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.
Simon Conway reports on the Essendon website of a brilliant initiative from the club, which will see students from the Tiwi Islands designing the clubs next Dreamtime Guernsey. The Tiwi Islands, made up of both Bathurst and Melville Islands to the north of Darwin, are already connected to the Essendon Bombers, with local NTFL club, the Tiwi Bombers, sharing colours and logo with the AFL giant.
The venture involving the Guernsey design will strengthen the existing link between the Tiwi Islands and the Essendon Football club. According to the article:
Students from the Tiwi Islands will design Essendon’s 2018 Dreamtime guernsey.
Club Champion Gavin Wanganeen and award winning artist Chern’ee Sutton have designed the jumper in previous years.
In a complete departure from previous seasons, the Far North Queensland city of Cairns will host their 2018 match in Round One when the Gold Coast Suns become the host team and will play the North Melbourne Kangaroos. This is a huge shift from the previous seven AFL Premiership seasons, which has traditionally seen Cairns host matches involving the Suns, Richmond and Western Bulldogs in July.
It is a huge win for the northern city, which was uncertain as to its ability to host future matches when the Western Bulldogs announced they would pursue their Ballarat home game options from 2018 onwards. With an opening round start, it would be hoped that the Cairns fixture could capitalise on the traditional excitement of opening rounds as well as connecting directly with the early stages of local junior and senior competition.
After a season to forget in 2016/17, and a tough, winless start to the new season, the Tiwi Bombers have bounced back hard in Round Three of the NTFL season in Darwin. After going into the match as rank outsiders against the previously undefeated Darwin Buffaloes, the Bombers turned their season in the right direction to win by 12 points.
Things didn’t start well after the Buffaloes kicked seven goals to three in the first quarter. But an eight goal to one second term from the Bombers gave them back the lead by half time and they were not about to give it up. The win lifts the Bombers to sixth place and back in the early mix to consolidate a battle later for finals.
In other results from Round Three, the Nightcliff Tigers made it three from three downing Wanderers by a comfortable 33 points. In a low scoring affair, the Tiger defence kept Wanderers to just two goals until three-quarter time, which was enough to keep them at bay.
They came from Gordonvale – a small sugar town to the south of Cairns. A town watched over by the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid and surrounded by the ubiquitous sugar cane that is the lifeblood of the town. Unlike most of the town, however, they play Australian Rules football – AFL to some.
We are talking about the Gordonvale Bombers – a team of 10-12 year old primary school girls who changed the course of their school’s sporting history in one glorious year of commitment, courage, talent and determination. They have firmly placed Gordonvale State School on the AFL map, and much more beyond.
Whilst their achievements are largely measured on their 2017 results, the truth is that these girls started to come together in 2016 when a small group of year five students joined the school footy team for some of their matches in the Queensland Schools Cup and a few other localised school games.
The weekend’s matches in Darwin’s NTFL competition saw a closer set of results as the competition entered Round Two and the settling process of the new season kicked in further. There was plenty going on to maintain high inter4est with Saints losing their second straight match to start the season, the Tiwi Bombers penalised for an ineligible player, Wanderers downing rivals Waratah and Southern Districts Crocs too good for Palmerston.
The biggest news from the round came after all matches had been completed. The Tiwi Bombers fought hard to go down to the much-improved Nightcliff Tigers – the final scoreboard margin being just 16 points. The performance was heartening for Bombers’ supporters, but after a review of then weekend, Tiwi had fielded an ineligible player. Whilst they had lost anyway, the penalty was to award the result to Nightcliff as a forfeit and a 60-nil scoreline.
Sarah Black has reported on the www.afl.com.au website that the Gold Coast Suns have ticked the boxes and locked in arrangements to continue playing matches in North Queensland for 2018 and hopefully beyond.
In her article, Sarah states that:
GOLD COAST will play home matches for premiership points in both Cairns and Townsville from 2018 onwards.
The deal was struck between the Suns and Tourism and Events Queensland, and will see the club play in Cairns next season, and Townsville in 2019 or 2020.