NTFLW Premier League Round 4 preview: Friday night blockbuster kicks off round

THE weekend is fast approaching, which means its time to prepare for another exciting round of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League. Round 3 saw plenty of entertaining football across the league, with some big wins from some of the competition’s strongest sides, and these teams will be looking to back this up again. A Friday night clash between two of the league’s most dominant sides this year headlines what should be a fantastic round of football for fans all around Australia.

St Mary’s Premier Women vs. Nightcliff Tigers Premier Women

7:40pm, Friday October 22

Darwin Mazda Nightcliff Oval

In what should be the match of the round, the first and third placed teams will face off in a primetime clash on Friday night. Nightcliff have been the benchmark all season, with a dominant Round 3 victory putting even more emphasis on this. However, they face their toughest challenge yet, when they take on a St Mary’s side that has shown the ability to tear their opponents apart for extended periods of game. With both sides in some seriously hot form, this contest should prove essential viewing for any football fans across the country.

Nightcliff were able to produce an impressive victory over the Wanderers in Round 3, continuing their undefeated run for the season as they sit comfortably in top spot on the ladder. Although, the margin made the win look much stronger due to a powerful second term, and apart from this quarter, the contest looked quite even at stages. While they were able to claim the win, the Tigers will be looking to improve their game to ensure a comfortable victory on Friday night. Forward duo Mickayla Ward and Danielle Wiseman combined for six goals last week, and will likely be a crucial factor in the side’s attack once again this week.

St Mary’s suffered a tough loss to the Darwin Buffaloes last week, and will be looking to bounce back this week, but standing in their way is the most in-form team of the competition. The team was able to post some impressive scores in the opening round, but found themselves held to just nine points against the Buffaloes. This is an area that will need to be addressed, as they look to return to their high-scoring ways. They face one of the most explosive teams in the competition, and will need to halt the outside run of the Tigers, but will be encouraged by the amount Nightcliff struggled at times in their Round 3 win.

Palmerston Magpies Premier Women vs. Tracy Village Premier Women

10:00am, Saturday 23 October

TIO Stadium

It will be the race for the first win, with both sides looking for their maiden victory of the 2021/22 season when the Palmerston Magpies take on Tracy Village on Saturday morning. Both sides sit down on the bottom of the ladder, with two losses from their first two games, but one team will make their move up the ladder with their first triumph of their campaign.

The Palmerston Magpies have struggled to start the season, but will enter this match as favorites as they have been able to show glimpses of promise throughout their first two games. They have struggled to slow down the scoring of their opponents, with inaccuracy in front of goal another glaring issue. They will benefit from facing a side that has not been able to show much in terms of offensive threat, so the Magpies may be able to change their fortunes.

It has been a disappointing start to the season to say the least for Tracy Village, with some brutal losses seeing them sink to the bottom of the ladder after three rounds. They have not been able to generate any offensive firepower, but this is similar to their Round 4 opponent, so they may be in with a chance here. However, they will need to turn their game around from their first two outings.

Wanderers Premier Women vs. PINT Premier Women

2:00pm, Saturday 23 October

TIO Stadium

An exciting day of football at TIO Stadium continues, as the Wanderers take on the reigning premiers on Saturday afternoon, in a contest that may be harder to predict than first thought. PINT should enter this match as favorites, but have staggered at times this season, which may prove the perfect time for the Wanderers to strike and claim an upset win to move up the ladder.

The Wanderers found themselves on the end of a tough loss against the ladder-leading Nightcliff Tigers in Round 3, and while the scoreline looked ugly in the end, they actually put up a much stronger fight than indicated by the box score. If it wasn’t for a poor second half, the Wanderers would have been right in the contest, thanks to their dashing run-and-carry. If they can reignite this spark, they may deliver an upset against last year’s premiership side.

PINT looked destined to go back-to-back after Round 1, but a shock Round 2 loss saw the reigning premiers humbled. A strong performance in their third game of the season saw their season get back on track, but a victory over the Wanderers is crucial in maintaining this path to consecutive flags. Regardless of the result, this should prove to be a cracking result.

Waratah Premier Women vs. Darwin Buffaloes Premier Women

2:30pm, Sunday 24 October

Gardens Oval

The final game of the round should keep fans on the edge of their seats, with the Darwin Buffaloes looking to extend their undefeated streak, while Waratah will be looking to cause an upset. This is a very achievable goal given their impressive start to the season.

Waratah have started the season reasonably well, winning two of their first three games, and will fancy themselves in this contest, despite entering the match as underdogs. Their confidence will be boosted by their impressive win over the Southern Districts in Round 3, and they will be hoping to carry this into their game this weekend. However, they face off against one of the flag fancies, and will have quite a tough task ahead.

The Buffaloes have enjoyed a near-perfect start to their season, winning their first two games as they put their name forth in the race for the flag. Despite the being dealt the unfortunate hand of copping the bye in the first round, but took this in their stride, and were able to dismantle their next two opponents. They will be looking to move towards top spot on the ladder, and a win against Waratah would aid in this quest.

Southern Districts have the bye.

Picture credit: Palmerston Magpies

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