Contributed by: Wesley Hull Monday, December 04 2017 @ 01:01 pm ACDT
Yes, it might be a foolish, early call, but there is every sign that Waratah might just be the real deal to go deep into this season’s NTFL finals series. Their win on Friday night against the previously undefeated Southern Districts Crocs at TIO Stadium, when taken in isolation, was just a bloody good performance. However, when looked at over a longer five-match performance there are some even better signs.
Round Five saw Waratah pull of an “upset” win against Nightcliff. But, looking back now, it may not have been so much an upset as a pointer to what would come. Two inconsistent performances against the Buffaloes and Bombers have been followed by a total dismantling of fellow finals aspirant, Wanderers, and now they have outlasted Crocs in a tight match – proof also that they can handle pressure when on their game. Should they continue in this vein of form, Waratah will play finals and will worry other teams. Crocs will be one of them, kept to their lowest score of the season by a miserly Waratah defence. Star Croc, Will Farrer, was kept to just two goals while Kim Kantilla kicked another five for Waratah.
St Mary’s held off a determined Tiwi Bombers outfit, largely on the strength of an eight goal second quarter. The Bombers got away to a solid seven goals to four opening quarter, but couldn’t contain the Saints in the second and third quarters. In the end, the Saints came away with a hard-earned 27-point victory, with the dual attack of Peter Macfarlane and Jack Musgrove kicking five each. The win strengthens St Mary’s third place on the ladder, whilst the defeat puts pressure on the Bombers to stay with the pack.
The Achilles Heel for the Darwin Buffaloes in recent times had been their attack, but they got their mojo back up forward on Saturday night. With nine separate goal-scorers, Buffaloes were too good up forward and all over the field for a listless Wanderers, with Darren Shillabeer and Matt Campbell doing most of the damage up forward. Both teams are now locked on four wins (along with Waratah) at the half-way mark of the season, and need a big second half of the season to gain a finals berth.
Nightcliff were far too strong for the Palmerston Magpies on Sunday. Whilst the ‘Pies stayed in the game until three quarter time, down by just four goals, their worrying last quarters haunted them as they again allowed six goals to nil in the final stanza (as they did against St Mary’s two weeks ago), killing off any hope of a comeback. Nightcliff now sit clear second, now just a game behind the Crocs, and certainly have the final’s double chance in their sights. Mathew Bricknell kicked four for the Tigers whilst former Collingwood, Carlton and Port Adelaide journeyman, Cameron Cloke, kicked three for the Magpies.
Next round will see the perhaps the match of the round when Southern Districts clash with St Mary’s. Both desperate for a win, the Buffaloes and Bombers do battle. Waratah mets the Palmerston Magpies and on Sunday, Nightcliff take on Wanderers.
Waratah 9 6 60 d Southern Districts 7 13 55
St Mary’s 22 13 145 d Tiwi Bombers 18 10 118
Darwin Buffaloes 19 9 123 d Wanderers 9 4 58
Nightcliff 19 16 130 d Palmerston 10 5 65