All finals set for week three including the Women's, Girls' and U12 grand finals

All the finals for week 3

The Women’s Premier League season will culminate at TIO Stadium at 4:30pm on Saturday when Waratah come up against Southern Districts. 

The teams couldn’t have more contrasting histories; the Tahs have played in the past seven grand finals and won six of them. Districts, who came into the women’s senior competition in season 2013/14, spent their first three seasons on the bottom of the ladder. In 2016/17 they finished eighth out of nine teams and last season they finished in seventh. 

The Crocs rise under coach, Tarmon Elliott has been off the back of some clever recruitment and robust culture. They won 11 of their 16 games plus two sudden-death finals, including yesterday’s come-from-behind triumph against a tenacious Palmerston outfit. 

Waratah spent most of the season out in front, with fans flocking to see the professional, well-skilled team master coach Colleen Gwynne has at her command. The Tahs finished the season as minor premiers with 13 wins and one draw and enjoyed a comprehensive semi final victory over a fierce rival in the Darwin Buffettes. They have won their last seven games and dropped only two all season. 

One of those losses was to Southern Districts in Round 7, it was only five points, but the only other time the two have played this season was back in Round, 2 and on that occasion, Waratah extended its lead at every break, running away 47-point winners. 

On paper, the teams have a similar story; they’ve each used 41 players this season, and while the Tahs have the experience, there are still nine players in their squad who are teenagers and 13 players who made their NTFL senior debut with the team this season. The Crocs have five teenagers in their squad and blooded 17 new players for their women’s team.

Waratah has already etched its name in the history books as the most successful women’s team in the Top End, but there’s no less hunger for another title. A premiership triumph to Southern Districts and a new chapter will be written. 

The Under 18 Girls Grand Final paints a similar picture, with a well-established champion taking on a new challenger at 2pm on Saturday. The Darwin Buffettes have won this premiership every season since the Under 18 Girls division started in 2015/16, but they’ve never come up against Palmerston on the final day of the season. 

The Buffettes dropped one game during the home and away rounds before a surprise loss to Southern Districts in week one of the finals. They rebounded well though, a big semi final win over Waratah on Saturday putting them back in the big dance. On the other hand, Palmerston finished in fourth place on the ladder, winning 13 of a possible 18 games, including three-in-a-row to end the season. It carried that winning momentum through the first two rounds of finals, first eliminating Wanderers and then Southern Districts to make its first grand final. 

As far as the past goes, the Buffettes have remarkably dropped only nine games in all of the Under 18 Girls home and away seasons. Eight of those games were in the first iteration of the competition back in 2015/16, and three of those losses were to the Magpies. So, while it’s been a while, Palmerston has beaten Darwin but will need to overturn the two 45-point losses it suffered this season to pull off premiership success. 

The Under 15 Girls title will be fought between the two best teams this season, with St Mary’s versing Wanderers at 12pm on Saturday at TIO Stadium. Wanderers have some finals experience when it comes to the Under 15 Girls, having played in at least one final every season since the division started in 2015/16. But they’ve never made it to a grand final before. St Mary’s, on the other hand, made it to the big game last season, where a slow start was hard to recover from, and a seven-point loss to Palmerston eventuated. 

The young Saints have plenty of talent, graced with names like Anderson, Ponter, Rioli and Vallejo amongst many others who are already forging their path. The Wanderers are full of talent themselves, with the Sharyn Smith Medallist for the Under 15 Girls best and fairest Abigayle Sekitoga, and the division’s leading goalkicker Lakitah White both hailing from the club.

The Saints won every game this season, many quite convincingly but the team that has come closest to upsetting them was Wanderers in Round 18. The eager Eagles raced out of the blocks and lead by 13-points at half time before eventually losing by eight points. The other games the two met went the way of the Saints in the order of 34-points in Round 8 and 33-points a little over a week ago in the qualifying final. 

The Under 12 Atkinson Grand Final on Friday night will also be played between the two best teams when Tigers Black takes on Magpies Black. The Tiger cubs will go in as favourites having not lost a game all season and after enjoying a big 65-point win against the Magpies in week one of the finals. But the Magpies are last season’s premiers, and though some of the team has changed, there’s still plenty of players with premiership experience. 

The Tigers could make it a clean sweep in the Under 12s since both sides in the Under 12 Deslandes Grand Final are from Nightcliff. Tigers Gold finished second on the ladder, and Tigers White finished third, and in the first two weeks of the finals, each of them defeated the previously unbeaten Magpies White team to advance to the showdown. Though Tigers Gold has prevailed over Tigers White twice this season, they haven’t played each other since Round 4. Either which way it’s going to be a happy Tigerland come Friday night. 

The rest of the finals for the weekend have also been set, with all games do-or-die battles:

Women’s Premier League Grand Final

4:30pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Stadium
Waratah vs Southern Districts

Men’s Premier League Preliminary Final

7:00pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Stadium
Tiwi Bombers vs Southern Districts

Men’s Division 1

2:30pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
Waratah vs Nightcliff

Men’s Division 2

4:30pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
Nightcliff Spartans vs Banks

Under 18 Girls Grand Final

2:00pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Stadium
Palmerston Magpies vs Darwin Buffettes

Under 18 Boys Preliminary Final

8:15pm Friday 8 March
TIO Stadium
Nightcliff vs St Mary’s

Under 16 Hickman Semi Finals

6:45pm Friday 8 March
TIO Stadium
St Mary’s vs Darwin Buffaloes

7:30pm Friday 8 March
TIO Oval 2
Nightcliff 1 vs Palmerston Magpies 1

Under 16 Leverence Semi Finals

11:30am Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
St Mary’s 2 vs Districts Black

1:00pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
Nightcliff Black vs Wanderers

Under 15 Girls Grand Final

12:00pm Saturday 9 March
TIO Stadium
St Mary’s vs Wanderers

Under 14 Gundersen Semi Finals

8:30am Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
Palmerston Magpies 1 vs St Mary’s

10:00am Saturday 9 March
TIO Oval 2
Crocs Red vs Nightcliff 1

Under 14 Lew Fatt Preliminary Final

6:00pm Friday 8 March
TIO Oval 2
Nightcliff 2 vs Palmerston Magpies 2

Under 12 Atkinson Grand Final

5:15pm Friday 8 March
TIO Stadium
Tigers Black vs Magpies Black

Under 12 Deslandes Grand Final

5:15pm Friday 8 March
TIO Stadium
Tigers Gold vs Tigers White

AFL Talent Program

10:00am Saturday 9 March
TIO Stadium
Woomeras vs Medleys

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