Almanac (NTFL) Football: Nightcliff Tigers Break 54 year Premiership Drought


The Nightcliff Football Club has finally broken one the longest running premiership droughts in the history of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL). In a tightly contested game against the current reigning premiers, Southern Districts (aka the Crocs), the Nightcliff Tigers prevailed by 22 points and ended a 54 year drought.


Aside from Nightcliff’s seemingly ceaseless 54-year spell, Wanderers (aka the Muk Muks) held the next longest premiership drought in NTFL history at 34 years between 1924 and 1958. The Tigers had been runners-up seven times prior to bringing home the premiership cup.


The game was played on a typical hot and humid Top End night, with the mercury nudging 33oC and 60% humidity at 7 pm at night. Over 8,000 passionate fans turned up to witness history being made.


The NTFL attracts a plethora of ex-AFL players and both teams had their fair share of players with AFL experience. Jared Brennan (Brisbane Lions) and Ed Barlow (Sydney Swans/Western Bulldogs) ran out for the Southern Districts Crocs (Richard Tambling (Richmond/Adelaide) was out injured) while John Butcher (Port Adelaide) played forward for Nightcliff.


The game was a battle of the defences with only six goals in the first half. Cameron Ilett brought the Tigers crowd to their feet kicking the first goal of the game in the opening 90 seconds and repeated the deed by kicking another 25 seconds into the second quarter. The pressure continued through the second half but Districts discipline cost them dearly by giving away 6 50 m penalties in the game.


Eighteen-year-old Liam Holt-Fitz from Tennant Creek was recognised as the most outstanding player in the Grand Final when he picked up the TIO Chaney Medal for best on ground. The Tiger’s young gun stood up and took his opportunities kicking two important goals in a low scoring game and his speed and pressure forward was telling throughout the game.


Tears of joy flowed after the siren sounded as past players, supporters and club stalwarts finally realised the drought was over.



Nightcliff                           1.3.9                      4.7.31                    6.10.46                 8.13.61

Southern Districts            1.3.9                      2.5.17                    3.7.25                    5.9.39




Goal Kickers: L. Holt-Fitz 2, C. Ilett 2, M. Bricknell, J. Butcher, B. Filo, P. Wills

Best Players: L. Holtz-Fitz, B. Filo,




Goal Kickers: M. Mummery 2, S. Thorne, J. Koopman, R. O’Brien

Best Players: D. Staunton, R. O’Brien, S. Guilhaus, S. Martin



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