Buffettes reign supreme to claim flag

HISTORY repeats itself. After a cracking 2021/22 season, the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League held its grand final on Saturday, with the two best sides of the competition playing off for the ultimate prize. Fans at TIO Stadium were treated to the deciding match of the season, as the Nightcliff Tigers took on the Darwin Buffettes on Saturday afternoon. The two sides have been the league’s benchmark, essentially holding the top-two spots for all rounds. It was shaping up to be a cracking contest, with the Tigers leading the league all season with just two losses next to their name in the home-and-away season, but both of these came against Darwin, so there was plenty of intrigue coming in.

After a hard-fought contest, the Buffettes managed to back up their win over the Tigers a couple of weeks ago by doing exactly the same on the biggest of stages, claiming a three-goal win to mark the season as their own.


The Tigers got off to the perfect start, pushing the ball inside 50 for their first major of the game through Eliza Morrison. It was the trademark forward pressing play we have come to expect from the ladder-leaders, and it was evident that the Buffettes would need to put a stop to this. Darwin was able to get control of the game in the minutes that followed, but struggled to convert this to the scoreboard due to some inaccuracy in front of the big sticks. The drought was finally broken when Dominique Carbone converted her set shot to give her side the lead for the first time. They backed it up with another snag, this time coming through Tayla Hart-Aluni, as they took a nine-point lead into the first break of the match.


Things were hotly contested to open the second term, as both sides looked to use their physicality to get the upper hand around the ground. There were some crunching hits and big tackles in the first few minutes of play, but neither side could hit the scoreboard after this work. This changed when Nightcliff was able to draw the margin back as Catrina Simmons converted her set shot tor bring the Tigers within three points. The goal marked the end of the scoring for a bit, and the contest became a bit of an arm-wrestle. Darwin looked dangerous at times, but once again struggled with inefficiency in front of goal. They broke this when Ebony Miller got a quick snap away in front of goal, and it sailed through the big sticks to give Darwin an 11-point advantage.


Much like the previous term, the action was back and forth to kick things off in the second half, with the ball essentially living between the 50-metre arcs in the opening 10 minutes. The two sides both looked to launch attacks from the back half, but almost all were cut off. Hart-Aluni continued to look dangerous, making opportunities out of nothing in truly exciting fashion. Carbone popped up again in front of goal to slot her second, as she basketball bounced the ball to herself, shrugged off a tackle and steadied to bang home the goal. The Buffettes took a three goal lead into the final term, setting themselves up for a nice win.


There was no doubt that Darwin was determined to finish the job in the last period, coming out in an aggressive manner from three-quarter time. However, Nightcliff was not going to give up without a fight, continuing to push the ball forward in an attempt to generate some much needed scoring. They were able to conjure up a couple of behinds, but these were not enough, as the margin remained just out of arms’ reach. In the end, the margin was unchanged when the final siren sounded, as scenes of joy and relief fell across TIO Stadium for Darwin players, coaches and fans.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments