NTFL – Finals Week 2: Preview

BY – JACKSON CLARK

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/JClark182

 

FIRST SEMI-FINAL (KNOCKOUT) – Waratah vs. Nightcliff

It was a final series that started with plenty of hope for Nightcliff but now the club is against the ropes. The Tigers have lost a host of key players through a combination of suspension, injury and unavailability. Its ruck brigade has taken the biggest hit with both Troy Kelm (suspension) and Seb Guilhaus (hamstring injury) unable to play. Troy Coates, Aaron Cornelius, Koko Niki and Nathan Brown are others that will come out of the side and having six forced changes in a final is never a good sign. But beware of writing the Tigers off. Its supporters will remember a couple of years ago when they were predicted to go out in straight sets after copping a hiding from Tiwi Bombers in the Second Semi-Final. They responded the following week with a big win over Wanderers and almost went on to win the premiership. Its success-starved supporters will be hoping for something similar this week.

Waratah will be full of confidence after a big win in the elimination final against Southern Districts. No one could lay a hand on its small forwards in Davin Hall and Jake Farrell while Paddy Heenan and Tim Mosquito did as they pleased further up the ground. Waylen Manson’s inclusion strengthens the forward line with his height and the unorthodox forward is always a tricky match up for defenders. Nightcliff’s defenders leaked too many goals last week and they will not want to make the same mistake tomorrow. The Warriors have a definite speed advantage and the Tigers’ inclusions of Linc Withers and Brant Chambers certainly fail to help that issue. It will be interesting to see whether Damian Hale resists the temptation to throw Todd Grima forward at some stage during the match. Dzufer is more of a hit-up forward whereas Grima, a gun forward in his own right, can play deeper and haul in a big grab. Matt Rowe is an underrated inclusion for Nightcliff as the solidly-built forward-midfielder can be a real game-breaker when he is at his best. I think ultimately it will come down to the midfield battle and which team’s on-ballers can get on top.

 

SECOND SEMI-FINAL (WINNER ADVANCES TO GRAND FINAL) – St Marys vs. Wanderers

This is one of the most anticipated matches of the year. The two best teams in the competition this year will go head to head in what should be a high-class encounter. St Marys enter the match with the favourites tag after beating Wanderers three times already this season. The first two matches were quality with St Marys finishing just on top on both occasions. The last time they met the Saints faced a depleted Eagles and it was a one-sided affair. St Marys are by no means invincible and the side would have worked hard over the past fortnight in order to prepare for this match. Captain Peter Macfarlane, who surprisingly has not played against Wanderers this season, mentioned a fear of losing as the driving force behind the Saints’ winning streak. But tomorrow will not have anything to do with a winning streak. It will all be about qualifying for the pinnacle of Australian football, the grand final.

There is absolutely no doubt that Wanderers have got a very talented side on paper. The Eagles boast five ex-AFL players including the in-form Nathan Djerrkura, who has been named in the guts. Marlon Motlop was allowed to run riot last week and his four goals were instrumental in the win. His brother Thomas booted six and is starting to hit form at the right time of the season. Eddie Sansbury is out with work commitments and he is a massive loss. Sansbury’s class and experience was invaluable last week and his size would have allowed him to be an option to play on one of Saints’ dangerous forwards. The Eagles will need to find someone to curtail the influence of Justin Van Unen who has booted six and seven goals respectively in his two appearances against Wanderers this season. Interestingly, the Saints may have an unlikely supporter in Daniel Motlop as the suspended Eagle will not be able to play in the grand final should his side get the victory here.

 

FIXTURE:

St Marys vs. Wanderers – Saturday 3:15 at TIO Stadium

Nightcliff vs. Waratah – Saturday 5:30 at TIO Stadium

 

NT News Tipster’s Panel:

St Marys (19), Wanderers (1)

Waratah (12), Nightcliff (8)

 

My Tips:

St Marys

Waratah (11 points)

 

Sportingbet.com NTFL Premiership Odds:

St Marys – $1.25

Wanderers – $6.00

Nightcliff – $13.00

Waratah – $15.00

 

For update scores, discussion and more news regarding football in the Northern Territory visit https://www.facebook.com/ntfootball

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.

Comments

  1. Great preview Jackson.

    Anyone know when/if this is being screened into Melbourne or if it will be on the NITV channel on Foxtel?

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