THE Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League is in the midst of an impressive season, with a number of teams taking no time in stamping their authority, with two sides currently undefeated from their opening batch of games. The league was set to host their sixth round of action over the weekend, but the implementation of restrictions across the state due to a COVID outbreak prevented this, and the competition was plunged into the familiar process of postponing and cancelling matches.
With no matches to recap over the weekend, we take a look at each team’s early season performances and their prospects for the remainder of the season.
1. Nightcliff Tigers – Five wins, zero losses
The Tigers have had just about the perfect start to the season, leading the competition with a perfect record from their first five games to sit atop the standings at the first third mark of the season. They have been brutal at times throughout their wins, and have found a consistently proven way to dismantle their opponents on their way to victory.
One of the most dangerous things about this time for opponents is their strong spread of contributors across the board. They have shown on multiple occasions the ability to utilise their multiple avenues to goal such as Mickayla Ward and Cassie McWilliam, so if they can continue this trait, they will be tough to stop from claiming the flag.
2. Darwin Buffaloes – Four wins, zero losses
The Buffaloes have also started the season in ideal fashion, delivering a number of commanding performances on their way to an unbeaten record from four matches. At times, Darwin have looked even more impressive than the ladder-leaders, with plenty of promise in the side’s quest to amend last year’s grand final loss with a premiership season in 2021/22.
The Buffaloes have had a number of strong contributors throughout the season, arguably none more so than Molly Althouse, who has delivered an outstandingly consistent season thus far. Althouse has frequently found herself in the best players, and if she can continue to deliver this level of play, she will be looking strong for the side’s best-and-fairest award.
3. St. Mary’s – Three wins, two losses
St Mary’s have been impressive so far this season, with three impressive wins next to their name from five matches. Their two losses have come from the two sides above, so they still have a ways to go before including themselves in the upper echelon of the league, but they win the matches that they should, and continue to keep themselves in heavy contention for a finals spot.
4. PINT – Three wins, two losses
PINT’s quest for back-to-back premierships has had a decent start, but last year’s champs have not exactly set the world on fire. Two disappointing losses in rounds 2 and 5 really hurt the side’s chances at cementing a top spot early in the season, but their three wins means they are still right in the hunt for a finals spot at this stage in the season, and they have shown in the past an innate ability to win big matches, so it would be rude to write off their premiership chances already.
Midfielder Bella Clarke has delivered an excellent start to the season, with a strong mix of toughness and class allowing her to win the ball from anywhere on the ground. In a season plagued with injuries for PINT, Clarke has certainly been one of the positives.
5. Waratah – Two wins, two losses
Waratah have done a nice job at keeping themselves in the hunt for a top four spot, and while they have lost half of their contests, these losses came from the top two sides on the ladder, so they faced tough competition. However, if they want to join the category of premiership contenders, they will need to beat one or both of these sides later in the season.
With some tough sides above them on the ladder, Waratah will need to take their game to the next level if they want to secure a spot in the finals at the end of the season.
6. Wanderers – One win, four losses
The Wanderers have had a less than ideal start to their 2021/22 campaign, with just the single win coming from their first five matches. Their season began with a crushing round one loss, before the side was able to bounce back with a commanding win in the second week of action. However, this soon turned to three consecutive losses as the side lost touch with the top half of the ladder.
7. Southern Districts – One win, three losses
Southern Districts have started the season in disappointing fashion, managing just one victory from their first four contests, a far cry from the side we saw last season. The Districts were finalists last year, and many expected them to make the jump up to premiership contender this season, but this did not come to fruition, with the side suffering a significant slide down the ladder.
Defender Malory Nankervis has played a lone hand for the Districts at times, often preventing the margin from expanding at times with her excellent play in the backline. If not for her terrific work, the season may be even uglier than it already is.
8. Palmerston Magpies – One win, three losses
The Magpies were struggling in their opening batch of games to start the season, with a lone Round 4 win the only positive in their record, although they have been competitive in some of these losses. The side still looks a fair way off the mark so far this year with a less than desirable record after the first group of games so far, and will need to improve vastly if they are to turn their season around.
9. Tracy Village – Zero wins, four losses
Tracy Village have not had a good start to the season, unable to register a win from their first four matches, and often on the end of some large defeats. With several losing margins in the triple digits, the side has struggled thus far and will need to amend this with a large boost in their performances moving forward.