Tigers scrape home as Tahs’ set up Crocs clash

NIGHTCLIFF has lived to fight another day in the 2022/23 NTFL Men’s Premier League season by surviving a nail-biting elimination final against Darwin Buffaloes on the weekend. The Tigers were made to work for the win, with the fourth placed side holding on in a frantic final term to come away with the two-point victory, 6.7 (43) to 6.5 (41).

It was the underdogs who raced out of the blocks early slotting three goals to one to lead by 12 points at the first break. Darwin maintained its advantage by half-time after both sides added a goal which resulted in the Buffaloes holding a lead, albeit a smaller 10-point one.

A dominant third term of 4.0 to 0.3 in favour of Nightcliff turned the game on its head as the Tigers were suddenly in the box seat, however there would still be another twist in the tale. Leaving nothing out on the field, the fifth placed Buffaloes booted the final two goals of the game to get within reach, but narrowly fell short by two points to exit the finals series.

John Butcher and Jay Moody both booted two goals in the win for the Tigers, while Hassan Ahmat-Watkins (two) was the only multiple goalkicker for the Buffaloes. Jonathan Peris and Luke Wines were judged best afield for Nightcliff, while Bailey Edwards was also prolific. For Darwin, Mitch Robinson battled hard alongside Tom Baulch, with John Vrodos also named among the best.

Nightcliff will now advance to the semi-finals where the Tigers take on St Mary’s. The matchup occurred following the Saints’ 37-point defeat at the hands of Waratah. Unlike the other final, the Tahs’ had control from the get-go, booting 4.5 to 0.2 in the opening term and by half-time held a 25-point advantage.

Though St Mary’s did manage to pick up the scoring later in the game, Waratah maintained its ability to add scoreboard pressure, booting three goals to one in the third term. Though St Mary’s more than doubled its score in the last quarter with four goals, the second placed side also booted four majors to run out 37-point winners, 13.8 (86) to 7.7 (49).

Waratah shared the goals around with Jayden Magro and Darcy Hope each kicking three goals, and Abe Ankers and Brodie Carroll slotting two apiece. Jackson Calder, Dylan Landt and Nicholas Yarran all converted two majors as well for the losing side. Tom Baneulos and Will Collis were among Waratah’s best with Carroll and Hope, while Parnell and captain Nate Paredes again had strong efforts in the loss.

Waratah now advances through to the semi-finals to take on minor premiers Southern Districts for a spot in the NTFL Men’s Premier League Grand Final.

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