Preview of the NT Thunder side for the upcoming NEAFL season


The Northern Territory Football League season is done and dusted but the NT Thunder side is back in action with its first game of the season on the weekend. Thunder faces Morningside at TIO Stadium on Saturday in round one of the NEAFL season to kick of its premiership defence.

It will be a new look Thunder for the 2012 season with a number of changes to the club’s on-field and off-field personnel. Outgoing  coach Murray Davis’ appointment as development coach of the Brisbane Lions has meant that a new leader has taken the reigns. Daniel Archer, formerly of Eastlake in the Eastern Conference, was announced as the new coach of Thunder late last year and from all reports will be a handy acquisition to the club.

There has been a high turnover of the playing list that saw the side claim last year’s Northern Conference and NEAFL premierships. Jarred Ilett, Cam Roberts and Andrew McLeod have retired from playing duties, with Ilett taking up the post of CEO. St Marys players Karl Lohde, Iggy Vallejo, Shannon Rioli and Ryan Smith will not be returning to the club while Tiwi Bombers pair Ross Tungatalum and Brad Palipuaminni are also on the move. Dane Bergman, Josh Watson and Aaron Motlop are other notable players missing from the 2012 squad.

However NT has signed many quality replacements to bolster its playing stocks for this season. Wanderers pair Brad Vassal and Chris Dunne should be handy inclusions to the Thunder midfield and forward line. Vassal is an inside midfielder from SANFL clubs Norwood and Sturt while Dunne is a goal kicking midfielder with experience in the VFL with Casey Scorpions. Ash Duncan and Nathan Brown were prime movers for Nightcliff during the NTFL season and have had SANFL experience and Corey Kelly has joined his brother Narby at Thunder. The Tiwi connection has solidified with Dennis Dunn Trophy winner Gerry Cunningham, Austin Wonaeamirri, Paddy Heenan and Dion Munkara also putting pen to paper. Many young footballers and Thunder stars of the future have also been given an opportunity with a spot on the senior list.

The club will play 12 home games this season with eight matches at TIO Stadium and four at Traeger Park in Alice Springs. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to a new coach and multiple additions to the playing group. But all signs point to success and Thunder will enter as one of the favourites for the premiership.

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. Rocket Nguyen says

    Will be interesting to see how Arch goes as Coach – saw a fair bit of him when he cut his teeth coaching Sydney Uni – also to see if Almanacker Tavis Perry is still in contention for a senior berth…

  2. Jackson Clark says

    From all reports Arch is a great communicator and should go alright. It’s still a pretty talented list so obviously that helps his cause. Did a gym session with Tavis today, I’d be surprised if he didn’t pull on the Thunder jumper at some stage this year. Played against him during the NTFL season and he kicked a ripping goal after a couple of bounces!

  3. Rocket Nguyen says

    Goot to hear this news Jacko!

    Quality stock the Perry family from Rushworth.

    Tavis’s granfather, Bill Cruz is one of the Goulburn Valley’s all-time greats.

  4. Dan Toner says

    Howdy Jackson,

    I’m living in Tennant Creek and am looking forward to local lad Kieran Smith have an impact after his shoulder surgery last year. Really enjoying your pieces for the Almanac, bro, keep up the good work and keep NT footy visible!


  5. Jackson Clark says

    Thanks Dan, and yep hopefully Kieran can have a great season!

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