It’s here! The first grand finals of the 2017/18 TIO NTFL season are upon us. After a full season of excitement, lots of highs and the occasional low that are all part and parcel of a competitive game, today we have much to celebrate.
From what makes the smallest footballers we have running around out there great, to the explosion in female football experienced first-hand by our contenders today, there is much to be enjoyed.
The Under 12 Deslandes grand final will see two strong junior clubs go head to head. Tigers Gold and the Bulldogs have both been in this position before, the Tigers falling short two seasons ago and the Bulldogs going down by only three points in last year’s U12 Deslandes Grand Final. It’s just reward to see both here again this season, but there can only be one winner.
Over in the Under 12 Atkinson division there will be a new premier for the first time in three seasons after Magpies Black and Buffs Dark Blue advanced to today’s main event. The Magpies have only dropped one game all season and finished top of the ladder, but that one loss was to the Buffs a couple of weeks ago, so it’s certainly a battle between the best two.
In the first girls’ final for the day, the Under 15 premiership will be decided between Palmerston and St Mary’s. Both teams had dominant wins in their semi finals last week, and after Palmerston went down in last year’s grand final, there will certainly be some players looking for redemption. The Saints last lifted the cup back in season 2013/14 when it was the Under 16 Girls competition, so there’s hunger on their side as well.
In the Under 18 Girls, Darwin Buffettes put in a big second half last Saturday and now have the opportunity to go back-to-back. To do it they’ll need to keep intact their perfect winning record for the season. Since the Under 18 Girls first started in season 2015/16, Southern Districts have made finals every year but always fallen just short of the big dance. They’re just as hungry for success today.
The paramount event this weekend will no doubt be the Women’s Premier League Grand Final. For the second year running the premiership will be decided between Waratah and Darwin Buffettes. Last year the Buffs broke through to win their first women’s title since the competition’s inception, which was no small feat when you consider Waratah had won the previous five. Under the direction of Matthew Large the Buffs play a fast-paced, skilful game, but on the other side, Colleen Gwynne has a well-drilled, committed Tahs outfit that provides countless highlights. When it comes to this season’s games, the Tahs are up two-one, but the Buffs are the only team to have knocked them off.
Darwin will no doubt keep a close eye on in-form Waratah captain Lisa Roberts, along with skilful tall, Lauren O’Shea. Add to the mix Sharona Bishop, Amy Chittick and Trish Muller, and they have arsenal everywhere. The Buffs will also be paid their due respect, particularly their captain Lucy Adam, who leads by example every week and along with Jordan Hickey are the stalwarts in defence. Speedster Michaelia Roberts along with the dependable Jasmine Anderson, Kylie Duggan and Jemma Iacono will be on the Tahs radar as well.
After five months of blood, sweat and tears it all comes down to this. Don’t be afraid to wear your true colours proudly and shout your loyalty loudly.
Congratulations to all finalists, their coaches, support staff and fans on making it to today. May the best teams win!