Top four sides set to lock horns in NTFLW

WITH the weekend finally just around the corner, as is the latest round of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League. After last weekend delivered a number of exciting clashes, fans will have plenty to look forward to again on Saturday and Sunday. The standings received a major shakeup last round, with the premiership favourites suffering their first loss of the season. With only five rounds to go until the postseason arrives, each match will carry a fair amount of significance.

Waratah vs Darwin Buffaloes

Saturday, January 15 @ 2pm
TIO Stadium

The first match of the round will see the Darwin Buffaloes look to bounce back when they take on Waratah at TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Buffaloes were far and away the team to beat heading into last round, having sustained their undefeated streak to this point. However, they found themselves beaten by the reigning premiers in PINT, copping their first loss of the 2021/22 season to the tune of 17 points, They will be looking to get themselves back on the winners list against Waratah, but they are now seen as beatable by their peers, so this match is far from a certain win for the Buffaloes.

Waratah should be nice and fresh heading into this match, given their Round 13 clash did not take place with their opponents forfeiting. They currently sit in fourth place on the ladder, but this spot is far from cemented, with PINT only trailing by percentage. They have proved a worthy recipient of a finals spot at times throughout the season, and there would be nothing sweeter than knocking off the favourites to truly announce themselves as a threat to this year’s premiership.

Nightcliff Tigers vs St Mary’s

Saturday, January 15 @ 2:30pm
Nightcliff Oval

In what is shaping up to be the match of the round, two flag hopefuls will go head-to-head when the Nightcliff Tigers host St Mary’s at Darwin Mazda Nightcliff Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers would have been quietly encouraged by Darwin’s loss last round, as they look to cling to top spot on the ladder with five weeks to go. They have been an impressive side all season and continued this form last weekend by taking down the impressive Southern Districts. However, this was far from an easy win, with the Tigers having to produce quite the comeback in order to secure the victory. if they wish to claim their 11th win of the season this week, they will need to produce something slightly better than what we saw last weekend, given they face a formidable opponent.

St Mary’s have also been consistently strong for the majority of the season, with just three losses coming from their first 11 games. They sit in third spot in the standings at the moment, but it is a three-horse race for that position at the moment, with Waratah and PINT trailing by just half a match (with St Mary’s playing out a draw earlier in the season). This side should have fresh legs after last week’s bye, and will be hopeful to continue their strong finish to the 2021/22 season by making their top four odds even stronger with a win over the ladder-leaders.

PINT vs Wanderers

Saturday, January 15 @ 7:30pm
DXC Arena

The reigning premiers will be looking to back up last week’s strong effort on Saturday night, when they take on the Wanderers at DXC Arena.

PINT produced one of the biggest upsets of the season in Round 13, taking down the then-undefeated Darwin Buffaloes by 17 points to keep their season well and truly alive. They currently sit in fifth spot on the ladder (trailing Waratah by percentage), and are suddenly a massive shot at appearing in the postseason. They were back to their best last week, and will enter this match favoured given their recent form. However, they cannot ride the success of last week for too long, and will need to still bring a similar output against their opponents this week.

The Wanderers have found themselves out of contention for a finals spot now, given they have won just two of their first 11 matches this season. However, they will still be looking to affect the standings in other ways, and that starts on Saturday against last year’s victors. The Wanderers will be extremely keen on disrupting PINT’s run home, so expect them to come out firing this week as they look to cause one of the most unlikely boilovers we have seen in recent weeks.

Tracy Village vs Palmerston Magpies

Sunday, January 16 @ 4pm
Tracy Village Oval

The final match of the round will see the competition’s bottom two sides face off, when Tracy Village play host to the Palmerston Magpies at Tracy Village Oval on Sunday afternoon.

Tracy Village remain the only side yet to achieve their first win of the 2021/22 season, with nine losses coming from their first nine games to start their campaign. They have looked a step behind their opponents on a weekly basis, but are given their strongest chance this week, as they take on a side that has only claimed one victory themselves. However, there will need to be a vast improvement from their previous performances if they are to finally get themselves on the winners’ list.

The Magpies have also struggled throughout the season, losing 10 of their first 11 matches. They face an opponent that has been unable to put up a winning score throughout the year, and will be confident of claiming their second triumph this weekend (their first also coming against Tracy Village in Round 5). Any opportunity for a win would get this team ready to bring their best, so expect them to come out with plenty of energy on Sunday afternoon.

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