A huge performance by Collingwood’s American forward, Mason Cox, has Magpie fans salivating and commentators speculating that he should be a certainty to line up in the team’s Round One match. His NAB Challenge performance against Geelong tonight saw him with seven possessions, four marks, including two excellent contested marks, and topped off with two goals.
What the statistics don’t tell you is how much of an absolute menace Cox was in the Collingwood forward Line. His ability to bust open packs with big leaps led directly to two more goals, and his hulking 211cm and 110kg frame put shivers through the cats’ defence. Even more impressive was that Cox spent much of the game matched up against premiership Cat, Harry Taylor.
After 18 slogging rounds, the 2015/16 NTFL season will enter the finals series next weekend with all finalists decided. In the opening match of the finals series, Darwin Buffaloes will play against the Nightcliff Tigers in the Elimination Final at TIO Stadium, followed by the Qualifying Final between last year’s two grand finalists, St Mary’s Saints and Wanderers Eagles. Ladder positions did not change after the final round, though there were still heaps of thrills.
The Friday night match between Wanderers and Nightcliff would have a bearing on the shape off the top five should Tigers lose. As it turned out, the Tigers were never going to give their place away and recorded a terrific 10 point win over Wanderers in an upset. They led at every change and the margin floated around the two to three goal mark at each break. The Tigers’ finals charge has been exciting with plenty of new talent leading the way. They will not be a pushover next weekend. For Wanderers, the loss was a reminder that any slip in concentration can be costly, especially with the finals here. They are still seeking back to back glory, and have had an outstanding second half of the season, but now the stakes are higher.
Final Score: Nightcliff Tigers 14 13 97 d Wanderers Eagles 12 15 87
The AFL today announced former Sydney Swans star Tadhg Kennelly will assume the role of head coach of the Allies, which will compete in Division 1 of the 2016 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
The Allies, comprising players from NSW/ACT, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, will join Vic Metro, Vic Country, Western Australia and South Australia in Division 1 of the 2016 Championships.
The five teams will play four matches each during June in 2016
The AFL General Meeting on March 17 will receive two nominations with strong AFL Club experience to replace retiring Commissioners.
The AFL Commission meeting on Monday accepted the recommendations of the Nominations Sub-Committee to nominate Andrew Newbold and Gabrielle Trainor to the AFL Commission to replace Chris Langford and Sam Mostyn (pictured left at the IC11 opening event).
The Nominations Committee was chaired by AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and included AFL Commissioner Richard Goyder, along with the President of the Richmond Football Club, Peggy O’Neal and the Chairman of the Port Adelaide Football Club, David Koch.
The brutal truth is that the top four won and the bottom four lost. One round out from the finals and we are left with a very compelling and confronting truth. In a season which has seen so many close games, the irony is that most of the ladder positions are already signed, sealed and delivered with wide gaps between almost all sides on the ladder except, thankfully, for the battle for fifth place.
As it stands, the Southern Districts Crocs will win the minor premiership, St Mary’s and Wanderers will meet in the Qualifying Final, Waratah will win the wooden spoon and the Tiwi Bombers will avoid the spoon by miss finals. These are now all givens. Buffaloes will play someone in the Elimination Final, and whether it be Nightcliff or Palmerston will be the most intriguing part of next weekend’s final home and away round.
Just two rounds remain until the NTFL finals series begins and Round 16 provided plenty of excitement as teams jostled for finals berths. In the highlight of the round the Crocs and Eagles played a pulsating draw, St Mary’s booted Palmerston out of the top five, Buffaloes all but killed off the Tiwi Bombers finals hopes and the Nightcliff Tigers leapt into the top five.
Southern Districts Crocs has virtually assured themselves of the minor premiership, so their clash against Wanderers Eagles was less about top spot and more about flexing muscle against another likely finalist. Wanderers were still on a mission to prove doubters wrong and show they could actually defend their title after a tardy first half of the season. The result was a slashing game where little separated the teams all day and had them locked at 73 points apiece by the final siren. Incredibly, it was the tenth time this season that Wanderers had played in a game decided by less than a goal, with them being on the credit side with six wins a draw and three losses. It says something about their belief that they can stay in games so long and surge when they need to. That is something other finals teams will need to watch very closely.
Final Score: Southern Districts Crocs 10 13 73 drew with Wanderers Eagles 10 13 73
The AFL has granted Victorian based clubs the opportunity to develop their own talent academies to boost the development of players from non-traditional football backgrounds, or to fast-track development of project players across multicultural player markets. The following article from the www.afl.com.au website details the plan and the impact it will have on Victoria and the Northern Territory.
VICTORIAN clubs have been given seed funding to establish club-branded academies in allocated areas throughout Victoria and the Northern Territory in a radical plan to attract youngsters from non-traditional football backgrounds to the game.
Under the plan unveiled to clubs on Tuesday, they will be given the chance to invest in specific regions to attract youngsters from diverse backgrounds and indigenous heritage to play AFL and develop elite talent within those areas.
With the Northern Territory Football League just three rounds away, the jostling for top five positions took some interesting turns on the weekend. Along the way, the Tiwi Bombers may have surrendered their chances, the Darwin Buffaloes tried to do the same, Nightcliff announced they are back in the race with fangs at the ready and Southern Districts effectively secured the minor premiership.
The Nightcliff Tigers’ form in recent weeks has seen three wins from their last five outings and they now sit just a game out of the top five and a realistic chance of stealing a finals berth. The team they would most likely dislodge would be their victims from last weekend, Darwin Buffaloes. The Tigers and Buffaloes fought out a tight first half before Nightcliff kicked seven goals to two in the second half to score a vital win, and inflict a damaging loss on the Buffaloes. For the Buffaloes to hold a finals berth, after just one win in their past six matches, they need to beat both Tiwi and Waratah in the next two rounds before meeting the powerhouse Crocs in the final round. It can be done but the Buffaloes cannot make a mistake from here on. Nightcliff, on the other hand, are playing with a devil-may-care attitude that is dangerous and they would love to sneak into finals action.
Final Score: Nightcliff Tigers 13 13 91 d Darwin Buffaloes 8 10 58
It had been ten years since the Darwin Buffaloes had beaten St Mary’s. In between the Buffaloes had experienced some lean times whilst the Saints continued to set the bar high year in year out. To make this weekend’s round interesting, Saints sat in second place, needing to keep winning to have a chance at the minor premiership and a great position for the finals. The Buffaloes were on a horror streak of four consecutive losses. Their finals ambitions were unravelling fast.
The four goal to one first quarter was the difference in the end as the Buffaloes jumper early to make a stand and held that advantage for most of the game, running out 16 point winners but more importantly securing third place again and playing the bottom three sides in the run to the finals. The Buffaloes now have a say in their destiny.
Final Score: Darwin Buffaloes 14 15 99 d St Mary’s Saints 12 11 83
Whether or not Cairns Muslim kids ever take up Australian Rules footy is a question that can’t yet be answered one way or the other. It’s too early. But one certainty is that the chances of them giving the game a go have grown after the AFL Diversity unit, in conjunction with AFL Cairns Juniors, Footys4all, Ross Faulkner and the Pyramid Power junior club met with the Cairns Muslim community on the weekend.
With donated giveaways for the kids and time to chat with parents and interested parties, AFL Cairns made great strides in connecting with the local Islamic community. With the tremendous support of the Mosque’s Imaam Abdul Aziz the community and the football code came together. The first seeds were planted for Muslim kids to perhaps pursue our indigenous game.