Men’s Premier League
Darwin Buffaloes 1.2 7.4 11.5 13.7 (85)
Southern Districts 7.1 8.4 11.7 13.8 (86)
Darwin Buffaloes: Jalen Clarke 3, Jarrod Stokes 3, Joe Anderson, Matthew Campbell, Todd Miles, Adam Sambono, Darren Shillabeer, Cameron Stokes, Christopher Williams
Southern Districts: William Farrer 3, Leroy Jetta 3, Nikolaus Rokahr 3, Dylan Barry, Michael Bowden, Callum Currie, Rory O’Brien
Best on Ground Chaney Medal: Jarrod Stokes (Darwin Buffaloes)
In the end, it was Darwin Buffaloes 85 to Southern Districts, 86. The game couldn’t have been any closer and what better way to send off the season than a one-point-difference Grand Final in front of the 5, 443 fans that came to watch history being made on TIO Stadium.
Cyclone Marcus originally pushed the game back to Sunday, then no power or safe water at TIO Stadium saw it moved to Wednesday, with both clubs keen to see it through and get the season wrapped up.
But it was worth the wait, an unbelievable end to the Premier League season, the Southern Districts Crocs coming out on top as champions after a huge season.
In the first quarter, it was seven goals to one in favour of the Crocs, and things looked like it would be the exact opposite of what happened in week two of the finals when the Buffs jumped the Crocs. Southern Districts fired up early, and captain William Farrer eased into the game slotting two, Leroy Jetta also kicked two while big Todd Miles was the lone goal scorer for Darwin.
The second quarter was all Buffaloes as they managed to hold the Crocs to one goal and kick six of their own. Through the likes of Jarrod Stokes, Tim Eldridge and big Ryan O’Sullivan the Buffs got on top in the clearances and were pumping the footy into their forward line as quick as it was being thrown up in the middle. Jalen Clarke was working hard all game and was on fire up front. Both Stokes kicked captains’s goals and Matt Campbell just didn’t stop. When the half time siren went there was only a goal a difference in favour of the Crocs.
The ball was back and forward in the third, goal for goal and Buffs took their first lead of the game when Joe Anderson went back and slotted a goal. Anderson was the only Buffs player to have played in the last Grand Final in 2005/06 and his one-point lead quickly became 13-points thanks to Shillabeer’s first and Campbell’s goal on the run. But Districts had the answers and wouldn’t lie down. Farrer was back at his usual damaging best and when defender Michael Bowden found himself lining up for goal about 40 metres out he put the Crocs back in front but by only two points going into the final change.
Moving into the fourth quarter it was a fast-paced ball game with Nick Rokhar kicking the two goals for the Crocs that got them out to a handy lead and it looked like they would march on but Chris Williams and Jarrod Stokes had a different idea and kicked goals for Darwin. In the last few minutes the Buffs had a number of chances to win it or draw the game but they just couldn’t get themselves over the line. When the siren went the Crocs were the victors by that single point. 13-8-86 to 13-7-85. A few were hesitant to celebrate knowing the scoreboard had been changed at the last break but when the umpires waved off the score there was no holding back the celebration that had been 11 years in the making.
The Chaney Medal winner was Jarrod Stokes from Darwin Buffaoes. He had an outstanding game and was the first player since Todd Cook of Wanderers in the 2004/05 season to be on the losing side and win the best on ground medal. Stokes finished on 10 votes, while the big ruck and former AFL player for the Crocs, Mark Jamar finished on eight and another of their AFL stars, Ed Barlow finished with six.
Though the game was rescheduled, Tai Martin-Page was back in Darwin to watch his Buffs teammates play contest the Grand Final. Before the game, NTFL umpires presented Tai with a cheque for over $4,000 to go towards his rehab and recovery. This money was what the umpires raised from their Round 17 match payments.
Men’s Division 1
Waratah 11.10.76 defeated Banks 5.7.37
Best on Ground Clark Medal: Jamie Smith (Waratah)
Waratah, the reigning premiers (beat St Mary’s last season), were just too good for Banks once again, making that two in a row now for the Tahs Division 1 boys.
The Tahs leapt out of the blocks and managed three goals on the scoreboard in the first quarter, one by Jack Hatcher and two to Tommy Maddocks, with Richie Hobbs booting one for Banks.
Up until half time of this game, things were tight, only a seven-point difference come half time.
During the first half, Tahs had a player yellow carded and Banks had Matthew Leyson stretchered off into an ambulance due to a feared spinal injury, however post-game no serious damage was reported.
The rain and lightning came in the third quarter, however not enough for the game to be called off. Waratah’s priority was to stay in the lead and they had a big third quarter adding another five goals to their score, with Banks only kicking two.
Dylan Wareham kicked a huge goal for Tahs from outside 50 after the siren to give Tahs a 25-point lead at three-quarter time.
The weather settled in the last quarter and Tahs ran away with the game, winning by 39 points.
Best for Banks was Cohen Thiele and the best on ground Clark Medal was awarded to Smith from Waratah. He booted three pretty spectacular goals and had celebrations to match.
It’s also noteworthy to mention Tahs Division 1 coach Paul Carroll, has now coached 12 Tahs premierships.
