Week 1 of the 2019/20 TIO NTFL finals for the men's and women's Premier League divisions have been scheduled.
After finishing as the Men's Premier League minor premiers for the second season running, Nightcliff will enjoy a week off and progresses straight through to a Semi Final in Week 2, where it will meet the winner of the Week 1 Qualifying Final.
St Mary's makes a return to finals after finishing the regular season in second and will play a blockbuster Qualifying Final at 7pm on Saturday against the Tiwi Bombers, who secured third place after the results for Round 18 favoured the Bombers. The two sides have met three times already this season with the Bombers winning the first two meetings, but their last encounter was only last Saturday in Round 17 when the Saints got one back, holding the Bombers to their lowest score in five seasons (since Round 18 2014/15).
After Southern Districts won its last three games of the season and the Darwin Buffaloes fell to the Saints yesterday, the Crocs jumped up to fourth place. At the same time, the Buffs missed out on a chance to finish third and have to settle for fifth and a Saturday afternoon Elimination Final. A modern-day rivalry, Southern Districts and the Darwin Buffaloes played out that famous one-point Wednesday night grand final in March 2018 and both their games this season have been decided by five points or less. It's one win-apiece, and only one team will progress to Week 2, where they will play the loser of the St Mary's vs Tiwi Bombers Qualifying Final.
In the Women's Premier League; it was a tense battle for final ladder positions right up until a couple of hours ago when the last game of the regular season was completed.
Waratah, who has won seven of the last eight premierships, went through the season under the direction of a new head coach and dropped only two games. One of those losses, though, was in Round 11 against the Tahs' Finals Week 1 opponent; Southern Districts. The sides will meet at 2:30pm on Saturday in a Qualifying Final, in what is sure to be an exciting rematch of last season's grand final. The Crocs have won their previous four games by an average of 86.5 points, while the Tahs have looked sharp in their last five games.
Also taking place at 2:30pm on Saturday at TIO Oval 2 will be an Elimination Final between the Darwin Buffettes, who finished the season in fourth, and Nightcliff who finished in fifth. The Buffs are that only other team in the last eight seasons who have tasted premiership success and will compete in finals for the fifth consecutive season. Meanwhile, the Tigers have gone from cellar dwellers to contenders and will play in their first finals campaign since the women's competition officially became part of the NTFL. They're one win apiece for the season, and after Saturday only one will remain; the winner will face the winner of the Waratah vs Southern Districts Qualifying Final.
The first of the Premier League finals will see the Palmerston Magpies take on PINT in an Elimination Final at 12:30pm on Saturday. The Magpies were pushed out of second spot and into third on the ladder when their win over Wanderers earlier today couldn't match the percentage gained by Southern Districts in its massive win over St Mary's yesterday.
Meanwhile, PINT looked down and out going into Round 18 but a convincing win over the Buffettes on Saturday and Wanderers' loss today has handed them the coveted sixth and final spot. With both the Queenants and Wanderers locked on a 50% winning ratio (the ladder is first ordered by this factor given teams played an uneven number of games once Big River Hawks withdrew from the competition), the next deciding factor was points percentage in which PINT finished on 126.12% and Wanderers on 91.63%.
The Magpies have won both games against PINT this season, but only two points decided their Round 1 clash. The loser will finish their 2019/20 season while the winner will advance to Finals Week 2 to face the loser of the Qualifying Final between Waratah and Southern Districts.
All other senior competitions entering finals will have their fixtures uploaded to the SportsTG website and AFLNT website in the next couple of hours, while the Under 12s will be completed tomorrow due to a system error not correctly calculating games played across the regraded competition.
Finals Week 1 - 2019/20 TIO NTFL
Men's Premier League
Elimination Final - 4:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - Southern Districts vs Darwin Buffaloes
Qualifying Final - 7:00pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - St Mary's vs Tiwi Bombers
Women's Premier League
Elimination Final - 12:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - Palmerston Magpies vs PINT
Elimination Final - 2:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - Darwin Buffettes vs Nightcliff
Qualifying Final - 2:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - Waratah vs Southern Districts
Men's Division 1
*Elimination Final - 6:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - St Mary's vs Waratah (*note this game was updated on Tuesday 18 February)
*Qualifying Final - 2:00pm Sunday 23 February - Gardens Oval - PINT vs Nightcliff (*note this game was updated on Tuesday 18 February)
Under 18 Boys
Qualifying Final - 10:30am Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - Wanderers vs Nightcliff
Elimination Final - 12:15pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - Darwin Buffaloes vs Palmerston Magpies
Under 18 Girls
Qualifying Final - 9:00am Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - Darwin Buffettes vs St Mary's
Elimination Final - 11:00am Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - Palmerston Magpies vs Waratah
Elimination Final - 11:00am Sunday 23 February - Gardens Oval - Southern Districts vs Nightcliff
Men's Division 2
*Elimination Final - 4:30pm Saturday 22 February - TIO Oval 2 - Jabiru vs Wanderers (*note this game was updated on Tuesday 18 February)
Qualifying Final - 4:00pm Sunday 23 February - Gardens Oval - Banks vs Waratah
Under 15 Girls
Qualifying Final - 9:30am Saturday 22 February - TIO Stadium - Waratah vs Wanderers
Elimination Final - 9:30am Sunday 23 February - Gardens Oval - St Mary's vs Southern Districts
Elimination Final - 12:30pm Sunday 23 February - Gardens Oval - Palmerston Magpies vs Darwin Buffettes