Coaching movements in the NTFL

By Jackson Clark

It is set to be an interesting lead up to the 2012/13 Northern Territory Football League season with a number of coaching movements announced throughout the off season.

Heading the list is former St Marys coach Damian Hale’s decision to leave the Saints and take on the top job at Nightcliff. A lack of support from the senior players at St Marys appears to be his main reason for departing the club. The signing of Hale comes after the Tigers’ surprising decision to sack coach Mo Motlop despite taking his side from wooden-spooners to grand finalists in the space of 12 months. Hale told the NT News that his short term goal is to “win a premiership and break what will be a 48-year drought by the end of next season”.

Taking over the reins at St Marys is Southport Sharks legend Jason Cotter. Cotter has come to the club with a massive reputation both as a player and a coach. The 48-year-old played 188 games for Southport, which included six premierships and two Grogan medals. He later went on to coach the club to a further three premierships and has also had experience coaching the Queensland representative side.

Another former St Marys coach in Brenton Toy has also found a new home for the upcoming season. The incumbent Northern Territory Institute of Sport AFL head coach was announced as the new coach of Waratah. Toy has had plenty of coaching experience in the NTFL after leading St Marys to a premiership and also spending time at the Tiwi Bombers. He has spent the last two seasons coaching the Northern Territory U18s side and is a good developer of young players.

Michael McLean has left his role at Southern Districts and will form a partnership with Russell Jeffrey at Palmerston Magpies. The Magpies have been starved of finals success in recent years but with an experienced coaching duo at the helm, one would expect a good season from the club. Meanwhile, taking over the top job at Southern Districts is Shannon Rusca.

Darwin Buffaloes are another side with new leadership with the double blues going into the season under coaches Mark Motlop and Dean Rioli. The pair will hope to restore pride in the club after the side went winless last season.

For any information regarding the upcoming season, player transfers, coaching transfers or anything in between, follow @JClark182 on Twitter!

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    A few questions if I may Jackson.
    Do Motlops outnumber Smiths in the Darwin phonebook? Will Fev be re-appearing this season?

  2. Jackson Clark says

    Yeah mate plenty of Motlops running around up here either playing or coaching. Wanderers FC could potentially have seven Motlops in their side this year with a Motlop as a coach. It’s crazy stuff! Not too sure about Fev reappearing this year. The new coach at Waratahs will be implementing a youth policy I think and from what I gather the main forces in brining Fev to Tahs last year won’t be at the club anymore. But I reckon he enjoyed his time up here so it’d be great to see him back up.

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