Saints grind out win over Crocs in NTFLW Round 5

ST MARY’S held on against a determined Southern Districts outfit in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Round 5 Premier League match. Despite a number of impressive interstate players donning the red, white and black for the Crocs, St Mary’s was able to come away with the win, 3.7 (25) to 2.4 (16), with a goal after the siren for the Crocs saving them from a one-goal game.

In this week’s wrap-up of the NTFL Women’s action, we take a look at some of the possible players who might be looked at for next year’s AFL Women’s Over-age Draft. Given that the majority of draft hopefuls will not be able to run out for their regular state sides, it has boosted the numbers of interstate players – from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria as examples – who will try and show their wares in the Top End.


St Mary’s:

#10 Ciaralii Parnell | 31/12/2004 | 180cm | Ruck/Key Forward

Though technically an over-ager next year, the athletic tall only missed out on being a top-ager by one day, with her 18th birthday on New Year’s Eve. Though a raw talent, she has remarkable athleticism headlined by a nice vertical leap. Her hands overhead are pretty good, but when she can get a jump at stoppages, she can get clean taps down to her midfielders. Parnell can also play forward and provide a target, and in the match tried to have a number of shots but could not quite get them on target. Possesses clean hands to go with her leap.

#16 Mia Briedis | 24/07/2003 | 168cm | Medium Utility

The former Calder Cannons talent is not a high possession winner, but she takes the game on. Possessing some nice speed and a determination to get the ball forward, Briedis had a few nice moments in the green and gold. She showed good technique with her kicking and did win a free kick at half-forward during the second term, also going for a run through the midfield and inside forward 50.

#19 Billie Byers | 01/10/1999 | 167cm | Medium Forward

Of the local talents, Byers was a clear standout, and easily best-on for the Saints in the first half. She kicked a great goal from a set shot 30m out on a tight angle, and arguably should have had two more. One just fell short on the quarter time siren, and another just moments earlier pushed to the left. Byers has natural talent and a keen eye for goals, but also works up to half-forward and can impact with her kicks going to dangerous spots. She was quieter in the second half due to the Crocs having the momentum up the other end, but certainly made a splash early and was a key reason why the Saints were on top, showcasing her speed and smarts.

#23 Macie Brown | 30/03/2002 | 159cm | Small Forward/Midfielder

The top Queenslander for St Mary’s, Brown has been a name who has come through the pathways for the Sunshine State. A draft prospect a couple of years back, she has plied her trade diligently for Coorparoo in the QAFL Women’s. Though not a massive accumulator, she has a crack and generally uses the ball well by hand or foot. She is a little undersized, but finds space and was able to get a shot on goal quickly during the opening term but was smothered.

Southern Districts:

#5 Sophie Berry | 16/10/2005 | 164cm | Medium Forward

The sole top-age draft eligible player for 2023 in the list, Berry looms as one of the better NT prospects for the 2023 AFLW Draft. She played in the Under 17s All-Stars game and has some smarts in the forward half, just has to round out her game as a whole. She has clean hands both in the air and at ground level which is her bread and butter, but is looking to get more effective by foot consistently and with penetration. What she does well catches the eye though with some neat moves and an ability to get into the right spots around the forward 50.

#18 Sarah Branford | 24/02/2003 | 159cm | Midfielder

A player who has perhaps been overlooked in the past due to her height and low production numbers, Branford has traits that catch the eye, particularly with ball-in-hand. She is neat by hand or foot and has that explosive speed to run-down opponents, it is just about rounding out her game with greater composure. When given time and space as she was in the NTFLW match, Branford delivered the ball well. But under pressure she can often rush off a step or two and just quickly put it forward. She almost kicked a great goal in the third term using her pace going inside 50, it just bounced the wrong side of the post. A clever player who has shown she can compete at SANFL Women’s level for Norwood.

#31 Lucia Liessi | 24/06/2003 | 170cm | Tall Defender

Best on ground despite the loss, Liessi was incredible playing her tried and true centre half-back role. A rock in defence, Liessi would have taken double-figure marks and usually with pressure coming from around her. The Queenslander possesses incredibly clean hands overhead, and is strong, with a cannon of a kick on her. She can clear the ball beyond 50m and between that, and her intercept marking, is easily suited to a role in defence. She reads the ball well and positions herself in the right spots, with her impact on the game almost looking like ‘Groundhog Day’ by marking time and time again. Not only does she have penetration on her kick, but generally it went to the right spots, and Liessi even got forward to have a flying shot in the fourth term. That missed, but of all the players running around in the match, Liessi looked the most likely to be able to step up to the next level.

#34 Abby Hewett | 12/04/2003 | 162cm | Inside Midfielder

A player who has been thereabouts in the draft conversation for the past two years, Hewett is just a contested ball-winner with a twist. She covers the ground incredibly well and can also slot into other roles both behind and forward of the ball. Her kicking is effective when having time and space – similar to Branford – but is still a little hit and miss when under pressure. Overall she can hit targets over short, medium and long distances, and her work rate is second to none, winning possessions in all thirds of the ground. In some instances, she would cop knocks and get straight back up without a worry in the world. A player who has enough potential to play at the elite level, it is just about getting that consistent impact outside the contest, and more efficient by foot when under pressure. Her smarts are very good and she should be one considered by AFLW clubs.


The two undefeated NTFL Women’s sides in Waratah and PINT both continued their winning runs with victories over Nightcliff and Tiwi Bombers respectively. The Tigers took it up to the Tahs’ in their clash at Nighcliff Oval, but a 1.5 to 0.0 final term for the visitors made the margin a little more humbling than it could have been. Lauren Pluker and Isobel Hartog were named among the best for the winners, while Hannah Turnbull was best-on for Nightcliff.

An 11 goals to two first half set up PINT’s huge win over Tiwi Bombers, running away with a 13.8 (86) to 3.5 (23) victory. Though Tiwi could take plenty out of the second half, the damage was done when they trailed by nine goals at the main break. Reni Hicks starred for PINT alongside Jahla Hunt, while Richmond father-daughter prospect Maria Rioli and former Calder Cannons forward Freda Puruntatameri stepped up for the Bombers.

In the Friday night match, Palmerston Magpies piled on more pain for the winless Wanderers, running out 61-point victors in their match. Despite the cellar dwellers kicking three goals in the first term, they could only manage one more behind for the rest of the game as Palmerston booted seven goals to pick up a comfortable 11.14 (80) to 3.1 (19) win. Youngster Tatyana Perry was again an eye-catcher, named among the best with Hannah Torsney for the black and whites. Shekeine De Satge was named the best for Wanderers.

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