When young Zac Bailey galloped out of a centre clearance for the Allies, in their clash with the Vic Metro team at the Under 18 National Championships earlier this year, he changed the game and ensured an upset Allies win. He may have hoped for, but couldn’t know, that he had also turned on the neon sign that alerted recruiters to his talent and potential. Not only did he gain All-Australian U18 selection, he also lit the pathway lights to draft day.
It was, therefore, little surprise to those who know him that Bailey was selected by the Brisbane Lions at last night’s NAB Rising Stars Draft at pick 15. The journey had reached a new destination, and young Zac now has a dream come true – an AFL career. The junior from Southern Districts Crocs in the NTFL had followed past Territorians to the highest level of the game.
Last season was one to forget for the Tiwi Bombers. A wooden spoon followed some ordinary performances across the season and led to a commitment from everyone at the club to access all areas and find improvement. Their win on the weekend made in three in seven rounds – already surpassing their total wins for last season. Positive signs are coming from the Tiwi Islands as the club rebuilds.
A home fixture for Waratah didn’t help greatly as the Tiwi Bombers got away to a handy early lead and still held a 20 point lead at the main break, courtesy of an after-the-siren goal to former Melbourne Demon Liam Jurrah, lining up again for the Bombers. A seven goal third quarter for the Bombers put the game safely out of the reach of Waratah, despite a 12 goal shoot-out in the last quarter, with Waratah kicking seven to reduce the gap. The Bombers would be heartened by the performance of first game player Jake Best who kicked seven goals in his Bomber debut.
Essendon’s first to fourth year players have returned to the club for pre-season training, and the first order of business has been visiting communities across the “Top End” of the Northern Territory. Natalie MacGregor has reported on the club’s website that star Bomber, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and the rest of the touring squad visited Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land approximately 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Giving back to the community is important to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Visiting the remote indigenous community of Maningrida, West Arnhem Land, as part of the Club’s ‘Right of Passage’ camp with first to fourth year players this week, McDonald-Tipungwuti said the group would benefit greatly from the experience.
“The players will take a lot away from the whole experience,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
The AFL's release of the news that Nicole Livingstone has been appointed as the Head of Women's football came through early this morning via press release.
I am glad to see that a woman has been appointed to the position. I think that there are perhaps many women with a better understanding of women's football and may have been a better choice, but am prepared to see what Nicole can do. She will bring a high personal profile and national recognition to the position. I respect and have enjoyed what she has done in sport and in the media.
The cynical side of me says that she may be a puppet of the AFL commission in place to head nod to their agenda overall rather than to represent the interests of women's footy. But that's not really my biggest concern.
In the statement, where she was directly quoted it appears that she sees the game only as Australian.
“The growth of women’s AFL has been extraordinary. Every Australian girl can now actively pursue footy as their passion, past time or career. Importantly girls can now follow their dreams and as they do, we will continue to break down any barriers that may exist.
“I’m excited by the challenge of growing the sport from a community grass roots level right through to high performance along with ensuring the league is commercially sustainable.
“There are many passionate AFL people around the country, all wanting to see the AFLW find its place in the hearts and minds of Australians and I look forward to connecting with them,” she said.
The AFL is pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole Livingstone OAM as the new Head of Women’s Football.
A three-time Olympic swimmer, respected sports administrator and commentator, Ms Livingstone will join the AFL on December 4 charged with the responsibility of growing and managing the NAB AFL Women’s Competition and female football participation.
AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan today said the league was delighted to add someone of Ms Livingstone’s calibre to the senior management team.
“Nicole is a champion in every sense – as an athlete, an administrator and an advocate for women in sport,” Mr McLachlan said.
In a little over a week, the AFL world will be lauding the latest number one draft pick. The Brisbane Lions hold the pick this year and are already considering how to use it. At the same time, they will be hoping it will bring the dawning of a new area rather than being a poisoned chalice. To some, the gaining of the number one draft pick is a chance to obtain greatness, but history shows that isn’t always the case.
