NTFL Preliminary Final Preview


Saturday night’s preliminary final match between Wanderers and Waratah is set to be a beauty. Both sides have fielded very close to full-strength teams in a match where a grand final spot is up for grabs. The Eagles welcome back Nathan Djerrkura from a slight hamstring complaint while Eddie Sansbury has also made himself available. Both of these players possess key attributes of finals football – strength, speed and skill – and will slot into the midfield nicely. Silky-skilled rebounding defender Braedon McLean is another valuable addition.

Waratah have added a couple of handy players too with star utility Luke Harder at the top of the list. Harder was the best player on the ground during the Foundation Cup match between these two sides earlier in the year. His body strength is phenomenal, which brings versatility to his game as a genuine forward option. Tim Mosquito’s skill and reading of the play is another valuable asset for the Warriors after he missed last week due to the birth of his child.

Waratah has had an impressive finals campaign thus far and the major reason for this has been the form of its smaller, quicker players. Ngukurr pair Jake Farrell and Davin Hall have terrorised opposition defenders and caused damage on the scoreboard. The 19-year-old Farrell plays higher up the ground in a wing role but often drifts forward and rarely wastes opportunities in front of the big sticks. Another shining light has been Central Australian recruit Abraham Ankers with his ball-handling and disposal by hand and foot a feature.

The potential match-up of Mitchell Taylor and Waylen Manson would be worth the entry price alone and could play a big role in which side wins the match. Taylor has been in career best form this season with some tipping he could poll well in the Nichols Medal voting on Sunday night. On the other hand, Manson’s talent has been well-documented and he has the potential to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. There is no doubting he has the talent and ability to be playing at the highest level and if he produces something near his best he will cause headaches for the Eagles defence.

The Eagles would have taken last week’s result as a win and could draw many positives from the match. For the first three quarters they outplayed the competition’s benchmark in St Marys while missing a couple of quality players. Wanderers would have the belief of regrouping from the loss and launching another attack at the grand final in a week’s time. But the Eagles need to make sure that they avoid looking too far into the future and focus on the task at hand. You can bet that coach Paul Motlop and the leaders around the club in Aaron Motlop and Brad Vassal would have emphasised this point at training during the week.

Expect a fast start from Waratah after last week’s first quarter against Nightcliff. The Warriors were caught napping and had already conceded four goals within the first ten minutes. Luckily its opponents last week brought a couple of players into the side that were underdone and they were able to wear them down. Coach Brenton Toy is one of the shrewdest operators in the game and will look to ensure that his side does not make the same mistake twice.

TWITTER – @JClark182

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. Where do Waratah and Wanderers come from Jackson? Are all the NTFL teams Darwin based or are their Alice Springs based clubs as well?
    Naturally I am going for the Eagles to win this weekend, and give your mob some hurry up next week.
    How are you going personally? I couldn’t see your name in the St Marys team list on the NT News website last week. Are you a chance for the GF?
    Thanks for keeping these coming. I wonder if the ABC or NITV will have a telecast of the GF?

  2. Jackson Clark says

    Thanks for the reply.

    Waratah are a city based club while Wanderers are in the Northern Suburbs only about 50m down the road from St Marys. It should be a good game but I think the class of Wanderers should win out in the end.

    I won’t be playing in the grand final unfortunately. I have had an improving year but went interstate during one of the later rounds and lost my spot in the team. As the results indicate, we have a very strong side and competition for spots is unbelievable. I’d have to rely on a few injuries but I’m still training with the boys in preparation for my season down south this year with Bendigo Gold (VFL) and Maryborough (BFL).

Leave a Comment