The NTFL Premier League kicked back into action last weekend after the Christmas/New Year break. By the end of the round, the most compelling detail is that, barring some sort of minor miracle, the top five teams may already be decided.
At the end of Round 12, three and a half games and a significant percentage separate the Tiwi Bombers in fifth place from Wanderers in sixth with just six rounds remaining. It isn’t impossible for one of the bottom three teams to finish the season undefeated, or the Bombers lose all games from here, but it is highly unlikely.
The weekend’s matches saw St Mary’s down Wanderers by 63 points to secure second place, whilst the Nightcliff Tigers hammered Waratah by 138 points and the Tiwi Bombers took down the Palmerston Magpies by 61 points.
Michael Gallus has mobilised the Footys4all Foundation to try and raise funds, aimed primarily at kids across East Gippsland who have lost everything – including sporting equipment – during the dreadful bushfire disaster across Australia.
Footys4all has been working for many years to gain sponsorship and donations to send footballs and other equipment to kids across Australia and the world. Wherever kids face hardships through socio-economic, geographic, political or health reasons, Footys4all has stepped in to try and bring just a little joy to a child with a donated footy, or similar.
Michael Gallus has seen the devastation of the current fires across most Australian states and realised that kids will have lost everything and a ball might just help bring a smile to a face.
No matter how you look at it, the Nightcliff Tigers have enjoyed a brilliant 2019 and as teams enjoy their festive season summer break, the Tigers boast not only a premiership but top spot to see out the calendar year.
Back in March, the Tigers held off a determined Southern Districts to claim the 2018/19 NTFL Premier League title. After their Round 11 clash, the Tigers go to the break two games clear at the top of the ladder. Their only loss was to the currently second-placed St Mary’s. It has been an impressive year from the Tigers.
In fact, the Tigers only lost two matches for the calendar year, the other being a one-point loss to the Tiwi Bombers in January.
When matches resume early next year, clubs will have been planning their journey to the finals, and uppermost in their planning will be Nightcliff.
Back in my days as a tour guide, stopping at Halls Creek in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia was a step back in time to learn of aboriginal culture, gold mining, droving, explorers and other tales associated with the remoteness of a town that is almost 3000 kilometres from its own capital city, Perth. For a while it was synonymous with the Wolf Creek horror movie based on the nearby attraction, but now it is developing a new and very different reputation.
Michael Whiting from www.afl.com.au reports on the incredible success coming out of one remote Western Australian town. With the recruitment of Jy Farrar at last week’s AFL Draft, the small outback town is again in the spotlight and making people wonder what is in the water up there.
Jy Farrar did not have to look far for inspiration to believe one day he could make it to the AFL
When his name was read out by Gold Coast with pick No.60 at last week's NAB AFL Draft, Farrar added to the Halls Creek production line that dominates the League.
The St Mary’s Saints have used a 123-point win over Waratah to strengthen their grip on a top five position in the NTFL Premier League after the completion of Round 9 – the halfway mark of the season. After a big percentage boost, the Saints now sit in fourth place, two games clear of the fifth-placed Tiwi Bombers – a finals berth is theirs to lose from here.
After claiming last season’s wooden spoon, St Mary’s were always going to be a danger this season, and Waratah found that out the hard way yesterday. St Mary’s were too good in the opening half, charging to a 53-point lead by half time. Any hope of a Waratah comeback was vaporised in the third term with Saints rattling on seven unanswered goals for the quarter. The last quarter saw more of the same as the Saints dominated all over the field.
After a season start which saw Wanderers, Waratah, St Mary’s and Darwin showing big improvements since last season, recent weeks have seen a return to order. Nightcliff and Southern Districts are back in the top two places on the ladder and beginning to show their dominance as the competition heads towards the midway point.
Whilst Round 7 was full of upsets – the Tiwi Bombers upsetting Southern Districts and St Mary’s downing the Tigers – this weekend’s results saw more predictable results.
Nightcliff responded to their shock loss last week with a 73-point drubbing of Wanderers, whilst Southern Districts were just as effective in bouncing back with a 59-point win over Palmerston.
It sees the Tigers sitting on top of the ladder with a game and a half break from the Crocs. The Darwin Buffaloes, St Mary’s and Tiwi Bombers make up the top five.
Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au website reports on the latest young footballer to turn his back on a career in the AFL to pursue punting in the NFL. Son of Essendon legend, Mason Fletcher, has decided not to continue in the footsteps of his esteemed father, Dustin Fletcher and grand-father, Ken Fletcher to try his hand – or foot – at the American game.
A BOOMING Fletcher boot could soon be set for the world stage after Dustin's son Mason quit football to pursue NFL punting.
The father-son prospect informed Essendon of his decision to end dreams as an AFL defender in recent weeks and begin chasing a career in the USA.
Fletcher, 19, opted to sit out of last year's NAB AFL Draft after a season plagued by back injuries, instead eyeing the 2020 drafts as a pathway to the Bombers.
The following article from Matthew Abbot at The New York Times (www.nytimes.com ) is a wonderful account of how important the game is to players in some of Australia’s most isolated locations. World Footy News has previously explored Lajamanu football (See: Lajamanu Footy – “The lifeblood of the community”) and what the game means to them. This story, from New York – half a world away from Lajamanu and Yuendumu – again tells an amazing tale of determination against all manner of odds.
For Indigenous Australians in isolated towns, “bush footy” is more religion than sport. Neither distance, the police nor even death can keep teams from competing.
LAJAMANU, Australia — Halfway into a 400-mile journey through a dusty stretch of the Australian desert, the team’s minibus ran into trouble.
The players, Warlpiri Australians from one of the country’s most isolated towns, were headed to a carnival, a celebration of sport and culture that brings together far-flung Indigenous communities from across the Central Desert.
You didn’t need a seismograph to measure the ground shaking on Bathurst Island yesterday. You could feel the earth move in Darwin. The epicentre was at Wurrumiyanga, the main centre on Bathurst Island, Tiwi Islands. The cause – one Cyril Rioli Junior.
Named on the Tiwi Bombers’ team sheet two weeks ago before withdrawing before the match (See Rioli Back For Tiwi Bombers - Possibly) , this time Rioli ran out onto the field for the Tiwi Bombers, already sending the local crowd into a delirious frenzy. Ever since retiring from Hawthorn in 2018, after a decorated AFL career and later signing on as one of the Tiwi Bombers assistant coaches, if was felt that Rioli would undoubtedly don the red and black again on the playing fields – as he did briefly before being drafted to the Hawks in 2007.
Cyril played seven games for the Bombers prior to his Hawthorn era.
The rumoured return of Cyril Rioli for the Tiwi Bombers did not eventuate, but the club still enjoyed a successful and exciting weekend with their first win of the season. Maybe the Bombers won’t need Cyril Rioli after all.
After two losses – as it turns out, to the teams now first and second on the ladder - the Bombers set about changing things and hammered on ten first quarter goals as the St Mary’s team looked on in awe. What should have already been a match-winning lead, however, was evaporated over the next two quarters as the Saints rallied strongly and had grabbed a narrow lead by the final change, having rattled on 14 goals of their own after quarter time.
However, the Bombers rallied when they needed it most and kicked five goals to two in a strong finish to defeat St Mary’s by 8 points. The win restored some order for the Bombers, whilst at the same time bring the Saints back to earth after winning their opening two matches.