NTFL: Semi-final wrap-up


St Marys has booked a spot in the Grand Final after demolishing Southern Districts by 107 points in the Second Semi Final on Saturday. The Saints were at its unstoppable best, kicking 20 goals to four after quarter time.

It was just about a complete performance from the competition powerhouse with every single player producing a solid contribution for the team. The Crocs went into the match full of optimism after a string of impressive performances but surely would have left a shell-shocked team.

When Jason Eagle and Will Farrer booted goals inside the opening two minutes of the match, it looked like game on. But the Saints steadied the ship through goals to Cameron Ilett and Stephen Milne. At this stage of the match the momentum started to swing in favour of St Marys as its opponents attempted to hang on for dear life.

The Saints went bang in the second quarter with six goals in a clinical fashion essentially putting the game beyond reach. An eight goal to nil third term gave the premiership favourites a 95-point lead at three quarter time. Jack Geary’s goal at the tenth minute mark of the final term stretched the margin out to 120 points before the Crocs got a couple of late consolation goals.

Nichols Medal favourite Cameron Ilett was at his brilliant best while the finals specialist Shannon Rioli kicked four classy goals.


Are St Marys A Great Side?
While the Saints are not necessarily unbeatable, there is no disputing just how dominant they have been in this competition over the previous three years. They have only lost three times in the past three years, which included a 42-game winning streak. St Marys acknowledge that the job is not done yet, but should they prevail in a third consecutive Grand Final, where do the Saints rate among the other top St Marys sides in previous eras?

Is Ewing’s Contribution Limited To His Goals?
Who would have thought that the competition’s most prolific spearhead would not kick one of his side’s 24 goals? Generally a full forward’s performance is measured by the amount of goals they kick, however did Ewing have a bad game? Absolutely not. Ewing is one of the more unselfish full forwards running around and his value to St Marys goes far beyond his goal tally. His defensive pressure and general skills across half forward are invaluable for the Saints.

Can Southern Districts Rebound From This?
A 107-point thrashing can severely dent the confidence and self-belief of a side. So can the Crocs regroup and still be a premiership threat? In the 2011/12 season Nightcliff were thrashed in this corresponding game but fought back to take the game right up to the Tiwi Bombers in the Grand Final so they proved that it can be done.



Wanderers were too good for a gallant Nightcliff winning by 14 points in an entertaining Semi-Final on Saturday night at TIO Stadium. The Eagles simply had more run in their legs and were able to overrun the Tigers in the last half.

They will face Southern Districts next week in the Preliminary Final while the Tigers will be left to lick their wounds after being knocked out in straight sets for the second year in a row. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Wanderers’ win was the fact that they are still missing a plethora of talented players.

Nightcliff entered the match looking a switched on unit and were certainly the better side early in the match. The Tigers capitalised on its opportunities in front of goal and Zeph Skinner was having a big influence on the match. But something clicked for the Eagles after half time and the experience of Shannon Motlop and Brad Vassal came into play. Shane Thorne looked classy in what was arguably his best game of the season and Joel Seden proved an unlikely hero to be arguably the most dangerous forward on the ground with four goals.



Can Wanderers Challenge St Marys?
If the Eagles can get past Southern Districts next week, do they have the ability to challenge St Marys for the premiership? They can still add a couple of genuinely classy players to the side and Andrew Hodges has them peaking at the right time of the year.

Was This A Disappointing Season For Nightcliff?
At the start of the season the Tigers were seen as genuine premiership contenders and its form during the first couple of months of the season was very impressive. But after Christmas the Tigers barely fired a shot and were void of all confidence in the last couple of weeks. I think the most positive thing to come out of the season was the continued development of its star juniors.

Did Luke Ivens’ Late Withdrawal Hurt The Tigers?
Former SANFL star Luke Ivens was a late withdrawal, which forced club legend Robbie Campbell to step in for his first game of the season. And while Campbell performed admirably, you have to wonder whether Ivens’ withdrawal dented the confidence of the Tigers.


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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.

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