Waratah through to NTFL decider, Saints survive

WARATAH is through to the 2021/22 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League Grand Final after upsetting minor premiers Nightcliff last Saturday night. The Warriors were superb throughout the 10.8 (68) to 7.7 (49) win to book safe passage into the decider, as the Tigers now face St Mary’s in a grand final rematch from last year, but a week earlier. The Saints were able to easily cast aside Wanders, 17.9 (111) to 7.5 (47), showing the gap between the top three and the rest.

ST MARY’S 7.1 | 7.4 | 14.5 | 17.9 (111)
WANDERERS 2.2 | 5.2 | 5.4 | 7.5 (47)

Two seven-goal quarters by the Saints effectively won them the game during a 64-point win over Wanderers to remain alive in the NTFL Men’s Premier League finals series. The Saints had six more inside 50s and six more clearances in the first germ, but piled on five more goals as they scored 7.1 to 2.2 with the breeze It was a different story in the second term, as the Wanderers made the most of their chances, but could still only kick the three goals to zero. Heading into half-time the Wanderers trailed by 14 points and needed a big second half to turn things around.

Instead it was St Mary’s that flew out of the blocks again, putting all the nails in the coffin with a 7.1 to 0.2 quarter to race out to a 55-point lead at the last change. Though Wanderers were competitive in the last, the fact they had been eliminated from the finals had dawned on them, and St Mary’s also won the last term, 3.4 to 2.1 to run out 17.9 (111) to 7.5 (47) victors.

Captain Nathaniel Paredes was simply sensational, racking up a whopping 32 disposals, seven marks, 15 ground ball gets, nine clearances, three tackles, nine inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal in an undisputed best on ground performance. Dylan Landt contributed well with 24 disposals – 20 kicks – as well as four clearances, three tackles, six inside 50s and four rebounds, picking up an equal team-high eight handball receives alongside Aaron Heppell (20 disposals, four clearances, four tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal). Joseph Salmon (16 disposals, four marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and 5.2) and Jack Kluske (22 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three tackles, five inside 50s and 4.1) did the bulk of the damage up forward.

Braedon McLean tried hard in defence with 21 touches, three marks, four tackles and eight rebound 50s alongside the likes of Mitchel Taylor and Lloyd Johnston who combined for 22 disposals and 13 rebound 50s, whilst Taylor produced a game-high six spoils. Brodie Newman managed 20 disposals, four marks, 12 hitouts, three clearances, four spoils and four rebound 50s, whilst Marcus Totham picked up the most disposals of anyone on his side, with 23 disposals, seven clearances, three marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal.

NIGHTCLIFF 1.2 | 2.3 | 6.7 | 7.7 (49)
WARATAH 2.3 | 4.5 | 7.5 | 10.8 (68)

It was far from easy, but the third placed Waratah has booked its spot in the 2021/22 NTFL Men’s Premier League Grand Final with a 19-point triumph over reigning premiers Nightcliff. The Tahs started strongly to lead by seven points at the first break, but were perhaps unlucky not to be further ahead, dominating the inside 50 count by 13. Full credit goes to the Tigers defenders who stood up well under immense pressure, and did so again in the next term as the Tahs headed into half-time with a 14-point lead. They had a plus-20 advantage for inside 50s and plus-nine in marks, but Nightcliff stuck around and it paid dividends in the third term.

The Tigers slotted 4.4, but perhaps rued some inaccuracy from the term, with the stats being even across the board for the premiership quarter. Despite drawing within four points at the last change, Nightcliff could not deny the third placed Waratah in the last, as they kicked away again with 3.3 to 1.0 to win, 10.8 (68) to 7.7 (49). The Tahs finished with 24 more inside 50s, 16 more marks, 15 more ground ball gets – nine more in the final term – and 15 more contested possessions, in what could have been a lot larger margin, credit to Nightcliff’s defensive structures.

Brodie Carroll again lead all-comers for the Tahs’ picking up 22 disposals, four marks, nine ground ball gets, nine tackles, four inside 50s and 2.2 for his troubles. Dylan Collis (21 disposals, eight handball receives, seven ground ball gets, four one percenters, three spoils, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s was fierce throughout the match, whilst Cameron Arnold slotted 3.2 from 12 disposals and seven marks. Robert Turnbull recorded a team-high six clearances to go with five tackles, three inside 50s, two marks and of court 17 disposals.

For Nightcliff, Thomas North tried his heart out, racking up 23 disposals, 10 ground ball gets and a match-high eight clearances, as well as recording three inside 50s and four rebound 50s. Daniel Bowles worked hard in defence with 20 touches, three marks, three inside 50s and eight rebound 50s alongside Ryan Nyhuis (14 disposals, two marks and six rebound 50s). Shaun Wilson also slotted two goals from 17 touches and four marks.

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