Simply the Betts: Five-goal haul hoists Pies into second

A FIVE-GOAL haul to former AFL star Eddie Betts on his birthday helped his Palmerston Magpies defeat Swan Districts in a 20-point Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) win on the weekend. Celebrating his 36th birthday on the day no less, Betts wound back the clock to kick almost half of the game’s goals to be the clear difference on the scoresheet during Palmerston’s 8.8 (56) to 4.15 (39) victory over the Crocs.

The Crocs headed into the Round 9 clash in second spot, but just four points clear of third with five wins and a draw. Palmerston had four wins and a draw and knew a victory over its opponent would catapult the Magpies into second. In a tight first term, the black and whites edged ahead with two goals from six inside 50s, while the Crocs had a wasteful three behinds from 12 inside 50s.

That frustration continued for the Crocs in the second term as the home team booted 2.4 to 3.2 despite having more inside 50s (13-9). Unlike the Crocs, the Magpies were able to maximise their chances. If the first half was annoying for Crocs fans, then the third term was incredibly frustrating. They slotted 1.6 from 13 entries, while the Magpies outscored them by two points (2.2) from eight.

Despite winning each quarter, Palmerston only held a 15-point lead at the last change, but it would prove to be enough with a tighter term. Though the Magpies had dominated disposal all day (plus-65) and controlled the outside with 48 more marks and 73 more uncontested possessions, Southern Districts had won the contested ball and had a whopping 17 more inside 50s for the match. In the last quarter, Palmerston added 1.3 to 1.2 which resulted in the final margin of 8.8 (56) to 4.15 (39).

Betts was the star of the show up forward with the former Carlton and Adelaide goalsneak slotting 5.1 from 13 disposals and five marks, being the difference in the match. He was fed well by the likes of Anthony Treacy (six inside 50s from 17 disposals), while Baxter Mensch (34 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, four inside 50s and six rebound 50s) and Sam Clohesy (26 disposals, 11 marks and 13 rebound 50s) racked up big numbers. West Australian Hayden Schloithe donned the black and white for a return of 18 disposals, two clearances and three tackles.

For Southern Districts, Luke Smith racked up a team-high 22 disposals, as well as 11 groundball gets, six inside 50s and two goals. Matthew Dennis clocked up 39 hitouts from 13 disposals against his former side, while Ronald Fejo (17 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s) and Dean Staunton (16 disposals, five marks, five tackles and six inside 50s) were prolific.

In other results, Waratah had a far tougher task than it might have expected against eighth placed PINT, with the Tahs’ escaping thanks to a 13-point victory. St Mary’s recorded a healthy 28-point win over Darwin Buffaloes to justify its fourth placed spot on the table, while in the other match, Wanderers got the better of Nightcliff Tigers by 11 points.

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