Buffs hold onto fourth spot in NTFL

DARWIN Buffaloes held onto fourth spot in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier division after a solid four-goal victory over Palmerston Magpies. The Buffaloes were challenged at times, leading by just a kick at the final break, but booted 3.2 to 0.2 in the fourth quarter to secure the 10.12 (72) to 7.6 (48) win.

After losing ground from the top three the week before following a loss to St Mary’s, Darwin was keen to recover some of that as the Saints had a bye. They took on the sixth placed Magpies, who had the four wins and a draw from 12 games. Playing up at Cazaly’s Arena in a premier night class, the Buffaloes kicked away early to hold a two-goal advantage at quarter time.

Boasting a number of ex-AFL players, the Magpies were not going to go away easily, kicking three of the next four goals to draw within two points at the main break. Despite Darwin being on top throughout the middle of the match, the Buffaloes often missed the chance to put the game away, kicking an inaccurate 2.6, to only lead by a straight kick at the final break. By comparison, the Magpies had converted 2.2 to still keep within reach.

The hard work of the Buffaloes paid off in the final term, booting the only three goals of the fourth quarter, to add 3.2 to the Magpies’ 0.2, shutting down the dangerous black and whites’ forwards to secure the win. Despite the tough challenges throughout the game, the home side managed to take away the vital four points, 10.12 (72) to 7.6 (48).

Daniel Stafford slotted four goals in Darwin’s victory, while Thomas Baulch (three) and Thomas Clarke (two) also converted multiple majors. Captain Jarrod Stokes was a prime mover and was the only single goal scorer, with Kokwam Niki and Patrick Boles also impressive for the Buffs. On the other side of the coin, Eddie Betts slotted a pair of majors, with young gun Waylon Davey, Anthony Treacy and Cameron Pedersen among the other goalkickers. Pedersen, Treacy and Eric Guthrie were Palmerston’s best in defeat.

The result had impacts for both sides, with Darwin staving off Nightcliff for the time being, while Palmerston sunk below PINT. The Tigers upset ladder leaders Southern Districts to hand the Crocs only their second loss of the season, while moving to an even 6-6 win-loss record from 12 games. A defeat would have seen the Tigers drop below PINT – who subsequently leapfrogged Palmerston, with a victory over the Warriors. In the other game, Waratah won via forfeit with Tiwi Bombers unable to field a team for their Round 14 match.

All teams will have a week off this coming weekend, with the NTFL Men’s Premier – and Women’s Premier – All-Star sides taking on South Fremantle out of the WAFL.

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