AFL/VFL history is littered with failures – admittedly most from the era when drafting was a very inexact science. But names like Richard Lounder (Richmond, 1987), Anthony Banik (Richmond, 1988), Stephen Hooper (Geelong, 1990) and John Hutton (Brisbane, 1991) never reached the highest of expectations that came with the pick.
On the other hand, Nick Reiwoldt (St Kilda, 2000), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn, 2001), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda, 2002), Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs, 2003), Brett Deledio (Richmond, 2004) and Marc Murphy (Carlton, 2005) have gone on to be revered names in the game.
In the blinking of an eye, the NTFL season is one third complete with Round 6 being played out last weekend. It won’t be long now before we are genuinely talking finals, but many teams took strides towards the business end of the season across the round.
The Nightcliff Tigers downed St Mary’s in an absolute thriller, the Darwin Buffaloes kept their hopes alive with an important win over Waratah, Wanderers downed Palmerston to strengthen their position and the Southern Districts Crocs took a stranglehold on top spot whilst taming the Tiwi Bombers.
In the Friday night clash, Wanderers did enough to keep a pesky Palmerston at bay. Helped along by their new recruit, former Port Adelaide Power forward Brett Eddy with four goals, Wanderers broke a quarter time deadlock to move away over the next two quarters to effectively secure the game. A five goal to two rally by Palmerston wasn’t enough and Wanderers won their fourth game of the season by 21 points.
There was something quite congruent and in-synch about having two teams of young girls play as a curtain-raiser to an AFL Masters carnival. So many ways the two could be linked – old and new, past and present, a vision of the future through the eyes of those who have already been there.
But, however you look at it, two groups of players separated by generations took to the field yesterday in Cardwell, North Queensland, and all were proud warriors. The fact that these matches were played on Remembrance Day just added to importance of the event – and every player stepped up accordingly for the occasion. Young local kids from Mission Beach and Innisfail stopped their Auskick Clinic for the minute’s silence, then launched back into their scratch match with giggles and cheers of delight.
Almost fittingly, the Essendon NGA team has taken out this year’s Under 14 Michael Long Cup in Darwin. The annual tournament showcases the next generation of young talent from across the Northern Territory and pits local junior Darwin teams against teams from Alice Springs as well as throughout Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands.
After the round robin matches to decide finals, the tournament was won by Essendon NGA over Collingwood NGA. Geelong NGA finished third ahead of the Cenral Redtails. Final scores:
Essendon NGA (Tiwi & East Arnhem) 5 4 34 d Collingwood NGA 3 4 22 ( first v second)
Geelong NGA (Gove Island) 8 7 55 d Central Redtails (Alice Springs) 8 3 51 (third v fourth)
St Mary’s 4 4 28 drew with Palmerston 4 4 28 (equal fifth place)
The event is named in honour of Essendon great, Michael Long. The AFLNT details the event as follows:
The Waratah Warriors have produced the upset of the NTFL Round 5 fixture, knocking out the Nightcliff Tigers by 27 points. The result, along with wins to Saints and the Tiwi Bombers, have seen three of the bottom half teams defeat three of the top half teams in a round that has completely changed the race. The Southern Districts Crocs sit undefeated atop the ladder and two games clear of the pack, whilst the Palmerston Magpies now inhabit bottom place – a game behind the field.
In between, just a game and percentage separates second place from seventh as this NTFL season shows how much more even the competition is for 2017/18.
The round opened with a thriller between St Mary’s and Wanderers in a grand final replay. In a tight game it was Wanderers leading at half time and at the final change. But the indefatigable Saints team would not be denied and stunned Wanderers with a four goals to one final quarter to get over the line by just three points. A last gasp shot at goal by Wanderers missed, handing Saints the valuable four points and consecutive wins after a slow start to the season.