Whilst the Saints and Tigers had big wins on the weekend, and Crocs continued to build their season, it was the Waratah team that had tongues wagging as they won their third match from four starts and made last year’s horror season a distant memory.
The weekend’s first match saw St Mary’s dish out a lesson in football desperation and tactics when they hammered the Tiwi Bombers by 103 points. The contest was effectively done by half time with the Saints holding a 10 goal lead. Despite kicking the first couple of goals in the final quarter, Tiwi just couldn’t get back into the game – the Saints pressure causing turnovers throughout the game and leading to continual scoring options.
Final Score: St Mary’s 26 14 170 d Tiwi Bombers 9 13 67
Former Cairns Saints junior footballer Jack Bowes sits on the cusp of making some AFL history of his own when the national draft comes around on November 25th. Jack won’t be the first draftee to come from the Far North Queensland city, but he is at unbackable odds to be the highest ranked draft choice to come from Cairns.
Being a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy since he was just 13, Jack will almost certainly be grabbed by the Suns with their Pick 4 on draft night. But with the vagaries of the draft bidding system, if current number one pick holder, Essendon, were to place a bid for Bowes with their prized pick, thereby forcing the Suns to match the bid, Bowes could go as the draft’s #1 pick. The Giants or Lions could also pull the same trick at #2 and #3. No matter which of these scenarios occurs, Jack is destined to be picked inside the top 5 – a remarkable effort for a humble Cairns lad.
The tropical Far North Queensland city of Cairns has just received arguably its biggest boost for hosting future AFL Premiership matches with the announcement that it will host its sixth consecutive annual AFL event. Despite falling attendances since 2013 when the Richmond v Gold Coast match drew a crowd of over 11,000 people, the current premiers, Western Bulldogs, will headline the 2017 event – the first time Cairns has played host to a reigning premier.
The match will be part of the Round 18 AFL Premiership fixture and be played again in the original twilight timeslot after opting for an evening event in 2016.
The third round of the NTFL season in Darwin was completed yesterday when the Southern Districts Crocs defeated reigning premiers, St Mary’s by 18 points in a tight game at Norbuilt Oval. In other matches, the Nightcliff Tigers continued their tremendous start to the season with a resounding thumping of Palmerston Magpies, Wanderers defeated the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah downed the Darwin Buffaloes.
The Crocs and Saints played a high scoring game. The Saints got away to a good first quarter and again in the third with seven and eight goals respectively. But Crocs kicked seven goals to one in the second quarter, and did what they had to in the last to pull away. With 41 goals kicked for the game it was a defender’s nightmare, but the upshot sees the Crocs now with two wins for the season and just one for Saints.
Final Score: Southern Districts 22 7 139 d St Mary’s 19 7 121
Round Two of the NTFL competition in Darwin was completed on Sunday with two teams, the Wanderers and Nightcliff Tigers, the only undefeated teams in an even start to the season. At the other end of the scale the Tiwi Bombers and Darwin Buffaloes remain winless and will be desperate to turn things around in a hurry.
The Buffaloes faced a fired up St Mary’s unit, fresh from their first round defeat. The Buffaloes led for most of the day, but Saints were always just at arm’s length. It took a four goal to one final quarter (which would have been more but for Saints inaccuracy) to turn the tide in the final quarter.
Final Score: St Marys 17 17 119 d Buffaloes 16 9 105
The AFL National Women's Draft was held in Melbourne today. The 8 foundation clubs of the AFL Women's league set to debut in 2017 added to their initial list of priority picks and rookies with a total of 145 selections in today's draft.
We held out hope that a number of players from Ireland, the US and Canada might be among them but it was not to be. If they are to be a part of the inaugural season they must now hope they can secure a place at one of the clubs during the "free agency period" between now and October 31. Each club will have three places on their list for these players.
Some international connections to footy overseas were however noted.
The momentum continues to build towards the AFL Women's league 2017 kick-off. In less than 24 hours most of the players for the league's inaugural season will have been allocated to clubs via tomorrow's draft to be held in Melbourne.
And for the first time (in men's and women's drafts) there is the possibility that there will be internationals that have learnt and played the game in their own country up for grabs.
The AFL tell us there have been around 1300 players register for the draft, and although they have not issued that list, they have confirmed that Kim Hemenway (USA), Katie Klatt (USA) and Kendra Heil (Canada) have all nominated. They have also confirmed that Aimee Legault (Canada) has unfortunately not nominated despite speculation that she would.
It is also expected there may be a number of Australian based Irish players such as Gill Behan, who plays for the UTS Shamrocks in Sydney, that may be drafted.
NAB is the inaugural sponsor of the new AFL Women’s League.
Andrew Thorburn, NAB CEO, and Gillon McLachlan, AFL CEO, today announced the partnership with the AFL Women’s League, as well as confirming NAB’s continued support of Auskick and the AFL player pathway program for a further six years.
Mr Thorburn said he was excited to be building on the bank’s 14-year partnership with the AFL and proud to be supporting both men’s and women’s football.
The Darwin-based NTFL competition got under way today in Northern Territory capital. Amid the actual football, the year 2016 is now recognised as the year that a game was played in the Northern Territory. The first match for premiership points was between Wanderers and Waratah in 2017, and they will play their centenary match in Round 15 next year. But both teams made a centenary statement today.
To kick off the new season, Round One presented four hard fought matches. It was a round of upsets, close shaves and huge excitement – great qualities to continue the celebration of 100 years of footy in the Northern Territory.
In an era of national drafts, free agents, ground rationalisation, Total Player Payments and salary caps, the question is often asked as to whether some clubs are better off than others – if the league is now operating with a cycle of sorts where all teams will get their chance.
Often the measurement of that question is premierships. It is the ultimate prize and a fair starting point. But on that great day it is debatable whether any of those mechanisms mentioned actually make the difference. Or is it fairer to measure grand final appearances – the two teams that fight all the way through to the final 100 minutes of a season.
One question here is what would be a fair length of a cycle?