2021/22 NTFL: Waratah upsets Saints as Wanderers survives

WARATAH will take on Nightcliff for a spot in the 2021/22 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Grand Final next weekend, after the Tahs’ rolled St. Mary’s in an upset, whilst the Saints will now lock horns with Wanderers who eliminated Southern Districts from the title race.

Wanderers 7.15 (57) defeated Southern Districts 6.9 (45)

Wanderers have lived to fight another day in the NTFL Men’s Premier League competition, knocking Southern Districts out of the premiership race with a 15-point win at TIO Stadium. Southern Districts burst out of the blocks booting 4.1 to 1.3 in the opening term to race away to a 17-point quarter time lead. They had seven more inside 50s to go with 23 more disposals and 20 more uncontested possessions, having the run of the ground. That changed in the second term as Wanders booted 3.3 to 1.2, to cut the deficit to just four points at half-time, then went on with it in the second half, despite an inaccurate shooting display. The higher-ranked team booting 3.9 to 1.5 after half time, to come away with the 7.15 (57) to 6.9 (45).

In the last three quarters, Wanderers kicked 6.12 to 2.7 to finish the far stronger side, and end up with a plus-13 in marks, including five more inside 50. They also laid 24 more tackles than their opponents, and had nine more inside 50s, including plus-19 in the second half. Braedon McLean racked up 19 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two inside 40s and five rebounds in the win, with Jerome Motlop and Thomas Motlop both having 16 disposals and five inside 50s. Beau O’Connell had a team-high five score assists from his 14 disposals, whilst Shane Thorne booting four behinds in an almost-game for the forward. Lloyd Johnston was lively in defence with six rebound 50s to go with three inside 50s and 16 disposals.

For Southern Districts, Jake McQueen (24 disposals, five marks, four clearances, four tackles and one goal) and Jack Ganley (23 disposals, four marks, three clearances, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s) were both prominent. In defence, Michael Bowden (21 disposals, three marks, three spoils and 11 rebound 50s) and Zachary Zdybel (15 disposals, three marks, five spoils and eight rebounds) were both impressive, as Luke Smith booted three goals from 17 touches, three marks and seven inside 50s.

Now Wanderers will face off in another do-or-die final against St Mary’s.

St. Mary’s 7.2 (44) lost to Waratah 8.11 (59)

Waratah will face Nightcliff for a spot in the 2021/22 NTFL Men’s Premier League Grand Final after toppling St Mary’s in the huge qualifying final. The Saints and Tahs’ ended the season on 50 points apiece, but it was St Mary’s that flew out of the blocks early, piling on 5.1 to Waratah’s 3.2 at the first break. Looking like a high scoring contest, fans braced themselves for an end-to-end thriller, but St Mary’s only had one scoring shot to Waratah’s five in the second term, but still advanced the lead to 12 given it was 1.0 to 0.5. Out of nowhere, Waratah found its grove and slammed home 5.2 to 1.1 in the premiership quarter to lead 57-44 heading into the last quarter, and in an absolute armwrestle, kicked the only two behinds of the final stanza to win. 8.11 (59) to 7.2 (44).

By the final siren, Waratah had 13 more inside 50s and eight more clearances despite losing the hitouts by 22 and the tackles by 24. Their work at the ground ball gets (plus-22) and handball receives (plus-19) also told a story. James Munro racked up a match-high 27 disposals, five marks, five clearances, eight tackles, nine inside 50s, three rebound 50s and one goal. Jayden Magro (22 disposals, four clearances and four behinds) had plenty of chances in the win, whilst Corey Rich (18 disposals, five marks, three clearances and a goal) was also lively. Thomas Cree, Abraham Ankers and Robbert Turnbull shared in 16 inside 50s and two goals between them.

It was no surprise to see Saints captain Nathaniel Paredes near the top of the stats list for St Mary’s, accumulating 23 disposals, eight clearances, eight tackles, four inside 50s and a goal. Lucas Jellyman-Turner was critical in defence with 19 touches, four marks and a match-high 10 rebound 50s, whilst Brandyn Grenfell (two goals) was the only multiple goalkicker. Ryan Smith also dominated the ruck with more hitouts than the entire opposition team (24-20).

Whilst Waratah sets its sights on Nightcliff, St Mary’s has utilised its double chance to try and bounce back against fourth placed Waratah next week.

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