NTFLW Premier League Round 4 wrap: Tense contests across the league

THE past weekend saw three days of action in the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League, treating fans to an exciting round of entertaining footy. There were no blowouts as seen in previous weeks, with many games not decided until the closing minutes of the game. With four rounds in the rear view mirror, the ladder is certainly beginning to take shape, with two sides continuing their undefeated streaks in Round 4, while two others are still searching for their maiden win. The weekend’s action was headlined by an important victory from one of the competition’s heavyweights.

Waratah Premier Women 2.1 (13) def by. Darwin Buffaloes Premier Women 4.11 (35)

The Darwin Buffaloes have continued their perfect start to the season, with their third win of the year coming in the form of a 22-point triumph over Waratah on Sunday afternoon. The win was vital in keeping Darwin in touch with the ladder-leading Nightcliff, who are also undefeated, but are yet to have a bye. It was a mature performance from the Buffaloes, who were able to keep many Waratah attacks at bay to leave the field eventual victors.

Darwin began their press early, locking the ball in their forward 50 in the opening minutes of the game with fantastic pressure around the ball leading to multiple turnovers. They booted their first major in the opening five minutes of the game, when Molly Althouse intercepted an errant clearing kick from Waratah and slotted a six-pointer on the run to open her side’s scoring account. Waratah looked to respond shortly after, but could not convert their attacking into any score. The remainder of the term saw the Buffaloes create more opportunities, but they were only able to convert these into behinds as they took a 10-point lead into quarter time.

The second term saw the scoring drought continue, with neither side able to boot a snag in the opening minutes of the quarter. Waratah looked to have booted their first major for the day, but it was ruled a behind by the goal umpire, much to the disappointment of the players. This was amended a few minutes later, with Waratah’s Molly Cooper taking a strong contested mark near the goal-square and converting to bring her side to within three points. The Buffaloes conjured a response in the minutes that followed, with Dominique Carbone exploding away from the stoppage and booting her side’s second goal to give them some breathing space. To add insult to injury for Waratah, there was a free kick awarded to the Buffaloes in their goal square on the half-time siren, and suddenly the margin was out to 15 points at the main break.

The Buffaloes started the third term just as strong, with dashing play resulting in plenty of forward 50 entries in the opening minutes. Waratah’s defense was able to fend off any scores for a awhile, but the deadlock was broken when Darwin converted a set shot from a downfield free kick. A few behinds for the Buffaloes shortly followed, but Waratah were not done yet. Megan Hunt ran into an open goal to reduce the margin to 20 points at the final break.

The final quarter saw no goals for either side, with the Buffaloes adding just the one behind as they held on to their third win of the season, remaining one of two undefeated teams.

For the victors, Althouse was terrific all day as she clearly claimed honors for best on ground with dashing play, and she was able to display some of her impressive attributes such as her speed and her extremely long kicking ability. She was well-assisted by teammate Carbone, who delivered a strong four quarter performance. For Waratah, Lauren Pluker was her side’s strongest performer in the loss, recognized by her coaches as a valuable contributor.

Around the grounds, Nightcliff held off a valiant St Mary’s side to claim their fourth win of the season as they ran away with an 11-point victory on Friday night. The Tigers remain on top of the ladder with an undefeated record, although they received an almighty scare from St Mary’s. Nightcliff’s Cassie McWilliam was the dominant player on the ground as she led her side to a crucial victory to maintain top spot.

Palmerston claimed their first win of the season as they took down Tracy Village to the tune of 28 points on Saturday morning. The Magpies led all game, and were able to overcome their inaccuracy to break their winning drought as they look to get their season back on track. For the Magpies, Tabitha May was excellent in the win as she delivered a commanding performance in her side’s maiden victory for the 2021/22 season.

Saturday afternoon saw PINT continue their quest to consecutive flags, as they took down the Wanderers by 22 points at TIO Stadium. The reigning premiers delivered a commanding four quarter performance, never giving their opponents a sniff at stealing the lead. The victors were well led by by Hillary Grubb, who has continued her fine season with another strong outing.

Photo: AFL Northern Territory

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