare a 22-point lead. However, Crocs fought back with a big final quarter to steal the match with a goal on the final siren to break Waratah hearts, but not their spirit.
The Western Bulldogs overcame the Lions in hot conditions in front of 5,300 football fans. In the second season of the AFLW the Dogs remain undefeated and the Lions have zero wins to start this season. The Dogs had been fantastic all day and their slick ball movement and gameplay all over the ground getting them get over the line. They unfortunately let themselves down in front of goal, as they were only able to score three goals for the entire match.
Image Source: Twitter @BulldogsW
It was a tight opening term with the first score a behind only coming with 6 mins left on the clock from Katie Brennan. Izzy Huntington played tough in and around the contest, as she cracked the packs and took strong marks. At quarter time the Lions led the Dogs by one point with neither team able to score a goal in the opening term. It was a real arm wrestle in the heat. Ally Anderson from the Lions was able to rack up nine possessions in the first. She was the only player able to get more than four disposals.
The Fremantle Dockers won by 13 points over the Pies in front of a massive record crowd of 41, 975 at their new home the Optus Stadium. This crowd was the biggest crowd in the history of Women's sport in Australia.
For the first half of the first quarter, Collingwood were on top in all areas especially slick and clean in their forward half. As a result, they were able to kick two goals. Emma King from the Pies slotted the first goal at Optus Stadium and shortly after Christina Bernardi was able to score goal number two for the visitors. However in a tight and open first quarter, the Dockers led by six points at the end of the first after three goals in a row.
Melbourne were dominant at Casey Fields this afternoon with a percentage boosting win over the reigning premiers Adelaide in front of 3,800 footy fans. The Dees were all over the Crows who were not able to put a halt to the Dees immense pressure.
It did not start well at all for the Crows, because before the siren even sounded for the match to begin there banner fell apart on one end with the post falling off on the right due to the strong breeze and the crowd could not believe it. This trend unfortunately continued for the Crows who were unable to get on top of a Demons team that was exceptional and played top notch football.