Men’s Division 2
Nightcliff Spartans 9.10.64 defeated Jabiru 2.6.18
Best on Ground Gear Medal: Chris Smith (Nightcliff)
It was no surprise seeing the Spartans in the Grand Final after they dropped only one game all season, but that loss was to the Bombers so this was set to be a great game!
After a big downpour, the ground was heavy underfoot and with the ball hard to grip the Nightcliff Spartans were well in control at quarter-time despite the conditions.
They looked cleaner and worked harder but things turned in the second term as Jabiru had much more possession of the ball. Nicholas Bangarr scored the Bombers’s first goal at the four-minute mark and it could’ve been a lot closer on the scoreboard had the Bombers capitalised on their chances.
The second half was a lot more contested, however Jabiru couldn’t recover from their slow start. It was great to see plenty of crowd support for both teams for the game.
Spartans player-coach Chris Smith was the deserving winner of the Gear Medal for best on ground.
Under 18 Boys
Wanderers 8.12.60 defeated Southern Districts 6.4.40
Best on Ground Haritos Medal: Dillen Brown (Wanderers)
In what was a replay of last season’s Grand Final, everyone was expecting a close encounter between Wanders and Southern Districts and that’s what they got! After two Under 18 grand final losses the past two seasons Wanderers finally broke through.
Districts had been a standout team but Wanderers beat them a few weeks prior to get to the Grand Final. The Crocs held the Eagles goalless in the first quarter and took a 10-point lead with cleaner possession but the second quarter was a different story as Wanderers got on top in the clearances and held greater possession. Tyrell Luis kicked their first goal at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter and an effort from Joel Jeffrey gave them a five-point lead going into half time. At the major break Keenan Lake had kicked two goals for the Crocs, one in each quarter and Cory Davis had been solid in defence.
Similarly, to the first quarter, the Crocs got the first two goals of the third term but things then went goal for goal. When Eagles captain Greg Hunt kicked a goal seconds before the three-quarter time siren Wanderers had its nose back in front. And from there they ran on with the win, holding Districts to only one point, and piling on two more goals of their own in the last quarter.
Best on ground went the way of Dillen Brown, from Wanderers who kicked two goals and looked the goods all game.
Palmerston 5.5.35 defeated Nightcliff 4.10.34
Best on Ground Jeffrey Medal: Clarence Baird (Palmerston)
In a thrilling game that went into overtime the Magpies did enough to take home the win through the golden point rule.
The Magpies opened the game’s scoring with Jason Baird kicking their first as they managed to keep the Tigers goalless in the first quarter. However, the Tigers fought back hard in the second term with Andy Moniz Wakefield kicking two and Thomas Boath with one to get them in the lead.
It was a thrilling second half with the ball going back and forth and Under 16 Hickman leading goal kicker, Waylon Walters, showing his skills with a snap goal to extend the Tigers’s lead before Jason Baird responded with two unanswered goals.
Late in the game the heavens opened which made for slippery and wet conditions. By the final siren the scores were locked and the game was sent into extra time. Jaeden Watts became the most loved Magpies playe, scoring the golden point and giving Palmerston the win.
Magpies captain, Clarence Baird was awarded the Jeffrey Medal for his fine efforts throughout the game.
Tracy Village 6.3.39 defeated Buffs Light Blue 3.6.24
Best on Ground Cooper Medal: Thomas Kalitsis (Tracy Village)
It was a very high-pressure match from the get-go with both teams struggling to find a lot of space.
The two sides had already met five times during the season, with Tracy Village just ahead on the ledger 3-2. The scores were very close for the first two and a half quarters with the tension at times boiling over.
Tracy Village kicked away in the third quarter to get out to a three-goal lead. With the wind picking up, and a large storm looming, both sides struggled to kick accurately around the ground and for goal in the third term. Tracy Village's three goal lead heading into the final quarter was enough to secure the win as the torrential rain came beating down in the last term.
Thomas Kalitsis from Tracy Village was awarded the Cooper Medal as the best on the ground.
St Mary’s 9.6.60 defeated Nightcliff 5.5.35
Best on Ground A T Shaw Medal: John Friel (St Mary’s)
The Saints dominated the first half as they got off to a flying start, kicking the opening two goals. Both teams used the whole oval but the Tigers weren’t able to convert when given opportunities.
St Mary’s didn’t drop a game all season and they showed why as they continued their great form. The Tigers kicked their first goal in the ninth minute of the third quarter but it was all too late and they couldn’t find enough momentum to get back into the game.
John Friel from St Mary’s won the A T Shaw Medal for his stellar performance throughout the entire game.
U14 Lew Fatt
Banks Bulldogs 8.10.58 defeated Palmerston 1.0.6
Best on Ground Damaso Medal: Dion Hume (Banks)
A new premier was set to be named for the first time in three seasons heading into the Under 14 Lew Fatt Grand Final.
The contest between Banks and Palmerston was very close in the first quarter, however, Banks asserted their ascendancy after quarter-time keeping Palmerston scoreless.
This is the first season where Banks have entered a team in the Under 14 competition and what a debut season it was, finishing as premiers in a comprehensive 52-point win.
Dion Hume from Banks was awarded the Damaso Medal as the best on ground player.